Monday, April 24, 2017

Week 53 Puerto Plata Dominican Republic


I just love the DR! I love the people, the culture, the weather, and everything. I especially love when people are so friendly and talk to us in English. 

HELLO MY LOVE..............

HELLO... They said...

I love it when people drive by in cars or on motorcycles and yell things at us. Most of the time its nice things hahaha 

Martes was super great. The day started off with Elder Stef receiving a package from him mom which had beef jerky in it! We were all so excited and he was nice enough the share. So for District meeting we all ate beef jerky and had our awesome meeting. At the end we had a mini study session togther and talked about questions that we have or the investigators have and discussed how we can best answer those questions. I love learning and growing together as missionaries and I'm so grateful for awesome friends who are on this journey with me.

Hermana Polanco helped us out and we contacted Carlos and Maria who were two references who live in two different areas father away. Then we went to help the Elders from the other ward with a investigator lady who we found who lives in their area.

Miercoles we headed out early to visit Pedro. Again I was so impressed with his testimony and his determination to ¨follow God and his plan for the rest of my life¨ We then went to Nanas house who is a young mom with 2 little girls. She was cleaning her house because her grandma just moved out. She was super sad and stressed. It was fun to help her clean her house and show her love. It just hurts my heart. I want to love everyone here! What a blessing I have to be trusted by the Lord to love these people and to teach them and invite them to have this happiness. 

Then Hermana Polancos sister invited us over to her house for Elder Stefs birthday to eat Tacos. At the end we shared a video called RippleRipple - To The Good Samaritans In Our Lives: Thank You. // It is about how the good things that we do will come back to us. I love the members and the people here in the DR and I hope to bring this characteristic home. They are all just so willing to help and give and love even if they don't have much to give. They are truly like Christ - humble and selfless. I'm grateful for them and for teaching me to have more charity and love. 

Jueves we woke up early again to go running but when we got down stairs our gate to our apartment was locked and we didn't have keys. We decided to climb it and regretted it a second later as we thought of how to get back over once we got home and were all tired. But it was an adventure. We got to go to Sosua and teach Modesto again and then saw his neighbor's bran new puppies. One of them peed on me and I had to walk around with a peed skirt all day.

Viernes we taught Pedro again and then stayed all day and night outside of Puerta Plata. We taught Carlos again and got to hear the conversion story of a member Juan DeLaCruz. I love listening to conversion stories. They are all different and all so powerful. Even people who were born in the church. We all are converted at one time. 

We then returned for our correlation meeting with our ward mission leader and planned an open house. We are having an open house for everyone. We are inviting everyone to invite their friends and family. We are going to have every organization be in charge of explaining the function of the class or organization and then have them answer a typical or common question that has to do with the church and the gospel. Then after they go around to all the classes and see the church they can go into the chapel to watch the movie Meet the Mormons.  I'm hoping that it will be a non threatening way to invite people to church and to ask questions, meet the missionaries and understand a little more about our wonderful gospel of Jesus Christ. 

Sabado we had an awesome lesson with Mikal and Christie and taught them about the Book of Mormon. They are super cute and love learning. Christie reminds me a lot of on of my really great friends who joined the church as a youth and was so excited to serve a mission and help people to be happy like her. 

Domingo we had 8 of our investigators come to church. Pedro, Carlos, Modesto, Chanika, Mikal, Christie, Emilio and Eneudi. They all stayed all 3 hours and all loved church and want to come back every week! 😂🤗
We also had a Family home Evening with Yenifer and Rikeyla who just got baptized and their family. They had a really great question which made me think a lot too. Yenifer said that in Primary they talk a lot about Joseph Smith. Yes it is true we do. Just our church is still centered in Jesus Christ. We are the church of Jesus Christ of Latter day Saints. We explained that we are just grateful and explain the importance of Joseph Smith and the restoration of the gospel. Through this prophet we have the restored gospel and authority on the earth today. That is what makes our church different and true. I'm so grateful to have had the prophet Joseph Smith and I'm so grateful to have learn at a young age about this true and this happiness. God and Jesus Christ love me. They have a plan for me and they want me to be happy. Thanks to this restored gospel of JESUS CHRIST I am SO HAPPY. 

I was also blessed to hear the conversion story of the old bishop of the ward. We said that an elder started teaching his family and he finally gained interest too. It wasn't that simple or that easy but after a lot of work and testimony building this young missionary, his companions and the Holy Ghost helped him to find and accept the truth. He went on to tell us that this young Elder is now he mission president of the mission! President Castillo!!!! I got goose bumps all over as I felt the power of his conversion. I know that President Castillo was called of God to be our mission president and that he has the power to help and direct this mission. 

