week 29 . emergency transfer

Links in red (click for info)

So this week Sister Keese and Sister de Paula went home to São Paulo. It was so sad saying goodbye to them, but at least they'll be able to get their health back up right now. And since they went home it was just two juniors in the area, which can't happen so there was an emergency transfer. . . and I got transferred from Natal 1! Now I'm in Natal. (which is Natal 1 and 2 haha). So the transfer wasn't too drastic haha. And Sister Carvalho is now my senior companion!!! Which means first of all, that we're official companions!! Can't even explain how excited I am. I love love love Sister Carvalho. It seems like we've known each other for ages we get along so well. And she's a great missionary. She's freaking out a little bit about being senior, but I know she'll be just fine. Now I'm just hoping we'll stay together for the real transfer that's coming up on the fourth. Fingers crossed!

About Sister Carvalho :: (since I always forget to tell you guys about my comps)
+ She's from Rio Grande do Sul, a place called Alegrete
+ She has a farm because that's normal in RGdS apparently
+ She has two sisters, one older, one younger, both married. And a little brother. 
+ She loves to cook and I can attest to her cooking skills. It's because of her that I don't go hungry when we eat lunch at home haha.
+ She's a crier and a tripper so we're kindred spirits. 
+ Her hair is flawless. 
+ She is my first comp from somewhere other than São Paulo and I think I'm picking up some of her accent and phrases. 
+ When she teaches, the spirit comes right away!
+ She doesn't let our investigators give up, Daniel has started affectionately calling her "temosa" (stubborn) haha. 
+ I love her!

Our week was so great together. It was like the moment we became companions for real we started having more success haha. We were closer than ever to hitting the standard of excellence  [mom note: term for goals to reach set by the mission] which is something that has been really frustrating for us these past few weeks. The only thing that we really didn't have was a baptism, but we have faith that Daniel can be baptized this week! And the other thing (kind of) missing to hit the standard was investigators in sacrament meeting. We had four at church, but two left right before sacrament meeting so we ended up only having two. [mom note: sacrament meeting is the last hour of the 3 hour church block of meetings] A bummer, but we're still feeling really good about our week and now we know a few things we can do differently to have an even better week this week! 

Like I said though, our area now is Natal 1 and 2. Which is huge. HUGE. I think Natal 1 and 2 are two of the larger areas in the mission, and now we're covering them combined! I'm getting a real good workout everyday haha. And it's weird coming home to an empty house. It's the first time on the mission I've lived with just my companion, and I was so used to Sister Keese and Sister de Paula always at home. But we've been doing some deep cleaning/organization, taking down things that other sisters left on the walls and putting up our own stuff, etc. We're making this house our own and I love it! (Now I'm just scared I'll get transferred and have to leave it haha). And we also started reading the Bible every night before going to bed. I'm still reading the Old Testament, and Sister Carvalho the New. It's a great way to wind down and have companionship bonding time haha. Last night we drank tea, ate popcorn, and then read the bible before sleeping. Perfect. 

#minhavida ::

+ Remember how I said that Sister Carvalho fell more times than I did that one day. . .well I think some karma came around because I said that. The other day I fell . . . drumroll . . . 14 times. Yes you read that right. It was a miracle I made it home in one piece. haha. But in my defense Sister Carvalho fell like 9 times that day so it was just rough going for the both of us haha

In spite of the almost dying because I fall so much, I am LOVING it here. We're hitting our stride and this week is going to be perfect. I can just feel it. 

Love you all! 
Sister Baker

PS. Cambridge. [mom note: the family cat] She is so fat! I think she's gaining sympathy weight with me while I'm here. My cat loves me so much ;)

[mom note: we shared with Megan the rumor that hit the internet this week about Prince Harry and Emma Watson dating because if you know her you know that mixing the royal family with Harry Potter would be more than she can handle. This was her response...

"AAAAAAAAAHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHH. This is not real life. If they get married it will be the most beautiful wedding of all time. And their BABIES. I died right now. And also I had my companion film me [mom note: I told her to have her companion film her reading the email. Yes, I was that desperate to see her reaction. Actually, I'm just desperate to see any video of her haha] but I basically just stared blankly at the screen saying "não acredito não acredito" (I don't believe it) hahah think I went into shock a little bit. Okay if any more info comes out about this couple I need to know. Freaking out freaking out freaking out. Also let's talk about how he's a redhead (RON). Perfection. Life made. Freaking out."

After getting the above email from her I immediately sent her the bad news that Emma Watson squashed any dating rumors yesterday with a tweet about not believing everything you read. Megan's response...

"NOOO. Dreams crushed haha. But I'm going to assume she's just saying that to calm down the gossip and now they're going to get married (they're just waiting until I get back from the mission so I can watch the wedding/possibly get an invite)


week 28 . straight [trippin']

Links in red (click for info)

[mom note: UPDATE to Megan's address...new zip code

Sister Megan Baker
Brazil Natal Mission
Av Interventor Mario Camara, 2066
Dix-Sept Rosado
59054-600 Natal - RN

Any mail that has already been sent to the old address will still get there but moving forward please use this updated address. The new address will be posted on the "write" page (located at the top of this blog) for easy reference.]

Well I've got some news. . . Sister Keese and Sister de Paula will both have to go home this Wednesday. And we found this out right now while we're writing emails. We're all freaking out a little bit. The problems that they have in their knees is making it impossible to work so President Soares and the mission doctor said it's better for them to go home right now. So it will just be Sister Carvalho and I here, at least until the transfer. I think I'm in shock a little bit. It will be so hard to say goodbye to these sisters, I love them so much. But I'm glad that they'll be able to get their health back up at home and hopefully get rid of this knee-problem. (Which it looks like half of our mission has, everyone's got destroyed knees in this mission. Sister Carvalho and I are always asking one another if the other is feeling pain in the knee because apparently it's just a matter of time before my knee starts falling apart. Doing lots of exercises to strengthen the little guy up haha). But really this is all so surreal. I can't believe they're going home. 

Despite all the drama with health problems, this week was better than the last. Sister Carvalho and I are teaching a man named Daniel (accent on the E in portuguese, dan-i-EL). When we met him, and next time we saw him, and the next, he was drunk. But he kept wanting us to teach him! So we went to his house and taught him, and he was super interested. He cried talking about God. And he accepted baptism without batting an eye. He made us write down his baptismal date and he was just pumped beyond belief. This was all last week. This week, we continued teaching him. Including the Word of Wisdom. And he told us that he hasn't touched alcohol since that first lesson!!! He drinks coffee and smokes, but he's been decreasing every day! And yesterday we went to his house to pick him up for church and his brother said that he had already gone to church by himself!! When we showed up he was waiting there in the front! He understood the Restoration perfectly and feels that it is all true. I love teaching him. When Sister Carvalho and I are feeling frustrated all we have to do is teach Daniel and we feel better. The spirit is always so strong as we teach him and it reminds me exactly why I'm here on the mission. Here's to hoping we find more people like him to teach.

I'm sure you're all wondering what Carnaval is like here in Brasil. And I can't really tell you haha. I haven't seen anything Carnaval-y in person. The only difference I've noticed is that there is nobody in the street. Everyone went to the beach or some other place. Nobody here. Which is doing wonders for the missionary work! Not. haha. And we have to be in our house at 7:30 instead of 9:00. Other than that it's business as usual. Well, actually Sister Carvalho and I did see an older man in the street just in a speedo. But sadly, I don't think it was related to Carnaval, looks like it was just his regular car-washing routine. Probably avoiding that street forever now so I don't have to burn by eyes out haha. #minhavida. 

Another #minhavida happening...Sister Carvalho and I are both tripping in the street everyday like it's our job. So we decided we would start keeping score to see who trips more everyday. You guys want to guess who's lost every single day except one...me. Surprised? But I want it noted that one day I only tripped ONCE and Sister Carvalho tripped 4 times! So there's still hope for me. 

