Tuesday, March 21, 2017

March 20

Well, my 18 months of serving the Lord has come to an end. I am so so so grateful for this time I have had in Guatemala. I have learned so much from so many different people. From members, from my companions, from people I have taught, and from the Lord. I would just like to mention a few of the things that I have learned in the last year and a half.

1. The Gospel is all about and centered in LOVE.
2. Obedience brings an uncountable amount of blessings.
3. When we serve others we automatically love them.
4. With a positive attitude and faith in the Lord, ANYTHING is possible.
And the last, most important, and most valuable for me,
5. God is our loving Heavenly Father and he lives. Jesus Christ is his Son, who was sent to this earth to perform the Atonement. And that through the Atonement of Christ we can change, we can become better people, and we can become more like Christ. We can be molded into the people that the Lord wants us to be. I know that Christ lives. That he loves us, and that if we put him as the first priority in our lives, everything else will just fall into place perfectly.

There is so much more that I have learned, but I think these are the most important. I am so grateful for each one of you who has taken the time to write me, to inspire me, to motivate me, and to support me during the mission. I am so excited to be able to start the next chapter in my life and to be able to apply everything that I have learned in the mission. These days of my life have been the most valuable and I will treasure them forever.

Con mucho, mucho amor de Guatemala,
Hermana Baird

Wednesday, March 8, 2017

March 6 Enduring to the end

Title: Enduring to the End

"And now, my beloved brethren, after ye have gotten into this strait and narrow path, I would ask if all is done? Behold, I say  unto you, Nay; for  ye have not come thus far save it were by the word of Christ with unshaken faith in him, relying wholly upon the merits of him who is mighty to save. Wherefore, ye must press forward with a steadfastness in Christ, having a perfect brightness of hope, and a love of God and all men. Wherefore,  if ye shall press forward, feasting upon the word of Christ, and endure to the end, behold, thus saith the father: Ye shall have eternal life." 
-2 Nephi 31:19-20-

Something that I love so much about the Gospel of Jesus Christ is that we can apply it to every single aspect of our lives. One of the five principles of the Gospel, as many of you already know, is Enduring to the End. I think that right now is one of the times where I have really been able to apply this principle. After almost 18 months here in Guatemala, many many things have happened! Many moments of laughter, moments of sadness, moments of many tears, moments of miracles, moments of improvement, moments of discouragement, moments of tiredness, moments of success--many more to mention. And these moments should last and keep happening until the day that we are released as missionaries. Those who have served missions very well know that when you get to have 3 or so weeks left in the field many people start asking about home, when  you leave, what you will do, etc. Sometimes it can be distracting! But I have not been called to serve for 17 months, but for 18. And I will serve with all my might, mind, strength, and heart until the very last day. 

This week we had interviews with our mission president. I had one of the most spiritual interview yet with him. An interview that usually and is programmed for 20 minutes, lasted 40 minutes. I learned so much and was edified by the Spirit. At the end of the interview he said he wanted to give me an example of something. He said, "Hermana Baird, do you like Disneyland?" I responded that yes, I like Disneyland. He then said, "Okay Hermana, tomorrow there is an activity that is going to be so great in the park, and you have tickets! The park will open exactly at 10, and close at 7 pm. What time are you going to arrive?" I responded at 10. "And at what time will you leave?" I responded at 7. He then continued, "Okay, now you get to the park and ride the rides the entire day, you have had a lot of fun and it is now 6 o'clock. Many people are very tired, its been a long hot day in California. What are you going to do?" I said I would probably eat some dinner haha. "Okay," he said, "and then we will get back in line and ride our favorite rides until they throw us out of the park at 7." President Smith then paused for a second and looked at me straight in the eyes and said, "Hermana Baird, it is 6:45 in your mission and the park closes at 7. Go out and ride your favorite rides until the very last minute. Don't stop working. Keep giving your all." He then promised me that if I kept working as I have during my mission these last 2 weeks, I will go home feeling pleased, content, and grateful for the opportunity that I have had to serve the Lord. 

