week 56 . the spirit of god has a power that we do not

Links in red (click for more info)

This week was a good one, we saw a lot of miracles here in Potengi. We had a zone meeting on Tuesday and we talked a lot about what we need to change, what we can do better, about the examples that the missionaries in the Book of Mormon are to us. It hit Sister J. Silva and I hard, and we went back to our area with a lot of goals about our work here. It was a week where we really worked hard to have the spirit with us and do our very best. 

One day this week we spent our companionship study (mom note: time set aside where companions study and discuss together) reading chapter 4 of Preach My Gospel about the Spirit. It made a huge difference in our day. We were searching for the house of a referral that a member had given us...Rosineide and Aleanderson. Rosineide is a less-active member and her husband Aleanderson is not a member. Recently his brother passed away and he is going through an extremely difficult moment right now. But we were having a really hard time finding their house. As we asked other people in the street about them we found wonderful new investigators who are receptive and willing to hear our message. And finally after talking to 5 or so people we finally found someone who knew where they lived.

When we clapped our hands at the door (mom note: they don't knock on doors there) an elderly woman walked out. And she didn't look too happy to see us. She said that Rosineide lived next door and walked over to call her. We explained that we were missionaries and she cut us off ASAP. She basically said that she already had her religion, thank you very much, and for us to let her be. Rosineide came out and greeted us with a huge smile and a hug and the sweetest two-month old baby in her arms. She said that she wanted to hear our message but that she wouldn't be able to in her house because her husband hadn't slept well the night before and was asleep in the living room. So she asked Almira, the elderly woman, if we could leave the message in her house. We went over there and we started talking to and getting to know these two women. We found out that Almira had also lost one of her daughters. We bore simple testimony of the Plan of Salvation and the knowledge we have that we can live with our families for eternity and said a prayer. We left a pamphlet of the Plan of Salvation and marked another day to come back and teach so that Aleanderson could listen as well. When we left Almira gave me a good strong hug and told us to come back to her house whenever we wanted to, that we would be welcome. She also is planning on going to church this next week with us! The spirit of God has a power that we do not, a power to change hearts. This is not our work, it is His. 

We're working hard here to strengthen not only our investigators, but the members and the ward here. It has become so clear to me here on my mission that the most important things we can do to strengthen our testimony of Christ and His church are the simplest things too. Read our scriptures and pray daily (individually and as a family), have weekly family home evenings, fast at least once a month, do our visiting teaching and home teaching visits, etc. These are the basics of the gospel. God has more prepared for us, but we need to do what He has already asked. 

I was reading in Helaman 3 this week and it was talking about the great success that the church was having. . . 

 24 And it came to pass that in this same year there was exceedingly great prosperity in the church, insomuch that there were thousands who did join themselves unto the church and were baptized unto repentance.
 25 And so great was the prosperity of the church, and so many the blessings which were poured out upon the people, that even the high priests and the teachers were themselves astonished beyond measure.
 26 And it came to pass that the work of the Lord did prosper unto the baptizing and uniting to the church of God, many souls, yea, even tens of thousands.

And I thought to myself how on earth were they having so much success? What were they doing that made so many people want to be baptized? With this in mind I continued reading and in verse 35 it says:

 35 Nevertheless they did fast and pray oft, and did wax stronger and stronger in their humility, and firmer and firmer in the faith of Christ, unto the filling their souls with joy and consolation, yea, even to the purifying and the sanctification of their hearts, which sanctification cometh because of their yielding their hearts unto God.

They prayed, they fasted, they were humble, and they had faith in Christ. It doesn't get simpler than that. This gospel is 100% perfect. If we just live it in our day to day lives, in our homes and work and school, everyone else will want to live it too. I have seen members here who truly give themselves over to the work of the Lord, who are magnifying their callings and always willing to serve. I hope to be more like them. 

