week 25 . big city living

Links in red (click for info)

[mom note: We received a handwritten/snail mail letter last week that can be found here]

So these last few days have been all sorts of crazy but also so great. I met my companion, Sister Keese who looks much more American than I do haha. When I met her I thought she was from Utah or Virginia or something haha. [mom note: she is from Saõ Paulo, Brazil] But she's super amazing and I love her already. The two other sisters living with us are Sister de Paula and Sister Carvalho. I love them too. The four of us are having so much fun together. This transfer is going to be the best with them! 

But turns out that I'm not actually in Alecrim. The Elder said the wrong area on the phone and I only found out when we showed up in our area haha. I'm in the Natal Ward (which was the first ward organized here in Natal! And first church building!) Our area is gigantic. I thought Mossoró was big, but this area is a whole other story. I think we're pretty close to the beach. There's dunes near us that I think we'll probably hike sometime this transfer!! woohoo! And there's a lot more hills and switchbacky bridges and things like that. So my body is taking a licking getting adjusted. Even with being super tired, I already am loving this area. It's really different from Mossoró so I feel like I'm getting to explore a completely different mission practically haha. Mossoró is in the "country" and now I'm living the city girl life. It's fun to see a different part of the mission.  And the members of the ward seem great. It's a fairly small ward, but the youth are super excited about misisonary work and willing to help! We're going to see miracles here!

[mom note: These are all just images from Google. Megan is not off dune buggy-ing or sledding down sand dunes. Although it looks like fun]

Also I think that Heavenly Father sent me to Mossoró first so that when He sent me here to Natal I wouldn't complain about the heat. Because, yes it's hot here. But I don't even notice because there's a cool breeze and it's basically heaven. Really excited about this.

I wish I had more exciting things to tell you guys but these past few days have mostly been me getting to know the area, or trying too. I hope that Sister Keese stays for another transfer after this one because there's no way I'll get this place down in 6 weeks haha. And yesterday I stayed home after church with Sister de Paula because she is having a problem with her knee. Sister Keese went with Sister Carvalho because Sister Keese knows the area. I thought that I would welcome the time to kick back and relax (since normally at home I just slept on Sundays haha), but I was feeling fidgety the whole time. I just wanted to get out there and work! Which for Mom and Dad might not sound like your daughter haha. But truly the work here isn't the same thing as school work or work work, it's the most fulfilling thing I've ever done. I'm serving the Lord and there's nothing better. 

I hope that you're all doing well! I love you with all my heart. 
tchau amores 

Sister Baker



sent 12.11.2014 // received today

Óla // Oi // Holla atcha boy.

Hey family! Sorry I've been so lame about writing letters, it's crazy how busy it is being a missionary. But know that I think of you guys every single day. I am so grateful to come from a family where everyone genuinely loves each other, not just as family but as friends too. Thanks for being my best friends.

I thought I'd use this letter to answer some questions you guys have asked since I usually don't have time in my emails ::

*No, we don't sleep in the hammocks. Well except naps on Pday and one time overnight (ouch, my neck!)

*The water isn't normally green, but even so everyone only drinks mineral water. Water from the sink is a no-no.

[mom note: Hammock pictures and green water pictures can be found here. The questions we asked her were about what we were seeing in these photos.]

*Toilet paper goes in the trashcan, not the toilet. Weirdest thing ever. Still getting used to that.

*Sister Marcelino is from São Paulo. I'm going to have to hit up SP with dad when he goes for work to visit all my companions. [mom note: when she wrote this she had no idea that her third companion would also be from São Paulo.]

*Our house/apartment...more an apartment is great! 2 bedrooms. 2 study rooms (where we had the hammocks) Kitchen. Little laundry room. 2 bathrooms. It's like a cute little Brazilian doll house.

*The shower doesn't have a door which was way hard to get used to but the water isn't as cold as I thought it'd be. Thank heavens.

*Portuguese has come a long way. Thank heavens 2.0. I can generally understand everything people are saying (unless they are missing their teeth, which is more common than you'd think)

*Sister Marcelino sings a hymn to start all our lessons (Sister Marcelino and I, not just her haha) Great way to bring the spirit and reminds me of my musically gifted family [mom note: she is not referring to me with that statement...that would be the rest of the family]

*We usually stay home on Pdays and read scriptures/write letters/watch church movies (if you can, send church movies! 17 Miracles, The Testaments, anything else produced by the church)

*I'm tempted everyday to take one of the kittens in the street home with me. Less tempted by the donkey that likes to sleep in front of the church.

