Monday, September 22, 2014

It's not downhill from here. It's onward and upward. - 9/22/14

Melbourne Mission Moments 

If this email doesn't make sense, it's because all my thoughts just feel like they've become a huge mumbo-jumbo. So much happens in so little time that it's hard to put it into anything coherent.

Monday we had our zone p-day which was really fun. We just all played games at the chapel. This zone is really fun. Everyone just looks out for each other. It really feels like a family. That night we got to see K. We taught her about how to pray and about God's love for us. She really opened up to us about questions that she's had and how she feels when she comes to church and things. She's so cute. Unfortunately, she's a typical teenager and she gets caught up in friends and stuff sometimes. But I know that she is going to get baptized. Hopefully before I leave, but if not, that's okay. Just as long as she gets baptized.

After DLC in Deer Park
Tuesday morning we had district meeting. After our meeting finished, we went over to a member's home for lunch. Small world--as we were talking I found out that her son and his wife are in Churchill Park ward! My memories went straight back to Churchill park-- all those people that I love so much. Love them! When we left that member's home, we had to stop to get petrol. When we went inside to pay, there was an young Indian man named A working there. Right when we walked in, he said, "Do you work for the church?" He explained that he was a Christian and he wanted to find a church here to go to. It took me off-guard a little bit. It's usually us approaching other people, not them approaching us. It was really cool though! He is going to Adelaide for a few weeks but we have an appointment with him for when he gets back. That evening we had dinner with Aunty and Uncle K. She made the yummiest Quinoa salad. It was so good! After that we drove to Point Cook for exchanges.

I got to spend Tuesday night and all day Wednesday with Sister A. I love working with her. It's so fun to have been so close throughout our whole missions. We had a really good day! We found the cutest girl named J with the cutest little girls! I love finding families!

Thursday morning we had to drive to Deer Park for DLC there. Such awesome missionaries. I love sitting in Council with them. After that, we drove back and Sister V was feeling really sick so we had to be inside for a while and she slept. I was able to just read and study and reflect. That night, we had dinner with a Tongan family in our ward. I will have to take pictures with them and send them home. They are all so big! SO TALL! Their son that is 16 looks like he's 25. The 11 year old looks like she's 17. They make me feel so small. I will get pictures with them that I can send home.

Friday we were on exchanges with the Werribee sisters. I got to spend the whole day with Sister A in her area. They don't have a car so we got to use Public transport. I haven't been on public transport since before I went to Tassie so that was fun! We had a lesson with their investigator K and we were able to set a baptism date with her. We had dinner that night with the C family in their ward. The C's are a family from Utah. They have been here for two months and will be here for a year in total. Bro. C is a professor at Utah State and is here doing research or something. They are so cute! So Utahan. I loved being in their home so much! Reminded me of home!

Saturday morning we went out and did some finding. Then we had a lesson with an Indian woman named P. The lesson went really well but she just kept telling us, "I can't commit to anything. I won't commit." Which is sad. She's such a lovely woman. Hopefully we helped prepare her heart a little bit more so that she can be ready the next time she meets missionaries. Saturday afternoon we headed over to the chapel for the Stake Relief Society conference. It was really good! I received so much revelation during it. And it was not so much from what was said but from the things I felt. I love those moments when the Spirit is really able to teach me. One thing in particular stood out to me. I feel like I've been feeling like, "Uhh... my mission is ending. This has been the high point of my life and when I go home, it's all going to go downhill from here." Obviously that's not true, but that's kind of how I was feeling. So resistant to the idea of coming home and not being a missionary anymore. But that attitude changed during the meeting. I am so grateful to have had this opportunity to serve a mission. Surely it has been the best experience of my entire life up until this point. Although I'm sad that my time will draw to a close soon, I AM looking forward to the next stage of life. I'm excited to be a wife and a mother and to serve in church callings, etc. It's not downhill from here. It's onward and upward. The mission is a springboard for the rest of my life.

Sunday morning we picked up N, one of the Laurels, and we went tracting. It was a really good morning and we found lots of people at home with their families which was awesome! Church was really good. Unfortunately, our investigators didn't show up. That has been the hardest part of my entire mission--getting people to church. But that's okay. After church, the Elders had a baptism. It was a young Aussie couple. The baptism was beautiful and there were lots of members there to support them. After the baptism, a member approached us and asked if the elders had double checked the boundaries. We went and checked and it turns out that the couple lives in the other ward by about two streets! Oh no! Now the elders have to somehow explain it to them! So sad!

