week 5 . seriously...how do i do this?

11.30.2015

Links in red [click for more info]

Okay, I am going to try to organize my emails better haha, so bear with me over the next couple weeks while I decide the best way to do that :)

Investigators

Teja // She is 11. Her mother is Sister Foskin, a less-active from the branch. She has a baptismal date set for January 2nd and she is so excited! She loves church and primary and she has been coming to church with her mom for the past three or four weeks now. She has such a sweet spirit and she gives the BEST hugs. On Sunday she gave Sister Bogle and I both notes that said "I love you very much with all of my heart". I will keep that note forever!!

Antoinette // Her mother is a member in our branch and she called us a little over a week ago and said that she wanted to get baptized. We were pretty excited haha. We have met with her four or five times since then and she has a baptismal date set for December 19th. She is reading the scriptures and studying the pamphlets that we give her and is understanding everything we are teaching. She has two sons, Jayden and Lavois, who are both very bright. Jayden is 9 and we gave him a Book of Mormon on our first visit and when we went back the second time, Antionette said that she was having a hard time understanding some of what she was reading and that Jayden told her "You just have to use it with the bible as well". He is a very smart kid and he loves reading! We haven't seen him since our first appointment because he is always at school, but he wants to see us again and we want to see him!

The week

The members here love to spoil the missionaries! This week we had so many meal appointments haha! On Thanksgiving we went to Sister Fords home and she made so much delicious food! And then after dinner she had us all go around and share something we are thankful for. She is so sweet!! Then we had donut holes for dessert, which both Elder Hall and Elder Bennett stuffed in their mouths as quickly as possible haha (that was one of the pictures I sent mom). 

Elder Hall and Elder Bennett
Elder Bennett
Fifth Sundays in Mo'bay [mom note: Montego Bay] branch are missionary Sundays, so all six of us spoke. [mom note: there are 6 missionaries serving in the same branch] 

Elder Bennett, Elder Hall,  Elder Lafayette, Elder Larson, Emily, Sister Bogle

I used an article from the September 2014 Ensign called The Work of Salvation Then and Now. It is a really good talk, you should read it. Then during third hour we had a lesson on self-reliance. The church has a self-reliance program in Jamaica that helps people to get jobs or start their own businesses, but during the lesson I applied what they were saying to spiritual self-reliance. I really like Doctrine and Covenants 58:26-28 and Doctrine and Covenants 107:99.

We had a broadcast last night for "The Vision of The Caribbean" that talked about what we can do to make missionary work better. The main thing we need to work on is working with members of the church. Member missionary work is so important, I don't think I can say that enough haha!

Mom, haha, that last part of your email about not knowing if the email was for me or for you is like the story of my life since I have been on my mission. Every time I write people or share something with someone in a lesson I am doing it according to their needs, but I always get something out of it. I have been told countless times to "lose yourself in the work to find yourself" and it is so true. The more I share with those around me, the stronger my testimony becomes, and the more I learn.

Thanks for the photos of Princess Charlotte. I was just talking with a woman in my branch about how there are no pictures of her released. There are so many people in Jamaica that have lived in England, and everytime I talk to them I think of Mom and Megan haha! 

There is a couple in my branch, Brother and Sister Williams, and they are the representatives for Doterra oils in Jamaica. Apparently Cotopaxi worked with Doterra or something because they had a Cotopaxi bag. I saw it and was like "hey I recognize that bag!" Random, haha! [mom note: Cotopaxi was started by Emily's cousin Davis]


I love you all so much!!! I hope that you are all having a wonderful week! Thank you to everyone for emailing me and praying for me and supporting me. LOVE YOU!

Love, 

Sister Baker



week 4 . i'm not witty enough to think of titles

11.23.2015

Links in red [click for more info]

[mom note: We receive pictures after posting Emily's letter last week. Those pictures have been added to two posts, here and here]

Yoo Hoo Family!!!

Okay... This week was amazing!

First, in those pictures I sent today...

