welcome home sister baker!


week 77 . this is it :: she's coming home

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Well this is it. I can NOT believe that this is my last email home as a missionary. I've been (and still am) in denial. A part of me feels like I'm just going to be transferred, not going home. I think it'll only really sink in on the airplane. 

Of course I'm excited to see all of you at home (and eat Taco Bell, watch Star Wars, etc.) BUT I will leave a part of myself here on the mission. I have loved every minute of my time here in Brasil. This has been an experience that has shaped who I am and who I desire to be. And it has given me the opportunity to help others come unto Christ which is "the most important work we can do in mortality." It's going to be a lot harder to leave than I ever thought it could be. 

But going back to that whole in denial thing. . . I'm going to write about my week as if everything was normal and I'm not "dying" (finishing the mission) this week.

Speaking of "dying", it seems to be tradition in Meg's mission to take a "death" picture of departing missionaries. With limited forms of entertainment for 18 months -2 yrs missionaries resort to some odd ways of entertaining themselves haha
In our district meeting this week, Elder Amaral (our DL) [mom note: District Leader, missionary over a geographical area] asked me to give the treinamento. [mom note: training at their weekly training meeting] Which stressed me out because it's not something that I've ever felt comfortable with. Talk to strangers in the street about God = ok. Speak in front of my district = blegh. BUT I prayed a lot and spent some time preparing and felt that I should talk about the example of the pioneers. We talked about their faith and willingness to sacrifice and how we need these same attributes as missionaries (and members of the church). It was great because everyone participated. Everyone shared their thoughts and scriptures and it wasn't just me talking in the front. So we all learned together. And the spirit was overwhelming in that room. I know that the pioneers didn't go through all that they did for nothing. . . because of them we have the restored gospel available to us. And this is the true gospel of Jesus Christ. I have no doubt about it. 

Megan's district

On Wednesday we watched the worldwide missionary training. [mom note: a training was broadcast to all the missionaries throughout the world] It was fantastic. And it was so cool to think that Pie [mom note: Emily, Megan's sister] and I were watching it "together." I learned a lot about missionary work and how to help people feel the spirit and feel desire to repent. And I saw Jaime Law (i'm 99% sure!) [mom note: a family friend] She was in a "focus group" type thing with a bunch of general authorities talking about various chapters in Preach My Gospel. Super cool.

On Thursday I rolled out of bed and was practically still trying to open my eyes when the phone rang. Sister Gusmão answered it and said "you're joking. . ." She laughed and then passed me the phone and said that the assistants were playing a joke on us. I talked to Elder Tavares and he said that he wasn't joking and that Sister Gusmão had been emergency transferred to Natal. What. Another sister had to go home early and they were one sister short over there so Sister Gusmão had to pack her bags and left Caicó by 9 am. It was rough saying goodbye to her, especially so out of the blue. But I know she'll love Natal and her new companion (Sister Weatherford!!!!!!!!!!) But I miss my filha. [mom note: daughter] And Sister Muria and I are feeling super strange with just the two of us. It seems like we just forgot Sister Gusmão at home or something. But I love Sister Muria and I'm so grateful that at least I'm still with her. 

People, a miracle happened in Caicó this week. It rained! Rained like it hasn't in a long long long time here. And it rained for the whole week. One day we were soaked through, along with everyone else in the city. And the dirt roads are muddy and full of holes and almost everyone's houses flooded a little bit BUT everyone is smiling and thanking God. Places that were dry and dead are now green and full of life. Rivers are full of water instead of dusty and rocky. Truly a tender mercy and an answer to many prayers. I loved seeing the joy on everyone's faces the first day that it really poured. We saw fully grown adults running around in the rain like kids, washing their hair in the run off from the rain, and everyone smiling from ear to ear. But also, for the first time on my mission I was freezing! I was going everywhere with a cardigan. Sleeping with pants and a sweater and a sheet and a blanket and socks. Waking up shivering and wrapping up in my blanket. Unreal. I was joking with Sister Muria that I think Heavenly Father was trying to prepare me for the colder weather at home haha. 

And speaking of the rain, a 9 year old recent convert told us what her schoolmate had said about why it rains. . . He told her that when it rains it's because "Mary is hitting Jesus." What??? Who taught this poor child? But we cleared things up for her haha. 

We're teaching a woman named Dulce (I think I mentioned her before. . .) who was a referral from Irmã Rejane. She is amazing. She has gone to a lot of churches and wants to know which one is right. She is truly searching for the truth. We taught the Restoration this week and it was an extremely spiritual experience. She understood what we were saying and she wants to read the Book of Mormon, she wants to pray, she wants to know if it's true. And my testimony of the Restoration of the gospel was strengthened. As I bore my testimony to her I realized that there truly is nothing else in this world more important to me than what I was teaching her. The fact that Jesus Christ lives and that He established His Church, that through the church we can make sacred covenants to be able to return to our Heavenly Father's presence and live with our families for eternity. This knowledge is priceless. As I handed her the Book of Mormon I saw that she recognized that what we were giving her was much more than just a book. 

