Monday, December 28, 2015

A trunky week!

So this week was pretty much just a lot of trunkiness. Let’s start with Wednesday. On Wednesday I got a phone call from the secrataries  because they were planning my flight plan. They already bought my plane tickets  so thats going to leave me trunky. ha ha and then Thursday night we went to the stake president´s house. It’s a tradition in his family that they invite all the missionaries in the zone to eat dinner at his house on Christmas eve. So we all went to his house. It was awesome. there were about 22 missionaries at his house. All of us talking and laughing and joking around. It was really fun and we talked a ton about the mission and stuff it was really nice. I really enjoyed myself. it was the best and then on Friday i talked with my lovely family that i love so much. It was soo good to see my fam. and it was good to see how big everyone is. That’s going to be weird to come home. ha ha.  Then the rest of that day we spent at brother Claudios house with his family. They are some of the best members in the whole world. I love them to death. They like adopted me into their family for a couple months until i go home. 
   Then we had to work really hard for the last couple days in the week so that we could get people to church it was a miracle that anyone came to church because everyone goes on vacations on Christmas. haha But we we able to and now we have to start working really hard this week to make up for the last week ha ha. But it’s being really good to work here. I love working with Sister Hernandez. I don’t know if she knows but she has been a real blessing in my life. She helped lift me up when i was having a hard time. I love her a ton. But well that was my week. I love you all  so much!  We will work super hard this week!  Thank you so much for your support.

love sister j. baker

Sunday, December 27, 2015

The very best Christmas!

December 25, 2015

We absolutely loved being able to skype with Joci on Christmas!  She was absolutely bubbling over with happiness!  She bore bold, powerful and sweet testimony to our family and also had us all laughing!  She is still that darling Joci that we all love with a stronger spirit and more sure testimony than before her mission.  It was pure joy to be together as a family and see her so happy and doing so well.  As much as we don't want to wish the last few months of her mission time away because of the people that she can reach and lives that she can touch, 11 weeks just can't come fast enough!  Ha ha!  Here are some of the highlights from our skype call.  ~Momma Baker

Reactions when she saw different people in our family:
When Zac walked in "OHHHH!  Zac you are huge!  You are a man!"
When Al stood up!  "AAAALLEXX!  You are a giant!  You are sooo tall!"
Kaiti~ You are almost as tall as mom!  With Kaiti she just kept saying, "Kaiti you are sooo beautiful!"
She started to cry when Grandpa came in the room.   Before Grandma  (jen's mom) left the room they lovingly called eachother an idiot!  A surprised "Grandma!"  as Grandma Pam (Mark's mom) came in the room! Mom and Joci tried to hug through skype!  "Daddy!" were her first words when she was a baby and they were her first words skyping followed by "My family!"
Alex speaks "Chubaka"from Star Wars and apparently Joci does too because they started talking "Chubakan"  pretty funny!

Mark: Walk us through a normal day in your life as a missionary:

Well I start by waking up at 6:30 in the morning.  I used to jump right up but now it's not as easy and I sometimes lay in bed for a few minutes.  Then I pray and we have companion prayer.  Then I take a shower.  The shower for the first time here is warm.  All of the other areas I have had cold showers but here it is hot, because it is so hot here.  Then I make breakfast.  Here there are Mango trees everywhere and we can just pick Mangos.   I make Mango juice.  I cut a mango in half and put the skin and everything in a blender kind of thing, then I put that in a filter and the juice comes through the filter and the stringy stuff stays, then I drink the juice while I read my scriptures.  I have loved loved loved reading the Bible and Jesus the Christ.  I love reading about Jesus' life.  Then we go out and if the people we are teaching aren't too far away we go teach them then go to lunch but usually the place where we are supposed to have lunch and the people we are teaching are too far away so we usually have to go to lunch first.  Then we go and teach people about the gospel.  We are supposed to talk to a certain amount of recent converts and people who are less active, and members of the church and then teach investigators.  (Mom note she told us specifically for each one but I can't remember)  Then we start all over again the next day.

Sundays are crazy!  We go around and see all of the people that we have seen during the week and help them go to church.   We walk to their houses and we stand outside of their house and yell and clap our hands (Momma note:Clapping and yelling is how they knock on doors in Brazil.) and say "Hey come to church!"  Then they invite us in and we say "come to church!"  and sometimes we dump them out of their hammocks and wake them up and say "Come to church with us, you want to come to church!  It will make you happy if you come to church with us!"  Then we try to take them (walk with them) to church.  I am kind of looking forward to just getting myself to church on Sundays!!

