Thursday, January 26, 2017

Trampoline Sickness With a Side of Poutine

Hello friends and family!

I hope you've all had an awesome week!

I sure have! So dang much has happened. I'll just go day by day and give you a low down!

Tuesday was the craziest day! We had transfer calls in the morning and I was told that Sister Romney was to come to Grande Prairie with me! My speck was correct! I definitely screamed a little.  I was super excited! And Sister Priestley was told she was going to Beaumont to finish training with Sister
Fernandez (if you know Sheena Fernandez, from T.O, that's her!) So we were pleased with our final transfer calls! Then we spent a lot of our PDay at a trampoline park owned by two cute member couples and we had a blast! :)

After that, the day got pretty bad! At dinner I started feeling super sick so we left dinner and went home. Then we went to the hospital and basically, long story short, I ended up throwing up. If you know me well, that's kind of a big big deal. Throwing up is my worst fear (1) and (2), I haven't puked for over 8 years prior to that night... :( So I ended up with some weird 24, 48 hour flu and it was the worst! Moral of the story....your plans to make it through your whole mission not being sick are not God's plans to help you grow!

On Wednesday, we drove the 5 hours down to Edmonton for transfers and I just slept the whole time. That was good. Then while I was waiting for Sister Romney to get out of a meeting, I chilled with all the missionaries that were going home. I'll be in that next round... That's weird! Then we went to another Sister apartment so I could sleep before a leadership meeting Thursday morning. Then we made the forever long drive back up to Grande Prairie. It's been a super fun week though! Sister Romney is from SLC, Utah. She's such a sweet heart!

 The two of us have already had so many adventures, mostly because I'm still a lost puppy and I don't know how to get anywhere at all! We did find a poutinerie though, and that was super good. It was pretty authentic! We also have been house hunting, like, all of yesterday and today, so that's been fun! We get to find a new apartment and we've found some super cool ones! I'm excited to move into one of them!

 That's really about it for this week! It's been a blast. My new companion is great! I hope you all are doing great!

 We have a General authority, Elder Echo Hawk, coming for a mission tour and special leadership meeting on Thursday. We are all getting ready for that!

 Spiritual dose of spiritual-ness:

 2 Nephi 2:24 "But behold, all things have been done in the wisdom of him who knoweth all things."

I just love this scripture. God has this great infinite wisdom that we could never understand and He knows what He's doing. There is a purpose behind His every action and it's not up to us to change Him or His actions, but to change our reactions.

Love you all! Have a good week!

Sister Jessica Baker ❤️🍁🇨🇦

Wednesday, January 18, 2017

The Last Melon!

Hello friends and family!

Well, you might think that I'm talking about the Friday the 13th that just passed, but I'm not. I'm talking about transfer #13, aka the last transfer that started yesterday... aka the last melon!   Man oh man does it ever pass quickly! It's led me to reflect a lot on the last 18 months. I received an email from one of my MTC teachers not all that long ago that talked about finishing strong and prepare for home. In that email, she tells us to go over a mission inventory in prayer, and to ask God if we've become all He wants from us while on our missions. She also tells us to ask Him to help us become that if we haven't.

I was reading Alma 26 a lot on Sunday and man, it's definitely become a theme for this last part of my journey here in Alberta! I've been asking myself and God for correction and direction and to recognize my successes. There has been so many! As a missionary, my purpose is "to invite others to come into Christ by helping them received the restored gospel through faith in Jesus Christ and His Atonement, repentance, baptism, receiving the gift of the Holy Ghost, and enduring to the end." How great is my calling! I am so excited to share my testimony and strengthen others in these last 6 weeks... wish me luck! 

This past week we've had lots of adventures! We've met some wonderful new people and we've helped lots of investigators we've been teaching for a while! Friday was a cool day, we had an awesome lesson with our investigators from Ghana. We brought a member who testified lots and at the end of the lesson she asked Christy what she felt like she had to do now and she said she knows now that she needs to really ask God what He wants for her! We're excited for her progression to continue! She's such an awesome person! Friday was also super warm! All of our snow is melting. Our cold snap seems to be over! I'm not relying on this being spring though!  We'll probably have third winter soon! 

