week 8 . brazilian streets + me = #minhavida

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Howdy everyone! (already running out of ways to start my emails haha)

This week flew by. Yet again, the work just takes up every second of my time and most of my thoughts. I think it was President Packer that said the secret to missionary work is work! And if we work really hard we won't feel homesick and we'll have all of these other amazing blessings. [mom note: It's actually a Ezra Taft Benson quote but we'll cut her some slack haha. The quote and the whole talk it came from can be found here] And it's so true! I definitely get homesick from time to time, especially in church on Sundays (I miss english church haha), but overall I'm thinking about the language or our investigators or the members of the ward. What a blessing!

Kay I've got a post it note in my planner with a bunch of things to tell you or ask you so this email may be unorganized. Just a heads up. 

Mom, my pilot g2 pens are going fast. haha I know this is prissy as can be, but if it's possible could you send me some? .5 size! If you can't it's not a big deal, but you know how I love my pens so I thought I'd ask haha. Also an english hymnbook? And a picture from my baptism, it's good to show investigators. Also the instructions for how to tighten and loosen my chacos, they're a mystery to me. The chaco instructions don't worry about sending, you could just email me a picture of them so I can print/take a picture of the email. Sorry if I'm coming off as needy, just things I thought of during the week. 

Alright let's talk about the nordeste. Aka, the northeast. It's very very different here than it was in Sao Paulo for the CTM. The accent is nearly impossible for me to understand haha. I can usually figure out what Sister Garcia is saying, with just a couple words not making sense, but everyone else...it's like they're speaking portuguese with their mouths full of rocks or something. But the people are sooo sweet and loving. Old ladies give me hugs and kisses 100 times a day. The members of our ward are especially awesome. I'm being taken care of big time here. Aka, getting fat from all of the treats they give us. 

Something else different about the nordeste is...paralellipipidu. (probably spelled wrong) [mom note: I think paralelepípedos was what she was going for] What is that you ask? A strange sneeze? A spell from Harry Potter? Wrong! It is a death trap pretending to be a road. And it's pretty much all we walk on. Just imagine cobblestone, but with bigger stones that jut up higher than the grit stuff between them. And they're far apart so if you look up for one second, your foot will get trapped between them and you're going down. (yelling timber). Or at least I am, a hundred times a day haha. The other day I went to hug this member outside her house, and I hardcore tripped on the paralelipoo (that's what it should actually be called) into her. Oops haha. #minhavida

Sister Garcia told me that all the sisters say that whenever you drop your Book of Mormon (we always have one in our hand) the stomach of your future spouse gets bigger hahaha. So I keep a tight hold on my Book of Mormon now. 

I saw a little tub of Cetaphil at the pharmacy for 144 reais! [mom note: $58.80] WHAT?!?! I thought I was reading it wrong for sure. Some stuff here is cheaper than in the states, but there's stuff like that that is crazy expensive. 

So we haven't had any baptisms yet in the two weeks I've been here. Which isn't normal here apparently. It's crazy to me, but people get baptized every week here more or less. But we have this amazing investigator who just gets it. He was 100% prepared by the spirit for us. And he's really patient with my portuguese and he wants to learn english and he's just a gem. His name is Tanielieson. He came to church yesterday and you could tell he just loved it. I'm so EXCITED about teaching him this week because I'm almost positive he'll be baptized this Sunday. General Conference and a baptism???? I might die of happiness. 

So I can't pick one chapter of the Book of Mormon this week to share with you, because I'm just obsessed with Alma in general right now. Before my mission I thought Alma was sort of a pain because it was so longgg, and I just got frustrated with it. But my oh my it's AWESOME! So much about missionary work, and a hundred other great things too. Some stuff that I noticed in my scripture study this week:

+ Alma the younger is a sass when he's teaching. someone asks him a question, and his reply is basically, hold your horses I was just getting to that haha. 

+ We always need to be increasing our testimony through prayer. Alma 5:45-46. Alma, the prophet says that he strengthens his testimony through prayer and the spirit. 

+ Ammon probably wouldn't be allowed to go on a mission nowadays because he passes out every two seconds because he's so dang excited about the gospel. 

+ A desire to believe and a willingness to try the word is all we need to gain faith about an aspect of the gospel (cough cough gift of tongues! haha)  

+ I want to be a missionary like Alma, Ammon, Aaron, etc. they're perfect. 

+ If i don't get married in this life, I'll marry one of them for sure

And thus ends another week in BRAZIL. So grateful to be here. I can't remember which chapter, but I think it was 30something in Alma, he says that it is our privelage (spelled wrong? don't have spell check and i'm forgetting english) to believe in and to serve God. I'm feeling that big time here! I'm so amazed every day that God trusts me with this work, the same work that the Savior did when he was on the earth! I'm so blessed to be here in Brazil, so blessed to have a knowledge of this gospel, and so blessed to have an amazing support system in all of you. And to have the best family in the world. I'm sure of it. I miss you guys and love you so much. 

