Sunday, August 30, 2015

Week 8

Time flies here, let me tell ya. Looking forward and seeing that I still have 16 months left feels like I'm going to be here forever. But then I look back and realize that I've already been on my mission for two months. That's crazy.

Hermana Bonar and I have three investigators who are all sooooo close to baptism: Luis, Carlos, and Geronimo. We have already taught all of them everything. They keep their commitments and have testimonies, they come to church every week, but are just having a hard time committing to baptism. Pray for them, if you will.

On Thursdays we always go knocking at 6:00 for one hour, called hour of power. It's because at this time the First Presidency and Quorum of the Twelve are meeting in the temple, talking about and praying for the missionary work of the church. Miracles never cease to occur during this hour. So this week. We ate dinner with Hermana Villareal and at the end she said a special prayer for us to know where to go to do hour of power. Hna Villareal felt the impression that we should go to Still Street, or Estill Street or something like that. Okay, well that street or anything like it doesn't exist in our area, but we found a street named Sylvan so we decided to try that. It was in a part of our area that's pretty far out and neither of us had been to before. The street only had four houses on it, all really spaced out and kind of falling apart. The first three were not home/not interested. But at the house on the very end of the street a little girl saw us and asked what we were doing. We told her, and she went and got her mom. Turns out a family of 9 lives here - a mom, a dad, and seven children - and they're interested in our message! We didn't have the chance to teach them then because they were busy, but we are going back to teach them tomorrow! There was no way we would have ever found this Hispanic family if it wasn't for hour of power and the guidance of the spirit.

HIGHLIGHT OF THE WEEK: GOING TO THE TEMPLE. It doesn't happen very often that we get to go to the temple as missionaries, maybe two or three times a year is all. The Houston temple is beautiful. And to be there as a missionary is a really special and spiritual experience. I am so blessed to have a temple close to me here in Houston.

On Saturday we had mission conference, and Elder Corbridge from the Seventy came and spoke to us. He's the author of a famous talk (among missionaries) called The Fourth Missionary. There were two things that stood out to me from his talk to us that I would like to share with y'all:

1. In most processes of people rising to the top (medical/law school, professional sports, military, etc.) it's a process of elimination. Only a certain number of people can and will make it to the top, and the point is to be better than everyone else. But the Lord's way is not this way. Everyone who does what He asks of them will make it to the top, they will receive eternal life. And we need to do everything we can to bring everyone up with us. It's not a process of elimination, it's a process of addition.

2. What is the most important thing in the gospel? Some people may say that there's really no answer to this, that everything in the gospel is important. But Alma tells us "There is one thing which is of more importance than they all." He then goes on to talk about the Atonement of Jesus Christ. (Alma 7 -- read it!) I know that we will become closer to Christ when we use His Atonement to its fullest extent.

What else. I stepped in my first ant hill and have a million ant bites all over my feet. Rookie mistake. We met a guy who thinks he's the prophet so that was interesting. I can't wear my glasses very often because the moment I step out of the car they fog up in the humidity. All of our investigators are doing great and being a missionary is the best.

I think that about sums up my week! I hope you guys had a great one!!

Love ya,

Hermana Baker

Temple trip!

Yeah, I don't know.
Our investigator, Geronimo, took us to dinner!!

Exchanges this week was with Sister Roberts! She's a convert from New Zealand aka awesome. But since neither one of us can drive (me because I'm a greenie and her because she doesn't have a US drivers license) we were on the bikes ALL DAY.

Classic Texas fence.

Week 7

We had quite an exciting week!

Because my companion, Hna Bonar, is the STL, every transfer she has to go on exchanges with all the sisters in our zone. Which is fun for me cause that means for one day every week I get different companions! The only downside... We are the only hermanas in the zone, the rest are sisters. SO, when Hna Bonar goes out on exchanges I get an English speaking companion for the day. Basically I'm in charge of the area and all of our investigators, and I don't even speak Spanish!! Our first exchange was this past week, and I was so nervous for it. I had only been in the field for 8 days and already I was expected to lead out the area for the day. I still have no idea what they were thinking. But this is the Lord's work, so everything worked out, just like it always does.

One of the highlights of the week was getting to do service!! A bunch of us missionaries got together with the Houston Food Bank and set up a drive-thru where anyone could come through and for free we would load up their car with tons of groceries. It was HOT, but so worth it. Service is always worth it.

No baptisms this week. Luis was supposed to be baptized but at the last minute said he didn't feel ready. He will get there, though. We had three investigators at church yesterday: Carlos, Geronimo, and Luis. All three are single, Hispanic men in their 40s or 50s. Actually that fits the description of almost all of our investigators. For some reason, older single men are the only ones who will listen to us...