On Saturday we had lots of correlation meetings.  We finished up our last weekly planning session as companions. Sister Priestley is leaving me tomorrow! :( 

Sunday was awesome. Church is always great. I've learned to really appreciate sacrament meetings. The spirit is so evident in them and the Atonement feels so close! It's such a beautiful ordinance, I'm so glad we have the opportunity to partake of it every week to renew our baptismal covenants. 

Yesterday we got a strange text from a YSA we had never met asking to meet in the morning. Man, she was so broken. She got baptized not too long ago and she was really worried that some mistakes she had recently made were keeping her from the reach of the Atonement. I thought of an Elder Holland quote. "However many chances you think you have missed, however many mistakes you feel you have made or talents you think you don't have, or however far from home and family and God you feel you have travelled, I testify that you have NOT travelled beyond the reach of DIVINE LOVE. It is not possible for you to sink lower than the infinite light of Christ's Atonement shines." Please remember that when times get tough. You are so loved, the Atonement is all encompassing. You have help. 

Here's a great Mormon Message to watch about what Christ's Atonement can do for us.

Where, Justice, Love and Mercy Meet

We saw a bunch of people yesterday. We had some great lessons and in one we talked about it's such a good resource. Please check that out if you haven't yet! We said some goodbyes for Sister Priestley. It was a good day! Today is sure to be packed with fun as well! We're excited! :) 

A quick article I read this week and absolutely loved is called "Inertia" by Elder William H. Bennett  in the May 1974 ensign, read it. Love it. Use it.
Well, I just have a quick spiritual thought I suppose: 

"Nearly 18 months ago, I read the Book of Mormon for the first time cover to cover in something called the "greenie read".  For the first time I understood the stories and the doctrines in this incredible book! I gained a testimony that I have referred to and shared countless times since. In that first read, I found a scripture that really set the tone for the rest of my mission. In the 26th chapter of the book of Alma, Ammon is giving a pep talk to his brothers who have been labouring as missionaries for quite some time. Ammon has so many incredible thoughts and insights, but the one that stuck to me most is at the very end of verse 36, "God...has been mindful of us, wanderers in a strange land". I love this. God is mindful of us. He cares about us and looks out for us and guides us continually. When we think about it, we are all wanderers in a strange land. We have left our homes and our families for a time to preach the restored gospel to these our brethren, the Edmontonians. We roam the streets of Northern Alberta, looking for those who are prepared. We eat new meats, see new snow, live in new cities. God knows our struggles and our trials and that has made all the difference on my mission, and I hope it can make all the difference on yours too! Never forget God's love for you!"

<3 Your fellow wanderer, 
Sister Jessica Baker 

Wednesday, January 11, 2017

God's Hackysack!

Hello friends and family!

Wowza! what a great week!

On Wednesday, we got to do my favourite thing- service! It was a blast! After a lesson with a cute Filipina investigator named Jing, we headed over to a very pregnant sister's house to help her take down a bunk bed to make room for the baby! While we were there, her husband made a joke about being God's hackysack! He told us about his headstone plans- "Foster Crant- God's hackysack" That was fun ...some hard work, but fun! After that we drove to a farm in the middle of nowhere for dinner with our Ward mission leader's wife. It was yummy! Then we had a great lesson with another investigator family, Christy and Ashley! They are such a sweet family and they're so fun to teach! Ashley is a sassy 10 year old who's as tall as me! Man, she's hilarious! She asks the best questions! Sometimes they're hard! They are great though and I hope that we get to keep teaching them!

On Thursday we had a great district meeting and we talked about becoming a more effective teacher! We did a lot of tracting on Thursday and it was cold! That's for sure! The temperature has been
averaging chilly at about -25. So that's been fun! We also started our English class! We are excited to get it up and started!

