Monday, August 14, 2017

Week 69, Sabaneta, Dominican Republic











I LOVE THE GOSPEL AND I LOVE BEING A MISSIONARY!!!! I'm sorry I say it a lot ...but it's true..
It was hard coming to Sabaneta. We are the only two missionaries here and it is literally the middle of NOWWHERE! But there are some awesome people here who, just in these short weeks, I have learned to love with all my heart! We have some awesome investigators who have just changed completely! Its amazing how the gospel and the spirit changes people and gives them a light and a happiness that they didn't have before. I am blessed to have been able to see that in the lives of these people. I'm bleseds to have strengthened my testimony as I see them accept this wonderful gospel.

Family Bonilla are my family. Andres, La Mella and Neroliza (14 year old daughter). They have had there share of missionaries but have never really committed. Andres went to church before and loved it but once the missionaries left, he stopped. The other two were never ready or interested much. We found them one day and fell in love with this family. They promised to come to church and really started to have this desire to read, pray and come to church. THEY CAME TO CHURCH ON SUNDAY and loved it! They got home so happy and filled with the spirit. We visited with them after church and invited them to be baptized. They pretty much cheered with joy and were sooo happy. We talked a little bit about the commandments that we live and follow because we knew that beer is a problem in this country. Andres told us that he was willing to do everything he needs to have the blessings and happiness that come from this gospel. They went on and on about their excitement and I literally almost cried. I love this family and am so happy for them. We invited them to stake conference which is an hour and a half away and they were so down for it and excited to go! La Mella told us that it was a sacrifice worth making! 

Yamilka has been sick but still wanted to meet with us this week. She has been reading and praying and is still excited about her baptism date. I'm hoping that stake conference will help these awesome people feel the spirit and receive answers to their prayers. It's hard being in a small branch but Christ's church is the same!

Kiara works at a lottery place and is never home. We have started to teach her at her work which is a little weird but she is also so great and loves to learn.

Griselda's mom died so we finally got to visit with her again after 2 weeks! We shared again the plan of salvation and I shared the story of Pedro (remember Pedro who's son died). She cried and we all cried and had a great lesson about families and how we will be with them forever. We have a purpose here on earth and a life full of happiness after this life and I am grateful to know about that. I'm grateful to be able to share that here too and help people to have this happiness.

Victoria has changed 100% from drinking and parting to going to church, working and loving her beautiful family. The gospel changes lives!

We have also contacted, and finally taught, some awesome new people who I just love!
Rosa and her kids: It started off buying lemonade and now she is learning more and gaining a bigger smile every time we pass by to talk to her. Her kids have also accepted to talk to us and are super smart kids.

We were wandering out in the middle of no where and found a super rich area. We saw someone leaving an apartment complex and we desired to run into the complex before the gate shut. The only one home was the owner and her 15 year old son. Yaquelina and Jose Ariel. They are super rich but super humble. The missionaries used to live in one of their apartments but never connected with them. We shared the restoration with them and they loved it. She said that it was time for them and we planned to come back to teach the whole family!

Maria and family are cute. Maria loves us and told us that she feels happy when we come. She tries so hard to understand the things we teach and asks awesome questions.

Stephani and family are Jehovah witnesses but have really loved our lessons. They have been praying and reading the Book of Mormon and are soaking up everything we say. Her 13 year old brother walked all the way to the church alone to go to our English class and always wants us to come by the house. 

Today I said Good bye to my trainer and best friend in the mission! She is from Argentina and so it was hard to say Good Bye. But I'm grateful for her and all that she has taught me and done for me on my mission! Till we meet again Hermana Sandoval!

There are people everywhere prepared to accept the gospel. Your friends, your family, your neighbors. Invite them, be an example to them and love them. Don't be afraid of the truth that we know and love. Share these blessings with everyone you know! I love you all and hope you have a great week.

Pray he is there, Speak he is listening, You are His child.

¨Get on your knees and ask for the blessings of the Lord, Then stand on your feet and do what you are asked to do.¨ Gordon B Hinckley

Con mucho amor,
Hermana Bake




Wednesday, August 9, 2017

Week 68, Sabaneta, Dominican Republic





Wow the church is true. I mission is great and the DR is the best place on earth. Sorry for that last fact... 

I see miracles every day and see and hear and learn things that help my testimony to grow ever so stronger every day. 

Miercoles we had intercombios. I worked with Hermana Cristancho from Colombia. I love her and was so happy to be able to go to her area and learn from her and her investigators. It was fun to be back in Navarrette and was fun to have flash backs of my good times in Navarrette. 

