My grandfather passed away this week. My Grandfather, Faf as our family called him, is an amazing man. He was the pillar of our family. He and Mum were so involved in all of our lives. Faf encouraged Joci to play the violin and was so supportive of her singing. Mum and Faf always treated everyone like they were their favorite person. I know that Joci felt that. There are no in-laws in our family, just family. The moment Mark married me he was one of their grandkids. Faf was important to all of us, he was more than a grandfather or great-grandfather, He was Faf! I sent Joci a letter through missionties so she could get the news as soon as possible. My heart was longing to give her a hug because she would have to face this without family by her side. We did the only thing that we could do and the best thing we could do. We prayed for her to feel peace and our love and our Heavenly Father's love, I also asked for her to be able to have a hug and comfort. Heavenly Father heard and answered our prayers. I am so grateful for prayer. I am so grateful for the knowledge that Families are Eternal. I included the letter I sent to Joci about Faf because she references some things in her letter and because of an experience I had. ~Momma Baker
I'm sorry to tell you this in a letter. Faf passed away this morning at around 5. Grandma called me about 6:15 this morning on her way up to SLC. It is a sad thing for us cause we will all miss him so much. It is a blessing for him to not have to suffer anymore. He is with his family. His Dad, who he hasn't seen for over 40 years, his mom who he hasn't seen for over 22 years and his brother who passed away a few years a go. What a sweet reunion! What a blessing to know that Families Can be together forever! That knowledge and the comfort of the Holy Ghost will sustain those of us who are left behind. I want to share an experience with you. Just before you left when Faf was not doing well, I was on a bike ride. I had this feeling that Faf was going to pass away soon but as I was riding I had this sweet feeling come over me that somehow he will be able to help you. The feeling was so sweet and comforting that it made me cry. There have been a few times in my life when I know that one of my grandparents or great-grandparents who have already passed on, have been there to help me. It makes sense doesn't it? The love that we share on earth is only greater in Heaven and of course our loved ones will still care for us and want to do things to help us. I'm sure that Faf will be there to help you a few times on your mission and probably throughout your life.
I just thought of the opening prayer of conference. The person saying the prayer had a slip of the tongue and wanted to say, "may our faith be strengthened" but instead said "may our strength be faithened" (that's something I would do ha ha) He quickly corrected it but it had an impact on me. To have "our strength be faithened" has a good meaning. Idk if I can explain it right. We all have strength inside us and that is a good thing. Heavenly Father wants us to be strong and use that strength in our lives. But to have our strength be faithened, we would use our strength that Heavenly Father gave us and we would include God in our lives and put off the natural man and recieve strength through him. The verbs are mixed up in the sentence but somehow it brought more meaning to me to have my strength faithenend. I love you darlin girl. You are such a joy to me. I hope that you have a wonderful day. May your faith be strengthed, and your strength faithened, and may you strengthen and bless others today. I love you with all of my heart and a lot more!
Shine my sunshine~ Shine!
Fam bam!! and everyone else who reads this...
Gee i love recieving letters. the other people in my district are so jealous because they only get like one a week and i get several. I am so blessed to have a family who loves me. From now on I will only be writing handwritten letters through snail mail and missionties so that i have time to actually write a real letter.
So when i heard Faf died it was pretty rough. I went into the bathroom and cried for a bit then I got a blessing and the blessing said that Heavenly Father is proud of me and my work and that my family feels my love and then blessed me with peace like 4 times. I have been at peace ever since. (Mom note -Elder Albee gave her the blessing and wrote this in his letter: I also got the chance to give another blessing to Sister Baker this week. It was such a great experience...It was so crazy to hear the spirit so strong and to say the words of the Lord) I love the priesthood. and I love prayers. So thank you all for your prayers. Its helping so much. Sometimes i get hugs from you late at night too when i feel a little home sick i wrap up in my blanket and i literally feel like i am getting a hug. So many blessings. I'm glad to have a guardian angel on my mission.
