Thursday, October 27, 2016

No Test, No TESTimony!

Hola mi amigos y familia!

I hope you all have had an awesome week! I sure have, though it's been super, super fast! It's flown right on by! I barely even took any pictures this week! Oh man!
Well, on Wednesday we had our second ZedTM this transfer! We discussed exchanges and planning. It was way good, but nothing super fascinating to send home this time! Haha! What I will send a bit of is the departing missionaries testimonies, because those were all fab! We had I think, like, 8 elders going home, so that was rad! I'll just fire some one-liners at you super quick! 

"Don't waste the Savior's time" "Heavenly Father and Jesus Christ are my best friends" "Do your best, whatever your best may be" "I did it! I REALLY DID IT! I didn't think I would do it, but I did!" "Be the companion you want to have" "Serve with valor, return home with honor" "I'm grateful for hard times, they've helped me grow the most" "I know that everything happens for a reason" "I've come to know what a testimony is" "Gratitude is a blessings of the gospel" "When you care about people, they're happy and you're happy too" "God doesn't like to give you the answer you want, He sometimes ruins your plan" "Two years isn't long, but you have more experiences in that time than in all the time before that" These elders were all awesome examples, I hope I serve as valiantly as they all have!

That night, we got to have a super low key chat about Sister missionaries for YW. That was fun, we played a "guess who" game and the YW were terrible at it! They had a 50/50 chance and got most of the questions wrong! 
On Thursday we did lots of tracting. On Friday we did lots of studying and had a few lessons, and then headed into Edmonton to spend the night with my last STL's before I took a big test in the city for school. Thinking about school makes me sick.... hahaha! On our way home we stopped in a few little towns and met a few less active members. One gave us a rad concert right there in his living room. He's a professional guitar player and singer and he's way good! Then we had a lesson with a super rad kid named Devon. He is so prepared for the gospel, I'm grateful to see what happens next with him! He said something cool though! We were talking about why the Fall of Adam and Eve was necessary and how without the bad we can't know the good and he whips out "Without the test, there's no TESTimony!" He's hilarious!

On Sunday Sister Grisham taught RS for us, that was sweet! She's an awesome teacher and I'll miss her because transfers are tomorrow and SHE'S LEAVING ME!!! It'll all be good though! She's moving on to fun stuff!
That's really about it for today! I guess, Sister Grisham found a sweet quote this morning that I loved, it's from the Oct. 2010 general conference, it says, 

"“If ye have faith as a grain of mustard seed, ye shall say unto this mountain, Remove hence to yonder place; and it shall remove” ( Matthew 17:20 ). I have never witnessed the removal of an actual mountain. But because of faith, I have seen a mountain of doubt and despair removed and replaced with hope and optimism. Because of faith, I have personally witnessed a mountain of sin replaced with repentance and forgiveness. And because of faith, I have personally witnessed a mountain of pain replaced with peace, hope, and gratitude. Yes, I have seen mountains removed."

So I thoroughly enjoyed that quote! We all have moved mountains, and will continue to do so with sufficient faith! As far as weather goes, all the snow is melted (Saturday and Sunday were beautiful) But it's super chilly out, so I expect it will be back soon! That's all for this week! 

Have an awesome week! Love you all! 

Sister Baker ❤🍁❄


Wednesday, October 19, 2016

Snow Exchanges!

Hello friends and family,

I am going to apologize in advance for how lame this email is going to be!

I got to go on a bunch of exchanges this week! On Thursday, after district meeting, I went on an exchange with Sister Morris. On Friday it snowed so bad that we were all told to park our cars and find other things to do! By the time we could drive again, the roads between Camrose and Wainwright were too bad to risk it, so we had a 48 hour exchange instead of a 24 hour exchange! It was a blast! We entertained ourselves by making meatballs with cornflakes and playing the rice maker like an instrument. Then we exchanged back on Saturday.

On Sunday night, I got to go on an exchange with Sister Gambler, who I trained from November to February! Man, it was a blast being with her again! She is such an incredible missionary and woman and I love her so much! It was like we had never left each other! Except we've both grown spiritually so so much!