That was about the short run down of my week. I leaned a lot and was constantly blessed by my Heavenly Father. One thing that I have been thinking a lot about is something that my grandpa Bake told me when I got my mission call. ¨There are two names on my plaque. One represents all of my family and one represents our Savior Jesus Christ. Be the kind of missionary that is worthy of those names.¨ I'm so blessed to be a missionary and I love every day of my mission. Every member has this same responsibility. When we are baptized we make that same promise to take upon us His name. Strive to be worthy of that name and live the best you can. Make Him proud. I love you all and hope you have a safe happy week!

Hermana Bake

¨Rejoice. O my heart, and cry unto the Lord, and say: yea, my soul will rejoice in thee, my God, and the rock of my salvation¨    -2 Nephi 4:30

Monday, April 17, 2017

Week 52, Puerta Plata


Well I'm 1 year down and 6 months to go! It feels crazy but I'm loving every minute of my mission. It really has shaped me a lot and helped my testimony grow even stronger. I just hope I can be that missionary that my mom thinks I am, the missionary that my dad wants me to be and the missionary that the Lord needs me to be. I love this gospel and I'm so grateful to be apart of it. I Ellie Bake having been born of goodly parents and having been taught in my youth the blessings that come from this gospel now have this opportunity to share and help others have the same happiness that I have and I love it!

Martes we went out with Hermana Elsa to one of our far away areas and taught Modesto. He is awesome and said that he is reading the book of Mormon and I can see his desire to know. He is already in the book of Jacob! Then we went to teach Yenifer and Rikeyla who had their baptisms this week! They are two little sisters and are also rock star readers. The cutest thing last week was when I saw them sitting before church and studying their pamphlets. Then Hermana Elsa just shoved us back in her car and picked up the elders and told us that we are starving missionaries and took us to her sisters house to eat food. When we got the elders from the other ward, who are also in our district, were there too. So it was kinda funny and fun to have a district reunion there.

Miercoles we tried to contact a reference from a member and ended up walking around this area all day and contacting everyone there just trying to find this house 37! Finally we found a house 37 and I was soooo happy I started  doing the happy dance and everything! Then we found out it was the wrong house 37! Then we had an awesome lesson with Everlyn. She is a cute young mom  who works for the cruise ships so she loves speaking English which is really weird for me but kind of fun. We had an awesome lesson and then she kept coming up with reasons why we  shouldn't leave and that she wanted us to come back the next day. 

Jueves we went to Sosua and visited Pedro and his niece Stefania. We taught them about the restoration and invited them to be baptized. Pedro is the man whose son was a member and a return missionary who died. When we invited him to be baptized he said, ¨Oh yes! Yes I will! I KNOW this church is true. I am going to go to church and never miss a Sunday in my life. I want to live with my son again and I want to live with my Heavenly Father again! Yes I am going to be baptized!¨ I just pictured his son up in the spirit world having a party and just so happy. I am super excited for Pedro and for his family. We also prepared Yenifer and Rikeyla for their baptisms and it was so fun to see their excitement.

Viernes we went running!!!! We ran along the beach and I had flashbacks of cross country and those stupid turkey trots that my parents made me do as a family. I am grateful for those times and it felt good to be running again. We also met Elder Najeras new companion Hermano Nuesi. He is from Mao which is super close to my old area of Navarrette and so we know people in common. He is 22 and is preparing for his mission. He plans on submitting his papers when he gets done with this transfer. When we got back from running Hermana Shaw realized that she had lost the keys to our house. I had the phone so we called the office elders and they told us that they could send us the keys but that it would take 6 hours! We borrowed copies of the Book of Mormon from the Elders to study but then the Elders came down a few hours later and helped us break into our house by climbing up on the roof and climbing in through a window on the 3rd story! It was an adventure but I was happy to be in the house again! 

Sabado was the baptism of Yenifer and Rikeyla! The elders came by and handed us the keys to the church and asked us to clean the church and set up. When we got there the baptism font was soooo gross! I wish I had a video of me cleaning it. It makes me laugh to just think about me in this little font in my dress on my hands and knees scrubbing the heck out of these black marks all over the font. In the end the font was sparkling clean and the baptism went great! The two girls were so cute and so ready to be baptized.

Domingo we ate at the bishop's house and talked to their two oldest kids still living at home who are both preparing for missions. We all gave them advice and talked a lot about testimonies.

Today was a blast; one of the funnest Pdays that I have had while on my mission. We met up as a zone and went to Hermana Elsa Polancos house ( a member in our ward who helps us out a lot) She lives in a mansion and has a  country club and pretty much everything. She invited the whole zone over for Elder Stef and Elder TuPu´s Birthday.