And last but not least. . . #minhavida 

+ We had a ward activity (theme: master chef) and I was chosen as a judge last minute. The first member came up to the table with his "dessert" and took off the lid and the smell of eggs filled the whole room. It was egg whites filled with brigadeiro, one peanut, and one m&m. The face you guys are making reading the description was probably really similar to the face I made when I saw it. And then I tried to play it cool and pretend that I really wanted to eat that chocolate filled egg, but I wasn't fooling anyone. Luckily the member told us afterwards that he had done it as a joke. And also the egg wasn't actually that bad, not something I would choose to eat, but it wasn't bad. 

+ I pronounced Whitney Houston, wheechnee hooston this week. Congratulations to me. 

+ All that rain I mentioned means a lot of mud. We were walking casually down the street chatting about life and whatnot and then out of nowhere I slipped. One leg in front, one leg behind me, pinwheel arms, a strange scream, and the only thing that saved me from falling face first in the mud was the fact the I managed to grab Sister Muria's arm and stop myself. It's dangerous out here haha. 

Well I love you all and thank you for all the support during this last year and a half. And I want you all to know that I love this gospel and this work. Being a missionary is a sacred calling. I am honored to be a representative of Jesus Christ here in Brasil and I hope that I can continue doing His work back home. I love my Savior. I love His church. And I know the He lives, loves us, and is at the head of this work. 

Amo vocês.
Sister Baker

[mom note: the following pictures are Megan's zone, A zone is comprised of a group of districts]


week 76 . invisible

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We had a strange week this week. Nobody was ever at home. Almost all of our commitments fell through...but I saw the hand of the Lord in our work. If one person wasn't home we found someone else to teach or do contacts. And we met some great people this week. Just a reminder to me that sometimes God puts us through "adversities" not only to help us learn but to truly bless us as well. (it reminded me of that article from the Ensign "on the road to palmyra" perfection.) [mom note: I think the link is the article she is talking about]

Raimunda was our focus this week since she went to church on Sunday, but she was one of the many who was impossible to find at home. About halfway through the week she was there and we sat down to teach her. But then her neighbor, Felipe, showed up. #minhavida He was there to help hook up her dvd player or something, but not only did he not succeed with the dvd player, but he managed to completely destroy any sort of lesson that we had going on. He started telling Raimunda how her church is basically trash and then started talking about a pastor from another church and how he was corrupt, etc etc. And Raimunda got super defensive and put her finger right in his face and said that "Jesus is the God of gold, and silver, and money." hahaha. And I was trying so hard to interrupt and calm everyone down but I could never get more than one word out before they started off on their Bible-less bash again. Finally Sister Gusmão offered to say the "closing prayer" so we could leave. But Raimunda didn't even give her a chance and started praying (hands in the air, yelling sort of prayer). and then at the end she shouted "now everybody say AMEN!" and everyone looked at each other awkwardly and whispered amen hahaha. 

Going along with the whole #minhavida deal. I don't know what is going on this week but we were basically invisible. We talked to people and they just looked at us and didn´t answer. Or we knocked on doors asking if a certain person was home and they just left us their waiting for like 5 minutes and then afterwards said that that person wasn't home. You know that part in the second Harry Potter movie when Harry enters Tom Riddles diary and tries to talk to everyone but nobody heard him. Us this week. haha. 

This week Sister Gusmão was a little bit down in the dumps because of how things are going in our area. She's frustrated. And combined with the fact that she's a new missionary it's been rough. But I've been praying a lot for her that she can feel happy on the mission. And the other day Sister Muria was having a hard time and was pretty sad, and instead of joining in on the pity party, Sister Gusmão started to cheer her up! It was such a tender moment and a real answer to prayers. I love my companions too much for words. 

We worked with a lot of people this week who are giving up eternal happiness for really simple things. Coffee, buying things on Sunday, parties, etc. And I was reminded of the story of Esau. How he gave up his birthright for food. I get so sad for these people who aren't able to see the bigger picture and make small sacrifices for something of such great worth. 

On a completely worldly note . . . a less-active member had a birthday party and they invited us to stop by. The theme : STAR WARS. I geeked out hardcore. 

I love you guys so much! Have a great week! 

Sister M. Baker

Sister Gusmao and Megan

Sister Muria and Megan

This hair?!?! Maybe it was an 80's themed district meeting ;)