I love this gospel, and I love the Lord. I am so greatful for every moment that I have had up to this point of my journey here in Guatemala. Every moment has molded me more and more into the person that I need to become. It has been the best life training that I could ask for. Thank you for all of you who have been supports to me, and have been part of this journey since the day of my baptism. Love you all, and have a great week! 
Hermana Baird

Saturday, March 4, 2017

Feb 24

The last week, has truly been the best week of my life. Last Saturday we had the opportunity to go to Retaleau (a part of Guatemala outside of our mission) and listen to one of the 12 apostles, Elder Rasband, and 4 other general authorities. I could write for hours about all of the things I learned, but I would only like to mention two of them. The first thing that Elder Rasband mentioned that I would like to talk about is that the gospel we preach and teach is all about LOVE. The only reason we do it is because we LOVE the Lord, and we LOVE our Heavenly Father. He told us a story about how he was with a leader of the Advent church, and they asked Elder Rasband how is it that the church has so many missionaries that are at such a young age. He asked him if the church paid us, or if there was some sort of economic benefit of doing it. Elder Rasband responded, "There is no salary, and there is no economic benefit, they choose to serve missions because the LOVE Jesus Christ." I can truly say that what he said is true. I love Christ, and for that reason, I have loved my mission and love missionary work. I love that we can help people change there lives, through the Atonement of Christ. It is something so special, and I am so grateful for the time I have had to have my calling as a missionary here in the mission Guatemala Quetzaltenango.

The next thing I would like to mention that I learned and felt during this conference with these General Authorities, was the reality of their callings. These men are truly servants of the Lord. The Spirit that I could feel as I shook their hands, and listened to there messages was something that I can't explain, I know without a single doubt in my heart, that today we have a living prophet Thomas S. Monson, and that Jesus Christ has called him. He isn't a prophet because he studied to be, or because he worked to be one, he is a prophet because God has called him to be. And it is exactly the same with his 12 apostles and the other authorities in the Church.

To finish up my blog, another reason this week has been so great is because today we were able to go to the temple. It was such a great experience, as it always is! The temple is truly the House of the Lord, and a little piece of Heaven on Earth. I had maybe one of the most spiritual moments that I have had before, today in the temple. I felt the Christ was right by my side encouraging me and animating me to keep working hard until the last day of my mission. As I left the temple I felt an excitement to give it my all these last few weeks and to leave nothing behind. To keep planting seeds in the hearts of everyone in San Francisco so that one day, they too, can enter into the temple to make convents with the Lord.

I love you all and am so greatful for the support you have given me these last 17 months. Have an amazing week!
Hermana Baird

Monday, February 13, 2017

Feb 13

Happy Valentines Day! I hope everyone has a great day. :) This past week has been a really good one. We worked really hard this last week and I am pretty sure every day when we got to the house we just threw our stuff down and then threw ourselves on our beds! But hard work always pays off because we were able to find some new familys to teach. Something that the mission has taught me is that we should always do things the best that we can and put as much effort into everything that we do. We may end the day tired, but we feel good about what we have done, and we see results later on. If we just do things with half the effort, we may feel less tired, but we dont feel good about what we have done throughout the day, and there are half as many results. 

Yesterday we had a super funny experience. We went to a village that is about 40 minutes walking. This week they celebrate something here called "Carnaval," where all of the kids and teenagers smash eggs on heads and throw flour at you afterwards. Well, first off, we never thought that they would do it to us because normally they respect the missionaries.. Second, we thought that in a little village they definately wouldnt be doing it. Well, we were wrong about both things. As we entered into the village there were two kids. We passed them and then one came running towards us. I thought he was going to ask us for a pamphlet or something, but nope, he ran up to Hermana Mornuna and smashed an egg on her head hahaha she just stood there in shock for a second. We continuted walking and then they came back! And they threw flour all over her hahaha she was covered.. I think I got lucky cuz I am tall and they couldnt reach my head. So anyways we kept walking for a few minutes so we were out of the danger zone, and we cleaned up Hermana Moruna. Right after we finished getting the flour off her and geting some of the egg out of her hair, 5 MORE KIDS came running after us! They all had bags of flour and were throwing it all over us hahaha. We were literally covered in flour our faces were pure white and we were just laughing so hard. But the sad part about all of it, is that neither of us had our cameras to take a picture. However, tomorrow is the real day of Carnaval so I am sure we will be gettting more tomorrow, I hope not, but we will be prepared with the camera this time if something happens haha. 

