Monday, July 27, 2015

The good and the bad...

There is always good things about my week and the bad things that i would rather forget. The good thing about this week is that i had an awesome Sunday. It was wonderful. I loved it. When we went to pick up our investigators and the 2 people that would be confirmed on Sunday they were all waiting in the front of their houses all ready and beautiful in their new Sunday clothes. It was sooo cute and almost brought tears to my eyes. It was awesome. The other thing  that was suuuper cool is that my recent convert is telling her friends about the gospel and she decided to bring her friend to church. It was such a blessing. They were all so cute and ready for church. It was wonderful to see my investigatores in the church benches all happy and loving church. Maria Rosa told me that every time that she comes to church she has an emotional experience. I love that. I felt so blessed to be a part of the spiritual experience of these people. 
    The other wonderful thing is that happened is that Mara is progressing again. I love that so much. I was really worried about her for a bit but now she is getting better and i bore my testimony to her and told her that she doesn’t need to be perfect and that Heavenly Father doesn’t want he to be a perfect little mormon who fits the perfect little mormon stereotype and that made her feel a lot better. I am so grateful that i was able to listen to the spirit and tell her the things that she needed to hear. 
   The bad thing is that our investigator with a baptismal date for this week was breaking the law of chastity and didn’t stop to be baptized so we are working with him a little bit with this so that he can be baptized on this next week. and also i get a little bit frustrated with him because he fears his friends more than he fears God. It’s been a bit hard to talk with him about this. I just get frustrated but i love him still and we are working a lot with him. 
   Today was an awesome pday. We spent it with some of our favorite people in the whole world. Jessi and Ausha and their families. I don’t think i have talked much about them yet, but they are wonderful. And if i return here (i will) i am planning on visiting them. We went the the biggest cashew tree again and Mcdonalds and Pirangi beach to see it, and it was wonderful. 
Well fam, I love you all you are wonderful. Thank you for your prayers 

love, Sister J. Baker

Oh mama i am so glad that you all had a wonderful week. I can tell you that i would have loved to go to starvation and to go boating but i am also super glad that i am here. This is a wonderful place to be. man we saw the beach today and lemme tell you. It is soooooo beautiful. I cant even believe how beautiful it is. 
I loved to hear about every single person. I can really imagine it,  just how it happened! I loved it sooo much. Thank you for giving me that.  (Momma note:  I gave details about our weekend at Starvation Res. )
Holy cow! It sounds like everything is exactly the same but different. ha ha. I cant wait to get there and to see how everyone changed and how everyone is different. This week i was thinking about how beautiful you are. I have a really beautiful mom. You really are breathtaking. Sometimes i think that you don't think that you are beautiful but i want you to know that you are really really beautiful and i want to be just like you when i grow up. 
You are an example to me. Keep up the good work.
Thank you for sending the chacos. I would look here but i think that our best bet is sending another because i think i am going to go to Mossoro or Souza and these places are a little bit more ghetto then where I'm at now. Well i love you and i am grateful for you.
love sister j. baker

Sounds like you had a wonderful week on starvation. man i miss boating. did you take pictures? i wanna see!!!!! 
You know i know that you say exactly what people need to hear.  (Momma note: Mark had his first High Counsel speaking assignment in another ward) I think it all depends on your intent. if you go to speak wanting to make everyone feel burned, they will feel burned. If you give a talk wanting to help people feel the spirit, ,they feel the spirit. I know that heavenly father helps us. Man i have given a couple talks in church and when i went to the front to talk it just flowed. I haven't gotten so used to talking and bearing testimony in front of people that i didn't even plan. I went to the front, i told a story about one of my recent converts and bore testimony and gave a scripture of the top of my head and it was perfect. Man, i have progressed a lot. Holy cow. I remember this and you know i can clearly see when i started to progress and when i started to develop the qualities that i have developed. It was when I started to have a hard time. When i started to struggle. Hard things make you grow. I know that. 
Well dad i love you soooo much and i love hearing from you. Thank you for sharing your experiences with me. 
I love you so much. My legs and hips are a lot better. The hurt goes to different places always. Now its a bit more on my feet and hips. It's weird but i am stretching and it is helping. 
I love you
love, sister baker

               Here are some pictures of the broken house that was in last weeks letter!

Monday, July 20, 2015

Don't touch it! It will break!!

