Saturday, May 28, 2016

Week 5, Last week in the CCM


Its my last week here at the CCM and it is both exciting and super sad. It has become my home and the people here are my family. I love them all and I am sad to say good bye to my friends and family once again. It is also my last Pday here so I'm not sure when the next time I will get to email will be. I leave Tuesday morning for Santiago to start my new adventure there. I am excited to start sharing the gospel and to change the lives of as many people as I can.

Last Thursday was fun but flew by so fast. We went to the temple, cleaned our room, beat all the Elders at foosball and had more classes at night. 

Friday was the best day ever! In the morning we taught one of the others classes a demonstration lesson in English! It was so weird to teach in English and we kept slipping into Spanish. I never thought I would say that I would rather teach in Spanish, but it is true. After lunch we got the chance to go on splits with the Missionaries in this area. I was with Hermana Moeller. She is super cute and nice. We didn't have any lessons planned so we just walked around and contacted and talked to everyone we saw. It was super hot and the people here speak super fast Spanish, but it was fun. I loved talking to people, meeting new people, and being able to share my testimony and tell people how the gospel of Jesus Christ can change their lives. The culture, the houses, and the streets are just so different. I will send picture when I can. I love being in this new place. Everyone is so friendly (sometimes a little too friendly) and they just all hang out outside because it's too hot inside. Anyways that night Hermana Moeller and I met back up with Hermana Turner and her companion and we got to teach a lesson to a lady named, Carolina. Her boyfriend is a member and he was there too. She is from Canada and is teaching English here in the DR. She was super nice and friendly and wants to get baptized. We taught her a lesson about the restoration and I had the opportunity to share my testimony about the importance of the Book of Mormon and of prayer. It was the best experience. It strengthened my testimony to see her accept the Book of Mormon and promise to pray about it and about her feelings about the church. I love this church and I know it is true with all my heart. I ended my Friday night throwing up because of heat stroke but all is well. Someone else knowing the truth about the gospel is more important than one late night.

Saturday was pretty relaxed. We had classes and taught lessons.

Sunday was awesome, like always. Our meetings were all about the role of the Holy Ghost and how important it is in our lives and in our lessons when we teach. We watched the movie "New Testament" which I loved. We ended the night with ice-cream and a walk around the temple.

Mondays are always fun because we get to teach the Westovers. Our lesson this week was about charity. We didn't get to talk much because Elder Westover loves to talk, but we love to hear their wisdom and wise words. They are so sweet. They are the cute couple that are in the picture with Hermana Turner and I. Other than that we had more lessons and played more volleyball and foosball.

Tuesday we had the blessing of having Elder Cornish come speak to us and meet us. He is a member of the quorum of the 70 in our church and lives here is the DR. He was actually was a mission president in my mission and while ago. Listening to him just testifies to me that these men are called by God to bless and help the lives of Gods children.

Wednesday was another great day. We taught both Lily and Victor and both of them committed to be baptized. Hearing that one word "yes" just made my heart burst. That one word and following though and actually getting baptized and receiving the gift of the Holy Ghost is the best thing anyone can ever do. I was so happy that they would make this important step in their lives and follow Christ and be baptized. We also gave service that day. We raked leaves again which was fun and then we finished our fun free time with a great game of volleyball.

Today we went to the temple again. It is a holiday here so we had to go super early. I love the temple and the chance we have to go every week. I'm going to miss it while I'm in Santiago. 

Funny Story from this week:
Last transfer the Haitians, Latinos and Americans had a  saying that everyone would say randomly. This transfer, with the new people here, it happened again. But this time they all like saying "Esta Bien, Esta Bien, Esta Bien" or "Bien, Bien, Bien, Bien, Bien," it makes me laugh. 

One scripture that I have been thinking a lot about this week is Proverbs 3: 5-6 "Trust in the Lord with all thine heart and lean not unto thine own understanding. In all thy ways acknowledge Him and He shall direct thy paths" I know that it is important to trust in the Lord and following in no matter what we do. He loves us and will always be their to help us. I love all of you and I know Heavenly Father does too. I know this church is true and blesses the lives of all who follow Christ and accept him. Have a great week and stay safe!

