Tuesday, May 17, 2016

Week 11: "Serving" to Serve (May 16, 2016)

So I'm crying a little bit inside because I forgot my planner and journal and so cannot quote some of the things I wished I could tell. This week was absolutely fantastic 100% and there is no possible way to even tell you a half of it. I feel like Mormon when he says, again, that the Book of Mormon contains only a hundredth part of all the history. Because same. My emails literally contain only a hundredth part of all that happens, but in a way I should be grateful because this way no one will get too terribly bored of my mission stories when I get home :)
This week was full of so many crazy experiences and packed with miracles. Having forgot my notes, only a few of them are written in this week but the ones that are have plenty of words on their own.

Some quotes from this week:
"We have infinitely exceeded our number last week for member present!" -Hna Dungan (We had zero last week and we got 2. Anything times zero is zero so it has to be infinite)

"What are the last names of Adan y Eva? Perez. For in the day you shall partake you must surely perez (perish/die)!" (broken translation but it actually more or less works)

"These are some good missionaries." - Elder Christofferson (!!!!) after shaking my hand and the hand of my companera.

"No sean tonto!" - Don't be dumb, translation courtesy of Elder Nunez. (This is my Dad's favorite phrase to say to us kids.)

Saturday - We had district council this morning, it's always such a blessing and a wonderful opportunity to learn. Afterwards we rushed to service at the Wells House which is pictured below. We volunteer at the museum and they needed some help with a tea party. Now this is a little bit ironic because as members of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints, we don't actually drink tea. But apparently we can serve it and so that is what we did. We wore all black and they gave us aprons and lacy headbands, I won't lie, it was a tiny bit ridiculous but such fun. Then we tried an investigador (investigator) but the situation didn't really end up working. But we contacted another referral and got to eat dinner with a less-active we had been trying to visit for a really really long time :))) She took us to the conference where I ran into one of my college friends, Raechel!! There were so many incredible talks, many from recent converts or those reactivated. It seemed that missionary work and the temple/family history were stressed the most throughout all of the sessions.

Sunday - Special session of Stake conference for just Spanish that morning. It was amazing! Elder Christofferson is the only Apostle that speaks spanish and it was honestly such a blessing. We had an investigador, Mauro, come that morning! We met him on the street with all of his kids a little while ago, he called us over to talk because he sees us walking up and down his street all the time. We've only had one real lesson with him but it was with a member and so he came!! It was wonderful, I was walking on clouds. He listened very intently to all of the talks and after it all he just kind of watched Elder Christofferson. I asked, "Que piensa?" (What do you think?) "Oh, muy bien, muy bien" (it's good, very good) was his response with a rather joyful smile. Elder Christofferson asked us if all of us in the meeting would be willing to come up and shake his hand after. If we were willing, I almost laughed. It was amazing. This little Spanish gathering with these amazing members each got to line up and shake an apostle's hand, as well as a 70's hand. Wow. Hermano Clive, our ward mission leader had brought Mauro and took him home right after the conference which we were a little sad about but we were mostly just thrilled he had come at all. Hno Clive told us that Mauro said he really enjoyed it and that he felt the Spirit. I could have died of happiness right then and there but it was only 9 in the morning and the rest of the day was simply incredible. Our bishop had made breakfast burritos for our little ward afterwards which was a brilliant idea. We got to come together and talk and uplift each other, all riding on the amazing Spirit that was there. There were plenty of chistes (jokes) that flew around, but I'll write those in a separate email some other time.

Then we had the ingles (english) session and then dinner with a member family. Except all of the biggest jokesters were also there. It was a really fun dinner, and it was a little sobering as well as it turned to politics which we diverted with a story in the Book of Mormon about how when we fight for our families, our freedom, our religion, the Lord is on our side and we shall prevail. It will be hard, sure, but it will also be something that we can be sure of the ending. And then I had the opportunity to tell the one joke I know in Spanish about the Lamanita's wrinkled shirts because of their lack of planchas (plates/irons). Thanks Hermano Mecham.

I'll write more next week about some of the miracles, chistes and things I have learned this past week but for now, hasta luego!

