Wednesday, December 25, 2013

FELIZ NAVIDAD

It´s Christmas! It doesn´t feel that way though haha Today we got to watch two movies to celebrate Christmas Despicable Me 2 and Monsters University. I loved it! It made me so trunky though...

   I am so blessed to be in this area for Christmas. The members are great! We have so many families that invited us over for Christmas. One member we are visiting tomorrow who I love is Hermana Costa aka ¨Mami¨. She seriously makes us call her Mami and if we don´t she gets mad. She LOVES missionaries. Every time we come over she says ¨You´re having lunch at my house tomorrow!¨ She says that as an order not a question. She´s funny :) The other day we went to her house and we really needed to talk to her, but she wasn´t answering the door. We got closer to the house and all we could hear was the TV so we figured she couldn´t hear us because it was too loud and she was sleeping. We decided to go in, turn off the TV, and then knock again. The whole time we were laughing and she was oblivious as to what was so funny. She also calls me ¨Hermana Cabeza de Vaca¨ (Sister Head of a Cow) because I told her where my last name came from and the story behind it and now that´s was she calls me! She´s too funny and really takes good care of us.

   Another family is the Santa Maria´s. The mother is a single parent with 13 kids. They´re house is CRAZY! Here, people celebrate Christmas starting on the 24th and their parties continue through the 25th. We are going to their house both days! I am so excited! We plan on acting out the Nativity with all the kids and we are going to surprise them by having another member bring their sheep over. ( I´m a little fearful for the sheep. I´m not lying when I say they are crazy!). 

   One miracle I´ve seen this Christmas is when on of the Santa Maria kids started talking to me. She HATES the missionaries and is always rude to us, but at the ward activity on Saturday she actually came! ALL of the Santa MarĂ­a´s came! They showed up late and didn´t bring plates or utensils (here people bring their own things to eat with at parties) so me and Hermana Lopez ran to the store and bought some for them. After we did that she talked to me the whole night! She even came to church the next day! 

   The reason I love this family so much and I am so excited to spend most of this holiday with them is because they have nothing and they are so happy! They are gratefully for anything they get and you can really feel how genuine and grateful they are that we come visit them. 

   Everyone always ask if I am sad that I´m not home for Christmas, but I would be so selfish if all I thought about was how I´d rather be home then helping these people. Christmas isn´t about me and what I want. It´s a celebration of the start of Jesus Christ life who lived and gave his life for me. What better gift could I give then spending my time hear teaching his message and helping others to follow him. I challenge everyone to find some way to give a gift to Jesus Christ this Christmas.

¡FELIZ NAVIDAD!
¡HOY ES EL DIA! 

Love, Hermana Baca

 My first day in Uruguay

 2 Months on my mission!

 ¡Tati!

 One night Estaban brought us stickers and treats! He´s a recent convert.

Our Christmas Tree



Friday, December 20, 2013

   I can´t believe it´s already Monday again! We have long days and short weeks. We work A LOT. I love it though! I keep having dreams that I am home and everytime I have a dream like that I always want to go back to Uruguay in my dream. I guess it´s more like a nightmare than a dream haha

   This week we had a big conference with over 100 missionaries here. I really wanted to see some of the missionaries that were in the MTC with me, but I didn´t know who I would run into. I was watching everyone walk up to the church and I saw Hermana Sorenson. I WAS SO HAPPY! I ran up to her and hugged her. It was like something you see in a movie.We were both so happy! I loved hearing how things were going for her here and sharing our experiences.

   During the conference Elder Castillo ,who is in my area and lives next door, got really sick. We have been taking care of the elders this week because of it. One morning they called us and asked us if we could bring over a thermometer and so we did. A half an hour later Elder Larrea called and said ¨Hermana´s how do you use the thermometer?¨ They need their mommys! I can´t count how many times they have called us this week. haha They are doing better now though!