#minhavida ::

+ Sister Dyer came to Brasil to visit this week!!!!! (mom note: Sister Dyer lived with Megan in her first area but has since finished her mission and returned home) It was so great to see her! I felt like I was a greenie again haha. (mom note: greenie is a term used for a new missionary) But she brought her aunt with her who speaks English and I was trying to help translate for her aunt...didn't go too well haha. My English is a mess. And when I finally got an English phrase out without a problem I was talking to my companion, not Sister Dyer's aunt haha. 

+ Here there is a custom that instead of calling everyone "you" (você) you will call people "senhor," "senhora," "irmão," "irmã," etc. (mr. mrs. brother sister) For example: "how long has the sister lived here?" Talking to a sister from the ward. It's weird in English haha. But I'm super used to talking like this, and it's the language we use in prayer also because it's more respectful. But we always use "Senhor" which is the Lord. But yesterday when I was praying I went with habit and I accidentally used "irmão" (brother) during the prayer. I heard Sister J. Silva shaking laughing next to me haha. Oops. 

Send my love to the Saylin's. I'll keep them in my prayers. (mom note: Our close family friends/Megan's freshman roommate lost their father/grandfather this week. We are grateful for our association with Keith Hilbig and send our love to his family along with Megan's.

Loved seeing the video of you guys! You are all so cute and funny and all babes. I love my family. And yes, the video was ok. You can send me family videos in the emails. The boys look so old, especially Nate. I can't believe he's a Junior. Weirdest thing ever.

Love, love, love, love, love the Harry Potter party prep pics. Mom only you would be genius enough to use a wine hutch to store wands. (mom note: I found a wine hutch for free on Craigslist and promptly grabbed it so we could use it for wand storage for an HP party 8 months away. Nerd.) 

(Mom, I don't know why the spacing is so weird in this letter and I tried to fix it but I can't. It's driving me crazy, please fix it if you can. Love you!) 

I love you all. I am so grateful to be here on the mission. To have this wonderful opportunity to serve the Lord and to learn more about this gospel and how to live it. 

I hope you all have a wonderful week. 

Beijos...Sister M. Baker


week 55 . forgive me?

Links in red (click for more info)

I AM SO SORRY about last week. We had planned to come back to the internet café but it didn't work out and Pday ended and that was that. I was so bummed and felt so bad for not writing you guys. Forgive me?

So you all know that last week was TRANSFER WEEK. And like you probably realized from the pics...I was transferred. Biggest shock of my life. I was 100% sure that I was going to stay in Mossoró. And Sister Trage was positive that she was going to be transferred. She'd even packed her suitcases. We were sitting on the curb when the elders called, and when they said that I would be transferred...I lost it. I just started crying my eyes out. I was so pumped about this area and our investigators and the members and everything. And Sister Trage stayed in the area, her 4th transfer there. It was a little hard on her too because this is the only area she's ever worked in and she's getting a little tired there. We indulged ourselves and complained a little bit and I cried (more than a little bit). But then we sucked it up and remembered that God knows what He's doing and He's got a plan for us here on our missions. 

I was transferred. . .

to :: Potengi (a ward and area in Natal)

+ The idea of being in the city again was so strange to me, since I've passed the majority of my mission in the "country" and I love it. And the way to work is so different in Natal because the culture is different in some aspects. But since I've gotten here I've realized that it's a wonderful area. Lots of open-minded people who are willing to hear our message. We have a great teaching pool, members, ward mission leader, and recent-converts. I'm excited to work here (and stay here for more than one transfer! Fingers crossed haha)

with :: Sister J. Silva
+ She's from São Paulo.

+ She's a convert to the church! She got baptized when she was 15 and her brother was on a mission nearby (he got baptized first) and his Mission President gave him permission to baptize her, the day before he went home! Such a cool story. And her parents got baptized while she was here on her mission. She's got a rock-solid testimony and faced a lot to be able to be here on a mission. I'm learning so much from her. 

+ She loves all things Disney. #kindredspirits

+ She's cries almost as much as I do. If there is ever a water shortage here we won't have a problem, we just need to cry into buckets and we'll have a solid backup water supply. 

+ She's a total sweetheart, funny, hardworking, and we are getting along wonderfully. I love her!

