Monday, August 24, 2015

Leaving the MTC... Edmonton Here I Come!

Hello friends and family! 

Oh man! It's my last day in the MTC!!! How crazy is that! Where did the time go? Also, have I not been here for months? Time is so weird here! (It's only been 2 weeks) So much happens everyday, it's hard to keep track! 

I've stayed my full 12 days here at the MTC and I leave tomorrow at 2:30am for Edmonton! Today and yesterday we said goodbye to all the Elders in our district, it was pretty tough on us all, we had a testimony meeting last night and then awkwardly said goodbye to them after films... they brighten up our days and provide comical relief in every situation! I may or may not have shed more tears saying goodbye... shhhh! Our family is now broken up and it doesn't feel the same without them! They'll all be great missionaries though and I hope to one day see them, again! Side note: they say I have an accent when saying "sorry" and consistently pointed it out and mocked it this week; they even had one of my teachers and the other district in on it :P They also occasionally did "Canadian Calls" to find me, Elder Cherrington is definitely the instigator of the trends. My camera died taking class pics but I'm getting a missionary to send me them!   

I'm not sure if I mentioned this before, but I saw Sister Vesna Kelsey kicking around the cafeteria occasionally before she left last week, and I've seen Elder Spencer Evans all over the place lately, they're both doing really well! I've been eating a ton! Still loving the corn chowder, and the BYU creamery ice cream bar on Sundays and Wednesdays... Mint Chocolate and Graham Canyon are some personal favs, but I've ran/worked out daily and even got together with the district next door who we're uber close to and played sand volleyball! I've made it through the MTC without gaining a pound! WOOO! 

Last Tuesday Elder Echo Hawk of the Seventy came and spoke to us about exact obedience and his conversion. Fun fact: His grandfather was named Echo Hawk because Hawk means "brave warrior" and people heard of his deeds from one side of the village to the other, so he was the hawk who's deeds were echoed. 

This Sunday Brother Allen spoke to us about repentance and how we should stop murmuring and look forward. He had so many insights and I wish I had time to share them all but I'm running low on time!

Read the Book of Mormon! Read it over and over and over!  The Spirit testifies through it, every time!  I'm so grateful to be serving my Lord and Savior and cannot wait to teach others of the gospel! Thank you all so much for your support and love! 

Sister Baker

Beautiful flower gardens...
Our district...

Elders candid shot!

Making hawk like shadows on the wall ...

The Provo temple...

A view of the mountains...

Our Branch president, President Gines, and an out-going and new set of STL's (Sister Training Leaders)

Tuesday, August 18, 2015

First Week! From the MTC in Utah

Hello friends and family! 

Wow, I cannot believe that it's only been 5 days since I hopped on a plane to fly out to the MTC (Missionary Training Centre)! It seems like that was a lifetime ago!

I have no idea where to even start, soo much has happened! I have learned so much and have had such an increase in testimony during my time here! I got here a little late on Wednesday because of the flight issues but it gave me the opportunity to meet up with a group of missionaries coming home from Peru while I was in the LAX airport. I had the opportunity to talk to them about their missions and we were all seated together on this tiny plane to Utah.  The sister I had the opportunity to sit beside was incredibly sweet and she loved her family so much.  I walked into the baggage area with her before any other missionaries.  Her family, as well as a ton of others were there to greet the missionaries. It was loud and slightly awkward, since the applause was meant for them!  Hahaha... but they were all so happy and there was sooo much love!! 

My MTC companion, Sister Schatmeier is so amazing! I'm incredibly lucky to have her! She is super outgoing and though we are both pretty headstrong, and sometimes we talk over each other, we complement each other well. She knows exactly what to teach and receives amazing revelation all the time. We have been pretty good about eating, which is hard here (the corn chowder is amazing!), and we run/workout just about everyday, hopefully my weight isn't too threatened! :)  Her and I were made Sister training leaders the second day we got here which was super fun.  The girls in our zone are great and we are very excited for the newbies to come on Wednesday

Our district is amazing! All 4 of us sisters are headed to Edmonton, while 4 of the Elders are going to Sydney, Australia, and 2 Elders are going to Micronesia, Guam! We all get along really well and we act like a little family. Saturday night we all went outside after a day of sitting in the classroom and we all goofed around a bit but then we shared our favourite scripture and a bit about why and the Spirit was so so strong! They make fun of me for the way I say "bag" and they've just started saying "they have that in Canada" every time I talk about something, such as babies and Reese's and watches. I guess it's pretty entertaining. 