"This ward that we are in is unbelievable!  So many of the baptisms are from referrals.  The members work so well with the missionaries here.  In this ward there are 150 people in this ward and we are trying to get a new chapel because there are too many people for the classrooms.  It is so wonderful!   I love the people and the ward here sooooo much!"

"A couple of days ago I got a call and they said,"Where do you want to land?"  So they are making plans for me to come home.  I will get my flight plans on a Monday and you will too!"
How do you feel about that?  "At 9 months I set some new goals for my mission.  I looked at them awhile ago and I have accomplished just about all of them.  I still have a lot to do and a lot to learn but I can feel that my time here is winding down, my mission is almost done and I will need to come home in order to progress more and take the next steps in my life.  At times it feels like I should stay here forever and never leave these people.  I was watching "The Other Side of Heaven" the other day and the part where they say "Hurrah for Israel!"  I was sobbing and felt like I should never leave.  But I know it is almost time to come home and progress at home.

Sister Hernandez and Joci sang us Silent Night with one verse in English and one in Portuguese.  It was beautiful!  Joci absolutely loves her companion!

She was skyping from the mission leader's house.  He spoke broken english to us and said,"Your daughter is a pest, dressed like a sister!"  Then his son who recently returned from a  mission from Santa Maria Brazil spoke to us and said,"I will marry your sister!"  When Alex said, "You want to fight me?"  He said it was only a joke!
It was crazy fun hearing her speak Portuguese.  She would talk to someone and then turn to translate what was going on and unknowlingly speak to us in Portuguese, then wait for our reply.  It wasn't until I told her that she was talking to us in Portuguese that she said, "Oh Help!"  She constantly turned to her companion for help with English words.  It was too cute.

Jocelyn also bore a bold and powerful testimony about her mission, the truthfulness of the gospel and how it has changed and blessed her life.  The words she spoke with tears coming down her cheeks were so powerful and sweet.  She thanked us for the support and prayers.  She said that the hurt of being away from our family is taken away through our prayers and that she has been blessed and protected through prayer.

It was a sweet wonderful time that we all want to do again today!  Just before we hung up she asked each of us to say something to her.  We each blubbered what we wanted to tell her, then we said a family prayer and our time was done.  Sweet times!  We are all looking forward to March 11.
~Momma Baker

Woot! Woot! New comp Sister Hernandez!!!

December 21, 2015

Mom, you will never believe who is my new comp.... Sister Hernandez. WHAT??!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! woot woot!!!! This will be the best transfer ever. We are already going a bit crazy. Ha ha tis going to be awesome.  (Momma note: Sister Hernandez is from Provo.  Our family had their family and the Megan Baker family from California at our house last summer.  We bonded immediately because of our girls all serving in the same mission.  Sister Hernandez went to Provo High and her brother stops in to see Mark now that they know each other.)

 I am suuuper excited for skype. I don't even want to write too much because I will see you on Friday. wahoo!!!! 
We can skype for about an hour. I will call about 4 or 5 o clock my time. 11 or 12 oclock your time. I just want to talk to you guys. It doesn't need to be anything suuper crazy. I just want to talk with you. i love you guys sooo much

  Give a hug to everyone and i will see you all on Friday. Yes we can have a family prayer if you want. That would be cool. 
i love you 

love, Sister j Baker

Sweet story!

December 14, 2015

Sister Baker didn't have a lot of time to write the last two weeks.  She just wrote short notes to a few people.   The picture is from a friend in our ward.  She knows the Elder from a previous ward and was looking on his facebook and saw the familiar looking sister next to him and sent us the picture.  I love how small this world is at times.   ~Momma Baker

Hi mom! My week was good. We had a productive week. I went to the christmas conference in Natal, which was fun. 
I got 2 packages. You guys sure spoil me. 
I hope that everything is going well with grandma and grandpa. I sure love them too but I don’t think that they will move closer because Orangeville is a part of them. I don’t think that it will be easy to move. 
Thank you for the money i will buy something really special for all of us. 
I love you a lot and i hope that everything is going well for you. Thank you for your prayers and support
love, sister j baker

Hey mom I’m not going to write a big email today because I’m short on time but i want to tell you all a cute experience. We baptised a man named Francisco this week. He is 70 years old and i think it’s wonderful what happened with him and his family. The gospel first started to change the life of his son. His son was baptized a year ago. He had to change everything. Stop drinking and leave the ladies and everything and he was all alone in the church but then he started to bring his dad to church. He had to move his whole entire life because he was doing some things that weren’t right too. But he was determined and decided to change. So this week he was baptized and his son baptized him. It was really special. 
Well i love you all. I get to talk on skype to you in 10 days.....
I love you! 
love, sister j baker