Oh also it looks like leading the music has become my calling because they asked me again this week! [mom note: here is her first experience with leading the music] But I checked on all the hymns before the meeting started to make sure I knew them haha. But this Sunday I felt like it was the Sister Baker show because I was up there leading the music and then I was the last speaker! The bishop called this week and asked me to speak on the sacrament and the atonement. Giving a talk is already nerve-wracking, but in PORTUGUESE. I feel like I've got a pretty good grasp on the language, but it's one thing talking to people in the street and another speaking in front of the entire ward (about the Atonement! ah). And also everyone in the Mormon world knows that "last speaker" means you better have a lot of material prepared because you'll probably have 40 minutes to speak. But it went better than I could have hoped. I wrote my talk all out word for word, but I barely looked at my paper when I spoke. I said all the things I had planned, and then some! And I truly didn't feel that nervous up there. Just a couple times when I stumbled over a Portuguese word I'm not used to. But I know God helped me to give that talk. Afterwards a woman from the ward told me how much she enjoyed my talk and asked where I'm from and then complimented my Portuguese. It made my day. 

But I loved studying so much about the sacrament and the atonement this week. They are two topics very dear to my heart, very sacred to me and I learned a lot preparing this talk. In the talk I shared the story of when we were in Texas and we drove to I don't even know how many chapels to take the sacrament but we kept getting there too late. But I talked about how the example that my parents set of their determination to take the sacrament made me really think about why the sacrament is important, why we should partake of it every single Sunday. Here on the mission the sacrament is 100% the most important part of me week. I wouldn't be able to do this work without the spirit that I receive as I take the sacrament. Those few minutes in church give me comfort and strength and motivation for the rest of the week. This is something that I will take home with me from the mission, that I will continue to make the sacrament a sacred experience every week. 

I'm so grateful to be here on the mission, and feeling more grateful that I am physically able to be here as Sister Keese and Sister de Paula go home. It's passing me by so fast, I can't believe it sometimes. I am trying to embrace every moment, even the hard ones because I know the Lord has something for me to learn in every moment. I love you all so much and am grateful for your support (Emails and letters! I got 30+ letters last week. I'm the envy of the mission haha A giant giant thank you to anyone who sent me mail! I love you all!) Mom, I haven't gotten packages other than Christmas and one from Grammy but if you know it was delivered to the mission office last week I will probably get it at the next zone conference or maybe tomorrow if the sisters from Alecrim bring it. I'll try to talk to them today.

Boa semana pra todos! [mom note: "good week for everyone"]

Sister Baker


week 27 . the blind leading the blind but we've got this

Links in red (click for info)

[mom note: we got 65 pictures from Megan...we hit the motherload!]
This week has been...different haha Sister Carvalho and I are playing "senior companion" because both of our companions are stuck at home all day with their knee problems (it's looking pretty serious, possibly both of them will have to go home early. It's hard on all of us. We'll probably know for sure this Thursday). 
Sister dePaula and Sister Keese making the most of their knee problems
Sister Baker, Sister de Paula, Sister Keese, Sister Carvalho
So we leave them at home to rest and Sister Carvalho and I are working in her area.
Sister Carvalho and Sister Baker
So we're basically opening an area because we're both new here. It was a lot of responsibility to take on all at once. I have a lot more respect for senior companions now because my mind is going absolutely crazy trying to keep track of everything. But Sister Carvalho and I were talking the other day about how this experience is actually really great for us, because we're gaining more confidence and taking on more responsibility. Learning a lot.

For example, we taught a woman about the Plan of Salvation. A lesson with a lot of little details and normally we both get pretty nervous when we're with a senior companion teaching this lesson because we don't want to mess up. But this time we both felt comfortable knowing that we have about the same time on the mission. So I started the lesson off (something I have almost never done!) and we were switching off teaching like a perfectly oiled machine. It was like a scene from The District haha. But truly it was one of the best lessons I've had on the mission. The spirit was so strong, the woman literally on the edge of her seat and asking us questions she was super interested. We both left that lesson feeling so fulfilled and a lot more confident. 

