Monday, December 26, 2016

Week 36, Navarette, Dominican Republic

First I just wanted to wish everyone a Merry Christmas and a happy new year. Also I want to say thank you for the Christmas and Birthday wishes. I had a great Christmas and Birthday.

Lunes we went to Santiago and when we got home we taught a few less active members. It is interesting to talk with them but I love seeing them change and I love seeing them remember the light and the happiness from the gospel.

Martez we had our district meeting and then practiced for our talent, as a zone, for the Christmas party. We also taught Carolina who is one of our new investigators. She is super awesome and I love her and her little boys. I love the way she holds her Book of Mormon close to her heart. It makes me so happy.

Miercoles we had our Missionary Christmas party with 3 other zones. One of the zones was my old zone from Bonao. It was super fun to see them all. I also talked to 2 people from my group in the CCM who I haven't talked to in 8 months. I loved being able to talk to them in Spanish. They were all surprised which was funny. "Hermana speak Spanish now!" The party was fun. We watched a Disney movie, preformed our talents (my zone wrote/recited a poem about the life of Christ and then sang a song) then we all ate lunch and took pictures and visited. When we got home we read the Book of Mormon with Lizbeth (who has a baptism date) and taught investigators.

Jueves we went to teach Evelyn (another new investigator). She was super cute and asked us a lot about our Mormon culture. We showed her and and she was super excited about that. 

Viernes we taught a less active friend about family history. I learned a lot while preparing. It's eye opening that we have such an important job as members to find family members who have died so that we can be connected with them forever. I'm blessed to be connected to my family forever and I'm happy I have the chance to share this message with others.

Sabado was my Birthday. I started the day by cleaning the church with the elders and then we ate cookies that Hector from Bonao sent me. We had a little party and we went to lunch. Thank you to everyone who wrote me letters on the snowflakes. Letters mean a lot. 

Domingo we had an awesome church and it was fun talking to all the members after. Everyone was super happy and it made me want to be this happy every day.. It is because we are all focused on Christ. I was grateful to see my family and their smiling faces. I'm glad that I have a family who loves me and who will be with me forever. I'm glad I have this chance to teach others about this same happiness. On the way home we passed by a members house who told us that an other member's husband died that same hour. We were all sick because we had just eaten at their house 2 days before. I was super sad.

That same night President Castillo called and I about had a heart attack. Why did he want to talk to me? I've been obedient...I'm a good missionary...I'm trying my best....I know the church is true. He told me that I'm going to be training. We have transfers Wednesday and I get a new missionary. I'm super excited to have this opportunity to work with her and to help her. I'm excited to work hard and find new people!

Today we woke up and went to Esperance to play volleyball with part of the zone. It was fun to exercise and talk with all of them.

I hope you all have a great new year and stay safe! I love you all!

Hermana Bake

Tuesday, December 20, 2016

Week 34 and 35 in Narvarette, Dominican Republic

Last week Ellie wrote a letter, but somehow lost it and didn't have time to rewrite it.

We were able to chat on line for a minute.

Here are a few lines from our conversation:

Hermana Bossard (one of her companions) left to go home.

I had lunch last week with Hermana Negra. She served us pig intestines. Elder Gomez said, ¨Yup you're on your own this time Hermana. I'm sorry but I cant help you this time around¨ 

We almost got eaten by a gang of dogs but it's okay because we made a bunch of people laugh. As I ran for my life I screamed ¨Vamos a morir, Vamos a morir VOY A MORIR!¨ which means ¨We are going to die, we are going to die, IM GOING TO DIE!¨ 

Domingo we got invited to the members house again but this time to eat yuka! I was excited because I love yuka. We got there and she had yuka and Mondongo (intestines) again! Luckily the Elders came again too and Elder Cordova took one for the team.



One week closer to Christmas. I love Christmas time! I love the lights, the music, the food, the family time, but most of all I love the focus on our Savior.

I love sharing the story of the birth of Christ with everyone during this time of year. Most people here believe in God and Jesus but I love seeing their faces when they are reminded of his birth, life and death. 

Lunes I had a lot of down time. It was p-day, but my companion was sick so I was stuck at home. I cleaned, made food, studied and had a lot of time to think. I thought of my family all together and all my friends going home to be with family. It is difficult to be away from family, but then I remembered why I'm here. We all have the same Heavenly Father. I miss my family and want to be with them just like He wants us to come back to him. That is why I'm here. To help bring his children back to him. I'm blessed to have the gospel in my life and so really 1.5 years is nothing because I know that I will be with my family forever and with my heavenly father.

Martes was interesting. It was an awesome day but I found out why its important to go home at 9:30p.m.and be in the house... ahaha I'll tell you more about that on Christmas Mom.

