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Thursday, November 14, 2013

A Month Has Passed...

Since Momma Baer last updated her Sorella Kelsey's blog. You may have been wondering what is up.   On Sunday, October 13, Papa Baer suffered the first of 3 strokes. As of today, Thursday, November 14, he is still in the ICU, currently awaiting a change in his trach and a permanent pacemaker. You can get updates on the Baer 'adventures' as well as Sorella Kelsey's posts here:
Thank you for your interest in Kels and our family, With love, Lori Baer

Friday, October 11, 2013

.......and, I'm Still Alive!

Well, folks, this week was one that I will remember for the rest of my life. We had the craziest past couple of days. (I'll save my conference love fest for the end!)
Ok. Late Saturday night-early Sunday morning, we woke up to the blastingly obnoxious carbon monoxide alarm. We ran outside, called the financial secretary for the mission as directed in our mission binder, and after an hour out on the sidewalk in robes and jammies, we got it all figured out.
Then. Late Sunday night-early Monday morning. we woke up AGAIN to the alarm. This time we knew what to do, ran out again, and this time called Sorella Dibb, as directed. Standing on the sidewalk once more in the middle of the night, she said, ''Ok, girls, run back inside, you have 30 seconds to put clothes on, and then head to the church where the office elders will pick you up.'' So, we hauled into our apt, just threw skirts on and peaced out, not knowing when we'd be back. We headed to the church where we waited for the office elders from Milano. They picked us up (one of which was my friend Anziano Dallin Richardson from high school, it was crazy!) and then said, ''for today, you four will be working in the office.'' ALL RIGHT!  Mind you, we look... great. Teeth- not brushed. Showers- not yet experienced. Makeup-not a thing. WE GOT EVACUATED, I mean, these things weren't a priority! 

So, we worked in the office all day, and my word, SHOUT OUT, to our mission office who functions as a well-oiled machine. They are hard hard working and so much fun! While we were in Milano, the fire department was at our apt, checking stuff out and they couldn't find anything. Turns out, it was just a faulty detector, meno male! President still had us four sisters stay the night in the mission home, which was a surprise because we thought that we'd be home for the night, so obvs we didn't have anything with us... but, oh, how lovely is that home! President interviewed us personally in the mission home because our interview were supposed to happen earlier that day, and we couldn't make it! Alla fine, we made it back to our apt yesterday afternoon after a couple of random crazy days! 
Yup. We're alive. breathing. Just gave the mission leaders a bit of a scare, but ALL IS WELL IN ZION!

Wanna know why?! Because conference changed my life! As every other missionary is declaring, conference is much sweeter as a missionary. I was so touched by Elder Holland's talk, and in other messages, I received specific answers to my prayers. Our investigators ADORED conference and each one felt the Spirit as our inspired leaders bore testimony of the Savior. I've never known more fully or more clearly that this is the Savior, Jesus Christ's church on the Earth today. That it is lead and guided by His worthy, chosen servants and that general conference is an incredible opportunity to feel of His love for you. I still can't wait to read the talks all over again, and to watch the Sunday afternoon session because we weren't able to!

I love this church. I love being one of 80, 000 missionaries on the Earth. I love how many talks focused on member and missionary work, and how now, in these the last days, the work needs to be driven forth by EVERY member. I testify that the Lord needs us ALL! We have all been enlisted, and we each have a sacred and specific part to play. if you want to know what yours is, pray.

Con tutto del mio amore,
Sorella Baer
p.s. I love you.
p.s.s. shout out to my Como homegirls. Sorella Hallum, my comp, is the most persistent and hard working person I know. Sorella Carter, has perfected the ''mom dance'' and has a heart to melt Antartica,  and Sorella Stephens who is my soul sister and is the funniest I know, without trying. I LOVE THESE GIRLS! 

Wednesday, October 9, 2013

What's Good, Famski?

This week has been quite swell indeed.
I'm going to be all over the place, so just bear with me.

It's crazy cold here. We literally live right up against the Alps, and mercy, can you feel it! My teeth be a-chatterin'!

I finished the Book of Mormon again this week! This past time I had studed it with the topic of ''charity.'' (oh, and shoutout to my girl Charity, who's the first sister missionary in Georgia, and is tearing it up, and who I miss terrrrrrrribly) Having read the BOM seeking for charity and praying to apply it more and more I learned so much. That this perfect love is the most powerful and motivating factor. That it's enabling and miraculous. That it's stonger than any dark force, bad day, complaint, disappointment and even pet peeve. As we desire to develop this love more, we must pray for it as explained in Moroni 7. That we ''may be filled with this love'' that when we meet the Savior we will be as He is. oh how that is my only goal! It is a privilege and quite frankly, life is SO MUCH MORE ENRICHING AND FUN, when we try to apply this charity in our lives. Life really is richer when we're lovin' folks. I testify that the Savior, Jesus Christ, is our master example and teacher. As we look at and study His life, and then further pattern our lives after His, we really become, ''as He is.'' The Book of Mormon has the remedies for every heartache, solutions for every problem, and formulas for  every Christlike attribute.

andddddd....... Sorella Baer picked a new topic for her Book of Mormon study this week...... y'all reads??? drum roll please......
...................... submission. Mercy, I'm so excited. To better understand what it means to cheerfully submit our will to that of the Father's and become like a little child.

This week, our district leader invited us to bear testimony more often in our lessons. So Sorella Hallum and I decided to do as such.

Monday night, we had a FHE at a member's house with our soon-to-be baptized Maria Teresa! We had a lesson and then literally opened it up to be a testimony meeting. I had finished the Book of Mormon earlier that morning, and it was such a sacred experience to bear witness of something so close to my heart and on my mind. Then it was such a privilege to sit next to Sorella Hallum as she 
bore, sweet, sincere testimony. Her heart and desire are pure and as she brought the Spirit, it was so special. Her Italian was better than ever.

I really do know that TESTIMONY is the changing factor. Why wouldn't we want to bear testimony more often? To call down the powers of heaven? To invite the Holy Ghost, whose main purpose is confirm truth? FOLKS, WE MUST BEAR MORE TESTIMONY! in our homes, among our friends, at church, in our everyday lives. I bear my testimony, that as we pray for and seek specific opportunities to bear testimony, the Lord will not withhold that blessing from us. He wants His word to be heard. He will prepare us to be in the right place at the right time. Oh, how I know that to be true.

Quindi, I invite each of you to bear that testimony that you're so grateful to have. To share what you love and cherish with THOSE you love and cherish. And to invite others to find this happiness and 
joy that you have.

