week 22 . living in provo with prince


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Ohhhhhhh boy where to begin. I feel like by the time Monday comes around so much has happened and I just cannot remember it all haha. 

I'll start with answering all of mom's questions:

How was the week on the island?


Tell us about life there? Is it similar to Jamaica?

This island is far more Americanized (is that a word?) than Jamaica. We use U.S. dollars and I drive on the left side of the car again, but still on the left side of the road haha. You could probably drive from one end of the island to the other in less than an hour so it is a pretty small island. Definitely smaller than Jamaica. [mom note: the island is 38 square miles]

random car that reminded Emily of home
What do you eat? Anything strange? 

We eat lots of different things. There is more American food in the grocery stores because everything is imported from America. But when we get fed we get to try Haitian food, Dominican food, Argentinean food and Bahamian food...YUM!! None of it has been weird though. Haitian food = rice and beans and delicious meat!! Dominican food = beans. Argentinean food = homemade PIZZA...sooo goood!!! and Bahamian food = I actually haven't had it yet, but I have heard good things haha...rice and peas and baked macaroni and other deliciousness.

From Em "This is sweet pea (or sweet bean) soup. They eat it on Good Friday in Dominican Republic so Brother Chalas made it for us on Friday. SO GOOD! SOOOOOO SWEET THOUGH! haha

Is the area poor? Wealthy? Both?

It is super expensive to live on this island, but not everyone here is super wealthy, there are really nice areas and poorer areas too. When I say really nice, I mean REALLY NICE haha. We saw Prince's "vacation home" while driving the other day. We were thinking it may be a hotel/resort, but we asked a member in the branch who works with most of the resorts/hotels and she said that it is Prince's home so... yeah. haha 

Prince's house
You can read the article/see pictures in the Turks and Caicos Weekly News here. [mom note: I kind of love that the island Emily is on Providenciales, Turks and Caicos is called Provo for short. I've got both Megan and Emily living in Provo.

Do you drive? Walk? 

What's your apartment like?

Our apartment is nice. Lots of room. There is lots of random stuff in there because when missionaries are packing to go if their bags are going to be too heavy they leave random little things behind and that kind of builds up haha. 

How many people come to church? 

On record we have 125 members but we have 8 solid members who come every week (most have most likely been deported)  And every week since I have been here we have had tourists at church. Sister Van Der Leek and I teach the Youth Sunday School class and Young Womens. They have a Creole Gospel Principles class and an English Sunday School class as well. 

Do you see the ocean often?

Always... it is kind of hard to miss haha. We can't see it from our apartment, but we cannot go a day without seeing it when going to see people. when I say this island is small, I mean it haha :)

This week was wonderful though! We focused a lot on contacting everyone on the branch directory to figure out which people were still on the island. We got to meet a less active member named Smokie Burns who I absolutely love!!! His real name is Woodley, but no one calls him that haha. He is a "retired gangster" and he is somewhere in his late 30s. He is also blind from some gang related something... We have been trying to see him as much as possible so we can read the Book of Mormon with him because he can't really read it on his own. When we close the lesson, Smokie gives the prayer and his prayers are THE BEST!!!! He shares everything with God, no holding back haha. The other day he was praying about his kids who are living in the states. He has a little girl who is seven and he prayed and asked God to send Jesus before his daughter is old enough to date because he doesn't want to deal with that haha. I LOVE SMOKIE!!

This week I focused a lot on Christ appearing to the Nephites. Such a powerful story!!!!! It is in 3 Nephi 8-11. READ IT!!! haha It really is so good and such a powerful testimony that Jesus Christ is living! It was a really good message for Easter. "so... read it" - Sister Van Der Leek

welp... love you all lots and thank you for everything you do!!!!

Have a fantastical week!!


Sister Baker

Emily and Sister Van Der Leek

week 21 . i'm striving each day to become better than the day before


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Yoo Hoo Family!!

This week was wonderful! I absolutely love it here in Turks and Caicos and I love Sister VanDerLeek so much! We are really working with the branch to help it to grow with the members that are coming pretty often as well as the less active members. 