*Nobody has filters here. It's hilarious. After asking my name and where I'm from usually the next question is if i have a boyfriend/fiancé. Members, missionaries, people on the street, everyone. Also, more than a few people have commented that I've gained weight. So not America haha. Also a lot of people tell me I look like a ten year old and/or doll.

*Chaco tan lines going strong.

*They have BUENO BARS here! They're way expensive though so I only buy one when I need a real pick-me-up.

*General lunch :: rice, beans, plain spaghetti, and stroganoff all mixed together sometimes with banana cut up on top. Sounds weird, but it's actually pretty dang tasty. Oh and always juice or soda with lunch. Never water. Dessert usually involves sweetened condensed milk in some form.

*Mom's brigadeiro is the fanciest I've eaten [mom note: we made this a few times before she left] usually when one of the sisters makes it they just leave it in a bowl and we eat it with a spoon.

*The fruit here is the bomb.com, I'm obsessed!

Hope that answers some of your questions about life in Brasil. I miss you guys and am so very grateful to have the best family in the world.

Eu sou muito grata por ser uma missionária e por poder compartilhar o evangelho de Jesus Cristo com as pessoas de brasil. Eu sei que esta igreja é verdadeira e eu amo ela com todo meu coração. Google Translate it up family. [mom note: Google Translate: I am very grateful to be a missionary and be able to share the the gospel of Jesus Christ with the people of Brazil. I know this church is true and I love it with all my heart.]

Thank you for the love, the email, the packages, the letters, everything. I love you guys more than I can express. Keep being your amazing selves and remember, every member a missionary! Bring friends to church, post things from/about the church on Facebook, give someone a Book of Mormon (as a Christmas present if it didn't already pass!), invite someone to hear the missionary discussions! Every little thing you do is so powerful in hastening the work. You are such great examples to me in living and sharing the gospel, thank you thank you!

Sister Meg Baker

PS Whenever people joke about sister missionaries baptizing someone/having the priesthood they use a PUN. Priesthood = sacerdócid. Sisterdócio! Portuguese pun, oh joy! [mom note: either i'm slow or you really need to know Portuguese to understand this pun. Or maybe Megan is just bad at puns no matter what language she is speaking haha]

PPS Tell Cambridge I love her. Meow! [mom note: in case it wasn't obvious Cambridge is the family cat and Megan may be slightly cat obsessed]


week 24 . all the emotions right now

Links in red (click for info)

I GOT TRANSFERRED. I'm having very mixed feelings. Mossorró and the Urick Graff ward are like a second home to me now. I love the members here. I love Sister Marcelino and am bummed that I won't kill her (aka stay with her for her last transfer on the mish). I love our recent-converts, and I feel like a mom leaving my kids with a babysitter for the first time. Stressed about leaving them. And I love our investigators. We have some amazing families here, including a couple that's going to mark the date of their marriage this week. Tears. But I am also really excited to go to NATAL. I'm going to be serving in Alecrim.

It's an area with two sisters, my companion (I think her name is Sister Keesy?) and I, and the two mission secretaries. I'll be really close to the mission office too so that means I get letters faster woot woot! haha. I'm still in Mossoró, but I´ll head out for Natal at 10:30 this morning. Nervous, excited, sad, happy, all the emotions right now. 

We had TWO BAPTISMS this week! At least I am leaving Mossoró on a high right? The first was Leandro's mom, Leslie, on Saturday morning. It was absolutely beautiful. Of course right before the baptism there was a hundred things to resolve and Sister Marcelino and I got super stressed and there might have been some tears, BUT I remembered a scripture that dad sent me awhile back. "Weeping may endure for a night, but joy cometh in the morning." [mom note: Psalms 30:5] And the joy came! Everything turned out fine and we had the baptism and it was perfect. The spirit was so strong, especially in the moment that Leslie came out of the water and hugged her son. It was like it was just the two of them there. Such a sweet moment.

Leandro and Leslie
I love Leslie and I am so grateful that I happened to be here the week that she was here. This family is so special to me and now I get to be a part of their lives forever.

Leandro, Tammy, their 3 children and Leslie

Leandro and Leslie

Tammy and Leslie

Leslie and her granddaughter

Megan, Leslie and Sister Marcelino
Meg and Tammy mastering the selfie
Leslie's baptism

Leandro, Leslie and Bishop Silva

Bishop Silva

Leandro and Leslie

PS on a less spiritual note, the city where Leslie lives is pronounced almost identically to Tatooine! Ah Star Wars. I geeked out. And so did some of the Elders when I told them haha.