And to those of you who aren't members of this church, I can say with all of the sincerity of my heart 
and conviction in my soul that I know that the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints is the restored church of Christ on earth. That the Risen King stands at the head of His church with arms outstretched, willing and waiting to heal us. As we come unto Him, and partake of His perfect, infinite Atonement, we truly can become like Him. My testimony is my strength, my fortification and my joy.

Of this I testify, in the name of Jesus Christ, amen.
(sorry if that didn't make any sense. I haven't really born my testimony in English in about 6 months)

Con tutto del mio amore,
Sorella Baer
p.s. I love you.
p.s.s. GENERAL CONFERENCE IS IN LIKE .3 SECONDS!! As my dear comp says, ''it's like the superbowl for missionaries.'' I literally can't wait one ounce. PLEASE WATCH IT ALL OF Y'ALL! and you better go into conference with some questions, because I can promise you that they'll be answered!

Wednesday, October 2, 2013

The Secret to Missionary Work

Alright. Let's be real. I didn't come up with this nor discover it. I've just been paying attention to what EVERY general authority is saying these days.

The secret to missionary work...................

wait for it.......................

buckle up.............................



And oh, my. How that is the verità.

This past week Sorella Hallum and I tried so hard to visit lots of members and to bring them with us to our lessons. We visited 5 different families and had the blessing of the strength of our members and their testimonies at our lessons with investigators!

I can say confidently that members have made my mission so far. Not just that my personal relationship with them has been so rewarding, rich and eternal, but that I've learned soooo much from them. The forza of these members is matchless. Many of them are converts themselves so their ability to relate to investigators is incredible. For missionaries to work successfully and effectively, we MUST be using our members. Ecco, why we had that huge broadcast ''The Work of Salvation'' about two months ago that touched on this very thing. There's absolute need for finding work. But there's more need to reinforce our members and find the people that are being prepared THROUGH our members. They are already sharing their standards and testimonies with their friends, we just have to ask! The work is sweeter and better when we use our members. Oh how I have a testimony of this! I'm just feeling the MEMBER and MISSIONARY FIRE! I get so stoked about coming up with ward mission plans, planning fhe's with our members, visiting members, creating new avenues for how better to utiliz this resource that we have------IT'S THE BEST!

Trust me, I know full well that I'm not some brilliant, ahead of the game missionary. loads of other people know this too, and I'm just know realizing! I remember the advice my brother Dev gave me before my mission, he said, ''Loo, if you want to be successful, use the members.'' meno male, my brother was soooooo giusto.

As we've used our beautiful members more, our investigators have been progressing. COINCIDENCE? I. think. not. (also, I'm about 83% sure I just spelled coincidence wrong. but forgive me. I don't speak English anymore. My English is SHOT)

Nazareno is progressing beautifully as he's turning to his Savior in time of need. We're trying to emphasize more and more with our investigators the role of Jesus Christ in empowering them to overcome temptation and find peace in their lives, it's only through HIM. and it's working! Nazareno brought hs 9 year old daughter to church on Sunday and it was unreal!

And our dear MariaTeresa! she's so stoked for her baptism and already picked out her baptism dress! she came to us prepared and ready for this. she's so committed and we have the privilege of meeting with her like 3 times every week! and she always comes to FHE and brings something!
SPEAKING OF FHE. this week was swell. we had so many investigators and members come (which is a miracle in itself that considering we started this puppy from the ground! but now FHE is popping and so is English class! all you have to do is treat people good, let them feel the love of the Lord for them, and promise them blessings!)This week, we played Ladroni di Gadianton (which is Gadianton Robbers, we just played Mafia but changed the name.) (aka the Baer fam game) I decided to channel Dev as I remember he played it on his mish. But instead of mafias, we had Gadianton robbers. it was the swellest. I was the mediator, and mercy, if that game wasn't hard enough explaining in English, it sure is tough in Italian. But oh, how it was a little taste of the Baer home right here in Como. tender mercy. una piccola misericordia
 I remember President Butler once told me, ''If you want to become frustrated in the work, do it your way.'' HIS way and HIS work is perfect. we have but to follow Him. As our perfect example, we can learn in the scriptures how the Savior treated investigators,members and companions. How He explained the docrines of the gospel boldly and yet with such tenderness. How He let ALL feel of His love for them constantly. If we have any question as to how to behave, we just need to look to the Perfect Example.
I feel eternally blessed that I can bear His name everyday.
Con tutto del mio amore,
Sorella Baer
p.s. I love you.

p.s.s. I've been asking random people here who their favorite musician is..... and the resounding, across the board, answer is MICHAEL JACKSON. You should see my expression as these sweet Italians say those magic words. It's the best.

p.s.s.s. Every week we go and visit this sweet member in our ward . She always just makes the best Italian food, and she's just this cute, old little Italian woman. Highlight? This week she gave a pair of italian leather heels. They're DARLIN'. (Well.... a year from now, I'll sport 'em!)

Friday, September 20, 2013


Mercy alive, Folks, che strano che ha già passato sei mesi (strange that it has already been six months)!

For this email, I thought that I'd share 6 things that I've learned as a missionary to celebrate the 6 months I've been missionary:

1) How to communicate. Bless my dear companions' hearts. I've learned the importance of communicating constructively and warmly. Ancora (More), I'm not huge into talking about how I'm feeling all the time, but I'm getting there. Missions are great marriage prep, because they teach you just how necessary good communication is! I'm so blessed to have learned this lesson as His full-time representative!

2) I've learned how to be creative, to work with what you've got! Be it a low stocked kitchen cupboard, few skirts and dresses that you have worn everyday for 6 months, a low budget-- as missionaries, you learn how to be creative and how to make really good meals with few ingredients, cute oufits out of stuff you already had, make cute notes and presents for investigators and members, it's great! You really don't need a lot to make stuff not only work, but look really nice!

3) How to trust. In a companion. In members. In a mission president. Sopratutto (Above), trust in the Lord. Trusting your companion is one of the best things you can do for your companionship. I'm so grateful for the companions I've had and as I've learned to trust them more and more I've been able to realize just how incredible and capable they are!

As we trust members, we have faith in their capacities and their desire for our success as well-- miracles happen!