We have a few really solid members in the branch that are absolutely amazing (and they feed us which is always a plus :)). We have Sister Patsy, who is from Yorba Linda, California (woot! woot!) [mom note: Yorba Linda is pretty close to where we live] and she is the Primary president. She is amazing and the Primary kids LOVE her!! And so do we :). And then there is the Chalas family. Brother Chalas is from the Dominican Republic and Sister Chalas is from Haiti. They have four children. Karen is the oldest and is in Dominican now, and then there is Yessi who is serving her mission in Ft. Lauderdale, Florida (shout out to Shan) [mom note: Megan's (Em's sister) roommate at BYU] and then Miguel who is 16 and he is in his last year of school now and then Mikayla (her actual name is Love, but we call her by her middle name because her family does haha) and she is going into high school soon. Yessi, the one in Florida, was the girl who found me on Instagram before I came out so I actually talked to her a little before coming out on my mission. Crazy what social media can do haha. 

My Creole is slowly getting better, I still have a lot to learn, but I know that Heavenly Father is helping me A LOT!! We also speak to people from the DR [mom note: Dominican Republic] who speak espanol which I vaguely remember from high school, so I am kinda trying to remember Spanish, but I am focusing on  Creole because about 99.9% of the people on this island speak Creole haha (definitely an over exaggeration). 

This week we went finding for quite a few hours because we feel like there is someone on this island that the Lord really wants us to find and share the gospel with. There is an area on the island we call government homes which is kinda weird because all the homes are uniform and remind me of home haha. But we decided to go and knock doors which was interesting because I have never done that on my mission and knocking doors is really different from talking to people that you meet on the street. So we did that and got rejected by some people and some people were obviously inside but just didn't come to the door haha. But we went to knock on this one door and just as we were walking up the steps the door opened and a younger guy came out without a shirt on and awkwardly looked at us and then he asked us to wait a second and he went inside and put a shirt on and changed his pants for some reason haha. And then he came back out and talked with us. He is 23 and he just moved back from Canada and he is living with his parents and his little siblings. He doesn't have a job right now (which is a miracle because everyone on this island works 24/7) and he told us we can come back anytime because he is always home watching his siblings. TENDER MERCIES!!!

This week I was reading in the November 2014 Conference Ensign and I came across a talk called "Lord, Is It I?" by President Dieter F. Uchtdorf and it was sooo good!!! I loved the whole talk, but one of the parts that really stood out to me is when he said: "...when we start believing that our contributions at home, at work, and at church are greater than they actually are, we blind ourselves to blessings and opportunities to improve ourselves in significant and profound ways." I think this is great advice as a missionary, no matter what I can always do more and I should never see my contribution as greater than what it actually is. I am striving each day to become better than the day before. I LOVE MISSIONARY WORK!!!

Love you all! Have a wonderful week! 


Sister Baker

week 20 . my "english speaking" mission


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Yoo Hoo Family!!

I made it to Providenciales!! I flew on a small little plane and had a short layover in Haiti before arriving on the island (what is my life?). 

[mom note: this 20 seater, everyone gets a window seat plane may stop me from ever visiting Emily's mission. Good thing she doesn't mind flying otherwise her transfer would have been a nightmare]

Sister VanDerLeek is absolutely AMAZING and I am very excited to work with her. She is so positive and happy and she knows her scriptures well. I am learning A LOT from her already!!

And yeah... I am learning Haitian Creole haha. Since coming onto the island I have learned that Creole is kind of like the Patois for French so there are not a lot of books or study materials for it. But I have picked up a little bit already and I am praying daily to be able to learn the language. I am reading from the Creole Book of Mormon every day and in lessons I will read the scriptures or the pamphlet in Creole and ask the investigators/members to correct me if I say anything wrong. It has been really good and I feel that in this short time that I have been here I have been able to learn a lot about pronunciation of words as well as a lot of the important gospel words in Creole.