One more experience from this week I would like to share. So at the beginning of the week we were in a village and we stopped and talked to someone in the street. As we begin talking to us they wanted a Book of Mormon, and we told them we would like to visit them to explain it a little to them so they understood better what it was. They said okay but that they were Sabaticas (I dont know how to say it in English but its when they go to church on Saturdays). So we go to their house, and it turns out that the father of the family is a pastor! I think I went into shock for just a second, and then thought, "ughhh he just wants to fight with us and that is why they were okay with us coming to visit..". So we began to explain a little bit about the Book of Mormon to them, and then the pastor began to read us things from the Sabbatical Bible to try to fight with us. We just bore our testimony and invited them to read the Book of Mormon and pray about it. We explained to them that we werent here as missionaries to convince anyone that the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints is the true church on the Earth today, but that we were there to invite all to read the Book of Mormon and pray to God to know if the church is true. We promised them if they humbled themselves, and prayed with real intention, that God would respond to them the truth. As we finished talking the pastor told us that he would be waiting for us another day. It was a pretty cool experience. At first I felt a little scared, but the Spirit truly worked through my companion and I and we were able to present our message in a effective and respectful way. It was an appointment that I will never forget!

Well, I hope everyone has a great day and a great week!
Nos vemos en 5 semanas!
Con mucho amor,
Hermana Baird

Feb 6

Today has been a rather bittersweet day. It is the first day of the last change of my mission. How? I have no idea! The time has literally flown by. I am so grateful for this time I have had to serve the Lord. And it is truly incredible how much I have learned in these last 17 months , and also how much I have been molded into the person the Lord wants me to become. I am grateful that I still have 6 weeks to work hard. Many times at the end of someones mission, they start to think a lot about home, they start to lose a bit of their desire to work, and maybe stop doing the things with the diligence that they have before. Well, ever since the beginning of my mission I have had to goal to never become like that. I have such a strong desire to work the hardest that I have worked for these last 6 weeks. I know that Hermana Moruna and I are going to see miracles, and that we are going to have success. When we do our part, the Lord blesses us and always keeps his promises. 

One of my best friends from the ward I am in, Sara, left for her mission in Mexico today. She always came out and visited investigators with us. She is so great and I am so excited for her to go on a mission! The mission truly changes lives, not only those who we teach, but our own. My companion always tells me, "Hermana Baird, you aren't finishing any mission, you are just finishing your training that has trained you for the rest of your life." Its so true. The mission is the best place to learn, and to become more like Christ. I still have so much to learn and to grow, I know that with the Lord's help we can become exactly who he wants us to be. 

Love you all!
Hermana Baird

So excited for my tortilla iron that I bought!! For less than $5. So the tortillas here are freshly made from corn, or from corn flour. But you have to cook them on a certain type of iron, called "comal". So I bought one! And I bought some corn flour so that we could make tortillas in the house. I think I am just a wannabe chapina.


Tuesday, January 31, 2017

Jan 16

Well, Today feels a little bittersweet. Today is my 16 month mark in the mission. I cannot believe how fast the time is going by, and I really don't want to believe it. The mission is such an amazing time in life. We are able to testify of Christ every single day, multiple times a day, we are able to feel the Spirit always, and we are able to meet and help so many of God´s children come unto Christ. I have learned so so much during these months. It is actually kind of funny because I have been a member of the church for more time on the mission than in my house. People always ask me about how I speak English, but I always tell them that I know a lot more about the gospel in Spanish than in English. When people ask me to pray in English I always am thankful that they cant understand me because my prayers sound like a 3 year old is saying them. Also sharing my testimony in English is a huge struggle. I think I will be looking into going to a Spanish ward when I get home! Hahaha. 

Anyways, this week it was proven to me that we won't always see fruits from our work right away, but we will eventually see them. On Wednesday we were walking and I saw Eliza Gutierrez. She was someone that I was teaching when I was in my last area. She got baptized the week after I had transfers! She is 20 years old and such a strong strong girl. Her family is so against her joining the church and so she moved to San Francisco with her sister! So now she is attending our ward. :) It is so great to see what a strong testimony she has and the sacrifices that she is willing to make to follow the Lord!

Next, on Friday we were in a lesson and this number that wasnt familar called us like 4 times in a row. We didnt answer since we were in the lesson, but after I called back. When someone answered they said, Hermana Baird? And it was Nestor Lopez! He was someone that Hermana Morisette and I contacted about 8 months ago when I was in Xela. He was such a special person to me and I felt so strongly that one day he would get baptized! He had a lot of baptism dates, but there were some things that caused him to not feel ready to make the decision. Well when he called he told me that he was calling me to let me know that Sunday (yesterday) he was going to get baptized! He said that he wished that Hermana Morisette and I could be there with him, but that he was so greatful that we found him and helped him learn about the gospel. 

