Monday, March 30, 2015

March 30, 2015

Next week I will have 18 months in the mission. I feel like I´m a senior in high school again. You know top of the class, you know how to do the whole high school thing, and you’re getting ready for the new exciting things that come next. It´s not only that I feel that way, but it looks that way too, all my shoes are dead, and I´ve been carrying around a torn up backpack for the last month. Every time someone says ´´ Hey your backpacks opened! ´´ I say ´´ Hey! It´s always opened! ´´.
Last week I finally decided to switch my backpack out to a side bag I have so I transferred all my pamphlets, pass along cards, chap stick, scriptures, ect to the other bag. A couple days after I decided to transfer everything I was packing up my bag to head out and I decided that I wouldn´t need my wallet that day.
Well it´s a good thing I switched bags and didn´t have a wallet on me because after walking just a block from our house two guys on a motorcycle snuck up behind us and robbed me. ( Okay, mom I know you´re freaking out right now but no worries). Luckily, the just snatched my bag and drove away. I was grateful that the spirit had told me to switch bags and take out my wallet and I testify that it was the spirit that gave me the impression to do those things.
We were both a little shocked. The good thing was that the robber was so smart to tug hard that the cell phone fell out! That was another tender blessing. We picked up the phone and ran to the almacen nearby where there had been people watching it. We asked them if we should call the police and they told us no, because they won´t do anything. (I just love Uruguayan police. They´re the best in the world).
Luckily, we were safe. Sadly, they did get away with one of my most prized possessions, my scriptures. I still pray every day for a miracle to happen and them to show up or for the robbers to read them. (Pray for my scriptures). We tried to find a safer place to live, but nothing has fallen through for 2 ½ months now.
With everything that happened, president decided to take us out of the area. Everything happens for a reason! Luckily everything worked out, because he sent Hermana Hafen and I to RIVERA! (One of the safest place on earth, mom). It´s on the border of Brazil and we love it here! It´s a blessing that we are staying together and this will be our 2nd time opening and area together. 
I am so grateful for the protection the Lord. I know the /lord protects his missionaries. I also know that the holy ghost is so important in everything we do. We need to be worthy to have it´s guidance and quick to obey it´s whispers. I feel blessed.
Hermana Baca

Monday, March 23, 2015

March 23, 2015

Not a ``ton`` happened this week. We did have a super awesome zone activity where we played the real life Skyrim and Call of Duty in the church parking garage. That was cool.

How our week went

It`s getting colder here.

Nerf gun, ready for war

Hair dying party because everyone called Hermana Hafen blonde and she didn't like it.

Sunday, March 22, 2015

March 18, 2015


Los Buenos

Rita with her hipster 5 year old.

Our hija!

When I showed up at Maggie's house she said ´´ HERMANA BACA! I SAW YOU FROM THE WINDOW AND RAN OUTSIDE´´


My last day in Artigas my investigators Viviana and Marino had their baby just in time for me to meet her! Now they can get baptized! WOOH!


We love long bus rides!

March 18,2015

It´s has been a crazy week full of fun adventures and learning. Hermana Hafen and I got to drive up to Artigas (where I served for 11 months) with president for the stake conference. Some might call it privelegios, but I like to call it a blessing. We went to work with the sisters who are opening up my old area again and to teach all the people I worked with when I was there. It was a blessing!
Since leaving Artigas I have prayed so much for all of my converts, the less actives, the ward, and investigators. I haven´t been there, but my mind stayed there when I left. I truly have been worried for the salvation of those I taught. I always prayed that I would get the opportunity to teach and help them again. The Lord knows my desires and answered my prayers.
When I went I had a list of all the people I wanted to teach and find. As I showed up and taught them I could see how they were progressing and see how the Lord has answered every one of my prayers for them. The sisters and members are really doing a good job.
Izabel and Juan were two investigators I had been teaching. When I left Artigas they had just gotten married to get baptized and in the end they weren´t able to get baptized because she was sick and in the hospital, the last lesson I had with her was in a hospital bed during visiting hours. The week before I returned they got baptized and now they are working towards the temple after their daughters get baptized.
Viviana and Marino enjoyed watching Viviana´s parents (Juan and Izabel) get baptized. Vivana put the goal for them and their 3 daughters to get baptized after she had her baby. While I was there BIANCA WAS BORN. It was a blessing to meet her.
Izabel and Juan´s other two daughters Silvana and Diahana put the goal to be baptized together after Silvana gets married. Silvana has been living in Montevideo with her boyfriend, getting ready for marriage, and attending church EVERY week. I am so impressed with these young ladies and the progression of their family.
Ernesto and Ariamna were two of my converts who I taught for 9 months before they got baptized. I had found out that after I left they moved to another part of Artigas and no one knew where they were. I prayed that I could find them, and we did! It was amazing to hear their testimonies and goals to get sealed in the temple. They will go to church in their new ward this Sunday.
Emiria and Adan Bitancourt are less actives that were preparing to go to the temple April when I left. The last few months I was there Emiria was put on bed rest and unable to walk for a problem in her leg. I was happy to see her COMPLETELY HEALED leg and to know that they are still heading to the temple in April.
I was able to see lots of fruits of the labor I did with all my companions. I was also able to see that there is a still lot of work to do! I do know however, that as we work diligently we can not only expect to see fruits, but also miracles. Each one of these people’s stories is a miracle and I am so grateful for the spirit that lead me to them and helped me teach them. I am grateful that I can serve as a disciple of Christ and help them come unto him.
I love the path to discipleship I´m on and I am grateful for all the wonderful experiences I have had as I serve. I feel more and more of Heavenly Fathers love as I serve him and his children. I know he gives me blessings like going to Artigas for a weekend because our desires are one.
Hermana Baca

