Wednesday, November 26, 2014

Instagram from Brazil!

We were so happy to meet Barbara through instagram.  She is Joci's friend in Brazil.  She started following us, and Joci mentioned about her in a letter.  Then one day these pictures were on instagram!  The guitar is actually a video clip of her singing!  So fun!  Thank you Barbara!

Monday, November 24, 2014

I'm in repair! I'm not together but I'm getting there!

It rained!  A baptism and dreaming in Portuguese!  Not to mention a Jocelyn we've never seen before!  There is a woman from Brazil who wants to move to Provo and open a salon here and so she wanted to try putting on makeup on a blue-eyed girl.  Definately a different look for Joci!  Also we got a letter on Saturday.  It spoke of her love for the Elders and Sisters in her district at the MTC.  She also spoke of the work, stress and fun but especially about the spiritual growth that came from choosing to work hard.  She learned that you had to be intrinsically motivated because the only person she was accountable to was herself and the Lord.  There were no papers to turn in, no tests to prepare for, she just had to try her best every day and apply what you learn in real life that day.  She tells how the MTC president sensed there was something special about their district and there was.  They helped each other through  trials of faith, death of loved ones, sickness, discouragement, homesickness and stress.  They laughed, cried, sang, learned Portuguese, brokedown, prayed and learned about life together.  She spoke about her hopes for each of them and her desire to see them again and then once again her love for each of them.  What an awesome experience she is having.  The ups and downs and everything in between.  How grateful we are for all of it!  ~Momma Baker

Well, this week was better. I just decided to have a good attitude and pray a lot and look for the positive and it worked. Well, it was quite the week. First things first i had a dream in Portuguese. They say that as soon as you dream in portuguese you are fluent, but i don't think thats true because the only thing that was said in my dream was "isso garota" which means " yeah girl". Long story short I’m not fluent but I’m getting there. I will be fluent someday. ha ha. 
  This week i met a guy who fell head over heals in love with me. I think he just loved americans to be honest but he loooooved me. He asked me to come to his house and take a nap (not with him) and he would make me lunch. i said no sorry I'm a missionary. He was obsessed. He would ask me to say things in english and in portuguese and stuff it was so funny. He like got me a chair and made me sit down and he sat at my feet and told me to talk to him. And then my companions wanted me to sing. So i sang and he cried! Literally tears, several tears comed out of his eyes!! Ha ha i laughed so hard. I thought it was the funniest thing. He then went and bought me candy. oh my gosh. So funny.
  It rained!! So hard. I have pictures of us playing in the rain. We were at an appointment of a new investigator named SebastiĆ£o and it started to rain. We had to get to our next appointment so we left and it started to pour. I had an umbrella but it wasn’t doing anything so i gave up and just walked in the rain. It felt so good. It was like warm. By the time we got to the end of the street we were soaking wet so we canceled our appointments and went to the house of a member and took a shower in the rain. Ha ha it was awesome. 
   The one hard thing about having a mission in Brazil is that everyone is catholic. Literally EVERYONE! These are the things I hear the most while we proselyte:
1. Sister I need to go to the bathroom.
2. I was born catholic, I'll die catholic
3. Sister I'm hungry!
4. I'm very pleased with being catholic, but thanks for the invitation.
5. Americana?
6. I already have a religion, I'm catholic
7. I want a milkshake!
8. My whole family is catholic, we believe only in the bible.
This is my life. erry day. 

We did have one investigator who was the easiest investigator I have ever heard of. She is adorable and I love her and it really strengthened my testimony that God is preparing people for us to teach and there are people out there who want to hear our message and who will open their hearts to our gospel. Her name is Beatriz. She is 11 years old! Same age as Kaiti. Shes my little sister over here. She actually reminds me a lot of Kaiti. She is really mature and very smart. One day she just decided that she wanted to go to church so she went all by her self. She went 2 times and then decided that she wanted to be baptized. So she downloaded the Book of Mormon on her phone and the hymns and started reading. She knew it was true so she got in contact with a member of the church some friend of her mom. and then got in contact with the missionaries. We went to her house on Saturday and taught the 3rd lesson (gospel of Jesus Christ) and asked her if she wanted to follow the example of Jesus Christ and be baptized, of course she said yes. And so we asked her why it was important to her to be baptized. She said that its because she wanted to start a new life and she new that after baptism that you become a new person and you leave behind you your past sins and obey the laws of the church and become a better person each day. and we were like yes exactly. So then we asked if she would like to be baptized the next day. She got excited and said yes! So yesterday we had a baptism. It was awesome! I am super excited about it. What a miracle! We have a pretty amazing Heavenly Father.
   I am also using my music a lot. We will start a guitar class and i will teach a bunch of people how to play guitar and then share our message and then baptize everyone! ha ha. I am also playing at 2 weddings. I am excited about that. I love using my music to help people. 
   Well thats all i have. oh i have a challenge. In portuguese they don’t have a word for the Sabbath Day. They called it Dia do Senhor which means day of the Lord. That kind of changed the meaning a little bit for me. Its the Lords day. I have to work hard on Sundays, but its all work for the Lord and i try to think of Him as much as i can and worship him on this day. What can you all do to worship our Lord on his day?

