Sunday, July 3, 2016

Week 41: Gotta Love Surprise Baptisms

Surprise! Adriana was baptized YESTERDAY!! We went over Wednesday to go over the baptismal interview questions and to set up a date for her baptism. She changed her job, so she is able to go to church Sunday mornings, but still works Sunday evenings. This was going to be a problem, because our stake asks us to hold baptisms on Sunday's . Anyway we arrived at her house, and as we're sitting down she told us that she has this Sunday completely off work and asked if she could be baptized then. Well of course she could!! We got everything put together super quick and the baptism was beautiful, like they always are. Her husband Miguel was able to baptize her, and she was just beaming the whole time.

Now rewind a little because miracle #2 was going on at the exact same time. Sunday after church we decided to go see an investigator named Inocencia. We have just seemed to have bad communication with her and she'd been hard to get a hold of, so we decided to stop by. Lucky for us she was there with her husband and her sister-in-law and we taught them the plan of salvation. We asked them what they usually do Sunday's, and they were like oh nothing really. Which is the perfect answer because that means they can come to church! Church was already over for the day, so we invited them for the next week. But wait hold up! We had a baptism in a couple hours!! We invited them to that, and they said they would come! Okay, so as missionaries people tell us they're going to do a lot of things that they don't actually do. So when we got a text at 6:00 from Inocencia telling us they were here we almost fell out of our chairs. The whole family came and sat on the front row so they had a perfect view of Adriana's baptism. Afterwards we were able to show them around the church building with the ward mission leader. They loved it, and said for sure they are coming to church next Sunday. We are on cloud nine.

Let's rewind a little bit more for miracle #3.... Oscar Reyes. Last week I mentioned how a member showed up to church and brought her non-member husband. Well we have gone to teach him twice this week and wow is he literally the most prepared person I have ever met. We had members with us both times, and they both said the same thing: that this man has truly been prepared by the Lord. He came to church with his wife who is a member. She came here from Mexico about a year ago, but we never had her records or anything and she had never been to church until general conference last week. They also came to the baptism, and Oscar told us that he felt "something really special" or in Mormon terms, the Spirit :) Turns out though that the wife, Shela, will probably have to be baptized again because her records are no where to be found! The ward clerk looked for hours and hours, and nada. Oscar admitted that he's secretly happy Shela's records are lost so that they can get baptized together haha. President Drake has made a specific promise to us missionaries here in the Houston East mission that if we study and apply Preach My Gospel every day that people will be coming to find US wanting to be baptized. Well, needless to say we've been studying like crazy for the past five months or so and the people are coming!! The Lord keeps every promise. Alma 37:17. D&C 82:10.

I could go on forever. This week was crazy. But here's just a few more tidbits from the week:

--A guy came up to us as we were knocking in an apartment complex telling us that we need to believe in Jesus Christ instead of Joseph Smith (he obviously didn't know what he was talking about). Then he got down on his knees right there and started bowing down to and kissing a cockroach that happened to be crawling past. What the weird.
--We are currently phone-less because Hna SahagĂșn dropped it in the toilet.
--Zone conference was all about how to be better weekly planners! If you fail to plan, you plan to fail. And the greatest success comes to the greatest planners.
--We spent two days volunteering with a Houston city project called Saving Smiles, where we got to teach 2nd graders about taking care of the teeth, and then some volunteer dentists gave them sealants. A fun surprise was to see our investigator Alex, the 8 year old we are working with!!
--Transfers are next week and my fingers are crossed that I get to stay!

Like I said, I could go forever. So I'll just sum up by saying a
mission is the best decision I've ever made :)

Love always,
Hermana Baker

Saving Smiles

Week 40: We Thank Thee O God For A Prophet

 WOW it is such a blessing to be able to hear the voices of the general authorities and the words and counsel of the Lord. Here's a quick rundown of the week (not too much actually happened).

--Yohanna has started coming out to lessons with us as a member present. And so has Daniel. Recent converts are some of the best members to take to investigators, because even though they don't know a lot about the gospel, they can relate so well with the investigator and have such a strong and simple testimony. Plus, the more they are able to share their testimony, the more it will be strengthened! So the investigator and the recent covert get their testimonies strengthened, and us missionaries get baptisms. Win-win-win :)

--We played the put-salt-in-the-Oreos trick on April fools and the whole district totally fell for it. Hah classic.