Les quiero :)
Sister Jaycie Baird
Washington Yakima Mission

Sometimes the best way to serve is to literally serve tea and cupcakes to little old ladies dressed up like some kind of Downton Abbey (or however it's spelled)

 ​Clouds falling from the sky in Wenatchee :)

Monday, May 16, 2016

Week 10: StomaCH cow (May 9, 2016)

Monday: We got to go to Leavenworth, this darling German village out in the mountains. There were hat shops, chocolate shops, cheese, gingerbread, bag, fudge shops, gelato, literally everything you can imagine out there and it was all delicious. While at the chocolate shop, we introduced ourselves to the guy who was helping us and as we left the gingerbread shop we ran into him again. He showed us around as we taught him the Restoration. Turns out he's a filmmaker and loves stories. He was legitimately curious about why we were out here. We introduced the Book of Mormon to him and each taught a little bit of a different part of the Restoration. We each shared our testimonies and we were able to be pretty frank about some things because he was so open and curious. It was perfect because we ended up at our car which is where we grabbed a Book of Mormon. He thanked us and said that he was really interested and was planning on reading it. So successful proselyting day on Pday :)

Wednesday: We got to try some Russian piroskys at the food fair. They were salmon and cream cheese and were fantastic. Usually we have the car on Wednesday's but the sisters we share with got t-boned so we get to walk all over the valley now and it's great :) Makes me really feel like a missionary when we get to walk a couple of miles to check out referrals. I love it :))

Thursday: We had the opportunity to help with Days for Girls which is an amazing program our mission president's wife set up for girls in poorer countries. At first we felt a little bit useless because there was a lot of sewing to do but then I volunteered to help surge and it was so fun. We didn't have much time to get out because of the way everything worked out but that night we found Mauro who is kind of golden. He's got four crazy kids that are a little bit older, 6-12 probably and too cute. He was very curious and had lots of questions. I feel like he may have been trying to pick a bone or two with us but it turned out pretty okay. I love the sense of humor many of them have. It's very sarcastic but also muy chistoso (very funny) and hard not to respond to. It was funny because he asked us if we had time and I almost laughed because that's all we have. This is what we do! I'm excited to meet with him again.

Friday: We walked out to the opposite side of town to contact a handful of referrals. It's a little bit tricky because it took us about 40 minutes or so but it was so very worth it. The first referral we tried was so ready. She is looking for more peace and soaked up all we taught. We invited her to our special stake conference next weekend because Elder Christofferson is coming!! It's extra special because he's the only apostle that speaks spanish and so there is going to be a special spanish session on Sunday morning!!! She didn't hesitate to accept so I'm keeping my fingers crossed!

Saturday: Zone training was this morning, perfectly scheduled so that we would miss the parade that happened at the same time. There was so much to learn and to soak up. Again, I was reminded of how incredibly blessed I am to be out here. We got lunch at Cafe Rio afterwards and someone paid for our meals! It's little things like that that make me feel so grateful. Missions are the best thing ever. That night, I had the opportunity to try an original Ecuadorian dish. We ate with a member family from Ecuador and I couldn't figure out why she kept telling us that if we didn't like it, we could have chicken. I'm always up for trying something new so I accepted the sauce like stuff that went on top of rice. At the table we keep talking about the meat so I take a closer look. The bits of meat in it had little frills and divets, it kind of reminded me of honeycomb but obviously much softer. My companion said, "Oh is this medungo? (or gut I don't remember the exact word)" I kind of died inside as I realized it was not gut but stomach. I voiced my opinion and they laughed. It was cow stomach! It's cute because they pronounce stomach like it looks like, stom-aCH cow, as they described. I almost wished I hadn't asked but I tried it. It had the texture of what I'm told is pulpo or octopus. I can't really say, all I can say though is now I have tried cow stomach. The members thought my reaction was pretty funny.

Sunday: Got to Skype my familia! It was great, we actually went to the same members house that fed us cow stomach to skype and they were talking to my family as I walked in! It was great to see everyone again :) Later that night we didn't have much time to go out but I felt like we should stop by Roosevelt street. The door we knocked on was blasting some seriously awesome Mexican music. After knocking twice this short bald man swings the door open and walks away, obviously expecting someone else. There was a double take that occurred as he realized we were not there to play cards. He was super awesome and as we talked his buddy who was playing with him came to talk to us as well. It turns out, they've met with the elders back in the winter of 2015! They were super friendly and asked when we could come back. We just kind of got to know them at the door and the short man brought us Powerade and Mexican gelatin. It was an epic experience and a fantastic way to wrap up the night. I am so grateful for the guidance we receive so that we can find the right people at the right time. It's wonderful :))

Couple of cuckoos

If you squint and tilt your head you will see that I too am squinting and tilting my head.

Fun fact:  Eggs explode when microwaved for longer than 10 seconds.