Jueves we taught Stefany. Her family members are all JWs, but she really wants to know what church is true. We came back after contacting her and talking a little to find out that she had read a lot and had so many great questions. We also met a neighbor of the family Bonilla named, Deogene. I'm hoping that they will help each other and motivate each other to read and go to church.

Viernes we visited Dulce. We brought up baptism again with her and after a lot of talking she finally just said ¨not for a while¨ Its hard when people know things are true but don't act. I'm trusting in the Lord's timing and hope that one day she will decide to act.

We have a lady named Rosa who lives by us and who always sells us lemon aid. Finally we decided to contact her and set a date to go visit her and her family. When we came back the next time it turned out that our stake patriarch has passed by that same day and gave her a Book of Mormon with his testimony in it. It is clearly her time and she clearly needs to hear about the gospel.

Victoria continues to learn and read and pray. She is excited to be baptized but is nervous to fall in sin after. We are not perfect! That is why we get baptized and repent and repent and repent again! I just wished that everyone could realize that we don't need to be perfect to go to church or pray or even be baptized! It's a life long process and through baptism and the Holy Ghost we are not alone!

Sabado we were contacting and heard country music. I think it is the first time in 1 year hearing country music. Anyways so we contacted the house and found Maria! Her and her family are so cute and so willing to learn. I hope to give you happy updates on her next week! Then we had another awesome lesson with  Yamilka and talked more about her baptism. She is excited and loves the gospel.

Domingo was awesome! We got to church and met Leroy. He just moved here from Santo Domingo and isn't a member. He shared with us his story and bore his testimony too. While he was in the capital studying he met a member girl and fell in love with her. She was a RM and told him that she wants to marry a member. He studied for the next 7 years trying to prove that the church is false. He read 100s of books and magazines and read the book of Mormon 6 times trying to find an error. All he got was a testimony. He fell in love with the gospel but was scared to get baptized because he didn't want to sin! He told us that it is his time and that he wants to be baptized! What a surprise and what a blessing to be able to meet him and learn from his testimony!

The Lord blesses us in the most unexpected ways. I know when we are obedient and listen to the holy Ghost he will guide us to do HIS work and find HIS children who are ready to accept the gospel! I love the gospel and I love the mission!

Hermana Bake

Philippians 4:13 I can do all things through Christ who strengthens me
Never give up on anyone that includes not giving up on yourself

Monday, July 31, 2017

Week 67 Sabaneta, Dominican Republic





Hola

It's hard changing areas, but I've been so blessed to have met so many great people in every area. Sabaneta is in the middle of no where and is hotter than the sun. It is in the hundreds all day long and the sun burns. They always yell at us telling us to use umbrellas for the sun. We have started doing that and despite feeling super Dominican I love not getting burnt every day. 

Lunes we had a family night with a recent convert who has family members who are members of the church too. They are so cute and I am falling in love with sabaneta and the people here.

Martes we had several lessons including Katherine, a new investigator who we found. She is super awesome and accepted to be baptized the day we met her. Diosmari is a girl who we met who is here living with her mom for a little bit. She actually lives in new York and bonded with us as we talked about the struggles of learning a new language. She also is super smart and understands very well. Dulce and her daughters are investigators who were taught by missionaries a long time ago but we have started to teach her again. She told us that she feels the need to do something because whenever the missionaries are visiting her she continues to have hard times but is happy and can feel peace in those times. She knows the church is true and wants to act on those feelings.

Miercoles we had the best lesson with Victoria. We talked about prayer and scripture study. She said that she was having a hard time the other day and decided to pray and read her Book of Mormon and felt so happy afterwards! Kenya is another one of our investigators who has a super hard life and has really accepted God and has so much faith that through him she can find happiness! I love the faith of the people here. We just need to help them the ACT on their faith...

Jueves we had a great lesson with Ana and Genesis who we finally found again after so much time! They are a mom and her 11 year old daughter. We read the scriptures with them and talked about church and baptism. Genesis is such a great example to her mom and always motivates her to read and go to church.  Hermano Vargas is an older member who has been sick. We passed by his house to see if we could do something for him or his mom and he just said ¨I know that prayer would really help me.¨ As he struggles through his pain he continues to keep his faith and set an example to me and others in the branch.

Viernes we finally found Jamilka and her baby Estrella again! After we contacted her we could never find her again and I could not stop thinking about her. We finally met with her and even with her distracting baby she paid so much attention! She really wanted an answer and accepted a date to be baptized too!