Tuesday, March 10, 2015

MARCH 9, 2015 

A couple of weeks ago we had a really cool experience when we met a couple named Pablo and Gloria Florentin. Pablo was a missionary who built our church building 30+ years ago here in barrio 7. Him and his wife came all the way from Australia to visit Uruguay for 3 weeks and visit all of their friends. They put together a lunch reunion with all of the old members and invited us to participate.
It was interesting to go to the lunch and see that after 30 years, those that lived the gospel are happy. As for those who chose not to live the gospel, they`re not as happy as they could be. I was glad that Pablo put the lunch together and invited us because we were able to talk to those who had chosen not to live the gospel.  I was also glad that Pablo and Gloria came to Uruguay because for 3 weeks they worked with their old friends who had been struggling. They visited in their houses, helped with family history, and just worked for 3 weeks. They are amazing examples!
This past week was their last week here and since the first reunion we had with them we hadn`t really had much more contact with them. Every Tuesday we have to travel to central to go to our district meeting a half an hour away and as we were walking to the bus stop to head back I thought in my head `` I need to contact Pablo and Gloria before they leave.``. As I thought this in my head, we turned the corner and there they were! Pablo and Gloria hand in hand trying to cross the busy street. What a miracle!
When we walked up to them, we were both surprised to see each other. We asked them how they were and we could immediately see that they weren`t ok. Gloria started telling us how even though they came here to serve and help their friends everything has been going bad. She explained to us that right as we walked up she was upset because they were trying to go to the temple the only day they could and Pablo’s recommend was lost. We caught them right in a moment of discouragement.
As she talked I thought to myself `` that always happens to us as missionaries. We are working in the Lords work and trying to do so many good things, but at times the adversary is just so against us.``. As we took the bus back with them we listened to Gloria and comforted her. She told us how, even though it was a rough day, she doesn`t want to leave Uruguay because she wants to help. She told us that because they came on this trip, she decided she is going to stop working and return to Uruguay with her husband to serve a mission.
I was so grateful to listen to her testimony and learn from her example in just a short time. I know that it wasn`t a coincidence that we ran into them. I was grateful that we ran into them because they invited us to one that reunion with their friends the day before they left. There, we were able to talk with the same less actives, meet more people we could help, and feel the spirit with them.
Everyone was so grateful that Pablo came and brought them all back together. I loved what Pablo and Gloria said when they all expressed the gratefulness to them, they said `` It wasn`t Pablo that brought this all together, it was the Lord.`` They are examples of people who ``Let your light so shine before men, that they may see your good works, and glorify your Father which is in heaven.`` Mathew 5:16. I know because of their good works and example these past few weeks they have glorified their Heavenly Father and helped others feel of his love. They changed lives. They changed my life, we became eternal friends.
I know that this is the Lords work and that he places people in our lives to glorify his love. I know that if we work hard to glorify his love in all that we do, we can see miracles in our lives and change others’ lives.
Hermana Baca

Aprons Hermana Smith got us because it had cows on it and it reminded her of me.

Green smoothies!