Love, Hermana Bake

P.S. This is what I'm eating people:

Friday, May 20, 2016

Week 4


Time is flying! I've already been out a month and it feels like I just left last week! I've learned so much and my testimony has grown so much too.

There are 22 of us in the CCM now; 11 Elders and 11 Sisters. Only 3 are Spanish speakers so its hard to stay in the Spanish mind set and continue to learn. It is fun to be able to meet and talk with so many people from everywhere. There are people here from England, Jamaica and a lot of small islands in the Caribbean. 

On Friday my small district of 4 went to the university to talk with people about the gospel. When we got there we found out that everyone had gone home because the election was on Sunday and they had to vote in their home towns. We continued to just street contact and talk with everyone we saw on the streets.  It was a blast and I love how nice people are to us. It helps being a white girl because everyone wants to know why we are here. I'm getting used to the constant 90+ degree weather although it is still wayyyy too hot for my liking. We also taught our investigator Victor an awesome lesson about the Book Of Mormon. We had planned to teach him about the plan of salvation but after praying with him we felt inspired to read and bare our testimonies of the Book Of Mormon instead. The spirit was in charge in that lesson and I could tell that Victor felt the spirit and that it touched his life. 

At free time Hermana Turner and I continued to dominate at foosball and beat everyone who plays us. Shout out to Ian and Anders for teaching me, but watch out for when I get home ;) At dinner on Saturday two sisters came up to us and told us that Hermana Alvaraz told them to tell Hermana Turner and I "Hi"! She was a sister who just left last week and I've missed her a ton. We ran outside  and caught her just in time. We also ran into Elder Cornellis who also left last week. He just made us more excited to get out into the field and start teaching people. 

Sunday my district and I sang again. We sang, "If the Savior Stood Beside Me". It was awesome and I just love how music can invite the spirit of God. We also watched the movie, "Meet the Mormons" and at the end of the movie when the song "Glorious" came on everyone started singing together! I loved it!

Monday we got to teach the Westovers again. They're such a cute elderly couple who have been little grandparents to us while we have been here. It turns out Brother Westover served in the same mission as Grandpa Ririe!

Tuesday we had a devotional about how we can let the Holy Ghost guide our lessons. I have seen how important this is in our lessons. It's not the missionaries who bring others unto Christ, it is definitely the Spirit!

Wednesday we did service and played volleyball. All 22 of us bonded and worked together which was fun to see. Hermana Dumay taught us a lesson about how the Book of Mormon is just like a piece of chocolate cake. You don't know how good it is until you try it, but when you try it and see how amazing it is, you want everyone to have it. I know this is true for the Book of Mormon. I love the Book of Mormon with all my heart. I know it is true and I know that it has changed my life and can change the lives of everyone by bringing them closer to our Savior! Just taste it and you will see! Everyone! I'm not even kidding! Please read the Book of Mormon. Please pray about it. It will change your life forever.

I love the book of Moroni in the Book of Mormon. Here are some of my favorite versus in it that I love:

Moroni 10:32 - Yea, come unto Christ, and be perfected in him, and deny yourselves all ungodliness; and if ye shall deny yourselves of all ungodliness, and love God with all your might, mind and strength, then is his grace sufficient for you, that by his grace ye may be perfect in Christ; and if by the grace of God ye are perfect in Christ, ye can in nowise deny the power of God.

Moroni 10:3-5 - Behold, I would exhort you that when ye shall read these things, if it be wisdom in God that ye should read them, that ye would remember how merciful the Lord hath been unto the children of men, from the creation of Adam even down until the time that ye shall receive these things, and ponder it in your hearts.
And when ye shall receive these things, I would exhort you that ye would ask God, the Eternal Father, in the name of Christ, if these things are not true; and if ye shall ask with a sincere heart, with real intent, having faith in Christ, he will manifest the truth of it unto you, by the power of the Holy Ghost.
And by the power of the Holy Ghost ye may know the truth of all things.

and Moroni 7:26 - And after that he came men also were saved by faith in his name; and by faith, they become the sons of God. And as surely as Christ liveth he spake these words unto our fathers, saying: Whatsoever thing ye shall ask the Father in my name, which is good, in faith believing that ye shall receive, behold, it shall be done unto you.

