week 69 . the potengi ap[ROACH]

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// investigators //

Basílio :: We went and taught him first thing this week. He's amazing! He's gone to a lot of churches in the past, but never felt like they were right. But he said that he loved church on Sunday, that he felt different there. We spent this week teaching all the missionary lessons. He accepted everything. He is reading the Book of Mormon daily! And he told us that he never had the opportunity to study (he lived in the country before there was access to schools there, he's about 73!). But he wanted to learn to read so he taught himself reading Psalms. wow! He was excited to get baptized yesterday, but some people from other churches showed up and made him feel unworthy to be baptized right now, which is completely untrue. But he went to church and we're going to work with him this week and prepare him to get baptized next Sunday. 

Paulo :: Another one who was confused by what others are saying to him about the church and baptism. But he loved loved loved church yesterday and last night we went over to his house and had a wonderful lesson. It was truly guided by the spirit. We explained to him that all that truly mattered was if he knew that the church was true. We asked him about his testimony of the church, the Book of Mormon, the prophet Joseph Smith, and he said he knows that it's all true. So he's ready now to be baptized on Sunday. And Paulino is helping a ton, constantly bearing his testimony and making a difference in his brother's heart that we wouldn't be able to alone. Side note : Paulo and Paulino apparently think that we starve to death as missionaries and no matter how much we insist that it's not necessary they give us soda and cake every time we go over there (aka almost every day). If I'm not transferred I'm going to have to step up my exercise routine haha. 

Jatobar :: He was way excited to go to church yesterday, but sadly we think that he drank and avoided our phone calls. But we're not going to give up that easily! We know that the gospel of Jesus Christ is what will make a lasting difference in his life and we're going to help him. We also met his twin sons this week, super well-behaved and polite young men. They said they want to visit the church too! 

Louis Carlos :: We were walking to a commitment and we passed a man in the street. I felt the most subtle prompting that I should talk to him, but in the time that I wasted to think about whether I would talk to him or not he had already walked by. But God is so good to us, and didn't let my weaknesses take away the opportunity we had to know this man. The man stopped in his tracks and called us over! He asked what church we were from and said that awhile back two sisters had marked a visit in his house but never showed up. Then he asked us to visit him. Talk about a dream come true. He couldn't go to church yesterday because he was working, but he said he'll go next Sunday!!

Jeronimo :: Another miracle investigator who did a contact with us instead of the other way around. He works at a shoe store that Sister Castilho bought some flats at and asked if we were from the Mormon church. Then he said that he always sees missionaries walking by and had always been curious to know more about the church and wanted to visit it. He asked what time the meetings are at and said he's going to visit with his wife. And then when we left he said that he wanted to give us something to "make our lives sweeter" and gave us lollipops!!! Da best. 

// thanksgiving //

So my Thanksgiving was turkey-less, but it was a good one. It started out slightly chaotic with a cockroach falling from who-knows-where and landing on my foot, and then Sister Castilho and I spent a good 40 minutes trying to kill it (I succeeded after a lot of screaming and smacking the ground with a broom). (#minhavida). But from then on it was a good day. And it was Elder W. Silva's birthday so we planned a party at Irmã Isabel's (from the Elder's ward) house. Isabel and her family are the best. They have 6 kids and all have either served missions, are on a misison, or have a mission call. I met their daughter Raquel when I was in Caicó because she was there visiting a friend and I love her. She reminds me a lot of Cassidy for some reason. [mom note: Megan's cousin] And it was their daughter who's on a mission's birthday too so we had twice the amount of cake (fine by me). It was way fun. 

// #minhavida //

+ We had a few more cockroach mishaps this week. . .we were opening up the gate/door at the bottom of the stairs that lead up to our apartment and there was a cockroach in the road. Sister Castilho is deathly afraid of cockroaches and she kicked sand on it to scare it away. But instead of running away, it headed right towards me. I was in the doorway with nowhere to run and I'm now positive that cockroaches can smell fear. I was panicking haha. And Sister Castilho (who was very far away from the cockroach. Very far away) told me to suck it up and kill it because I was wearing Chacos haha. I managed to kill it and then my oh-so-brave companion wouldn't walk through the doorway until I had kicked the body away haha. In all the cockroach confusion, I lost a chocolate that Paulino had given us. I spent the whole night moping about my lost chocolate, and then the next day when we opened the door it was there on our doormat (where it had certainly not been before). God loves me and understands my chocolate cravings. Got to love the little miracles. 