Hermana Bake

Wednesday, April 12, 2017

Week 51, Puerta Plata, Dominican Republic

I spent most of this week stuck in Santiago. Monday was super fun because it was play then we traveled back to Puerta Plata to get back to work. Tuesday we received a call from the assistants who told us that we needed to come back to Santiago so Hermana Shaw can go to Santo Domingo to get her residence. So after distrct meeting we went back to the house, packed and headed out to Santiago again. I went on splits with Hermana Castillo and Hermana Crane who both live in Santiago. Our companions went to the capital while we worked hard in Santiago. I always love going on splits with other sisters so that I can learn from them and meet new people. Hermana Crane and Hermana Castillo are both super awesome. Even in our normal talk in the house we just end up bearing our testimonies to  each other! Haha It was funny because it is such a missionary thing to do but I love hearing their testimonies and conversion stories. Everyone is a convert weather they were born in the church or not and I love to see how the gospel has really changed and blessed everyone at one point in their lives.

Miercoles we were still in Santiago and still on splits. We woke up and got to work in Hermana Cranes area again. It was fun because they are teaching so many people here who speak English. It was super hard for me to teach in English but I loved it. 

We finally got back together with our companions who were told by one of the assistants that the last bus to puerta plata left 40 minutes ago. I was so tired and didn't want to spend another day in Santiago so we decided to just go to the bus stop and to our luck we caught the last bus to Puerta Plata and got home right at 9 o'clock! I  was so glad to be home and back in our area to work. 

Jueves we finally started to teach in our own area. We got to visit Jefferson who is one of our only investigators who is progressing. He told us he was at work and found a Book of Mormon that was all destroyed. He got super mad because he thought it was his. He went around to everyone at work and asked who had done this to the Book of Mormon. When he finally found the person he continued to tell the person that the Book of Mormon is a  sacred special book and that it wasn't to be treated like that.  We also had an awesome lesson with Anulka about the Book of Mormon and she was super excited to learn more.

Viernes We taught a man named Pedro. His son, who was a member and a returned missionary, died last week. We had an awesome lesson with him about the plan of salvation. The spirit was so strong in that lesson and he started to cry as he expressed to us that he knows where his son is and that he wants nothing more than to accept the gospel so that he can be with his son again.  We then taught an awesome lesson with Celia about the Book of Mormon and she was so excited and told us that she wanted to get baptized and that when she comes home from her future vacation that she is going to go to church and prepare for her baptism. 

Sabato we went to Susoa with the Elders and  taught Hector's other family members. They were all excited and before we even finished the lesson they asked us when we could come back! Haha The elders then asked us if we could help them with 2 of their investigators who are little girls. So we went over there and taught Jeni and Danilla. They are two cute little sisters and were excited to have sister missionaries. They are  so excited for their baptisms and had lots of questions about their baptisms. As we walked around we kept running into people with braids. I was so confused and wanted to know why EVERYONE had braids, so I asked the next lady who walked past with braids. She invited us to her house and we found out that the elders had taught her before and that she had been to church. She told us that she loves the church and the Book of Mormon and wants us to come back and wants to get baptized too! We were excited to call the other elders to pass on that reference.

This week is actually a whole week of holidays and so everyone from here is leaving and everyone from the city and other places are coming to Puerta Plata. Its been a little struggle to find people in their houses and not drunk but I love my area and the people here.

Domingo we had two new references come to church! They are super cute and we are excited to start teaching their whole family! A FAMILY!!!! Yeah! 

Today we went to central park and fed Pigeons! It was a blast but also kinda scary! I didn't want to get pooped on! I hope you enjoy the photos! Hahah then we walked past the beach and got sad because I miss my cold Oregon beach! Haha

I seriously the the DR, Puerta Plata, being a missionary, sharing the gospel, being a member of this church and everything! I love you all and hope you have a great week!

Till next time!

Hermana Bake

Plus!, I hope as Easter comes up that you are all thinking more of Christ and his sacrifice for us! Here ares some videos that i LOVE:

Monday, April 3, 2017

Week 50, Puerta Plata, Dominican Republic

Our District

Hey family and friends,

I love you all and miss you a ton! The church is true and I LOVE my mission. I'm super duper superrr happy!

This week was one of the hardest weeks of my mission. Puerta Plata is awesome and I love it soo much but wow it's so different and a lot harder. Satan is real and he knows that we are happy and have the truth that leads to eternal happiness! He knows how to deceive and pressure us and I definitely felt that this week! Regardless, I learn from difficult trials and I'm so grateful for my experiences that I have and will continue to have!

Lunes we were contacted by Jehovah Witnesses. It was a little awkward but actually really cool. In conference we were taught to always have respect for others. We want to be respected and so we should respect others. Its was cool to talk with them and to realize that we both want the best for others. Instead of arguing about our differences we shared a nice conversation about God and his love for us. 