We had a lesson this week with a young woman named Jessica who is wonderful! She is 18 and she speaks English (all of the younger kids speak English because they go to school in English). We asked her what she remembered about the Restoration from what the sisters had taught her and she gave us an overview of the whole restoration lesson. She bore her testimony to us that she knows the Book of Mormon is true and the The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints is Gods true church on the earth. But, she hasn't been able to come to church because her uncle is a strong Baptist and he does not want her to come to church. We are really praying for her and that her uncle's heart will soften and that she will find a way to make it to church because she believes in the gospel so strongly!

I also got to meet a recent convert named Joaquin. He is from the Dominican Republic and he has a strong testimony of the gospel as well. When I first met him, I greeted both he and his wife with the small amount of Spanish that I remember from high school and he was so happy about it haha. Throughout the lesson I tried to speak Spanish where I could as well because although he speaks English, we had to teach very simply for him to understand what we were saying. 

That is the biggest thing about teaching people in English. Because it is not their first language, they don't get the full concept of what we are trying to share sometimes. And even with a translator, it does not always translate over perfectly. This is why I really want to work to learn Creole and not just rely on translators. I want to be able to testify and teach these people in their native tongue. I know that this is going to take a lot of hard work and dedication but I look forward to the experiences that I will gain. 

The church is true!!! I love being a missionary!! 

Love you all!!! Have a wonderful week!!


Sister Baker

Book of Mormons in English, Haitian Creole, French, Spanish, and Dutch 

week 19 . transfers [see you later jamaica]


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So its official, I am being sent from Montego Bay to Turks and Caicos. [mom note: There are 40 islands and cays in Turks and Caicos, 8 of which are inhabited. I'm not sure where she will exactly be living and serving] The transfer call came on Saturday but I really kinda already knew on Wednesday because Sister Clyde and I had to go to Kingston on Wednesday and I had to get paperwork done to travel. This is a bittersweet transfer. I am definitely going to miss my birthplace. I have grown to love all of the people in Montego Bay SOOO MUCH!! And I have really loved getting to know Sister Clyde, but I also know that the Lord needs me in Turks and Caicos. I will be with Sister Van Der Leek (I don't know if that is spelled right) who just finished being trained by Sister Smith. I met her at Christmas Zone Conference and she stayed in our apartment for a night. She seems like a great missionary and I am definitely looking forward to getting to know her better!

Fun facts about Turks (I learned a little about Turks from Sister Smith when they came for Zone Conference and she was in the car with me taking the Sav sisters home)

1. They speak another language (Haitian Creole) I saw a pamphlet written in it that Sister Smith had and she spoke a little bit of it for us... this is going to be interesting haha. But I am excited to learn. [mom note: Jamaica is an English speaking mission so Emily did not learn a language in the MTC like most foreign language missionaries do (they normally spend 6 weeks learning the language before arriving in their mission) Emily will be learning as she goes which should make for some interesting experiences haha]

2. A lot of Haitians live in Turks. 

3. I am 99.9% sure that Turks and Caicos is under the Queens rule.... yup Megan that's right. I am going to be living under the Queens rule haha. [mom note: Emily's sister Megan has a huge fascination with all things royal family so she may be a tad bit jealous about this fact]

4. Unless someone travels from Kingston to Turks and Caicos, I won't be getting mail while I am off island. [mom note: "off island" is how Emily's mission refers to any missionary serving off the island of Jamaica. Also, I have learned from another missionary mom that Emily and her companion will be the only missionaries on Turks. I believe their contact with other missionaries and their mission president is very limited. I am sure Emily will appreciate contact from family and friends during this somewhat isolating time. You can send her emails at emily.baker@myldsmail.net

5. It is a small island and it is beautiful and there are lots of people there that are ready to hear the gospel and I AM SO EXCITED to share it!!

Shout out to Daddy-O on his birthday!! I thought about it when we started writing in our planners for March and in my planner today I wrote DAD'S BIRTHDAY in big letters so that I wouldn't forget. 