And, here's an interesting thought I had recently: At the beginning of my mission I felt like a pawn in a game of chess, at any moment I could be moved  to any other location on the board (for my intents and purposes, my game board is the Northern Half of Italy). And literally, a mission is like that. You could be picked up and placed in another spot to fulfill some other purpose at ANY time. It was a bit overwhelming, and nerve wracking. But then, I realized I'm a pawn in a game of chess, with the BEST CHESSMASTER. I have no need to fear, no need to doubt because the Lord Himself is the one moving me. He already knows all of the moves of His opponent, the adversary, so He places us, His missionaries, to fulfill His specific purposes, so we can combat that force. ISN'T THAT ENLIGHTENING?!

I have full trust in President Dibb because I know with a certainty he is a man led by and called of God. As we have trust in our companions, ourselves, our members, our mission leaders and the Lord, we can go forward in our missions boldly and successfully and become the missionaries we were created and designed to become.

Sorella Baer in her red slippers (shoes), following the cobblestone road

4) I've learned how to pray. I'd never prayed before as I pray now. I learned specifically and especially in the MTC the power and sweetness of prayer. My nightly prayer time is my favorite time of the entire day. When I can just open my heart to Him who knows me best. My relationship with my Heavenly Father has grown so much as I've learned better how to better utilize this gift, resource, and divine assistance of prayer.

5) I've learned the magnitude of the Atonement and how better to use it. Brothers and sisters, fam, friends, and folks, as His set apart, full-time representative, I can bear a witness, that with all that I am, I know that Jesus is the Christ, and that He lives. That He stands at the head of the church. My only purpose is to invite others to come unto Him. His message, our message applies to us as well. I have strengthened my relationship with my personal Savior. As Elder Holland puts it, ''Each of us needs to take a few steps into the Garden,.'' As I've been tried and tested, stretched and strengthened on my mission, I've come to know just how infinite and sweet the grace of Christ truly is. His Atonement is for all. His arms are outstretched STILL. He is anxiously awaiting our turning to Him. I love repenting. It's not easy at times, but the feeling of the nearness of the Savior and realizing the richness of His love for us is so beautiful of an experience. I can't sum up on paper or through email, my testimony of my Savior and His Atonement, but after 6 months of being a missionary, I know now better than before I was set apart how to apply the Atonement and bring myself closer to the Lord.

6) Lastly, I've learned of the many many blessings we receive because of this the true, restored, gospel of Jesus Christ. The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints is His church on earth. I desire for all to taste of the sweetness of this gospel! It blesses and strengthens families, it grants us peace and answers, and it offers us the sweet truth of salvation! This gospel is so important!

I've loved these past 6 months! I've learned, grown, and changed so much!

The work here in Como is blossoming! I'm so grateful for the miracles I'm fortunate enough to witness! I love our members and investigators with all of my heart!

Con tutto del mio amore,
Sorella Baer

p.s. I love you.
p.s.s. I ate anchovies this week... #thethingswedoforthemish

Tuesday, September 10, 2013

Foto, Cartolina Perfetta (Photos, Postcard Perfect)

I found a little garden, am in love!

''Be Ye Therefore Happy''

If I were to ever make a commandment, it would be that one. "Be Ye Therefore Happy", it's good isn't it? And it's totes a theme of the week.

Before I forget, Happy 5th Anniversary to the best couple on that side of the Mississippi! Dev and Britt! I love you both SOOOO much. Ask ANYONE in the mission just how much I drop your names. It's so sweet for me to serve in the same mission as my hero and big bro, and I'm thrilled that they'll  having a baby girl in January! My first niece! I can't wait to come home to a 7 month-old baby Baer!

-and happy 31st bday dear sister of mine! Jam, Happy Birthday! Can't believe you crossed the ''30'' threshold, mercy, we're getting old in this fam!

These week I've had to remind myself often that we are here to be happy! "Adam fell that men might be and men are that they might have joy"!!! So, smile folks!

Some things that make Sorella Baer smile:

-A couple of nights ago Sorella Hallum and I had just taught a bench lesson right in front of Villa Olmo
Villa Olmo
right on the lake, and after the lesson we sat and meditated for a couple of minutes. It was about 8 o'clock at night, the lake was foggy, and the hills were lit up with the different colored houses. And I realized just how fortunate I am to be here. How much I love Italy. Those sacred, quiet, tranquil moments carried me through the week.
Foggy Lake Como

-Frozen grapes. Yup, obv's I've got 'em here too. And I've converted all of the sorelle. They all buy blueberries and grapes and pop them in the freezer.

-When Sorella Hallum drops ''stoked'' or ''obvs'' or ''totes''. Hahahaha I've ruined the English skills of ALL of my companions.

-just how nice everything is here! Everything's just classy! Even the graffiti is classier in Como! I've never seen so many nice cars. In fact, a couple of days ago, we were having kind of a giu (down) day but then, I saw a Lamborghini. Mercy alive, who are these people?! I'll tell you, they're ANGELS! Every time we're at the back of the bus, we see someone offer up their seat to an elderly person! (Which we're always doing, too!) It's so sweet to see service like that daily!

-on Sunday I got the opportunity to play the piano in the other ward's Sacrament Meeting and interpret for a couple from Maryland! I forgot how much I missed English, but it was an incredible experience for me to be able to interpret the entire meeting for them, for it proved to me how much my language capacity has grown!

-That Valeria and Chiara (our two investigators who are sisters and that I'm obsessed with!) went with the GANS (young adults) for a conference this weekend over by Venice! They've been so warmly embraced and welcomed into the young adults and the ward, it's THE MISSIONARY DREAM!

-And lastly, this work is a work of miracles! The Lord plants miracles for missionaries EVERYDAY! It's beautiful to see! In fact, about a week ago, Sorella Hallum and I felt to pass-by this one woman we had found in our area book. We called her phone and she didn't answer... a couple of days later Sorella Hallum suggested that we should try again. So we went, she didn't answer AGAIN, but I felt we should leave a note. So we left her a little friendly note and a pass along card. Yesterday, we got a call from her saying she would love to meet with us and that she adored the note! In our little lesson last night she told us that she's ready to accept the gospel and the Savior in her life. It was beautiful and we're thrilled to see her again tonight!

Alla fine, we are here to be happy, folks. May we ever be grateful for all that we have and all that we're promised insomuch as we keep the commandments and strive to be ever closer to our Savior and His already outstretched arms.

con tutto del mio amore,
Sorella Baer

Friday, September 6, 2013

ANCORA A COMO! (Still in Como!)

Well, transfer news.... Sorelle Baer e Hallum are at it again in their beautiful Como!

Literally folks, this place is breathtaking. I love it so much! I have maybe 5 minutes, so I'll be quick!