Well i actually use verbs now. A lot! and i dont always use them corrrectly but i use them and i am starting to get the whole conjugating thing. We went proselitismo the other day. Boom im a missionary in the real world all of the sudden. ANd if i didn't tell you before there are 15 american sisters in the CTM and guess how many are blonde like real blonde. Me is how many! So not very many blonde people in brazil. And i thought i got stares in the CTM well in the real world is worse!! ha ha! Everyones eyes on me! Anyways so we rode the bus while i was being stared at into the middle of the city and we had 2 LOM(mom note Book of Mormon) to give out. So we started as soon as we got on the bus. I started talking to this lady who sat next to me and told her a little bit about the book in 5 year old portuguese and she was just kind of staring and this lady behind her was staring at me and when i started to talk about how Jesus came to america she was like hey! a livro de mormon!! I want one! and i was like sweet! here you can have it and i stood up and talked to her and my comp sister clement talked to the other lady and so i went back and started asking her about her religious background and she loves Jesus and talks to God daily and i was like great youll love this book and if you have any questions then call this number or visit this website and boom first baptism im pretty sure. So i gave my other lom to the other lady and when i got off i had no lom! So someone gave me an extra and i placed it with this sweet teenager who doesn't believe in God or Jesus and i was like this book will give you hope in your life and i love this book and you should read it. and i gave it to her. I hope she read it too.
There are these workers here who are incredible. I love them. I have no idea if they are mormon or not but i love them. They are the sweetest people. There is one who we always say hi to and she stopped us in the hall the other day and she said in portuguese you all are so beautiful! i love american sisters. When people told me that american sisters were coming here i said i love american sisters here they are so beautiful and their mothers are going to miss them so i will take care of them like my own children. I just want to kiss and hug you so that your moms dont worry. There is someone here taking care of you. And she gave us big hugs and kisses. She is all of about 4 foot 9 and she doesn't have any top teeth but she is adorable. We call her Minha Mai! which means my mom! And this other worker who doesnt' look like she likes us when we say hi but them every once in a while She tells us that she love us and how pretty we are or something. and then the other day i had a braid in the front of my hair and she rushs into the bathroom after me and in rapid portuguese she tells me how much she loves my hair and asks me to do a braid in her hair so i did and her hair was so greasy and she doesn't take very good care of her self but she had the biggest smile on her face when i did a braid in her hair. I love her.
General conference was spectacular. It was the best general conference i have ever been to. We all met in the autotorium and listened to it in our respective languages. It was broadcast in english and then the spanish and the portugugese listened to it on head phones. It was great. Talk about personal revelation!! so good. I went in to each session with a question and came out with the spirit and so many anwers. It was cool to go in with a perpos. love.
Please send pictures!! like 3 by 5s in the mail. I want more pictures.
So right now i have gotten to the point where sometimes i can't speak english or portuguese. There are two different brain waves. One is english and the other is portuguese and sometimes neither one works! So its like half and half and you cant think of words. Rough but funny.
So the other day i as teaching an investigator at the CTM it wasn't a real investigator it was my teacher as an investigator. Its neat they have a whole story and they follow the story and have questions and we teach them each week like real investigators. Anyway so i was teaching about the palavra de sabedoria ( mom note: Word of Wisdom) I cant think of the name in english rn. And we were teaching how some foods are good and some foods are bad and not to do drugs etc and he asked about cookies and i got the word for cookies and stomach messed up and i started saying a little bit of stomach is good. But if you have a lot of stomach its not that good. You need to eat all things in moderation. and he stopped for a second and like had a look on his face and he started laughing so hard!! and he was like no thats stomach not cookies. and i thought it was the funniest thing.
There are two people here from south africa and they are going on a mission to some place in africa speaking portuguese and get this. They know african click!!! What!? So cool! They sang me a song and it was sweet. I am good friends with them. I love everyone here honestly. The sweetest nicest people. I get so many kisses and hugs a day. I love this place
Well they are kicking me out pretty soon. I love you all. I feel your faith and your hugs and your love every day. Thank you for your prayers. They make a difference. I have another challenge that im doing right now. Each day in the morning i think of one thing i am going to do each day. today and yesterday it was pray immediately when things get hard and if i do that i know i did something good each day.
I love you all so much!! youre all blessings in my life. Keep praying!! i am praying for you!! i love love love love you!!!!!
We also got some letters through mission ties. We've asked her some questions about what it is like and asked for some details about the culture in Brazil. In these letters she answers some of our questions. Here are some excerpts from them:
The food here goes something like this:
Breakfast - Panini with surprise lunch meat, cheese, creamy butter, with a side of a really small apple, a banana and fruit juice. It's real fruit juice, so good you'd love it!
Lunch - Surprise meat with a side of surprise meat and rice and beans. Lots of questionable vegetables always served cold and rolls.