 I think that's basically all I have for exciting things this week! I went on exchanges last Wednesday in Edmonton and got to sleep on a queen size bed. Boy, was that ever nice!

 I have been applying for schools and such lately for when I get back.  It's a pretty stressful period of my mission right now, but I know that God will help me through absolutely everything I need Him too!

In a beautiful talk given by Pres. Thomas S. Monson in 2008, he ends with these sweet words. I could think of nothing better to end this week's email with.

"My dear brothers and sisters, I love you, and I pray for you. Please pray for me. And together we will reap the blessings our Heavenly Father has in store for each one of us. This is my prayer, my plea as I add my testimony. This work is true. In the name of Jesus Christ, amen."

I pray for each of you daily. Please pray for me, especially in this stressful period of my service.
I love you so much.

Love from the west,

Sister Baker ❤️🍁❄️

Wednesday, October 12, 2016

Leaves, Snow and Cupcakes

Hello friends and family!

I hope that you've had a fantabulous week this week! I sure have!

Well, not too many exciting things happened on Wednesday, but that morning we got our very first snowfall! It was just a little baby snow and nothing stuck, but it snowed! And it was as we were raking too! It's cooling down fast here!

We went to Provost and I indulged in a donair pizza for dinner. On the way home from Provost we saw some roadkill! A deer got massacred! But way sad was the baby deer literally tripping and flailing around on the road, not knowing what to do without its mother. It was sad. :( poor Bambi.

On Thursday we had our second district meeting with some visitors, the travelling sisters! We had a blast with 8 sisters!  You can just imagine all of the shenanigans we were up to! We had a training on
using the Book of Mormon in everything that we do, and then Sister Gambler rocked it with a training about how we need to rely on the Holy Ghost by making us go through a little obstacle course.  I wish I got a picture! Then we talked about other blessings we have too. And about how knowing that we are blessed helps us become better missionaries. Then we talked about how blessings help those who are learning about the church to keep commitments, like reading the scriptures, praying and coming to church... and covenants, like baptism. We talked about how knowing that we will receive blessings cheers us on, and cheers them on. Blessings are just basically cheer leaders! It was a great meeting. I've really loved preparing district meeting. I'm sad we only have one more this transfer!

After District Meeting, we exchanged with the travelling sisters, Sister Coats and Sister Engelbrektsson. They are Sisters who go around to all the other Sister areas and help us increase our teaching pool by helping us find more people to teach. They're the experts!  So Sister Engelbrektsson and I headed over to an old age home and helped with bingo. There was a lady there who was so insistent that I play, so I did. And then, I won a loonie. Haha! It was pretty funny, because I had barely sat down! Anyways, then Sister E and I headed over to town and contacted, or knocked on doors, a lot of them! We talked to a ton of people and got to hear some awesome stories and got to set up appointments with lots of people. It was really good! Sister E is so bold and she talked to everyone we saw! Some background on Sister E. She's from Sweden and it's awesome.  She's been to a billion places in Europe and it's too dang cool! But we tried talking to people and contacted all night, so we got quite a few approaches! Approaches are exactly what they sound like. I don't know if I've mentioned them before, but they are a method of documenting our efforts. Personally, they help me recognize my success more! Every time you attempt to talk to someone or increase your teaching pool, you make a tic and count 'em up. So some examples of approaches are tracts - whether or not they answer the door, street contacts - whether or not they respond, and asking for referrals - whether or not they give you one! We have a weekly goal of how many we want to get and we privately set that as a companionship, and we use that to motivate us more!

On Friday, Sister Coats and I got 101 approaches in one day! It was insane because that's close to double our weekly goal, in one day! It felt so awesome, tracting is really is good for the soul and we tracted all day! We first went to a tiny town called Fabyan and met some awesome people. Then we had some set lessons fall through, so we tracted some more! Then we ate a quick dinner and then headed over to Edgerton, a cute little town, and tracted for the rest of the night. We worked so hard! Miracles always come from diligence, and we saw some!

