week 16 . BATISMOS. holla

UPDATE 11.25.14 [mom note: the day after calling Megan out for never sending pictures (see below) we woke up to 22 pictures in our email this morning. Happy Day! I've added the new pictures to this post]

Links in red (click for info)

TWO BAPTISMS THIS WEEK. You read that right, TWO! Grenda was baptized (the picture that I sent), and I love this girl. She is the sister of the Elder's Quorum president in our ward and she is obsessed with Percy Jackson and the Hunger Games and is just the best. 

We've been trying to help her get baptized for a long time now and it finally all worked out! Her baptism was so sweet, her brother is so happy for her, and obviously I am too! 

Our other baptism was a man named Augusto who I think I mentioned in my other email. He is living proof that the gospel can change lives. There is a young woman in our ward who loves doing "contacts" about the church while she is walking around Mossoró everyday. (she is basically a missionary already, just needs a name tag). And she met Augusto drunk in the street one day. She asked him if she could bring us by and got his address. We went to his house, taught about the Restoration and the Book of Mormon and gave him a Book of Mormon. We kept teaching him: the Plan of Salvation, the Gospel of Jesus Christ, etc. And the day came to teach about the Word of Wisdom. When we mentioned that we don't drink he told us that since the day he met us he had not drunk alcohol. This man was addicted to alcohol. He was always drunk in the street. But he stopped because of The Book of Mormon. He told us that every time he felt the desire to drink (and smoke too!), he read the Book of Mormon. He stopped drinking and smoking solely through reading the word of God. People, miracles happen today too! Christ did not just cure people in biblical times. His work continues. Sister Marcelino and I feel so grateful that we got to witness this change in Algusto. That we have been so privileged to know this man who was prepared by the spirit to make a grand change in his life. I love Algusto so much, he is so sweet and has so much faith in God. Seeing him be baptized and make this sacred covenant with the Lord was such a beautiful experience. I'm so grateful to be here serving a mission right now! 

This week we taught a woman named Ivaneide who's so great. She met Elders some years back and has a tender spot in her heart for missionaries. We were preparing to teach the Restoration and she stopped us and said, "I just have a couple questions before you start. Why are there so many churches if there is only one Jesus Christ? And how will I know which church is right?" I think I almost fell out of my seat I got so excited. So we started teaching the Restoration of the Church of Jesus Christ. I'm bouncing up and down in my seat so pumped to get to the part about Joseph Smith having the same question as her. But her nephew showed up. And #minhavida He decided that this was a good time to talk about how the world is going to end in flames and also some nonsense about how he's never going to get married because there's some mention of a bunch of men/virgins in Revelations. I don't know. But this kid would not stop talking. And Sister Marcelino with her sweet quiet little voice was trying to jump in and teach but he just kept going. And there was a friend of Ivaneide there listening to the message but she got freaked out and went home because this guy was practically yelling about how we're all going to go up in flames any day now. I was trying real hard to have Christlike love for him, but mostly I just wanted to strap duct tape over his mouth. But when we finally got to explain about Joseph Smith, Ivaneide got so excited. She told us that she had never thought to ask God which church was true! We left her a Book of Mormon and invited her to read the introduction and pray about it. Hopefully her nephew didn't do too much damage and she can remember enough of our message and she can ask God for an answer. 

scripture :: I was reading in Alma this week and today I read Alma 50. Verse 23 really stood out to me. [mom note: Megan often shares scriptures from the Bible and Book of Mormon in her letters. If you'd like a free copy of the Book of Mormon so you can reference what she's talking about send me your name and address on the contact form in the side bar titled "contact meg's mom" and I'll drop a book in the mail to you. I'm assuming people are more likely to have a Bible but if you don't and you'd like a Bible as well just let me know and I'll send that too. No charge.] Even though the Nephites are in the middle of a time of war with the Lamanites this scripture says that there "never was a happier time" among them. And this because they were being obedient to the commandments of the Lord! The Church was strong so the people were happy! And this reminded me of a quote that Charlotte Leavitt (my ancestor) said that I found in that book of conversion stories you sent.

She was talking about when they arrived in the Salt Lake Valley after the hard journey across the plains. She said, "We arrived in the valley...not to a place of comfort and plenty, but to a howling wilderness, but the Lord never forsook us, but gave us His Holy Spirit that we had joy in affliction." Our life doesn't have to be perfect to have lasting joy, we just have to rely on the Lord and follow His guidance for us! [mom note: Are you interested in finding out what bits of wisdom YOUR ancestors might have to share? Family Search is a great site for figuring out your own family tree and it's free.]

