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Friday, September 20, 2013


Mercy alive, Folks, che strano che ha giĆ  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...