Monday, January 26, 2015

I looooove the people in Currais Novos!

So this week was pretty great. One thing that i have been noticing lately is that my portuguese has improved TONS! I was sitting and conversing with a bunch of brazilians and i didn’t even realize that i was understanding everything and responding to everything until after. It was such a great feeling. I have really really been able to talk. I am also starting to think in portuguese. Right now its just translating everything i want to say in my head or everything i am thinking into portuguese but it is a step in the right directioin. It also helps that a new Elder came into our district straight off the plane. He started about where I started and it just makes me realize how far i have come. Sometimes he looks so lost and i know exactly everything thats going on. people ask for me to translate to him which makes me feel good because i was in his place where i didnt understand anything just 3 months ago. Now im not saying that i can speak perfect or that im fluent or anything but man have i come a long way. I have a long way to go but i have come a long way. I didn’t realize but the shock of being away from home and the culture shock has worn off as well. Mariquinha (a member that is like a mother to all the missionaries and always has food when we need it) fed us my favorite food Fava. It is a type of bean and has the bones and fat of some animal at the bottom of the pot. It is delicious. My favorite. When i first got here i was like 'gross! thats what everyone warned me about' but now I'm totally used to it and i love it. 
   So we have a baptism marked for next week. She truly is elect. Man we love her. She is a reference of one of the members. The first time that we met with her we thought that the lessons wouldnt go too far because she didn’t really want to meet with us or talk with us. Turns out she is just really shy. After a while she warmed up a little and we are really good friends. i love her to death. The first time she went to church she started crying and we all wondered why she was crying and if we did something wrong but we talked to her after and she said that she felt the spirit and remembered a dream she had. She dreamed that she loved Me and Sister Lencini and was baptized and she felt the spirit so strong. Wow. I am so excited for her baptism. The next lesson we left a scripture for her to read. We returned the next time and she said that she read and that she couldn’t sleep so she spent a lot of time reading and studying the scriptures and look up stuff on the internet and stuff and that she loves the church, she knows its true and she wants to be baptized. Man those are good words to hear. She said that before we visited her she had heard a lot of bad things about the church and that she had a lot of questions but now she is willing to accept it all and she can hardly wait to be baptized. Lemme tell you as far as getting people to accept our message and be baptized and come to church, this week was sooooo hard. But God always blesses those who work and man has he blessed us. I am so excited for her baptism. I can hardly wait. 
   I love my area. I loooooove love love the members and my recent converts here. I know that i stayed here in currais novos for a reason and i am ready to baptise everyone in this next transfer. 
   So we have started "projeito emagracer" "Project to get skinny"  I’m fat man. I feel like a truck. So we have started to go to the gym. Wahoo. we have to wake up a bit earlier but its worth it becuase i dont want to be a truck in a year and 2 months. man. But ill get there dont worry.Its really hard because when people love you here, they give you food. So at almost every house i go to they try and feed me. I have recieved more mangos and chocolate bars and popcorn bags then i can count. And cake. They love their little cakes here. Thats something i really like about the people in the north east. They love to give things to people. If people find out that you like something they will give you that thing. Its wonderful. People here found out that i like mangos. I dont have enough fingers and toes to count how many bags of mangos i have recieved. They all come up to me at church or at their houses when we visit and say "so i heard that you love mangos so i got you some mangos!" Man. I want to be more like them. That is something i am working on. 
Well everyone. Thats all i got for you. I sure love you all. i am very grateful for your prayers. I am praying for each one of you.
Love you all!

Love, Sister Baker

Wednesday, January 21, 2015

Oh Rats!

