week 42 . transfer week

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Thanks for the prayers. Know that it was a prompting. [mom note: she is referencing some feelings we had about her on Wednesday that we shared with her in a letter] I'm totally happy and satisfied and excited in this moment, but Wednesday was a different story. The beginning of this week was one of the harder ones and Wednesday night I went to bed really down, but since that day everything has turned completely around. It's like the problem never existed. So know that your prayers were needed and were answered. Thank you so much for being in tune with the spirit. I love you.

Transfer week!!!! I stayed here in Seridó (Caicó) with Sister Morais!!! We're super excited for another great transfer here. I'm going to get really really tan too from six more weeks in this sun haha. 

Sister Hernandez was transferred. It was sad to see my mission twin leave. But on the bright side she stayed in our zone. hahahahaha. She's serving in the Brasil Caicó mission apparently. But this means I'll get to see her at Zone Meetings and next week at the Zone Conference and I'm pumped about it. I love her so much. 

Megan and Sister Hernandez
Sister Porter stayed and is training a brand new missionary from São Paulo!!!! Sister Antunes. She's super sweet and we're loving having her in our house here. Fun fact: she did her last year of high school at Timpview (yes, in Provo) and she remembers Cassidy! [mom note: Megan's cousin] And she knows Paige Handley (George Handley's, my study abroad professor, daughter!) Small world!!! 

And Sister Ríos came back to Caicó!!!! She is now one of the Sister Training Leaders for our zone so I get to talk to her on the reg and I love it. She remains one of the funniest people I know and I love her so much.

miracles this week ::

+ We had FOUR investigators at church!!!!!!! One of them is a sweet boy we are teaching who's mom is dying for him to get baptized. All his family members tell us, "this boy is eleven years old and never been baptized! Please take him to your church!" haha. And he's adorable and reading the Book of Mormon out loud for his mom who doesn't know how to read. And we also had a man named Davison there. It was a miracle for real that he went. He has almost no time between studying and working and a million other things and he's a person who has a lot of doubt and questions about religion in general but he went and he liked it a lot! I love teaching him because he has real questions in his soul that he wants answered, and we have the answers! It's a super fulfilling experience. 

+ Transfer week but we still hit standard of excellence. [mom note: goals the missionaries work towards each week] The Lord blessed our work so much this week. 


+ The sisters who work in Vila do Príncipe (a neighboring area) don't have water, energy, or gas in their house so for the last three nights we had a sleepover in our apartment with eight sisters. Eight sisters. One bathroom. And lots of hammocks. It was fun and also slightly exhausting haha. Great to relive the good old days with Sister Ríos in the house though. And get to know the other sisters better. 

I'm literally crying here from excitement for you Emily. I cannot wait to find out where you will go. [mom note: Megan's sister Emily is waiting for her mission call to arrive this week] My official bets:: 

Stateside - Washington
Foreign - Guatemala
and I get 1 more guess because I do - BRASIL

I'm so proud of you and so excited Pie [mom note: Emily's nickname] I love you tons. CONGRATULATIONS.

I'm sorry that this letter is so incredibly lame. But email time passed at lightning speed because of ALL the birthday love that everyone sent to me. Thank you, thank you, thank you everyone. I love you all. 

Tchau tchau!
amo vocês

Sister Baker


week 41 . apparently the marriageability clock is ticking

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[mom/sister note: Megan's 21st birthday is next week and to help her celebrate we'd love to have family and friends fill her inbox with birthday pictures. It's simple...snap a picture of yourself "celebrating" and email it to Megan this week at mbaker@myldsmail.net. What do we mean by "celebrating"? Here are some ideas that you can use or come up with your own...

:: hold your fingers up to represent 21

:: hold a handwritten sign written on printer paper, construction paper, toilet paper,  newspaper, cardboard or any other random thing lying around with a brief message to  Megan. Anything from "Happy Birthday", "love ya", "happy  21", "you're getting old fool" or some  other  sentiment like that. 

