Tuesday, December 16, 2014

Dont Go Breaking My Heart

Well this week has probably been one of the hardest weeks of my mission...but I've never learned so much so fast. Last week while we were weekly planning, I felt really inspired to set a goal of having 3 baptisms with Adriana, Melanoa and Heppy. BACKGROUND: Adriana is the 13 yr old girl who the missionaries have been teaching since April or May and who's dad finally gave her permission to be baptized a few weeks ago. Adriana has the purest desire to be baptized...she truly just wants to be forgiven of the things she's done in the past and be perfectly clean. She wants to do what she knows will make Heavenly Father happy. Melanoa and Heppy are sisters and are 12 and 9. They are members of a less active Tongan family in the English Ward who wanted sisters to teach them. They were supposed to be baptized about a month ago but every weekend something has come up...they've moved, were out of town, their brother had a football game, so on and so forth. At the beginning of the week, We promised Heavenly Father that we would do everything we possibly could in our power to make these baptisms happen. I have never worked so hard or desired to reach a goal so bad in my life as I did this week. With Melanoa and Heppy it was really hard because they live farther away and their parents are never home for us to talk to and their mom works nights. But we tried every single day...several times a day, to contact their parents. With their moms difficult schedule we had to find out from her kids what times she was awake and set alarms sporadically throughout the day for us to call her. But when We'd finally talk to their mom and she would tell us that she would get back to us after she talked to her husband and then never would. It was so frustrating. We kept planning the baptism like it was going to happen though and had everything set up but when it came down to it...it wasn't able to happen. But, because we worked as hard as we did to teach them and plan their baptism, we were able to find out the real reason why their parents kept pushing their baptism back and are able to help them and their family so much better now. Ok now Adriana.  Where do I begin. Well we have taught Adriana pretty much every single day for the past 2 weeks. We have talked to her dad whenever we saw him and reminded him about her baptism. We told him that he could choose whatever hour he wanted on Saturday from 10am to 9pm to have her baptism and we scheduled it for 4pm on Sat. So on Saturday morning, as soon as we got back from Tampa we went and visited Adriana and made sure everything was all set for her baptism. It was 11am and she was already getting herself ready for it haha. We made sure everything was all good with her mother in law to take her and she was like yup! 4pm we will all be there! 4 pm came around and we were waiting at the church, font filled, hno chacon dressed in white ready to baptize her, president and his wife there and no Adriana. We waited anxiously in the parking lot for 15 minutes until I just decided to go with president and his wife to Adriana's house to see what was going on. When we got to her house Hermana Gonzalez ( pres wife) and I walked up and Adriana's whole family is just running around outside, Adriana is sitting solemnly inside and her dad is outside working on his car. When we came up he acted like nothing even happened he just basically said oh sorry I got busy, I have to fix this right now she can't get baptized. I said it will only take 20 minutes and I can promise you this 20 minutes will change her life. He wouldn't budge. We ended up agreeing on her to be baptized at 830 am the next day on Sunday (again he chose the time) and when the next morning came around, we filled up the font, went over to Adriana's house and no one was even making an effort to go. I guess between the time when I'd talked to her dad and then, he had made the decision that Adriana was not ready to be baptized. I felt like someone had stabbed my heart when they opened the door and said she wasn't going To be baptized. We ended up talking to her mother in law for a while though and really got to understand what their concerns were and why they didn't think she is ready to be baptized. Now we know how to help Adriana better, even though I'm not really sure how much longer we will be able to teach her because they are moving. But through all these experiences I learned that I need to work as if every investigator was going to be baptized that week. I've
never worked so hard as I did this week to help bring others to christ, and in doing so my love for these girls grew so much. I can only imagine the love that our Savior has for them. And because we set and truly believed in that goal, I feel like we were able to
accomplish what Heavenly Father wanted us to. Because of our fasting and prayers and hard work we were able to discover what these girls and families really need. I also learned a lot about agency. All that Heavenly Father has asked us to do is to use our own personal agency wisely. It's all we can do. I cannot make other people's decisions for them I can only control my own and my own effort. Even if things don'thappen the way I want them to, I know that if I can say I did everything I possibly could, then everything happened the way Heavenly Father wanted them to and His way and His will and His timing are always perfect. I was having a hard time after Adriana didn't end up getting baptized, because I just love her so much and I know this is what she wants to do and what Heavenly Father wants her to do. But I just had to come to the realization that God has a plan and it's perfect. I trust in His wisdom more than my own and know that everything that happened this weekend is for as Nephi puts it "a wise purpose that I know not". But even though we didn't not hit that goal this week, in reality I know that we did because we learned the things that Heavenly Father wanted us to learn.

