Sunday, October 28, 2012



So, I am pooped right now so bare with me with the email. We just played soccer and gator ball for the past two hours and I am tired! It was so fun though. Sometimes as a missionary, you just need to run around on the field and pretend like you are a 5 year old...

Thank you for the letters I received this week!: Elder Petersen, Gardaniers (love the pictures Gracie and Maddie!), Rebecca V., Sister Florian (congrats on the baby! So cute!), and Mommy (love you as always!) Well, there isn't a ton to report on this week (I always say that but somehow still to manage to write extremely long emails...) because we only had 2 nights in our area but, great and bad things sure did happen! :)

We were able to extend a baptismal invitation (again) to Christine on Saturday! This was the first time that we've met her in a whole month and she seems ready and willing to continue to learn and prepare for baptism! Her date is for November 18th and she seems excited. She's Chinese and still learning English so we have to go a little slow for her but, her English is so good! She prefers reading and learning in English so it works out great for us. Stephen, our other investigator, is still doing great! We had a lesson with him yesterday and he was able to remember some points that we taught him last week about the Plan of Salvation. He is going to be out of town on the day he gets baptized so we pushed it back a weekend. We gave him the option of being baptized on the 10th or the 11th. We told him if he got baptized on the 10th, he could get the Holy Ghost the next day but if he did it on the 11th, he would have to wait a week. We wanted to make sure that we didn't come off as forceful or anything (to be explain with Ernie) but he decided for the 10th! It was with that decision that brought me to ease because I felt like this is something that he is really wanting now. He gave the closing prayer and it was the first time he had prayed to us where he opened up. He was SO nervous! It was precious. We are excited to see him grow even more in the Gospel as he reads the Book of Mormon and prays to God to know that these things are true.

We have been trying to keep in close contact with Ernie this past week because his baptism date is on the 28th. However, he still never feels completely sure and ready for baptism. We had a lesson with him yesterday and the member present kind of initiated that we were forcing him to be baptized which is NOT our intentions at all! It was kind of awkward and sad at the same time because, we don't know what to do now. We have one more lesson to teach him and then we have nothing else to teach him because technically, the next step is baptism. We explained to him that this is his decision and we told him from the beginning that he wasn't ready we would push it back but, from what I was able to interpret from it (because Sister Merciales thinks differently and heard differently) that he is just fine with how he is right now. He follows the Mormon life but he's not committed to it so he doesn't have to do all of the other work that is asked after baptism. Not that it's work, but it's not like a typical church where all you got to do is go to church on Sunday and call it good. Or heck, go on the Holidays and call it good. He is still scared of becoming a member and then going less active. We are planning on teaching him his last lesson this week and then asking him what it is that he wants. I mean, if we have to drop him then we will. It'll be hard and sad but he's had other baptismal dates before and he still won't enter into the waters of baptism. Although he is doing great by living the commandments (almost all of them - drinks coffee) and going to church every Sunday, he is missing out on all of the blessings he could be receiving if he were to just be baptized.

I cried the other night as we left his house to just check up on him and say hi. I thought of my own journey and how when I learned about the church, I instantly wanted to become a member. I stayed strong and waited for the day to be baptized. I thought to myself, "why can't it be like that for EVERYONE we teach!? Why can't they hear our message and then just instantly want to be baptized!?" But then...I was reminded of when the Elders committed me to baptism. My parents finally gave me permission to be baptized and when they asked me... I said "no." WHAT!? Was I crazy? How could I of said no when I would cry myself to sleep some nights because I wanted to become a member so bad? I was then reminded of the things and trials that were blocking me from the gate of baptism...and it was a matter of faith. Even on my baptism day I remember having doubts but...I still went with it because I knew it was what God wanted me to do. We are just stuck with what to do with Ernie and just hope and pray things go well this week!