Monday, December 7, 2015

A good week

This week was a good week. Nothing happened. The first part of the week was awful because my companion was sick so we had to stay in the house Monday Tuesday and Wednesday. I went crazy. Maybe before the mission I stayed in my house a bit, but now I don’t think i will be able to. I think I walked 7 miles just inside the house. I tried to sleep, couldn’t sleep. I explored the house, every single corner. I memorized. I looked in all the boxes in the corner. I swung on the hammock, I read the book of mormon, Jesus the Christ and the bible (not the whole thing, but a lot) I organized the area book. I went crazy. Please don’t make me stay indoors ever again. I hate it. 
   Ha ha but the rest of the week was good. We got a couple new investigators. A cute newly married couple! They are awesome! It’s suuper great to go to their house and teach them. They are sooo cute and it makes me suuuuper trunky... ha ha. 
   I would like to tell you how important it is to have the help of the members in missionary work. Everyone that we have baptised so far in this ward has been a reference or a friend, or in someway the members helped. It is so much easier and we baptise with a lot more quality when you work with the members. Please help the missionaries!!! This ward is the best ward I have ever seen (other than Mt loafer of course) I loooove this ward. I want to finish my mission here. It’s soo great. 
   This week we got a call on Saturday. It was a member who had a inactive woman in tears on her doorstep and she said that we needed to visit her. We went there to see her and when she saw us she started to cry uncontrollably. She is super young, about 20 years old and she was distraught. We asked her what was wrong and all she could do was cry and hold on to us. she just cried and cried and finally she told us a little bit about what happened. i wont give you all details but it was problems with chasity and a boyfriend that wasnt very nice. but it hurt my heart so much to see how she was hurting. she said over and over again "no one is going to want me. no one wants someone who has been used." and i just thought how incredible it was how satan makes you feel when you arent doing whats right. he makes you feel worthless he makes you feel like no one wants you, like you dont have a way back. that no one can ever forgive you but he only does that because he know the power of the atonement. he knows how much God loves His children and he knows that there is a way back. you can never ever be so far from the path that you cant find a way back. We were able to help this girl a little bit. we talked to her and shared our testimonies and she went to church yesterday and little bit by little bit she is making her way back. but im sooo greatful that Jesus Christ, our savior and redeemer cares about us and he will go out searching for his sheep. He will go out on the dark paths where we are and see what we see and feel what we feel so he can bring us back to where we should be. i love that man. 

(Momma note:  This is in response to the question I asked her "What is the most unusual thing you've seen in Brazil?")  The most unusual thing I have seen in Brasil is a 4 year old nursing. haha. It's normal. They stop nursing at like 3 or 4 years of age. And they nurse in the street like its no big deal! In my area I don’t have favelas. (that what they are called the mud and cardboard) I have seen something similar, but not that drastic. I don’t know. It’s pretty normal. But there are some neighborhoods thats a bit more sketchy than others. ha ha. 

(This is in response to Mark's question what do you eat for breakfast.) Hey you wanna know something suuuper yummy that i learned how to do here? Orange juice, from the fruit and anykind of juice from the fruit. It's suuuuper good. I'll make it for you when i get back and it's not hard at all and it's not how you think too. ha ha. 
For breakfast, usually i make mango juice from the mangoes that we find in the street. Our fridge is full to the top of mangoes. It's mango season. I have never seen so many mangos in my life!!!!!!!! There are soo many yummy fruits here.
Well i love you all and i am so grateful that i have this opportunity to serve a mission. I love to see the light in the eyes of the people here. It makes all the difference in the world. My mission is something i will never ever forget. I am a completely different person. I am so grateful for the chance I have to start again. I love you all.  Thanks for your prayers. You are always in mine.

love, sister j. baker

Thursday, December 3, 2015

Best Thanksgiving Present...