   I´m glad I am not sick because I would not want to stay in a hot house all day. The houses don´t have air conditioning or heating so it´s cooler outside. Last night it was VERY hot and humid. I didn´t sleep at all and ended up soaking my hair in water over and over througout the night to cool down. I guess there is one good thing to having cold water.
 
   Walking in hot/humid weather all day is.... fun. I am going to have some pretty sweet tan lines when I get home! One of the members came up to me at our activity on Friday and told me I was turning black.... Thank you Hermana Curbelo! 

  Our house is going to change! One of the Senior missionaries came and told us his plans to fix it up. Missionaries have been living there since 2005. My mattress is about to get moved to the floor because the frame is too fragile. We got a new pink toilet seat! Fun! haha We were holding off on getting the sink fixed and then yesterday it officially broke. We had a rag holding it together. It just kept spraying out water and wouldn´t stop. Now THAT was a party! And we got 2 new fans already! One is like a hurricane which is perfect timing because it´s been SUPER hot.

   Even though it´s hot all day the nights here are great! I live for Uruguayan nights! Everyone´s outside, the sky is pretty, and the weather is cool. All of that means that the people are more friendly. We say ¨Hola!¨ to everyone as we walk and most of the time they glare at us or mock us. haha

   One day we ran into a guy that wanted to talk to us FOREVER. We were so excited at first and then we realized he was high... He told me, TOLD not asked, that I was from Haiti. After we finally got away from him we ran into him all over San Fernando that day and everytime he was talking with different people. The people would always have the same expression as we did when we talked to them of ¨ Ok, this guy is crazy.¨ At one he told the people he was talking to that I was Asian....LOCO!

   Luckily the members are VERY nice and not crazy. :) Sometimes I just want to avoid visiting their houses because they all give us food! I am always full on three things bread, juice/soda, and Toco. Toco is raviolio or pasta with a little bit of sauce. ¨ Why can´t I just have a salud or someting¨ (Nacho Libre).

   Its a blessing though because other areas don´t have members like ours. One night we got home and we were actually hungry because we didn´t eat a lot that day. A little while later one of the members called and said she was bringing over a pizza and some food. She didn´t have a reason either! She just wanted to do something nice for the missionaries. Another day it was super hot and we were talking to a member. As we talked he had a cup of ice cream and it looked SO GOOD! We went to the Jacientios house after and guess what they brought out! ICE CREAM! We are truly blessed. 

   The other day though I thought I was going to be lunch instead of getting lunch! The house we went to for lunch that day had stray dogs around it and me and Hermana Lopez spent a good 5 minutes trying to avoid them until the family finally came out and chased them away. I was laughing haha The dogs are so crazy! Seriously!

  Miss you all! Remember HOY ES EL DIA the Lord is hastening his work. I challenge you all to share the gospel with one of your friends for Christmas. Christmas is about the Lord not about us. We should be trying to give him gifts. There is no better way to show your appriciation for him than to share his message.

CHOW! 
Hermana Baca

Friday, December 6, 2013

Here´s where to send letters and packages:

Hermana Baca
La Mision Uruguay Montevideo Oeste
Enrique Martinez 1167
Montevideo, Montevideo 11.800
Uruguay


For packages:
* Cant be more than 4 pounds
* Declare contents as missionary supplies
* Do not put that it has value more than $50
* It takes about 3 weeks to get here.

Without these instructions it can take months and there´s more of a possibility of it just not showing up.
 I love the field a million times more than anywhere else! I love the people, the culture, the matte, ALL OF IT! Heavenly Father knew what he was doing when he sent me here. I am not a touchy feely person and the first couple days I was so done with the kisses! Now I really don´t care. 

  The food is more manageable. I´m still not willing to put mayo on everything like they do but that´s ok. I´ve learned to eat slow so that they won´t keep bringing more when I´m done. They don´t understand ¨Only a little more¨. EVERY TIME I get a whole plate full again. Even if you think the meals over.....It´s not. They also love to have this coffee type beverage (without caffeine), Bun (bread), and dulce le leche (I don´t like it) at the end of every meal! And whenever you visit too! 

