Monday, October 16, 2017

Week 78, Sabaneta Dominican Republic

Tuesday I went to Navarrete for intercombios with the Hermana Espinal. It's cool to see the little miracles that happen everyday when we follow the spirit. We found new people to teach, we helped people make goals for baptism, and we found an old investigator who they had lost contact with and had a super awesome lesson him. He will be baptized this Saturday!

Wednesday we saw more miracles. The last time that we had met with Yessica, we felt sad. We had taught her about the law of chastity and felt that we could have explained it better. When we came back we asked her if she had read and prayed about the things that we explained. She had and had even shared the pamphlet with her husband. Then we shared 1 Nephi 3 and talked about the importance of keeping the commandments and being obedient to Gods commandments and laws. We talked about prayer and scripture study and going to church. She understood  very well and agreed to keep those commandments of God. They aren't our laws, they are Gods laws. Even if we don't understand them or even though they aren't always easy we will need to keep them out of love and obedience to God. He knows us better than we know ourselves and wants us to be happy. That is why we have commandments and that if why we should keep them.

Thursday we met a great kid named Alex who previously met the missionaries on a bus and had downloaded the Book of Mormon and read a lot of it. We found him at his aunts house and started teaching him. 

Friday we contacted around our house and found so many great people to teach! Later that day we taught Elizabeth and her daughters (pictures of them included) We had an awesome lesson with them and challenged them to go to church on Sunday! Then the neighbor came over and started talking to us. She really opened up and begged us to come back and teach her. I love seeing the people who are so prepared and ready to accept the gospel. God's timing really is perfect and he has people prepared to learn and accept his gospel.

Then we had another lesson with Alex, his aunt, her daughter Casey, and her friend Jose Miguel. They all accepted to be baptized and loved learning!

Saturday morning we met a member's friend named Susana. She is super sweet and loved the things that we taught her. Then President and Santa invited us for lunch, and after we met Santa's nephew and started teaching him. We also had an awesome turn out for our English class that night.

Sunday kind of felt like the Hermana Bake show. I gave my last talk in Spanish and Hermana Maxfield and I sang a special musical number then I gave the relief society lesson. Jean, who is getting baptized November 4th, came to church as well as Elizabeth and her 4 daughters, who are getting baptized later in November, and Patricio, who is a contact from English class! I was so happy to see them all come and see the peace they felt at church.

Today was my last pday! We went to Mao and played baseball with our zone and then ate a goodbye cake for Hermana Sanchez, Maldonado and I 

I'm not going to say that the mission was easy, but I can easily say that it was the best year and a half of my life. Through the ups and downs  my testimony grew into something I never imagined. I have grown closer to my Savior, Jesus Christ and I have realized the importance of having His love in my life. I have realized the importance of obedience and how obedience invites the spirit and blessings come trailing after.

Deuteronomy 31:6 Be strong and of a good courage, fear not, nor be afraid of them: for the Lord thy God, he it is that doth go with thee; he will not fail thee, nor forsake thee. We are on the Lord side. That knowledge and testimony made and makes it easy to stand up and stand out as soldiers in his army.

When I received my call it didn't hit me just how important my calling was or how special it was. Being called of God and given this authority to teach his sheep is unbelievable.

The purpose of my mission is the help people come unto Christ by helping and inviting them to make and keep sacred covenants such as baptism. 

Although many did not accept the gospel I am happy to know that we planted the seed of faith. I have hope that one day they can accept and enjoy the blessings of the gospel. I was also blessed to see the lives of many people change. I was able to see their sadness, stress and uncertainty disappear as they were filled with the love of God and his teachings. 

