Wednesday, December 30, 2015

Christmas Rounds and Archaeology Digs

Wow... Christmas was just this past week?! How did that happen? Haha!

But we really did have a wonderful Christmas! Lots of love and hospitality from the ward I'm in! On Christmas Eve we had a combined district meeting where we watched the Nativity, ate cookies, drank milk, and did some role plays on following up with members. It was a blast!

Then we had lunch with another set of sisters and a couple in charge of the housing for the mission.

Also on Christmas Eve we took homemade cookies and (not homemade) candy canes around caroling.  We stopped by a Mandarin investigator and a Tagalog investigator! It was so sweet! We got to learn about Filipino Christmas traditions that they celebrate on Christmas Eve, cut the pig and open gifts at midnight! They karaoked beforehand! It looked like a blast!

We pushed all of our mattresses to the living room on Christmas Eve and read a Christmas Eve story found in Helaman in the Book of Mormon. We opened matching Canada sweaters and I changed out of my onesie to wear it! Haha!

It was a wonderful Christmas Day as well. Sister Lytle made us all German pancakes (which were very delicious) and then we sang carols, read Luke 2, and opened gifts!

I am so grateful that we were able to celebrate Christmas so close to the Saviour! The best gift though, was a call that we got on Christmas Eve, that a member's little sister had a friend who wanted to be baptized and her mom agreed! She is 10, around the same age I was when I was baptized! What a sweet miracle!  We were all so excited and since there was no YSA ward on Sunday we got to meet little Erica on Sunday at her homeward (we attended two). 

On Christmas Eve we also had dinner at a sweet family's home where they gave us tons of sweets and a stocking full of treats! One treat was an archeologist egg where I got to chisel out a little glow in the dark dinosaur! Haha! How fun! It took me a long time!

On Christmas Day we went to an extended care building and visited with some members who reside there. It was so sweet to hear their stories, or in one case just sit with them.

Then we went to a crazy fun family's house for Christmas dinner and got to spend it with a different set of sisters as well!

On Boxing Day we got a homemade Chinese buffet with yet another set of sisters, so we've had our share of shared meals! Haha!

It's been so nice to see so many people for Christmas and it was so nice to get to Skype home and see the no snow! Haha! .... although I did enjoy the white Christmas!

I hope that everyone will continue to think of Christ and all that He's given us.  I wish you all an exciting New Year!

Love from Edmonton,

Sister Baker

Wednesday, December 23, 2015

Northern Lights and Christmas Stories

Hello friends and family!

I'm sorry I keep doing this, I'm almost out of time to write! We need groceries! Haha!

 This past week has really been awesome though! We had our missionary Christmas Conference where we finally sang that multi language hymn!  The video didn't sent properly though... Sorry!
The whole Christmas conference was so great though, the music, the talks, the love. All the missionaries went out of the chapel to pick up an envelope and then came back into quiet Christmas music. It was there that we were able to open the envelopes to reveal cards, emails and letters from our families! It was such an amazing experience and there weren't many dry eyes in the room.  What an amazing spiritual experience!

We had a lot of fun too! I got to see sister Bahtishi and lots of other missionary pals. :)

On Saturday we attended the Tagalog Christmas Party with an investigator and her family and we saw so many awesome cultural activities and got our picture take with Filipino Santa! What a fun night! Haha!

 Then we had a Sacrament meeting packed with musical numbers on Sunday! We also saw the northern lights that night! It was an experience to be remembered! They were seriously "Brother Bear" status!  But we forgot our cameras!  Although we still got some pretty vivid pictures from our balcony, which I included!

We've had so many gifts given to us by members of the ward and I love and appreciate them so much! The church members are so awesome and I love them so much!

There's two things I'd like to close with. A short story that we heard at FHE (family Home Evening) yesterday called, "Who Will Take the Son, and an article called, "Gifts" from the April 1993 general conference. :)

WHO'LL TAKE THE SON? (Author Unknown)