After the happy moments there comes hard moments. Sabado was probably one of the worst days of my mission! In the morning all of our lessons and back up lessons fell through and we contacted in the blazing hot sun until lunch. After lunch ALL of our lessons and back up lessons fell through and we contacted in the biggest down pour- lightning thunderstorm all afternoon and all night. No one wanted to talk to us or let us in and I just wanted to cry and go home. I wish I could tell you that we found someone....but we didn't. 

Domingo was a great day. The assistants to the president showed up because the stake patriarch is in our branch and one of them was getting their blessing. The other one just got to enjoy our cute little branch. I was blessed to give a talk and lead the music and we taught the 3rd hour lesson! It felt a little like the Hermana Bake show but I was glad to help. The best part was that Victoria came to church!!!!!! I literally cried when she walked in and I gave her the biggest hug. She loved church and learned a lot. After more of our lessons falling through we wanted to go home so bad but knew that we needed to have faith to keep going in these hard moments. We stuck it out again and at 8:30 at night we contacted the cutest lady. Her brother is a member in new York and her mom has listened to the missionaries before. She was more than happy to listen to us and we were more than happy to teach her.

Overall I still love the mission and I love being a missionary. Yeah it's not easy but its worth it! I love this gospel and know its true!

¨Be not afraid, only believe¨ Mark 5:36



Hermana Bake

Monday, July 24, 2017

Week 66, Sabaneta, Dominican Republic

Chanika, Christie, Micheal, Katy


My new and last area is Sabaneta or Santiago Rodriguez as some people say. My new companion is Hermana Merrill from Utah! She is super awesome and I love her.

This week was just full of goodbyes, hugs and tears. It becomes kind of normal as a missionary to love people and then leave. It's still hard, it's hard to see the people who you love sad to see you leave. I can imagine how our Heavenly Father felt when we left our heavenly home, and I can understand that he wants us back so much!

I'm excited about Sabaneta. It is just the two of us, a small branch of 30 members and a lot of Mosquitos and Mangos. I'm excited about the mangos but not so much about the mosquitos. The missionaries were removed from this branch for a time and we are now here on probation to see if they will actually help the missionaries. So although we are starting from scratch, I'm excited to work with the members and help their friends and family.



This week I was reading in  President Gordon B Hinckley's book ¨Ways to Be¨. In the book he says, ¨You are young. You have energy. You have conviction in your heart. You have years yet to live. You have associates and friends which whom you can work. You are good. But it is not enough just to be good. You must be good for something. You must contribute good to the world. The world must be a better place for your presence and the good that is in you must be spread to others.¨ I love the Prophet Hinckley and his wise words. He goes on to talk about 9 Bes. Be Grateful, Be Smart, Be Involved, Be Clean, Be True, Be Positive, Be Humble, Be Still and Be Prayerful. It is my invitation, as well as the prophets invitation, to BE those 9 things. It is our time to live. It is our time to shine and it is our responsibility to BE examples of Christ to BE followers of Christ in everything we do and say. Heavenly Father is waiting for us to return to him and along the way we have things we need to do, people we need to BE good for. I love this opportunity that I have to BE and example of Christ and his church here in the DR. To help his children return to him and to see the happiness that the gospel brings. I love this gospel and I love all of you! 

I hope you all have a great week!

Hermana Bake

Partia

Familia Brito

Ada

Rosi, Rikayla, Issac

Josi, Antony

Eddy

The girls in our ward

Rikayla

Mariluz

Bernadina
Yermi, Vladmir
New Companion, Hermana Merrill




Monday, July 17, 2017

week 65, Puerto Plata, Dominican Republic



This week started off with a sister training meeting. My companion and I went to Santiago and met up with the other sister in the mission. It was fun to see all of them and learn from each other. We talked about our potential as women and missionaries. As I looked  around the room I realized that I was one older missionaries in the group.
 



We met with Yermi and Vladimir early this week and set a date for her to be baptized. We were all excited that she has finally made her mind to be baptized.

Ivanni has also decided to be baptized but her mom, who isn't a member, is putting bad thoughts in her mind. I feel bad for her. It's not easy to make a big decision like this, but she also knows what is right. She continues to go to the activities and church and baptisms. She reads her scriptures and pamphlets and is super smart. I hope that she can remember what really matters and who's plan is best for her.

Christie continues to be awesome and continues to be an example. I really love her and I'm grateful for her and for the opportunity that I had to teach her. Sometimes when I think about the investigators that I have taught I realize that maybe they were really meant to help me in my life. I really believe that Heavenly Father puts people in our lives for a reason. Look for the good in everyone around you. Look for the things that you can learn from them.

Eddy is still super active. He moved to an area a little farther away outside of Puerto Plata, but he continues to be active. He comes to activities and church and is excited to go to camp. On Saturday he told us that he bought a white shirt and tie so that he could pass or bless the sacrament! I about died of happiness. 

