week 64 . a place of miracles

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Sorry for writing my email late again this week. It's because we don't currently have water in our apartment, but P-day is cleaning day and we had lots to clean before the transfer this week. (not because we're dirty, but because we haven't had water to clean the last couple of days. I promise haha). We live on the second floor and on the ground floor there's a water spout that has water from the street so I spent most of the morning running up and down the stairs with buckets and bottles and gallons of water so we could clean and take showers. It was a good workout and I'm positive I'm going to be sore tomorrow haha. But it took a lot longer than normal to clean and the internet café here closes for lunch so we had to come later. 

The Potengi Ward was a place of miracles yesterday. We finally had investigators at church!!! We worked hard this week and it payed off, but the true star of the show was Borges. Borges is a recent-convert and he introduced us to a bunch of people from his neighborhood this last week. And he committed himself to go with some of them to church on Sunday. And when we got there, there he was with two of his friends! Paulo and Paulino (they're brothers haha). Now that's a member missionary! Our other investigator, Nilson, went by himself! He's awesome.

And the other investigator at church was Vwladina. Who got baptized yesterday!!!! Her sister Valesca got baptized when I was here with Sister J. Silva and now Vwladina's day finally came. She has been taught by the missionaries for a long time and it was so great to see her make the decision to follow Jesus Christ. She's so excited about the Young Women's program and Personal Progress and reading the Book of Mormon. It's so fun to see her excitement about these things at such a young age. I love her so much! 

Vwladina & Valesca
Miracle contacts of the week ::
+ Rebekah // We stopped and introduced ourselves. . .Sister Castilho, Sister M. Baker. And when we asked her name she says, "Sister Rebekah" hahaha. Talk about elect. But she is a young woman of 17 and she was sooo nice and excited and open. Loved her from the second we started talking to her. Impossible not to. We talked to her mom yesterday and they're both so welcoming. I'm excited to teach them! 

+ Wellington // We were finishing up with our contacts yesterday and we saw a man sitting on the sidewalk with his son and a dog. We started chatting and turns out they just moved here and are visiting various churches to find which one their family will go to. It's a perfect family. Husband, wife (who are married legally!), the son, and even a dog. It's like a picture out of a church pamphlet. We're pumped to go back and teach them too. 

Well, this week is transfer week [mom note: transfers are when missionaries get moved to a new area or serve with a new companion. They are usually every 6 weeks but this one seems to be a 5 week transfer] and tomorrow night I will know if I will stay here in Potengi with Sister Castilho. I love this area and my companion to pieces and would be more than happy to stay, but I have no idea what will happen and I'm basically having a panic attack. (#ihatetransfers haha). But I know that whatever happens, it's got the Lord's hand in it. 

#minhavida //

+ We were walking to a baptismal interview with Elder Aguilar and Elder de Jesus and we walked past a family on the sidewalk. But behind the family there was a dog that I did not see. And out of nowhere the dog jumps out and started making the weirdest evil ghost dog noises I have ever heard. I jumped about a foot in the air, screamed, punched Elder Aguilar in the arm, hugged my companion, ran about two yards away, and then avoided looking back at the huge family laughing their heads off at my reaction haha. 

Have a great week gang. Love you all. 

Sister Baker

Sister Castilho, Sister Nunes, Megan and Sister Weatherford

Sister Castilho and Megan 

Megan and Sister Carvalho
Megan and Sister Carvalho

Megan and Sister J Silva
Elder Phillips and Megan 
Elder W Silva and Megan
Megan, Sister Castilho, Elder Harris
Sister Castilho and Megan

Megan and Sister Castilho
Elder Z Clark and Megan 

Megan, Sister Porter, Sister Rios, Sister Hernandez
Megan and Sister Hernandez
Sister Mulberry, Sister Hernandez, Megan, Sister Rios, Sister Porter and Sister Nunes

Sister Weatherford and Megan
Sister Moraes and Megan
Megan and Sister Castilho
Megan's district


week 63 . the gift of [TONGUE]

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Sorry to be sending this email so late in the day. It's because today Sister Castilho and I went to Alecrim which is like downtown Natal. There's lots of little booths and stores and whatnot. I bought a beautiful hammock! (neutral with fringe mama ;) ) I'm officially addicted to hammocks. If I could buy them all I would. Seriously. 