Miercoles we met Yolanda and started teaching her. At the end of the lesson she asked us if she could walk with us to church on Sunday. I was so shocked and happy. "Yes, yes you can!" I said. 

Jueves we taught a less active member, Marinito. He is making great changes in his life. I love seeing this change in him as he remembers the covenants he made with god and has turned back to Him. The real miracle is that his mom has started to listen to our lessons and has really opened up.
We had a karaoke activity in our ward that evening which was a lot of fun. Ward activities are such a great way to get people to come to church, meet members, make friends, and have an awesome time.

Sabado we found a less active member while contacting and had an awesome lesson with he. We sang a hymn about happiness and shared a scripture. Her face was so bright and happy and I loved seeing her attitude change as we shared a message with her and as she remembered that she has a Father in Heaven who loves her. That day we also started teaching and reading with Alana's sisters and mom. They all went to the activity and church on Sunday!

The Book of Mormon is for everyone. We have started to read the children version with Lizbeth and Chela and I love to see them understand and learn from it. I didn't always love reading the scriptures with my family, but I'm so blessed that my mom and dad forced us the read as a family. I learned so much and grew closer to my family and my Father in Heaven.

Later that day we visited a new investigator. When we finished the opening song and prayer both my companion and I had no idea what we should share with Andrea. After 2 minutes of awkward silence I pulled out the plan of salvation pamphlet and decided to share it. After teaching her she shared with us that her husband and son both died and that our message about God's plan is what she needed to hear and gave her peace. 

We also visited the mom and grandma of a less active member who we have been working with. They really opened up and have started to progress! Everyday when we pass the grandma I always ask her how she is and every day she says ¨Oh, bad, bad. I had a bad day¨ I've started to give her more hugs and now I always give her fist bumps. She likes that and always laughs and smiles when we pass and yells ¨Hi sisters!!!¨ 

I love this area a lot. I love the members and the investigators. I love the chance I have to serve the people here. I hope you all have a great Christmas!

Hermana Bake

Monday, December 5, 2016

Week 33, Narvarette, Dominican Republic

Ester's Baptism in Bonao

Wow thanks for all the updates and emails. I'm so blessed to have such great family and friends. Congrats to all the mission calls and engagements and happy news. Thanks for all your uplifting messages and words of wisdom. I love you all and am so blessed to have you all in my life. 

This week my Mom told me about an interesting experience she had. She walked into the staff room at work for lunch and found herself in the middle of a conversation in which people were ranting about Mormon missionaries.  She was afraid of embarrassing them or of sounding defensive so chose not to say anything..... MOM.....

It made me think of situations when I was home where I had the chance to share the gospel and didn't. It makes me sad. I wish I would have been bold in inviting them to come unto Christ. Really it is scary to share the gospel, even as missionaries. It's not fun to be made fun of, to get the door slammed in your face or to get yelled at, but how can I not share this happiness with other people. How can I not be bold and just open my mouth. The Lord promises us in D&C 33:10 that if we, "Open your mouths and they shall be filled." I love this scripture...I have found that as a missionary sometimes I don't know what to say but if I have faith to open my mouth then I will know the right words to say. Sometimes I am surprised of what the Lord can do. Open your mouth, be brave, look for people to share the gospel with; to share this happiness with, and watch what the Lord can do.
To my friends who are not Mormon, I love you! I want you to be happy. Open the door to the missionaries. They simply want to invite you to follow Christ.

This week was full of inviting. We had a training on inviting and helping our investigators to follow through with our invitations. I have seen the fruits and blessings from this training. We set a baptism dates with a man named Antonio and a little girl named Lizbeth.

On Wednesday we dragged a less active boy named Angel to a mutual/youth activity. When we got there none of the young men were there. I was sad and confused as to why we had felt the prompting to bring him. But it turned out that one of the leaders, who was less active for a time in his life, was there and really bonded with Angel. On Sunday he showed up to church and stayed all 3 hours and was super excited about the gospel again. 

Sunday in the 3rd hour I was sitting with my companions and members who I love, when I got the prompting to go sit by a lady who was sitting alone. I'll admit it..I didn't want to move soooo I didn't. 2 minutes later she got up and left. I felt awful that I had ignored the prompting. But then she came back in, but just stood by the door. Grateful for a second chance, I got up that second and escorted her to a seat. At the end of the meeting she thanked me. I had a good visit with her and her children and invited her daughter to go teach with us. Promptings are real and important. I was lucky and got a second chance, but I learned to not wait and to act upon promptings in the future. You can be the answer to a prayer.

Today we headed to Santiago for p-day. We got our nails done for $4! We played volleyball and basketball and then ate food... Best p-day ever. 