Feeling much better, rats, bird poop, and tea!  The adventures of a missionary in Brazil!  So thankful for prayer and a loving Heavenly Father who hears and answers prayers.  So thankful for loving family and friends support and for their prayers!  ~Momma Baker

So this week was an adventure ill tell you that much. We had another miracle baptism. We had a baptism marked for sunday, but Victor, the guy who was going to be baptised called and said that his dad wouldn't let him, which is really sad. His brother, his sister in law, his mom and his other brother are all members of the church. His mom and dad are divorced and he lives with his mom so technically he could get baptised anyways but he didn't want to make more contention in the family because there already was a fair amount of contention with his parents being divorced and all. So that baptism fell through so that was a bummer. When he turns 18 he will be baptised though so thats good at least we planted a seed. Anyways so we were feeling kindof down because a baptism fell through and we were sitting in the principles class with all the recent converts and we see this little head peak through the window. So Sister Lencini went out and talked to this cute little old man for about a half an hour. He loves the church. He goes to church every Sunday and he feels like he is already a member. He lives in Natal right now but is buying a house and moving to Currais Novos the next week and so Sister Lencini asked him if we wanted to be baptised and he said yes of course so he was baptised. I cant pronounce his name otherwise i would tell you what is was but i dont really know. Ill let you know next week when i have talked to him for more than 2 minutes. He is a bright soul i can tell you that. I reminds me of a little elfish creature. 
   So we had a rat in our house. We were getting ready for bed, i was sitting on my bed in the bedroom and my comp was in the bathroom and out of the corner of my eye i saw something move so i looked over in time to see a rat run underneath our closet. I yelled to my comp "Sister! um Rato!!!" and she screamed a little bit and ran out of the bathroom. (Momma note: rato in portuguese is mouse so my guess is she means mouse not rat-from the pictures either that or it's a baby rat!) so we grabbed a broom, a squiggy mop thing that we call um rodo (pronouced hoe doe) , ax and fire and a bucket and stood ready like fierce assassinators ready for our prey. I was standing right next to the closet ready to do something, i really didnt know what yet, but i was ready man. And sister lencini started to poke under the closet with the broom. All of the sudden the rat ran out from under the closet and straight for me. It ran OVER MY FOOT and back under the closet. oh my gosh. gross. This whole time we were screaming like little babies. So we decided to try again. I got ready with the Rodo as my weapon this time in the door way. Sister Lencini started poking under the closet again and this time it ran straight for me! I wasnt going to let it get away this time so obviously i started beating the heck out of it. First swing of the rodo i nailed right in the middle. but i had to be sure it was dead so i whacked it a couple more times like a serial killer until i thought it was dead. Then of course i went to grab my camera. When i was gone to get my camera i heard a shout from the other room. "Sister its moving!" so i ran back in and it was flinching its paw so i had to beat it a couple more times. And thats how i became a serial killer of rats. Gross. 

   Another gross adventure happened to me this week. We were making contacts in the street and we stopped by these lovely ladies that we sitting outside of their house. It went like this: "Hi we are missionaries for the church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints my name is Sister Baker and this is my companion Sister Lencini. What is your name?" and one said "Terezinha" "pleasure to meet you Terezinha!" and i reached out my hand to shake her hand and bird crap landed right on my arm. She laughed, i laughed and she invited me in to wash my arm. And then we set up a time that we could come teach them the gospel. Boom Baptism. 

As i have said before the people here love their coffee and tea. Most of the tea here is just herbs and water and sometimes sugar so its not against the word of wisdom. And you can buy this stuff called cervada which is the same thing as coffee just without the caffine. So of course i have been offered tea and coffee (cervada) many times at members houses. (Momma note:  Cervada is made out of a grain not a coffee bean. It's kind of like Postum.   They suggest that the members drink this instead of coffee.  Also the tea is okay to drink because it is fresh herbs.  They are told specific teas to teach the people to not drink like black tea etc.) At first i hated it i thought it was repulsive, but now i actually like it. Its kind of good.  Its kind of weird here on the missh. My love for coffee and Tea has grown a lot, ha ha, as well as my love for tomatoes. I love tomatoes. I eat them plain. So good.  