The other baptism was Felipe (who's name is actually Marcos Vinicius, but his nickname is Felipe haha). [mom note: Megan didn't send home pictures this week so there are no pictures of Felipe's baptism yet. The pictures above from Leslie's baptism were taken from Facebook] He's the boy who walked to church by himself even with a broken collarbone that I talked about last week! And this week he wasn't feeling great, but he still walked to church with us. During the first hour he started feeling worse so he walked home (25 minute walk more or less). But guess what happened after sacrament ended. We walked out of the room and look who had walked back to the church for his baptism. Felipe. I love this kid! 17 years old, but so mature and dedicated and wants to serve a mission! His baptism was amazing as well. He was so happy afterward! And he's already figuring out the logistics with mission papers and college and everything. 

Remember that little boy I told you guys about who prayed about the church even though we didn't think he was listening? Well this boy might actually be an angel. He is always making presents for Sister Marcelino and I, he loves reading the Book of Mormon, he also wants to be a missionary, and yesterday he wrote a "hymn" and a message to sing and share with us. It was the sweetest thing, and the message was actually amazing. All about why Christ suffered and died for us. 10 years old this boy! And when I told him that I was going to Natal. . . his eyes got all wide and he tried to not cry, but he just said "thank you so much for everything" and just cried and cried. And then of course I cried because there was no way that I could see this adorable sweet boy crying and not cry. 

Yesterday was filled with a lot of goodbyes and it wasn't easy, but I know that I was here in Mossoró because it was a part of the Lord's plan. And that I'm going to Alecrim because it's a part of the Lord's plan too. And He knows better than I do. [mom note: more Facebook photos]

Leslie, Megan and Sister Marcelino

Megan with Gleydson and Grenda

Also, my new companion is from São Paulo! Again! My third companion in the field and all three from São Paulo. And these Paulistas walk fast. Really fast. Haha so I'm developing a new talent here. 

Mom, yesterday a member said that "everyone talks about my blog" here. Apparently it's fancy as can be and you post a bunch of interesting things. Haha can't wait to see it myself in 2016. But just know that your blogging prowess is appreciated in Mossoró. 

Glad Nate is okay, crazy kid [mom note: Nate suffered a concussion this week in his rugby game] Also he looks like a man and its freaking me out.

I hope you guys are all doing well and having a great week! I know that I am! I realized this week that I think that a part of the reason that God wanted me to be a missionary, was so that I could learn how to be a better member of the church. Looking back I didn't truly understand the role of missionary work in the church, and I didn't serve as much as I should have. I feel like even though I did the basics, there was a lot missing for me to be a good member. I lived in my own little bubble, reading the scriptures and saying my prayers, but only worrying about myself and my spiritual growth. I realize now how much more there is for me to do! I love recognizing new reasons every week why I'm serving a mission. I'm always overwhelmed by how much better God knows what will make me happy than I do. 

I love you all so much! 
Com carinho
Sister Baker 

PS mom thanks for the tip on the weekly email recipients list. It's a lifesaver! 


week 23 . with the faith of the pioneers


This week I had what I think was the most spiritual experience I've had so far on my mission. Tammy and Leandro are a couple in our ward who have three of the most precious kids. (Nate, I think you'd get along with their son Bruno!). I want my future family to be like them. And Leandro's mom came to stay with them. Every time she visits them they always always always invite her to church, but she has never had any interest. They've given her a Book of Mormon but she's never read it. But yesterday she went to church. It was her first time, after years of them inviting. And she loved it. She felt so good there, she felt like she was hearing answers that she needed from God. The gospel principles class especially touched her. So after church, Sister Marcelino and I went over to their house to teach her. We taught her the Restoration and I have never felt the spirit so powerfully as I did in that lesson. And I could see in her eyes that she felt it too. Tammy and Leandro had just bought a giant framed painting of the first vision, and Leandro's mom sat exactly facing it. When Sister Marcelino recited the first vision she had his mom close her eyes and imagine it and then look at the painting. It was such a special moment. And then at the end of the lesson Leandro and Tammy bore powerful testimonies of their conversion and of the restoration of the gospel. I don't think there was a dry eye in that room. And then Leandro asked his mom if she would read the Book of Mormon, pray, and prepare to be baptized this Saturday. And after years of trying to share the gospel with her, she accepted. When we all knelt to pray there was the strongest feeling of God's presence in that little dining room. This family has the opportunity to be one step closer to an eternity together in the presence of God. I feel so honored and awed to be a part of that. This is why I'm serving a mission. 