- Also The metro training we had this week in Tampa changed my mission. It was just 2 days of training from a set of sisters and a set of elders (elder knowlton was one of them) and maybe 5 or 6 other sets of missionaries but I learned so so much. We talked a lot about
how to more effectively study, work with members, teach by the spirit, and so many other things. I think the power of learning by the spirit was the most important thing I learned. The Spirit really is how Heavenly Father communicates with us and teaches us the things we need to learn, to become who He wants us to be. I have such a strong testimony of that.

- Today was the end of my 3rd transfer in the Mission and with that, I had to say goodbye to one of my very best friends Hermana Newbill this morning. She is finishing her mission and will be flying back home tomorrow. I have been regretting this day pretty much since the day we got put together. Hermana Newbill is one of the best people, and best missionaries I will probably ever meet. Words cannot describe all the things that I learned from her and her example to me. I know that we were put together for a reason. I wish everybody had the opportunity to become as good of friends as I have with Hermana Newbill...everyone's lives would probably be 10 times better. Man I love that girl so much. My heart is hurting just writing this so I'm going to stop before I start sweating out of my eyes again. But yes Hermana Gibson and I will be staying here in Bradenton for another transfer and I will be finishing training her. I am so excited to see what this next transfer holds. I love you all and hope everyone has agreat week, merry almost Christmas!

Love Hermana Baugh

Enviado desde mi iPad

Don't Drink Drugs

WOOH! First off happy five mesaversay! I can't believe I left in July and now it's December.....ees craysee. Oh yeah by the way thought you should know that I have officially adopted espeaking in a nacho librean accent and I can only see it getting even theecker as the months go on sooo family you can prepare yourselves for that when I talk to you guys on Christmas! Oh yeah speaking of Christmas....I hope everyone has seen the He is the Gift video that the church published at the beginning of December! They are making a big push to get everyone possible to see it. We got special pass along cards and we have to hand out a certain number every day and we pretty much show it on our iPads to anyone who lets us! Haha except there's one tiny problem. So in Spanish it's called "El es la Dádiva" and turns out that no one even knows what the word Dádiva means....wouldn't be so bad if that wasn't like the entire focus of the 3 minute movie. We think it's the word for gift from Spain...Spanish Spanish is pretty weird. You'd think they would have studied up how to speak the language before they named their entire country after it. Just keeding. I love it so much though. It's so short and to the point, Christ is the gift of Christmas. And Christ is everything good in the world, He is hope, he is faith, he is light. At the end it says to Discover the gift, Embrace the Gift, and share the Gift. If you don't feel like you have a personal relationship with our Savior- Discover the gift. If you know about Jesus Christ but haven't felt his light and love in your life- Embrace the Gift. If you do have a personal relationship with Him, and know for yourself of the peace and happiness He can bring- Share the gift. Whether you are discovering, embracing or sharing, do something this Christmas to remember the Gift that our father in heaven gave to us. I also got to watch the Christmas devotional last night! If you haven't seen it I highly recommend it. I loved elder christophersons talk. He talked a lot about the condescension of Christ and how he had to submit below all things so that He could rise above all things. It's because of this that he knows us perfectly, has perfect mercy and knows how to comfort us perfectly. He compared this to us and how we too are spirit children of God, and how we have to descend below all things sometimes to be able to rise above them, gain understanding, rely on our savior and learn how to comfort others.