Well it was tranfers this week. Not much changed. I stayed here in Currais Novos with Sister Lencini. I am happy about transfers. I love my comp she's great. She's not like a best friend that i giggle with but she is a really good comp.  One Elder in my District, Elder Ribeiro finished his 2 years and returned to his house. He was super trunky and the end poor kid. and Elder Harris was transferred to a different area which was sad but you know there is an ancient time maximum which roughly translates to 'he who is resistant to change is destined to parish' So i guess that its for the best. Imma miss him though. He was a homie. 
Also Barbara moved to Natal. I miss her. (mom note: Barbara is a less active member that Joci was working with.  Barbara posted pictures with Joci on instagram.  She also called from Barbara's house on Christmas.  They formed a sweet friendship.)  Well that's all for now. I sure love you guys!!! untill next week!
Sister J. Baker

Also i was sick last week. Super sick They said it was either Rubella, dangy or this other name of somethings that i dont know how to spell. All of these sicknesses are from stinking misquitos. They were going to draw blood to see which one it was but i wouldnt let them so i just took a bath in Camomilla tea and took some meds for the sick and for the throat. I stayed sick until thursday last week. It was horrible. i felt better after 2 days. Well enough to work but i couldnt go out in the sun because of my sick. Ich. Horrible. Moral of the story. Dont get bit by a misquitos. 
I love you 
Sister J. Baker

This is Joci's rash with her sickness.

This is a portion in response to Jake's letter:
Some days are harder than others and somedays i feel like i don’t even know why i’m here and that it was be easier to go home but i didn’t come out here thinking that it would be easy. I came out here for everyone other than myself and i guess that the attitude that you have to have. When i was sick i started thinking of all the negatives because i was sitting around and doing nothing. I was thinking about how i couldn’t speak the language and how i wasn’t even making a difference and how my companion doesn’t love love love me like my other one did and how i was getting fat and how i didn’t have any investigators and loved me to death and then i realized how many freaking times i thought about myself and changed my out look and the rest of the week was awesome and i love love love my comp and my investigators and everyone. Its better that way. You just have to get to work. I love you.  I miss you. Keep up the good work
Until next week,

Sister Baker

Monday, January 12, 2015

Spoiled Rotten and Fransica is baptized!

Our cute Sister Baker is doing well in spirit but not so good physically.  She is sick with a sore throat, a rash and a fever.  She also has some pretty big bug bites with a purple bruise around the bites from the sound of it! She is a little bit worried and is wondering what to do.  Uggh!  I've been on my knees praying for her several times this morning.   I know that she is in Heavenly Father's hands, but I also know that she has to go through some hard things that I can't do anything about!  I can pray for her though.   Thank you so much to everyone who has sent her love through packages, letters and prayers.  She feels so blessed and feels your love and support.  Thank you for remembering Joci in your prayers!  ~Momma Baker

We had a Zone conference this last week so we got MAIL!! and oh my goodness sakes. I have the best family in the whole entire world (and by family i mean everyone that i love) I have enough food to last me a milenium. gee i love you guys! Thank you all soooo much!!! I sure am a lucky girl!!
So we had a baptism. It was wonderful. Her name is Fransisca (even though she has the same name as a million of our investigators she is one in a million) I love love her. she is awesome and i can tell that she is going to be very strong in the church. She makes the best dindin. I will be fat because of her dindin. I will send a picture of dindin next week. Its like heaven in a little plastic bag. I cant really explain dindin because its unlike anything that we have in the usa, but i will try. Its like ice cream, but its not. And its a little bit like pudding but its not and its kind of a little bit like a gogurt but its not. It’s made out of milk and sweetened condensed milk and stuff like that and then you add the flavor of your choice for example maracuja (a delicious fruit) or peanuts. ... well there you go. Don’t worry i have the recipe so you can bet that i will be making it when i get home. HEAVEN
Well lately I have been having a really hard time with words that are really similar but mean totally different things. For example perder, peidar and pedir. Perder means to loose, peidar means to fart, and pedir means to ask. The other day i told my comp that i peidei 2 kilos which means that i farted 2 kilos. Now that is quite the fart. That’s enough to fill up a whole room! 
Sorry this email is short. It was a good week this week but I don’t really have very many stories. Its really sad. A lot of people that were going to be baptized and who had baptism dates decided to not accept the gospel and asked us to not teach them anymore. Thats a real downer. But we had a baptism so i’m happy. I love you all i keep praying for you and i’m grateful for your prayers. Next week is transfers so i wont be writing until Wednesday. 
I love you all
Have a wonderful week
Sister J. Baker