Well i love you all! Have a wonderful week! Be good!! Pray Hard! 
love, Sister Baker

I got her letter at 6:55 this morning so I quickly wrote her back.

Hello my Joci girl!  I woke up early this morning so excited that it's Monday and now first thing I get a letter!  I love you so much sweetie!
I'm so glad it rained!
How wonderful about the 11 year old girl.  Amazing!  People are amazing!  I knew that you would figure  things out make things better cause that's just you!  Any chance you'll be able to buy a guitar?

I love you mom! i just read your email. and i am trying all the things that you suggested this week. Things are getting better I’m just trying to love her the best i can. Ha ha. I am going to ask the pres. because i think it would be benificial to have one. Some other elders have a guitar. idk. I will let you know. Thanks so much for your packages. I will let you know when i get them. I love love love love you 
i love hearing about your life and the kids and everything. I just love it. 

I am doing well. You have to have the downs to have the ups. I am so happy everything is going well with the class and with the bridal shower and stuff. I love hearing about this. Oh and in drop box theres some pictures of me with make up all over my face. There's this lady here who wants to move to Provo and open a salon and so she wanted to put make up on someone with blue eyes. I looked like a wicked witch. ha ha whatever. so funny. 
Can i do anything for you? 
I love love love you!

love, Sister Baker

Monday, November 17, 2014

We walked and walked and walked and walked...

Walk and walk, a hair cut and growing sometimes hurts!  Good to hear from our girl this week!  Love the pictures!  Mark and I got on google earth and found the church that she walks to.  Her house is a few miles from it.  It made us happy to be able to see where she is.  Love this girl more everyday! ~Momma Baker

November 17, 2014

Well, this week was below average and if i complain too much it will give me a bad attitude but i will just say that I have more patience then i ever had before. 
I cried for the first time because i missed my family this week. Don’t worry it wasn’t like a curl up into a ball and cry kind of cry it was just shedding a couple tears. I have a friend who found me on instagram and followed me and the rest of the fam bam. You probably saw. Her name is Barbara. She is adorable. But she talks super duper fast and has a really hard to understand accent. Anyway, Barbara followed me and saw the pictures that Zac and Al posted when i left and she thought it was the cutest thing so she showed me and i cried just a little bit. And i also saw the post of the monkey. Isn’t that the coolest thing though!! I am fine though. During the day i focus on everything other than the family because if i focus on the family i wont get much work done.

Well this week i thought to myself wow your hair would be a lot easier if you got layers. Well my comp Sister Moraes used to be a really good hairdresser so i was all hey sister, can you please cut my hair and give me layers? I think that would be really great and so she did. She managed to cut off 4 inches of my hair that was down to my bellybutton, but it turned out really cute. I didn’t want any length off but you cant really tell because my hair was really really long before. 
I feel like my portuguese has stopped progressing. I can understand a lot now. Its still really hard to understand everything especially old people. They are hard. I don’t want my portuguese to stop progressing! I am everything but fluent!! That would be a disaster! It is hard because when i start talking to someone my one companion Sister dV interrupts me and starts going of in portuguese or when people talk to me she interrupts and says she’s american, she doesn’t understand portuguese. I need to stop complaining. I know more than she thinks i know. And i understand when people talk slow and i know enough portuguese to tell them that i can understand when people talk slow. 
I need more patience.