That night a member, whose husband isn't a member, invited us to have a Family Home Evening with them and to teach about the Priesthood. The wife led the lesson. I felt a little embarrassed and bad for the husband who wasn't a member. He was being attacked. It was hard to feel the spirit when they all were arguing. Then we nicely butted in and with the spirit we were able to teach about the importance of the priesthood and how we have the priesthood (the power and authority of God) today in the world. We could see his face and attitude change as we taught with love and the hope that he would understand. This experience showed how important the spirit is and how contention can take it away.

Martes we had District meeting. I gave a training on how to find new people to teach and how we can use the spirit to find those people who are ready to accept the gospel. I was surprised, but then again not really, that the training was exactly what we needed this week. It helped us a ton in our week.
We have started to teach with a young adult member who was baptized 2 years ago. Her husband isn't a member but she is so strong and firm in the gospel and has such a strong testimony. We have started to teach her cousin and she has helped us by sharing her testimony and being a friend to a lot of our investigators. 

Miercoles I broke the freezer which wasn't too fun. I was trying to get Antarctica out of the freezer and I might have been using a knife. Then I had to call my old district leader Elder Paulino, who is the office elder now, to come and help us out. When he came to give us a new freezer he walked in and asked ¨where are the penguins?¨ It was funny but then he grounded me from all the knives in the house and stole a lime from our fridge. We had an awesome day of contacting. In PMG it tells us that the people who are more in need of the gospel, and who are more willing to accept it, are the people who have had a death in the family, who recently had a baby, and people who moved recently. On Wednesday we found all three types. We found Mariella because we heard her baby crying inside her house.  She has a lot of great questions and is looking for the answers. Anulka is Anyelina's (a member) cousin who moved a month ago and doesn't know too many people. She has time and wants to learn more. We contacted Cecilla and her mom, Luden . We learned that Luden´s other daughter just passed away 1 month ago leaving her daughter in the care of Luden and Cecilla. In addition, Luden's husband died 1 year ago. They were so happy to hear about the plan of salvation and to hear that they will live with their daughter-sister and husband-father again. How happy is our gospel. We also found so many people who had been taught by the missionaries years ago and remember feeling the spirit and want to learn again. It makes me happy to remember that no efforts are wasted.

Jueves we had a lesson with a young man we contacted in his sisters house. We were led to his house by a friend and turns out he lives right outside of our area in the elders area. It was interesting as we walked across the border of our two areas on an unclear unmarked road that we felt the spirit tell us both that we had left our area. When we asked we found out that we in fact had.

Viernes we had interviews with president Castillo. It was awesome and I love talking to him and receiving his help and inspiration. He told me that he didn't know why I was transferred to Puerta Plata and that he wasn't planning on transferring me here but at the last minute he received a very strong prompting to transfer me here. He told me that he is super excited to see why and that Heavenly Father has work for me to do here. I am blessed to have such great leaders who are so close to the Lord and listen to his promptings. This was also one of the hardest days. After interviews every single lesson fell though and everyone we contacted didn't want to talk to us. I was soooo tired and wanted to go home. I had lost all energy and these negative thoughts came into my head. I then yelled at myself out loud and told Hermana Shaw that I didn't care if my feet hurt or if I felt tired and hungry, I'm not going to give up and I'm going to tell Satan who´s boss! Then I started to sing Onward Christian Solders. I was amazed how I was filled with energy and happiness. In Conference Elder Holland talked about the song ¨There is Sunshine in my Soul Today¨ when we have those hard times in our lives, SING! Remember that we are not alone and remember that we are not the only one who has struggles and is hurt and feels tired. Our Savior Jesus Christ has gone through it all and he is here to help us!

Sabado I was so happy to watch conference! I even got to watch it in English! Because there are so many Americans in Puerta Plata the relief society played it in English and all the missionaries in our zone got to chill and watch it together. I was so happy to hear the leaders of our church and hear their council! I love them and sustain them with all my heart. 

Domingo we watched conference again in the church with everyone. The members here love us and all brought us food for lunch. After the ¨afternoon¨ session which ended at 6 we went with the elders and had two combined lessons with two different nonmember families. The spirit was so strong and powerful as we sang, taught and testified. I'm so blessed to know the truth, to be in the Lord's army, and to be his solder! I love him and I love His gospel! I know it's true!

I love you all and I hope that you all got the chance to listen to conference. If not LISTEN to it! Learn and grow and become happier and more protected from the worries and troubles of the world. I LOVE YOU ALL. Until next week!

Con Amor,

Hermana Bake

Hermana Shaw

Elder and Sister Leavitts

Elder and Sister Decker