This Sunday was almost a repeat of last Sunday with nobody at church. There were a lot of fervent prayers on my part as we went to everyone's house and nobody was willing to go to the meeting with us. We showed up at the church building without anyone and I was super bummed. But then we saw a young woman who we didn't recognize and we went over and talked to her. Investigator!!!! Her name is Gabrielle and her mom is a hairdresser who owns the salon underneath our apartment. Sister Castilho and I had just cut our hair at her mom's salon last week and she had mentioned that her daughter had gone to a church activity at our church and really liked it. And on Sunday she showed up by herself! This girl fell from heaven. After the meeting we pulled her aside to talk to her a little more. We explained about Jesus Christ's baptism and asked if she had ever been baptized before. Her response, "No. I'm going to get baptized in this church." Golden. We marked her baptism for November 2nd. I hope I'm still here in Potengi for the baptism. This girl is actually an angel. 

Sunday was also so special because Antonio (our recent-convert) received the Aaronic Priesthood. He asked us if he would be able to pass the Sacrament on the same day that he received the priesthood or if he would have to wait a whole week. [mom note: to "pass the sacrament" quite literally means to pass the sacrament (the bread and water) to members of the congregation. The young men that have the Aaronic Priesthood pass trays of bread and water to the congregation so everyone can take the Sacrament.] I've never seen someone so excited to serve in the church, especially as a 14 year old boy. I love this kid. 

#minhavida // 
+ We were eating lunch at a member's house the other day, and this member is a wonderful cook. I love lunch there. Part of the meal was eggplant and red meat. I thought the meat looked a little weird but I trust this member's cooking so I grabbed a little piece and ate it. Delicious. I went back and grabbed a giant piece and ate that too. After we had finished eating Sister Castilho asked the irmã what kind of meat it was. "Sisters," she said, "I didn't want to tell you before because I knew you wouldn't eat it. . ." (red alert) "But it's bull tongue." I ate bull tongue. But I played it off real cool and only freaked out a little bit when we left. Sister Castilho was dying haha. 

+ One day our lunch was at home this week so we decided to make rice and beef stroganoff. I made the rice and Sister Castilho made the stroganoff. Well I guess we were both off our game haha. The rice I made the other day turned out perfect, but this time it was way too salty. But salvageable. Then the stroganoff. I took a bite to test it. . . it tasted like there was an entire salt shaker in there. We added just about everything we could think off to even out the taste but to no avail. Luckily I think the Lord blessed our lunch because it wasn't that bad when I ate it (I even had seconds haha #missionarylife). 

Speaking of eating I turned into a human vortex this week. I am so hungry all the time. I feel like a teenage boy, (I feel like Nate haha). I might've consumed a ridiculous amount of x-bacon (cheeseburger with bacon) this week. And I might've eaten two in one night. But in my defense Sister Castilho ate two hamburgers as well. We both ate one and then she said, "do you want another one? I don't want to be fat by myself." hahaha. But I've since repented and this week I'm on a healthy streak. 

This week we're preparing Vladina (Valeska's sister) for her baptism on Sunday. Keep here in your prayers!

I am sort of in shock that Shan is actually home. She had become Hermana McCormick permanently in my mind. It's so crazy to see her with you guys. 

And I died laughing about the pic of me with accordion arms. You are too creative mama. And the Elias sign hahaha. Perfect. 

Megan waiting to give Shannon a big welcome home hug

Three months until this reunion happens for real

Megan's sister Emily

I'm so proud of Pie. [mom note: Megan's sister Emily that is reporting to the MTC on Wednesday for her mission to Jamaica] I printed out her farewell talk and will read it later. She's going to be an awesome missionary.  Give her the biggest hug from me and a motivating Shaun T style pep talk.

I love you all!
Sister Baker


week 62 . the secret to my friendship

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On Tuesday night we got a call from Elder Church and Elder Ledesma (our Zone Leaders) [mom note: missionaries that oversee/help a group of missionaries in a geographical area] saying that President Soares had asked for us to do an exchange with the sisters from Santarém. And that I would be staying in their area until Saturday with. . . Sister Weatherford! I joked with her that she's now my first American "companion" haha. But it was great to work with her again. I don't love leaving my area, but we saw a lot of miracles in her area and I got to know some of their investigators and the members there and it was a great experience overall. 