My Como

SHOUT-OUTS?? #1, to one of my best friends, Miss Allie Hale, for getting her mission call to the Philippines Cavite Mission! She's my other half, and I couldn't think of a more blessed people then those sweet Filipinos! Al, love you baby girl!

#2, my beautifully talented sister, who went from being Irma Baer to now Sister Baer, the MTC's newest Portuguese teacher! Abes, you've got this! You'll be sooooo good! Your district is stankin' lucky to have you!

A miracle? Once upon a time, there was Chiara, our investigator. She's the dearest, and I love her with my whole heart! Then, we met her sister, Valeria, whose the loveliest! Then, we met Stefano, their brother who is incredible! And now, we've met the parents! So we teach all three of the kids! I'm obsessed with them! That family, that home, is so special! I have a firm testimony that the Lord prepares families together. There's nothing sweeter than to promise that family the Lord's blessings. Chiara and Valeria came to church on Sunday and loveddddd it. The Spirit was so strong during testimony meeting!

And a beautifully, tender spiritual experience I had this week? Well, as I read the Book of Mormon this time around, I'm reading for the topic of charity. I was in Alma 7, with the iconic scripture mastery that explains that the Savior took upon Himself pains of every kind so He may know howto succor us. I realized that as a missionary, if I want to be charitable (learning from the Master Teacher and Perfect Example, Jesus Christ Himself)then I need to learn how to succor and help others according to their needs. He atoned for each of us individually. I testify of this and can declare that with a surety. May we do the same. As missionaries. As friends. As ward members. As family members. May we seek to lift and succor others, individually, praying for the spirit of discernment so we might better know their needs, because every investigator, every companion, every neighbor, every friend is different, and needs different things.

And with this, we truly will understand what it means to be charitable.

Con tutto del mio amore, (With all of my love,)
Sorella Baer

p.s. I love you.

Tuesday, September 3, 2013

Pictures, hooray!

Sorelle Hallum, Lopez, Bollwinkel, Holloway, Haslem, and Baer, all together in Milano for Pday!

Awwww, Lake Como beauty.

Sorelle Baer and McCann, friends for life. Each life that touches ours for good...

Why I Love My Mission, August 28, 2013

This email will be just a smidge different because I want to list the reasons why I adore my mission. We had our last district meeting on Monday, and Anziano O'Riordan (our Aussie district leader who's unarguably the world's best person) had us take 15 minutes and write for our companions why we love our missions. It was so special giving mine to my dear Sorella Hallum, but then I decided that I wanted to write it out for myself. Here's what I came up with:

-I love that I'm in the paese (country) with the most unrivaled food in the world. Everyday, whether I'm giu (up) or su (down), I just eat some good Italian food and remind myself that I'm literally in the land of the food gods. EVERYONE, members, investigators, cooks like a dream.

-I love that this language is the language of love. It's absolutely beautiful. I love the way it sounds. I love to speak it. I love the way it feels to speak it! Please bless my future family will just love Italian, too, because I'll be usin' it sempre (always).

-I love the beauty of Italy. The architecture. The art. The countryside. LAKE COMO. All of it. The Lord answers my daily prayer to find something each day that I can marvel at. It's breathtaking.

-I love that I'm surrounded by such strong, capable, fun and diligent youth, ALWAYS. These other missionaries are my examples and my friends. I ADORE being with them as well have the same common goal: to invite others to come closer to their anxiously awaiting Savior.

-I love that I've grown and learned so much! I can't imagine now not being a missionary, and not having this experience under my belt. How sacred have been the past 5 months for me. I wouldn't trade it for the world. I learn and learn and learn. And my sweet little brain just keeps expanding. I'm shaving off rough edges and becoming a better and better version of myself! Oh, how I have grande bisogno (great need) of this mission and how it refines me!

-I love that for 18 months, I can absolutely, in every sense of the word, forget about me. I don't need to worry about anything other than my dear Italian vineyard with which the Lord's entrusted me. I have this time to gladly bear witness of the reality of the Risen Lord and to express His love for everyone, EVERYDAY. There's no message sweeter or truer that I could share; no gift grander or more precious I could give; and no expression of love bigger that I could give to these people that occupy my whole heart. The gift of the gospel is all I have to give, and it's the gift all have need of.

-I love this precious privilege I have just to love. For a year and a half, I can just love these people. As I said that my brain just grows, so does my heart. I've never loved so fully, so much, or so many people. I love the people I meet on the street. I love the teeny Italian bambini who speak better Italian than me. I love the investigator whose conversion process is changing ME. I love my companions-- what a beautiful opportunity and sacred experience the Lord grants His missionaries to love, cherish, appreciate and take care of a companion. The relationship between companions is one that cannot be matched or replicated elsewhere. These dear sorelle are so special to me! I love literally everybody here. Members, mission leaders, our beloved President and Sorella Dibb, tutti! And I've never loved or appreciated friends and family so much! If any of y'all want more love in your life, serve a dang mission! It's incredible the gift of love the Lord endows you with!

-e sopratutto (and especially), above ALL else, I love the relationship I've gained with my Elder Brother, and Savior, Jesus Christ. It is this blessing and aspect of the mission that I am most grateful. Only He knows exactly what I've felt and experienced on my mission. He's the only one I've been able to turn to, when all else disappoints and fails. My understanding of Him, His role, the Atonement and everything has been so strengthened. He's the reason I'm here. He's keeping me here and fortifying me through His infinite grace. I'm His representative and for that I'm eternally grateful.

I invite you all to take time and to realize why you love what you do. I love you all so much.

Con tutto del mio amore,
Sorella Baer

p.s. I love you.
p.s.s. you know you're a sister missionary in Italy when your scriptures have nutella stains on them...

Saturday, August 24, 2013

A few more pictures, August 21, 2013

So digging this car.

John Tucker, one of Aubrey Baer's friends came to visit. We met at church! This is my beautiful companion.

Who wouldn't want a Como home like this?

Another view of Como D'uomo

Ahhhh. So grateful to have studied European architecture at Cambridge!

Lake Como from the pier

As Sorelle in Zion...

Mamma Mia! Che Fortunata Io Sono! (Mamma Mia, I Am That Lucky!)

To say I've fallen in love with this city would be an understatement. I'm absolutely OBSESSED with Como. I KNOW, this is exactly where I'm supposed to be. This morning, we took a funicolare (tram) up the side of the mountain and did this unreal hike. Looking around at this city, and this country, I literally could be NOWHERE else. Seriously, this is the prettiest place in the world! Getcha self here!

