Monday, March 27, 2017

Teaching As Christ Taught (March 27, 2017)

This week has been really interesting. We've seen so many miracles! And I can't even write a third of what happened this whole week.
   Wednesday was really interesting. That morning we went and did singing service and then we had in our plans to go home and do companion and language study. So we go home but we just kind of sat in the car because something felt weird. We felt like we shouldn't go in to study, we needed to be somewhere else. We said a prayer asking for guidance because we didn't know what else to do! Our tank of gas was getting low and so we went to a very specific Chevron gas station. Of course, being new to the area I accidentally turned the wrong way and we stumbled into a Studio apartment type thing so we turned around, got gas and then felt like we should go back to that complex and knock doors. When we get there we didn't actually knock, we walked around. We met two people - Rafael and Jainey, both who once we left we knew we were supposed to talk to. We still didn't feel like we should go back to the apartment yet and I kept thinking about the food bank and so we went to the food bank. We figured we needed to talk to Bobbie, one of the guys who has asked us to visit his gf but once we get there he was totally busy. So we go around back to find the sisters to ask them a question and they ask - "Did you get our text? We need a ride back home." Hna Petersen and I looked at each other like "Woah that is so cool" because we totally didn't get a text from the sisters. Not only that but they were short staffed and so we were able to help them finish the senior citizen bags before talking to Bobbie and taking them home.
   That morning when we had been planning one of the referral's names kept popping into my head but she lived way out of our area (we did get permission) and so we hadn't contacted her yet. So after studies we headed out there and got to her house by 3 only to find that they were in the middle of moving! We had managed to arrive at the perfect time to help them finish packing and get everything in order so that they could move back to Ephrata! I was able to give him some of the numbers of the missionaries and members and give him a referral of where he could get a job out there. It was so inspired of God it was just cool to be a part of it.
   At 5 we had dinner with a part member family and had a really stellar conversation where we got to know them. We shared a spiritual thought with them about increasing their faith, we showed them the new Restoration video and added our testimonies to the promise we find in James 1:5. It was really cool.
   Finally, at 8 that night we went and contacted Armando and Sandra where we had an incredible lesson about families and how they can be eternal, how death is not the end and that through the gospel we can have that eternal happiness. It was really neat. I also am somewhat bold with people and when he kept taking the Lord's name in vain I called him out on it. He felt bad about it and now is trying to really work on not saying it and we have a good laugh every time he catches it.

   We had a couple of other experiences like that this week. It has been so wonderful to me to stop and pray and ask for guidance and be an instrument in His hands. I wish I could just be told what to do or where to go all the time but my mantra is D&C 58:28-30 and so I know that can't possibly be a thing.
    The funeral on Saturday went well. It was such a privilege to be able to play the violin for it. It was a beautiful rendition of "God Be With You Till We Meet Again." It's been cool to be in a ward where they have been completely proactive and have gone out and found music, have been more than willing to let me use their copy of a Stradivarius. Like, I have never in my whole mission been able to play such a beautiful violin. Probably in my life. And the members made it happen. It was so cool.
    Saturday night we had a seriously intense lesson with Armando. I testified in that lesson with a power that was almost more than I have ever before. It reminded me of Christ in the scriptures. He taught with power and authority and in that lesson I felt as though I was teaching with HIS power and authority. I was not afraid of stepping on his toes, I simply taught and testified as Christ did and made no excuses for the laws of God. And in that moment, as it says in the scriptures he marveled at the words that I had spoken and yet just like in the scriptures, although he marveled, he understood not. At least, he didn't understand as much as I wish he had. I am so grateful that I was able to be a conduit because I know that it wasn't me, but finally the true teacher was the Holy Ghost. I love being a missionary and learning how to become a true disciple of Christ. I am so far away from what I know I can become but in that lesson and in the lesson we had with Rick a couple of days later, I got to see a glimpse of who Heavenly Father wants me to become because I was privileged to hear from my investigators what they glimpsed, what they saw me as. I only wish that I had learned this sooner, but I am also glad it only took me a year.