The following are Joci’s emails to me.  She is sick and was wondering what to do.  Being so far away and diagnosing a rash and sore throat are hard so far a way so I started asking her questions which made her think I was worried.  I am concerned but more wanted to help her know if she needed to go to the doc.  In Brazil they take you to a hospital and give you a shot.  The first time she was sick she found this out by being taken there.  It wasn’t a positive experience.  Joci does not do well with shots, at all!   Uggh!  So maybe I am a little bit worried.  Pray! Please pray!  ~Momma Baker

Joc: Mom I got sick yesterday with a sore throat and my neck and head hurt so i took a bunch of meds and today i have a rash... it might have something to do with the giant bug bites on my foot that have a purple bruise around them.  What do i do? If i go to the doc here they will just give me a shot. I don’t need a shot! What do i do?

Mom:  Hello Sweetie.  Tell me the details about what your rash looks like.  How long have you had the bug bites?

Joc:  The bug bites have been there for 3 days i think.. or 2... something like that. i don’t think its that. They will get better. I’m not too worried. i will rest and be good tomorrow. i’m sorry you are worried. Don’t worry.

I feel bad now. You’re worried about me. Don’t worry. I will be ok. I promise. I will go to the doc if it doesn’t get better soon. I took an airborn and advil and stuff and i feel better. but thank goodness today is pday and i can relax. The rash is flat like and not bumpy.  All the missionaries share cups... so thats a downer. I don’t know man. Its rough. 

Its just a little baby one. It doesnt itch i dont think. On my arms its going away on my neck it looks blotchy. my face looks blotchy too. i haven’t looked at the rest of my body yet. I had a fever of 100.3 this morning but i took an ibprofein so it went down and i don’t think i have a fever now. I’m not too worried about it right now, but i will be if it keeps up. it might be heat rash as well. i might have worked myself sick. on saturday we worked the whole day out in the hot sun and we only sat down one time in one house. We worked in the hot sun from 6:30 until 8 in the sun because we had to get everyone to church and we had a baptism real early so it could be from that too... i dont know. This week i didn’t sleep well at all. I never slept the whole night through this week. I don’t know what has been happening. I think i just need sleep and lots of water and ill be good in a couple of days. Don’t worry about me.

Mom:  Don't feel bad and I am not worried. I'm just asking questions so I know how to help you.  I know you are in Heavenly Father's hands.  That being said I also know that you have to go through some hard things and being sick isn't fun!  Have your comp look down your throat and look for white spots in your throat.  If the rash is like sandpaper you could have strep?  If that's the case you will need antibiotics or a shot to get the infection out of your body.   Pray and you will know what to do.  Try to not drink out of other missionaries cups if at all possible...   If it doesn't get better call the mission pres wife and she will know where you should go to get help.  Our family just said a prayer for you and I am praying for you.  I love you sooooo much.  More than words can say.  It stinks to be sick.  Wrap up in the blanket from home and here is a hug from me.  I hope you feel better soon.  I love you.