--Literally all our plans fell through Saturday afternoon, including our plans to watch conference, and Hna SahagĂșn and I were walking down the street complaining at how terrible of a day it was. Our spirits were pretty low. When lo and behold we find three dollars on the sidewalk! First reaction was to look around to see if its owner happened to be close by. Second reaction was walk down the street to McDonald's and buy ourselves ice cream cones. McDonald's ice cream cones = spirit lifters. Tender mercies are real. We still didn't have any investigators to teach that night, but we did have more positive attitudes and a stronger testimony that the Lord's looking out for us.

--Not very many people go to the church to watch general conference because most just watch it at home. However, a member showed up who moved here about a year ago. She hasn't been to church this whole year, so our ward doesn't have her records or even know who she is, but she came to conference and brought her non-member husband!! We are going to go over this week to start teaching him the restored gospel, and couldn't be more excited!

Favorite conference quotes:

You can have what you want, or you can have something better. --Donald
L Hallstrom (quoting Elder Holland)

If we choose Christ, we will have made the correct choice. --Thomas S. Amo son

To be worthy does not mean to be perfect. -- Gerrit W. Gong

So let's keep this conference spirit with us throughout the day, throughout the week, and throughout the year! I am so excited to be able to more deeply study these inspired words. The church is true!!

Love always,
Hermana Baker

Recent converts make good member-presents and good pack mules.


It has been 9 months since I got on the plane to the Mexico City CCM and wow has that been the single best decision of my life. The days feel like weeks, the weeks feel like days, and in the end it's all just turning into a blur! I have learned so many lessons, met so many people, had so many touching experiences. So I'm excited to see what the Lord has in store for these next nine months! 'Cause as we all know from watching sports, the second half is way more intense than the first :)

Some highlights of the week:

--Yohanna, Angel, and Melissa were confirmed yesterday! They are now the newest members of the Pasadena ward :)

--I have become an expert at showering cats and picking out all their fleas.

--Adriana, the only member in the Tapia family who isn't baptized now, just quit her job! She has the strongest testimony of them all, but hasn't been able to come to church because she worked every Sunday. She came with us Saturday to the General Women's Session of conference, and I don't know what it was (jk I do, it was the spirit) but yesterday was her last day of work at that taqueria. She told her boss she was quitting! So stay tuned these next upcoming weeks to hear about her baptism!!

--Yesterday we had such a tender experience. We are teaching a man who lives right across the street from the Tapia's, so last night we stopped by the Tapia's to see if anyone could come with us. Miguel was home and willing, and 10 year old Angel said he wanted to come to, so vamonos! The man we went to visit is named Manuel, and he has had such a hard time accepting the Book of Mormon. We seemed to be just going in circles because everything comes back to knowing if the Book of Mormon is true. He just didn't see the need for another book if we already have the Bible. We tried everything possible to help him understand, but we weren't getting anywhere, so we finally just had to tell him to start reading in the book, and then call us when he wants to learn more. By the end of the lesson me, Hna SahagĂșn, and Miguel were all disappointed and frustrated, but Angel asked if he can say something. He then shared with Manuel such a simple and beautiful testimony of how Joseph Smith went into the woods to pray, and how Jesus told him that none of the churches were true, but how the true church is now here and you can know through the Book of Mormon. His testimony brought the spirit so strong. It made me start to tear up to see a ten year old, who had just been confirmed a member that morning, share his testimony. Unfortunately, Manuel was "past feeling" as the Book of Mormon would describe it (1 Ne. 17:45). But it definitely strengthened my own personal testimony of the truthfulness of the Book of Mormon and the simpleness of the gospel.

--Tuesday was exchanges with Sister Smith.  She is a really good missionary! But not very helpful here in Spanish land because she's English... So basically the exchange was me teaching all the lessons, and then telling her at the end what happened. We had fun though :)

You would think that for Easter everyone would be willing to listen to a message about Jesus Christ, but that wasn't the case this week. One blessing of being in the Bible Belt is that everybody already knows about and loves Jesus. Unfortunately, this is also a downside, because everybody thinks they're "saved" or that they know enough about Jesus and therefore don't want to listen. That being said, I am really grateful to be on a mission during this Easter season, and to be able to teach people about its true meaning. About how we all too will one day be resurrected. About how we will see our loved ones again. And more than anything about the great and profound love that Jesus Christ has for each one us.

Love always,
Hermana Baker

Happy Easter!!