   The theme this week has truly been teaching as Christ taught. Becoming better teachers, becoming more than what we were yesterday. I have grown so much this week and  I am so excited for some of the study habits that I will be changing. I loved in the General Woman Session of Conference the talk that reminded us about the importance of taking time to study. I love to dissect the scriptures, and in reading the Bible I have learned more and more about how the Savior taught and have developed my teaching to be more like His. In the Pearl of Great Price I've learned so much more about my divine potential and in the Book of Mormon I have found great treasures of knowledge that I haven't before seen.
   I know life gets busy and it's hard to find time to get everything we want to get done done. But I also promise you that if you will set aside even 30 minutes a day to study your scriptures, and truly study them, not just read them half heartedly, you will have the Spirit with you as a guide throughout your day, you will become an instrument in the hands of the Lord as you are prompted to serve those around you.
   Take it from a missionary who used to view studying as a burden because I wanted to be knocking doors instead. STUDIES ARE IMPORTANT. And just like the excuse "We don't have time to tract!" is a lie, (there is ALWAYS time to tract) the excuse "I don't have time to read my scriptures/pray/go to church/study" is a lie!
    To put it simply, we are not using the time allotted to us as mortals efficiently if we are somehow not having time to study the gospel. And so in the words of Elder Uceda, I invite all of you to repent with me and take time to study the words that God has been so merciful to give us.
I hope you all have a fantastic week!
Hna Baird

Monday, March 20, 2017

ML6 Episode 1: We Hit a Puppy (March 20, 2017)

Pues, this week has been exciting.
Monday after breakfast and emailing we played volleyball and wrote in transfer journals. We said goodbye to Sister Hopkins around 3 and there were many tears shed by the other sisters. That night we had Family Home Evening, my last one, where I played "A Poor Wayfaring Man of Grief" one last time and then recorded it one actual last time. Then Luke Nelson asked me to play the intro to a Greenday song (it's okay! I didn't listen to the song and my part was like one measure) so that he could record it for his audition. It was really fun to play again. I had one last hurrah with soccer and it was a fantastic game. Everyone was really on their game and we had a blast.

Tuesday we went to the foodbank and left with 15 dozen eggs. 15 dozen. It was a lot of eggs. So, we stopped by Elder Peterson and Nielsen's apartment to give them 5 dozen eggs and 6 jugs of orange juice that we weren't going to drink. His face. Was so. Happy. Then we ate a dozen eggs hardboiled) and packed a little before dropping off 5 more dozen eggs at the zone leaders house. So many eggs. Then we packed some more. We had a couple of appointments, stopped by some people to say goodbye and set up appointments, and I gave Salvador a rock to put on his pillow so that he would remember to say his prayers.

Wednesday - transfers. First off, service at the thriftstore for the last time. We ate at TimeOut as a district and then we rushed off to another service for a really sweet less active member our age where we helped clean up her yard. Then we headed out to Soap Lake to say goodbye to Zacarias and Bertha - LA and Investigator. They are my favorite. Zacarias loves to talk so much and him and I get along well because mostly we just make fun of each other in Spanish. Bertha is tiny, sweet, spunky, and wears the pants in the relationship even if Zacarias is in denial about it. She's the reason he's even going to church - she won't take no for an answer. And she's not even a member yet!! She had made us stir-fry which was delicious - she always has some kind of food for us when we go over, and then when we said goodbye she said - "Don't forget about us!" I love the people there so much. I wasn't there long, but I will never forget them. It was bittersweet because with Luis and Silvia's baptism coming up I will get to see them soon anyway but it's still a little bit sad to say goodbye so soon.
Then transfers. Here's where I explain the title. I meet my companion, get super excited about the new zone because I know almost everyone already, and as we drive away towards our apartment suddenly a puppy runs out in front of our tire. Within the first 20 minutes of me meeting my companion, she hits a puppy. And laughs. Not maniacally. More like nervously/panicky/I-don't-know-what-to-do-y. Honestly, I'm grateful she didn't cry. All the same. We eat dinner and then stop by a potential and then unpack and get to know each other where we find out that we're almost the same person, just at different stages of the mission life.

Thursday a member of the branch passed away and so after planning, we help make funeral plans. That night we had coordination where we rocked the boat and started throwing out some ideas to fix member trust and to get the Spanish work going. Basically, we cover an English ward and a Spanish branch. And it is a beautifully clean slate because we have 2 investigator families. So finding is going to be a thing for a while and I am so excited!!

Friday we had zone conference with Elder Uceda. I went into this transfer really wanting to learn humility. That is my goal. And let me tell you, this conference literally flipped a switch. I don't have the time to write everything I learned, there was so much, but essentially he told us - and I quote - "I invite you to repent." And needless to say, I'm learning on how to do that a lot more now. He basically took a humility stick and beat us black and blue lovingly with it. And I am really grateful that he did so in the first week of transfers because now I can apply all that I learned to the next 5 weeks.