I cried this week because I was thinking a ton about my recent-converts / investigators in Mossoró. That sweet 10 year old boy who prayed about the church sent a letter and a drawing to me thanking me for everything and calling me his sister and it was just too sweet for words. I lost it.

But even though I was sad, it made me think about what I hope the sisters in Mossoró are doing with the people I left behind and it motivated me to work harder here. Also I realized that I don't remember the last time I cried because of homesickness...I think it was during my first transfer in the field. Because even though I miss you guys, it's not something that is inhibiting me. I feel more "homesickness" for the people in Mossoró because I feel a responsibility for them, that they stay firm in the faith. [mom note: the following pictures are just some of the investigators and converts from Mossoró that she talks about]


+ a drunk man stopped us in the street, handed me a half eaten sweet and called me his aunt. Then a few minutes later he told me that I was beautiful like an egyptian gypsy. One of the more original compliments that I've heard. 

+ during a lesson I felt something tugging on my Chaco and I looked down and there was a dog chewing on my shoe (and working his way towards my foot!) so I started doing a little nervous tap dance with my feet to avoid him and thankfully the woman whose dog it was saw and put him in another room haha. 

Also this Sunday the woman who normally leads the music wasn't there so they asked me to do it! Which wouldn't have been a huge deal, but in this ward nobody plays piano so whoever leads has to SING the first line for everyone to know the tune of the song. So I had to sing in front of the entire ward! I'm pretending it didn't happen. But I had a cool experience that shows that God cares about even our smallest worries. When the Bishop's counselor handed me the list of numbers of hymns we would sing I realized that I didn't know how to sing one of them. And I got so nervous thinking about what I would do in front of the entire ward. So I prayed like crazy that the problem could be resolved, that the hymn could be changed or I would remember the tune, anything. And when the counselor announced the hymn he announced the number that he had given me but with the name of a different hymn (Families can be Together Forever), and when I pointed that out to him he said he had written the number wrong! Phew. God answers prayers. 

Sidenote:: there is a cat climbing on top of my computer right now. Where am I? I love Brasil. 

Love you all so much!
Com todo meu amor,
Sister Baker

[mom note: there was no explanation with any of the pictures Megan sent so I am making my best guesses as to people, places and activity

Goodbye gathering for Sister Francis who was heading home

Sister Baker, Sister Francis, Sister Dyer and Sister Marcelino

Baptism of Marcos Vinicius (Felipe)

Sister Baker and Sister Marcelino 
Kitchen in their Mossoró apartment

Sister Keese, Sister Baker's companion
Sister Carvalho, Sister Baker, Sister Keese, Sister de Paula
Sister Keese, Sister Carvalho, Sister Baker and Sister de Paula celebrating Megan's 6 month mark with pizza and Ketchup? 
Wonder who did this plumbing patch job on their kitchen sink. I hope it was Megan, the fine workmanship will up her credibility in the marriage market when she gets home. Who wouldn't want to marry such a skilled DIYer?

With Sister Soares (third from left) the mission presidents wife

Sister Carvalho, Sister Keese, Sister Soares (mission president's wife), Sister Baker, Sister de Paula
Sister Carvalho, Sister Baker, Sister de Paula and Sister Keese enjoying some acaí bowls
Sister de Paula
View from apartment. Maybe? Not sure.

Random pic, no idea where she is, but I [mom] have a small crush on the wall, door and the palm. Same with the wall in the first picture of the post. So many designs, colors and textures going on in Brazil...love it! 


week 26 . we [KNEE]d some help over here #strugs

Links in red (click for info)

This week we have learned that our house here must be cursed. . .why? Because Sister de Paula has a problem in her knee. She's had it for awhile, but it's getting worse. And my companion Sister Keese also started to feel a lot of pain in her knee. We went to the doctor and she's on bed rest for at least 5 days. She can't even walk around the house without someone supporting her because she feels so much pain. Poor sweet girl, it kills me. So I've had a lot of "down time" this week. I'm doing exchanges with Sister Carvalho during part of the day every day so Sister de Paula can get some rest and I can work some, but it's been mainly confusion trying to work in the two areas. We're working really really hard and seeing almost no success. But even though I get frustrated I'm still so happy here. 