We had a lot of wonderful lessons this week. One of my favorites was with a recent convert named Brother Fearweather. He was baptized a year ago next week and he is amazing! We got to see his home for the first time and he told us his conversion story. He has two grand children whose mother passed away after giving birth to them and he and his wife take care of them now. He was down in Montego Bay trying to get some food for them about a year back and President Grant (a member from the branch) saw him and invited him to come to the church where he was offered some help. The selfless love was a HUGE example to him and he said that from that day on he didn't want to go to any other church. He is AMAZING! And after we closed the lesson he told us to wait and he went and grabbed two bags full of different fruits and cut open coconuts for us to drink too. I love the service and charity that everyone here in Jamaica shows and I am so thankful that I am being so well taken care of. I have a HUGE Jamaican family haha and they are WONDERFUL!!

I love you all and I am so thankful for all of the love and support. I am excited to see what this transfer holds and cannot wait to be emailing you next week from Turks and Caicos. LOVE YOU!!


Sister Baker

[mom note: I found this article interesting. Its about the church getting it's start in Turks and Caicos in 2009.] 

week 18 . but the brakes didn't work


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We had quite the eventful week! I have definitely seen the Lords hand in my life in so many ways this week and I am so thankful for that. 

To start off, on Tuesday we went to pick up Sister Green because she was coming out teaching with us for the day. She lives at the top of a hill on a road that has quite a few pot holes. Sister Clyde was driving and taking it nice and slow coming down the hill because she is still getting used to the Jamaican roads haha, We were almost to the bottom of the hill and there was a car in front of us in our lane (dodging a pothole) which is pretty normal, so she went to hit the brakes until they got back into their lane but the brakes didn't work. She got around the car and then we pulled off on the side of the road. Everyone was okay and the car didn't get a scratch but we were all a little shaken up. After making sure Sister Clyde was okay, I called the office elders and they talked me through what to check to make sure everything was functioning properly in the car, they had to take it nice and slow because I do not understand cars at all haha, but they couldn't figure out what could be wrong so we coasted back to the house which was right around the corner and got a phone number for a mechanic. They looked at the car and got it all fixed up, we needed new brake pads and now the car is as good as new. That took a decent time out of proselyting for us, but we still got to see people that day which was wonderful! And we were thankful to have Sister Green with us through the whole day because she takes very good care of us and she is always watching out for us. 

Thursday was election day here in Jamaica so President Brown had us all stay in our apartments all day to be safe because sometimes politics can get a bit crazy. We did our super planning in the morning and then spent the rest of the day updating our area book, reading our scriptures, writing in our journals and writing letters. We may have gone a little stir crazy from sitting inside all day and at one point Sister Clyde may or may not have come into the room on all fours meowing like a cat haha. We made apple crisp with the stuff that you sent me at Christmas and it was delicious!! 

We were very thankful for the opportunity that we had to go out on Friday and see people, it was WONDERFUL!! And then on Saturday, I woke up at about 5:00am to lots and lots and lots of rain outside, and then went back to sleep. When we woke up for the day it was still pouring rain. [mom note: video Emily sent of the rain outside their window.]

It rained through all of our studies and was still going strong when we were going out. People don't like when you come to their houses in the rain, everyone generally stays indoors, so we were trying to decide what we wanted to do. We ended up going to Lucea which is about 45 minutes from Montego Bay to see some of the less active members from the branch. We escaped the rain and had four amazing lessons and even got a referral from one of the members. And when we got back to MoBay the rain was gone. [mom note: the video below is something I found on YouTube that shows the area of Lucea]

We had two investigators at church on Sunday. Millie and Eli. Millie came a couple weeks ago and she loved it so much. She really gets along well with the branch and she asks amazing questions during class. I LOVE HER!!! She is working towards a baptismal date of March 13th. Please pray for her! We met Eli this week and he is the sweetest man ever! He loved church and when we talked about it with him after he told us that his whole life he has been searching for a church where there is love in the congregation. He has a baptismal date of March the 27th, but his learning is a little slower. We are praying and having the faith that he can be ready by that date because we truly feel that is the date that Heavenly Father wanted us to extend to him. 

I LOVE MISSIONARY WORK!!! I love Heavenly Father and Jesus Christ and the Holy Ghost! I love my companion! I love Jamaica! I love it all!! I am so thankful for this opportunity! LOVE YOU ALL SO MUCH!!

Have a wonderful week!

Sister Baker

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