2 timothy 4:2-7
2 Preach the word; be instant in season, out of season; reprove, rebuke, exhort with all long suffering and doctrine.
3 For the time will come when they will not endure sound doctrine; but after their own lusts shall they heap to themselves teachers, having itching ears;
4 And they shall turn away their ears from the truth, and shall be turned unto fables.
5 But watch thou in all things, endure afflictions, do the work of an evangelist, make full proof of thy ministry.
6 For I am now ready to be offered, and the time of my departure is at hand.
7 I have fought a good fight, I have finished my course, I have kept the faith:

 I know that the church is true with all my heart. I know that Christ is the head of this church and that it is lead by a living prophet, Thomas S Monson. I know that God lives and loves every one of us, his children. I know that he created a perfect plan for us  to help us return to live with him one day. I know that families can be together forever. I'm grateful for every one of you and I love you all so much. I am grateful for your love and support this past year and a half. I have felt your prayers. I love you all and hope to see you soon!

Hermana Bake
Santiago Mission Dominican Republic

Wednesday, October 11, 2017

Week 77, Sabaneta, Dominican Republic

It's the last days.....or my last days. 11 days left and I will be at home! Crazy to think about and impossible to have come out of my mouth.

Monday we met Jose who is one of our investigator's husband. It turns out that he has been to church many times and has listened to the missionaries before. He said that he was let down by the example that the members set and stopped going to church. We had a good lesson with them and he decided to give it another chance. As members we are watched. We are representatives of Christ's church and as such it is super important to be our best. Also, it is important to remember that nobody is perfect. We are all just trying. We aren't perfect, but we try. We need to forgive and forget and work everyday to be our bests, to love others who are slacking or need extra help, but to do it with love! 

Tuesday we got to talk to Maribel. Her husband is an inactive member and is almost never home so after a lot of rescheduling she finally told us to come teach her alone. So we came, and she told us to keep coming! At first she told us that she was catholic (like everyone here), but then she talked about her desire to learn more, to find the truth, and to gain her own testimony. After the lesson she told us that she felt something, like a happiness, or a peace, and told us to come back soon. I'm grateful for the holy ghost. I know that is it an essential part of conversion and that it is the way that people can know the truthfulness of this gospel.

We also had an interesting lesson with Monica and her Dad, Rigo. We were having a nice lesson and then out of the blue he says, "So if God is Jesus and Jesus is God and the holy spirit is in God, who is Jesus?" We both looked at each other and then with love explained that we believe that God is our father and Jesus is His son. They are two separate beings with one purpose. He then started getting mad and whipped out some bible verses which explained the godhead perfectly. He tried convincing us that they were one person, we shared our testimonies with him and then invited him to pray. Explain with love, bear testimony, and with a prayer in your heart invite them to pray to receive an answer for themselves.

Wednesday morning as we were getting ready for the day, we heard a big  SCREACHHHHHH outside of our house. Then we looked outside to see death. We saw men freaking out, blood everywhere, a young man unconscious and bleeding, and people coming from everywhere to try to help. It turned out that an electrical car turn our street corner really fast and hit a young man, who wasn't wearing a helmet, on a motor cycle. He flew off the bike and smacked his head on a cement block that was across the street from out house. The guy that hit him got out and started yelling, people came and threw the kid in a truck and drove him to the hospital, but the hospital was on strike and so they rushed  him to Santiago which is over an hour away. He survived, but all day and night people came to our house looking at the spot where the accident happened.

Later that day we had a good lesson with Rosa. She loves going to church and even though her neighbors talk bad about the church she stays strong and is always happy to see us.

Saturday morning we met a lady named Ana and her 3 grandchildren. They are catholic, or so they all say, but they all loved talking to us and invited us to return. Later that night we had an English class. Louis, Wagner, Hansi, and Patricio all came. Two of them are contacts who we invited earlier that week. 

Sunday we woke up early -super early- to help get China ready for church. She came, and she loved it. She is improving a lot. She had 3 strokes in a few months and was death like. Now she can feed herself, brush her hair, and walk with help. She is a great example to me of faith. She always asks us when we are going to church so she can go. She also talks about her baptism a lot and loves talking with us. We are her ¨Hermanas¨.