Another experience that was spiritual, but also funny and incredibly sweet. We were teaching a woman, Cleide, the other day and there was a bunch of little boys there. We didn't think they were paying any attention. We had invited her to pray about the church to know if it is true. And yesterday one of those boys, just ten years old, says to us that he prayed about the church like we asked. He asked God that if the church was true that he would feel something on the tip of his finger, and if it's not that he would feel it in his palm. And he felt something on the tip of his finger! He told us that he knows it's true. I was taken aback. Definitely not the traditional way to get an answer from God haha, but this little boy has so much faith

Also one of our investigators walked, alone, to church with a broken arm. I swear we're teaching people with the faith of the pioneers. 

I love all of you and I love my mission. I am more and more grateful every day to be here. I'm grateful for your emails and your love and your prayers. I'm praying for you too. 

com muito amor

Sister Baker

[mom note: A few pictures Megan sent last week. In the first two she and the other sisters just look miserably hot. The "real feel" temperature seems to be consistently around 106 degrees, with night time temperatures dropping into the frigid low 90's. Also, a couple pics from a recent zone conference]

Sister Dyer and Sister Francis
Mossoró Zone


week 22 . tacos & crying...nothing has changed

Links in red (click for info)

[mom note: what seems to be the new norm...a day after posting last weeks letter we received pictures from Megan. They were added to that letter the same day. If you read her letter before the pictures were posted you can click back there and catch a glimpse at some recent baptisms and Christmas celebrations. I have taken a few of the pictures from last week's letter and added them to this letter as she talks about them this week.]

Aló família e amigos!

This week was another great one in Brasil. On New Year's Eve Sister Marcelino, Sister Dyer, Sister Francis, one of our investigators (Josy. Janaiana's sister), and I ate 5 liters of acai!!!! Heaven on earth. We ate it in the church just us five and then us missionaries went and slept through the change to the new year. I didn't even wake up with the fireworks haha. But it was a fabulous way to start out 2015. So excited to dedicate this entire year to the Lord.

A whole lot of açaí to help celebrate the new year
Josy (an investigator), Sister Francis and Sister Marcelino

And below is a commercial for the Tikker brand açaí they were eating. Can't understand a word of it but it's fun to hear Portuguese being spoken. 

Also mom we made the tacos you sent stuff for last pday!!!!! I think I cried they were so delicious. And who knew making tortillas is so easy. I'm domestic now. holla. Sister Francis and I were literally dancing as we ate we were so pumped on the tacos. (And Taco Bell sauce, oh pure joy!)

Sister Francis
Megan, Sister Francis, Sister Dyer, Sister Marcelino

Megan, Sister Francis, Sister Dyer

This week I had so many experiences that reminded me why I'm here on the mission. . .

1) Jordania // She was talking about her 2014 with us. That it started out pretty rough, but that at the end it ended up being so good because she met us. (Everybody say awwww).  But truly it was so sweet because she was genuinely grateful to have discovered the true church of Jesus Christ and she started crying and said that we would always be a huge part of her life. You can all imagine that I was not able to hold back the tears. Sobbed like a baby. And decided I've got to start saving money somehow to come back to Brasil when she's sealed in the temple or goes on a mission or whatever she does next. I love this girl with all me heart.

Also some people were speaking ill of the church to Jordania and trying to make her drink coffee and telling her we don't believe in the Bible or God. (ugh people are the worst). And her responses made me feel like a proud mom. // "I don't drink coffee because it's against a commandment of God! And I don't even want to drink it." (coming from a girl who was basically addicted before her baptism haha) "I know that this is the only true church on the earth!" and my personal favorite "If those girls (talking about Sister Marcelino and I) don't go to heaven, nobody will" hahaha. 

2) Yesterday I was having a little bit of a rough time. We only had one investigator in church even though we spent the entire morning (and first two hours of church) running around trying to bring our investigators. And then Augusto hadn't shown up to church so we went to get him. He can't walk very well so normally someone picks him up but there was nobody to pick him up at this point so Sister Marcelino and I walked with him to church. He is a trooper people. The walk from his house to church is less than five minutes when you're walking Sister Marcelino speed (which is fast haha) but it took about 20 minutes for us to walk there because Augusto has such a hard time. I love him! But because it took so long we almost missed the sacrament. I panicked and started to get all teared up. We ended up taking it but from then on I was an emotional wreck during sacrament meeting. It was testimony meeting and I was just crying and crying (partly from frustration, partly from the spirit, and I don't know what else). But so many members reached out to me with so much love. Gave me hugs, wrote me notes telling me how important this work is, bore their testimonies about how one missionary changed their lives and the lives of their families. This ward is perfect. And this church is perfect. And I love being a missionary even on days like yesterday because it gave me a chance to feel Heavenly Father's love for me more than ever. 

I love all of you tons and hope you have a fantastic week! 
Com amor, 

Sister Baker