I hope you all are well and happy! I love you all!

Hermana Bake

Tuesday, November 29, 2016

Week 32, Narvarette, Dominican Republic


Wow how I love the mission and being a missionary. Don't get me wrong. It's not always fun and games..It's really hard but soooo awesome! I love learning and growing every day. I love helping people and teaching them how they can find the happiness that they have been missing in their lives. I love seeing them accept the gospel, and I love watching it change their lives.

We started this week with a gang riot in Navarrette. There is a gang leader that lives super close to our house, and he loves to have riots about everything. They throw trash in the streets, set tires on fire and walk about with bombs and guns. Sooo we spent the day in the house. It was a bummer but an interesting start to my time here. (Don't worry mom, they don't want trouble with us, I'm completely safe)

Miercoles I met my new district. They are all super awesome. Later, we stopped by a member's house, Katasha, who is a returned missionary and now has a husband and a cute baby boy. She gave us a pep talk and ideas about contacting. People here get to know their neighbors better than we do. Its super important that we involve members in our work. The church is true.. I know it, and God knows it, and a lot of other people know it. But the thing is not everyone knows it, and not everyone has the blessing that comes from living the gospel. That is why we are here, and that is why we ask for references of family and friends, because everyone should want their  friends and family to have this happiness!

That day we found out that our investigator, who had a baptism date, moved.

Jueves was the best Thanksgiving ever! We taught like normal, found more people to teach and then ate sachipapas which are french fries, hotdogs and sauce. hahaha it sounds gross but wow it's so American and I'm thankful for that sometimes. I mean I love rice and all but American food is good too haha.

We have a member, Lizbeth, who helps us with our lessons. She is 14 and super cute and sweet. She originally said that she could help for 2 hours but after every lesson she said that she could teach one more and then one more and then one more and one more ahaha. She was so cute and kept talking about her future mission. (Hey shout out to all the youth! GO OUT WITH THE MISSIONARIES!)

Viernes we contacted a women named Ellie and I'm super excited to teach her more. Not just because her name is Ellie but because she is a cute little mommy and she is super receptive to us. We also met a lady named Socorro who is a cute old lady. She is catholic but said that she was going to pray and if the Holy Ghost tells her to change her religion, "Then of course I'll change my religion! Im not crazy! I'm not going to disobey God!"  haha We all need faith like her.

Sabado I took my second cold bucket shower of my mission. I've been lucky because I've only needed to do it twice but its awful. How thankful I will be for warm showers that don't pelt me or barely drip down and that are freezing cold. 

Domingo, in between teaching, we ate at two different members houses with the Elders. When we told Elder Cordova about the invitations he said, "The Heavens are opening and I can see a pillar of light!" Haahaha the poor staving Elders ahaha 

Navarette is awesome. Its pretty big but not as big as Bonao. There are less cows and chickens but super awesome people. Its about 30 minutes from Santiago. We have two wards. The zone leaders and ourselves are in one ward and the Sister leaders and our District leader and his comp are in the other ward. It rains every day and floods the roads and houses but its also really green! I LOVE Navarette!

I love you all! Have a great week!

Hermana Bake

Monday, November 21, 2016

Week 31, Narvarette, Dominican Republic

Good Bye to Bonao

New Companions in Narvarette

Hello Everyone!!!

I feel like it has been so long since I've written because so much has happened. 

I found out last Monday that I would be transferred, but I didn't know where. On Tuesday we had our district meeting at the Decker's house, took pictures, ate lunch, and I found out that I was being transferred to Narvarette.

After lunch we went home and got ready to teach. We taught and said good bye to everyone. It was difficult. When I said goodbye to the president of the branch his sister said, "You are my friend," then the president said "mine too," and then his wife said, "mine too," and then the sister's husband said, "mine too" and then the daughter said, "mine too!" They each said it in English hahah. It was so cute. I'm going to miss them.

Wednesday we met up in Santiago for transfers. I got to see all my friends and I also met my new companions before we left for Navarette. Naverette is about 30 minutes from Santiago and I love it. Its a super cute area and I feel strongly that this is where I'm supposed to be. I am going to be in a trio with Hermana Bossard (from Cali) and Hermana Martinez (from the DR in the Capital) I was super scared and nervous, but I know that the Lord doesn't give us anything that we can't handle. It might be hard but never impossible. My companions are super awesome and know sooo much. Hermana Bossard has 2 more weeks in her mission and Hermana Martines has 4 more months. 

When I arrived in Naravette I learned that we have 2 investigators who aren't really progressing. We have been contacting a lot and are excited to work hard! I feel home in this area even though I'm new. I know the Lord calls us where we are needed and puts us with people who we can help, and who can help us. When we are not teaching we are talking, laughing, having a great time, and constantly learning. We have been prompted by the Spirit and led to so many great people and I have met and taught so many awesome people in just these few days here.