   Tomorrow we are having Oreos at our district meeting. I'VE NEVER BEEN SO EXITED FOR OREOS!

   On Saturday I don´t know what made me so sick from the night before but I was so sick! My body was ache all over and I had the worst stomach ache. Luckily we didn´t have any lessons that day because we had an event called ¨ El Central de Visitarse¨ It´s where we open up the church and hold tours. When one of the mission leaders came to get us to go they told me to just stay in bed. Later, that night I got a blessing from elder Dietrich and the next day I was fine! I went to all my lessons and church the next day. No problems! Luckily it wasn´t a day where we had people to go see and appointments.

   I was especially happy I was well enough to go to church. I saw miracles! Here, it´s hard to get the members to go to church here because EVERYONE is related in some way or another and EVERYONE has a problem with someone. It´s a small town. We invited many to come to church during the week and most of them said they would, but that happens all the time and they always end up not coming. Yesterday though MANY came! It was a good fast Sunday! 

 1. Hermana Olga hasn´t been to church in 6 YEARS. During the week we visited her and she was really mean. Something must have got through to her though because she was in sacrament meeting!
2. Hermana Martinez and her son. I talked about her husband last week in my letter. He didn´t come :/ BUT 2 out of 3 is awesome!!!!
3. Mario is not a member and his wife is inactive. They are not married but they´re whole family was they´re yesterday! And they told me they have been praying as a family like I told them to! Vamos ARRIBA!
4. Hermano Fertado hasn´t been to church in years! His wife and oldest son do go to church though. We gave them a goal to have their family sealed in the temple. HERMANO FERTADO AND AN INACTIVE SON CAME! His son said he talked to his active brother and really wanted to change. YEAH!
5. A girl who was baptized a year ago and never came after randomly showed up! We have an appointment with her (which is hard to get). Everyone was so surprised to see her!
6. Hermana Susana has a lot of health problems and hardly comes. Her daughter wants to serve a mission though and she secretly came and told us she is taking our challenge to read the scriptures 10 minutes a day and is trying to get her mom to. They both came on Sunday!


Last but not least
7. Estavan. HE IS SOOO CAPO. He was baptized two week ago by his brother who was baptized a few months before him. When they talk about the light of Christ being in people. Estavan, is the definition of that. He is so faithful and happy! Yesterday we went to visit his aunt so she could help us go teach a lesson. All of his cousins and siblings were watching TV and Estavan was sitting on the bed with them reading the For Strength of Youth pamphlet. He said ¨It´s the Sabbath day¨ He´s awesome!

Everything's great! I love it here.

Wednesday, November 27, 2013

So after 30 hours of traveling we landed in the BEAUTIFUL land of Uruguay. It is seriously so pretty!!!

I met my trainer, Hermana Lopez, she is from Guatemala. She's the best! The lord really knew what he was doing when he put us as companions. We went to our house.....or Shack. At first I was thought of it as only a shack but after visiting members it is a nice house! It has tile and I am so grateful for every part of it.

In Uruguay they eat a small breakfast, HUGE LUNCH, and drink matte the rest of the day. Everyone has matte all the time! MATTE, MATTE, MATTE... POR DIAS! As missionaries we are not allowed to have it though.

The food is a lot! They get offended if you don't eat it. So everyone should just expect to see me 50 pounds heavier when I come home and I don't care. The people see missionaries as hero's and so to show appreciation they feed you. It's not the best food.......I pray at every meal for Heavenly Father to help me. It works every time! AND they have mayonnaise with EVERYTHING. I'm not kidding! EVERYTHING. They also have a lot of soda. NO ME GUSTA. I haven't had soda in weeks. Any kind of soda you can think of, they have it! They never give you just water... It's soda with water. 

Here they also don't have doors. They have sheets so you stand in their yard (as a million dogs bark at you) and clap. I was clapping one day and I felt something fall on my arm and head. IT WAS BIRD POOP. That's how my day went, that day. But I washed it off and kept working. 