Have an awesome week!!
Paz fora (Peace out. Doesn't actually make sense in Brazil so I'll use it with you guys)
Sister Baker

PS The billions of cats here are still the best. Or you might even say the cat's pajamas hahaha


week 7 . no catchy title

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Another week in Brazil! It is crazy how fast this last week flew by! The days feel long sometimes when it’s around 2 and we're traipsing around in the bajillion degree heat, but I'm almost always surprised by how quickly the hours and days pass. I've got to take advantage of every moment!

So much more happens during the week now that I'm out in the field so I tried to make a list of things I wanted to write you guys about, I know I forgot some things, but I'll do my best to touch on everything.

animals :: I’ve already had a few "I’m not in Kansas (the US) anymore" moments here in Brazil. One of those being seeing just the most random animals wandering through the roads. The other day I saw like 7 cats, 2 dogs, a goat, and a horse just chilling. And I saw 3 donkeys wandering around too! Sister Garcia says it's normal! But I do love that literally the entire area is just covered in cats. It's aMEOWzing!

marquinos :: So you know Albert from 17 miracles? (aka superb!) Well we have an investigator who is like him, He's this little guy and he has the same high little voice as Albert. But he speaks Portuguese so I can never understand him. The first time we taught him the spirit was SO powerful. He just really needs to understand that he is a son of God! He has a lot of confidence issues, and I think he feels pretty unloved since his mom passed away. And he almost got baptized but the last time we went over there he just told us that he doesn't want to go to church, he doesn't want to be baptized. . . heartbreaking. Because he KNOWS it's true. He definitely knows. But he's too afraid to follow through and that just killed me. That moment was harder than not understanding the language, than walking all day in the heat, than everything. To watch someone who knows this is true reject it. . . I hated that. But we're hoping that with some time (and hopefully prayer) he will realize what he needs to do and we can keep teaching him. 

americana:: People, I'm like a superstar here! I've been asked to speak English a billion times, and people call me a Barbie every other day haha. A member even thinks that I'm blonde. What? haha. And there was this 12 year old boy, Thiago, who just loved me. Like wanted to hug me, and kept calling me "querida" (dear) and touching my arm and asking me how many states are in the US? Have I ever met an actor? Am I a model or an actress? Have I ever been to Hollywood? etc. hahahha 

food :: Mostly pretty good! Lot's of rice and beans though! Good thing I like that though. Oh but at one lunch there was a dead fly mixed into my food. I casually picked it out with my fork, moved it to the side of the plate, and kept eating. Brazil! And I LOVE THE AÇAI HERE. Love love love it. I ate literally a half liter of it the other day. Love. [mom note: I'm sure this is a relief to her since she loves a good Bowl of Heaven Seasisder.] Also we're being fed sooo much. We have a "painha" (like a dad) and an "avo" (grandma) who feed us all the time. And painha reminds me of Uncle Jeff haha. Also there is a boy in our ward who literally looks like a Brazillian version of Luke. Glasses and all. I cry every time I see him haha. 

transportation :: There are basically no rules when it comes to driving here, or if there are nobody obeys them. So cars and motos are all over the place. And the other day when we were going to centro (like downtown) for a zone meeting instead of taking a bus there's people who just pick people up for 2 reais [mom note: 84 cents] And I'm fairly certain they're not taxis haha. Just random people. But we have to make sure there are other women in the car before we get in, and it's normal here, so don't worry mom we're being safe! 

feet :: My feet have never been so swollen, dirty, tired, and blistered in my life. I also have about 100 bug bites, I'm a mess. So washing my feet in the cold shower at the end of the day is the best feeling in the world. As I was washing them the other day, I couldn't help but think of when the Savior washed the feet of the apostles.[mom note: John 13] These were men who walked all day in sandals through the dirt and dust. Men who were doing essentially what I am doing every day, only they had been doing that for a lot longer than the few days I have spent here. I cannot imagine what it must've been like for them to have Jesus Christ, the creator of the world, the Savior, the Son of God, wash their weary feet. What a pure act of love and service. I feel like here in the mission field, I am developing so much more love for my Savior than I thought I ever could. He truly is the perfect example for us. In Jesus the Christ it talks about how Christ didn't know that he was the Messiah from the moment he was born, he learned and grew like any other child. He just had more capacity, and more of the spirit. He wasn't perfect because he couldn't be tempted, he was perfect because he was tempted and chose the right. When Christ tells us to be "even as [he] is" it is something that is attainable (with the help of God) because we can follow his example of service and work and worship to develop Christlike attributes in the same exact way He developed them.

scriptures :: Mosiah 2-5. . .KING BENJAMIN'S ADDRESS. It's basically one of Holland or Uchtdorf's General Conference talks, aka the best. King B ("im the King B come get it, no trippin, I got everything you need") [mom note: reference to a song from a commercial]  is an amazing man. he is so hard working and loving and service oriented and I'm just obsessed with these chapters right now. Also speaking of Holland talks: his talk, "I Believe" is very very very very good.