+ I managed to burn my finger on our iron (but at least my dress was ironed on Sunday! That was for you momma ;) ) I ran around the house tying to remember the dos and don't's of burns. Is ice bad for burns? Should I keep my finger in a bowl of water? How would I carry a bowl of water to church?? Then my comp saved my life with some mystery cream she pulled out of her first aid kit and my finger is healing at the speed of light...love her. 

+ Basílio had his baptismal interview this week the the district leader and then the next day that we went over to his house he saw my CTR ring that I  use on my right hand. (fun fact: when Brazilians are engaged they put the ring on the right hand, and on the left for married). And he asked me if I was engaged to one of those "professors" aka missionaries that he had met the day before. I died. And then he started going on about how pretty Sister Castilho is, and at the end threw in a  pity "you're pretty too." (with unsaid "I guess"). Sister Castilho is a hot ticket item out here in our area haha. 

[mom note: the next bit of her letter is responses to pictures we sent her]

The picture of dad on Thanksgiving killed me...Chloe and Dayton are cuties.

LOVE LOVE LOVE the Elf movie night pics. Looks like movie night has stepped up a notch...food, santa mustaches (so adorable). 5 stars. [mom note: family tradition dictates that we show Elf in our backyard every Thanksgiving night. Friends and family that are in town and aren't in a turkey coma are all invited to brave the cold (wimpy Californians) and come watch the movie]

How fun that you got to see the Bakers. They seem like a great family. [mom note: we had dinner this week with the family of the other Sister Baker serving in Megan's mission]

Nate's basically famous now. [mom note: We got a Cotopaxi catalog in the mail and caught a glimpse of Megan's brother in it. Basically the top of his head and his hands are famous]

About your ding dong ditch...do you believe that I was thinking about those horrible flowers the other day and wondering if the war was still going on? Good to know that our family is in the lead. BEST ding dong ditch ever. I'm so proud to be a Baker right now. [mom note: we have a basket of fake flowers that get passed between us and some family friends. We had a 7 foot fake Christmas tree that the lights didn't work anymore so we decided to leave it on our friends porch along with a giant box full of packing peanuts and the basket of flowers]

Where did you guys go hiking? Its so pretty.

So FUN that you got to see Greg and Kate. Kate is so pretty...holy crap. And you had guac and salsa together. Salsa Sunday. I miss it so. [mom note: another family tradition...we have homemade guacamole and/or salsa every Sunday after church. Yesterday we had Greg (Derek's friend from growing up) and His daughter Kate (Megan's life long friend and freshman year roommate) visit it us at church and then join us for guac and salsa.

She's a beautiful baby girl (I still want to be the royal nanny) [mom note: commenting on new pictures of Princess Charlotte]

Will you please post on Facebook/Instagram/my blog the video and everything else from the Christmas site. It has so many wonderful things. Merry Christmas!

Well I hope you all have a wonderful cockroach-free week. (and pray that I do too haha).

Amo vocês!
Sister Baker


week 68 . this week was perfect

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[mom note: Photos were added to last weeks letter a few days after is was posted]

Well let's start out with the best part of the week . . . 


Paulino was baptized yesterday!!!!!!! (Paulo still had some doubts, but I'm sure he'll come around soon!). So it turns out their niece couldn't come to the baptism in the end. But the delayed baptism was good in at least one aspect. Paulino was at work and some guy walked up to him and said "Hey I heard you're going to the Mormon church. This church is from the devil blah blah blah etc." And Paulino defended the church. And he was with a friend from work Valdir who also started to defend the church saying that he'd been a member for 28 years and it wasn't anything like what this man was saying. And then the man felt awkward and left. (ha). And Valdir gave Paulino a hug and congratulated him. Neither of them had any idea that the other was a member/going to church. Irmão Valdir is from the Panatis ward (super close) and I know his family and love them tons. And he was able to not only go to the baptism yesterday, but baptize Paulino! It was so great.