SIDENOTE: be stoked to come back here and visit because this place is the Celestial Kingdom on earth.

This email will be brief. Sorry! However, highlights:
-our weekly FHE's. Mercy, these things are not only so fun and uplifting but they are BRILLIANT for finding new people and bringing them closer to their Savior. Our members and investigators come, bring friends and food and a willing heart-- it's the BOMB and probs the highlight of every week.

-one FHE success story: our beautiful Chiara. she's PERFECT. The anziani (elders) found her on the street and she expressed her interest for English class so she came which is right before FHE, che furbi siamo! (we are so smart!) and she loved it! She then came to church and we had a lesson with her and her sister! She's absolutely incredible, darling, perfect. She studies in Milano and teaches Pilates and we can't wait to spend our next p-day with her!

Our church, at night. Gorgeous.
-Nazareno is progressing beautifully. He's such a good man and has taught me so much about further strengthening our relationship personally with our Heavenly Father.

Funny random thing that happened this week?

Sorella Hallum had finished up doing la programmazione settimanale e area book e tutto quanto (weekly planning and area book and everything), and we were getting ready to leave the house when I couldn't find the keys. I was all, ''Sorella, I don't have the keys... do you?'' she replied that she didn't. We soon came to find out that the OTHER sorelle accidentally took our keys, and we were LITERALLY locked in the house. Italian doors are weird and if they're locked from the outside, there's no way to get out from the inside without the keys...

So needless to say we got lots of area book stuff and calls finished that night. It was hilarious. We were dying. WHO GETS LOCKED INSIDE THEIR HOUSE? Us.

Alla fine (So for now)...

I read this quote from President Monson is his most recent talk from the Priesthood session, ''Young men and young women, I hope you appreciate the sacrifices which your parents so willingly make for you to serve. Their labors will sustain you, their faith encourage you, their prayers uphold you. A mission is a family affair. Though the expanse of continents or oceans may separate, hearts are as one.''

I have such a testimony of this. I know with a certainty that a mission is a family affair. I'm so grateful for the beautiful family I have and their support. As missionaries, we really do sacrifice being close to our families for a couple of years, so others may be with theirs for eternity. I'm eternally grateful for my dear parents who raised me with this light and gift insomuch that I may share it with others. There's nothing I desire more than for these dear Italians to taste of eternity with their families too!

Be good to each other.

Con affetto e con tutto del mio amore, (With affection and with all of my love,)
Sorella Baer

p.s. I love you.

Thursday, August 15, 2013

Oh, For the Love of Italia!

Once upon a time maybe I loved Italy too much. Seriously, this place is now my homeland. Everyday, I feel more and more Italian and less and less like the old Kels. I love these people, their warmth and generosity, the language.... oh my, this language. I will NEVER be able to speak English again. I screw up my English literally with every phrase and sentence I say. (Forgive me if I write crazy too!)

Wanna hear an embarassing story that confirmed to me that I'm losing my past life rapidly?

A couple of days ago Sorella Hallum and I were in a Gelateria ordering bottles of water. The song overhead I was seriously diggin'. I figured it was Italian so I asked the worker who sang it, so I could take mental note and buy the song when I got home. She said some name that I couldn't understand... so I said, ''hmmm... da dove viene lui?'' and she told me that he's American. I was all, ''perché lui canta cosi in italiano?'' she then proceeded to tell me that the song was English. Yes, folks, the entire time. I can't even understand my mother language anymore. All of the customers and the workers were laughing as I expressed to them that I'm from America, I speak English, but that I've lived in this country for too long to understand... oh mercy... and to think I still have a year left! I'll be a mess when I come home! Literally unable to communicate with anyone! 

But...I love this place. It's absolutely effecting my every habit, idiosyncrasy, everything. One highlight of the week? I signed in ASL as a deaf Italian guy signed in ISL. It was AWESOME! I forgot how much I enjoy signing-- good moment. 

So, in Italy there's thing called ''ferie'' it's when EVERYONE leaves the country for the entire month of August. Like EVERYONE. All of our members, investigators gone, all of the stores close. It's the worst! I'm all, ''what's up with everyone escapin'?!'' In fact, funny story, after lunch on Monday, us four girls were in DESPERATE need of something sweet. So we headed out to find un dolce. Literally everything is closed for ferie. So Sorella McCann, my soul sister and dearest friend exclaims, ''WHERE DOES A HUNGRY GIRL GO TO GET DOLCI DURING FERIE?!'' Oh my, it was the funniest thing ever. Because literally here we are, four ravenous, American, nutella-huntin' sister missionaries. It was the bomb. Our appetites were appeased with some crepes as we found one teeny tiny place opened, who only had 3 crepes. Of course, we shared them all:)

Ok, y'all ready for one of the finest miracles yet of my mission? It happened yesterday! All of our district was heading back on the bus from a district meeting. I see a pretty lady sitting near me, so I strike up a nonchalant chat with her. Nothing too extravagant! I tell her she's a dear and that she looks great in pink, because she does. She had to get off, so I handed her a pass-along card from the bottom of my borsa, one that's bent and a bit ripped but with the picture of the Savior on it. I promised her velocemente that we know that we have this life to have joy and to have families. And that she could call us if she had any questions or if there's something we could do for her. LESS THAN 15 MINUTES LATER. I get a call from a ''Luciana'', I'm rackin' my brain trying to remember a Luciana until I realize that it's her! She proceeds to tell me that I had a light, and that she feels very strongly that it wasn't by chance that we met when we did. She wanted to set up a time when we could teach her about our gospel, mission, and the Savior. She wants Him more in her life. OH, MY. THIS NEVER HAPPENS. All from a pass along card and a little love. We're meeting with her tomorrow and I'm stoked! I had chills during our entire phone call! People never call us trying to set up an appointment and learn more! I LOVE BEING A MISSIONARY!

All's fine, this is good. Although I've never taught so much my entire life, I've also never learned so much in my entire life. I'm a forever student I decided. Sorella Hallum teaches me daily about commitment and dedication to this work. We do everything for our sweet people here in Como. and the infamous irony and paradox of the mission? That I'm getting more sleep than EVER before in my life, 8 hours a night, and yet I've never been so tired. We're exhausting ourselves for these people because we love them and they deserve the world! I CANNOT wait to return and visit all of these people I already love so dearly! My heart is full.

Con tutto del mio amore,
Sorella Baer

p.s. I love you.
p.s.s. We played Psychologist last night for FHE in Italian, with investigators and the other missionaries. World's. Best.
p.s.s.s. I'm never complaining about 1 o'clock church again. because here, we have it at 2... 