This week was awesome. There were a couple of things that happened that were suuuuper funny... and some others that were suuuuper cool and spiritual. Lemme start with the spiritual. Yesterday Lourdes was baptized. Do you remember the 2 people that were baptised last week? A dad and a daughter? Well, this week the mom was baptised. Yes!!! We completed a family!!!!!! What a happy moment in my life. The dad and the mom needed to stop smoking, and they are working really hard. The daughter is participating in all the activities, and the thing that is the most special is that it was the dad that baptised the mom. A couple minutes before she was baptised he recieved the priesthood! It was sooooo beautiful!!!! To see this family happy in the gospel and to see that they were wanting to be better was the best gift that i could ever recieve. I am sooo happy to have had this opportunity on the mission. What a blessing. I know that the gospel blesses our lives. If you don’t know how the gospel is blessing your life, if you have questions about the church if you have doubts, ASK GOD! Ask him about this stuff. Study. Gain a testimony because from the other side of things i can see everything clearly. Everything is so clear to me that this church is true. And it’s not just  saying i like to say "I know this church is true" but because i am studying it and everything makes sense! But because i am seeing it in my life and in the lives of those who live it and I can tell you that there is a big difference in going to church and living the gospel. Going to church isn’t enough. You have to live the gospel to see how it strengthens you in your life. Believe me!! I know because I see it. I’m on the other side of things. I can see a whole ward and every single problem of everyone because I’m on the other side and i know. I know who lives the gospel and who is going to church because the people who just go to church it seems like they are working against the missionaries. You haave to live the gospel. Let it become a part of you. It’s sooo wonderful when you finally let it happen and stop thinking about yourself and your problems and just live it. It’s wonderful. I am sooo grateful to have seen this on my mission and have learned this. well now i will get off my soap box... ha ha.  
   The other thing that happened was suuuuuuper funny. I have had diarrea for 3 days now... its an adventure... we were walking in the street yesterday and all of the sudden bam! I needed to go and i needed to go not in 3 minutes, NOW. So we started running and we got to the house of a member. and we started yelling for her. We yelled for about 3 minutes and she didn’t answer. She was sleeping. So i yelled "Rita! help!" and she came running "whats wrong!!" "Rita, i have to use your bathroom. NOWWW!" She started to laugh and let me in. She was so nice that she made me take a shower after. What a nice lady and that’s my story.
ha ha. 
I love you all sooo much thank you for your prayers. This month our mission baptized 247 people. That a new record! Our zone baptized 57 and me and my comp baptized 9! What a great month. 
I love you and i pray for you daily. 

love, sister j baker

Part of a note to Momma:

What an awesome week. Thanks so much for the details. That’s exactly what i needed this week. I wanted details of what my family is doing. You know I haven’t been trunky my whole mission. I have been suuper focused. I talked about home and family but I was never trunky, but mother I am trunky trunky trunky!!! I don’t know what happened!!  I think its because this is my last area, in 2 weeks i will enter in my last 2 transfers. I don’t know but I am almost ready to come home. It’s a good feeling because until a little time ago I was suuuuuuper freaking out because i didn’t do everything possible on my mission! Now I look at the list of goals that I wanted to do before I left the mission and almost all of the goals are done! I only have a few more! Which is a good thing. What a blessing!! I'm so happy mom. I'm so happy. I don't ever want to loose this. I am dying to come home but I'm dying to stay on the mission. I love you all soo much. I want all of you to have to same opportunity to have to same kind of experiences. 
I love you a bunch. 
love, sister j baker

Monday, November 23, 2015

The Biggest Miracles...

The biggest miracle of miracles happened this week. Oh my gosh. I think i have never had such a happy feeling in my whole life. I got 3 really special phone calls this week. I don't know if you remember Klebione? I taught her in Natal. She was practically mormon, but she is dating a married man. Well i got a phone call from one of the elders over there, he’s a great friend of mine, and he said that he just got out of an interview with her and she just decided to leave everything behind and be baptised. Her house, her money, her college, her boyfriend, everything. She is willing to give up everything to be baptised and follow Jesus Christ. Her baptism was on Saturday. She called me on Saturday, crying and thanking me for the time i spent with her. She told me she loved me and wished that i could have been there. I couldn’t because i had to take care of my area. But i was sooooo happy that i could be a part of her progress and see the growth of the seed i planted. Especially that i could see the growth of a seed i planted while i was on my mission. Sister Pinheiro got to go to the baptism because her area is closer. My area is about 5 hours away. But it was sooo good to hear her voice and to see how happpy she is. and another thing, she was baptised by her son. Her son is 16 years old. It was such a blessing to see his progress too. I’m soo happy about that. 
   The other phone called i received on friday. It was my other child in Caico. Do you remember the family i was teaching there? Sandro and Aline? They were a couple that needed to get married before they could be baptised. When i was there we did everything we could possibly do and they were progressing a lot but they were still a little bit unsure about getting married. We talked a lot with them about the family a proclamation to the world and gave them one. We brought tons of members to their house and we did everything possible and when i left they were a more open to the idea of marriage, but the new sister there helped them a little bit more and they decided to get married and be baptised. When they called they were at their house. They passed the phone to aline and she told me about the wedding. They will get married about 15 of december and then they will be baptised (and then sandro will be the next bishop... i believe) and then they said the other news. Do you remember Vanessa? She is visiting the church, its been 10 years and she doesn’t want to be baptised. Well she decided to be baptised too and she wants me to be there!!!!!  I want to soooooooo freaking bad. She will have to talk to her mom and everything but i am sooo happy that she made that decision. I am overwhelmed with happiness. What a blessing to see this on my mission!!!!! The part that i loved the most is that every single one of them wanted to tell me. I am important enough in their lives that they wanted to tell me. I am sooo happy. 
Well i love you all. Thank you for your prayers. They have been answered a lot lately. I pray for you all every day.
love, sister j. baker 

