How do you start a post telling everyone that you are no longer a full time missionary? I guess just like that. It has not really been public information until recently that for the last several months of my mission I have been struggling with severe health issues. I will spare you all the ugly details, but it was determined by my doctor and my mission president that I would need to return home for a period of time on medical leave. I am home and I am ok with it. I know that I need to get healthy so that I can continue serving the Lord. Coming home was the most difficult thing that I have ever been asked to do but I know that it will effect the rest of my life in the best way. I know that I will receive the care that I need and that I will be able to make a complete recovery. I know that Heavenly Father knows and loves me and that He is with me every step of the way. This is not easy and I know that it will continue to be difficult but I am surrounded by love and support. I know that God has a plan for me and I know that this is part of it. I love each of you and am grateful for the love and prayers that I can feel on a daily basis. Please continue to keep me in your prayers. I will periodically update you all here on the progress of my health. I don't know how long this will take or if I will be able to return but I know that with faith all things are possible.
Once upon a time it was the first birthday of lovely little Taylor Weir
(Ali's daughter). This was a very exciting day for her as she got to
hang out at day care all day while her mom worked. Since Ali had to
work, Sister Breen and I volunteered to make little Taylor a cake.
Sister Packer was even kind enough to volunteer a cake mix she had found
in her pantry recently. We mixed up that little white cake mix and
decided to make it tie dye. Wahoo! It turned out beautifully. I have
never made a tie dye cake that looked so good. It was bright and pretty
and swirled perfectly. I wish I had taken a picture of it. After it had
cooled for a while, we decided to take it out of the pan to decorate it.
Seemed like a good idea--we would cover it in icing so the
pretty/colorful swirly cake would be a surprise. Well, as soon as we
upturned the pan the cake began falling apart. Just a little at first.
The corners did not want to come out of the pan which did not seem like
too big of a problem. We figured we could just paste it back together
with icing and it would all be fine. Not so much the case. As we started
pasting our beautiful creation continued crumbling. This cake that we
thought would be so great and looked so great had turned out to be not
so great. We began brainstorming on how we could still make this work.
Cake balls! Yeah, that did not work. We were left with a brownish green
pile of cake mush. It was then discovered that the cake mix had expired
over a year ago. After a few minutes of discouragement we decided to
start fresh. So, I grabbed the handy dandy Betty Crocker and started
mixing. With a bit of hesitation we slid the new and less colorful cake
into the oven, turned the light on and watched it like the Justin
Bieber movie. We pulled it out, let it cool, and iced it. No problems.
Now just had to wait to slice into that baby and find out how it would
taste. The time of the birthday party came and there was joy and relief
as the first bite was taken and it was discovered that the cake was
indeed delicious! The baby was happy and so was everyone else.
A lot of
times life can be like the first cake. Things can be going just fine and
even look to be really great. But one bad ingredient (sin,temptation,
trials, discouragement, spiritual apathy etc...) is included in the mix
and goes ignored, everything is bound to fall apart. But just as the
cake falling apart turned out to be a blessing to everyone who would
have eaten cake containing expired ingredients, sometimes our lives
falling apart turn out to be a blessing as well. The Savior doesn't just
try to glue us back together or smoosh us into something we are not
supposed to be. He helps us to identify that bad ingredient and start
fresh through his atonement. It takes work, just like making a brand new
cake from scratch, but in the end we turn out to be just what he wants
us to be.
I know that the atonement is very real and that our Savior
can mend anything that we allow him to. I am learning this now more than
ever, but I have hope that I will have a delicious cake in the end with
no rotten ingredients. I know that Jesus Christ died for me
specifically. He is my best friend. He can be yours too. Don't be afraid
to throw that pretty but broken cake out the window and allow him to
help you make a new one. I promise it will be the best decision you have
In other news, Ali was baptized on Saturday!
It was beautiful. She had so many ward members there to support her and
did not let her smile fade for one second. She is amazing and has been
through so much and will continue to push through the refiner's fire,
but she has her sights set on the temple and I know that she will not
stray. We also began teaching a new investigator named Ashley this week.
We are still getting to know her but she has a million and one
questions and is excited and willing to learn and keep commitments. We
are excited to see her progress towards baptism! I know that she will
also be a wonderful kingdom builder!
This gospel is true. In the words of my dear brother, "You're not planting seeds anymore, you're there to harvest the fields." So that is what we will do.
It has been another lovely week here in Weiser! We did LOTS of
contacting and LOTS of being turned away. It was great. Luckily, Ali is
still progressing towards baptism! She is currently our only progressing
investigator. She is still living in a motel and being ignored by her
family. She is amazing! Her baby got a staph infection from the carpet
in the nasty motel, so she and her two cute kids will be moving into the
Packers! It will be cozy for a while but fun to be living with our
investigator will be a fun blessing! She will be baptized this Saturday.
We had lots of other fun times this week as we traveled to and from
Baker City, Oregon for zone meeting. We had a great meeting followed by
pizza and shenanigans (see photo illustration). On the way home we may
or may not have been pulled over. I may or may not have been driving 90
mph #streetcontacting. We, however, did not receive a ticket. Sunday
we had a great day at church. Church as a missionary is the best ever!
