Friday, October 3, 2014

I feel like I have been led to such a promised land here in Australia. I have come to LOVE it here. It will always be my second home. - 9/29/14

Melbourne Mission Moments 

Well, it's the beginning of the end. I can't believe that I'm starting my last week in the mission field. It all seems so surreal. Honestly, it hasn't really hit me yet that I am going to be coming home so soon. I'm a little bit afraid for when it does hit.

We had a bit of a crazy week this week between being out of our area helping our sisters and being a bit under-the-weather but overall it was a really good week! Last Monday after we emailed we ran into a member in the shopping center who treated us to lunch. We ate at a place called bing boy. It's apparently "urban Asian street food." It was so yummy! You'll have to look it up because I can't really describe what it is. When we finished, we went home and our plan was to just relax. Haha, but then we decided to go on a run instead. Haha are we crazy?! But it was good! After that I started cleaning a few things in the flat. Man, when I start cleaning, I don't want to stop. I love having a clean, organized house! Monday night we tried to see a few people on the ward list that we didn't know but we didn't catch very many people at home and the houses that they were home, they didn't really want us there. It's sad. I think sometimes people have the idea that if missionaries show up on their doorstep, we are there to force them back to church when that's not it at all. We are there to love them and help them find their testimonies again. It wouldn't do anyone any good for us to force them to church. They need to decide on their own that it is something that they want.

Tuesday morning we had district meeting at the chapel. When we arrived at the chapel, all the youth in the stake were there in their pioneer clothes getting ready to leave on trek. I wanted to go with them! I was remembering my experience on trek and how much I loved it. I think trek had more impact on me than all the other activities or conferences that I did while in my youth. Our district meeting was really good. After district meeting, we all had lunch together. A member had dropped off chicken and rolls and drinks for all 18 of us that meet at the chapel. So nice of them! That afternoon, we had a lesson with a Filipino woman. She goes to a Pentecostal church and was pretty hesitant about accepting the Book of Mormon, however she did agree to read it and have us back again this week. After that we did some finding and stopped by to see a member who is about to have a baby to see if we could help her or serve her in any way. After our dinner appointment that evening, we left to drive to Deer Park to do exchanges with the Burnside Sisters, Sister R and Sister B. Sister B has only been out for 5 weeks but she is lucky to have Sister R as a trainer. Sister R in the best!

I got to spend all day on Wednesday with Sister R. In the morning, we had to drive the Burnside sisters to the other side of the city because a new sister arrived from Tonga and they are putting her in a trio with those Sisters. I don't know if it was school holidays or what but the traffic was pretty crazy so it took us nearly 3.5 hours. When we got back, we did a lot of finding in their area. We found one man named F! He was so amazing. When I met him, I felt an instant connection. It was one of those moments that you can really picture someone as what they can become. I saw him as a future Bishop and leader in the church. He is so cool. He was born in Kenya then lived in Delaware for 12 years where he got a Master’s degree. Then he moved to Australia. He asked us where we study and when I told him BYU he was so excited--he couldn't stop saying what a good school it was and how much good he had heard about it. And the best part is that he was so keen to have the Sisters come back and to learn about the gospel. It was really cool!

We stayed at their flat again Wednesday night. After we studied Thursday morning, we headed back to our area. We had DLC for our zone and it was a really good meeting. We all feel that there has been a bit of a lack of motivation and enthusiasm for the work in the zone lately. We decided that one thing that would really help was if everyone just had a more positive attitude. Ever since that meeting, every time missionaries see each other they say, "Be positive!" It's been fun! That afternoon we went finding together as a whole district. We worked together for a little over an hour and it was hugely successful!

Friday we unfortunately spent most of the day at the flat. I was feeling really not well and Sister V also was feeling pretty sick. We tried to make the most of it by doing some planning and making lots of phone calls and stuff. We did go out that night and met with the new RS president in the ward to figure out which sisters need our visits.

Saturday morning we had a lesson with an Indian-Fijian woman named Visha. She is Hindu but has such a desire to learn from us. And she is so humble. It was a beautiful lesson. After that we went to visit the H family. D served her mission in Fiji so we got some tips from her on teaching Indian-Fijians. After that we were able to have a lesson with F! We haven't been able to see him for a long time because of his work schedule. He is so awesome though! We taught him the plan of salvation and he absolutely loved it. He kept commenting about how everything was fitting together and making sense. It was really cool!  That night we had dinner with our ward mission leader's family. Then we were able to go see a recent convert named M. He was baptized in another ward last month but just moved into our ward. He is so awesome. He is from Iran and converted from being Muslim. My heart broke as he explained that he will never be able to go home or see his family again or else he will be killed. It honestly broke my heart. It is cool to see the sacrifices that he is willing to make for the gospel. Makes me realize how blessed I am to have a family who is in the gospel and embraces it as I do.

On another note-- Saturday was the AFL grand finale. The Hawthorn Hawks won for the second year in a row! It's pretty cool because that is the team I chose when I first got to Australia. Their colors are brown and gold :) (Go Darts!)

Sunday we expected to have several investigators at church. We thought that F would for sure be there because we had a member who was picking him up and everything but he didn't ever show up. We haven't been able to get a hold of him so we don't know what happened. We haven't been able to get a hold of K all week but last night she texted and asked if we were free. We were because an appointment fell through so we were able to go teach both K and her boyfriend. They both want to be baptized which is so awesome! We have another lesson with them on Wednesday this week!

Saturday was my 18 month mark and I finished reading the Book of Mormon for the fourth time on the mission that day. I love the book of Mormon so much. I learn so much from it and I genuinely look forward to reading it every day. A few things that stuck out to me this week:

·         Ether 6:8- sometimes I feel like the storms of life are relentless but I've come to realize that they are simply pushing me toward my "promised land." The storms are helping me to become what Heavenly Father wants/needs me to be.
·         1 Nephi 2:15- what it means to have humility and trust in the Lord. It talks of them [Lehi and his family] leaving all their riches, they were probably living a pretty comfortable life in Jerusalem but Lehi trusted the Lord and left it all and is now living in a tent.
·         1 Nephi 2:19-20- I feel like I have been led to such a promised land here in Australia. I have come to LOVE it here. It will always be my second home.

I can't begin to describe how much I love being a missionary. I am excited for this coming week, to work harder than ever and see the miracles. I may not be here to see people get baptized or come to church or those things but that's okay. I don't have to be the finisher. I can be a starter. I want to get a lot of great things started here in Tarneit this week. I know there are people who we can find who are prepared. We am going to find them this week, I know it.

Love you all heaps and heaps!
Sister Baker

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