I don't understand really anything. haha Its hard, really hard. Pray for my language! I usually always hear MOOOOOOO after I tell people my name and CASINOS! When I say where I''m from. My bishop served a mission in Las Vegas. I'm not alone!

I LOVE THE PEOPLE! We teach these little girls and they are 8.9. and 10. They love Heavenly Father so much! Their families don't listen to us but they don't care if their daughter do and get baptized. They want to get baptized so bad but because they are young we have to teach them for 3 more months. The first day I met them they pulled out their report cards and were telling us that since we have been teaching them and they have been praying the have seen their grades improve. They know it's because of Heavenly Father. THESE ARE LITTLE KIDS! The next day we had planned to teach them about the word of wisdom and why we don't drink coffee, alcohol, do drugs, ect. and when we walked up one of the girls had a cup of coffee.....OF COURSE. As we taught right in the middle of the lesson she dumped it out into the dirt. Another girl went into the kitchen, grabbed a tea bag, and poured it onto the ground. NO MORE! They said. How faithful! 

There's another house I went to where they have 13 kids and it's about the size of my room at home. One of the older kids just got baptized last Friday. THEY ARE SO HAPPY! We played a game and in the game you have to refer to each person as a number you give them. I don't remember any of their names but I remember their numbers! haha Everytime I see them I just say "HOLA NUMERO CINCO!" Or HOLA NUMERO TRES!" They think it's so funny. And they always try to help me with my Spanish.

Lastly, I'm not gonna lie. I have never felt so homesick in my life than I did the first couple of days! The only way I know how to describe it is when you go on a hike and part of you just wants to turn around at the start and just go home but you really want to get to the end cause you know how great it will feel! It's so hard. The food, the language, the people, the poverty, but I love it more each day.

Yesterday I was at church and I fought tears all day because I couldn't understand anything! I sat in sacrament and memorized words. Then when we went to go teach lessons NO ONE was home or they were all watching the FUTBOL game. I was really wanting to go teach the members cause that always makes me feel better but that just wasn't happening. Then when we did teach all I did was sit there and then when Hermana Lopez would look at me I would bear my testimony in what little Spanish I knew. Finally we were going to the last house of the day. It was the wards old bishop who was bishop for 5 years and is now inactive. (inactive members are a huge problem here) Craziest thing happened. It was a MIRACLE. I understood everything! I understood!!!!!!! I knew exactly what to say when it was my turn to speak. After I spoke I then asked Hermano Lopez if he would come to church with me on Sunday. He said YES! 

That moment made all my struggles I've had here worth it! It was a MIRACLE! If you are obedient and trust in the lord through difficult times. He will help you. It's hard but I smile through it because I trust that eventually I learn the language, love the food, and call this my home. 

HOY ES EL DIA!

Friday, November 22, 2013

WELCOME 
SISTER KAYLEE JUNE BACA
URUGUAY. MONTEVIDEO WEST 
MISSION



This is the email we received from the mission home. We also received a personal phone call from Sister Smith letting us know that Kaylee arrived safe.

Dear Baca Family,

We would like to inform you of the arrival of your daughter to the Uruguay Montevideo West Mission. She arrived here safe and sound yesterday morning and met President and Sister Smith. She will receive some training in the mission home to help her get to know the mission and feel comfortable in Uruguay. The missionaries will have lunch with the Smith Family and, afterwards, she will meet her trainer and leave for her new area. It is such an exciting time for her, and we wanted to share it with you. If you have any questions or concerns please feel free to get in contact with us. We thank you for all you have done as parents to help your daughter reach this point in her life.  We have attached a photo of your daughter with President and Sister Smith and her Trainer. Sister Baca will be serving with Sister Lopez in the Zone of Cerro.  Thank you so much for your support.

FINAL DAYS IN THE PROVO MTC...

Elder Randall!

Elder Randall from Vegas!

Adios Zivic!

Chow Hermano Zivic!