Earlier in the week we passed by a member's house. He has been sick, has low blood sugar and was recently in a bad accident. His mom lives with him and takes care of him even though she is 70 years old. Earlier in the week we passed by to find him close to death. He didn't even know who we were, he couldn't talk, or open his eyes. We called the branch president to give him a blessing, but then we had to leave to get to a lesson. A few days later we stopped by again to find that no one ever came to give him a blessing or visit him, and he was way worse. Saturday night they came to give him a blessing and found him in a panic. They gave him a blessing and then took him to the hospital. His blood sugar was so bad that he wouldn't have survived the night at home! He is now doing a lot better. I'm grateful for priesthood holders and for the power of the priesthood. I know that it is God's power here on earth and that miracles are possible today.

I'm grateful for the experiences that I have everyday and for the testimony that I have of this wonderful gospel of Jesus Christ! I know that He lives, that He loves us, and He knows everyone of us perfectly.

I love all of you and hope you have a great week! Until next week!...... I'm coming home next week!

Hermana Bake

Monday, October 2, 2017

Week 76, Sabaneta, Dominican Republic

Hello Everyone!

Tuesday, at our district meeting, my comp gave a training on the Book of Mormon, then our district leader gave his testimony and then challenged us to do something.  He told us to think of a question or doubt that we have, then pray to Heavenly Father WITH FAITH to receive an answer then, with faith, open the Book of Mormon and read. I know that our Heavenly Father answers our prayers, but I have never sought an answer in this way. I had a question, I prayed and I prayed to have faith. I prayed until I felt I had enough faith to have my question answered and then I opened my Book of Mormon. I read.... I was surprised as I read. It wasn't the answer that I had expected, I received a better answer, an answer that was not from my own reasoning or perspective. I know that the Book of Mormon has the answers to our hearts and can help us with anything and everything. I invite all of you to do the same thing and see what the Lord can do through the Book of Mormon.

We also had a meeting with our branch president and other leaders. they expressed their frustration with the members of our branch. We were able to share Elder Uchtdorf's talk about being glad, having happy attitudes and not judging others. It really helped us, and them, to remember that this branch has potential and can be a ward, with faith, action and happy attitudes.

Thursday, as we were teaching Elisabeth, a government truck full of food and relief items passed by. The people started handing out bags of food, beds, stoves and other things for the people whose houses were destroyed by the hurricane. They passed by us and handed us bags of food too. As we walked down the road we turned to each other and said almost together, "We don't need this food, let's find people who do."  We ran into our investigator as we kept walking down the road and went to her house and met her parents. We found out that her parents visited our church before and really liked it. Their family is super humble and accepted the food with big smiles and gratefulness.

Saturday and Sunday we watched conference. Not very many members showed up, but we had 9 investigators come which was a miracle, a blessing, and an answer to my prayers! They all loved conference and learned a lot from it.

Hermana Valdez, my mini companera, who was with me for a few weeks came up from Bonao to watch conference with us! It was fun to see her and talk with her again.

After listening to conference I have an even stronger testimony that the church is true, that God is the head of this church, and that this church is the only true church on the earth. How blessed we are to have this truth and to have leaders who are here to guide us and help us in these latter days.

Hermana Bake

Tuesday, September 26, 2017

Week 75, Sabaneta, Dominican Republic

Well this week was crazy.

Monday and Tuesday were great. We had a training from one of my leaders and he told us to talk more and walk less. I really liked that. There are people that we walk right past every day that have potential. I am determined even more now to TALK TO EVERYONE about our wonderful gospel. It doesn't matter if they say no; we press on and keep looking for God's prepared children. 

Wednesday the assistants called us and told us to pack up and go to Navarrete. We packed up our whole house...well food and clothes for 3 days. We arrived to the sister's house in Narravete in a down pour and we were soaking wet. The other sisters from Mao were there too so it was a blast. We were not aloud to leave the house for anything so we used our time to study, plan, share experiences from the mission, do some Zumba, play cards, paint nails, and talk, talk, talk, like girls do. Imagine a sister missionary sleepover. ha ha. 