So last night after we got home, we gathered up all of our stuff and drove to the Melton flat. All the sisters on the west side came and we all slept on the floor there. (There were twelve of us in total.) This morning we got up at 4:45 am and headed out to Bacchas Marsh where we sat on a hill and watched the sunrise together. First sunrise I've seen in Australia. After that we had a testimony meeting with all the sisters. It was such a perfect morning. I love these sisters so much. I am so grateful to be not only a missionary, but a sister missionary.
Sisters Sunrise

I was studying from Elder Bednar about conversion and testimony this week. I love a few of his thoughts. "Testimony is the beginning of and a prerequisite to continuing conversion. Testimony is a point of departure; it is not an ultimate destination. Strong testimony is the foundation upon which conversion is established." Before the mission, I felt that I had a testimony. But now, during my mission, I have begun to experience true conversion. I love this gospel so much. It is the most important thing in my entire life.

Love y'all heaps!

Sister Baker xxx

Tuesday, September 16, 2014

I love reading about the Savior... I feel so blessed to be able to wear His name on my tag every day and be a representative of Him. - 9/15/14

Melbourne Mission Moments 

I don't know what has happened to me but I just cry all the time lately. When I'm reading emails, when I teach lessons, when I pray, when I study. Suddenly I'm an emotional roller coaster. Gotta love those Twitchell genes...

BUT, that being said, I've been so blessed! Sister V and I are having such an amazing transfer! We have been so blessed and we see miracles every single day. I'm so grateful to have Sister V as my companion for this last transfer. She is exactly what I prayed for. She wants to work hard and be obedient and she helps me to do more and to be better.

On Monday "Auntie and Uncle K" took us to the Werribee Open Range Zoo. It was so fun! I love that couple so much. We saw so many animals, especially African animals. Sister V felt like she was back at home. It was such a fun p-day and so nice of them to take us there!
Entrance to Werribee Open Range Zoo

A great P-day with Auntie K
After p-day we went to have a lesson with an Indian family who are Sikh. They were about to leave so it was a short lesson but they asked us to come back on Friday. After that we went and had dinner with a family in the ward. I love the opportunity it was been my whole mission to be in members' homes. There's something special about being with a family who is living the gospel. After our dinner, we went and visited a less-active sister. She had been having a hard day and it was perfect timing for us to be there.

Tuesday morning we had district meeting. After our meeting we all went to get lunch together. After that Sis V went to a few appointments before driving out to Melton to do exchanges with the sisters there. Sister V stayed and worked in their area and I brought Sister F back to our area with me. Sister F is from Germany and she is such a good missionary! I loved spending the time with her! When we first came back to our area, we went tracting for about an hour. Exchanges bring miracles. Let me tell ya, every time we are on exchanges we meet the most amazing people or have the most amazing lessons. In the hour that we went tracting, we met 5 people who were willing to have us come back! One was from Indonesia. Right before we got there, she had been crying. She is recently divorced and is having a hard time. We were able to bear testimony of the strength and healing that comes through the atonement of Jesus Christ. The spirit was so strong. I'm so excited to see her again this week. We also met a guy named A. He was telling us that he was really busy with work and he is part of a band and there probably wouldn't be a time that we could come back. We asked if we could sing him a song. We sang I Am a Child of God and as we sang, he started to cry. He was so touched. I love the power of music.

Wednesday was great for Sister F and me as well. We were able to visit a less active in the morning and have a wonderful lesson with her. We also had a lesson with an Indian woman and we did some good finding. That afternoon we drove back to Melton to switch back. When we got back to our area, Sis V and I went to teach the girl that got baptized my first weekend in Tarneit. We had dinner with a wonderful family in the ward. They offered to take me and Sister V to Victoria Markets in the city before I go home. Apparently Victoria Markets has tons of souvenir stuff for really cheap. I'm excited to go there!

Sister F and I decorated the wall in my flat
Thursday afternoon we had interviews with President Maxwell. I love President so much. He had me role play with him in the interview which was really good. As I taught him about God being our loving Heavenly Father, I was overwhelmed with the feeling of love that I had. I KNOW that God is our Father and that He knows and loves us so much. President said so many things that were so kind in my interview. He got teary when he talked about me going home which naturally made me cry. Man, I will miss President and Sister Maxwell so much. After our interviews, we met with the Assistants to talk about the Sisters and how we can better help them. I felt such trust and respect from the Assistants which made me feel really validated. Sometimes I doubt myself and my abilities so it always feels good to feel the trust of others. That evening we went to J's to have a lesson and dinner with her family. J is slowly progressing. Very slowly though. But I know that she'll get there. Just a side note--we had a vegetarian lasagna for dinner and holy moly it was so good! There was pumpkin and zucchini and broccoli in it and it was just so yum! After dinner, we drove to Deer Park to go on exchanges with the Hillside sisters. Sister V stayed there and I brought Sister T back to our area. We didn't get back until it was time to make plans and go to bed.