:: wear a birthday hat

:: hold a balloon

:: basically anything you want to do 

:: picture can be of just you or of your family or group of friends

This is not meant to be a hassle. Seriously. Just snap a quick birthday picture and send. You don't even need to write an letter (unless you want to) We just thought it would be fun for her to open up her emails and be showered with pictures as she celebrates turning 21.

So in a nutshell...
1. snap a birthday picture
2. email it to mbaker@myldsmail.net
3. do it this week (she'll be on her email bright and early next Monday)
4. give yourself a hug from us as a thank you for helping us celebrate Meg's birthday.

Now on to this weeks update...

Hey hey gang. 

So this week was a good one, but really really exhausting. Partially just because of the normal stuff, the sun of Caicó and lots and lots of walking. But also because we did a service project that was killer. But it was also so fun. We went to a woman's house from the ward and she has a bunch of crazy grass and weeds in front of her house and we took it all out with a tool called "inchada."

I don't know what it is in English but it's like a wooden stick with a sheet of metal on the end and we just hacked away at the ground cutting all the plants and roots and everything. Dad you would have been proud of my yard work skills. The woman from the ward, Francisca, was super impressed with the "white girl" haha. I did American sisters proud. But I love doing service projects, it's an easy way to feel so happy and fulfilled. Next on the list: painting the walls in the bishop's house! 

We are teaching a young woman named Amanda who is perfect. She's 13 years old and she is the niece of two women from our ward. She loves the church and she accepted baptism without batting an eye. She knows the church is true. Her parents also love the idea of her being a member because they know that it will help their daughter. It's a fantastic family! We're teaching all of them and I love them. But Amanda was supposed to be baptized yesterday. But unfortunately some other members of her family said a lot of stuff about the church and about baptism and she got nervous and doesn't want to hurt these people that she loves. But her aunt who is a member of the church asked her if she wanted to be baptized and she said, "Yes, I want to. I want to be happy." Cue the tears. She is such a sweet and pure girl and we're going to help her find that happiness this week! Pray for her! 

+ We met an older slightly eccentric man doing contacts in the street the other day. He studied geography and informed us that there are 271 countries in the world. [mom note: in case you are curious and want to know how many countries there actually are here's what Google has to say...There are 196 countries in the world today. Taiwan is not considered an official country by many, which would bring the count down to 195 countries. Although Taiwan operates as an independent country, many countries (including the U.S.) do not officially recognize it as one.] And then he told us that our church is a "lost church" aka horrible, but then said he wanted to visit on Sunday. And best of all. . . he told us that we better get married fast because if we wait any longer we won't be able to catch husbands. Confidence booster from the people of Caicó. haha

We have some really amazing investigators with doubts and questions that show that they really want to learn. I'm so grateful to be here right now and help these people. As for transfers this week, I'm not really nervous for me. I think I'll stay one more transfer here, but if I don't, it's in the hands of the Lord. But I'm freakishly worried that Sister Hernandez is going to be transferred and I love her. Maybe I'm praying that she'll stay one more haha. 

Megan and Sister Hernandez

Megan and Sister Hernandez making breakfast for Sister Porter's birthday

Thanks for all the support and the love. 

Eu amo vocês!
Tchau tchau

Sister Baker


week 40 . those [DENG]ue mosquitos

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HAPPY MOTHER'S DAY PEOPLE! Yesterday was  perfect. We had a good day at church then a baptism!!! 

Maria got baptized! (and the Elders had a baptism too! So it was double the joy!) She was so beautiful and happy and I almost couldn't believe it was happening. This week she almost gave up. Her neighbors were all telling her that she wasn't going to be able to be a member of the church because of health problems or money problems and a million other things. They were basically telling her that she wasn't worth it. When she told us I was SO mad. I love this woman and she has had such a hard life and deserves the best and these "friends" of hers are trying to take it away. One of the women from the street told us she would call the police if we came back to see Maria again and I went off on an "i-love-this-woman-more-than-you-do-leave-her-the-heck-alone" rant (with tears. duh.) and I guess it worked because she didn't call the police when we went back. Just shot us some nasty looks. 