I have to go right now, the place is closing, but I LOVE YOU GUYS AND I LOVE MY MISSION. Truly I love it here.

Sister Baker

No pictures from Megan this week but we did see this one on Facebook. Thank you to the sweet church member that posted this picture of Megan's very first day in her area.


week 6 . There's MORE SOL in MOSSORO (you dont pronounce the L in sol so that actually works as a pun okay?)

[mom note: the post titles are all Meg. I am not the one grasping at straws to make a pun. All her.)

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Well it's official! I'm in the CAMPO! (mom note: field)

Wow. I have so so so much that I could write about this week, but I'm short on time (and a bunch of people sent me emails that I needed this week so I was reading those which took up time. But thank you thank you to each and every one of you who emailed me. If I didn't reply it's just because I'm so short on time today, not because I didn't love your email. Because I did.).

So yesterday I said bye to my sweet sweet CTM Sisters (and cried a ton) and got on a bus with all Elders. I was literally the one and only sister going to Natal haha. I slept through the entireeee flight. Like before the plane even started moving until we had landed. So exhausted. Then we got to the airport and met up with Pres and Sis Soares and the APs and they were all SO nice. Took a bus to the mission escritorio (mom note: office) and a chapel and met up with all the missionaries who would be our trainers. The Elders didn't find out until later who would train them, but it was fairly obvious for me since I was the only sister haha. My mãe (mom//trainer) is Sister Garcia. She is the absolute sweetest person I've ever met. And she's hilarious. Thank goodness. She keeps calling me her filha (mom note: child/daughter) and taking wonderful care of me.

I genuinely feel like a baby here though. I have no idea what's going on or what anyone's saying so I just smile and laugh a lot (which is definitely why babies always laugh, they just don't know what's going on). This is also the reason why I think babies cry a lot. It's definitely pretty frustrating not being able to talk to people or only understand them half the time. The language barrier is killing me right now. But I know that as I work hard and exercise a lot of faith, that will pass and I will be able to speak Portuguese. Heavenly Father has promised me that in my mission call. So I will preach the gospel in the portuguese language. It's just going to take an adjustment period. 

Yesterday Pres Soares welcomed us to "O Melhor Missão do Mundo!" He said, I know everyone says their mission is the best, but ours actually is. Apparently our mission is #3 for number of baptisms in Brazil!!!! What?! And even better, it is #1 in retention! Go Brazil Natal! Am I right?? We did contacting yesterday on the street and the people are so open here! They are so willing to talk about God and Jesus Christ and genuinely want to follow his example. We invited people to be baptized while we were contacting yesterday. Like, Hey how's it going? Will you be baptized? Okay slightly more in depth than that, but that's the basic idea. And we had six people who were interested! We set them up with the missionaries in that area to take things further! Crazy crazy crazy! 

Last night we slept in the casa (mom note: house) by the escritorio (mom note: office) with the sisters in that area. And I met the other Sister Baker! Haha. She's way cool. But since there's already one Sister Baker, that means that I'm going to be "Sister M Baker" which in Brazil sounds like Sister Emmy Baker so I feel like I stole Pie's name haha. [mom note: there is actually a third Sister Baker going to her mission that just entered the CTM today...that won't be confusing haha] But the sisters were all so nice and understanding that I was tired and shellshocked but they all talked to me and were so sweet and I'm already so grateful for every sister here in this mission. 

Today has been more traveling! Sister Garcia and I are in Mossoro. Which apparently has great great ward members, tons of baptisms, and is one of the hottest places in the mission. Haha, of course. Like Natal itself was actually really nice and breezy, but here it's hot hot hot and the sun is apparently stronger than in other parts. Holla. Haha. [mom note: when I saw where she was living I checked yahoo weather. It said it was 92 degrees with 48% humidity and a real feel of 106 degrees. Keep in mind its the tail end of winter for them. I guarantee she will be missing her beloved Provo winter weather] But other than the heat this seems like the best area that I could start my mission in and I'm SO excited to just get to work! Also in my area are three out of the four elders from my CTM district. Elders Fallon, Collier, and Phillips are all in my area and I think a couple or all of them are living in the same house as each other. I definitely thought we'd all be split up, but I'm way excited that I'll see them around still. Poor Elder Giles is all by himself in Sousa, but we'll see him later this month probably, and he's working harder than anyone at the language so I know he'll be fine. 

I know this email is lacking my usual charm and embarrassing stories, but there was just too much that happened in the last couple days to even go into my whole week! And if this email doesn't make any sense, cut me some slack haha. I've only heard portuguese for the past few days so my english might be off. 