More Exchanges
Friday with Sister T was great! She finishes her mission the same time as me and I prayed going into the exchange that I would be able to help her feel the spirit and really help her to be able to have a strong finish to her mission. And the words came. As we were having companionship study, the perfect things to tell her came to mind. I could tell that she was really touched and I feel like it will carry her through the next three weeks. We were able to see several less actives in the morning. Then we went to see a part-member couple. They are Tongan and Sister T is Tongan so they got on really well. O, the husband, is not a member. When Sister T asked him if he had been baptized he said, "Not yet. Maybe soon though." Uhh... WHAT?!  I had no idea that he felt that close to being ready to be baptized. It was amazing. We're going to really start focusing on him and teach him the lessons so that he can get baptized sometime this year. Sister T and I were also blessed while we were finding. We only knocked on 4 doors and we were invited inside at two of them! We had a lesson right before dinner with the Sikh Indian family that we saw earlier in the week. We taught about prayer and the spirit was strong. We had dinner with a couple in the ward that evening. He has cancer but he is so positive and optimistic and trusting in the Lord's plan. It was inspiring. After that we drove back to Deer Park to switch back.

Sunny days are the best!
Saturday morning Sister V and I, as well as some of the Elders, spent the whole morning helping  a recent convert move. It was a beautiful day and the sun was out and it felt good to be serving. K's non-member sister has recently moved down from New Zealand and I think we made a really good impression on her. Hopefully we can start teaching her soon! After we got back to the flat to change, our zone leaders dropped off a new phone for us! It was so hard to be without a phone for so long and I am so grateful to have one again! That afternoon we picked up one of the Laurels and went to visit K. K is the daughter of a recent convert. I have been praying really hard to know who can be baptized this transfer and I felt that K could be. We had a really good lesson with K and we invited her to be baptized on September 27th! She is praying about it. We have a lesson with her tonight so hopefully that goes well!

Sunday was a really good day. I got a last minute speaking assignment on Saturday so I got to speak in Sacrament meeting. After church, we had some appointments fall through. We really weren't sure what to do. I was feeling frustrated because I didn't feel like I was getting any guidance from the spirit. Finally we decided that we would go see if there were people outside at a nearby park. There were no people in the park so we decided to knock on a few doors.  At the third house, we met a beautiful family! We met the dad, H, and his three children. They were so beautiful. We have a return appointment with them on Thursday. I have such a good feeling about them. I can see them in white.

I've been reading in 3 Nephi and in Mark this week. I love reading about the Savior. I am trying so hard to be more like Him every day. He is my perfect example. I feel so blessed to be able to wear His name on my tag every day and be a representative of Him.

God is so good to me. I love being a missionary. I love it.

Love y'all heaps!

Sister Baker xxx

Thursday, September 11, 2014

"We have the responsibility to see individuals not as they are but rather as they can become." - 9/8/14

Melbourne Mission Moments 09/08/14

Holy cow time flies. I feel like so much is happening I don't even know where to start each week when I email home.
They have Orange Leaf frozen yogurt in Australia! CRAZY!
Monday after our P-day finished we went to see a recent convert in the ward. We had FHE with her and her family. After that we went to see a part member family. We had a good lesson with them and really got to know them better. When we went to leave their house, we realized that our phone was missing. We retraced our steps and looked everywhere but our phone was gone. We think that it fell on the ground when we got out of the car and that someone stole it. So we've been without a phone for a whole week now. It makes it a bit difficult to do missionary work but it's been alright.

Tuesday morning we had a really good zone meeting. Our zone leaders are so good. We were talking a lot about true conversion. I love Mosiah 5:2. I feel like it spells out exactly what true conversion is. The spirit is so strong in my mission. I found myself literally in tears. I think everything was just hitting me. I was thinking about how much change and conversion I have experienced during the mission. I am so grateful for that. And I love that I still have time to change more. Tuesday evening we went to visit J. She was gone to Sydney last week and she was excited to show us that she got a brand new set of scriptures while she was there. Her cousin that is a member got them for her! She was so excited about them and said, "show me how to use these!" J is so awesome. She is so prepared. Unfortunately she is really busy so it's hard to have lessons with her but I know that she will be baptized. Maybe not while I'm here, but she will.