And i almost forgot some other great news!!!!!! This week we had 2 baptisms!!! A dad and daughter and we are working on the mom. It’s the first time that i will baptise a whole family!!!! What a blessing. Their names are Kleber and Vitoria. It’s sooo cute and precious to see this family. I love the mission. They are wonderful and they will help a lot in this ward. 
  And also i played the violin in the celebration night of the opening of a new chapel in Mossoro and sang. It was cool. A member will send pictures. 
i love you

love, sister j baker

Monday, November 16, 2015

I love kids!

 Something special that happened this week was how much i realized that God and Jesus love the children. They love them so much they are soo pure. Sometimes it’s really hard to baptise children because you don’t know if they will stay in the church because its hard for them to go by themselves. So we try not to baptise very many kids without someone responsible to help them. But over and over again i am amazed with the purity of children and their willingness to hear about the gospel. One day we were walking in the street and we heard a little voice calling after us "senhorita! (miss! miss!)" we turned around and there was a little girl that was about 5 years old. She said "senhorita, are you from the mormon church?" We said yes. Her eyes got really wide she looked behind her and called to her older sister who is about 11 years old. "Come hear! they are mormons!!!" and they both came running. They asked if we could find a way to bring them to visit the church and we said of course, and we would love to come to your house and visit your parents and teach you lessons. When we went to their house it mad me want to cry. Their house has two rooms and a bathroom. It’s about as big as our storage room. It broke my heart. Their mom works her tail off to try and provide for her kids. It breaks my heart. We are going to do everything possible to help this family. 
     My other experience is pretty special too. We went to a poor part of town because there were some recent converts that live there that stopped going to church so we went there and invited them to church. We invited them and their neighbors and we found out that one of their kids isn’t baptised. So this week we baptised her son. But the thing that really touched me was a little girl who came up to me and said that she really wanted to go to church but her mom wouldn’t let her. She said "aunty (all of the kids call us titia or aunty) will you talk to my mom to see if she will let me go to church?" and so i went and asked her mom.  Her mom said that she will think about it. So when we were leaving the little girl called out to us. "tia! come here!" "tia pray that my mom will let me go to church!" The next day when we went, her mom let her go. Heavenly Father sure loves children. I love working with children. 
Well i love you all. Thank you soo much for your prayers. 
The names of my baptisms this week is Yascara and Everson. They are adorable. 
i love you all

love, sister j baker

A note to Momma

My leadership meeting was good.  I am trying really hard to make a difference. ha ha in the meeting everyone was talking about things that we could do better as leaders and how the people we lead sometimes don’t like us and stuff and i just kept quiet for a bit, but at one point i asked for the mic and i started to talk about how we should act and what we should do as leaders. I said that when we ask if there is anything we can do to help isn’t helping. What we really need to do is leave our area and start to help. We have to really want to help and care about the missionaries and everything. I said some really strong words and everyone kept really quiet and President was just nodding his head. Everyone was in awe because what i said was really bold for someone that just started to be a leader. President loved what i said and commented on it. It was great, I felt good. 
   I am good with money. (Momma note~I asked her if we needed to put some extra money in her account to cover travel expenses.) I am learning how to control my money and buy things that i need and not what i want. It’s really good. haha. 
  I love you sooo much. hey my mission is ending really soon and i want to get as much out of these 4 months as possible. So what is one thing that you think i should work on for the last 4 months so that i can be a better person and learn as much as possible?
i love you so much!
love, sister j. baker

This is the little girl that Sister Baker braided her hair for her baptism at the request
of the girl and her mother.