There have been blessings to this too. . .I've gotten so close to the sisters in my house. It seems like we've been living together for months, not weeks. I've gotten to watch just about every film the church has produced, all of them fantastic and extremely tear jerking (but Sister Carvalho cries almost as much as I do so I have a crying buddy!), and I've gotten to work with Sister Carvalho. She's a fantastic missionary! And we have a great time together. We both trip a lot which is a riot. And we both get lost fairly easily which makes everything even more of a riot. We're both Juniors [mom note: missionaries are put into companionships with one missionary being Senior companion (usually the missionary with more time out in the field and more experience) and the other being the Junior companion] who don't know the areas that we're in so it's a lot of walking by faith haha. I love her so much and it's been an adventure working with her haha. 

It's been awhile, but here's another #minhavida

+ We all ate hot dogs that we ordered from a man in the street, maybe not the best idea. and I was really hungry so I ate two. Definitely not the best idea. The next day when we were on our way back from interviews with President Soares (gave me some great advice on how I can utilize ch 6 of PMG!) [mom note: PMG = Preach My Gospel a missionary manual for teaching and studying] I was practically running to our house to go to the bathroom. Made it in time (barely) and was feeling sick the rest of the day. Including another surprise attack of the same problem (think my story from the mission christmas conference) and I had to use a members bathroom. Don't even want to think about how much time I was in there. I'm hoping that since I'm a newbie in the area they'll forget which sister locked herself in their bathroom forever. hahaha

+ Riding on the bus with Sister Carvalho. I was sitting down and a woman walked past me and hit me in the face with a giant bag (that I'm pretty sure was full of either bricks or cans of cat food). We were dying laughing. And then a couple minutes later, the bus took a turn that I wasn't expecting and I almost fell out of my chair haha. 

Even though this week was a little bit out of the ordinary for the mission, I am loving every second here. I've had a lot more thinking time than normal lately and I can't help but think about how 6 months have already passed me by. It's unbelievable how fast the time passes. 1/3 of my mission. It's made me want to work that much harder to really utilize the next year that I have here. This time is once in a lifetime. 

I love you all so much and I feel so blessed to have so many amazing family members and friends (I got so many emails this week! So good to hear from all of you, I love you all and wish I could respond giant emails to you, but just know that I'm thinking of each and every one of you!) Thank you for everything. I hope you have a wonderful week!

Até o próximo segunda feira. . [mom note: "until next Monday"]
com amor
Sister Baker

P.S. the theme of our house is 2 Nephi 18:15 hahahha "and many among them will trip and fall (Sister Carvalho and I) ; and will be broken (the knees of Sister de Paula and Sister Keese) and imprisoned (Sister Keese on bed rest)

[mom note: We also received a handful of responses to personal family letters. Here is what Megan had to say in those}

DYING about Disney princess Emma Watson. Belle! Perfection.

Also planning on killing the people from Hershey's who are ruining the hopes and dreams of all American chocolate lovers. This is why I'm moving to England.

So pumped for Ash and Ali Blake too! And Talyon! Can't wait to hear where he goes. [mom note: all friends with mission calls]

Bug bites are better here in Natal.

Haven't gotten a (professional) hair trim yet, but I might have trimmed my own ends a little bit (don't hate me mom) I hate spending time on Pday to get a haircut.

I need some plain colored tshirts to go with skirts (pretty much whatever color), T25 workout videos or really whatever workout dvds (we're allowed to use them) gotta get skinny this year before I come home haha, church movies. That's all I can think of that I'd like.

Photos. I'll work on it! Sorry for the long time without pictures. [mom note: we haven't gotten pictures from her in a month. Although in that time we have gotten pictures from members and investigators. Just yesterday we received pictures from one of Megan's investigators in Mossoró taken as Megan prepared to leave for her new area in Natal.]

Megan and Janaina 

Megan with Josy, Janaina and Jane
Megan, Janaina and Josy
Janaina, Jane, Megan, Josy and Sister Dyer
Janaina and Megan