If you are wondering if The Book of Mormon is scripture from God or if The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter day Saints is true, or if you are struggling with your testimony read and ask Heavenly Father! I love you all and am grateful to have you in my life! Stay strong! remember Alma 36:3 says to rely on God in our times of trials. I LOVE, LOVE, LOVE YOU! Have a great week!

Hermana Bake

Thursday, May 12, 2016

Week 3, Wawa

 Hello Everyone!

This week has been amazing and full of many emotions and changes. It was awesome to talk to my family on Sunday and to be able to conference call with Anders as well! I miss you guys and it was great to hear your voices. Everything has changed at home and at school and I haven't even been gone that long! Stop! Just wait a year and a half! Okay? Good, Thanks!

Anyways on Friday I went to the immigration office and the doctors to be tested for my extended visa. I went with 10 other elders and 2 other sisters from the CCM. We all piled in a "wawa" which is like a mini van bus thing. There were no seat belts and the elders had to sit on each others laps. It was awesome. The sisters had plenty of room though. :) When we got to the office we had to wait for forever. It was super hot and everyone just spoke Spanish. I met my mission presidency secretary at the office and he said that he was excited for me to come and that they pray for me every night by name. I don't know if that is a good thing or bad thing... we will see. The weather here is soooo hot and the traffic here is insane. Every time I get into a car I feel like I'm going to die. There are no traffic rules at all and it's scary but kind of funny at the same time. 

Saturday we went to the university with a bunch of elders and sisters to hand out pamphlets and talk to people about the restoration. Everyone liked Hermana Turner and I because we were white and spoke Spanish and they thought that was cool. Some of them would want us to talk "American" for them because they liked our accent. At the university we met and talked to so many people. It was fun to see how much Spanish I actually understood and it was fun to have real conversations with real people - not "fake investigators". We met two people who changed me and made me realize what a gift the Book of Mormon and this gospel really are. First, was Nadan. He is a student who we started  talking to just in passing. He stopped and was curious to why we were here. We told him that we were missionaries and our purpose was to share a message about Christ and God. We eventually gave him a Book of Mormon. He was so excited that there was additional scripture from God and he was super interested in learning more about the church. He kept thanking us and asked if he could keep the Book of Mormon and the pamphlet. It made me happy to see him excited and so eager to understand God more. We also met Jonathan. He was sitting on the grass by a building and in passing we noticed that he had a cross necklace on. We talked to him about Christ and about how knowledge of him has blessed his life and ours as well. We also gave him a Book of Mormon and he also asked if he could keep it and was grateful and interested in talking to missionaries in the future. I loved both of these experiences and I'm so grateful for them. I'm so happy that I get to share this happiness with people for the next year and a half of my life. I'm excited to see lives and families change. I love the Book of Mormon and can not wait to share it with everyone!

Sunday was a happy day. Church was awesome, like always, and Sunday night was even better. I got to talk to  my family as well as have pizza and ice cream for dinner. Oh how I miss American food.

Monday was the last day with everyone here. We taught a family home evening lesson to an elderly couple named the Westovers and played a Dominican game called "Hablar Puerco" with the other American group. 

Tuesday morning we said goodbye to all our Haitians and Spanish speakers who were going to the west mission. There were many tears and no hugs (mission rules) It was crazy how close I got to them in just 3 short weeks. They inspire me. They have all gone through so much but have such amazing faith. They have changed my life and I am forever blessed to have met these awesome people. It was quiet with only 7 Spanish speakers and 9 Americans left. 

Wednesday morning was even more sad. We said goodbye to the rest of our "family". They all left and my small district of 4 was left all alone. We went to class and continued our studies. As the day went on more elders and sisters came. We now have 22 of us total here at the CCM for the next 3 weeks, 11 elders and 11 sisters. Hermana Turner and I have mastered foosball and beat all the elders and teachers. No one likes to play us anymore. haha

Anyways I'm happy to be here in the Dominican Republic on a mission. I am grateful to be blessed with the knowledge that I have and am honored to be able to share it with everyone around me. I hope you all have a great week! Keep in touch!