Sister Weatherford and Sister Nunes have been teaching a man named Marcílio and this week was the week leading up to his baptism! I had talked to him briefly at General Conference and it was great to get to know him better. The first time we went to his house we chatted a little bit and I showed him the picture of my baptism.

Megan and her dad at her baptism
He's such a sweethearted man and was so excited to make changes in his life. When we left we asked him to say the closing prayer. He started out "Thank you for this princess who is here visiting me. I saw her that day on the conference but didn't know that she would come here to my residence. And please bless all the little children that they can be baptized like she was." hahaha I died. I left feeling like Kate Middleton haha. 

There is a recent-convert named Neto who lives in Santarém and we went to visit him and leave a message. This man loves to give the sisters food. And I love to eat. So we got along just fine. He gave us pizza and bread and soda and all sorts of things. And then after I had already come back to my area Sister Weatherford gave us a panettone (bread/cake thing that they sell here when it gets close-ish to Christmas) that he had sent for me. He found the secret to my friendship haha. But seriously it's a good thing that I don't work in Santarém normally or I would probably turn into Augustus Gloop haha.

It was so great to work with Sister Weatherford and see how she has already grown a lot as a missionary in the short time since our last exchange. I learned a lot with her. She talks to everyone and really has the spirit with her when she teaches. Truly a wonderful misisonary. 

#minhavida // 
+ We were looking for a man that the elders had been teaching before they were transferred and left the address with Sister Weatherford. Well after awhile we found him walking towards his house. We called him over and explained that we were the new missionaries and that we would like to continue teaching him. He just stared at us. Sister Weatherford asked if he had already visited the church and if he liked it. He stayed quiet for like a minute and then said, "I. . I don't know if I liked it or not." With like the weirdest look on his face. Then Sister Weatherford asked him if he had any doubts about the meeting or the church and he said, "If you're going to ask about doubts (30 second awkward pause) I don't know." And then shut us down and walked away. The most mysterious investigator I've ever met. 

On Saturday we switched back to our normal areas and companions. Sister Castilho and I went out to Santarém to see Marcílios baptism. It was wonderful. 

Sunday was a bit rough because nobody went to church. Sister Castilho and I were bummed. But Antonio and Otavio were confirmed which was a huge plus.

Give Shannon the biggest hug from me. I've got a letter to send to her and wanted her home address. Any way you can get it to me?

I love you guys AND SHAN.

Amo vocês.
Have a great week! 

Sister Baker


week 61 . conferences...zone and general

This week started out with a party. 6 sisters all sleeping in one house. Mattresses on the ground, girl talk, and freshly baked cake (courtesy of Sister Castilho). Sisters V. Lopes, Antunes, Weatherford, and Nunes are all wonderful and it was great to catch up (with Sisters Antunes and Weatherford) and get to know Sisters V. Lopez and Nunes better. We all woke up bright and early (4 am) and managed to all get ready with one bathroom and two broken mirrors. Mission miracles. 

Tuesday was the Mission Zone Conference and it was the first time that I have been in Natal for the conference. But some friends from the interior are here in the capital now so I got to see some of my homies. Sister Porter, Sister Rios, Sister Morais, Sister Hernandez! (it was like a Caicó reunion). I love these people too much. I also learned that an elder who was in my zone in Mossoró has taken to doing imitations of me. He refused to show me, but I hear he's pretty good. (probably involves falling over a lot).