Friday we did all of all of our planning and we had some great lessons with a recent convert and a less active! On Saturday we had lots of meetings and such! It was fun! Sunday was fast and testimony meeting, I always love that! We had some great lessons too! Then we drove out to DeBolt to exchange with the Valley View Sisters! They are great! I got to go with Sister Passey from Salt Lake City! She is adorable! Also, she's technically my niece in missionary familial status, so my
family is getting pretty big out here, I have a great granddaughter! Anyways, exchanges with Sister Passey were great! Cold, but great! She's doing so well and she really understands her purpose! :)

 Let's see if I can muster up a spiritual thought for the week! There's an article in the latest Ensign magazine called "With All Thy Getting, Get Understanding". It's based off of a scripture that reads, "And with all thy getting get understanding” (Proverbs 4:7). And it goes along with Proverbs 3:5&6 “Trust in the Lord with all thine heart; and lean not unto thine own understanding. In all thy way acknowledge him, and he shall direct they paths.” It's a really good article. It helped me improve my studies... a lot! :)

 Also, I hit Day 500 on Friday! Crazy! :D

Anyways, that's my week!

Love you lots!

Sister Baker!

Thursday, January 5, 2017

365 Days in 2016 As a Missionary

Wow. Hello friends and family!

As the dawn of a brand new year appears, I, like most of you, have been doing lots of reflection on my past year. I have had the incredible privilege of spending the entirety of my past year as a full time representative, literally, of Christ. What an incredible year it has been! I have learned an
incredible amount about myself, others around me and the gospel of Jesus Christ.

In light of the recently passed Christmas season, I decided to take a different approach to yearly goals. Personally, I don't even set resolutions because I never stick to them! They don't motivate me
much. This year however, the video "The True Meaning of Christmas" gave me an idea. Instead of resolutions, I want to give back to Christ this year. He has given me so so much... literally His life. It is my responsibility to do what I can to help Him. So these are my gifts to Christ this year:

(EDITOR'S NOTE: this 2nd half of Sister Baker's letter got added a week latter due to technical difficulties)

Soooo uhhhhh this email is from last week, but half of it didn't send, so I'm kinda mad about that!....
Honestly, I think of more all the time! Haha! But now you can all help keep me accountable this year! I know that nothing is more motivating for me than the Saviour's Atonement. I think I can give Him my very best this year, because it will bless me too!

Well, before I tell you the logistics of my week, I wanted to mention a few things I have learned in my studies this past week! I started the Book of Mormon again not to long ago, and in the first bit there's a scripture that reads, "have ye inquired of the Lord?" (1 Nephi 15:8) A little bit of background on this scripture, Nephi's brothers, Laman and Lemuel, are lacking faith in the visions and commandments from their father, Lehi. They are unbelieving and lack the understanding necessary to interpret Lehi's vision. So Nephi, who is rooted in the gospel, and has a firm testimony of the prophet, Lehi, asks them if they have sought understanding from their Lord and God. At this point, I'm thinking a ton, and I realize that Nephi is talking to me too. I too need further enlightenment and understanding that only God can give me. I don't have all of the answers, but I know that God can guide me in every phase of my life. If I did this I would stress way less about missionary work, school, time, the future, etc. I've also been contemplating the Atonement. Jesus Christ made it possible for each of us to overcome sin and death. He has saved each one of us, yet it is up to us to personally decide if we are going to accept Him as our Saviour. We have the choice to acknowledge and thank Him for all he's done, and how thankful I am for that!

Lastly, we were discussing unity in Relief Society on Sunday and they asked us what we thought unity was. I recognized that to me, unity is the absence of contention, and as I read over some tagged scriptures, Mosiah 18:21 really agreed with me. Anyways, I love studying and learning and it's a habit I hope to keep when I'm home!

This week was a good one! We went on an exchange in Valley View and  got to hang out with Sister Brooks, who was in my district in Wainwright, so we've worked together before! People get a kick out of us two Canadians together. She actually grew up in Alberta, but lived in BC before coming out. She's super cute! Then on Thursday we had a Skype in district meeting. That was good. We had a billion doughnuts because Elder Topham and I both slipped on Christmas Eve while we were
carolling. -.- I seriously owe doughnuts every week. I'm the clutziest!

On Friday we got a lot accomplished and we set some good goals!

...I swear it's made me type the end of this email twice and didn't even send this whole last half on PDay, but you can get it now I guess!

Sister Baker