Valdir, Paulino, Paulo, Sister Castilho, and Megan
Paulino and Paulo
Valdir, Paulino, and Paulo

Elder Church, Paulino, and Paulo

There was only a little mishap with the baptism (there always has to be at least one thing that goes wrong haha). We scheduled the baptism for 4 in the afternoon for Valdir to be able to go, but when we told Paulo and Paulino that they thought that we had said that the church meetings would be in the afternoon as well. So when they didn't show up to church yesterday, Sister Castilho and I just about had a panic attack. We ran around like chickens with our heads cut off the whole morning trying to get a hold of them. But finally it all worked out and we realized it had just been a misunderstanding and the baptism itself was perfect. Paulino is so happy. And I am SO HAPPY.

Seriously this week was so perfect. I have lots to be grateful for. We saw some serious miracles yesterday with the people who went to church. 

+ Jatobar // remember a few weeks back that a man entered the church building asking for help and for us to teach him?? Well we've been trying to get him to church since that day and it's never happened. But yesterday we showed up and said lets go, and he went!!! And when he walked into the church building he was overcome with emotions and just started to cry. It was such a sweet moment. And he loved the sacrament meeting. He kept saying how different it was from anything he'd seen before and how different he felt. He still has a long way to go, but we're happy to see some progress with him; 

+ Basílio // we were running around trying to pick people up for church and a man called us over and asked if we were from Jehovah´s Witness hahaha. We explained that we're from the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints and invited him to go to church with us that morning. He said that he had some things to resolve but that afterward he would go by himself (which a lot of people say, but nobody actually goes). So we left thinking that we would never see him again. But he went! By himself! And he loved the meetings and was talking to all the irmãos and said that he wanted us to go to his house and teach him more. We invited him to be baptized and he accepted on the spot!!! So elect. 

This week Sister Castilho and I went to Gramoré to help out Sisters Pinherio and Porter!!!!![mom note: a sister that she has lived with a few times but never been companions with] So fun to see her! We had a #minhavida moment trying to get there by bus. We might've gotten slightly lost and when I asked the bus worker man how to get back to Gramoré (because we knew we'd passed our stop) he just looked at me and laughed like how can you be so dumb? But we finally made it and I got to spend some hours working with Sister Porter which was a dream come true. And before we went back to our area we had a quick dinner/açaí with the elders from their district (including Elder Giles!!!!!!! so fun to see old friends). [mom note: an elder that was in the CTM with her at the beginning of her mission]

One more #minhavida to finish off . . . 

+ When we were going around picking up people for church we showed up at our investigator's house and he was sitting on the porch (no shirt, beer belly, good look). When we walked up and said good morning he said "wait a second" and ran inside. A few minutes later he came back out and said, "Much better, I didn't have my teeth in before." A real gentleman, putting his fake teeth in before talking to us hahaha. 

Happy Thanksgiving this week! We've all got so much to be grateful for (starting with the restored gospel. it's the best). 

Love you all. 
Tchau tchau

Sister M. Baker


week 67 . the latest from Brazil

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To start out, we heard about what happened in Paris. I was blown away. It seemed so surreal hearing about it out here. It's so sad that these things happen and that there are people who have so little respect for human life. We are keeping all who were affected in our prayers. 

Early in the week we had mission counsel. We were able to learn a lot with the AP's and President and Sister Soares. On Monday night Sister Castilho and I had a long talk about our work here and what we felt like we were doing right and what we needed to change. During the counsel on Tuesday it seemed as if everything that was said was meant for us! I felt so powerfully that God knows us and what we need in our area to be better missionaries and to help His children. We came home excited to put what we had learned into action and this week was truly wonderful because of that.