I miss you guys more than I can explain. This is HARD. Probably the hardest thing I've ever done. And it's only the second day in the field. But this work is worth it. I do not doubt that for one second. 

I love you so much!!!!
Sister Baker

PS // I asked Pres and Sis Soares about Davis and President Soares said "I love that guy!" haha. Way cool connection! (mom note: Davis is Megan's cousin. He and his family lived in Brazil for a few years. If I remember correctly Davis served in the stake with President Soares and was also the Soares' home teacher)

[mom note: none of these pictures came with an explanation so I'm guessing on what or who some of them are]

View from the CTM in Sao Paulo
Comic book version of the scriptures...looks like a Megan doodle job but I can't be sure
CTM teachers
CTM Mission President and wife...President and Sister Swenson
Sao Paulo Temple
Megan's district at the Sao Paulo Temple...Sister Clinger, Sister Hatton, Sister Hartvigsen, Sister Johnson, Elder Fallon, Elder Giles, Elder Phillips and Elder Collier
Megan and Sister Clinger at the Sao Paulo Temple
Sister Clinger, Sister Hatton, Megan, Sister Hartvigsen and Sister Johnson at the Campinas Temple
All the missionaries in the CTM going to the Natal mission...one of these things is not like the others
All the Natal missionaries once they arrived at the Mission Home. 

Megan with her companion Sister Garcia and her mission president and wife...President and Sister Soares
Megan and Sister Garcia


laughter, tears and lots of spilled water

Today Megan said goodbye to the 4 sister missionaries that she has grown to love over the last 6 weeks. The sisters are all off to the Recife Mission while Megan and the elders are headed to Natal. We have enjoyed reading the family letters from a few of these sisters and love hearing little snippets about Meg, some of which are below. I know she will miss these girls and all the fun they had.

::We had to take the bus to where we were going in Sao Paulo, which was to say the least crazy. I'm pretty sure we almost hit like 30 people. But you would not believe it, Sister Baker gave away two books within the first 10 minutes of being on the bus! It was impressive. She just wasn’t afraid at all to go and talk to them.

::Our schedule this past week goes like this...

6.30 wake up (which hasn't been too hard surprisingly)
7.00 personal study in the classroom
8.00 breakfast
8.50 language study
8.55 cry because of portuguese
9.30 exercise
10.20 study time
12.00 lunch
1.15 class time with Irma Mendes
3.00 cry some more about portuguese
4.00 prepare to teach investigator
5.40 dinner
6.30 prepare to teach investigator again
7.45 teach investigator
8.15 cry because we had to teach investigator
9.00 laugh time (as a district we just talk about random things and just die of laughter together, nice way to relieve stress)
9.30 snack time
10.30 bed time

Yeah.. we do a lot of crying... and seriously it's for no reason. Of course we miss our families (like a lot) and are stressed out. But seriously we will just look at each other and then burst into tears. I found that snickers you stuck in my bag the other day and I shared it with Sister Baker. No joke, we took one bite, looked at each other and then started to cry. It was so funny. Everyone walked in right when we started to cry and thought we were going insane.

::Sister Baker - I seriously love her. She is amazing. She is always dancing. The other night she performed the entire Les Mis musical, every song (except for the not so good ones) and acted it out. Took her 45 minutes. She definitely understands portuguese which is awesome because I have no idea what in the world I am doing.

::I was laughing way hard one night. Aaaand I may or may not have peed my pants. Ooops. I have never laughed so hard in my entire life. Sis Baker and Sis Johnson are hilarious.

::Sister Baker is seriously a clone of you. [mom note: the missionary is referring to her sister] It kind of scares me. She loves cats, can draw amazingly well, she dresses like you, is dorky and awkward but adorable. She loves puns and Cloudy with a Chance of Meatballs is one of her favorite movies, she quotes it all the time. Its scary how alike you two are. She is the second funniest person that I know, her life is seriously like a funny tv show.

::Something else that was good was that Sunday night we decided to have a sleepover with Sister Baker and Sister Clinger! We knew we were probably getting new Brazilian roommates the next day so we figured this would be the only time!! They came and slept in our room and we had a blast! An elder in another district had his brother send him a bunch of song lyrics to music that he likes and we were borrowing it to copy. Sister Baker used the music to compose a musical of a sister missionary that was on her mission for four days and decided she wanted to move back home to marry her boyfriend who didn’t even know who she was. Haha. Like a creepy BYU stalker sister missionary. It was a one man show and she played all the characters. Again, I don’t think I’ve ever laughed so hard in my life!! (I didn’t pee my pants this time though)

::Sister Baker has managed to spill water on just about everyone in the CTM. This week it was my turn! She spilled water all over me! So funny. I’m going to miss her when she leaves for Natal Tuesday.