Finally, Friday afternoon they told us we could go home. We arrived late, threw our stuff down and headed out to check on our investigators but there was the river over flowing down the street and flooding houses. 

We had an awesome lesson with Papo. He, hard core, defended the Book of Mormon against his neighbor and son who are strong members of another church. They actually sat down and listened to us and then asked for a Book of Mormon!

Saturday we had a good lesson with Yessica which was interrupted by a old investigator who was beyond drunk. She sat down and ¨spoke English to us¨. I'm grateful for the commandments that help us to be safe and at peace.

Then we went to the church to watch the women's conference which I loved. I loved Elder Utchdorf's talk about our attitude. He invited us all to be glad, to love one another, and to recognize our potential as children of God.

Sunday we went out with a young women in the ward. The only young women! She is super cute and just awesome. We went around to all of our investigators who are youth and then more of Jendy's friends. 

Today was p-day. We when to Santiago. It was fun to be there and meet up with a ton of missionaries. It was just sad knowing that it was my last time being there, but my heart will always be here in this mission. I love the mission and I'm grateful for all of my experiences.

The church is true, the gospel is perfect, and we have a Father in Heaven who loves us.

Hermana Bake

Friday, September 22, 2017

Hurrican Maria

Hello Family and Friends,

I'm writing you all to let you know that I am safe and happy here in Navarrete. Wednesday they sent us down to Navarrete to stay with a few other sisters for protection. Its rained a lot, the streets flooded, and the wind blew down a few things. Other than that we were all safe in the house. We had a lot of time to study and talk and share our mission experiences. I learned a lot from the other sisters but I also am grateful for my Heavenly Father who kept us safe in these times of danger. I'm grateful for our leaders who care so much about us and were so ready and willing to help. I'm grateful to be a missionary and I'm excited to get back to work in Sabaneta!

Thanksssss for all of your prayers and love. Talk to you all on Monday!

Hermana Bake

"We must live by faith, not by fear" -Quentin L Cook

Pslams 3: 5-6 
"I laid me down and slept; I awaked; for the Lord sustained me. 
I will not be afraid of ten thousands of people (or hurricanes) that harvest themselves against me round about."

pslams 91:2 
"I will say of the Lord, He is my refuge and my fortress: My God; in Him will I trust"

Monday, September 18, 2017

Week 74, Sabaneta, Dominican Republic

Even though everyone.....EVERYONE is bugging me about finishing my mission I'm making the most out of the month I have left. I love the mission and being a missionary and I don't want it to end ever! I love the gospel and I love seeing the miracles of god everyday.

We received a reference from Leonida's named Papo. We taught him and his family and friend named Lolo. They are all super awesome and we can tell that they want to make positive changes.

We found a lady named Tonilla and she loves to learn as well. She told us that her dad is scary and hates missionaries so that if he ever comes home when we are teaching her to be prepared. Haha The other day he came home when we were talking to her and he just walked in and ignored us and didn't say anything. She whispered....¨Come back next week!¨ haha little blessing.

Wednesday as we were walking down the road a man yelled hello. We went over and he asked for a Book of Mormon. It turns out that he is a inactive member from Santo Domingo who was once on the high council. He got divorced and got together with someone else and now is living a whole different life. He said that it is his time to come back and that he is sick of feeling so guilty and sad from his choices. We came back and talked to his girlfriend and she told us that she wants to help him to change and wants him to go back to church and is willing to go with him and support him! She is awesome and I want to help them both! 

That night when we got home cockroaches had invaded our house! They aren't my friends so I kicked them out...with a was a good game of shuffle board! ha!

Thursday we woke up early to go to Santiago for zone conference. We met with a lot of zones and had the chance to hear from Elder Fortuna, a member of the 70! He was super funny and I learned a lot about faith and repentance. I learned that in order to do God's work, and find people who are prepared to hear the gospel, we have to be prepared ourselves. We are here inviting people to come to Christ but if we aren't with Christ or doing His will then we can't invite them to COME to Christ we are just inviting them to GO to Christ and that's not the same. 