Wednesday morning we went to see a less-active named L. She was so sweet. That afternoon we went to have another lesson with M and S. It was really sad. They have been reading a lot of stuff on the internet and ran across some anti-Mormon stuff. Unfortunately it has made their hearts completely closed. They didn't want to hear a lot of what we said. They kept asking us for a list of all of Joseph Smith's wives and why he married them, etc. So yeah, we had to drop them and that was sad.

Thursday morning we drove to Deer Park for DLC out there. On our way back, our GPS took us a different way than we'd come. We were just driving down the road and then suddenly we saw a huge field full of these bright yellow flowers. It was so beautiful! I LOVED it. We stopped and took pictures and just soaked it in. Things like that in nature just always remind me how much Heavenly Father loves me. That afternoon while we were knocking on doors, we met S J and N. They invited us in and we began to teach them. They are Sikh but they were so interested in the Book of Mormon! We were able to go back on Friday and give them a Book of Mormon in Hindi and we have a lesson with them this week! That evening we had dinner with the Ks in our ward. We call them auntie and uncle and they are so sweet. She made the BEST pumpkin soup. I'm going to get her recipe and make it for all of you at home!

Friday we did a lot of finding and we saw miracles. We have been doing an hour of fresh finding every day and the miracles are flowing! That night we went to see one of the YSA open her mission call! She's going to Sydney South!

Saturday one of the Laurels in our ward came out with us all day which was awesome. I wish that I could have gone out with the Sister missionaries before my mission! We saw so many miracles! While we were tracting, we unknowingly knocked on a member's door. She was in the middle of trying to assemble this thing and we were able to help her with it! We also had a really good lesson with a less-active. We also started teaching some Indian guys named V, P and J. We showed them the Finding Faith in Christ DVD and the spirit was so strong. We also saw some part-member families that evening and we saw P and F. F has been reading the Book of Mormon every night! We have another lesson with them Saturday which I'm really looking forward to!

Sunday was really good. The morning we spent going around inviting EVERYONE to church. We had a goal of having 3 investigators there and we did everything that we could to get them there. Unfortunately we only had one there. It would be really easy to get discouraged that we didn't achieve our goal but I wasn't. I've really learned that as long as we do everything in our power, Heavenly Father is pleased with us.

We had such a good week. Our numbers were better than I've had my whole mission but even better than the numbers are the people and names behind those numbers. I wish I had time to tell you about all of them. Heavenly Father has been so good to us! I'm so grateful to have Sister V as my companion. She wants to work hard and we push each other to be better!

I've really been studying hard this week, trying to learn everything that I can. I've found several scriptures this week about doing this work with unwearied diligence. That's exactly what I want to do. The mission is such an amazing opportunity. Like I was saying before, I'm so grateful for the change that has taken place in me. I've become so much more than I was 18 months ago. Satan has also been working really hard on me this week. I've had to work hard to push him out. He makes me try to feel like I can't change, like I will never improve or be better. President Monson has said, "We have the responsibility to see individuals not as they are but rather as they can become." I am really trying to apply that with myself--trying to see what I can become. I am so grateful for the atonement of Jesus Christ that makes change possible. I love being a missionary. Love it, love it.

Love y'all heaps!

Sister Baker xxx

Monday, September 1, 2014

I have seen so many miracles throughout my mission. Have miracles ceased... Nay! - 09/01/14

Melbourne Mission Moments
I can't believe it's September 2014 and I've been out for 17 months now. It has gone so incredibly fast. As I've started my last transfer this week, I've been doing a lot of reflecting on where I've come and who I've become over the past 17 months. I have truly been changed. The mission has been my ultimate refiner’s fire, shaping me into what my Heavenly Father wants and needs me to be. I'm so grateful for the time that I have left. There's still more changing that I want to do. I feel like it's time to really turn up the heat and do everything that I can during this time. A mission is an experience unlike anything else and I don't want to waste a single second that I have left. That being said, it was a bit of a slow week because both me and my companion got sick which forced us to slow down a bit. However, Heavenly Father made it up to us with the time we had to spend taking care of ourselves.

