Tuesday, June 28, 2016

Week 38: Celebration!!

This week has seemed like one big nonstop celebration!

Thursday was St Patrick's day AND Hna Sahagún's birthday!! Wooohooooo! She's feeling 22! We celebrated by weekly planning (yay) and then the Tapia's had gotten her a surprise birthday cake. So all in all it was a good good day :)

Then Sunday Yohanna, Angel, and Melissa were baptized! It was so stressful putting it all together and making sure everything went through as planned, but it ended up so beautiful. Daniel was able to baptize his wife and kids. He was so nervous about it!! But it was perfect. He didn't mess up the words and all three of them went all the way under on the first dunk. The ward has been so supportive, and the Tapia's are going to make such a great addition! Adriana, the grandma, is the last one we are working with. She still hasn't been to church because of her work schedule, but honestly she has the strongest testimony out of all of them so we're not too worried about her :)

One day we were knocking and a guy opened up and said, "Thanks for y'alls time but I already go to the church of the Holy Frisbee." Hna Sahagún and I just looked at each other and then back at him like ummm excuse me? What church? Then he said, "The church of the Holy Frisbee! We believe that when you die your soul goes on the roof and you can never get it back down." Ohhhhhhhh it was a joke. Haha we laughed for a good minute with him, shared a short message, and he sent us on our way. With how many churches there are here I wouldn't be surprised if the church of the Holy Frisbee really did exist though....

Right before her baptism Yohanna sent us this text: "I feel like crying cause I know I'm doing a good thing and trying to be a better person, a good wife, mom, and friend. Aaaaaahhhh I'm so happy jaja I hope y'all don't think I'm crazy!" THIS IS WHAT THE GOSPEL DOES TO PEOPLE!!! And wow does it make me happy just to be able to witness it all. I'm think I'm starting to understand how Ammon felt when he didn't have the words to describe how much joy sharing the gospel brought him. Alma 26:11-16.

Love always,
Hermana Baker

Happy birthday Hermana Sahagún!!

Sunday, June 26, 2016

Week 37: Hallelujah

Busy, busy, busy. Welcome to the life of a missionary. This week we were running around crazy, between appointments and service and meals (the members feed us every single day here!) and meetings. But somehow we managed to fit it all in and had such a good and successful week!!

Saturday we went up to the doctor, and he took a look at Hna Sahagún's shoulder. She's going to have to stay in the sling for another 4 weeks!! He said there's nothing really he can do about it for now. Something about a grade 2 AC separation.. Whatever that means....

Meeting #1: President Interview Trainings, where we can talk with President Drake about anything and everything. He is such a spiritual giant and has the perfect answer for everything! The APs focused the meeting on the Book of Mormon and one thing they said really stood out to me. As missionaries, one of the key indicators is member presents, and it's something we're always trying to do is get members out with us, to share their testimonies and experiences! What would it be like to have God as our member present? Well, we can! Every time we use the scriptures in our lessons, it's like God is there testifying and promising blessings to our investigators. So even though it doesn't count as a "member-present lesson" we should always be striving to use God's words as much as possible to invite Him to the lesson. Pretty simple, but super powerful.

Meeting #2: Zone Meeting, where we get together to set a vision as a zone. There wasn't really anything new from last transfer, but it was a good reminder of the importance of Preach My Gospel, having powerful contacts, and working through the Spirit.

Investigator update: Yohana, Melissa, and Angel are getting ready for their baptism next week!! An investigator named Joel is now nicknamed el huevo (the egg) because we're trying to figure out how to crack him! He knows it's all true, he comes to church, but he doesn't feel ready to be baptized because he's worried he's going to go inactive. (I don't know how he found out about inactive members..) So we're just pushing along with him! Tony says he has the desire to stop smoking and drinking, but he's not really putting in any effort to try and actually stop. Alex's baptism is getting pushed back a few weeks to give him a couple more chances to go to church. We have a new investigator named Inocencia who has a lot of potential. As you can see, the work is moving forward!! There is so much to do to hasten the work of salvation, and it can be a little overwhelming at times trying to manage it all. But whom the Lord calls, He qualifies! It's so awesome to be a part of the Lord's work and see miracles happen on the daily!

The new Easter initiative is out! Go take a look :) #hallelujah


Love always,
Hermana Baker

It was Khiara's birthday! Maybe we got a little carried away with the frosting... :)

Week 36: Espera Milagros

First off, about the new comp! Her name is Hermana Sahagún, she was born in Mexico, is from Meridian, Idaho, speaks Spanish fluently (woohoooo!! I am learning so much from her!), she is a convert of 7 years, she had been out in the mission 6 months, and we are already the best of friends!! She has a torn ligament in her shoulder, so she's in a sling and we'll be going to the doctor this upcoming week to see how it's doing.

This first week of leading out the area went great! We saw so many miracles and it's so amazing to be able to help people change their lives around to follow the example of Jesus Christ. Here are a few highlights:

-We had a special Sister's Conference, where Sister Bonnie L. Oscarson (general Young Women's President) and Sister Carole M. Stephens (general Relief Society first counselor) came to talk to all the sister missionaries in Houston! It was super awesome! There wasn't necessarily a theme, and honestly I don't think they had prepared anything, which meant that everything they said came straight from the heart. They talked about how special and specific our calling is as a missionary, how our mission will bless us in all aspects for the rest of our lives, and how involved the Lord is in this missionary work. I definitely learned a lot and felt the Spirit tan fuerte.