Joc: Alright sounds good. i will do that. thanks mom. Thanks a bunch. You are a big help. I dont know what i would do without you. Its kind of different here with sickness so sometimes i dont really know what to do. but thank you. You helped a bunch.
I read your email and i just want to say that i look up to you so much. It sounds like you are having a blast with those kids. I want to see you teaching i bet you do amazing. wow. I’m sure you are a blessing in their lives. 
Thank you for everything. thank you for your prayers. i pray for you every day too. 
I love you

Monday, January 5, 2015

Man Oh Man!

Sebastio and Joci

You know it would be really nice to take away the free agency of some people.  (Momma note: in my letter she said she had to work with a lot of people this week that didn't want to obey the rules)

This week has been a really good one.  I was able to testify and really participate in the lessons not just give my little part of the lesson, really really participate. It was awesome. Well we have this investigator named Guedts.   He is really great. I have had him since before Sister Moraes and Sister Do Vale left. The thing is, he knows this church is true. He knows it. but something is holding him back. I don't know exactly what it is. We have talked about it a lot but we haven't really gotten anywhere. One time he almost got baptised but he backed out the same day. For a while we couldn't get a hold of him. My companion had only had 2 lessons with him and didn't really understand how close he was to baptism and so she wanted to cut him.   (Momma Clarification: Stop working with him, Kaiti thought she was going to cut him with a sharp object.  Stop working with him is a little clearer.)  We had only called 2 or 3 times and stopped by his house 2 or 3 times and he wasn't there. He has a lot of work so its hard to get a hold of him but because of that she wanted to cut him. I was trying to convince her that we couldn't cut him but she is the senior so sometimes theres nothing really i can do. Any way, so we were walking by his house one day and (by a miracle) He came walking by! He stopped and smiled and waved to us and we went over to talk to him. We asked him if there was anything that he was doing right not and if we could have a lesson. He said that we could and we went and sat down on a bench. We started with a prayer as usual and then gave a lesson about baptism. We talked a bit about why he has doubts. He has almost read all of the Book of Mormon. and I guess he just wants to know more before he is baptised. He wants to know just about everything before baptism and then i don't know where it came from but i bore the most powerful testimony. I told then story of how i knew that the church was true and how i left my family and my home and everything that was comfortable so that i could share what i know and what makes me happy with the people in Brazil. Then i told him that i know with my whole heart and body that this church is true. I know because i asked god and i waited for an answer. I then i told him that he can know that the this church is true the same way i do if he asks God. I told him to pray that same night and ask with real intent. Not just 'if i get an answer great and if i don't that's fine too', no. Really REALLY wanting an answer and waiting until you get one. And then when he gets one, Act on it and be baptised. by this time a was a little teary eyed. (tears weren’t streaming down my face i just had a little glisten in my eye) Then he looked at me and said "i want that same glow that you have in your face." And i said "that glow is the spirit because i know this is true" He then promised to pray and ask god that same night. And we havent seen him until today. Man i have been praying hard for that guy. We will have another lesson with him on Wednesday. I hope it goes well. We could have 4 baptisms on Saturday. I hope we do. the last 2 fell through because they were going out of town. We tried relly hard, but i guess we couldnt change their plans. But next week for sure and maybe 2 more the net week. We will see. 
Anywheyss... Things are going really good. I am trying hard thats for sure. This Mission is full of trying. A lot of times its fails. You guys hear at home a lot about the wins but there are a lot of fails. For example i tried really hard to bear testimony to another Investigator Lucrecia (wife of Sebastiao the guy who crossed himself at baptism) and she shut me down. And Mario. Sometimes i can get through to him and sometimes i cant. He didnt drink this week until Sunday. Still trying on that on. 
As for the new things im eating, i ate baby bird on sunday. It was really good. You just eat the whole thing. The bones are so tiny that you eat them too. Its just crunchy chicken. Yummm! ha ha. 
Well thats all for now!! im happy most of the time :) I hope you all are too!!!! im praying for each one of you! i know that God is watching over all of us! 
Until next week,
love, Sister Baker 

From Jake’s letter 

AAAAHH Jake!  When I heard that you started your  papers.  Oh my gosh.  That is the best thing i have ever heard.  I think I’m going to cry.  Oh you’re going to love love love your mission.  I can hardly wait for you to get out.   Oh my gosh.  The mission changes you so much.  You have to experience it to know what i’m talking about.  I get up at 6:30 and i’m not even grumpy.  I hang up my clothes, im closer to other people than i ever have been before im closer to God, you love people you have never even met.  It is incredible.  You are going to be such a good missionary.  I am so excited for you.  Oh Jake!!!! My guess is Argentina for this week.  I will pray and see after, ha ha.