Wednesday, August 7, 2013

Pictures, August 7, 2013 Como and a touch of Milano

 A couple of the sorelle decorated for Sorella Baer's birthday. She sure is loved.

Sorella Baer's desk in Como. She surrounds herself with familiar things!

 She thought this was awesome. It is a freaky floating man.
 The Sorelle found Momma Baer's happy place. The sign is wrong, though, it is supposed to read  "Lori's Chocolate Bar".

What does a innovative missionary do without thumbtacks? Use a fork, of course!
Happy P-day breakfast for the sorelle. Chocolate chip pancakes.

The sisters are growing a sunflower on their balcony and it finally bloomed. They are very proud parents. 
Como D'uomo - yep, it rhymes!

The next 3 photos are of Como, through Sorella Baer's lens. No wonder she loves it so!

''I Have Refined Thee.''

Where to start this week... I wish  knew. I feel like I have 914 things to say.


- I, Sorella Kelsey Baer, am personally feeding all of the mosquitoes in northern Italy. If you saw my legs, you'd agree. It doesn't help either that both Sorella Hallum and I are allergic to bug bites, so it's even... better.... diciamo (let's say).

- For the past month or so, I keep thinking, ''How in the world does the top of my feet get so dang dirty?'' I scrub and scrub. Nothing changes. Until I realized, no. that's not dirt. the tops of my feet are so dang tan! davvero (really), no sto scherzando (no kidding)! It's beloved! Mama, you'd be so proud! Your li'l pale-skinned, redhead is tan for once! Even if it's just the tops of her feet!

- I've NEVER experienced heat like this; errbody, all the time is just sweatin' away their lives. Good times.

- Como gets the most random intense rainstorms. it literally can be like 100 degrees and sunny as can beezy and then four minutes later, we're talking pouring rain, like 3 inches of water on the ground and it's way cold outside. We had one of those crazy rainstorms and I was lovin it! The thunder, lightning! The way I love Como is frightenin'!! (Oldies throwback song quote.)

- Sunday night, members made us the dreamiest dinner ever. We're talking they're from Napoli. They brought our lasagna, I have an 8 inch plate filled with lasagna. Slla. Hallum and I both down it like it's our bdays. Then, Sorella Alaimo says, ''That's only the first lasagna! I made two! This second one's better! It has 4 types of cheese inside!'' Second plate, filled, downed. Mercy alive, this country's gonna kill me. It was soooooo good. I feel as though I'll never be satisfied with American-Italian food again.

Here is where Sorella Baer and the other missionaries go to church. It is a restored Italian villa.

- So as I contine to mention, Como's probs the prettiest place I've ever been. I LOVE our constant bus rides because I can see our bangin' city! We do a lot of 'finding work' on the boardwalk and next to the lake, it's breathtaking. And, on our ride home from church, when it's dark out, and you can overlook the entire city and lake, and there's a lighted fountain on the water-- FOLKS GET YOURSELVES HERE! Don't just take my word for it! I'm obsessed!!! Please bless I can stay here for Christmas, too. I can't even imagine! Half of our area is in Switzerland so we cross the border all the time, that would be so dreamy around Christmas time!!

"Finding work" is another term for searching out investigators. The missionaries do a lot of it here.

- Another great thing about Como? We have 8 missionaries here! A coppia (couple) of anziani (elders) and sorelle (sisters) in both wards! In ours, we work with the capi (zone leaders) and I'm super stoked and lovin' having more missionaries and resources! It's so fun and so effective! In Vicenza, it was just Beuts and I and TWO branches! But now, we've got missionary love all over the place! It's so swell! Last night we had our first combined ward FHE! Everybody was invited; members, investigators, friends! It was so successful! We had so many people come, so much food, so much interaction between our investigators (yes, Ileana and Nazareno came!!! (Sidenote -- Nazareno's a cook, and he brought food, world's best.) We 8 missionaries headed it up. The other sorelle had the lesson, we ate, played games! That's exactly how member\missionary\investigator work needs to happen seamlessly! Here's to a new weekly tradition!

- Great, beautiful news?! Our Ileana has a bap date! We had a magnificently spirit-filled lesson with her on Thursday, where she said, completely on her own, ''When I read the Book of Mormon, sometimes I just let the pages open randomly. I was reading in 2 Nefi where it says that we should be baptized and consciously choose to make that covenant. I was baptized as a baby, but I didn't make that choice myself, but I feel I need to be baptized now.'' Hallelujah! Sorella Hallum and I had already prayed over the date. We'll see her in white 31 August!

Now, yesterday, us 4 sorelle were totes ridin' the giù bus. Giù in Italian means ''down'' and when Italians say they're sad, they say that they're giù. We were a bit down. Yesterday = not best day. Then, I was reminded of the scripture, one of my faves, 1 Ne. 20:10 ''For behold, I have refined thee, I have chosen thee in the furnace of affliction.'' Family and friends, as unbelievably tough as trials they're so necessary, not just for our growth; but for our refinement. How fortunate we are that we have the privilege of having trials, not because they're easy. But because they will make us that much more prepared to meet our Savior, proven, pure and deserving of everything He hath, as Sister Dalton says it. As if missionary work and all that the field entails, wasn't hard enough. You've got personal, home, friend and family stuff to deal with. We literally can not do this on our own. We need our Lord. I had a tough week my friends. But the Lord has chosen me, He has chosen you to have these experiences. We can handle them. We can get through them. We are not just here to exist, but to succeed gloriously.

I feel to testify to those on missions or preparing to one day serve-- trials are necessary, normal, and a part of the mission. Everything fulfilling that we've ever accomplished was fulfilling because it was tough, and we made it through. The mission is the same way! How blessed we are to not have to serve our missions alone! We have an Elder Brother who's already served the exact mission of Sorella Baer, so OF COURSE He would know exactly how to succor me, as it says in Alma 7:12. Rely on Him. Lean on Him. Let your testimony of the Atonement be deepened and sweetened. So that way you may come home from your mission, beat up shoes and all, and know that you left all of yourself in your beloved country.

I love being a missionary. It would be an understatement to say this work is tough, but it's so beautifully rewarding. I'm a blessed, better woman because of this sacred opportunity I've been granted. Every day is precious to me.

Con tutto del mio amore,
Sorella Baer

p.s. I love you.

Wednesday, July 31, 2013

Benvenuti a Como!

Once upon a time, I lived in the prettiest place on Earth. Literally, mercy alive, Como is BREATHTAKING. I'll get to this bangin' city in a sec.