Saturday we had a stellar day. We began with a service where we picked up trash from all along the beach. We found lots of dead things, carp, catfish and crawdads and I may or may not now have a fish spine. On Friday I accumulated a snake skin from a part member family. Basically, I'm having fun with bones and skins and teeth and I have a small collection now. Toward the end of service I got a call from the Branch President and was asked to play the violin in church on Sunday and then at the funeral next Saturday. Of course I said yes and THEN I actually thought about how we were going to do that. Long story short, I dragged the district into it and we did Nearer My God To Thee in Spanish. The Lord most certainly qualifies those He calls.

We are working on figuring out how to work this area, it's large and finding Spanish speakers are like finding needles in a haystack. But we did a lot of really wonderful things this day and we're beginning to get our feet under us. We have been planning so that every half hour we are using a different finding activity so that we can begin to figure out the area and explore lots of regions.

Sunday we went to 5 hours of church. First the English ward where I gave the closing prayer so that everyone could see my new face and we had 3 investigators come to church! :) Sean, Nicole and James. They are wonderful and have a baptismal date of April 15th. :) They loved church a lot as well, especially Nicole and it's her first time coming since she was like 8 and only Sean's second time. Then we headed to the branch where I translated  - the way it works is depending on what language the speaker is giving their talk in, I translate to the other language. The majority of the congregation can speak both but there are a handful of English only members and a handful of Spanish only members. So if the talk is in English, I translate it to Spanish and vice versa. It was pretty intense but wow the gift of interpretation is real. Then we "performed" for lack of a better term. After church we had a district council where we became ML6 because the 6 of us Spanish missionaries cover the entire population 22,089 town of Moses Lake. And we have some ideas on how to make this town catch on fire. Fun Fact: My nickname is Abuelita Baird. Because I am the oldest missionary in our district. It's ___________.
Then I had the opportunity to shop for violins. Just kidding. President Jones has two violins and they are BEAUTIFUL. One is a Stradivarius copy with steel strings and it has the most beautiful tone I have ever heard. The other is much newer but it reminds me of mine. Needless to say I was in heaven, playing these two violins so that I could pick one for the funeral. I decided on practicing on the new one and playing the Stradivarius at the actual funeral. I love music. Thanks mom and dad for making me stick with it.

Anyway. Wow. Word vomit. That's okay though. This week was busy. And it hasn't even been a full week in Moses yet. Here's to a fantastic transfer!

Sister Jaycie Baird
Washington Yakima Mission

Zone Conference with Elder Uceda (March 18, 2017)

Monday, March 13, 2017

A Sunday Surprise (March 12, 2017)

This Sunday we got some advice from the missionaries from our ward serving in other places (Reed - Taiwan, Jesse - Utah, Jaycie - Washington), thanks to a member of our ward.  He was kind enough to share his email and Jaycie's response with me.

Hey Jaycie,

Hope you are doing well! This Sunday I'm giving a talk on "sharing the gospel" in the Cape ward. Wanted to reach out to you and ask: if you were to give one piece of advice to members of the Cape ward on sharing the gospel, what would it be?

Wishing you the best,

Hi Mark!

Study Preach My Gospel and discover your personal conversion. The First Presidency Message says
Dear Fellow Missionary: (this is members and missionaries alike - we are their fellow missionaries!!)

We compliment you on the great opportunity you have to be a missionary. (Great opportunity. This isn't something separate from our lives. This is our calling in life!) There is no more compelling work than this, nor any which brings greater satisfaction. (NOTHING. NOTHING in this world will bring us more satisfaction. Be it in our homes, families, with our friends, strangers, sharing the gospel is literally everything we are!)

We challenge you to rise to a new sense of commitment to assist our Father in Heaven in His glorious work. Every [member] has an important role in helping “to bring to pass the immortality and eternal life of man” (Moses 1:39).

The Lord will reward and richly bless you as you humbly and prayerfully serve Him. More happiness awaits you than you have ever experienced as you labor among His children. (More happiness than anything we can imagine!!! This is a promise from the PROPHET AND APOSTLES!!)