Michael GOT BAPTIZED!
Christie gave a talk for his baptism and rocked it. I'm excited for her to serve a mission and to see all the people that she is going to bless! 
But back to Michael...He wasn't too happy with the jumper hahah but he was excited and ready to be baptized. He showed up super early to church ready to be confirmed. 






An update on Carlos. We passed by Tuesday to visit him. He told us that his mom is SUPER catholic and that he lives with her right now. He has made the choice to move so that he can be baptized. He had the desire to get baptized and is making a big sacrifice for the things he knows are true. I know that he will be blessed for his sacrifice and that our Heavenly Father will give him the strength. He is an great example to me and I hope that his family and friends can see that too.

Sunday I was asked to talk in church. Saturday night the bishop asked me to talk and I remembered Sunday in the morning...opps. I talked about missionary work and the importance of member missionary work.

Elder Najera also gave a talk about the book-story called ¨You are Special¨ by Max Lucado
The book teaches a lesson that in our lives many people are going to judge us for the things we do or don't do or say or don't say, but the only person we should be worried about is what our Heavenly Father thinks of us. He is our Father. He loves us. He made us the way we are. All of us are different and make mistakes but our Heavenly father loves us and wants us to be happy. 

I hope that you all can remember that this week! You are special and the only thing that matters is what our Heavenly Father thinks of us. I hope that you can all continue to be examples to your friends and family and that you can show others the light of Christ that is in everyone of us! I love all of you and I am grateful for your examples and love! Have a great safe week!

Hermana Bake

Monday, July 10, 2017

Week 64, Puerto Plata, Dominican Republic





 Hola,

This week I learned a lot. As time goes by I continue to learn and I am grateful for that. This life is our chance to learn and every day there are things to learn.

Martes we had a zone conference. We woke up early to go to Navarrete and passed by my old area. We learned more about how there are people prepared to receive Christ. Everyone is born with the light of Christ and is prepared to hear the gospel. We just need to find the people who are ready at this moment to accept and live this His gospel. In order to do this we need to open our mouths. As members of the church we have a lot of friends who are already members, but we also have friends, family, and neighbors who aren't members and who can benefit from the blessings and happiness that we have. It is our responsibility to share with them the things we know, have, and love. 

Miercoles we clean a forest area that was way over grown. We all left with wounds, but it was a blast. The man who owned the area lived in the United States for years and kept trying to talk to me in English. He kept telling his neighbors and friends that we are Americans (even though I was the only one).
 
We also went to Sosua to talk with Carlos and Juan about Carlos´ baptism. Carlos wasn't there but we had an awesome lesson with Juan, who is a recent convert of 3 years. He is a rock star missionary and isn't embarrassed to share the gospel with anyone who wants to listen. He is a real big example to me. 

Jueves was our day to contact. We put the things we learned from the conference in action and talked to everyone. When we asked for directions we contacted. When we passed by people outside working we talked to them. It was easy and I was surprised at the amount of people who accepted our message who I normally wouldn't have contacted. We met some really awesome people and I'm excited to see them progress.

Viernes and Sabado in the morning we painted the house of a member. We ended with even more wounds - which was surprising from just painting a house. All in all it was a blast to serve our investigators and members. It was also a great way to find new people to teach and show them that we are here to help. In more than one way. We also had an awesome lesson with Ivanni. We taught her about the principals and ordinances of the gospel. When we planned earlier in the week we planned on inviting her to be baptized on the 29th of July, but when the time came to invite her the 22nd of July kept coming to my mind. I didn't want my companion to get mad at me for changing the date, but it was a super strong feeling. So I invited her to be baptized the 22nd. She accepted and was super happy and excited. After the lesson my companion said that she had the feeling for the 22nd as well and was going to tell me to change it. I was grateful for the spirit who guided us in this lesson. I am grateful for the little things that we are guided and prompted to do and say every day. The gospel is a wonderful thing and is perfect in every way.

We also visited Christie and Michael. Michael continues to prepare for his baptism and is excited. Christie, the other day, learned about the council from Gordon B Hinckley that we need to be reading the scriptures for 20 minutes everyday. She has put that in practice and has been an example to her brother. She asked him the other day if he had read his scriptures and invited him to read. Christie has also watched almost every Mormon message and is now starting to listen to conference talks! They are both awesome and are such great examples to each other, their friends, their family, and to me!

Domingo was supposed to be the baptism of Carlos, but he never showed up. It was sad and a little heart breaking. We don't know what happened, but I'm praying that everything works out okay and that we can continue to work with him.