My last day in Vicenza, my beloved Vicenza, Beuts and I had a final p-day and lunch with Maria and Lisa. Oh, my, saying good-bye to them - hardest thing ever. And peacin' out my city, the Arbogasts, and my beautiful Beutler=soooo hard. Now I realize what all of the missionaries were talking about when they said that transfers and changing cities is rough. But the Lord blesses us and how grateful I am that we worship a God of compensation.

Sunday, I received the BEST birthday present ever.... you ready for it?...... KELUM GOT THE PRIESTHOOD!!! When I found out, my whole darn heart was just so glad.

Allora, I'm all over the place! Ok, COMO: yes, it looks in person exactly how it looks in the pictures. We had no time to take any pictures of the city this week, so I'm really sorry-- next week. Our bus ride home from the church is BEAUTIFUL. Our church is up on the mountain, so when we come home, we can see all of Como and the lake and it's just... mercy... too much. Our area is HUGE and it includes part of  Switzerland. So yup, we HAVE to go up there often. Half of our ward lives in Switzerland, it's unreal.

Saturday night, my friends, I experienced propria Italiana cultura (their Italian culture) for real. We're talkin, walking in centro. Cobble stone streets. Accordian music. Walking on the boardwalk next to the lake. All of the Italian families out talking and eating. It was HEAVEN. It was one of those moments where the Spirit bore witness to me that I was exactly where I was supposed to be.

Our work here? Let's say this, we're turning Como upside down! Sorella Hallum my new comp, said that they have only had an investigator in church once in the past three months. Well, this past Sunday, we had TWO! I don't know what happened to the sugarcoat-y Kelsey Baer, but Sorella Baer is just plain bold these days. When we invite people to church, we promise them the blessings, establish expectations, and wrap it all up in the love the Lord has for them. It's my FAVORITE THING TO DO. One of these two, Ileana, is my homegirl. She's 22. Italian. and the dearest thing to happen to me recently. We both met her for the first time on Friday and she is honestly one of the most prepared, elect individuals I've ever met. She has every desire to understand the principles of the gospel. She keeps her commitments, and she took notes in every class on Sunday. Needless to say, the ward ADORES her. I adore her. We just love each other! We look forward to setting a baptismal date with her tomorrow!!

And then there's Nazzareno. We set a bap date with him yesterday! and surprisingly so! We were just talking about the scriptures, and then my bold, preach-my-gospel missionary of a companion, asked him if he woud be baptized when he came to know that our message was true. He was a bit caught off guard. But we promised that if he has the desire to know, he WILL know. We showed him the font (yup, we have a beautiful font in our church!) and set the date! He said that this will be something good for him to commit himself too. I absolutely love to promise people blessings! You'd best believes I was blessin' him right up!

Sorella Hallum and I are really excited about our potentials and about taking care of the investigators we have, getting them to progress. I've also really been feeling about using our members more. Making them feel important and needed, because I've gained such a testimony of the 'marriage' between member and missionary and the miracles that can happen.

Another miracle: I live with my soul sisters. Sorella McCann and Sorella Carter. They're the other sorelle in our apartment and they're over the other ward in Como. Sorella Carter is hilarious and like a mix of Alex Staib (Rahn) and Liz Hinatsu. And then there's Sorella McCann, who's literally Kelsey Baer 2.0. I swear we're the same person. She went to BYU, too, we have like 914 mutual friends. She reminds me a ton of Alli Olsen and Gabi Butler. Needless to say, the four of us sure enjoy our time together! We came home after church on Sunday, and Sorella McCann and Sorella Carter had decorated our apt with birthday stuff and made a cake for me! Bless their hearts!

Anyway folks. The mission is good. The mission is hard. But oh, so good. The work is beautiful. One of the greatest blessings I claim as a missionary is the love we are endowed with for the people in which we serve and meet. This love is real. It's lasting. It absolutely occupies my whole heart-- I don't know how there's more space in my li'l heart to love more people, but there's always more space! I LOVE THESE PEOPLE!

I invite you all to realize the love you have for others and then thank the Lord for this gift of charity and the love we're given. It is His love and absolutely a gift. Jesus, my Lord and Savior lives. He's why I'm here. Follow His example, and you have the promised blessing of exaltation with those whom you love.

 My heart is so full of love for you all. I feel so fortunate to know those whom I do.

Be good to each other, won't ya?

Con tutto del mio amore,
Sorella Baer

p.s. I love you.

Wednesday, July 24, 2013

Nella forza del Signore-- (in the strength of the Lord)

Ciao tutti. Transfer news, mercy alive.

It breaks my heart to say that I am leaving my dear Vicenza and my dear, beloved Sorella Beutler. It is still a surprise and a shock. I haven't quite processed it. Sorella Beutler will be staying here in Vicenza and training again--- shout out to that lucky new Sorella! don't know who she is, but she sure will be blessed with Sorella Beutler as her trainer!-- and I am headed to.........

drum roll please.....

COMO! It's the most northern city in the mission sisters can serve in. It's right next to Switzerland and I heard that George Clooney has a home there (on Lake Como) , so consider him converted.  I've heard from everyone that it's absolutely beautiful, so I'm thrilled for that!

                                 Como, Italy

Here's my new address: 
Sorella Kelsey Baer

I literally can't even fathom leaving my sweet Sorella Beutler; she is an absolute angel who I adore with everything that I am. She has taught me so much not only as my trainer, but as my sister and my friend. I'm so grateful I'll have her for eternity! We have SO much fun together and just enjoy the heck out of each other's company. She's blessed Vicenza so much. I'm glad that they still get to have her!
And there's nothing that confirms to me more how much I love this place than the fact that I am so, so sad to leave these people, the members, new converts, everyone. Monday night, we had our FHE, which was so great and so hard all at the same time. Saying goodbye to all of our soldiers just about ripped my heart out, but I know that there's no better hands I could leave them in than Beuts'. Yesterday, I said good-bye to Kelum, which was hard. Mercy, I love that man. I can't wait until I can see him again. And last night, we had our final dinner with Lilly. That woman will change the world, because she's already changed mine. She is someone so dear to me whose influence can't be expressed. I'm grateful that these relationships are for eternity, because I can't imagine saying goodbye forever. Wahoo for visits to Italy! Dopo la missione!
And in a couple of hours, I'll say goodbye to Lisa and Maria. Mercy, not prepared for that one! Or the Arbogasts! Goodness sakes, People! Vicenza has occupied my heart, how can I leave these people or this place?! I know that the Lord has people and experiences for me to love and enjoy in beautiful Como. I'm truly fortunate for the time I've had here! I invite you all (such a missionary phrase, sorry--habit) to head on over to Vicenza one day, you won't regret it! These people are GOLDEN! 