Dinner - Surprise meat with a side of surprise meat, beans, rice, 17 rolls, cold vegetables and a dessert made into a pudding. All their desserts are made into a pudding. Used to be a really good cake? Not now it's a pudding! Jello! Yay!
Wednesday is what we call mystery Wednesday because you never know what you're going to find on your sheets or on your pizza. We get new sheets on Wednesdays and i may or may not have a stain on my sheets. We find hair balls in our pillowcases, and on our pizza, you never know! Bananas, corn, or inch thick cheese. When I say surprise meat it's really good we just have no idea what it is, and sometimes we can't cut it. I'm not complaining mind you, I enjoy it here!
The Brazilians though. I love Brazilians. They are all so nice! So I have started new phrase that I say often, "It's cuz I'm white and blonde isn't it." there are a total of 15ish sisters here. 15 of them are American and 2 of them are blonde and one has blue eyes. So many people stare.
The city is different than anything I have ever experienced. A lot dirtier that I thought. When I come back to the CTM I feel like I need to shower. There are street vendors all over. There's this place that you get chocolate and caramel filled churros. They are questionable and the one I got was a little burnt I think.
It is custom for women to hug each other here so everyone hugs when they meet which is nice. And they give you kisses on the cheek. They say in Natal it's both cheeks.
The styles here are interesting. They love hair barrettes and use them a lot. They wear dresses with some aztecy stuff but they are mostly from Mexico and America. Other than that they dress normally.
Their houses are colorful like red, blue, bright green, pink and gray, and they are stacked on top of each other all crooked. Just like in pictures.
Honestly I love it here! Perfect weather, the sunset is the most beautiful thing I have ever seen. Everyone is friendly and smiling. Some comment on how blonde my hair is and some comment on how I have blue eyes. Most just hug you and say tude bem! This is such an adventure!
This is a portion to Kaiti
I enjoyed your last letter. It sounds like you are being the best person you can possibly be. You are sure trying hard. I'm 100% sure Heavenly Father sees your efforts and is very pleased with you! Thanks for being a missionary at home. You're definitely the best sister. No competition!
Portion to Al:
Al you are a beast! I wish I could see you playing soccer and football! I tell my companions how good at soccer and football you are and that you're 6'2'' and ripped and 15 and they don't believe me! I sang "Africa" the other during prep and people sang with me but they didn't know all the words and they didn't go all out so it wasn't as fun as singing it with you. Keep being a missionary at home!
Portion to Zac:
I miss my best buddie! I'm super proud of you. When I tell people that my little brothers are like my big brothers they laugh. I think it's great how good you're doing in soccer! I hope you get called to Brazil! There's a meat place up the street that is like Tuchanoes where there is just endless meat over and over and over again. I didn't go but the Elders did and they let me try a bite. You would like it! I think you're pretty great. Don't let anyone tell you differently.
She also wrote both Mark and I separate personal letters telling us thank you for teaching her the gospel and not making her do things but teaching her and allowing her to make her decisions. She referenced Tad R. Callister's talk from Conference. They are definitely letters we both cherish.
This is a portion of a letter she wrote to Mum:
Not every great-grandchild gets to gave great-grandparents who are wonderful and spunky and involved in their life. I have been lucky enough to have you and Faf in my life and I consider myself so blessed. Yesterday I was informed of Faf's passing. After I found out I was quite overcome with emotion and I left the MTC class and went into the bathroom and cried. I cried because I was feeling the pain of my family and I knew they were having a hard time. I knew you and Grandma and Grandpa were having a hard time. And I cried because I will miss Faf a lot. I went into a stall and knelt down and said a prayer. I prayed that you would all feel my love. And I prayed that I would feel peace. When I came out of the stall a sweet Brazilian Sister was waiting and saw my tears and came over and embraced me. I told her in broken Portugues what was wrong and assured her I was fine and that I would be ok. Then this morning she delivered a sweet note to me written in English it said: I love you, God loves you and the scripture Moroni 7:17 (But charity is the pure love of Christ, and it endureth forever/ and he whoso is found possessed of it at the last day, it shall be well with him.) I loved reading that. It brought so much peace into my heart. Because Christ loves us so much he died for us so that we can return to Heaven someday and we will be together as a family. Some people don't know that and I have the sacred responsibility to spread the word of God. I am so grateful for this. I know this is true and I am grateful that I get a guardian angel throughout my mission.
I love you!
Love, Sister Jocelyn Baker