Mostly, they must find their conversion. They have to. If they don't then this becomes just another talk on missionary work ohmygosh would you please just leave us alone my friends aren't interested! But when each member becomes PERSONALLY converted to the gospel, when it becomes the central focus of their lives and literally everything they do and say (which many think it is but we can always be more focused on it) sharing the gospel  is the same as breathing. Studying Preach My Gospel helps so much. In it we are reminded of the truths that we love, we are reconverted as we feel the Spirit confirm these truths, it slowly becomes something that we are thinking of constantly. There is a quote by President Packer that says "True doctrine, understood, changes attitudes and behavior. The study of the doctrines of the gospel will improve behavior quicker than a study of behavior will improve behavior." I personally have a testimony of this. When we are studying with the intent to change and to learn so that we can share this with others, we become something new. There are countless passages of scripture to read and study on the Restoration, Christ's ministry, the Plan of Salvation, the Atonement, Christlike Attributes, the Book of Mormon and the role it plays. It has to come from the personal desire that the members have to share the gospel. If they don't have that, focus on helping them develop it. That's kind of the key to anything we do.

Thank you for the email :) I hope that it helps and give everyone my love!
Hna Baird

Ephrata in a Nutshell (March 13, 2017)

So, basically the entire time I have served in Ephrata, I have not written good emails that actually explain anything of what I do here.

So, with transfers happening this week and me being shipped out 20 minutes away to Moses Lake, I figure now is a good of time as any to give out a rundown.

I live in an apartment with 3 other sisters - my companion and the English sisters. There are 4 sisters and 4 elders in the Ephrata area with 2 companionships of Spanish elders in Quincy. We are the only Spanish missionaries in all of Ephrata.

Two Sundays ago was Stake Conference. Saturday night our dinner canceled and so we begged our favorite members, the Nelsons, to feed us. They were also feeding the elders that night so we waited outside until they were done. They saw us and took their plates outside and sat by the window with Luke and Audrey making sad faces because we kicked them out but I didn't even feel bad because she made Cafe Rio style food and it was AMAZING! They are goofs. I love the Nelsons and the elders always make an already entertaining meal much more memorable.

Then we rushed to Stake Conference where we were super late and we sat with one of our amazing returning less-actives whose baby sneezed on me. It was cute. Since the only open seat in the actual room was in the dead center right up front, we decided to forgo sitting in the room and sat in the room with the Spanish elders who were translating. By the time President Lewis rolled around, they were pretty tired and they handed me the headset. So, my first time translating I got to translate my mission president at Stake Conference! I have never really appreciated how hard it is to translate but now I understand why they charge $30 an hour.

Sunday was a similar ordeal. Turns out there were only 5 headsets and way more than 5 people showed up which resulted in Hna Buss and I translating for two different groups as we sat behind them in the back of the gym, Hno Matus translating for headsets and then after translating three talks in consecutive order we begged the elders to come help. As soon as they took our spots we ran to relieve hno Matus and give him a small break. Long story short, we need more headsets because we had 5 translators for 15 people. Crazy!

Mondays are fun. Pday starts at 8 now and so we get a lot more done and have more time to play. Lately, the elders have been playing Settlers of Cataan which is so dumb - I'm not bagging on the game but it goes on forever and we just kind of sit around. Then we played volleyball for like 3 hours. On Monday nights we have Family Home Evening immediately after PDay. So, basically we go home, grab some food and then head back to the church where we played more volleyball, led a discussion on the Book of Mormon, and then played soccer for the rest of the night. It is such a fantastic way to bring people to the church and share the gospel. That being said, we are working on changing them so that Mondays really are Family Home Evening and not just 'play soccer for three hours'. Because that's been a little bit of a real thing.

Tuesday we had our last District Council of the transfer. Sister Hopkins is finishing her mission tomorrow and so we heard from her and talked about how crucial the youth of the church are. Then we did role plays where the investigator's name was J.C. (emphasis on the C) #theeldersarereallygoodatpushingmybuttons and we had a small argument over where the emphasis was really supposed to go before I gave up and taught in Spanish because English is hard. Then we had a couple of lessons and helped Sister Hay clean her house. I finally appreciate everything that my mom felt and went through with trying to keep the house clean. If I've learned anything while serving others, it's that it is hard to be a mom. Very rewarding, but really hard. It was a blessing to be able to sweep, scrub, mop, and wash her floors, walls, and dishes.

