Tuesday, January 31, 2017

Week 41, Navarette, Dominican Republic

Hola Familia y Amigos,

Martes we had intercombios. Hermana Robinson came to our area and Hermana Lynch went with Hermana Gardiner to their area. I really love intercombios. Its nice to see new ways to teach and ways to find and talk to people. We passed by roasted dog on the side of the road. I'm not quit sure why that is a thing....but it is....just so you all know... Its not pretty and doesn't smell good at all. We also found an awesome women named Ana Maria. We taught her a lesson and invited her to be baptized. We set a date for (2.11.17). When we visited her again this week she was still excited and willing to get baptized. Its cool to see the timing of the Lord and how some people are ready and a waiting to be invited.

Miercoles we attended a world wide missionary broadcast. I'm sure you have all hear about it. We are now just reporting 4 key indicators (Baptisms, Investigators who came to church and who are progressing, Investigators who have a baptism date set, and how many new people we have found to teach) We also have a new schedule. The schedule is more relaxed and puts more responsibility on the missionaries. It's cool to see this inspired new change. I'm excited to put it into practice and see how we can use it to improve. 

We also taught Joana and her son Eudi. We set a goal for their baptism for (2.18.17). They are both super excited about getting baptized and they know that it is important. 

We also found out that Luigi moved again. This time he just moved into the Elders area which is in our same ward. I'm excited to see how the Elders can help him. Everything is in Gods hands. I think they will be perfect for him and be able to teach him and set an example for him. 

Jueves, during our planning time, we were interrupted by someone who needed to paint our house. It looks a lot nicer now and it's kind of fun to have fresh walls. We had correlation meetings with the ward mission leader and the ward leaders. These meetings are always one of my favorite things to look forward to on Thursdays. Something funny ALWAYS happens. This time someone was complaining about the choir and how they have a purple color theme for the clothes. Papo was wearing a purple shirt and told the guy that he can just make a tie out of his shirt. Then we asked Pedro if he could sit by Antonio (our investigator) on Sunday at church and he asked ¨What time?¨ ....√Ąt church....Sunday....during church¨ HAhah funny men.

Viernes we taught Nicole. We were downstairs at her neighbors house and she yelled up at us, ¨Hermanas! Are you coming to teach me after?!?!?!¨ When we said yes she was so happy and ran and got all her books and pamphlets. 

There are a lot of Catholics and small Christian sects of people here who we teach. I am always so glad that they have a knowledge of God and Jesus. It makes it easier to teach them, and they understand. I love teaching them that the things they have learned are true! We just have more to offer. We have the authority of God and we have another testament of Christ!

Sabado we stopped by all of our investigators homes to remind them to come to church.  We met Eudi in the streets and he asked us if we were going to teach him. We said yes and he was so excited and he ran home. When we got to the house they had the chairs all ready and were ready to learn. 

Domingo we stopped by Joana's house before church. He couldn't come but Eudi came with us. Antonio and Chela and Nicole also all came!

Antonio answered all the questions in gospel principles class and I had a proud missionary moment! He has progressed so much! Then they announced his baptism and he was so happy when they all congratulated him and talked to him about it. 

We tracked into this mansion that I've been wanting to contact since I've been in Navarette. A family of 5 live there and they are super cute.

Then we went to Yajairas house and were interrupted by a women running into their house who had just been in a huge fight... That was scary and interesting. I've never heard Dominicans speak so fast in my life.

Every week is a new adventure. I learn more and I grow more. I'm excited and happy to see the people we teach progress and grow in their love for the gospel. I love how the gospel brings happiness and that is why I'm here, to share that happiness with everyone! I love you all and hope you all have a great safe week!

Hermana Bake

Monday, January 23, 2017

Week 40 Navarette, Dominican Republic

Yajaira, our inactive investigator

 Our neighbor's dog who we've adopted

Missionary Training Meeting

Hola Familia, Amigos y Todos,

I know I say it every week, but being a missionary is the best, I just love it. Every day is different and full of experiences that change me. I'm happy that I can share a few experiences with you. 