Saying goodbye to Hermano Zivic this morning

How I feel at the end of the day. 

Mckean's camera snipes

More camera snipes

Elder Finlay and I arguing over flowers.  

Uruguay > Mexico

This is Elder Jacob Arslainian. We went to elementary school together in Idaho and we just happened to enter the MTC on the same day and meet again in the MTC. Cool story bro.

This is Elder Jacob Arslainian. We went to elementary school together in Idaho and we just happened to enter the MTC on the same day and meet again in the MTC. Cool story bro.

Thursday, November 21, 2013

I'm going CrAzY!!!! 

URUGUAY!!! 
Our sorting game...

Modesty Meetings! The elders flyer is a joke!

These elders left for Armenia and The Republic of Georgia! They don't even have a Book Of Mormon in Georgian language... 

Oh Elder Finlay.....

He has a matching tie to the scarf too...


Elder Barela knows I love sour candy and he comes and gives me a pack of sour patch kids every night...

Elder Finlays profile picture on Mormon.org. He's a riot...

A fourth of my zone!

Temple Day


HaPpY

I'm Hermana Paris!


Our branch leader brought his grand kids. We were so excited!


PARTY!!!

PARTY!!!

Temple Day

Temple Day

My awesome zone leaders

Temple Day

Tuesday, November 19, 2013

 I'm almost done with the MTC!!!!!!!! 3 more days!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! We leave Monday and I have completely accepted the fact that my Spanish isn't perfect, I won't understand anyone for a while, I'm going to be sound gringo and be looked at as a native, and I LOVE Uruguay already! ESTA BIEN!

   This week a district in my zone got to fly to Vegas for a day and go to the Mexican Consulate for their visas. SO JELLY. I think if I had the opportunity to leave the MTC for a day I would not come back. Ask anyone here..........I'm going crazy. We all are.

   Our district is singing for the musical number on Sunday, because it's our last Sunday. We have no idea what to sing so we have decided we are putting on a musical and changing the words to Les Mis. We spent a good while laughing about it as we sang to each other the other day. Just kidding, but we really don't know what we're going to sing and we all sound bad. I don't think we have ever sang an opening song in class and been serious about it. HOW ARE WE GOING TO SING IN FRONT OF OUR ZONE haha

   I am so sad to leave my district! I can't say that enough about them. 7 of us will be in Uruguay together and one elder is going to Indianapolis. BEST zone in the MTC. We get work done and have a good time.We play this spanish game and It's been interesting to see how much we really do know.

   Speaking of my district there's an elder who has been having a hard time. A couple of us have spent a lot of time talking for him and we have all been praying for him to get through this. Pray for Elder Mckean por favor! He needs it!

   Our zone is huge now! Last Wednesday we got 4 new district! I didn't know half the people on Sunday. It's never been this big. The other day a new elder came into our classroom and said

Him: " Hermana Baca how do you say cliff in Spanish?"
Me:  " No se." ( that's I don't know in Spanish)
Him: " No really"
Me: " No, I really don't know. I've only been learning Spanish for 4 weeks."
Him: " Oh, you look like you would know Spanish"

WHO'S HE CALLING BROWNIE!?!?!?!? Not every dark person knows Spanish. It was hilarious.

   Our district has had a lot of fun messing around with the new missionaries. We can tell them anything and they'll believe us. Last week the Sister Training Leaders held a meeting for all the sisters to attend about modesty and so we could meet each other. They decided to post a flyer in all our classrooms so we would all know. BOY DID THE ELDERS LOVE THAT! They decided that they needed to make flyers and hold a modesty meeting as well. They made ALMOST identical flyers and posted it next to all the flyers the sisters had made. It was one big joke and Elder Dietrich was going to act like " Rex Tae Kwon Do" from Napoleon Dynamite and he made a name badge that said " Elder Rex Modesty" He practiced what he was going to say in front of our district and it was GOLDEN. I laughed so hard! 