A wealthy man and his son loved to collect rare works of art. They had everything in their collection, from Picasso to Raphael. They would often sit together and admire the great works of art. When the Vietnam conflict broke out, the son went to war. He was very courageous and died in battle while rescuing another soldier. The father was notified and grieved deeply for his only son.
About a month later, just before Christmas, there was a knock at the door. A young man stood at the door with a large package in his hands. He said, "Sir, you don't know me, but I am the soldier for whom your son gave his life. He saved many lives that day, and he was carrying me to safety when a bullet struck him in the heart and he died instantly. He often talked about you, and your love for art.
The young man held out his package. "I know this isn't much. I'm not really a great artist, but I think your son would have wanted you to have this." The father opened the package. It was a portrait of his son, painted by the young man. He stared in awe at the way the soldier had captured the personality of his son in the painting. The father was so drawn to the eyes that his own eyes welled up with tears. He thanked the young man and offered to pay him for the picture. "Oh, no sir, I could never repay what your son did for me. It's a gift."
The father hung the portrait over his mantle. Every time visitors came to his home he took them to see the portrait of his son before he showed them any of the other great works he had collected. The man died a few months later.
There was to be a great auction of his paintings. Many influential people gathered, excited over seeing the great paintings and having an opportunity to purchase one for their collection. On the platform sat the painting of the son. The auctioneer pounded his gavel. "We will start the bidding with this picture of the son. Who will bid for this picture?"
There was silence. Then a voice in the back of the room shouted. "We want to see the famous paintings. Skip this one." But the auctioneer persisted. "Will someone bid for this painting? Who will start the bidding? $100, $200?" Another voice shouted angrily. "We didn't come to see this painting.. We came to see the Van Goghs, the Rembrandts. Get on with the real bids!" But still the auctioneer continued. "The son! The son! Who'll take the son?"
Finally, a voice came from the very back of the room. It was the longtime gardener of the man and his son. "I'll give $10 for the painting." Being a poor man, it was all he could afford. "We have $10, who will bid $20?"
"Give it to him for $10. Let's see the masters." "$10 is the bid, won't someone bid $20?" The crowd was becoming angry. They didn't want the picture of the son. They wanted the more worthy investments for their collections. The auctioneer pounded the gavel. "Going once, twice, SOLD for $10!"
A man sitting on the second row shouted. "Now let's get on with the collection!" The auctioneer laid down his gavel. "I'm sorry, the auction is over." "What about the paintings?" "I am sorry. When I was called to conduct this auction, I was told of a secret stipulation in the will. I was not allowed to reveal that stipulation until this time. Only the painting of the son would be auctioned. Whoever bought that painting would inherit the entire estate, including the paintings. The man who took the son gets everything!"

God gave His son 2,000 years ago to die on a cruel cross. Much like the auctioneer, His message today is, "The son, the son, who'll take the son?" Because, you see, whoever takes the Son gets everything.

April 1993 General Conference, "Gifts"

Love you all lots! Have an awesome Christmas and remember to serve someone this season!

Sister Baker

Tuesday, December 15, 2015

Singing and Rotten Hot Chocolate

Hello Friends and family! 

I seem to have waited to long to write you all and now I am running out of time! 

Well this week has been full of Christmas miracles, and I absolutely love that! We helped someone to move... well continued to help... on Wednesday and Thursday.  We love, love, LOVE serving those around us! We had so much work on our hands but with the help of many other missionaries, we were able to get everything accomplished that we needed to! Late Thursday, we ran around a bus station/strip mall and gave out free hot chocolate and cookies that we made, plus invitations to the stake Christmas musical that happened on Thursday, We did the same thing on Saturday as well, and it was cold, but we were able to talk to so many people and invite them to the concert.  As for the concert, it was such a success, so many people showed up and the acts were all so great, I particularly loved when the children sang, Christmas Island! it was so cute! The Mandarin Elders had an investigator sing in the choir.  She has decided to get baptized in January so that's super exciting! 

On Thursday we traveled down to the mission home for a follow up training meeting, I learned a lot about teaching and sharing responsibilities, I really appreciated the extra training! 

Our mission Christmas conference is this Thursday, so that;s exciting!  We will be singing our " Joy to the World' medley then, which has really started to come together, by the way! 

We learned this week that you can't leave hot chocolate coolers on the counter for two days... it goes bad fast! Like milk!  And it smells,,,, so bad! We sent some Elders out to clean it for us! What big, strong, men! Hahaha! 

We had incredible talks in sacrament Sunday about how prayer is the starting point for everyone, then one was on holding grudges in the family, which was very touching. That night we met with a former investigator and cleared up some misconceptions and now he's interested in attending church. W e are getting him a Swahili Book of Mormon as well!  I love learning about new cultures and languages.  It's so incredibly fascinating! 

We lent out our bread pans the other week and when we asked for them back, one set of Elders returned it with banana bread in the pan! It was such a sweet gesture and it's made for some pretty delicious breakfast! 