Lunes night was a blast. We taught a few lessons and then had FHE with Claribel and her family. We also asked her to invite Luigi and his brother Luis Angel. We taught a lesson about agency. We believe that it is part of God's plan that we have agency. We are blessed when we make good choices and we receive natural consequences when we make bad choices. We then played a game with them that went along with the lesson. We filled a little cup with flour and tipped it over to make a flour tower (like you can do with sand) Then we put a mint on top. We took turns ¨making choices¨ of where to cut the tower of flour. The person who made the mint fall while cutting had to find the mint with their mouth without using hands. It was super funny and super messy hahah. I'm grateful for this reference from Claribel and for trusting us to teach her cousin Luigi and Luis Angel. We (members, missionaries and Christ) have one purpose and one mission which is to invited and help everyone to come unto Christ. 

Martes we taught Lisbeth about the importance of enduring to the end. She was baptized last Saturday and is now a member. I love the scripture in 2 Nephi 31:19-21 that says:

"19 And now, my beloved brethren, after ye have gotten into this strait and narrow path, I would ask if all is done? Behold, I say unto you, Nay; for ye have not come thus far save it were by the word of Christ with unshaken faith in him, relying wholly upon the merits of him who is mighty to save.
 20 Wherefore, ye must press forward with a steadfastness in Christ, having a perfect brightness of hope, and a love of God and of all men. Wherefore, if ye shall press forward, feasting upon the word of Christ, and endure to the end, behold, thus saith the Father: Ye shall have eternal life."

I want that!

After the lesson we headed to another lesson that we had planned. Both my companion and I had the feeling that we needed to go visit Marinito who is a less active instead. We still don't now why, but we could tell that he needed to talk with us. I am always amazed and grateful to be blessed with the gift of the Holy Ghost (a constant companion who helps me in everything) 

Miercoles we went to visit Antonio but he wasn't home so we left him some bananas and a note of encouragement. We had made a plan with him last week to quit smoking. We told him to buy bananas every time he had the desire to buy cigarettes. When we came back the next day he was so happy and had kept his note.

We also visited a less active family. We read a story found in the book, "Our Search for Happiness" Chapter 8. It's the story of Elder Ballard, who while on a business trip was feeling kind of little and unimportant while he was talking to all these men with great money and fame. When he got home to his wife he realized that out of all the men there he was the happiest because he had his family and the gospel. It's so true.

(Matthew 6:19-21) "Lay not up for yourselves treasures upon earth, where moth and rust doth corrupt, and where thieves break through and steal:
 20 But lay up for yourselves treasures in heaven, where neither moth nor rust doth corrupt, and where thieves do not break through nor steal:
 21 For where your treasure is, there will your heart be also."

There are so many things in this world that people worry about and waist time with. They fail to remember that the true happiness is found in the teachings of the gospel and Jesus Christ and with our families. They all loved that story and it was cool to listen to their testimonies about the gospel and the real happiness which is a life with the gospel and our families.

Jueves we went to Santiago for a training meeting for Hermana Lynch because she is still a fresh-new missionary. It was fun to hear the other missionaries and their trainers as we all bore our testimonies and shared experiences that we have had in just these first 3 weeks.

Later that day we taught and invited Luigi and his brother Luis Angel to be baptized. I'm excited for them and for this new, happy life that they have found.

Viernes we taught a lot of our new friends. We taught and invited Yadely to be baptized, We found Joanna and her family, Eudi, Leudi and Lauda. That night we taught Yajaira. She told us that she watches BYU films every night before bed and watched "The Errand of Angles.¨ It is a movie about two sister missionaries and one is training the other. (You can watch it for free on You Tube if you want to get a little glimpse of sister missionary's lives) She said it reminded her of us! I love seeing her desire to learn and accept the gospel. Then we went to Hermana Negra's house with the Elders and had her famous Hot Chocolate. It was fun talking with her and loving her during her hard times.

Sabado we had a long day we had been walking a lot and not teaching a lot. We were tired and just wanted to find someone to talk to. We decided to pray so we walked over to the side of the road and offered a prayer. When we finished we both just started to walk. We walked down this darker road, which is weird for us since we usually stay on well lit roads. Half way down the road was a young adult man sitting down looking at his phone. I felt like we should talk to him, but shrug it off. He was not the kind of person who seemed interested. Then a strong voice came to my head (like the voice of Elder Holland when he is giving his talks) that said, ¨TALK TO EVERYONE¨ It kind of scared me so without giving a second thought we walked over to him and introduced ourselves. His name is Kevin and it turns out that his brother is a member of our church and he had been to church several times as a kid and he is ready to learn more. He wants Christ in his life. He told us to come back the next day. That was a testimony to me of the power of prayer and again, being led by the Holy Ghost. 