StomaCH cow :)))) obviously I enjoyed it quite a lot


 "Wow!  Tiene una familia muy grande!"
(Wow! You have a huge family!)

Week 9: Losing to Win (May 2, 2016)

Still kinda blows my mind how fast these weeks go and how much is packed into them. It's locura.
Some highlights of this incredibly full week :)

We had inter-cambios (exchanges) with the Sister Training leaders on Tuesday! Hermana Harston came to Wenatchee with me and Hermana Dungan headed to East Wenatchee with Hna Kennedy. It was an incredible day. Honestly, I had kind of been struggling with the whole "Open your mouth" part of missionary work, which is practically all of it! Hermana Harston was such an incredible example to me of the quiet and sure confidence as she talked to people. We had a couple of really neat experiences that day as well, one in particular that was simply too coincidental to be a coincidence. We were walking back from knocking a section of apartments and were talking about how it's kind of nice to have to walk everywhere. You meet people you wouldn't usually meet and you get to see miracles all around you. Literally as we spoke, we came across Joshua. We stopped to talk to him and it turns out that his mother had just passed away that day. It was the most incredible opportunity to talk with him about what comes after this life and how we can be with our families again. He expressed how she had had rather bad health due to addictions that they tried to get her to get out of, and those were what ultimately led to her illness. It was there I saw two miracles. Our opportunity to testify of a life after death where we are in perfect physical form, without enfermidad (sickness) or debilidades (weaknesses) was one, as was his acceptance and wish that that was true. The second miracle was my ability to open my mouth without fear. If ever asked when I became a missionary, albeit an imperfect one with a long road ahead of her, that moment would be it. The experiences I had with Hermana Harston that day reminded me that the reason I am here is to share with others, and how selfish it is to be afraid of opening your mouth when this is what I am called to do. In Doctrine and Covenants 30:1 it says something along the lines of, "You have feared man and not relied on me as thou ought." And although a veces (at times) I still falter because I'm nowhere near perfect, I decided this day that I would not fear man any longer and open my mouth. And it has made all of the difference in the world, both to me and the people I come in contact with.

Sister Wengreen asked us to teach seminary on Wednesday and it was honestly one of the best days ever. I absolutely adore seminary. It was such a blessing to have that opportunity and to see the amazing youth in this area. We were asked to talk about Jeremiah 16:16, each of us as hunters and fishers of men. I could go on forever about this amazing work but due to time and to save yours as well, I'll instead list a handful of scriptures that are just amazing with brief summaries.
John 15:19-20 - We can't expect anything more or less than what the Savior went through. He suffered all, he also performed miracles, was scourged and praised. When we hit bumps in the road, when there are oppositions or adversities, we must remember that Christ went through all and more, so of course how can we expect any less?
D&C 84:65-73 - these signs follow those that believe. We live in a world full of doubt. But I can promise, for I have seen it, that when we believe in miracles and gifts from God, they will be made manifest in our lives. We don't receive miracles because we want a sign. We receive miracles because our faith is such that we don't need them to believe.
D&C 84:77 - Christ calls us his FRIENDS. He also does this in John 15. When we are doing as he did, we are his friends in the work. How amazing is that??
D&C 84:88 - Christ is with us always. We had an amazing lesson this same day I believe, with two people who very strongly believe in miracles. At the end of our discussion, he said something along these lines: "Christ is with you two. I can see it, He dwells in your hearts. If I hadn't let you in, when I die Christ would have asked, 'why didn't you let me in that day?' Because I didn't see you. 'But I was there, standing with them'. And what could I answer? You are always welcome in this house, because Christ is standing beside you." I was a little taken aback. I fully believe in the promises of angels that surround to bear us up, and Christ being with us always, but his faith was tangible in a way I have not felt ever before.
There are so many more but I have given that which is expedient unto me and it's up to you to continue searching for these things and these incredible promises that are made to each of us.

Saturday was jam packed full of amazing things.
At District Council, Elder Solis our Zone Leader gave a mini training. His topic was, "If we want to win, we have to lose." These missions are not ours but the Lords. If we give up our will to the Lord and "lose" everything we have to Him, we will in the end win. However, if we fight against His will and "win", ultimately it isn't just Him that loses, but you and the people you came in contact with as well. This struck me hard. Paired with the idea Elder Wunderlich, our District Leader, shared, "Instead of thinking how we can be less prideful, think more about the love you can show to others" my mindset was changed. I've been very focused on all the things that I lack, when in reality, I need to surrender my will to the Lord and focus on turning out toward others, and in doing so, all those things that I lack will be made whole in Him. At that district council I knew with tan (so much) clarity that I am exactly where I am supposed to be. I never planned for a mission specifically, but it was always a part of God's plan for me and I know that he has a plan for each of us that will bless us more than we could imagine.
We had a church tour that night with two of our investigadores, and it was amazing. They are so incredibly receptive and have a desire to know more. We had Hna Gitta accompany us and it was tan increible (so incredible).
Right after there was a baptism for Lester. He's 11 and incredibly sweet and amazing. It is always such a blessing to attend a baptism because again, it isn't ever for us. It is always for them.