BUT miracles happened with Maria that saved the day. First we went there with a member of the ward, Santana. She helped so much. It all turned around. I have a huge testimony of lessons with members. If you are a member of the church, teach with the missionaries. They need you. Their investigators need you. This lesson was what I think made our baptism possible this week. I'm so grateful. 

Then Saturday morning we did a deep cleaning in Maria's house with the Elders because she has a hard time cleaning with her back problems and she lives alone. It was so perfect. We cleaned from top to bottom, listened to hymns, the Elders got to know Maria better, and we all felt amazing afterwards. Then Elder W. Silva did Maria's baptismal interview and she was SO excited afterwards. Grateful for priesthood leaders and their willingness to help with our investigators. 

And Sunday was the baptism. She was truly so happy afterwards and I love her so much. She can't eat cake because of a different health problem so Elder W. Silva made pudim for her baptism and Sister Morais made a cake for the elders' baptism. So much serving going on in this ward, I love it!

Maria and Elder W Silva 
those smiles
And of course it was AMAZING talking on skype yesterday!!!!!!!!!!!! Made my life. Sorry for being crazy and awkward and miming everything instead of being a normal human. I can't believe how grown up and beautiful everyone is. I am so proud of my family and SO grateful for you guys. Thanks for being the best.

her reaction to seeing Cambridge, the family cat.
Introducing us to Sister Hernandez
Introductions also happened during Sister Hernandez's skype with her family. We loved getting this photo texted to us while we were patiently waiting to skype with Megan. Thank you Hernandez family.
Kisses being exchanged between sisters since this call was the last time Megan and Emily will see each other for awhile. Emily is preparing to submit her mission papers this month.
Screen shot from Emily's snapchat. Best capture of Meg from the whole call. 
Megan and her siblings...Emily, Nathan and Luke
+ This week I got sick with some mystery Brasil disease that's sweeping the country. I started getting little red dots over my entire body that was itching like crazy. But I was like, whatevs it's probably an allergy to my soap. I'll just use a different one. But then I talked to Sister Soares [mom note: mission president's wife] and it turns out this is happening to a ton of people so she sent me to the doctor. So the next morning Sister Morais and I start our trek (literally) to the hospital. It's way way way out in the very end of our area. We got there and entered. . .this place is not a hospital. It's like an insane asylum meets ski lodge. Sketch. We waited for forever but finally we got in and the doctor gave me (actually my companion because he didn't believe that I speak Portuguese) a prescription for anti-itch medicine. Then the day after our "Hotel California" visit the rash-y thing went away but the joints of my body hurt so bad I was like an old lady hobbling everywhere. (but it's NOT dengue mom I promise! It's like dengue's cousin.) But now I'm feeling a lot better and promising myself to never have a reason to visit the doctor here again. (example of more doctor sketchiness: a doctor left his shift and got into his car, smoking a cigarette. what.)

This week was a bit of a rough one with Maria's neighbors and being sick and all, but we watched "Missionary Work and the Atonement" by Elder Holland at the beginning of the week and it helped me remember that in the most difficult moments I am standing shoulder to shoulder with the greatest man that ever lived and it's an honor to do so. I am so proud to wear His name on my chest and to do His work. And I am so grateful for His comforting arms in my difficulties. I love me Saviour. 

I am so genuinely happy. Only in the Lord's work could one moment of happiness cancel out everything else. This is the true church. I love it. 

I love you guys.
Have a great week. 

Sister Baker

[mom note: it has been awhile since we got pictures so some of these that we just got are from some weeks back]

Sister Rios
Elder Clark
Megan, Sister Rios, Elder Clark, Elder W Silva
Megan and Sister Rios
I think these pics may be from a ward activity

Caico Zone Conference 

Megan and Sister Porter

Sister Porter
Megan and Sister Porter


week 39 . may the fourth be with you

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MAY THE FOURTH BE WITH YOU. Did you think that on the mish my love of Star Wars would END-OR did you know that I would remember that today was Star Wars Day? HANs down you all knew I would remember. And commemorate with some really FORCEd Star Wars puns.