Domingo we walked with Yajaira to church. Antonio came as well and Lysbeth got confirmed and received the gift of the Holy Ghost. After church we taught Kevin with Luigi (member) and it was fun to see him learn. He doesn't know much about God which is weird because everyone here knows a lot about God and most are religious. It was fun to see the light enter his eyes as he learned more and more. 

After that every lesson fell through, which was hard, but it gave us a lot of time to find more people. It was a hard and a really long day, but I'm grateful for the strength that we were given and the spirit we had to guide us to the people who are ready to accept the gospel and follow Christ. 

Like I said, everyday is different, but everyday I learn something new and gain a stronger testimony that God is our loving Heavenly Father and the Jesus Christ is our Savior and that the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints is God's church on the earth today. I love being a missionary and I love having the chance to share this gospel and this happiness with everyone. I hope you all have a great week and stay safe! I love you all!

Hermana Bake

Tuesday, January 17, 2017

Week 39 Navarette, Dominican Republic

Lysbeth's Baptism

So I'm not sure what you are all complaining about.. I'm not seeing any snow. It's pretty hot here and it is hard to think that it is actually winter time. We did get a bit of rain but then the burning hot sun came out. It reminds me how white I am and that I still need to use sunscreen. haha But enjoy all the snow and stay safe!

Oh, and yeah, so the mission flies by.. I'm already half way done! It's crazy to think of all the people I have met in the past 9 months. I feel so blessed to be apart of their lives.

So I think I haven't ever laughed harder than I have this week. My companion is the best and we have a great ol' time together preaching the gospel. We have been working hard and have found so many cool people to teach.

Martes we had our district meeting then we had a fun time watching the elders try to chase 5 dogs out of the church. 

Miercoles we got chased down by a man in his car. He thought we were Jehovah Witnesses and he just wanted a pamphlet to read. It was super scary and really funny. ¨Hey (blank) American's!!! Come here, I want to talk to you.¨ At the end of the day we bought an avocado from this lady who repeated 20 times that is wants ripe yet and that we needed to wait to eat it. After 20 times of saying...yes we understand she let us buy it. When we got home our neighbor was yelling at the owner of the house because we haven't had water for 4 days. - 4 days without water - that was interesting haha. 

Jueves we had an awesome lesson with Antonio. He is working hard to quit smoking so we made a plan together that he will buy bananas or bread every time he buys cigarettes. We are curious to how many bananas he will buy this week. Really, I'm proud of him for having the desire to quit. I know that the Lord is always willing to help. He is on our side and through faith and prayer we can do anything.

From Alma in the Book of Mormon; "Yea, I know that I am nothing; as to my strength I am weak; therefore I will not boast of myself, but I will boast of my God, for in his strength I can do all things"

Viernes Lysbeth had her baptism interview and we had an awesome lesson about baptism and the importance of it. Christ was baptized and he is perfect. We NEED to follow His example. And we are not so perfect.

Sabado we taught Luiji and all his little brother's friends. They all came to Lysbeth's baptism too. Lysbeth got baptized and we were all super happy for her and for this choice she made to follow Christ. 

Domingo Yajairra, a inactive member who hasn't come for 20 something years and who we contacted and are teaching, came with us to church. We had ward conference and felt the spirit so much.

I Love being a missionary. I love the gospel and know its true with all my heart. READ, PRAY, GO TO CHURCH. I love you all!

This is where I live

These are our zone leaders. we rode home from our meeting in a margarita.

My trainee, me and my trainer's trainer.

Our district

Monday, January 9, 2017

Week 38, Narvarette Dominican Republic

Hello everyone

Lunes we went to Isabel's house. Her and her mom are the only active members in her family. She likes to come out with us and help us with lessons. When we were at her house waiting for her to get ready we got the chance to get to know her dad and brothers better. I'd love it if they decided to come back to church

Martes we contacted and met a lot of new people including a lady who is a preacher for another church. Every time I attempted to share a thought she would counteract me and say that what I said wasn't true. It felt so personal and it was hard not to want to cry. I believe in God's plan and I was just trying to help her understand that too. It made me reflect on my testimony and how grateful I am for the fact that I KNOW these things I'm out here teaching are true. 