-Earlier in the week we had asked Yohana about smoking, and she was like "I bought a pack of cigarettes on Saturday, and then I have no idea where it went! It disappeared!!" And as she was saying that, Daniel, her husband who got baptized a few weeks ago, and who was sitting behind her, started pointing to the trash and mouthing the words "I threw them away!" And Yohana was just sitting there saying how it's a sign from God that her cigarettes all of a sudden disappeared, especially because she's trying to stop. It was such an eye opener to me for a couple of reasons. First, the importance of having a good support system! Since that day Yohana hasn't smoked a cigarette and her family has been so sooo supportive. And then second, how God uses other people to answer prayers, and to bring about miracles. It's not often that we get to see both sides of the miracle, so this was something that I'm never going to forget.

-Daniel and Miguel received the Aaronic priesthood! Daniel received it first, and then Obispo let him join the circle so that he could be a part of giving it to his dad. It was so cool, and I didn't know they were allowed to do that!

-We ate deer tacos! And they were delicious!!

I think that about sums it up. One of my new mottos is something Sister Oscarson said in the conference:

Expect miracles.

Love always,
Hermana Baker

It's not every day you take a selfie with Sister Oscarson and Sister Stephens!!! (And Sister Drake photobombing in the background haha)

Sunday, June 5, 2016

Week 35: Get Your Conference Noodle Here!

Transfer day! I will be staying here in Pasadena, but will be getting a new companion. So it's going to be different not having Hermana Bushman here, but I'm excited for the new transfer! We have a lot of people lined up for baptism, and I get to lead out the area.

We finally got to go to the temple again! The Houston temple is so beautiful both inside and out. A member in our ward had family names that she wanted us to help her with, and I ended up with one named Pleasant Moorman. What a good name haha.

A member, Estrella, had her birthday this week! On Tuesday we get a text from her telling us that the address of the party was changed. We looked at the text, and then did a double take, because the address was the Tapia's address, the family that got baptized last week! I mean, we bring Estrella with us to almost every lesson with them, so we knew they were friends, but we didn't realize they were THAT good of friends! Anyway, we spent all Saturday helping Estrella put her party together. And it was super successful. Hispanics go all out for these fiestas. Basically, our whole ward showed up! So the Tapia's got to know some more members of the ward, we ate good food, laughed a lot, and had a really fun time :)

Yesterday Miguel and Daniel were confirmed and received the Holy Ghost, so that was awesome! Next week they will be able to receive the priesthood, and then hopefully in a couple more weeks the rest of the family will be ready for baptism, and they will be able to perform the ordinance! How special is that?! Last night was Hna Bushman's last night here, and the Tapia's got her a cake that said "We're gonna miss you, Hayley" (we made the mistake of telling them our first names, and now they won't stop calling us Hayley and Samantha...) But it was super cute. A lot of tears were shed, but she'll be back for the rest of the family's baptism in a few weeks!!

We have an investigator named Stephanie who we found knocking, but turns out she had been taught by missionaries before! She was so excited that we found her again, and we don't know what happened last time, but right now she is super prepared. We taught a whole lesson focusing on baptism, and she was all for it! So we told her to prepare for her baptism she has to start preparing right now by reading the Book of Mormon, praying about it, come to church, live the commandments, stuff like that. So then she asked exactly what the commandments are. She doesn't have a problem with the law of chastity because her and her husband are legally married. She said she drinks multiple cups of coffee a day though, so we asked her this week to just drink one cup a day. That's when she said, "Well I think I can go with just half a cup." Whoa! Even better!! The spirit is definitely working in her and we're excited to see her start to progress.

It's a wonderful thing to be able to be in the service of the Lord 24/7 and I'm learning so much every day.

Love always,
Hermana Baker

Regret: letting the elders make my planner. Now I'm stuck carrying around a planner that says "Get your conference noodle here!"

Week 34: Quite Possibly the Happiest Day of My Entire Life

Well, to get right to it, DANIEL AND MIGUEL WERE BAPTIZED! All of the drama, and the stress, and the sleepless nights were definitely worth it for this moment. And the best part is that the whole family was able to make it! Hermana Bushman, the elders, and I sang a musical number "Hazme Andar en la Luz" and  it brought the Spirit so strongly. During the ordinance, Yohana (pronounced Joanna) started crying and Adriana was glowing with the biggest smile ever. Afterwards Melissa kept saying that she wants to be the next one baptized! This family is so so so so special, and they are going to be such a great addition to the ward. Even though Daniel and Miguel were the only ones ready this week, I have no doubts that the rest of their family will soon follow their examples :)

Yesterday we had a special stake conference where Elder Richard G. Maynes of the presidency of the Seventy spoke to us. He focused his talk on the difference between building the church, and building Zion. To sum up what I learned, building the church has to do more with the size of the wards, the number of chapels, the number of temples. But building Zion has to start in our own personal hearts -- building our testimonies, becoming converted, strengthening our families -- and as we do that, we will be building up Zion.

Another highlight of the week was Zone Conference! The AP's asked me to do a segment, so I taught about the role of the Holy Ghost in conversion. And I was pretty happy with how it went! One thing that was focused on in this conference was centering every lesson and commitment on a baptismal interview question. Hermana Bushman and I have been able to apply that and it has made it so much easier to discover people's needs and where they get stuck. With some people it's on the very first question of knowing our relationship with God, and the importance of His Son, Jesus Christ! It's hard for them to understand anything else we teach them if they don't first understand what the Savior has done for them. Others don't fully understand the importance of the restoration. They're not going to want to live the Word of Wisdom if they don't understand that it came from a latter-day prophet.

There is nothing more satisfying than being able to serve the Lord full-time. It's amazing how He can use us missionaries, who are full of weaknesses, to bring about His work and His glory. love being able to represent and testify of my Savior Jesus Christ every single day. He lives. And He loves us.

Love always,
Hermana Baker

The district