I love you all so much and hope you have a wonderful week and that you can feel the presence of the Lord in your lives!
Miss you. 
Sister Baker

[mom note: below are pictures I've "stolen" from various members or other missionaries because my own child fails to send very many pictures. I'm not bitter though haha]

Megan's zone from last transfer
We now move from stolen pics to Meg's pictures...

Sister Garcia, Meg, Sister Porter and Sister Olla

Sister Garcia...Megan's sweet trainer and friend.

Rain in Mossoró which I don't think happens very often
I wonder if these two are "painha and avo" that she talks about in this letter 

The daughter of a member family in her ward. If I know Megan at all she is in love with this cute little girl.
Megan's #minhavida injury 
Grateful that these two patched her back up 


week 15 . the english major that can't speak english: a #minhavida brought to you by portuguese

Links in red (click for info)

I GOT PACKAGES AND LETTERS THIS WEEK!!!!!!!! Best. Day. Ever. Mom, thanks for the Ensign & New Era, and for the Christmas package (I haven't opened anything in it yet because I want to keep it all in there and neat in case I get transfered...I think. Maybe I'll give into temptation and open the package on the bottom that you mentioned. nao sei), and thank you thank you thank you for the package with the missionary bag, book of conversion stories, picture of baptism (you're so fancy...you already know!), and everything else. Genuinely made my day. I was smiling non-stop thinking about all the fun stuff I got from you. You are the actual best mom in the world. (And my whole Zone agrees and was crazy jealous of me haha). And thanks to all the people who sent me letters!!!!! I am so grateful for the support and love!

This week was a week of ups and downs with our investigators. We have an investigator, Glauber, who is 19 years old and a reference from our Bishop's wife. We taught him everything, he went to church, accepted baptism, all perfect. But this week it got a little weird and said he didn't want to be baptized anymore, and he was acting a bit irritated...he was like a different person because normally he's super calm and shy and seriously awesome. So Sister Marcelino and I left that lesson crying and super frustrated. But the next day we decided to fast for him and our other investigators. When we went back after starting our fast there was a huge difference. We still don't know if he'll be baptized, there's still work to do, but he listened to us, he's reading the Book of Mormon, and I have faith it will all work out! Later that same day we taught a woman named Raquel, and the lesson was perfect. Honestly. She understood the Restoration so clearly. The only problem with her is that she can't make it to church because she is always with her brother who is sick in the hospital, but we're praying for her and we'll continue teaching her and it will be so amazing when she finally gets to go to church. Truly I have such a strong testimony of fasting now. When we show the Lord that we are willing to make sacrifices for him, he will show us miracles. He is a God of miracles, I have no doubt about it!

Sister Marcelino and I had a few moments this week where we were feeling really sad about the investigators who weren't accepting the gospel. It's hard knowing that we can share with them everything they need to have eternal happiness, to return to the presence of our Heavenly Father, and they just don't want it. But we realized that as we are experiencing these feelings, we can understand just a little bit what the Savior must have felt when He was here. He loved the people who He taught so very much, He did everything for them, even died for them, and still they rejected Him and His gospel. But He never stopped working, never stopped showing His love for them. I'm so grateful for His love and for His example. 

Also I read about Alma and Amulek in the Book of Mormon today and they had the same experiences! They worked so so hard and were still rejected, but after a lot of faith and patience and diligence they saw success! The Book of Mormon is the best people. It truly has answers to all our problems. 

My #minhavida moment for the week. We were teaching a lesson to a woman named Lis who is the friend of a young couple in our ward (Liz and Jutson. They're adorable). And all of them can speak or at least understand english fluently. So Lis asked if I could teach a couple minutes of the lesson (the Restoration) in english. And I'm thinking: sweet, this will be way easier. False. It was so hard. Hahaha. I kept using portuguese words on accident and the whole time I was translating from portuguese to english so half my sentences came out so weird. I had to think so hard to teach in english I'm sure I looked like I was constipated (sorry for the visual but it's true). It was to the point that Lis even corrected me a couple times because I was using portuguese words and not realizing it. haha hilarious but also crazy exciting. The gift of tongues is REAL! Woohoo, fluency in portuguese here I come!

I am so grateful and happy to be here! The past three months have flown by, and this time that I have to be a missionary is truly so short. I am receiving endless blessings every day from my Father in Heaven and from the knowledge I have of this gospel. I think every day how grateful I am that I have two amazing parents who raised me in the church, my life would've been so much different without the example that I had. (going to church, reading the scriptures and praying together, hearing your testimonies mom and dad). Thank you! And now because of you I can share this happiness with other people! THE CHURCH IS TRUE. I know it. I know it with all my heart. 