- okay so for this week I thought I'd just share some quick funny little stories..

- We went over to teach our recent convert Emely ( one of the little girls that got baptized) and got there a little early and her mom and grandma were in the kitchen cooking so we decided to help them! I got to learn how to make Sopes which are my favorite food I've eaten here...they are like thick fried corn tortillas with frijoles, queso fresco, crema, and salsa verde on them. Lots of salsa verde. I love spicy stuff now! Its funny how you really do have to get used to it. Gibson is still in the getting used to it stage...she took some bites with the salsa verde and she started sweating and her face turned red and she couldn't stop coughing haha it was actually pretty funny. But anyways so when Emely finally got there we taught her about the gospel of Jesus Christ again and i was talking about having faith in Jesus Christ and God and I said " we can have faith in God because he can do anything"  and she goes " yeah like speak Chinese!" Yes Emely. Of all the great things He can do, speaking Chinese is at the top of the list. Then we asked her, do you remember what you promised Heavenly Father when you were baptized? " Yeah, DONT DRINK DRUGS" amen Emely, amen. We taught her well.

- We met this girl named Maria ( SURPRISE) at Acapulco( the Mexican tienda we have here) a few weeks ago and she's awesome! She's 22 and from Cuba and we're all like friends now since we go there so often. She loves seeing us. We were able to go over to her house the other night and turns out she has the cutest 4 yr old boy ever! And he speaks Spanish! It's so cute to me because I'm so used to the kids not really speaking Spanish here because they've all learned English in school and can really only understand the Spanish their parents speak to them (which is really sad to me). And they just recently moved from Cuba so he hasn't learned very much English yet. But he's so smart. Like while he was talking to me Hna gibson whispered "what did he say?" To me and Ichigo (the little boy) turned to her and just whipped out "You speak English?!" It was pretty funny since he hadn't said any English before then. I'm not used to speaking to kids in Spanish though and it was hard for me because you use a different form when you talk to children and I kept switching back to the formal Spanish every time I'd start talking to him. I'm excited to go back and visit them again though!

- Adriana is doing really well! We are still planning on having her baptism this Saturday and she has been practicing for the interview questions every day. She's probably the most prepared person I've ever taught she knows this stuff so well. I'm so excited for her...pray
that everything will go as planned for her baptism!

Everything is going well here in Bradenton! I love my Savior, I love this work, I love these people. I'm so greatful that I have this opportunity to be a missionary, to learn and to grow more in this gospel every day. I love you all and I hope you have a wonderful week, WATCH HE IS THE GIFT AND SHARE IT WITH EVERYONE YOU KNOW. that is all. Love you!

Hermana Baugh

Wednesday, December 3, 2014

Uno, Dos, Tres---Cenas!!

Hey everyone! Well I only have like less than 30 min to write this since we had Pday on thanksgiving so this is gonna be short and sweet. Thanksgiving was awesome!  We exercised in the morning, then rode our bikes like 8 miles to this turkey trot race in Bradenton but we got there after it started so we just passed out cards to everyone. Then we had to hurry back and go to district meeting. After district meeting we did stuff around the apartment until 2 when we went to our first thanksgiving! We ate with the Sedillos...I tried to pace myself because I knew we had 2 more dinners to eat but there was just so much food I didn't know what to do with myself. There was turkey and corn tortillas and pápas and tortas and everything in between. Then we went over to Cleopatras at 4 and had like pretty much the same thing all over again. They are from Ecuador so there was a little variation. For desert we had this flan and cake thing ( I call it flake) and it's pretty much my favorite dessert now. Then we went home and I took a 30 minute nap which just felt really weird and like I wasn't on a mission and just made me 10 times more tired so no more naps for me haha. Then at 8 we left to go eat at the Partidas even though I really didn't want to since I already felt like I was gonna die I was so full hahaha but I endured to the end and managed to eat just a little bit more to satisfy the Partidas. Roberto came to the Partidas too! Something I started doing 2 weeks ago is taking some time to say one prayer every day and only say things I'm thankful for. It has really helped me recognize the blessings I have and the hands of the Lord in my life so much more. I studied the talk by Elder Uchtdorf last week " grateful in any circumstance" and everyone should read over that talk again it's amazing. Something that stood out to me at the end was that he said "gratitude is a catalyst to all other Christlike attributes." And it really is when you think about it, when we are grateful and actively searching for and recognizing the blessings in our life we will have more charity, humility, knowledge, patience, faith, hope and every other good thing that Christ is. Take some time to offer a prayer of gratitude every now and then and I can promise you la bendecirá su vida!