One thing that you quickly pick up on as a Spanish speaking missionary in Texas is how to tell if a person's Hispanic by looking at their porch. In case any of you guys ever need to determine this, here's a few tips: 1. Potted plants. 2. Wind chimes. 3. Figurines of frogs or butterflies or snails. 4. Porch furniture that looks like it's used a lot. 5. Homemade grills. 6. Bricks around their trees. 7. Lots of cars in the driveway. If they have 3 or more of these things, chances are they're Hispanic. If they have 5 or more, they DEFINITELY are Hispanic. Seriously, this technique is golden. By the end of my mission, I will be the master at finding Hispanics.

One night all of our appointments had fallen through and it was only 8:30, so we still had half an hour before we could call it a night. So we stopped by a potential investigators house, and before going in we said a specific prayer that we would find someone to teach or something to do to be productive with our time. Then we went up and knocked. The potential investigator we had hoped to teach wasn't there, but her son was! Hna Bonar said she had tried to teach him before and he wasn't really interested, but when we asked if we could share a message with him about our purpose here on earth, he said yes! Heavenly Father really is in all the details of our lives and He listens to and answers every single prayer.

I love the scripture in Mormon 9:21:

"Behold, I say unto you that whoso believeth in Christ, doubting nothing, whatsoever he shall ask the Father in the name of Christ it shall be granted him; and this promise is unto all, even unto the ends of the earth."

This promise is unto all. Unto me, unto you, unto members of the church, unto missionaries, unto investigators. The only condition is that we have full faith in Christ.

I know that this gospel is the true gospel of Jesus Christ and that it is for everyone. I haven't even been on a mission two months, and I already know it's the best decision I've ever made.

I love you guys!

Love, Hermana Baker


Me and Sister Boyd ft. a smurf (all the fire hydrants here look like smurfs)

Floral Friday with the district (Hna Bonar, E Barrett, E Knudsen, me)

Monday, August 10, 2015

Week 6

Sorry it's been forever since I've written! Last week I didn't really have a p-day. Well, technically I spent my p-day traveling from Mexico City to Houston, so we didn't get the chance to email.

I definitely had mixed emotions about leaving the CCM. I made some really good friends that I'm going to miss, but I was very ready to get into the field and get to work! During the last two weeks at the CCM, I decided to reread the Book of Mormon. It had been quite a while since I sat down and read it cover to cover. I read the whole thing in only 12 days, the fastest I've ever read it by far. It was so awesome and I definitely recommend it to anyone and everyone. The Book of Mormon really is just a huge cycle of pride. And to think that all those wars and problems started out with murmuring. The scripture "by small and simple things are great things brought to pass" can really apply to both good and bad things. It's so important to do all the little things so that through you, the Lord can work His mighty miracles.

Last Monday, we woke up at 4 am and spent all day traveling. Our plane got delayed an hour and a half, but other than that everything went really smoothly! As soon as we landed at the airport, we were picked up and taken straight to transfer meeting where we met our new companions and went on our way. There was a less than 3 minute interview with the mission president, but that's about it! This transfer, three of us came from the Mexico MTC, and there were 27 that came from Provo. Greenies for daysssssss. My new companion is Hermana Bonar. She is from Louiston, Utah, and will go home after training me these next two transfers. She's awesome. She knows so much about the gospel and she knows so much Spanish and she's also the STL. I have a lot to learn from her.

My area is West Lake Houston South and the city we mostly work in is called Channelview. Or you can call it the promised land if you want, because the people here are SO PREPARED. Hermana Bonar said that her average has been about a baptism every other transfer. But so far for this transfer, we have 5 investigators with scheduled baptismal dates!!

As far as the Spanish goes, we're definitely not immersed in it like Central and South America missions but we use it quite a bit! We only teach in Spanish, so any English contacts we have to refer to the English elders. All of our investigators and the ward members speak Spanish, and then maybe a third or so of the people we contact.

I am the only person in our whole ward that can play the piano. They said they've been praying for someone to come that could play! Yesterday in church I played in Sacrament Meeting, and Sunday School, and Relief Society. Whenever we go to the Olveido family's house for dinner, I spend a few minutes teaching their son to play the piano. Maybe one day he'll be their ward pianist!

Sorry, this letter was a little boring. I'll share more stories next week. The work is definitely moving forward here in Houston, Texas! Miracles are happening every day and it's such a blessing to be a part of this great work. Love you guys.

Con amor, Hermana Baker

This is the picture I drew of our district that was taped to the door of our classroom in the CCM. So, of course, the last day we had to take a real picture of it. (The elders refused to hold hands..)



I'm going to miss Hermana Lucas!!

At the airport!