This is what happens after 17 months of walking

How I fix shoes

MARCH 2, 2015

For the last couple of weeks I had been having some trouble studying how I should teach the Doctrine of Christ in a more effective way. After listening to the zone conference and how we needed to study the Doctrine of Christ and find our own ways to teach it I felt the need to look for a whole new way to teach it. I began knocking and knocking and knocking to receive an answer to my prayers and receive revelation, but it wasn`t coming. I was diligently studying how King Benjamin taught the Doctrine of Christ and as a companionship we were focusing on becoming better teachers.
Last week as Hermana Hafen and I sat in on the conference for the Oreos everything just started to click. We both had the question of how we were supposed to teach the Doctrine of Christ in different ways and as you taught the Oreos the Doctrine of Christ and gave the assistants feedback everything started to click in my head. As they taught clearly I was able to understand the Doctrine better and relate it to everything I had been studying in Mosiah. In that moment I felt like the Lord started answering all my knocks. I was receiving revelation through the spirit.
As they taught it was in a clear way where I could see that they understood the Doctrine to be able to teach it in whatever way needed. After all it`s like memorizing how to solve one math problem or memorizing the way to solve it. If we just know how to solve one math problem, when a harder or different problem is given we won`t be able to solve it. All of our investigators and less active are different. We need to be able to help them understand the Doctrine of Christ according to their needs, not a memorized way. The better we understand the Doctrine, the better we will be able to teach it to whomever, whenever, and with the spirit.
As I listened to the assistance and you teach I felt the door to the revelation I needed opening over and over again. I was writing everything down like crazy and I was so excited to put it all together with Hermana Hafen. The next day when we got home we sat down to have a companionship study. With both our thoughts and the spirit it was like revelation overload! We found an inspired way to teach the Doctrine of Christ.
In Mosiah 4 King Benjamin teaches his people how they can be saved. As representative of Jesus Christ we`re here to teach other about the things they need to be saved, because we love them and our Heavenly Father loves them too. When King Benjamin taught it says that ``…and behold they had fallen to the earth… And they all cried aloud with one voice, saying: O have mercy, and apply the atoning blood of Christ that we may receive forgiveness of our sins, and our hearts may be purified; for we believe in Jesus Christ, the Son of God``. ( Mosiah 4: 1-2).
When the Doctrine of Christ is taught clearly, people understand and they change. They understand the need for repentance to be saved and that the only way to receive repentance is by accessing the atonement. They understand that the only way they can access the atonement is through covenants like the sacrament and baptism. Just as the people of King Benjamin were able to understand and access the atonement, we want our investigators and members to understand and start changing to access the atonement.
The Doctrine of Christ teaches exactly what we need to do be saved. After teaching the Doctrine of Christ King Benjamin said ``And this is the means whereby salvation cometh. And there is none other salvation save this which hath been spoken of; neither are there any conditions whereby man can be saved except the conditions which I have told you.`` ( Mosiah 4:8) Only through living the Doctrine of Christ can we be saved and God has set these conditions.
 Hermana Hafen taught me about the word `` conditions`` in this verse. When we want to rent a house a contract is presented with certain conditions that are set by a landlord and we have the liberated to accept or decline these conditions. The Lord puts his conditions for which we can be saved. The conditions he has set are that we need to have faith in his son Jesus Christ, repent, be baptized by someone having his authority, receive the Holy Ghost, and endure to the end by weekly participation of the sacrament. We accept these conditions when we are baptized and if we don`t renew our contract weekly we don`t have the promise of salvation and the Holy Ghost.
I am grateful for my understanding of the Doctrine of Christ and for the Holy Ghost that helps me learn and understand it. I am grateful for a Savior and that we can all be saved through living his Doctrine and applying the atonement in our lives. I love my Heavenly Father and I am willing to do anything to be a servant in his hands just as Kind Benjamin was and was able to teach excelently. 
Hermana Baca

Monday, March 9, 2015

February 26, 2015

These past couples of weeks have been fun and busy. By the end of last week I was sick. I didn`t have too much energy and felt a little down. Although I wasn`t feeling to well I tried to keep working and prayed that I could get back to my usual way of working.
It`s cool to see the Lord answer prayers. Hermana Galvàn was heading back to Artigas on Monday night and was giving me feedback before she left. She helped me understand the importance of trusting in the Lord during hard times. She explained to me the importance of not only learning and studying the scriptures, but putting what I know into practice. It was great advice and it helped me to have a stronger desire to never become desanimado.
 As she was telling me that we received a phone call from the secretaries saying that I would be going to pick up the new missionaries from the airport. My body was overtaken by excitement when I heard that! They told us that we would not only get to pick them up, but that we would get to be with them until they met their trainers. All I kept thinking was what a privileged.
The next day we headed to pick them up. I don`t know why, but just being in the presence of new missionaries gives you energy. They are so excited to learn everything and get to work. We spent the day in trainings, listening to president, and we ended the day in a baptism. If I didn`t have energy before, by the end of the day my spirit was so lifted.
At the end of the night I just felt so blessed and like I had received light, not only light of excitement, but light of revelation. That night I was thanking President Smith for such the big privilege it had been. He told me that it`s a privilege because I had worked so hard and the Lord always blesses us for our obedience.
At times I do feel a little discouraged, but the Lord always has a way of showing me that he is pleased and helps me keep working. I am grateful for the tender blessings of the Lord and that we can start this new change with a new energy. I testify of Christ and that he loves us. I know if we trust in his strength to keep us going, he won`t let us down.
Hermana Baca