- Big miracle of the week. We have been teaching a 13 yr old girl named Adriana since before I got here and she hasn't been able to get baptized because her dad didn't give her permission. We've been praying a lot for her and that her dads heart would be softened because she wants to be baptized so bad and I now how much this decision can bless her life. On Friday we taught her about Ester and Abish and about courage and relying on the Lord. After the lesson she decided to go talk to her dad again and we were able to talk to him. She told her dad that she wanted to get baptized so that she could be forgiven of the things she has done and have a new start. She said she knows this will help her make better decisions in her life and will make Heavenly Father happy. Adriana is only 13 but it was amazing to me how much she knows. Her dads heart was touched by this and he said that if this is truly what she wants and believes in, she can be baptized!! I felt like running and skipping around but I kept my cool haha. Barely. We are planning on having her baptism the 13 of December so keep her in your prayers:) well I don't have any more time today but I will talk to y'all's next week! I love you so much! Que les vaya bien!

Tuesday, December 2, 2014

Hispanics + turkey = fat Missionaries

Happy almost día de acción de gracias! (Personally I think taking words to name a holiday is overdoing it a little bit). We had a ward thanksgiving party on Friday and we were so excited for it...we got there right on time but there was absolutely no one there yet. If you think Mormons are really bad about being on time to things, try serving in a ward of a bunch of Hispanic Mormons. It's like 10 times worse. The party was so fun though! They had soo much turkey. And to be honest, Hispanics don't really like turkey. They said it over and over again at the party haha I think they just had it just because it's our tradition. But because no one really liked it they were just like oh left over food...let's see who likes food...oh the missionaries!! So we got an entire cooked and stuffed turkey delivered to us the next day bc no one ate it. I'm already so sick of turkey and it's not even thanksgiving yet! Also Hispanics really know how to dance.  We also had a lot of investigators come too and it was a really great way for them to meet more members of the ward. We were actually out inviting people to the party the day before and we met this guy from El Salvador ( first person I've met from there) named Roberto (English translation: Robert. You're welcome everyone, yes I know I've learned a lot of spanish on my mission). He got super excited to see us and said that he had talked to some boy missionaries on bikes like us before when he lived in New Jersey and he really wanted to learn more. We taught him about the restoration and he was like you know this whole apostasy restoration thing really makes sense - yeah man that's exactly what I've been saying!!! We also taught him about prayer and testified that if he would pray and ask God if Joseph Smith really was a prophet, He would answer him. And when he prayed to close the lesson, Roberto actually asked in his prayer to know if Joseph Smith was a prophet....that was a big deal since it's only happened a few times so far on my mission where the person will actually ask that in their first prayer with us. We came back the next day and taught Roberto about the Book of Mormon and when he read Moroni's promise he got super excited and was like " I love that! That God will reveal to me the answer!" Hes since read like 10 chapters in the Book of Mormon so he's doing really well! And he came to the thanksgiving party too and was able to meet a lot of the members. Robertos really prepared and I'm so excited to teach him more! Haha he's kind of a spaz though and never stops talking and has so many questions. Sometimes I just want to be like woah man calm down haha but questions are what lead to answers and revelation so I guess keep em coming!