She also has these crazy ideas about America. The other day she was talking with Sister Moraes and said that America doesn’t have catholics. I was all actually yes they do.  Just weird stuff like that. She has never been to America! She has no idea what she is talking about! We are in a trio because she was sick and couldn’t go to her mission right away so she feels like her mission hasn’t started yet. Well it has started. She called her sister yesterday.  I don’t know what to do! She disobeys mission rules and is driving me crazy!!!! 
We walked 5000000 miles this week. Mario is doing awesome! He is really getting into church and he loves it! I am so happy about that. Fransisca, another person who was baptized before i got here heard some bad stuff about the church i think and doesn’t want to go to church anymore. The 2 baptisms we thought we were going to have this week fell through. There are these two sweet teenage girls who know they should be baptized but they don’t want to live the rules of our church such as going to church on sunday and keeping the 10 commandments. We are working on them.
We fasted for water this week because Natal is very dry. We couldn’t take a shower or wash our cloths and dishes for 2 days because our land lady turned the water off. Dang it! but we drink out of a jug of clean water so we had enough to drink. 
 And i am 82% sure that you found our church. It is small, white doesn’t have grass right now because it is so dry. But yeah my house is only about 2 miles down the road. It it the second story of a 2 story house but the first story is a completely different house then the first story. It has a great view of the whole area. I love our little house. It is one of the nicer ones in the area. There are some nice houses here. They all aren’t very big but i hear that our area is one of the richer areas in our mission. It is nice. Not too ghetto. 
 We are also trying to think of some things that we can do in the community so that people hear more about the mormons and make friends with the mormons. Something fun because people wont come unless its a chill thing. I don’t know we will see. If you guys have ideas let me know!
Well sorry i complained. This last week was just hard! I will change my attitude and next week will be better. I am happy when we work hard though and i am determined to work hard. 
I love you all! I am praying for you! Thank you for your support and your prayers

love Sister Baker

ps. I spelt baixos wrong in my last letter. Baixos means short. Baijos is kisses. I dont speak portuguese yet!

Its weird how a testimony works. You have to have faith in all of those things but first you even have to have faith in your faith. You have to have faith that your faith will work and that faith even is faith. I love that principle. It helps me realize how small and insignificant i am and how God knows everything and truly can do all things. Just rely on him. And then act. Just do it. Just run into the darkness and have faith. That is the moral of my mission. Just run. and Have faith. 

Monday, November 10, 2014

Everthing "intestine" about my week!

Ha ha do you get it? intestine? Yeah i ate intestine today and cow utters too. That was an experience. They love that apparently. It wasn't too bad. It was just really salty. gosh sometimes.... HA ha. well i got an email from some of the other members of our district and apparently this area is really well off! I am feeling very grateful! but i do miss being able to take off my shoes and go barefoot. We cant in our house because there might be scorpians and there's no such thing as carpet here. ANd theres no grass. Well thats what i miss.

 I ate 4 mangos yesterday. We have a mango tree outside of our house. I love it!! Most of them arent ready yet but some of them are so i have a mango for breakfast how fun is that! 

We had two more baptisms this week.   I love love baptisms.  One was the baptism of this sweet sweet young girl.  Her name is Luana and she is 14 years old.  I think her parents will be baptized soon too.   Her dad has a lot of questions for us about the church and we were able to have really good discussions with him about the gospel so i think next week almost for sure he will be baptized. He reads the scriptures a lot so thats good. The other was a man named Mario. He had a really hard past. He used to drink and beat his kids and get angry and so the police took his kid away and he was alone for a while and then we found him.   HE was a wreck i think.   And We taught him about the gospel and he stopped drinking and he reads the scriptures and is going to a psychologist.   The repentance thing and the gift of the holy ghost is a really big thing for him. I think that his whole life is flipped around.   I am so happy for him. He is so happy.  All his sins are washed away and whenever he has negative thoughts he prays and reads the book of mormon and not he is becoming a new man. I am so happy for him.   We got several new investigators this week.  One is named Denise and the other is jose and his wife i forgot her name. We have fransica and her kids. Fransisca was baptised a little while ago but she has a hard time going to church because she has to babysit her grandkids on sundays and the mother of the kids doesn't like the church so we need to help her a lot. And we need to get the rest of her family to church. I am have been able to talk to a lot more people lately. I gave a lot of a first lesson to Denise. Which was really good. And when we were at the house of Fabrisia and Micarla ( two teenage girls who are interested in the church as well but don't want to be baptized because they don't want to follow all the rules) well when we were at their house i was able to explain to them a little bit about how its sometimes hard to give up something you like but if you give something up for god, he always has something better in store for you. And i shared the scripture 1 Nephi 3 7 and told them that god already has a way to help them accomplish the things which the lord has commanded.   He would never ask of them something that they couldn't do.   So language skills are getting better.   It's still really hard because i cant express myself the way i want to but that will come with time and i know that even though i don't say everything correctly i can testify and they can feel the spirit. 
Well every day i get a new nick name. Elder Harris and i are the only two americans within miles and obviously the only blonde people within miles as well so a very common nick name is ´loira` which means blonde. I hear this as im walking down the street sometimes brazilian men just call out `loira loira` usually i just have to keep walking. Another one is obvious Americana. Every single person i talk to asks are you americana? Usually they are really nice about it like they think im super cool cuz im american or something one person even shook my hand was like it is honor just to be in your presence i love you! Most yell the only phrases they know in english which usually consists of I LOVE YOU AMERICANA! Some look at me and shake their heads and say you dont speak portugues do you. I have to explain yes i speak portugues i have been in brazil for 2 months learning how to speak so i dont speak perfectly but i try really hard and usually they like me after that. Another is Branco which means white which goes without explaining. I am very white. The other is Barbie. They think i look like a barbie. Mostly its people i know who call me barbie like the girls in the ward all call me barbie. The other is algodao doce which means cotton candy. All the kids think that my hair smells like cotton candy so they all call me algodao doce and smell my hair. Its so funny. I told you how kissing is a thing here and how everyone kisses everyone on the cheek, kisses in portugues is baixos. So its also a greeting. You can say baixos instead of hi or bye. Also smelling is a thing here too. People smell as they hug you. to smell is cheiro so you can also use this as a greeting as well. Tchau mulher baixo cheiros! Super funny! I love love love that. EXcept for the smelling that a little weird. ha ha. well thats all i got. I hope i answered some of your questions. Not sure if i did. I love you all! Tchau tchau pessoal! Baixos cheiros! Eu amo voces!! 

