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

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