We also had a really great lesson with a member and her inactive husband. We talked about Lehi's dream of the iron rod, or the word of God. 1 Nephi 15:23-25 The story teaches that if we hold tight to the words of God we won't go astray. 

Saturday we were both so tired and hot so we decided to play a contacting game. "Who can find the best contact with the most potential." My comp found a guy wearing a sombrero and selling ice-cream who gave us free ice-cream. The Lord really blesses us when we are diligent and do his work in the hot and rain. We also taught Yessica about the 10 commandments. She makes me so happy. Her desire to learn and understand is so great and I love seeing her progress.

I'm stressing about leaving this area better than I received it. I want to receive emails every week with baptism photos after I leave. I love the people here and I know that if I prepare myself that the Lord will let me be his hands! I love this gospel  and  I love being a missionary.

I love you all and hope you all have a great week!

Hermana Bake

Monday, September 11, 2017

Week 73, Sabaneta, Dominican Republic

Lunes our branch president had another sick child in the hospital. This has been a regular thing and so we decided to have a family home evening with them in the hospital. Then we headed over the family Bonilla's house and brought ice-cream for Neroliza's Birthday. 

Martes we had the best lesson ever with Yessica. We taught about faith, repentance, baptism, the holy ghost and enduring to the end. She had a lot of great questions and she really has the desire to learn and change. I had planned to invite her to be baptized, but for some reason I was really nervous. I don't know why because it is something we do all the time and really it is just for other's happiness, but I kept putting it off. Finally, at the end I felt the words being pushed out of my mouth! It was super weird and hard to explain. But, I invited her to be baptized and she said yes! She said that she wasn't going to mess with us and she wanted us to know that baptism is something serious to her. 

We also prepared Jose Miguel for his baptism Saturday. He is the funniest kid and cracks me up. It is incredible how the gospel can be understood by the smallest of kids.

In our district meeting. We said good bye to Elder Caicedo, Hermana Escoto, Hermana Valdez and another mini missionary. At the meeting Elder Morales (An elder from my MTC group) taught us a lesson that helped me a lot. He said "Cuando hay amor en nuerstos corazones el temor se va" which means when there is love in our hearts the fear goes away. Its very true and I have tried to apply that in my mission. We have the truth and I am here to help others to have, hear, and understand this gospel.

Miercoles we had transfers! I said goodbye to one of my bestfriends who I only knew for 2 weeks! I am going to miss Hermana Valdez. I am glad for the time we had to learn from each other and serve together in Sabaneta. I'm grateful for her sacrifice and willingness to go on a mini mission and help so many people including me.

Hermana Maxfield is my new companion. She is from the same group as Hermana Lynch, Hermana Shaw and Hermana Letinu! haaha its funny that I have had so many of the sisters from this group. She is super cute. She is 20 years old and is from Arizona. She reminds me a lot of Anders and just makes me laugh all the time. She is so goofy and super sweet.

We had an awesome lesson with China and read more of the Book of Mormon with her. She remembered everything from the other chapters and is falling in love with the Book of Mormon and the gospel of Jesus Christ. China is the lady who had a stroke and can't move half of her body, but she has so much faith. She went to church last week and went to church this week! 

Jueves we stayed inside all day because of the hurricane. It rained a hard and there was a lot of wind, but we were safe. I called all my converts in Puerto Plata and they said that they had some damage but not too much. We cleaned the house, read, studied, planned, and played dominos all day. We were super blessed and protected. Thank you for all your love and prayers.

Sabado Jose Miguel was baptized! He was super excited and super happy to finally be baptized. 

We continue to work hard, and pray hard, to find the people here who are ready and prepared to accept the gospel. I am excited to see these people progress and learn more and more about the gospel and about God's plan. 

Happy to share the gospel,
Happy to serve the Lord

Hermana Bake