Wednesday we did service at the thrift store. We sort clothes, find empty hangers on the racks, put clothes on the racks, vacuum, organize, all sorts of stuff. Elders Nielsen and Peterson didn't really want to vacuum and so told us that it needed to be done and we were more than happy to oblige. While doing so I had a delightful conversation with a little kid named Ezekiel. He's 6 and he really loves Batman. He kept coming back to talk to me, and we talked about how being able to speak Spanish is a superpower and about how he's excited to go to school soon. I don't remember most of what we talked about but I remember his bright spirit that made my day. Children are so special.
Then we went and dug out giant cement blocks from someones yard. Don't ask me why but it was a lot of fun and I got to play in the mud. We also had a snowball fight. Then we talked about rum. Don't ask me. Elders are weird.
That night we were blessed with pizza. The sisters don't have dinners very often and our dinner that night had to go to Wenatchee so she ordered some pizzas. We walk in and say "Hey guess what! Free pizza!" to the sisters and they almost started crying. "Now I know of a surety that God is mindful of us - I was just praying that somehow I didn't have to eat oatmeal, cereal, or quesadillas for dinner and you walked in with pizza." It was an "eat drink and be merry" kind of night. But appropriately merry.

Thursday we do service at the food bank. This Thursday was special though because Soap Lake Food Bank called and needed help with a frozen vegetable shipment they just got in. So I hiked up my overalls and shoveled frozen corn and peas for an hour with Elders Nielsen and Peterson and the other sisters. Then we went to the other food bank where we bagged pears (have you ever seen moldy oranges? They get whiskers like no other) and did backpacks for the school so that kids can have food for the weekend.
That night we had a stellar lesson and dinner with a part member family and the Allreds where these two quotes were created:
"Who's that?"
"What's his last name? Hernandez?"
-Dollcey (she's 6)

"And then we come to earth to get this fleshy thing we drive around.."
-Hna Baird trying to explain bodies. #Istrugglewithingles

Friday was planning day. And it was ridiculously long. But for the first time in 5 weeks, we got it done. Then we had activities again that night and played some good soccer while also managing to missionary everyone there. #multitasking

Saturday is my favorite day because we get lots of time to missionary. I also got to practice for the special musical number I played with Sharon on Sunday

Yay! I was the pianist that day in the group so I played the first two hymns, played the musical number, ran to the other ward where I had missed our musical number, played it for the closing hymn and then ran back just in time to play the last closing hymn in the group. Twas fun. Also got a random stomach pain that left me on the floor trying not to die. Good last impressions on the ward - I'm the sister that plays the violin and almost died on the last Sunday she was there. Woot.

Then this morning we had a district breakfast at the Nelsons. Goodbye Ephrata! :)
Love you all! : Sorry it was so long this week, hopefully it makes up for the last couple of weeks.
Hna Baird

Monday, March 6, 2017

Learning How to be Diligent (March 6, 2017)

Next week I shall actually write an email. My tiempo has cabado. I am really sorry that I have not been diligent in writing home or to all of you, but know that I am grateful to all those who send emails, letters, and prayers.
Love you!
Hna Baird

Hermana Baird and Buss and the cows with the Cobb family (March 4, 2017)

Hi there Baird and Buss families!
We have pictures of Sister Baird and Sister Buss feeding our baby cows and wanted to share them with you.

We have sure enjoyed your daughters visiting with our family and they are doing such a wonderful work here with our ward and the Spanish Group they are working in. Have a great weekend.
Much love and gratitude,

Kelly Cobb

Fotos! From two weeks ago. . . (March 6, 2017)


Pday shenanigans
my bruise - it's much better now :)

Car selfies are really hard

Cincinnati chili

Walking on water
And being artsy

The night I got hit in the face by two soccerballs and ran into Elder Burbank's shoulder, tried tripping a different elder and giving myself a contusion on my right leg, rebruising my left leg, ate in on the ice and bruised my knee/ripped my pants I fell on (don't worry it's just the left knee) trying to get to an appointment on time, skinned my elbow and smacked heads with Sergio. Long story short, Pday+Soccer with the group = all the ice we owned was either on my face, legs or knees.

Zone Conference with some of my best friends - elder mayes, favila, aguirre and background lots of randoms

When you try to be productive and go on zebra splits to tract out a town in the middle of nowhere and....

Stake Conference and Interviews (March 5, 2017)

Hermana Baird:  3 things I love about Hermana Buss:  her big heart, her writing quotes and memories on post-it notes everywhere and her glasses.

Hermana Buss:  Hermana Baird is a very hard worker.  She is super musically talented and she has tons of energy.

Sis. Lewis (my mission mom) with some of her girls.