I know that every single effort that is put towards the Lord's work has its fruits. Whether it is visiting teaching, or missionary work, every effort counts! The Lord just wants us to do our very best and he will bless us with the rest. Amo este evangelio, y amo esta obra. Y sobre todo, amo a mi Salvador, Jesucristo. Yo sé que esta iglesia es de Él, y es el unico camino para regresar con nuestor Padre Celestial. Que tengan una muy muy feliz semana.

Les quiero muchísimo!
Hermana Baird

Thursday, January 12, 2017

Jan 9

Wow, another whole week has past by. Everyday of this new transfer has been such an adventure with Hermana Moruna! Yesterday we had a hugeee adventure and we learned a lot about the importance of being obedient. So, we went to a place in our area called Tierra Colorada. Its a little village about 30 minutes in bus from our house. The transportation to get back to San Francisco stops at about 5:30. So we got to Tierra, went to our appointment, and when we were finished we were making good time to get back to where the bus passes. We were about 25 minutes walking from that point. So we made it up there and there were a couple of people waiting for the bus and they told us that they had been there waiting for 45 minutes, but they said that for sure the last bus would pass at 5:30. So we waited and waited and finally at 5:30 the bus passed... But they didn't stop for us because it was packed full!! Ahh we didn't know what to do because a couple of weeks ago we had to call someone to come and pick us up because our appointment went late... and we did not want to have to do that again. Every once in awhile little pickups pass by to give people rides, but we are only allowed to ride in the types that have bars surrounding them. So, we decided to start walking. We had about a half an hour until it was dark, and we figured it would probably take us, at the least 2 hours to make it back to San Francisco. As we started walking, we talked to many people who we passed, presenting ourselves and asking how long we had til we get to "la cumbre" its a point in the road where it comes to a "T" and the other road has a lot more buses and transportation, so we figured if we just got to there we would be good! Well, some people told us ahhhh hermanas you have at least another 2 hours if you walk. So we continued walking. As we stopped to talk to a family they told us that we would probably be able to take a ´pickup back to San Francisco because they pass until pretty late. As we started walking away from them a pickup with the bars on it passed! We stopped it, but they said they weren't going to be going to San Fran or to the cumbre.. Right behind it was another pickup, but this one didn't have bars, the kind we aren't allowed to take. It stopped and I asked if it was going to the cumbre. They said yes, that they were going to San Francisco! My comp and I looked at each other, like what do we do? For this half of a second when I thought what should we do, I felt super strongly that Satan was putting this temptation in our path and that we needed to keep walking. We told them no we weren't going to take it. The family who had literally just told us that we would be able to take a pickup back probably thought we were completely crazy, and my comp and I thought for a second, what are we thinking?! Why didn't we take that pickup.. Then I just remembered, that all blessings we receive comes from obedience. So we continued walking, oh and did I mention that we weren't just walking, we were walking up a huge mountain.. About 15 minutes later, another pickup passed and it had bars! It was going to the cumbre so we took it. In the back of the pickup with us was a family of 5 who we were able to talk with and who lives in our area, near to where we had been visiting that same day! We were able to get there number and are going to be able to visit them this next week. As we got to the cumbre, it was freezing cold! "La cumbre" means the highest point, so we were literally up in the clouds with a tonnn of wind. We began to walk again and at that point we only had about 40 more minutes of walking. Well, a mini bus passed, and we flagged it down to stop. It wasn't a bus that usually takes people, it was a bus that this family usually fills up with fruit to sell in the market. But it was empty and they told us that they would take us back to Centro. As we began talking to this family of 5 we learned that they are good friends with our Bishop and also with the Consilor of the Stake Presidency. We were able to talk with them a little about how we would like to visit them to share with them how the Lord can bless there family and how they can become an Eternal Family. They told us where they lived and we also will be visiting them next week. We were able to find 2 whole families this day because we chose to be obedient. I am so grateful for each and every blessing the Lord has given me in the mission, and am so grateful for the experiences that I am having that teach me every day how I can be a better person and a better daughter of God. 

Love you all!
Hermana Baird