Mission Council
Megan and Sister Brown 

Sister Castilho and Sister Lopes

Megan and Sister Carvalho
We dedicated ourselves this week to helping Paulo and Paulino recognize the answer that God had given them that the church is true. We couldn't understand why they didn't realize how prepared they were spiritually. We spent the week doing everything we could to resolve any doubts they had about the church, members went to their house to do the same thing, but they still were unsure. Finally on Friday we felt that we should talk about the Plan of Salvation, which had little or nothing to do with their doubts, but we felt impressed and followed the prompting. As we talked about the concept of eternal families they started to open up. And then when we explained to them that they could be baptized in behalf of their parents (and other family members) who died without that opportunity it was like a light turned on in their minds. We saw them become completely converted to the gospel of Jesus Christ. It was amazing to see how God uses us as a tool in this work. 

Yesterday they showed up at church after us. I looked over at them and didn't see a bag with a towel or anything (to dry off after the baptism) and my heart dropped. But after sacrament meeting Sister Castilho and I ran out to the parking lot and we saw the bag with the towels in their car!!! BUT unfortunately they were not baptized on Sunday. But it will all work out. They decided to change the date because they want their niece to be there. She has a busy work schedule but they are going to find out when her day off is and we're planning their baptism for that day (probably during the week this week). We're bummed that the baptism fell through on Sunday, but I'm so happy to know that they are converted and willing to make this covenant with God. Keep them in your prayers that it'll all work out this week! 

We were teaching an elderly woman named Rita this week. As we were teaching her granddaughter entered the room in a wheelchair. She is special and 11 years old and one of the sweetest people that I have ever met. Her name is Maria Fernanda. As we were talking she maneuvered her wheelchair so that she was sitting close to me and facing me. And she hugged me and said "you are beautiful!' She didn't stop saying that the entire lesson. (to Sister Castilho and I ). And when she left she gave each of us a tight hug. Such an angel. 

And then the next day we were walking in the street and a little girl walking in front of us with her parents was basically walking backwards so that she could talk to us in the street. She asked us if we were friends and if we lived in the same house haha. And she just kept talking for a good 5 minutes. Cutest little girl. And when we left she said "You are both very pretty! And well behaved!' This week was full of confidence boosters haha. 

This Friday was Friday the 13th (for those of you who hadn't noticed) and it was full of adventures. One example being that a dog just about ripped my companions leg off in the street. But she deterred him with her Chacos and his owner came over running and shooed him off before he could actually bite her. But we were shell shocked with dogs in the road for the rest of the day haha. And we also decided to commemorate Friday the 13th by doing Halloween-style makeup on our faces after we got home. Sister Castillho's idea...I love her for that. Some missionary-style fun for ya haha.

#minhavida // 

+ On Saturday we decided to sing a Christmas hymn during the after-lunch message. We started to sing "The First Noel." It was all going great (or at least not badly haha) until we got to the chorus. As we sang, the member's cat slid out of the cabinet that he had been sleeping in (he came out of nowhere), and he wasn't too happy with us. Sister Castilho and I both saw it at the same time and we had the same thought that our singing was so bad that it woke up this cat and made him angry). Sister Castilho started laughing ("coughing") and I was left singing alone, which made it worse. So then I was trying not to laugh and basically we barely made it through the rest of the hymn. And then afterwards Sister Castilho tried to play it off by saying that her family sings this song every year and faking that she had been crying. I died. hahaha. 

+  I wrote a note in English and afterwards I realized that I had written you're when it should've been your. And the English major inside of me died a little bit. I'm still crying about this. My English is a mess. 

+ We were walking down the street and we saw an elderly woman trying to take some palm fronds off of a little tree in front of her house. She was struggling so we went over to help her. We spent a good five minutes trying to rip them out and finally succeeded. Then as we walked away she went with us and that's when we found out that it wasn't her house. We had helped the old lady steal the palm fronds. And to make it better there was a camera in front of the house. Awesome. 