 Well this week everything in our apartment broke. I am saying everything. I’ll tell you the story. Well first of all Sister Coelho put eggs in the microwave to cook them. We all know that that doesn’t work. They exploded and the microwave burnt out. Then we were cleaning the house and Sister Pinheiro tried to move the fridge and the fridge door fell. Next, Sister brown and Sister Coelho were trying to move a big gallon of water and they put it in the sink and the sink fell through. Then i was washing the dishes and i went to turn off the water and the tap fell into my hands and water started spraying everywhere. I wont even mention the bed with only three legs and the water problem in our bathroom and our freezer the seals up with ice and leaks water. Man oh man. It’s a problem here. We are all fine but i think satan is trying to destroy our house. ha ha ha. But don’t worry, Sister Soares is coming to our apartment today to buy new stuff for our apartment. 
   The rest of everything this week was good. We baptised a grandma and a granddaughter. It was cute to see them it was a miracle that she was baptised. We had 8 investigators at church this week. It was a miracle and we have a lot of new investigatores who are wonderful. I am so excited for them. I send a picture of a family that will get married and then baptised. They are wonderful. Things are going good with our wonderland street. 
   We are teaching a man named gesse (its pronounced kind of like g.c.) he is so funny to teach. He will be baptised next week. and Mara hasn’t received an answer yet. She thinks that she already received an answer but she didn’t pay attention when she received it. I’m worried. 
   Well i love you all. You are wonderful. Keep praying. I love you
love, sister j. baker

A note to mom:
I don’t know Mara´s last name, sorry. I will find out. or you can just put her name in and Heavenly Father will know who we are talking about. Man i love the people i am teaching. I was thinking about when i go home the other day and all of the sudden i got a big hurt in my heart about leaving all these people that i love. But for reals i love these people, i love Brasil! I love brazilians! I love the culture. I love how you can go to anyones house and be welcomed there and its wonderful. I just want to live in 2 places at once. ha ha.
    Hey i know you love me and don't want to make a big deal but i just dont want you to worry. I'm fine. I will try to take my shoes to a shoe place to get them fixed but i dont know... i will try. I think itll work i just have to find a place that i trust. there are some places that will just rip you off. You know the sole of the shoe on the bottom? the solel ripped and the strap came out. I will take it to a shoe place. 
    Yeah i think it is my hip joint.  It doesnt hurt that much anymore. Ever since i told you it has gotten better. I think its all the praying that you do. and the family. Tell them thanks. and thank you. and i have been stretching a little bit. Now it just hurts when i get up in the morning. 
    It’s still raining every single day. It doesn’t stop. ever. and its like 70 degrees. Thats not hot. 
    Hey the bathroom and your room look really good!!!! good job!!! 
I just want to thank you sooo much for being my best mom. You are just so good to me. You always help me through everything and have really become my best friend. I love you so much and I’m glad that we can be best friends for ever and ever and ever. i love you
The family looks beautiful. 
love, sister baker

A portion of Dad's letter:
 I am wonderful this week. This week was a hard week but a good week. I think thats how all the weeks go. 
I love you dad and i am soo grateful for everything you do for me. You know i think the second that i told you guys about my legs they started to get better. I think its because you all started to pray for me. When i get up in the morning i hurt still, but its not as bad now. 
Thank you so much for everything. i love you more than words can say.
love, sister baker

Monday, July 13, 2015

Alice in Wonderland!

 Many miracles happened this past week. The first and most exciting thing that happened is that we marked the baptism of Mara!!!! Oh my goodness gracious. that is a real live miracle. She is the one who has doubts about EVERYTHING. from Joseph Smith to the Book of Mormon to the classes in church to the baptism to the law of chastity to the word of wisdom and everything in between. We had a good conversation with her. We decided on not giving a lesson and just having a conversation to talk about some of her doubts. and man did we talk. about everything. But finally i said "look, Mara, you have so many doubts and so many questions and you disagree with almost everything in the church and a lot of members. Why do you keep looking and wanting to find out more?" and she thought for a second or two and thought for another second or two and finally said "because I don’t see myself going back to the catholic church and this could very well be true." and so finally we got somewhere. We started to ask if she was reading the book of mormon to prove that it was false or true or to get an answer to her prayers and she started to understand that what she needed to do was ask her Father in Heaven for an answer if the Book of Mormon is true. We have already invited her to do this millions of times and we have even prayed with her and she has been reading everything in every church manual and the book of mormon a TON but she hasn’t been praying with faith to get an answer. So finally she realized that that is what she needs to do. So we said "hey lets take a step of faith and mark your baptism." and she agreed. We marked her baptism for august 8th. At first she was a little bit weird about it but before we left she started to say over and over "august 8th, august 8th, my baptism day" i am soooo excited. Pray for her that she can recognize the answer when it comes. 
 The other miracle is super weird but super cool. We were contacting people in the street and not having any luck so i remembered a street that was a little bit poorer than others so we went to contact people there. We started to talk to people and it worked more or less, but then someone said "you know the people on the next street love this kind of stuff! you should go there." But we were like "this is the last street on the block" and they said "no theres one more! Just go through this little skinny alley and you will enter into the next street" we didn’t see the alley so we asked them again and the showed us a little tiny little alley that barely fit my shoulders with a little gate so we went (i was a little scared but we just went) and when the alley opened we were on the last street in our area. Not a single other missionary found this street that has past here. We were the first. and everyone is practically asking to be baptized. We marked 8 baptisms in 1 day. It was a miracle. I felt like Alice in wonderland that went through the rabbit hole and found wonderland. This is a true story. 
Anyways i don’t think anything else happened, other than a hippy with dreds asked me to leave the mission and grab a backpack and live with him in the street. (i was tempted) but just this. I am loving life. I hope we have a productive week this week. Please pray for leonardo, rafaele, roberia, maria rosa and joberson, Naide and Fransisco. They need to be married to get baptized. So pray for them that they will have the desire to make sacrifices and feel the need to join the church. and pray for Mara who needs to get an answer. 
i love you all. Thank you for your support and your prayers. I love you
love, sister baker