   The best part about this was we were in class and their " Modesty Convention" ( As they called it). Was going to start in 20 minutes and the new elders walked in and asked " Elders, we're about to go get our suit coats in the apartment for the meeting, but do you think we should bring something to write on too just in case?" We tried to keep serious, but as soon as they left we were laughing hysterically and our teacher was like " What meeting?". Pictures of the flyers to be attached.

   Our district also decided one day that we would sort each other into Harry Potter houses. We had a sorting session. The Elders left the room and we decided what houses to put them in and then we left the room and they put us into houses. Our houses could not be more accurate. I'm in slytherin.....they all think I'm too sarcastic. Pictures to come of our sortings. #nerds

  HIGHLIGHT OF MY WEEK: Elder L. Tom Perry came and spoke to us for the Tuesday night devotional. I had no idea something happened in the Philippines until everyone who spoke said something about it! He told some pretty neat stories of missionaries there. ALL the missionaries are fine. Coincidence.... I think not. This is the Lords work.

  HIGHLIGHT OF MY MTC EXPERIENCE: 

   Here in the MTC our teachers pretend to be investigators and we teach them lessons in Spanish for practice. It sounds weird, but even though I know it's my teacher it feels so real! They pick investigators they taught on their missions so it's easier to act like them. I truly feel the lord gives them acting powers or something during these lessons. 

   We have been teaching a guy named " Constantio" for the last few weeks. This past week we reached the baptism date we set for him and finished teaching our investigator. We were the only ones to do this with Constantino. How COOL! And I learned so many things from this.

   The next day it was time to teach Constantino, but my companion and I had finished teaching him. I asked Hermano Bullock if he could give us a new investigator that was similar to what we would experience in Uruguay. He decided to gives us a guy he taught named Silvio. 

   Silvio's parents died when he was 14, he lived with his older brother who he never saw, he worked all day, and didn't even know who God was.

   It was hard to be positive during the lesson. I loved Silvio just talking to him. I just wanted to teach him EVERYTHING and let him know how loved he was. This was someone who felt like NO ONE loved him. And you could see it in his demeanor and everything. 

   After the lesson Hermano Bulluck went out of acting mode and said " you did well! I could tell it was hard for both of you but you did SO well." Hermana Reed said: " I felt so sad the entire time! Are we really going to be teaching people like that?" Hermano Bullock said " All the time."

   We left that lesson with the spirit so STRONG.

   The people in Uruguay have nothing. They need this gospel because so many times you'll hear stories like Silvio's there and then they hear this message and their lives are changed. They go from nothing to happiness! And you don't even need material things to change their lives. 

  I can't wait to go to Uruguay. I love these people so much. I love this gospel so much! Why wouldn't I want to share this message and give up a year and a half of my life to share it. It's not a sacrifice to give up my time it's a blessing.

Love you and miss you all! Adios!

Love, Hermana Baca

Monday, November 11, 2013

URUGUAY!

Welcome to the MTC West Campus!

If you haven't watched The Phone Call" on lds.org or in seminary GO WATCH IT NOW!!!It's hilarious...

At the Temple this morning.

My laminated scripture key side 1

My laminated scripture key side 2

Oh GOSH!!!

I wear a coat ALL the time

DUCK FACE!

CUUUTTTEEE!!!

Elders have a good time stealing cameras here!!!

Hermano Whitaker served in the same mission as my brother! Costa Rica 

This is Elder Tayson (the one from my story)

Action shots are the BEST!!! I literally have a coat on ALL THE TIME!!!!

Elder Dietrich loves to snap pics.

More of Elder Dietrich's action shots.

Action shots

My running buddies!

New District

New District 

What I have to deal with everyday!!!

Elder Harker's a weirdo

Cute!!!

So on Halloween Hermana Sorenson and I dressed up as nerds. The only ones on campus dressed up!

Halloween costume...ignore Elder Dietrich

Halloween Nerds!!!

Nerds!!!

Halloween costume...ignore Elder Dietrich

Halloween Nerds!!!