From Kaiti’s letter
(Kaiti has really been missing Joci so this is in response to her letter)
Sometimes life is pretty rough.  Its hard because i love you guys and i want to be with you guys but i cant.  But the funniest thing is when i dpong what im supposed to be doing and working hard it doesn’t hurt as much.  When im sitting on my bed being lazy or not focusing on my investigators i really really miss you.  So my suggestion is stay busy.  I love you and im glad you miss me.  Its better than you being glad im gone. Ha ha

From Momma Baker’s letter

(Joci was not a morning person, so I asked her about how she was doing.  I also asked if she still wakes up to birds like at the MTC, and if she can see the pictures of us on my blog and dropbox)

Mama, Things are good. I am rocking this getting up in the morning thing. And i make my bed and say my prayers and i hang my clothes up. Wow!! its amazing what a mission can do to you. I responsible now dang it. Ha ha. But no i don't wake up to birds. I wake up the water truck. Theres a water truck that goes around at 6 in the morning if people need to refill their water jugs. It has a bell that dings over and over and over again.  not as good as birds. 
I also rock at cooking tapioca. (that thing you looked up before the missh) i'm going to bring some tapioca when i come back thats for sure. Its good stuff. 
That story about the lady is amazing. I am so glad that you are looking for ways to serve. You are such and example to me. Thank you. 
I do look at the pics on the drop box and i am going to get on the blog today.
Anyways. I love you. I will get the packages and cards this week at the zone conference. Wahoo!! i love Zone Conferences!!! 
I love you and pray for you! Love, Sister Baker

ps. Thank you for everything. you are such a good support for me. I love to hear about your life and everything. I love you

From Dad’s Letter
(Mark sent a picture of him in Fafs-my grandpa, orange jumpsuit, btw Faf is the only one who can really pull this off.)
oh dad, you are so dumb. Im gunna be honest here, you really pull off that jumpsuit. its very.... like you. I love it. please always wear it. Don’t listen to kaiti. She doesn’t know. ha ha
I am so glad to hear that the christmas break is a success. sounds like you guys had a party. And i’m glad that your testimony meeting was good because mine sucked. The bishop got up for his testimony and threw a fit and chewed everyone out and then threatened to ask to be released as bishop. That was really great for my investigators to see. So everyone else that went up to bear their testimonies tried to like rile up the congregation and like get them excited about being members of the church and to start magnifying their callings so the bishop wouldn’t be released. I didn’t feel the spirit during that meeting. That was frustrating. On a happy note, I was studying in my house the other day and all of the sudden i hear music from outside (they have some really intense car speakers here. Like really intense ill send a pic) and i hurry and run outside. You will never believe what song it was. Sultans of swing. Thats right. And i could barely hear so i was straining to hear it from our balcony and they turned it up in time that i could hear the sick solo at the end. It was beautiful.
I love you. Have fun in the freezing cold while i sweat through my shirt! ha ha 
I love you have a good week im praying for you. Thanks for your prayers. I really feel them i really do. 

Love, Sister Baker

Sebastio, his wife Lucrecia, Sister Vincini and Sister J Baker

Symbol for baptism

The baby bird she ate.  Could it be the same baby bird she was
holding on the hammock the last email???  Idk!!

Sunday, January 4, 2015

More instagram pics!

Sunday Afternoon, after church.

This is after a wedding that Joci sang at.