Congrats to Brittany Steele! And small world that it's dad's cousin's son! Is it someone that I know from family reunions or anything? [mom note: a friend Megan went to high school with is marrying a Baker relative]

I got two packages this week!!!! WOO HOO! One Halloween package that Sister Castilho and I are loving. We took advantage of the fact that Friday was Friday the 13th and celebrated a belated Halloween haha. Extra thanks for the many many Reese's products. I'm a happy camper. 

Megan and Sister Castilho
I haven't opened the other package yet because I think that I'll be transferred in the middle of December so I'm waiting to open it to decorate until after transfers. It's a lesson in self control haha. [mom note: Christmas package]

Thank you thank you for sending clothes! You're the best momma! It's something that I didn't want to stress about here.  

Nice photoshopping skills Luke hahahaha [mom note: Meg's little brother shared his latest creative work with her]

I hope you all have a wonderful week and remember how perfect this gospel is. I love it. And all of you!

Sister M. Baker

Sister Castilho trying to get mangos from the tree

a lizard in their fridge


week 66 . missionary work, parties & nerd vocabulary

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This week in paradise . . . 

TUESDAY // was Sister Castilho's birthday!!! We had a little "surprise party" for her in our district meeting. That almost wasn't a surprise because one of the elders was going to blow it, but I'm basically a secret agent and we managed to keep it on the down low. We ate cake (courtesy of Sister Weatherford and Sister Nunes) drank soda and played with balloons. It was good times all around. 

Sister Castilho

Elder Church and Elder W Silva
And then later we went out for dinner, just us two. Real romantic. And I was going to pay for her as the birthday girl and all, but I ended up being short like 2 reais that I left at home. #baddate #minhavida But my companion's a good sport and loves me anyway haha. 

WEDNESDAY // We went to teach Jatobar (the man who showed up by himself last Sunday). He drinks a lot so it's been rough finding a time that he's at home and sober to teach him. But we met his family! They're great. His wife is super super supportive of him going to church and of us teaching him. Her name is Vanubia. She's not interested in the church for her, but she really wants to help her husband. When the family supports someone it's much easier, so I'm sure we'll find a way to help Jatobar this week! 

THURSDAY // Sister Castilho has been feeling pain in her knee for awhile now and this week it was hurting more than normal. So on Thursday morning we went out to the other side of the city to take her to the hospital. It looks like her knee is swelling on the inside. It's nothing serious, we just have to take care of it and she'll probably have to do some physical therapy. But we're just glad that it's nothing more serious and that she can work normally. But keep her in your prayers! (and me that I can know how to take care of her!)

FRIDAY // SATURDAY // SUNDAY // We spent these three days, and the majority of our time to be honest thinking about how we could help Paulo and Paulino. (the two men we were preparing to be baptized). They are so close I can feel it, but they still have some minor doubts. But they are so elect. They are so willing to keep the commandments. Paulino is defending the church to everyone who says anything bad about it. (even his girlfriend from a different church who threatened to break up with him if he kept going!). And he walks with the attributes of Christ in his wallet (that he copied down during a lesson in  elders quorum) He told us that he looks at it multiple times during the day and prays that he can develop these attributes! He's better than I am! Pray for them this week!!!! [mom note: I don't know if the link I provided for the attributes of Christ is what Paulino has in his wallet but I shared it because it's a good reminder for all of us to strive to live our lives with Christlike attributes]

#minhavida //
+ We did a contact with a man who has already been taught by missionaries and had even gone to church before! He introduced us to his family. . his mom, his 5 brothers, 2 sisters, their spouses and kids. . . we were pumped! And then Sister Castilho asked him why he hadn't been baptized in the church and he got all awkward and then told us that he is basically the head of a gang or something in that neighborhood. "nobody messes with him." And then he asked for our number and Sister Castilho gave him a fake number and he went off to meet up with his gang. 

An American word for muggle...this is weird haha. I didn't know that there was a different word in English "American" but I'm confused and excited about it all at the same time hahaha 

Okay I love you all!
Have a great week!

Sister Baker

Sister Weatherford and Megan
Megan and Sister Castilho