The one of Sister Bogle and I with another girl our age (I'm wearing a yellow shirt in it). That is Jerri-Ann. She is a member in the branch, she is 19 just a couple months older than me and she is the most amazing member missionary! She comes teaching with us at least once a week and I am so thankful for her and her desire to do missionary work. She is working on her mission papers now... I AM SO EXCITED FOR HER and the people that she is going to teach, they will all love her!!

Emily, Sister Bogle and Jerri-Ann

The pictures of the younger girls on the porch: The older of the two is Sasha-Lee, she is 9 and she is so amazing. She is a recent convert and has a powerful testimony for someone who is so young. The other little girl is her sister Sachoney (she is either 3 or 4... I cannot remember haha). They both give the best hugs and I want to take them with me everywhere I go! Their mom is Sister Barrett, she is a less active member of the branch. We have FHE at their home most Monday nights and I love their family!! They make me feel right at home!

Sasha-Lee, Sachoney and Sister Bogle








We had Zone Conference [mom note: a meeting where missionaries from around the area meet together] this week and it was soooooo wonderful!! President and Sister Brown talked about the importance of baptism and retention. Our goal is to baptize by Christmas, then by New Year, then by Valentines Day, and so on haha. But it really was such an amazing zone conference, and it made me more eager to do missionary work. I am lucky I got to attend a zone conference this close to the beginning of my mission. Another thing I really liked was the section where we separated and Sister Brown taught all the sisters (6 of us) about the worth of women in the church. It was a very powerful lesson and a good reminder.

Looks like Emily was able to see her MTC companion, Sister Boekweg at the Zone Conference
After Zone Conference Sister Brown asked if she could come teaching with Sister Bogle and I. IT WAS SO AMAZING!!! We went to visit a couple families that we felt prompted to go see and the spirit was so strong. Sister Brown has such a powerful testimony and she is soooooo loving!

That hill that I sent you a picture of is the walk up to one of the houses that we visit. Sister Foskin is a less active member in the branch and she lives there with her daughter Teja who is 11 and her mom, Monica. We took sister Brown to their house when we went teaching and she was dying the whole hike up haha. We saw President and Sister Brown the next day and she said her legs were still sore from the hike up there haha.

Looking up the hill
Looking down the hill
At church on Sunday, all of the talks were on the Book of Mormon. It was a powerful meeting and it was good for all of the investigators who were there to hear others testimonies of the Book of Mormon. Brother Armstrong, a counselor from the branch presidency gave a talk on the Book of Mormon and I kid you not, that man is the Jamaican Brother Greiner! He was baptized in 2001 or 2004 and has already read the Book of Mormon over 140 times. He has practically the entire book memorized and has such a powerful testimony of this gospel! He is a great member of the branch, and he makes us dinner every Sunday too :) He is an amazing cook!

Sister Bogle and I were watching the Joseph Smith movie yesterday and while I was watching it I realized that Luke is 14!! [mom note: Luke is Emily's little brother] Luke, you are the same age that Joseph Smith was when he saw God and Jesus Christ... CRAZY!!!!!! I was just thinking how I would react if Luke came in from the backyard and told me he had prayed and seen a vision. CRAZY!!! haha... that is so random, but I felt like I should share. 

HAPPY THANKSGIVING BREAK FAMILY!!!! I almost forgot about Thanksgiving haha, but I will have my own little Thanksgiving celebration on Thursday, maybe I'll make a turkey sandwhich... YUM!

[mom note: the next bit of her letter is her answering questions we asked]

Mom, I get wifi at the church building. It just isn't the same as the world wide church wifi, so I had to get the password from someone first. 

Yes, the yellow and turquoise chapel is where we go to church. We are so lucky to have such a beautiful building. I LOVE THE COLORS!!! [mom note: see pictures in last weeks post]

Dad, they are doing 3 weeks in the MTC again... CRAZY!!!! I can't decide how I feel about it haha. Because when they do it in 2 weeks they throw a lot at you haha, but I was really eager and excited to get out into the mission field. But, they are inspired men who are doing what the Lord has commanded them, so I am sure it is for the best.