We taught a lesson in a game format last week about the Brother of Jared, and then this week we taught the Plan of Salvation with cut outs. An article we've been sharing a lot lately is titled "Upon the Top of the Waters' from the October 2014 Ensign. Lots of people have been faced with trials and adversity as of late and this article has really helped! Calm seas don't carry barges to the promised land. Stormy ones do. It has really taught me to turn to God and to let Him guide me when I'm in rough spots. 

I love serving the people of Edmonton so much! 

I'm sorry that my post is so sporadic today! 

Love you all so much,

Sister Baker 

Friday, December 11, 2015

Mission Home Address

In case anyone is interested in sending letters or packages to Sister Baker.

WARNING: Packages are rather pricey to send.  But missionaries always appreciate cards and warmly written letters from home.  It brightens up their day!  :)

Here is her mission home address:

Sister Jessica Baker
Edmonton Alberta Canada Mission
305-8925, 51 Ave., NW
Edmonton, AB
T6E 5J3

Thursday, December 10, 2015

My "Greenie Read" and the Languages of Music

Hello friends and family!

Well this week has been good as always, just a few notable things, I suppose!

First of all, I'm starting the Book of Mormon again. My first day in Edmonton, we were given a paper back version and asked to read it highlighting the name "Jesus Christ" and all other forms of His name. This is known as your "Greenie Read". I finished mine late October and have been lacking the amazing power that comes from reading the Book of Mormon from cover to cover. My "Greenie Read" was my first time I ever read the full book cover to cover and I did it in under 2 months! It was so great! The scriptures really spoke to me and I was able to understand them like never before! This time around, I am using a formal marking system, based on the missionary purpose, or Christ's doctrine. Essentially, I have a colour for each subject: faith, repentance, baptism, the Holy Ghost, and enduring to the end. I hope that I may learn more scriptures for those I teach by reading it like this! The scriptures are so powerful and have such clear meaning and purpose.

The next thing that's been taking up much of my time is a musical number that me and my trainee are performing for the missionary Christmas conference next week! Don't worry, we aren't doing it alone!  The Spanish/French missionaries and two sets of Tagalog missionaries are joining us!  We are singing Joy to the World in all 4 languages, so I'm learning so many things!  It's pretty cool though, because we say a kneeling prayer before and after we practice and people, especially young ones, don't generally rely on God so heavily for such small things! I love those who I get to serve beside. I love those who I get to teach and serve, and I love those in leadership who teach and serve me.  Also, I love each of you back home for your support and encouragement! 

Have a great week and remember to serve others! Our actions shape our character. And Christ's character was the ultimate example! Just read the New Testament for proof!

Sister Baker

Tuesday, December 1, 2015

Cookie Castles and Mountains to Climb

Well my birthday was super exciting!  We actually made a cookie castle with a Rice Krispy base and cookie bricks! Then since the snow wasn't adequate for snowmen so we built a snow pile and jumped into it, a lot! Some elders did back flips and stuff but they're much cooler than me!

Then we ate dinner at a members house where they gave us a present and a cake!

On Thursday, for district lunch, we had a Thanksgiving (American) feast... So that was interesting. Then last night we had our ward Christmas dinner... so don't mind me if I'm fat for a little while!

Photo bomb!

We went on exchanges (switching companions for 24 hours) and me and one sister training leader (Sister Rogers) had so many adventures! It's always strange going to family ward areas because I've been with YSA for literally my entire mission! Anyways, their district leader (a certain Tagalog, Elder Koochin of the British Columbia) asked them to pray for "mountains to climb." I absolutely love that!  Experiencing trials helps us to witness miracles!

So last week we helped wrap presents for an organization. This weekend we went back to help with the actual Christmas party and we had the privilege of fitting kids for brand new winter coats and accessories! It was so much fun! We met so many people! One of our new friends came with us to the ward Christmas party! Her name is Hurricane, but we like to call her Hurk! Serving those around us not only helps individuals, but communities as a whole... and great friends can come from the experiences!

I encourage everyone to get out and serve, aside from the stables (where the Christmas thing was). My companion and I volunteer at a bike shop/ ports supply place for underprivileged children - not only in Edmonton but around the world, at a food bank (those places ALWAYS need help); at Habitat For Humanity Re-Store; and just for any people in the community who need it!

So get out and serve! I promise that you'll be blessed as you do so. 

Just remember Mosiah 2:17 

"And behold, I tell you these things that ye may learn wisdom; that ye may learn that when ye are in the service of your fellow beings ye are only in the service of your God."

Also, the church launched its new Christmas campaign and video. Remember the true meaning of Christmas and take time for the Saviour this holiday season! Check out for more!

Love you all so much!

Sister Baker