This is where we go to church in Vicenza!

Well, Beuts and I better head. We're off to grab last minute American things from the base. (Yup, I'm TOTALLY stocking up on peanut butter - arrivederci, mini-America) and then we're going to enjoy the very same Margarita pizza con mozzarella di buffala that we ate our first p-day together:) She's my priority, and I want to soak up and cherish as much time as I can with her.
My dear friends and family, "In the strength of the Lord" was our transfer vision this transfer-- (the first Sunday of the transfer you and your companion come up with a theme for your work). Beuts, the genius that she is, chose this one, and boy has it explained our work together. This transfer has been beautiful and tough for both of us. We both had some hard trials to lean on each other and the Lord for, and we had two beautiful baptisms and many miracles. Through the good and the bad, the Savior and His grace carried us. In His strength, we can do all-- be it just waking up in the morning and moving forward, or seeing miracles happen. In His strength, we can.
I've learned so much. My mission is precious to me. Vicenza is so dear to me. There's a book in a bookstore here called "Vicenza-- la citta preziosa" and that sincerely is true. This city is so precious. But you know what, it's not "arrivederci" just, "ci vediamo."
Be so good to each other. Enjoy and cherish every moment you have with those you love. The Lord blesses us with such sweet relationships and so many things to enjoy!
Con tutto del mio amore,
Sorella Baer
p.s. I love you.

Wednesday, July 17, 2013

Who Wants to Go to Italy?

These photos are from Marostica and Bassano del Grappa. Beautiful, lush country!

A Changed Missionary

This week was revolutionary, my friends. So, so, so, so good. I'll save the explanation for the title for the end.

Some highlights?

-#1 Kelum and Lilly. Oh my. What incredible individuals. They both have such a glow. Sweet Kelum loves to tell us everytime we visit how many more people he told about the gospel. He's our little missionary and we absolutely adore him:) and our beloved Lilly. We saw her last night and she recounted to us beautifully how after being baptized and confirmed her ability to say "no" to things has been strengthened. Her membership in the church reinforces her. She shared with us how as a brand new member there are somethings she's still trying to get used to, but she said that as she prays she says, "Signore, obbediro." Which means, "Lord, I will obey." Her faith is exemplary and that dear woman has taught me so much and I'm eternally grateful for her.

-#2 WELCOME, PRESIDENT & SISTER DIBB! We finally got to meet our new mission president at zone conference. How long awaited was his arrival! He's so kind and SO knowledgeable about the gospel. That man has so much to teach me! His sweet wife is an angel. I feel so fortunate to have these two individuals! The Spirit bore witness to me of the divinity of his call and I sustain this man preordained to be my mission president for the majority of my mission. I look forward to the year I'll have with him!

-#3 We made muddy buddies for our English class and you would've thought those Italians were eating manna. They loved it! It was so so fun going over the recipe and having each of them shake their own ziploc bag! Grazie, military base-- we have these good things! We also made it for district meeting.

-#4 We have had such incredible FHE's lately. They've been so fun, we play Catch Phrase and needless to say, I'm not too shabby:) We're always well fed, thanks to Sister Arbogast, and the Spirit is in GREAT abundance. Last week we testified of prayer and that sacred, tender relationship we can have with our Heavenly Father. One of the soldiers, out of the blue, and quite surprisingly, said, "I'm sorry, but I feel like I really need to bear my testimony." It was powerful. We meet with about 4 or 5 soldiers each week, and it was one of the most profound blessings I've had here. This week we testified about becoming as a little child. I talked about my sweet Kyler and how that little boy has stolen my heart and taught me more than anyone I can think of. The Lord has been teaching me about the importance of patterning ourselves after these Celestial, pure-hearted, little ones. To be meek, humble, forgiving and optimistic.

AND NOW. For the explanation of my headline:
This week I've witnessed a miracle. Elder Oaks has said that the greatest miracle that can occur is a change of heart. And for me, such was the case. I don't know how it happened, other than through the grace and Atonement of Jesus Christ, but my attitude about my mission changed DRASTICALLY this week. I always appreciated it. I always knew it was so good, and I was doing what was was right. My heart was divided with lots of things. But now, I can confidently and gratefully say that my mission claims my heart and only that. Nothing or no one has my heart and desires. Yes, I love and miss my family and friends unbelievably so, yet my desire is to be here. To give all of myself. To exhaust myself. And continue to strive to consecrate my thoughts, actions, words, and desires to this sacred work I'm so privileged to be a part of. This opportunity is so precious to my heart, and I want to do all I can to do it justice. I've become a PRESENT missionary. Whose mind is here now. I'm certainly not perfect and am constantly praying for the Lord to take me by the hand and forgive me, but I've never felt so much missionary fire.

The Holy Ghost taught me something so profound this week:
"I am a Child of God, and He has sent me here." He really has sent me here to this mission, at this time, to this very area, and with my beautiful blessing of a companion. I'm on His errand and solely going where He wants me to.

"Has given me an earthly home, with parents kind and dear." I thought I loved my parents before my mission, but mercy, how I love them now! I appreciate them more and more, and have even a stronger desire to be the type of parent that they are to me.

"Lead me, guide me, walk beside me. Help me find the way. Teach me all that I must do, to live with Him someday." I've never realized how much I rely on the Lord for absolutely everything. I feel like a toddler, stumbling along, and nothing is more comforting than that helpful hand of a Parent to guide me. He directs my every move, and oh, how I have need of Him. 

Fam and friends, folks and homies:)
My heart is so full. I finished the Book of Mormon last night. I started it my first day here in Vicenza and I took Elder Bednar's challenge to read it with a specific topic in mind. I choose grace. I wanted to learn more about this "enabling power of the Atonement." Now, I don't know everything there is to know. But this I do know: that we worship a Savior so full of grace. He is a Redeemer of Mercy. His is a love of perfection. Through His grace, we literally can do all things. I have had to lean on that grace to empower me to keep going, to push forward. Only through His Atonement can we become the parents, missionaries, friends, students and children of Him that we're divinely created to become. I have gained such a testimony of the beloved grace of our Savior. It is a topic that has occupied my study and thoughts for quite some time now, and I'm so grateful.

May the Lord bless and carry each of you.
Con tutto del mio amore,
Sorella Baer

p.s. I love you.