- other items of business this week...oh yeah so last week I told you about Marta and Luis and how Hna Gibson invited them to be baptized in like the first 2 minutes. Well I was super excited about them and we went over to teach them last night and knocked on the door and Luis opened it like a crack and peeked out at us and was like " no! No! The Mormons aren't for us I'm not interested!" Then slammed the door in our face. It hurt. Haha not my face luckily but my heart. I'm not quite sure what happened in the span of a week to harden his heart so fast but it's just makes me so sad to think he just slammed the door on something that could bless his and his family's life so much. He probably heard something from one of his friends or read something on the Internet though.

So we live right by this vet clinic and we always finish up our exercise in the parking lot of it and this morning we actually talked to one of the lady's that works there that always gets to work when we are there. She started talking to us and was like oh you're missionaries right! That's so cool I admire you guys for that. She then went on to ask what church we were a part of and we told her and she was like "oh.....you're Mormons" and then gave us that "what-the-heck-is-wrong-with-you-why- are-you-part-of-that-religion" look that I've come to grow so fond of. She was like " how do you deal with them...the men" and then gave us this really disgusted look " they just beat you all the time and they won't let you show your faces". Uhmm hi mam, pretty sure you're looking at my face right now. I think you might have us confused with maybe some far middle eastern country? I don't know it just amazes me sometimes the things that people believe. I don't understand why people believe everything they read on the Internet...why don't they just come to us and ask us themselves? I was reading something the other day and it said that you couldn't ever expect to know who Jesus really was by interviewing Judas. It's the same with the church. People will never know who we really are and what we represent if they only look at us from the perspective of its accusers. Hopefully we were able to help clarify at least  one persons misconceptions about the church today. - well nothing much else really happened this week. It was "cold" for like two days - meaning I had to wear a jacket as we rode our bikes around- and I almost died. I realized that there was definitely a reason I got sent here to Florida because I'm pretty sure I would literally have no desire to do anything if it were cold outside. Come check back with me about how I feel when the summertime rolls around though haha hopefully I'll still have this mindset. 

Well to close I thought I'd just write about this lil metaphor I thought of a few weeks ago about the gospel of Jesus Christ. So the gospel of Jesus Christ has five components - faith, repentance, baptism, receiving the gift of the Holy Ghost, and enduring to the end. I like to think of it like running a race. Faith and repentance are like your training. It's the things you do to prepare to start the race, and what you're going to have to rely on during the race to finish it. Baptism is like the start of the race- it's when you show that you really are committed to Jesus Christ and following his commandments, it's how you witness your faith in Him. The Holy Ghost is kind of like your coach and teammates on the side lines cheering you on. When you are staying on course they're right there, telling you where to go, where you need to improve, and to just keep pushing on. But if you get lost, make a wrong turn, and find yourself off the course- there's not going to be anyone there. The Holy Ghost, Heavenly Father and Jesus Christ never leave us- we leave them. But with faith and repentance (out training) we can ALWAYS make it back on the course. And enduring to the end. That's the most important part. It doesn't matter where you start it only matters where you finish. You could run the fastest 26.1 miles but if you don't finish that last .1 of the marathon, it's kind of like you didn't even start. And also, just because someone trains really super hard, it doesn't mean that the race gets easier. You are just more capable to run it and you are able to finish further and faster than you would have if you hadn't trained. That's kind of how it is when you are keeping the commandments and reading your scriptures, praying and going to church. Life doesn't get easier because you are doing these things, you are just more equipped to handle the challenges that life brings and are able to finish betterthan you would have if you didn't do those things. Me entienden? I could probably go on forever about the metaphors between running. And life but I've got to go so I'll stop there. But I know and can testify that living the gospel of Jesus Christ is the only way we can have
true and everlasting happiness, and it's how we can be able to not only endure our challenges, but to live joyfully always. Hope everyone has a great thanksgiving and remembers the things that we should truly be grateful for! WHAT THERES NOT A TURKEY EMOJI??  Oh well guess this chick and rooster will have to do, you can pretend����. Love you all!!

Hermana Baugh