As far as driving goes, it is not like Kingston where it is all super city driving, but Sister Brown was saying when she came teaching with us that Montego Bay is the hardest place to drive. So it is traffic-y, but the driving here is just super different from home haha. They drive on the opposite side of the car, on the opposite side of the road and the taxi drivers just sort of make their own laws haha, but it really isn't scary, it feels normal already. 

When we walk, it is all pretty flat, there are little hills here and there but they aren't too bad. Sister Bogle said that there were worse hills in some of her past walking/biking areas, so I am preparing myself mentally for that haha. 

The heat is not as bad as I thought it was going to be. I have worn my hair down a decent amount of times. I still sweat daily, but so does everyone else so its not a big deal haha. And I smell clean, so its all good!

All my clothes are great and so are all of my shoes. I wear them all pretty evenly. The black Nordstrom ones are definitely my favorite and I actually wear the jellies alot. I wear them when it rains because they don't have to sit and dry forever if they get wet. 

Troy is doing well. His baptismal date is December the 19th. He is progressing slowly, but I hope that he will be ready by that date. We pray for him often and we are really hoping that he will be ready. He is at church every Sunday and comes to a lot of the other branch activities. 

There are so many other amazing people that we are teaching. We have recently started to focus on part member families, even those who are less active, because their family members that have not been baptized just seem really prepared. 

I love all of the people here so much. I am learning new things every day and I am eager to learn more.

Thank you for the constant love and support from home!!! LOVE YOU ALL!!

Love, 
Sister Baker

Mom- 

1. I have already used an entire journal so next time you send a package, if you could fit a couple journals that would be great. I have five left, so no need to rush, but if I keep using them at the pace I am now I'm going to need a couple more haha.

2. I got your letter that you wrote in October and the one you wrote November 5th. They gave them to me at zone conference so I don't know what exact day they got here, but thank you for the letters!!!


LOVE YOU LOTS!!! Have a good week! Enjoy Thanksgiving break!

Sister Bogle
Cruise ship...we couldn't figure out why she took a picture but we think maybe she hasn't seen one before.
Sister Bogle and Emily sending pday emails home

week 3 . days feel like weeks, weeks feel like days

11.16.2015

Links in red [click for more info]

[mom note: After posting this letter we ended up getting pictures from Emily. Pictures have been added to this post as well as the post found here]

Hello Family!!!! 

Oh my goodness, that whole "days feel like weeks, weeks feel like days" thing is sooo true! How is it already Monday again?!? 

First, thank you to everyone for emailing me! I love hearing from people and I try to respond to as many people as possible, but my brain is too frazzled to email everyone in an hour haha. So if I dont respond, just keep emailing me until I do haha. 

Okay, I already responded to Rae about this, but GHANA!!!!!!! That is so amazing, he is going to be the greatest missionary!! I am so excited for him and know that he will do amazing things! [mom note: Emily's friend just received his mission call to Ghana]

Okay... Mom I am going to try and answer everything....

I cannot think of anything specific for Christmas. We both love music and we are in the car all the time, so new CD's would be nice haha.

If you havent sent the Christmas package yet, I would LOVE the Conference Ensign [mom note: a church magazine] and maybe a couple pairs of those baby socks from Target. OH and refills for that marking pencil thing from Andrea :). If you have already sent it, don't stress about any of those things, I can make it work without them haha. 

I got the journal in the MTC that you sent and have already put it to use. Thank you so much for sending it, I needed it!

The branch isn't huge, but we have a good amount of people. The YSA [mom note: Young Single Adults] don't have a separate branch because there aren't enough of them, but they have their own YSA classes after sacrament. [mom note: In areas where there are a lot of young single adults (like a college town) they will have their own ward/branch/congregation] The branch is amazing and they are all so kind to me. I am still working on all of there names haha, but I am figuring it out slowly.

[mom note: none of the pictures came with an explanation...I assume this is their church building. I love the bright colors.]

We drive most places. The zone leaders in our district have a truck too but it is in the shop right now so they dropped us off to email and they took our truck to go get hair cuts and get some shopping done. We walk a little, but our area is pretty big so we drive to each place and then just park and walk around the area we are teaching/finding in. 