Picking up the new missionaries! 

New parents!

We just love spending time with Presidente and Hermana Smith

Only in Uruguay would you find a sign like this on the bus. 

February 16, 2015

We learn with the spirit so when the spirits not with us it is hard to ``know the truth of all things.`` Moroni 10:5. Many times when we teach someone who doesn`t have the holy ghost in their lives it`s hard to have patience when teaching them. It`s important to trust in the spirit and that it will enlighten their understanding. The spirit has to be there to help someone who`s so far driven from the Lord understand the truthfulness of the message we share.
There came a point in the Book of Mormon where the Lamanites wanted to fight the Nephites because they felt like God had punished Laman and Lemuel since the beginning and Nephi was his favorite.  
``12 They were wildand ferocious, and blood-thirsty people, believing in the tradition of their fathers, which is this—Believing that they weredriven out of the land of Jerusalem because of the iniquities of their fathers, and that they were wronged in the wilderness by their brethren, and theywere also wronged while crossing the sea;
 13 And again, that they were wronged while in the land of their first inheritance, after they had crossed the sea, and all this because that Nephi wasmore faithful in keeping the commandments of the Lord—therefore he was favored of the Lord, for the Lord heard his prayers and answered them,and he took the lead of their journey in the wilderness. `` Moroni 10: 12-13.
We know that it wasn`t that way and that Nephi was blessed for his obedience, but because the Laminites didn`t have the spirit in their lives they were easily influenced by the thought of Satan. I imagine it would be hard to teach a Lamanite who`s so caught in the power of Satan. Although, as missionaries we face people who have harden hearts just like the Lamanites every day.
The other day we had a meeting in the Church at 10 in the morning with our ward missionary leader. As we waited for him to show up there was a group of people showing up at the church. We had no idea what the group was for until one sister came to us and started talking. She told us that her and her husband had came from Australia and got all the members of the church who built our church building 50 years ago for a lunch.
It was like a family reunion was happening. She also told us that even though those members had built the church many of them were inactive. She invited us to have lunch with them. The interesting thing is that both the elders and us just happened to not have lunch that day, because the families cancelled. I was grateful that the Lord worked to cancel lunch and not have our ward missionary leader show up so that we could be part of that special event. The Lord is amazing.
When we went to lunch I knew my purpose. I eagerly sat right next to a couple of inactive members and started to casually talk with them. One of them is Nestor. He went inactive when he was in his 20`s and has had a rough life since. He recognized that unlike all his other friends who stayed in the church he wasn`t happy. He explained to me that he is fighting with God and that God has been punishing him for all that he`s done. ( Kinda of like something the Lamanites said ;).)
Luckily for Nestor all of his friends were listening to him talk and they all started testifying of the gospel to him. It was a miracle that he even showed up to the activity and just being there feeling the love of his friends helped him feel Gods love for him. As I went on listening to him I tried to be patient and just let him speak. I could easily interrupt him and answer every one of his doubts, but the spirit kept whispering to me to just be patient and wait. When the time came the only thing I did was testify of Christ. I felt so much power as I testified and I know he could feel it too.
After I testified he asked me `` Why is God punishing me then if he loves me?``. In that moment the Lord endowed me with power to explain to him the law of Justice and how our loving Heavenly Father sent his son Jesus Christ to pay the price of our sins so that we can be let free from guilt and the consequences of our sins. Alma 43:20 It was something so simple and clear that he understood. The spirit illuminated his understanding.
He then gave us his address and phone number to go visit with him, because he said that he liked talking with us. He like feeling the spirit and being able to have a better understanding through the spirit. I know that the spirit is key to changing hearts. I know that our Redeemer live and he lives because we have a Heavenly Father who loves us. I know that the Book of Mormon is a true book and that as we read it, it can illuminate our understanding.
Hermana Baca

February 9,2015

I spent my birthday in the same place as I did last year. 