Sister Weatherford and Megan
Sister Mulberry, SIster Hernandez, Megan, Sister Rios, Sister Porter, Sister Nunes
Sister Mulberry, Sister Hernandez, Sister Porter, Sister Rios, Megan and Elder Evans
Speaking of which. . . #minhavida
+ At mission conferences, sweet Sister Soares always makes sure that there's breakfast for us. Bread with butter, fruit, juice, chocolate milk, etc. Well I was walking by the breakfast table and I stepped right into a splotch of butter on the ground. You can probably imagine what happened next. . . My foot slipped out behind me and I went down, just barely catching myself before my face hit the ground. Then I stood up, pulled a "nobody saw" pose and cleaned up the butter to save the other good citizens of the Brazil Natal Mission. 
+ Related to the above story: my companion asked me the other day if I have ever watched That's So Raven. When I said yes she laughed and said I fall the exact same way as Raven, like I fall and then jump up and keep walking to pretend I didn't fall. (thought of you momma "you little nasty")

Aside from the socializing and the falling, the Zone Conference was an amazing meeting. I felt spiritually uplifted and really motivated to work with the members. This work has to be done together

Sister Castilho and I were talking this week about how Satan's most powerful tool truly is to stop us from opening our mouths. It's so easy to think,"I won't talk to this person, but I'll talk to the next." or think that the person doesn't look like they want to talk to us, etc. But we worked hard to ignore these temptations and talk to everyone this week. We did a contact with a family and the woman snubbed us big time. She wouldn't even tell us her name. (I think she thinks that mormons have some name voodoo that we do haha). And then in the next contact we did, the woman walked away asap, refusing to talk to us. At the next house over I saw a woman sitting on the curb. Part of me was tired of being rejected and just wanted to get to our next commitment, but the spirit told me to talk to her. So we did. Her name is Joanna and she is so elect. She is (legally) married! woo hoo! And lives with her husband and three kids. A family! She is religious, but accepted the invite to visit church, we are hoping and praying the family will go with us this next Sunday! 

General Conference was perfect people.  [mom noteMembers of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints worldwide gather twice yearly for what they call “general conference.” This is in addition to their weekly services each Sunday. General conferences are conducted each April and October and comprise five two-hour meetings held over two days. The April meetings are called annual conferences and those in October, semiannual.I love hearing from the living prophet and apostles. I have no doubt whatsoever that this is in fact the true church of Jesus Christ. It is all too perfect. There were so many amazing talks. . .

+ President Uchtdorf talking about our potential and progress was much needed and so powerful. 
+ Sister Marriott with her sweet southern accent telling us that "it will all work out."
+ Elder Holland giving a perfect talk as always. And reminding me how much I love my mom. (shout out to my mama and all the other mothers out there. You rock)
+ Elder Durrant inviting us to "ponderize" the scriptures. I'll be ponderizing 2 Nephi 25: 23, 26 this week!
+ And our beloved prophet, President Thomas S Monson, inviting us to be examples of the believers and showing us how. 

[mom note: If you are interested in hearing any of the other messages shared at general conference you can find video, audio and print links to the talks here. All the talks are not yet available in print but will be by the end of the week]

I testify that Heavenly Father knows us and hears our prayers because He truly heard and answered mine through this conference. 

And speaking of answered prayers. . Sister Castilho and I were sitting waiting for the Sunday afternoon session to start and Sister Castilho says to me, half-joking. "Why doesn't anybody bring snacks for us missionaries?" And almost as the sentence left her mouth an irmã [mom note: sister] came out of nowhere sat in the chair in front of us and asked if we wanted homemade bread and juice. It was funny but also such a sweet testimony of Heavenly Father's love for us and the Christlike love of this woman. (and her baking skills. the bread was delicious). I love the members of this church. 

LOVE the Mormon Faces post. Nate's a babe. hahaha I love that someone commented that they want to date him.

Why is Pie SO GORGEOUS. Seriously, I can't deal. Did she dye her hair? She's a babe. And I love that there is now a print of the Shawn T quote. Best day ever. [mom note: this was in response to her sister, Emily, being featured on the Let Them Be Gold instagram account.

She's going to be the best missionary. You raised some good kids (if you don't count me...I'm sort of a troubemaker ;))

Nate and Izzie are total QTs. Since when are they old enough to go to Homecoming? What's happening in the world? And I can't believe Walter is still running. Miracle car. Loved the Waffle idea and pun. [mom note: her response to the pictures we sent her of her brother inviting his friend to Homecoming]


Nate and Izzie
I hope you all had a wonderful week and took advantage of General Conference. Take advantage of the fact that you can re-watch or listen to the talks (because I can't haha). 

com muito amor
Sister Baker