Love, Sister Baker

Monday, November 3, 2014

The best day of my life!

We got some pictures today!  They are from the beginning of her mission when Joci was  in the MTC.  The people in the pictures are her district. I'm pretty sure that they are at the Sao Paolo temple and one other Temple in Brazil.   I'm eventually going to put the pictures where they go with the letters on the blog, but I wanted to see them for a while first!   I have to say Mondays are my new favorite day of the week!  ~Momma Baker

November 3, 2014
Week 7

Im 25% sure that yesterday was the best day of my life. I say 25% because every day continues to get better and i’m sure that it will be ever better when i can actually understand every single thing people say, but im focusing on the now and i’m sure yesterday was a dang good day.  I will never be able to explain it because it will never do it justice, but it was the best day of my life. It was just one of those days where you just wake and and its just a good day. You just smile the whole day and in your heart you just feel good. I know that i was walking with Christ all day. He just spent the day with me. Thats the only way i can describe it. I just felt this burning happy feeling in my chest all day. it was almost tiring. I woke up and got ready for church. I am the only person in miles around that can play the piano so not only am i a missionary but i have a calling almost in the ward as the piano player. This is a good thing because they cant compare my piano skills to anyone so they think im some sort of piano god, but on the other hand they think i can play anything so they just pick the hymns and i just pray really hard. I must pray hard enough because i have been able to play the best i ever have before. I can play whatever hymn they throw at me. Heavenly Father sure loves me. I know that he helps me so much. I play special musical numbers at baptisms and stuff now. Church was awesome.

 I bore by testimony in church, which was hard but the brazilians are nice so it wasn’t too scary. I love brazilians. They are very excited all the time. And welcoming so when i went to church everyone welcomed me with hugs and kisses. TONz of kisses. Then we had two baptisms after church. I don’t think i have ever been so happy for another person. They have the gospel in their lives now. They are clean and pure! Theres no feeling like it! I cant explain. It was wonderful and I almost cried.

 Next we went to a members house for lunch. We ate guess what, beans and rice! and fish which was new and the crowning jewl, the most delicious mango i have ever eaten and the best pepsi i have ever had as well. It was awesome then when it started to get darker we walked around the town and i talked to so many people. People here just sit out on their (i don’t know what to call them so ill just call them porches)  porches at night when it starts to get dark and cool down. So we can just come up to people and they bring out chairs and clean water and sit down with us and we just deliver our message and then leave. Its so nice. I wish that everyone would be like that. I love it. 

Then we spent the evening and dinner at another members house. The little girls there love me so much. I will send a picture next week of the sweetest little girls. I love them so much. The mother of one girl died very recently and it makes me so sad but she is so sweet and i love love her. She gives me kisses and hugs and talks 7 milliion miles a minute. I love her so much. We finished the day with me playing on the guitar and people asking me to play songs. And that was the best day of my life.  My companion is convinced that all the people will come to church if i sing to them. So right now i am working on songs in Portuguese so that i can convert people. I love my companions so much. They are amazing. But really though. They brighten my day. We call the first companion we have in the feild our Mother because they have to take care of us and help us learn everything and my mother is Sister Moraes. I talked a little bit about her last email. She is fantastic. I love her very much. The other companion i have is Sister Do Vale. She is crazy. I love her too. They are both incredible. We have so much fun. I didn’t realize that missions could be so fun. I love my mission. Well thats all i have time for. next week ill have more stories. I love you all! 
Love, sister Baker