We had a missionary fireside last night it the VC was packed with people! It was fun to see a lot of the Elders in the mission. I feel like since we serve in the VC, we don't really get to know the other missionaries so when we have firesides like the one last night, we get to see and meet them! We really do have great missionaries in this mission and I love it. I had to sing in a duet with Sister Davis and lets just say I was not a happy camper about it haha. I like to sing alto. I don't like to ever sing soprano (high) in any musical number because I get really nervous. Actually, the only time that I ever get nervous to sing in front of people is when it in a church setting. Put me on stage at BYUI, place me in the middle of the basketball court to sing a solo for a high school assembly and I'm good. church? Or for a fireside? I get so nervous haha. So I was told to sing with Sister Davis and she was trying to get me to sing a solo and haha it was probably the first time in a couple weeks (if I'm being honest here...) where I was incredibly stubborn. I told her that "Sister Shakespear asked me to sing with you...not to sing a solo." Hahahaha oh man, I was being such a pill but hey! Luckily I didn't have to go through the torture of singing a solo. It ended up going okay but yeah...never again. Emilio was one of the recent converts that was chosen to share his testimony and he did so good! He said it in Spanish and Sister Cole translated for him. I got to talk to him afterward and it was so fun. He's so patient with my Spanish :) He's great! I hope he serves a mission!

I had some pretty cool experiences this week:
1. A group of people (single adults) came in and were just chilling by the bathroom (random) and I decided to go up and talk to them. They decided to come to the VC because it was one of the girls first time. I asked them if they wanted to watch a movie and they ended up choosing The Restoration (favorite!). We put them in the I'm a Mormon room to watch it and we find out that the the girl was getting baptized this weekend!! We were so excited for her! After we talked to her and got to know, I decided to just pre-set the movie so that they could begin watching it. The other people that were with her were kind of talking to each other and my companion was laughing because of something funny that had happened outside. But...this girl and I kept complete eye contact. I bore my testimony to her of Joseph Smith and how I know that he did indeed see God the Father and Jesus Christ. All of the sound around me was just a bunch of mumbles but never did we lose eye contact. It was so cool! I know that she was still able to feel the spirit, even with the distractions around us.
2. My companion was in the back getting something when this girl walked in to the VC Saturday afternoon. I immediately said hi to her as she walked by me and because her hair was wet, I assumed she had just finished doing baptisms. I asked her how the temple was and she talked about how she loves to do baptisms for the dead. I then randomly asked her if she wanted to watch the Book of Mormon pods. I don't think I've ever started at the Book of Mormon pods in a tour but it just felt right this time. She took a seat and then I started to explain what the BOM pods were. I then asked her, "how has the gospel blessed your life?" She then started to swell up in tears and share a sweet testimony to me of how it means everything to her. I felt the spirit so strongly as she was sharing her testimony to me. I then told her how important it is that she remembers how grateful she is for it every single day of her life, even during the hard moments. I gave her a hug and then walked away. What I asked her was such a simple question but it was a question that struck true to her heart and made her reflect on the blessings she has received from the gospel. I then was able to reflect on the days when I used to go to the Oakland visitors center by myself. I loved talking to the Sister Missionaries who served there! I always went there to not only feel the spirit but I knew that they would help me find answers to questions that I had.

It still fathoms me that I am a missionary. That I serve in a Visitors Center! That I get to do the very thing that those sisters did for me in Oakland. I never know who will walk in through the doors of the Los Angeles Visitors Center...but what I do know is that they are a child of God. That they are my brother and sister. That just like me, they chose to follow God's plan in the pre-mortal life and that's why they are here today on the that they can progress and learn what the purpose of life is. The mission is such a wonderful thing. Sometimes I feel like I'm not doing enough. I know that I can always be doing better. I want to be doing better! I really do love my mission. I literally cannot imagine my life without it. I can't imagine what I could possibly be doing at home if I had not chosen to serve a mission. This is where I'm suppose to be. This is what I am suppose to be doing. This is what God needs me to do in order to reach my fullest potential in this life. I hope you all have a wonderful week! I love the Gospel! I know that it can change lives because it has changed mine forever!! Love you all!

Hermana Baeza

1. I left my camera at home so this is from another sister! this was from last night!

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