I hope you all have an amazing week and remember that I love you all so much and am grateful every day for the family, friends, ward members, everyone that I have at home.

Com muito muito muito amor e gratidão [mom note: "with much much much love and gratitude"]

Sister M. Baker (got my new name tag with the M. this week haha)


week 14 . really, thats all we get? (title courtesy of the disappointed mom that always wants long letters haha)

Links in red (click for info)

Tried to upload photos but it didn't work! I promise I'll send them from my camera this week! And I don't have time to write a long email today. 

Just real quick: 

+ Go watch the movie God's Not Dead (we watched part of it at an FHE with permission from the mission president)

+ The Old Testament has some crazy stories yo

+ I know this church is true and I love you guys sooooo much!

Also #minhavida

During a lesson with the bishop's sister I felt something wet on my elbow. I went to wipe it off and when I pulled my hand away it was COVERED in blood. Like covered. And my arm would not stop bleeding hahaha. It was all over my bag and my skirt. The bishop's sister brought a roll of toilet paper and I stood over the sink for like 10 minutes just bleeding haha. Then the bishop's daughter shows up with a bunch of first aid stuff and fixed me up. Definitely a way to break the ice hahaha. I think it was because of a bug bite or something. Not sure. But it was hilarious. 

Kay gotta go! Love ya! 

I'm SO SORRY I don't have more time. 

Love love love

Sister Baker

A photo from a ward member via Facebook. Megan and her new companion Sister Marcelino at a ward party


week 13 . Ala-ween (ala means ward in portuguese)

Holla everybody.

My new companion, Sister Marcelino, is an angel. Seriously. She speaks in practically a whisper (think Michelle Duggar from however many kids and counting) and she gives me like 50 hugs a day. Love her. And she is an amazing missionary. She doesn't let any opportunity pass without sharing the gospel. Even with people that seem like they will never accept the message, she shares it anyway. It's an awesome example for me. And when she teaches, nossa (wow)! Her voice may be dainty, but this Sister teaches with a POWERFUL SPIRIT. I think this transfer with her (and however many more) will be awesome. 

Halloween here was beyond weird because I almost didn't notice it was Halloween. The weather does not feel like Halloween unless all of Mosorro is a Heck themed haunted house. And only a few people even mentioned it during the whole day. But I decorated the page of the 31st in my planner with some skulls and bones (hopefully my pesquisadores didn't see that haha) and re-read the Halloween cards you guys sent me and it was grand. Honestly, I think it was better this way because I wasn't distracted from the work thinking about Halloween back home a ton. 

There's a quote from Elder Packer that says if we work work work as missionaries we won't be homesick. I know this is true. I mean, I miss you guys like crazy. Truly. And I think about home every day, but I usually only have time to think about home as I'm laying down to sleep. Because I spend the entire day thinking about which house we should go to, what we should teach, how we can prepare people for baptism, and more. On Sunday I truly began to see what it was like to lose yourself in the work. I didn't have a spare minute to think of myself, I was thinking only of our presquisadores. . .why they weren't at church, how we could get a hold of them, which members could help us. We only had one pesquisador in church which was the biggest bummer. But we're going to work our butts off this week and it's going to be better. 

#minhavida So I have to teach EVERYTHING about our area to Sister Marcelino. . . who we're teaching, who the members are, where everyone lives, the names of the neighborhoods we work in, everything. And you guys know how good I am with directions. hahaha. For example, the other day we were trying to get to the house of a member and we're walking down the main street. I was prettyyy sure their house was on the same street as this big catholic church so we start walking down that street, but then partway down the street I think, no it's a little bit further up the main road. So we go back and walk a ways away. Then finally we just call the member. Me: "Fernanda! Hey. . . where do you live again?" Fernanda: "Sister Baker you forgot? (laughing her head off because I predicted this would happen if Sister Garcia left) I live on the same street as the big catholic church" Hahaha. So we walked all the way back there, and then walked past the house because I'm an idiot. Called her again, finally found the house. hahaha. But I'm learning quickly now because I don't have Sister Garcia to help me so it's all good. 

Don't have much else to write since a week hasn't even passed, but I love you guys! Thank you for the emails, the support, the love. XOXO

Sister Baker

[mom note: She answered a few questions we had in a separate email]

Who are the other sisters you are living with?
+ I'm living with Sister Francis and Sister Dyer (American and American/Chinese) 

I heard from Elder Collier's mom that your whole district got transferred but you. I just thought it was the sisters. Did the elders go too?
+ All the elders except Elder Phillips.

Send pictures?
+ I'm trying to send pictures, but it might have to wait until I'm at a members house with wifi. <3
[mom note: this one came through before she had to get off the computer]