Hermana Bake <3

Thursday, May 5, 2016

Week 2: Pray, Study, Teach, Eat, Repeat

Hello family and friends,

I love you all and I'm grateful for your letters and emails. It sounds like a lot of things have changed at home and in everyone's lives! crazy! I haven't been gone that long!

This week has been a blast and was full of fun and hard work. We are finally in the swing of things and have a set schedule now. Pretty much it is pray, study, teach, eat and then repeat. It's a lot of hard work but it will be worth it. 

We have 2 new "'investigators" who we are teaching: Manuel and Victor. They are both very nice but teaching is hard. We also have the chance to teach an older couple who are temple workers once a week. They are the Westovers and I love them. 

Physical Activity time each day is basically volleyball and I've become pretty good...not to brag. It's fun to play with everyone and to see another side of the elders and sisters.

Sundays are my favorite day. Last Sunday Elder Doyle, Durrant, Chaves and Sister Turner and I sang in sacrament meeting. We sang a mix between Joseph Smiths First Prayer and Come thou Fount. It was super fun and spiritual. Every Sunday we have doctrine class where President Romney shares doctrine and answers any questions. We also get to watch a church movie which is a nice break. My favorite part is having dessert and going on a walk around the temple at night. The only down side is that I come back with 5 new mosquito bites each time. Not cool. 

Each Sunday we have a new topic for sacrament meeting and everyone is expected to prepare a talk on the topic in their mission Spanish for me. Then that morning President Romney announces who will speak! Crazy and so scary. Last Sunday our topic was the Book of Mormon. We had two elders give talks on how the Book of Mormon literally saved their lives. One Haitian elder told a story about how one day when we was sitting on his bed he got a prompting that he needed to share the Book or Mormon with people outside. When we went out side the Haitian earth quake hit and when he went back into his house where he had been laying he saw that the wall had fallen down right where he had been laying. If he hadn't gone out to share the Book of Mormon he would have been under the fallen wall. Crazy lives these elders and sisters have had. 

Tuesday we were finally let out of the CCM walls. All the American who are staying here for 6 weeks got to go to the store. It was fun to see the Dominican Republic. The traffic here is crazy and not safe at all. There are people everywhere and trash everywhere as well. I bought anti-friz hair cream because I REALLY need it here. 

Elder Claudio D Zivic from the Quorm of the 70 and his wife came and visited us and gave us a devotional. That was fun to see him. He talked about having an eye full of faith and the importance of the First Vision.

Everyday we have to speak 4 hours of todo Espanol! All Spanish for 4 hours straight! Not fun but I've improved so much in my Spanish. 

Yesterday we had a service activity where we cleaned the temple grounds with everyone. About 30 minutes into it it started to down pour. And yes, Oregonians, I mean down pour. The weather here is similar to Oregon in that it rains a lot but it is much, much hotter. It will be sunny one minute and then the next minute it will be pouring down rain with thunder and lightening. I love it.  

I am so glad I am on a mission. I know that it was the right decision for me. I love it and I love my Heavenly Father. Alma 29:9 has really become a strength to me. "I know that which the Lord hath commanded me, and I glory in it.  I do not glory of myself, but I glory in that which the Lord hath commanded me; yea, and this is my glory, that perhaps I may be an instrument in the hands of God to bring some soul to repentance; and this is my joy." I'm not serving this mission for me, I'm serving it for the Lord. Elder Oaks said, "Forget yourself and become an instrument in the Lords hands." D&C 122 is also such a great chapter. It says to "fear not what man can do, for God shall be with you forever and ever. Gordan B Hinckley said, "Do your best, say your prayers, work hard and leave the harvest to the Lord." So that is what I'm doing. I know that with faith and the Lords help I can do anything. I know that this church is true and I love it with all my heart. I would not be here it I didn't know it was. I love all of you and would love to hear from you. 

Hermana Bake