Momma Note:  This is a part of my letter from Joc. 

MOM! I broke my chacos!!!!!!! I am sooo mad!!! turns out that when you walk almost 15 miles a day, your unbreakable shoes break. I think i’m going to try and glue them together but i don’t know if that will work. I might have to buy some new ones. I think i will use my others for now. But they are hanging on by a thread right now too. Man oh man i think that is why my legs are hurting, because we walk so much. It’s sooooo much!  Sometimes its a lot of pain but its mainly when i get up in the morning and when i stand up from sitting down and at the end of a really long day that we walked a heck of a lot. It’s mainly in my hips and my joint upper inner thigh and my feet. But i learned some stretches from Sister Brown and its gotten a lot better.  

I love you soo much. Don’t worry about me i’m fine and i’m being protected by the Lord every day. 
I love you 

love, sister Bacon

Monday, July 6, 2015

And yet another week...

Well its another week. This week was good, but still hard. as usual. I am starting to want to get out of this area. I have learned to love it a lot, but i am not capable to do the things that this area needs. I don’t know what i need to do but my heck its suuuper hard here. It’s rough. Yet another week that i didn’t baptize anyone. What a bummer. But i am working hard. It’s just been rough is all.
   It was the transfers week. I stayed with my child and in the same area. The only thing that changed is that Sister Lopes went to another area. She is now sister training leader. She will do amazing things. I love her to death. I hope to always be friends with her.  
   So one of the weirdest things that happened this week is 2 new old investigators that came in the our teaching group again. We had cut Gildo and Socrates because we weren’t being able to enter in contact with them for a couple of weeks and they wouldn’t go to church so we had to cut them. But this week, something crazy happened! Gildo appeared at church out of nothing! This man was athiest and he was sure that God didn’t exist but when he showed up in church he said that he missed it and felt the absence of the church in his life. WHAT! and so he changed his mind and said that he believed in God and that he just was incapable of feeling the Holy ghost. So, get this, he wants to watch us giving a lesson to other people to see how they feel the spirit. I told him he could, but how he could feel the spirit and receive answers was to pray directly to God. but he said that he didn’t want to force anything so he wouldn’t pray. But now we’ve got a shadow. It’s like being on the district with someone watching the lessons. It’s suuuper weird. Ha ha but i think we are getting somewhere. The other was Socrates. He was the reference from Temple square. Was on a vacation for a long time and we couldn’t get a hold of him but he called our bishop and said that he wasn’t able to come in contact with us but he still wants to be taught! wahoo!!! You know its really hard to get baptisms here but at least when we get baptisms they stay in the church and will be future bishops and relief society presidents. ha ha
   Our recent convert Fatima bore her testimony in church yesterday. It was the most beautiful thing i ever heard. She talked a bit about her baptism and said that she could feel the spirit more in her life and she was suuper happy being in the church. Oh my goodness i almost cried. What a change i have seen in her life. now we are trying to baptize her children. Miracles are possible. 
  Also, we have Mara. She is progressing too. Just slowly. She is awesome. She had a lot of doubts about Joseph Smith, but now she is reading all of Joseph Smith history and everything that she can get her hands on about the church to find out more. She is getting better a little bit by little bit. She made dinner for us the other day. It was the most delicious food in my life!!! In it was all the seafoods put together and with a special rice and sauce. It was soooooo good. Loooved it. She loooves us soo much. And we love her sooo freaking much. 

I got your first snail mail. it takes a little bit of time but not tonz of time to get your letters. Once every month we have zone meetings so thats when i can get your letters. Because i only go to the mission office then i could go more often, but it cost money and i have to do other things. But its great to get a lot of letters from you. I love to get letters. I am trying to send letters but its expensive and its difficult to get to the post office so i will figure out what i need to do to get some letters to you. 

  So to finish up, this area is suuuper hard, but we have some awesome people to work with and if we can baptize them they will go to the temple and do some awesome things for the church. 
I sure love you guys. Pray for me!!! As always, i thank you for your prayers and for all your love and support. i love you
love, sister j. Baker