Sorry, I don't have much time with week. Today we spent 7 hours in the hospital. My comp is fine but had to take some tests which took forever. What a great Pday. 

Act on faith and you will receive blessings. God loves you and wants you to be happy.

Have a great week and stay safe!

Hermana Bake

Monday, November 14, 2016

Week 30, Bonao Dominican Republic

I just got the news that I'm being transferred Wednesday. I'm sad, but I'm excited to meet new people and help people in a new area. I'm just sad that I'm leaving before upcoming baptisms and I don't know if I'll be able to come back! But I know that everything happens for a reason and what matters is that God has a plan for all of us and the plan is that I need to be somewhere else.

Lunes we went to Santiago and had a great time with the missionaries there. I got to see my old comp and eat lunch. We went to the mission office and said hi to the missionary couple who works in the office (the Levitts) I seriously love them. They are adorable and always love to see us. Elder Levitt gave me a little punch in the my arm and told me that they have a game with their kids and grandkids called "touched you last" where the last person the touch the other person before they leave wins. We play this same game in my family too and it made me happy. Right before I left the office I tapped Elder Levitt on the shoulder and ran out of the office with Elder Levitt sprinting after me to try to get me back. Haha. Hermana Levitt  and the other missionaries were all laughing at us.

When we got home we had family night with Esther and her kids. We sang hymns, talked about the importance of prophets and then played the game telephone. We explained that the game is like the apostasy. Without prophets the words of God get confused and changed, but we have a prophet today and he receives revelation from God to lead and guide us.
As we walk home that day we were the rain (yes we had umbrellas) Umbrellas didn't do much for us. We ended up swimming back to our house in the pools of water.

Martes we taught Danelbis. We were worried about his baptism because he was having doubts about latter day prophets. But when we arrived he told us that he watched a few talks from the prophet and prayed about it and now knows that he is a servant of God and is called of God. It was a testimony to me that if we want to know the truth we can find out for ourselves. We just need faith, action and prayer.

Miercoles we taught Edwin. He is a super cool guy who is deaf. He can read lips and talk so he just repeats what he understands. It is actually fun to teach him. We taught him about prophets and the restoration of the gospel. After his lesson we were talking about sports and he said, "I'm a prophet of volleyball" haha It made us laughed so hard.

Jueves we went to La Vega to get shots. Hey mom I didn't even cry! You know I have a sketchy history with shots. I think I'm growing up! We also had a member helped us with a lesson in an area call los Solares. It is an area that doesn't have any paved roads. She was so cute trying to push her stroller over the rocks and sticks and mud etc..

We also taught Critina and her family. We asked her if she had prayed to know if Thomas S Monson is a true prophet today. She said, "Well Hermana, about that...I have a little problem.... I didn't pray about that because I forgot what his name is. I asked everyone and thought about it for a really long time but I just couldn't remember!" Ha-ha I'm glad she at least thought about praying and had the desire. I love watching her excitement about the gospel. I love watching these people change. I know its not easy to change. The culture here is so different and the norms of the gospel are not the norms of the DR, but I love seeing them understand the truth and have the desire to change and have the desire to follow Christ.

When we got home that night I found a centipede on the floor. I scooped it up with a paper and was about to drop it off the balcony when I looed down and saw our neighbor standing right under me. I was so close to dropping the centipede on his head! Hahaha I'm so glad I looked!
Sabado was fun. We taught Christin and her family again with another member family. Their little boy (6 years old) taught the lesson about the Sabbath day. I love how to gospel is for everyone and that everyone can understand and live the gospel. I was glad for this example of a family who is strong and united and teaches their kids while they are young to follow Christ.

Domingo it rained a everyday... Which meant lots of mosquitos. We taught Cristina and her family and set a date for their wedding and baptism. It was fun to talk about their plans and help them with these two important steps in their lives. One of their kids slapped my leg really hard and said, "got it!" He was all happy and proud of himself. I just looked at him and said "Thou shalt not kill" Everyone laughed and then Cristina said "That applies to everything but mosquitos" We all agreed on that and went back to planning the wedding and baptism.

Today we woke up and cleaned. Then we went to Leonidas and played Dominos and ate food and talked. President Castillo called us and told us that my companion is going to train for her last two transfers which means I'm leaving Bonao and all my friends and family. I'm super sad that I'm leaving them but I'm excited to meet more people and serve and help wherever I go.

Doctrine and Convents 4:2 Serve with all your heart, might, mind, and strength. 

I hope you all have a great week! I love you all!
Hermana Bake