A Sunday morning when I was 13ish I was getting ready for church. It was normal and what I did every Sunday. But, I didn't really want to go, I didn't feel well, I was a little tired and I began to question this routine. I knew my parents believed in the gospel of Jesus Christ and I always felt good about what I had been taught but I didn't really know it was true for myself. I wanted to KNOW. I wanted to have a testimony for myself. I wanted to know why I kept the word of wisdom, why I dressed modestly, why I always felt impelled to keep the commandments and to serve people around me. I started to cry. I wanted to know so bad. I fell to the floor next to my bed and cried and poured out my heart to my Heavenly Father with a sincere heart and with real intent. A voice came to my heart and to my head that said, ¨Ellie...You know these things are true. You have known them since your childhood. Don't worry and go and live what you know.¨ I started to cry more, but it was a happy, grateful cry because I knew that I knew. I knew why I go to church every Sunday and I knew why I keep the commandments even when it isn't cool. I love this gospel and I know it's true and there is not a person in the world who can break my testimony down. That preacher can say what she wants but I KNOW that the gospel is true and that is why I'm here, to share it with everyone I can. I'm here to work and I'm here to bring this happiness to everyone in Navarrete and the DR.

The rest of the week we found so many more new people to teach and it was awesome. I love being a missionary and love teaching and helping everyone

Domingo we walked to church with a less active. Everyone was so excited that she came to church including us. She love it and remembered why she joined the church. Isabel, her mom and all of her family showed up as well! I was sooooo excited to see them all. We also had 4 other less active who showed up at church and 2 investigators. 

Today we went to Mao to pay sports with our zone. It was fun to get to know them more and exercise. Even though it down poured the whole time and there wasn't a dry spot on my body, I had a blast. I hope you are all enjoying the weather at home. I have heard that it is crazy. I love you all! Have a fantastic week!

Hermana Bake

Monday, January 2, 2017

Week 37 Navarette, Dominican Republic

Wow 2017! It feels weird to write it... This is going to be the best year ever. I can just feel it. I'm excited to work hard and help everyone I can come unto Christ.

Martes I left at 4am to go to Santiago for a trainers meeting. We all met at the church and found out who else was training which was fun. Then we all pilled into a truck and went to the mission home. We had our training meeting and then met our new companions. My companion's name is Hermana Lynch. She is from Ogden, Utah and is super cute. She is so ready to work hard and I love her a lot. I was nervous to get an American companion but I trust God. He knows exactly what the people here in Navarette need.

Ellie's new companion, Hermana Lynch and a friend from the CCM with her trainee.

Elders Hola and Paulino and Hermanas Bake and Lynch

Miercoles we returned home, unpacked, and went to work. 

Jueves we worked so hard. We contacted all day and found many new people to teach. It feels great to work hard and I'm excited to see the progress in people as they learn more about to gospel.

Viernes we invited Carolina to be baptized and she said, "yes." I can see, in her eyes, the happiness that the gospel gives her. Every time she learns more she radiates happiness. 

Sabado was New Years Eve. We contacted during the day and found more people to teach but had to return to our house a little early because there was a lot of drunk people in the streets and it wasn't safe. We blew up an air mattress and went up on the roof. Then we made wishes/goals and wrote them on "wish paper" that my Grandma Ririe sent to me. When we lit the paper on fire it flew up in the air. It was so fun. We also jammed to church music and looked at the stars. It was one of the best New Years ever. I loved it.

(This video is silly, but it makes me laugh to hear Ellie's laugh)

Domingo we had lots of less active members attend church. Church was only one hour. After church we went over to a member's house and had lunch with them and their family for the new year. It was fun to get to know them more. We worked hard like normal and had an awesome day. My favorite part of the day was when a member chased us down the road and had me explain what pumpkin is. She found a can of pumpkin in the church and wanted to use it but didn't know how. I think she understood me eventually.. haha

The holidays were hard because a lot of people were gone or drunk but the Lord blesses people who want to work. I'm glad to have a companion who wants to work. I'm grateful for all of my blessings and support. I love the mission. I love being a missionary and I LOVE the church and this gospel and I'm so grateful to have the chance to share it with everyone here.

Thanks for everything and have a great week!

Con mucho amor,

Oh My... Are these the intestines that Ellie was talking about eating a couple weeks ago?

Hermana Portillo

Elder Benavidais

Hermana Bake