I know that God has a plan for each of us. I know that his plan is perfect. I know that his gospel is perfect and that as we start, or continue, to live his gospel our life will change and we will receive the blessings that He has waiting for us! I love this gospel so much! I know I say it a lot but it is because it is true! The gospel is perfect! God loves us! And I love you all too! I hope you all have a great week!

Wednesday, July 5, 2017

Week 63, Puerto Plata, Dominican Republic






JULYYYYY Wow! 

It is Hot! I'm kind of dying. I dreamed about snow and going skiing the other day. It's sad ha-ha, but I still love  the DR. 

Lunes is cut my hair!!!!! 7 inches!!!!!!! It's the shortest that it has been since I was in middle school! I love it, and I'm glad. It's too hot here, and it was super blond and ugly ha-ha, it was time!

Martes we had interviews! I love interviews with president! I love talking to him and hearing his council. He asked me where I want to end my mission. I told him, "Well, I started in Bonao, went to Navarrete, and then Puerto Plata. If you look on the map I'm just going up. Puerto Plata is a beach town on the northern most part of our mission, so the only place that is farther up than that in the mission is Cuba!" Then I told him that I'm ready to pack! ahaha Later that day the office elders called me and asked me if President had asked me to extend my mission to open the mission in Cuba... Haha Sorry Mom.... I'm going to be gone a little longer.....Cuba here I come.....

After interviews we headed to Sosua to teach Carlos. He wasn't there so we talked to a member there, Juan de la Cruz. I saw a man staring at us from a little ways away. I yelled at him to come over and talk to us! He said no because he was busy playing Dominos. Then 10 minutes later he drove up on his motorcycle to talk to us. He said that he couldn't sit still and kept feeling that he needed to talk to us. His name is Hector. We talked to him and he was actually super interested in our message and told us that he wants to go to church! 

After that we taught Ivanni Brito. She is a 11 year old girl. Her dad is a member, but her mom isn't. She is super smart and has such great questions! There are a lot of signs here in Puerto Plata that say "Christ is coming soon!" I chatted with her before the lesson, and I said that I love seeing that sign everywhere. In the beginning of the lesson we were talking about our purpose as missionaries and the importance of sharing the gospel. I asked her why she thought our message was important and she said ¨Because Christ is coming soon!¨ I laughed so hard and said.. "Yes...yes he is...Cristo Viene ya!¨ 

Miercoles we contacted sooo much! I always love contacting and finding new people. We ran into a lot of Catholics. One yelled at us, "Ï'M CATHOLIC!!!! YEAHHHH CATHOLIC C-A-T-H-O-L-I-C"

We prepared Eddy for his baptism, and we had a chance to meet his older brother. We hope to start teaching him soon!

Jueves we went to Christies house and checked on her. She has been working super hard on her personal Progress and has been a super good example to the other members and her friends and family. We talked about Eddy and the other baptisms we have planned for this month. (We are excited because we have one planed every week and more baptisms from the Elders too!) Michael asked if we were planning a baptism the 24th and we said no, but we have one planned on the 22nd. Then out of no were he said, ¨Okay, I'll be baptized that day.¨ He had previously asked for a break from lessons, and asked us to stop asking him about his baptism, but we had continued to pray for him, and he has continued to come to church and read. Our prayers were answered and he decided to be baptized! Christie was so happy and Hermana Letinu and I tried not to cry! It was a happy day!

Sabado the mission office called me to asked me about which airport I want to fly home to....I told them that I still have a lot of time left and to leave me in peace! ha-ha It's crazy that they are already preparing to get rid of me :(

Besides that it was an awesome day! Eddy was baptized! His brother came to support him and he was super happy! Christie and Edwin, two youth converts, talked at his baptism and did such a great job! I'm happy for the youth in this ward and I'm grateful for their example and support of each other! I have to brag just a little because I still think that the converts are the better examples and I'm so proud of them!

After the baptism Michael asked if he could be baptized sooner than the 22nd!
Domingo, Eddy was confirmed and received the Holy Ghost. Deni, Eddys brother, came to church as well as a lot of other investigators.

We had a 2.5 hours ward council meeting which was awful but we planned an open house, and I'm super excited. It's going to be such a great missionary experience.

We also visited Vladimir and Yermi that night, Vladimir continues to tease me about my English and says that his England English is better. He told the Elders that he thinks that he was my older brother in the spirit world. ha-ha

The mission is the best! I love the people that I have met, the culture that I have adopted, and I love the gospel that I have to share! I love this gospel and will continue to say that until the day I die!

I hope you're all well and that you have a great week!
Con mucho amor, 
Hermana Bake