The food is delicious!!! Lots and lots of chicken (yes it is on the bone... I don't think boneless exists anywhere on this island haha) But it is all so delicious!!!! [mom note: she mentioned chicken on the bone because until we took her to a Jamaican restaurant to celebrate her mission call she had never eaten chicken on the bone. When the waitress brought out her jerk chicken she looked up at Derek and I with slight panic and asked "how am I suppose to eat this?" Apparently I cook to much boneless, skinless chicken haha]

We drive by the beach, but it is mostly ocean, not a lot of sandy beaches near by. All the sandy beaches have huge hotels right by them. Everytime we drive by the ocean though I roll down my window and just take in the beautiful smell of salt water:)

So many spiritual experiences! I think my favorite thing personally so far on the mission is focusing on what I see during my prayers. That may sound weird, but we talked about it a little in the MTC and my companion and I talked about it as well. I think when we pray, we don't always think about what we see, we just know that we are kneeling wherever we are and closing our eyes. I have tried to think more about the fact that I am talking to God when I pray. I picture Him sitting right there next to me. Sometimes just sitting and listening, other times hugging/comforting me and it has made my prayers a very spiritual and sincere experience. 

For the blessing, I could print it, but it costs money and takes time from the short hour I have so I think it would be better if you mailed it. Thanks so much!! [mom note: regarding something she wanted sent to her]

The Patois... oh boy haha. Everyone speaks it, but they also speak English. The Patois comes out more when people start to get passionate or really into a story, but everyone I have talked with is aware of the fact that I have been in Jamaica for like two weeks and they all try to talk slower. And when they do talk in Patios, and I say "what?" or just give them a blank stare they will repeat it to me in English haha. But I do understand little parts of Patios. It will come eventually haha.



Okay, I read a talk this week by President Monson called Pathways to Perfection from a General Conference in 2002. It was soo good and I LOVED the story that he shared at the end. I have reread the story at least 5 times already and I cry every time because it is so amazing. So, if you have time, read it!!!! It is worth it!!

I love you all so very much! These past couple weeks have been some of the most amazing weeks EVER! It is not always easy, but it is so worth it! I am so happy to be here serving the Lord, to find His children, my brothers and sisters, that He has prepared to receive His gospel. 

The people here are so amazing and I am going to die when I have to leave Montego Bay. When I met everyone and told them this was my first area they all laughed and said "we are going to spoil you" and it is so true. I LOVE THESE PEOPLE TO PIECES!!!

I hope you all have a wonderful week!! Thank you for all the love, support and prayers. I can feel the prayers and they mean the world to me, so thank you!!

Don't stop when you're tired...stop when you're done

So much love,

Sister Baker

[mom note: these next photos are of her apartment]















mtc photos

11.09.2015

[mom note: In my excitement to post Emily's first letter from Jamaica I forgot to post pictures she sent last week from the MTC.]

Em's district with their teacher. Back row: Elder Fenton, Elder Moyle and Elder Hopkins. Front Row: Sister Ellis, Sister Burt, their teacher, Emily and Sister Boekweg

Elder Hopkins, Elder Moyle, Sister Boekweg and Emily

Sister Boekweg


Emily's district "dressing up" for Halloween

Sister Boekweg, Emily, Sister Ellis and Sister Burt on Halloween

More Halloween fun



Sister Boekweg, Emily and Sister Burt

When you're the only sister in the district without a matching shirt
Sister Boekweg and Emily :: Provo Temple



Picture found in the hall of the MTC...little did she know this would be her first area in Jamaica
blood work
Sister Boekweg and Emily


Sister Ellis and Sister Burt

Elder Fenton, Elder Moyle and Elder Hopkins
Elder Moyle and Elder Hopkins




Em's district in the cafeteria 


Back row :: Elder Hopkins, Elder Moyle, Elder Fenton Front row :: Sister Boekweg, Emily, Sister Burt and Sister Ellis



Sisters from Emily's zone



Elders from Emily's zone










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