IT HAS BEEN SO HOT!!! 30 degrees or more EVERY DAY!! It doesn't help that our classroom building doesn't get a/c. Sunday we got to go on a temple walk and took some pictures, which I included.  The Provo Temple wasn't just made to resemble a bunch of Twix bars!  I learned yesterday that it's supposed to represent a cloud and a pillar of fire! There are a bunch of fountains around it too which is awesome! This morning we got to do a session there and it was really, really nice, the inside is gorgeous too! I forgot my temple recommend though, so we missed our session walking all the way back to get it... Oops! 

I decided to sing in the choir yesterday with my comp (she has a very nice voice) and we got stranded in a sea of Elders, so we ended up singing the tenor part... it's all good though because we had the opportunity to sing a few songs with the Nashville Tribute Band, who came to perform for everyone. They created a beautiful atmosphere where the Spirit was so strong... I may or may not have cried... shhh!  Last night we also had the opportunity to see some videos. We watched "The Character of Christ" which is an address Elder Bednar gave in the MTC at Christmas a few years ago.  To my understanding, it's exclusive to the MTC, but if you ever find yourself here... WATCH IT!

They liken the first week here to drinking from a fire hose and I can totally testify of the truth of that! There is so much to absorb and so much to do.  It's almost impossible to get it all done! I'm trying my very best though and I'm super excited for this next week! 

Well, I don't have any time left but just know that the gospel of Jesus Christ is perfect. There are absolutely no flaws! As we follow the steps therein to have faith, repent, be baptized and confirmed, and endure to the end I know that our lives will be blessed so much! 

The "dearelders" messages I received warmed my heart. Feel free to send more! I love you all so much and I'll write again soon!

Sister Baker

Pictures are of me and my comp, us and our house, us and our STL's (sister training leaders),  the temple, our district, and a large part of our zone.

Farewell Ontario! Western Bound!

Good bye to all my friends and family for the next 18 months - from Toronto Pearson Airport at 4:30am!

With my dad...

With my Nabrotzky family sibs...

Waiting along the wall while a few bugs were being worked out with my flight...

Going through the reservation system with a little help!

With my Jakob family...

Tuesday, August 11, 2015

Boomerangs, Conversions, and Missions

Hey there! 

I'm Sister Jessica Katherine Baker and this is my blog!
I'm just going to go ahead and let you all know that I am not creatively inclined and I am not very good at writing. 

This Blog is a place for me to showcase a weekly letter home, and pictures from my 18 month mission trip with the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints to Edmonton Alberta. 

You may be wondering about the name of this blog- it may strike you as a bit strange but I do have an explanation! A few summers ago I spent countless days at a very close friends house, her father came up with the brilliant nickname of boomerang based off of the Over the Hedge movie's influence. Despite the squirrel breaking it, throwing it, or lighting it on fire, he cannot get rid of the boomerang. 

As I considered it, the same is true of my relationship with the church. I am a convert to the church and the only active member in my family. When I was younger I often tried to throw myself away from the church but just as the squirrel's boomerang, I could not stay away for long. I am so grateful for the families and examples and lessons that have shown me that I would never want to be anywhere but in this gospel! 

I am about to be set apart so I need to keep this short and sweet but I am so excited to serve the wonderful people of Edmonton Alberta! 

I had the opportunity to go to the temple this past Saturday and it was such an amazing experience! The temple is truly the House of the Lord, I am so blessed to have one so close to home and one in my mission! Never pass up an opportunity to serve those who have passed on in the temple, the blessings that you receive are uncountable. 

Wish me luck,

Love from Jess! xoxo