Afterward we ate dinner with our ward mission leader and Rex. Sister
Ketring set Rex up with the mother-in-law of a lady in 2nd ward and he
is really excited to meet her. Guess we are now matchmakers too! Sunday
night we got a call from a brother in the third ward wondering if we
could come by to meet his son's girlfriend. Because God is directing
this work, the appointment that we were headed to when he called
mysteriously ended up not being home. We zipped right over to the
Loomis's house to meet Ashley. Da da da da da da... We have a new
investigator! She is in her mid 20s and has always had friends who are
LDS but her family is super anti. After getting reamed by her boss about
having a Mormon (less-active) boyfriend and hearing all sorts of crazy
accusations, she decided it was time to find out for her self what this
is all about. She is really receptive and excited to learn. She is super
funny and a hoot to be around. We are so excited to teach her!
work never ceases to amaze me. The Lord is so quick to bless us when we
are faithful. I love it! I love all of you! Have a fantastic week!
I suppose you all would like an update on this little
town of Weiser, Idaho. Well, that is just what you are going to get. We
did more missionary work this week. Wahoo. Ali has a baptism date for
the 18th of January!!!! Ali
is really excited about the gospel. She is the prefect investigator and
already knows so much. She is thrilled to learn and grow. Her family is having a hard time accepting it, but she told us that if she
didn't know with her whole heart that it was true, she would just give
up and go home. She is amazing. Her
kids are 2 and 1. She is getting into some housing this week. Our
teaching pool is a little slow right now. We are still teaching Mona,
and Virginia. They are both progressing but slowly. Rex is doing great!
He is the best new member ever! We spent new-year's eve playing prophet trivia and
drinking Martineli's and jumping on our little trampoline. We spent
new-year's day helping the Packers clean their house, it was a
no-proselyting day (guess they didn't want us bothering all of the
hungover people...) Friday
we served at the funeral of Darrin Thomas and Christian Alder. It was a
beautiful service and the whole town was there. SO many Weiser-ites
felt the spirit as many speakers testified of the Plan of Salvation.
Though many were mourning, it was really a happy day. We were able to
stay to serve that family dinner and clean up. It was a great day of
night we went to see a true back-hills Idaho medicine man. It was
awesome. Really he is a reflexologist, but he is still really cool. He
was able to test the muscles in my feet and legs to diagnose some deeper
issues. It was amazing. I know it seems weird, but it was totally
legit. I am just going to move to Idaho and forget western culture and
be all natural and such. I love Idaho!! You
can live in the city and come visit me on my ranch that has a nice
little stream and is 50 miles away from other human civilization :) Saturday
we met some new people to teach, which is always exciting and by the
end of the day I had come down with the stomach flu... Awkward. So Sunday was pretty much shot.
So here we are today. It is transfer day here in the
Idaho Nampa Mission. Ba ba da da Sister Breen and I are staying together
here in Weiser! Well, that's all for now, folks. The church is true,
the book is blue! Love, Sister Baker
This week has been nice and pretty relaxing. Christmas Eve and Christmas
day were spent mostly with the Packers and with Rex and his girlfriend
Susann. We had several delicious turkey dinners (never eating turkey
again) and LOTS of desserts. We spent Christmas Eve evening with a
family named the Kites and had lots of fun and read Christmas stories
and opened Jammies. It was fun that they have that tradition too and
they were super nice to get us some too! Sister Breen and I read Luke 2
before going to bed by the light of her glowing pillow pet. It was very
nice. Christmas day was the best skyping with everyone! We also took a
nap and cleaned our apartment. I am beginning to understand Dad's need
to clean on holidays... It was great to just have some time where we
didn't need to be anywhere or do anything. That was a great Christmas
gift! The best gift of all was being able to celebrate the birth of our Savior as his dedicated servant. It really helped me to see the holiday
and the season in a whole new light. I love this gospel and I am so
grateful for the birth, life, and resurrection of our Savior, Jesus
Anyways, the rest of the week we spent contacting,
teaching, and eating leftovers. We started teaching a girl named Ali who
was introduced to the gospel through several (male) friends at the gym.
Yes, Ali is very cute. Yes the theory of 'flirt to convert' apparently
has worked in this situation because Ali came to us this week and asked
to be baptized as soon as possible. She has already begun reading the
Book of Mormon, prayed about it, and told her family she is Mormon! She is really excited about the gospel. Don't
worry, we are not letting these 'gym friends' creep on her too much ;).
We are really excited to keep teaching her and are planning her baptism
for Jan. 18th.
We also found a new investigator named Jim. He is like extra super old and is from Long Beach! I was excited that he knew
where Los Al is and he thought it was pretty neat that I am a California
girl. He smokes A LOT and chews tobacco, but many have overcome these
addictions in the past. I am really excited to be teaching another old
guy. I guess it is my M.O.... The work is going well and I am excited to
get 2014 off to a good start. I cannot believe I have been serving
almost 10 months. I love this work!
Before I close, I would like to ask each of you to
keep the Alder and Thomas families in your prayers. Saturday night Their
sons were killed in a head-on collision heading back from the temple.
They were both recently returned missionaries who were home for the
holidays. These families as well as the entire town of Weiser are
mourning their loss. It is a blessing and a comfort to the family to
know that their sons are on to their next mission. Prayers would be much