Friday was also Sister E's birthday, so on our way home we picked up some ice cream, cupcakes and candles to celebrate! We sneakily brought them in and then after we planned... or rather told them about how we got 101 approaches (Sister E thought that that was a pretty good gift!), we surprised her and did all the birthday stuff! It was a blast! It's been so fun having two extra sisters here for a few days. They'll be missed! I learned a lot from Sister Coats that I decided I really want to try to implement into my mission. One thing is to "take a walk with God" when I pray. My prayers haven't been as sincere as I thought they were and so I'm excited to try that out more! Maybe you could try it too!

On Saturday we had a lot more fall through appointments too! We did do some more tracting though and miraculously found someone that Sister E and I tracted into but never wrote down the address. She was walking down the street with her daughter just as we were looking for her house. It was literally a miracle! She invited us back for that evening! But then that evening she was napping so her daughter invited us back! Sooo we are excited about seeing her again! Than we drove out to teensy Hayter and followed up with some people and it was soooo cold! Then it started blizzarding so badly outside I could hardly see the road! There are no streetlights out here so it was pretty bad. I followed a kind tractor going 40kms for like 40 mins! It took us a while to get home, but we even made curfew, so I call that a success!

On Sunday we did a lot. I gave a talk in sacrament about wills and aligning our will to God's and such.  Here's some highlights, "What we insistently desire, over time, is what we will eventually
become and what we will receive in eternity,” so if we desire to be humble, we will gain humility. If we desire to be prideful, we will gain pride, if we desire to be happy, we will gain happiness, and etc.
I also shared a quote form C. S. Lewis, "There are only two kinds of people in the end: those who say to God, ‘Thy will be done,’ and those to whom God says, in the end, ‘Thy will be done.’ All that are in Hell, choose it. … No soul that seriously and constantly desires joy will ever miss it.”Similarly, those who are living with Heavenly Father and Jesus Christ in Celestial Glory choose it. They choose it daily, through their desires and decisions, decisions truly do, in the words of Thomas S. Monson, determine destiny.

Then sister Grisham and I taught gospel doctrine class about 3 Nephi when Christ talks to the people about the scriptures. That was fun! We showed the Mormon Message "The Blessings of Scriptures." Boy, was that a powerful one! Then we talked about how we don't read what we have of revealed scriptures enough. How we want more than we have. “I have had many people ask me through the years, ‘When do you think we will get the balance of the Book of Mormon records?’ And I have said, ‘How many in the congregation would like to read the sealed portion of the plates? And almost always there is a 100-percent response. And then I ask the same congregation, ‘How many of you have read the part that has been opened to us?’ And there are many who have not read the Book of Mormon, the unsealed portion. We are quite often looking for the spectacular, the unobtainable. I have found many people who want to live the higher laws when they do not live the lower laws.” =Spencer W. Kimball.

Then we just tracted some more and fixed up our records a bit.

On Monday it was Thanksgiving! What a blast! We made cookies and delivered them to investigators, less actives, and struggling families. That was fun! We were cookie fairies for the day! Then we went out to the Cromarty's acreage and has an awesome Thanksgiving dinner All 5 kids pitched in making things. They all wanted to know who's tasted better! That's an idea for the future!

While we were there we got to see cute baby kittens, and ride a little tiny zip line. It was fun! I've ridden two zip lines on my mission so far! I'll have to go back to Costa Rica and ride the real ones again! Well, that really all that happened!

Ohhhhhh....! on our way to Thanksgiving dinner we saw a moose! Just in the ditch off the shoulder. That was the closest one I've seen here so far! It was awesome! Wish I got a picture but I was driving! Then we saw this beautiful, big white speckled bird on a fence post. It might have been a falcon? It was gorgeous though. And on the way home we almost hit some weird possum, giant mole type animal. That was a weird creature. Alberta is just a regular old safari sometimes!

Thanks so much for all the support and love! I can't believe tomorrow is my 14 month mark! Just under 5 months to go! Well, I hope you all have a beautiful week! I love you all so much!

Sister Baker. ❤️❤️