I always love Sundays but this was extra sweet. After church and dinner we headed out to try a couple of investigadores. We got a call from a sister in the English ward who needed help from the Spanish missionaries for her mother. We had made two appointments that night with people we really wanted to talk to because we had never gotten to really before and so we said a prayer for guidance. Immediately after we said the prayer, there was this peace that everything would be okay. Both investigadores ended up being willing to meet with us and the lessons were incredible. Although I was sorry we couldn't help her that night, I knew that the lessons we had that night were supposed to happen that night. I'm grateful for the Spirit that guides us in all that we do. Without it, we are much more prone to making very human mistakes or even choices that while are in no way bad, take us from something that could have been much better for investigadores or ourselves.

There is absolutely no other place in the world I would rather be at this time than here, serving. Although I know I say this quite often, I am so so grateful for this opportunity to be a part of this work.

Les quiero mucho,
Hna Baird

Week 8: Baptisms and Charity (April 25, 2016)

These weeks are so crazy full, each day feels like a week and the weeks feel like a day and a month at the same time. It's locura (crazy).

Tuesday - Brief resumen (summary), we met some really neat people like Connie and Marta. Marta was someone we ran into while trying to contact someone else and we had a really awesome conversation with her. She praised us for having the courage to knock on doors and prayed for us at the very end and asked God to bless us with strength. People like that make your entire day, knowing that there is someone out there that even if they aren't super interested, they love Christ and support you in your work. We built a shelf for service which made me feel at home and ate cabbage biddogs for dinner that night. They were like little meat, onion, and cabbage rolls, they were actually really good and also probably a little bit made up since I'm not sure that biddogs is a word. That night we planned on tracting on 4th street but right as we got there about 5 cop cars sped over there and blocked the street off due to a tweaker house so we decided to take a different route.

Wednesday: We had a court adventure where we went through some security to try and get papers to help out a less active with her divorcio (divorce). It was funny because after checking my companions bag and taking out all of her scriptures he barely glanced at mine. There was a well dressed man behind us who were probably laughing at us since we were two young, white, clearly lost missionaries, speaking Spanish to a small Latino lady and getting mixed up about where to go. It was great. Later that day we met Pedro and had a really neat conversation with him. There are three things that come up in almost every conversation we ever have in Spanish.
1. We're so young!
2. You speak Spanish very well but you're so guerra/white!
3. Where are you from? Wow, Missouri, why are you here? How long are you here?
I love the Latino people. Sometimes I really count my lucky stars that I get to serve them and not white people because white people aren't very nice sometimes X)
That night we found Arturo and he seemed legitimately excited to talk to us again the next night.

Thursday: We tried to bring the papers to the less actives house and it didn't go very well. She opened the door and said, "Hola hermanas, disculpeme, no sabe Espanol" (hello sisters, excuse me, you don't know spanish) and slammed the door. In other words, we don't speak good enough Spanish. It's tricky because sometimes we can understand people really well. And then there are others who we don't understand as well. And over the phone, it's really difficult to understand well. We decided to try some potentials after that and found Aurelio. He's very kind and a little bit shy but seemed quite interested as well. I'm really excited to be able to find people who aren't just being polite but actually want to know more.