Monday was my last day with Sister W. We spent most of the day running errands, getting her final things packed, and saying a few final goodbyes. The members here are so wonderful and really loved Sister W. After our last appointment, we left to drive in to Wantirna to stay at the mission home for the night. I love President and Sister Maxwell so much. They are such wonderful people. When we got to the mission home, Sister W went straight to bed but I stayed up until about 12:30 helping Sister Maxwell in the kitchen with some food that she was preparing for the following day. I love spending time with Sister Maxwell. In many ways she reminds me of mom.
My last day with Sister W

Tuesday morning we got up early and got ready then went to the temple with all of the departing missionaries and their companions. There were about 16 missionaries leaving so it was a very full session. We saw the third new temple film which was really good. I find that each film highlights different things and I learned so much. More than anything I was overwhelmed by the outpouring of Heavenly Father's love that I felt. I love that I always feel that when I am in the temple. I felt reassured that Heavenly Father loves me and is proud of me and that this is where he wants me at this time. It was really special to be in the Celestial room with so many missionaries that I love so much. As I hugged Sister R, we both just cried. I love that girl so much. I know that we needed to meet each other. She has impacted my life for good and I will be forever grateful for her influence and friendship. 

With my new companion
After the temple session we had our transfer meeting. Because there were so many departing missionaries that needed to bear testimonies, the meeting went quite long but it was so good. My new companion is Sister V from South Africa! I love her! She's a new Sister Training Leader so after transfer meeting finished we had to go to the "train the leaders" meeting. After that we had to figure out who was going where, and how everyone was getting there. We ended up having to hook up a trailer to our car to put everyone's luggage in so we could fill the cars with bodies. Before we left, I said final goodbyes to the missionaries that were leaving. It was especially hard to say goodbye to Sister R, Sister H and Sister W (the sisters that were in the MTC with me). We had to drive all over our zone that night dropping off missionaries and luggage and by the time we finally got home, it was time to plan and go to bed.
I love these sisters from my original MTC group--
so hard to say goodbye.

Wednesday morning I woke up feeling really sick and I was in bed the entire day with a fever. I felt miserable. I was hot then cold then hot again. We had to cancel a lot of our appointments but luckily we were able to get a hold of everyone. I knew I had a fever but I didn't know how high it was until that night. About 6pm I finally found my thermometer and I was running a fever of 103 degrees (and that was with taking ibuprofen). When I saw how high it was, we called the Elders and they gave me a blessing and then we headed off to the doctor. The doctor gave me some antibiotics. I've had a bit of a cold the rest of the week but I am feeling much much better now! Sister V got the same thing so we both have been a bit under the weather. It's really going around-- Sister Maxwell was sick too and she said about 30 missionaries all had the same symptoms. Fun, huh?

Thursday we had district meeting in the morning. That afternoon we had a lesson with F from NZ. We taught him the Restoration and the spirit was so strong. We invited him to be baptized on September 20th and he accepted! We're having FHE with him at a member's tonight and we're really looking forward to that. After F, we went and saw K and had a good lesson about how much God loves us and why he gives us challenges and trials. Then we went and had dinner with a family in the ward who are straight from Samoa. I'm grateful for the members and their goodness. After dinner we went to Bishops so he could meet Sister V.

Friday morning we had to get up early and head to the mission home for MLC. I am so grateful for the opportunity I have to attend MLC. It is so uplifting and I always feel so blessed to be in a room with such wonderful Elders and Sisters. Just a few highlights of things I learned:
  • We should have an eternal love affair with learning of the life of Christ and trying to emulate Him.
  • It's better to be respected than to be liked
  • Great leaders are always asking "Who can I serve now?"
  • Spiritual weariness is a result of spiritual malnourishment
  • Help people to let Christ change their hearts.
  • God can use people like us.
Me and Sister S at MLC
By the time we finished MLC and traveled back through all of the traffic, it was about 7:45 pm. We went straight to the chapel for the ward RS activity. The theme was "When Life Gives You Lemons, Make Lemonade." It was really good! At the end they had all sorts of lemon desserts and treats which was fun!

Saturday we got to be involved with a mini-mission for one of the wards in our stake. I love being able to work with youth and have an influence on them. It was a really good day! We got to bring the sweetest young women out with us to work.
With the YW for the mini-mission
Sunday was so full of miracles. With everything that happened during the week, we didn't have time to do much finding during the week so we went out expecting to see miracles before church! We also got to do a bit of finding after church and we ended up with a total of 10 new contacts and 5 new investigators in one day! Numbers wise, it was the best day of my entire mission. Heavenly Father guided us to the very area in which we needed to tract and put people in our path who were prepared to accept the gospel! It was so awesome.

I am grateful for the way that Heavenly Father blesses us when we do all that we can! I have seen so many miracles throughout my mission. Have miracles ceased... Nay! I am so grateful for the time that I have left to continue to do the Lord's work. I am so grateful to have Sister V as my final companion. She loves the work as much as I do and her faith inspires me. I know that we are going to continue to see big miracles this transfer!

Love y'all heaps!
Sister Baker xxx


The weather this past week has been AMAZING!