+ She's going home in October! I might "kill" her (when a missionary goes home we say they're "dying" and the last companion they have "kills" them). It would be great to spend two transfers with her here in Potengi! 

We have been super busy and I'm still completely lost in the area haha but it was a great week. Yesterday we had a baptism!!!!! Her name is Valeska and she has 13 years. We have been teaching her, her mom (Veronica), and her sister (Vladina). They are a wonderful family. They are going through some really difficult things right now and are really needing the light of the gospel in their lives. Valeska has been so excited to be baptized for awhile now, and yesterday she was finally able to! She practically bounced into the chapel she was so happy. The baptism was beautiful. (and I made a cake yesterday, all by myself, and it was a success. the mission is doing miracles for my baking abilities haha)

Sister J Silva, Valeska and Megan

There is a recent-convert that Sister J. Silva baptized named Brendon. He is amazing. He's attending seminary and is always studying and memorizing scriptures. And when he goes out to teach with us he always invites everyone to read the Book of Mormon and pray asking if it's true and bears his testimony. It's the sweetest. And he's preparing to go on a mission next year! 

#minhavida //
+ We were teaching Brendon and we got up to leave, but when I stood up I lost my balance and fell back into my chair. Sister J. Silva just laughed (she's already used to it), but Brendon got really worried and was going on about how he saw something on the news about low blood pressure and that I needed to be careful and should maybe go to the doctor. Haha apparently my lack of coordination is life-threatening now. 

+ We were having lunch at a member's house (they're an elderly couple that is adorable. I want to be them when I grow up). And they had invited a friend over to eat lunch with us (family, do this! It's the best for us missionaries). But anyways, the wife was a nurse for like 48 years and started talking about experiences she had had in the medical field which was actually really cool. But...then she started explaining in detail about circumcision to her friend. Sister J. Silva and I couldn't make eye contact with each other or we would've died. 

+ When we were walking on the sidewalk my foot got trapped in a little hole in the cement and I tripped big time. We're dying laughing and then a guy yells out of his car window: "Hey, watch out for the holes!" Thanks for the heads up buddy. 

I'm so happy here in Potengi. I'm missing Mossoró and my dear Sister Trage, but it's not stopping me from loving my new area and companion. I'm so excited to work here and help God's children come to know the restored gospel. I love this work with all my heart. 

Eu amo vocês!
Boa semana!

Sister M. Baker


week 54 . transfer week // she's lucky she sent pictures

Links in red (click for more info)

Hahahaha, I'm going to start telling everyone he's my ex. Low-key, I dated a British werewolf. [mom note: this was her response to a picture I sent her of her hairdresser, Brittany, doing the hair of the kid that played Maison (werewolf and on screen boyfriend of Selena Gomez) on Wizards of Waverly Place (don't pretend you didn't watch it) We told her since Brittany has worked on both their hair they might as well have been dating.

The internet café man is closing for lunch but we still have time so we're coming back later to finish up. Love you guys!

[mom note: And that was that. Our big family letter never came. She did redeem herself a little by sending a bunch of pictures which are with this post. The only problem is...from the pictures it looks like there were some goodbyes, tears, a new companion and new zone and we know NOTHING. So if she shared any info with anyone else in an email today or you're in Brazil or have a missionary in the Natal Mission and know anything about transfers please feel free to let us in on what happened this week. Luckily I have pictures to hold me over until next weeks email (and you know she better write a good one haha)

Megan and Sister Trage

Megan's Zone in Mossoró
Megan's District in Mossoró
Sister Savage, Sister Lencini, Sister Trage, Megan

celebrating a year on her mission

Sister Savage, Sister Lencini, Sister Trage, Megan

Coxinha and Taco Bell sauce haha...only Megan. We send her Taco Bell packets every so often to help her get her fix.

Sister Savage, Sister Lencini, Sister Trage and Megan

Megan and Elder W Silva (her Zone Leader in her last couple of areas)
Megan and Sister Morais (a previous companion)
Megan and Elder Giles (one of the Elders from her MTC district)
Megan, her new companion and her new zone (we think)