My birthday and Carolines birthday. 12 and 21

Our little family.
A super Juicer a member gave us. This was a tender mercy from the Lord for me. Not only did she give us the juicer, but she gives us BAGS of fruit all the time and even the other day we ate lunch at a members house and they also gave us BAGS of fruit. I feel like it`s the Lord showing me that he is aware of me, my needs, and my wants. 

Ciudad Vieja

So today we took a train to Ciudad Viaja in Montevideo. It`s an old city that`s very touristy. It was fun.
Montevideo is BEAUTIFUL

Hermana Galvan


Hermana Hafen and I are MOMS! The new hijita Hermana Galvàn 

Doctrine and Covenants 101

Happy Birthday to Hermana GALVAN

February 9,2015

 I am still getting use to be in Montevideo and not Artigas. Who knew a country could be so different from one end to the other. I`m not use to being turned down so much and on Thursday I felt very down. We have been being very obedient in all things with the new plan we have for the mission, there isn`t a lesson or contact that we do without asking for references, and there isn`t a person that we pass without talking to them. On one side I feel good knowing that I am doing all that I can to bautizar, rescatar, and retener although, I have felt very down because in Montevideo the people aren`t as kind. I felt a lot of pressure to not only give the members a good experience by working with us, but also to Hermana Galvan (our corto plazo hija). 

The next day I had divisiones with Hermana Buno. I prayed that the Lord would help me feel more animated during the day. When the afternoon came around Hermana Buno explained that she had been feeling the same way. After talking we both came to realize that the spiritual experiences we have in lessons give us a lot of animo to work, but because it`s a lot different here we have to work harder and prayer for those spiritual experiences that keep us going.

After having an inspired experience with Hermana Buno I realized that even though we didn`t have a ton of lessons during the day to show Hermana Galvan, we did have an excelente companionship study. That same Thursday we taught Hermana Galvan lesson 1.1. We taught her not as an investigator, but has Estefani Galvan. It was a spiritual experience for all of us. I realized that I really needed to start praying for spiritual experiences and give thanks when we do have them. I went on working the rest of the week with a lot more animo. By the end of the week we saw miracles. 

During the week we had visited an inactive member who lost her only daughter 5 years ago and hadn`t been to church since. We have been visiting the family, their home teachers, and they are on the list from the high priest to work with. This past week we visited her with Kris (the Relief Society president and the daughter of Bishop Sandes). Kris hadn`t been to the house since the daughter died, because it was hard for her to go. When we asked Kris to come visit Hermana Perez with us to wish her a Happy Birthday we had no idea.

Even though it had been 5 years the visit was very successful. Kris ended up asking flat out ``Why don`t you two go to church`` La Familia Perez didn`t say why, but Kris told Hermana Perez that she was going to pick her up Sunday to go to sacrament meeting. Sunday came and Kris called her to say she was on her way, but when Hermana Perez got on the phone she told her that she wasn`t going, because she was having a panic attack. Kris told her she was coming anyways with someone to give her a blessing. Not only did she receive a blessing, but Kris was there to help her with her nerves, because she had suffered from the same thing. I have no doubt Kris needed to be the one to help her on Sunday.

For the first time in 5 years Hermana Perez came to church and partook of the sacrament. Hermana Perez commented that the last talk given was just for her. She said `` I knew the day I went back to church God would speak to me and he did during that talk``. All the members felt the same way. Everyone was so surprised, but the best part was that all the members that had visited her or had gone to visit her saw  the fruits of THEIR labor. They all hugged her and showed her love. Then when we did the huddle we talked about how great it was to see someone from the list progressing.

I know that as we are obedient and diligent we can see the fruits of our labor. I know that this plan that we have been putting into place is a truly inspired plan. I know that the members are an essential part of this plan and as we work together we can see miracles. I am grateful for the members here in Barrio 7. They helped us have a spiritual experience this week and we have so much animo to start a new week now.

Hermana Baca


My surprise from Hermana Hafen. Her surprise actually worked, I had no idea. She dido't set an alarm in the morning so I wouldn't wake up (sneaky) and she woke up and made banana bread, natural juice from carrots and oranges with our super juicer a member gave us, my favorite banana candy, and when we were in divisions she bought balloons and a gift. #bestbirthdaycompever

 #meowMy cat ring holder Hermana Hafen got me 

Banana candy. 

Sweet tan lines.