Friday: The temple!!! I am seriously the luckiest missionary ever. Only two weeks into the field and I have the privilege to go to the temple. It was absolutely incredible. I love the temple so so much. There is so much peace there and it is a wonderful opportunity to really grow and find things that you need to change. It was an amazing day. We went to 5 Guys afterwords and it was amazing. I've never been before. The drive was about 2 hours and it was funny because right after we get home, we went to dinner. So much food! If there's one thing I'm good for, I have just enough spanish ability to make jokes that are funny to them at least. After yet another amazing dinner, I said, "Yo comi tanto comida hoy." (I ate so much food today) Now it isn't that hilarious, it's more of a statement, but they usually find it hilarious that I eat so much food pretty much all of the time. I was asking how to say "I've gained weight". Then the fun really began. Hna Gitta is from Ecuador and their Spanish sounds like Italian. The way they fluctuate their sentences sounds like an American pretending to sound Italian except that it's in Spanish. Hermana Dungan, my companion, was doing the dished and Hna Gitta turns to her and more or less says, "You've gained weight! You look much more gordo" (fat) I died as Carla, Hna Gitta's daughter in law, freaked out and said, "No you can't say that! That is offensive in their culture!!" Poor Hna Gitta was so confused. "No it isn't, it's a compliment, why would it be an insult?" In their culture, being flaca, or skinny, isn't good. You would rather have some meat on your bones. So then we had a nice long conversation about features and cultures. Their culture is my favorite, they all have nicknames and they are due to their features. Carla is darker tanned than the rest of her family so her nickname was Negra. Her friend was Gorda. If someone had a big head their nickname would be big head. It made me laugh honestly, and sometimes I really wish our culture was like that. No one would get offended about what we all look like because we're all human, we're all different and we're all still children of God. What does it matter what we look like? It doesn't! She also taught us to only read the Book of Mormon in Spanish. It is the fastest way to learn another language. It's a promise, especially for missionaries. It was quite humbling. I really love their family and I can say now from experience that yeah, reading only from the Libro de Mormon has helped my Spanish grow in leaps and bounds. That night we had a lesson with Arturo again. He was so excited about the Book of Mormon. We've been told that we are sent to the places we are so that we can find the people that we need to teach. And for me, Arturo is one of them . I love the Book of Mormon so so much. It is my favorite book, my favorite thing to study and read. And Arturo already has an excitement for this book, already has this desire to learn more and I get to be a part of sharing that love for this amazing book.

Saturday: That morning we had district meeting and it was wow. We talked a lot about charity. There's a quote that says, "Charity is the neverending search for someone else's happiness." And if you look back on the life of Christ, he was the perfect example. Everything he did was for someone else, to the point of laying down his life for the happiness and the benefit of the world as it says in Ether 12:33. Moroni 7:45 describes charity in a way that lists the characteristics and gives us something to shoot for. There's a talk called the 4th Missionary and as it describes all four types of missionaries, 3 and 4 are really similar. The only real difference is charity. For when you lose yourself is when you find yourself.
That night was Brenda's baptism!! It was such a privilege to be a part of that. I realized, once again, that the opportunity to be here for her baptism wasn't for me to be able to say "Yeah I had a baptism the second week of my mission." but to remind me why I'm here. This mission is not mine, it is selfish of me to think so and to act as such by being afraid to open my mouth. I want to be the kind of missionary Hermano Garcia bore his testimony about. I am so so grateful for that opportunity.

Sunday: In relief Society we talked about how we are all missionaries. We discussed the different "muros" (walls) that we all have when it comes to bearing our testimony or being a missionary in everyday life, or the walls we may come across. Every last one of us is a missionary in our own way and it's so important to remember that. There are so many amazing promises we have, in D&C 84:85 and 88 -  85 Neither take ye thought beforehand what ye shall say; but treasure up in your minds continually the words of life, and it shall be given you in the very hour that portion that shall be meted unto every man.
 88 And whoso receiveth you, there I will be also, for I will go before your face. I will be on your right hand and on your left, and my Spirit shall be in your hearts, and mine angels round about you, to bear you up.

I know that that promise is given to each of us and I encourage everyone to be a missionary in your own way this week. Pray about it, ask how you can be the miracle someone is praying for. I've really learned this week how much listening to the Spirit truly blesses us and those we find. It's just up to us to take that promise and act upon it.
We sang in Sacrament meeting with Brenda after her confirmation. She's only 11 and she is such a special person. I love her so much. I am so grateful for our ward as well and the support that they give us.

Thank you all for all of the support, emails, letters, food, love, everything that you have sent. It has meant so much and I am so grateful for the blessing so many of you have been to me.

Les quiero mucho.
Hna Baird

Guess which lunch is mine and which one is my companions. I'm obviously making good life choices.

​The baptism!! And our family :)
E. Nielson, H. Harston, E. Oliver, E. Brassanini, Brenda, Mercedes (in the back), H. Kennedy (in the front, yours truly, H. Dungan, E. Solis, and E. Wunderlitch

All the missionaries who have taught Brenda (give or take) and the Garcia family (minus Mariela) :)))

​View from the church

​The hole in our wall that used to leak water everywhere but fortunately now just smells a little funky porque no?