Also a date this week (almost) as important as Star Wars Day. NATE's BIRTHDAY!!!!! Woo hoo! The big 1-6. Parabéns! Can't believe that you're getting old. Stop now please. [mom note: Megan's brother]

Also on a super worldly note. . . ROYAL BABY. Princess Charlotte. I was rooting for Victoria like Mom but Charlotte's a good one too. Love her already. And huge thanks to the large number of people who thought of me and sent photos. You all know me so well. I think almost all of my emails this week mentioned the happy news. I'm pumped on life and going to drink some tea later to celebrate.  

This week was awesome. It was a bit of a long one and I'm tired, but in the best possible way. Sister Morais and I taught 62 lessons this week. Which I'm pretty sure is the most lessons I've taught in one week on my mission. Yesterday after we finished planning I basically died in my hammock and fell asleep in like one minute. (then woke up because a million mosquitoes were eating me alive and went and slept in my bed). 

But yesterday we had FOUR people at church. Miracle of all miracles. I know that the Lord blessed us so much to be able to reach that goal. Having people at church has been our biggest struggle but Heavenly Father has His hand in this work and He made it happen. One of these four was Maria

MARIA // This woman is our angel. She has such a pure heart and spirit and has received a testimony so fast of the restored gospel. She fulfills all of the commitments (which doesn't happen) and she loves the church and the Book of Mormon and everything! After church yesterday she said that "once you become a part of this, there's no chance that you'll ever want to leave." She lives alone and has a problem in her back that makes it hard to walk, and her life has been so hard but because of all this she is so humble and sweet and loving and open and I love her so much. She is going to be baptized next week!!!! Pray for her please!

Also this week we met a woman named Lindalva. She was supposed to go to church yesterday too but it didn't work out because her mom is sick and she had to take care of her. BUT we taught her about baptism and at first she wasn't super interested because she had already been baptized. But we explained about the example of how Christ was baptized (age of consciousness [translating from Portuguese and don't know if it makes sense, sorry], by immersion, and with the proper authority). And then when we invited her to be baptized in this way she said "Of course! Who wouldn't want to be baptized how Jesus Christ was!!" I wanted to say that I could list more than a few people who didn't want it haha. But we're so happy for her and she's coming back into town this week so we'll continue working with her. 

+ We were at the Bishop's house for lunch this week and the Bishop's 11 year old son, Artur, looks at me and says "Sister M. Baker, you're aging faster than normal." hahaha. Then he left the room and when he came back he had big eyeglasses on and was using a metal pipe as a walking stick and talking like an old man. He said that he was the "aging angel" and that he "came early this year" and gave me the glasses and walking stick. hahaha. He's a riot. And also I'm old. 

+ Sister Morais and I were walking down the street and we saw this little kid who was like 2 or 3 years old. So Sister Morais says hi and good afternoon and he keeps walking. As he walked by she repeated herself in her sweet voice because we thought he didn't hear the first time. We look at him as he's walking away and without even turning around to look at us, he raises his hand above his head and flips us off. Hahahaha we were dying. I did not believe it. He was practically a baby. I can only imagine this kid when he's grown up. Watch out. 

+ We were teaching a group of three men and one of them said that he had "more faith than anyone in the world." (big claim) But that he would "never ever go to church." Already a bit of a contradiction. So Sister Morais asked what he would do if Jesus Christ appeared in front of him and said "Come, follow me." What did this man say that he would reply to Jesus Christ? "Am I not doing enough already??" what. The member that was teaching with us couldn't believe it and was laughing so hard afterwards. I don't understand people sometimes. 

I am so grateful for how the Lord blesses us for our work and sacrifices and gives us a push when we feel like we can't walk one more step on this darned cobblestone street that always makes me trip. I love missionary work and I love our investigators, especially those that I am seeing change through the gospel. 

I know this church is true! Joseph Smith was a prophet of God, there is no way on earth I could ever deny that. Jesus Christ is our Savior and lives in our lives daily. I love my mission. I love you guys. 

Have a wonderful week!
Amo vocês!
Sister Baker

UNTIL  MOTHER'S DAY!!!!!!!! SKYPE!!! WOOT WOOT! We're planning on skyping at about 5:00 my time, which should be about noon or 1:00 for you guys.