This is one of Andrew's latest adventures from his mission:
"We were at his guys house deep in the woods. As we were leaving, there was this freaking giant turkey next to the porch. I decided to reach out and pet it. It did NOT want to be touched. As I reached out to touch it, its eyes got real wide. Inside those dark, black eyes, I saw pure anger. He had only one desire. To peck me to death. He tried to peck my hand, but I dodged him. He then lunged after me. I took off running toward the truck. He chased me the whole way. I opened the door and leaped inside. The turkey ran to my door, and started to peck at out truck relentlessly. I grabbed my coo stick from the truck, opened the door and smacked the stupid turkey with it . . . this just made it more angry. he let out a squeal of hatred, flew in the air, and tried to bat my head with its wings. I jumped inside the truck and so did my companion (who the turkey left alone). The turkey was ONLY AFTER ME. We then drove off before the turkey could do any more damage to our truck. As we left, the turkey chased our truck all the way down the driveway. Stupid Turkey. It almost killed me." "That actually happened. It was crazy. I was actually scared it was going to try to scratch my eyes out or something."
Elder Andrew C Baker 400 West Apache St. Farmington, NM 87401
Elder Andrew Baker has been out for three months now. He is serving in Crystle, New Mexico on the Navajo Reservation. He is really enjoying his time working with the Navajo. He has almost mastered making Navajo Fry Bread. YUM!! Here are some excerpts from recent letters:
"We were at a member's house, and she asked if we wanted beans. So I said YES! When she gave us the beans there were whole pig's feet in the bowl . . . it was a pretty good though. I had to spit out the tiny pig bones though. It was funny, because I could name most of the bones I was spitting out.. my anatomy class continues to have its effect on my mission."
"Some Navajo believe in "Skin Walkers", they are coyotes that can transform into Werewolfs. The Navajo have a rule that if a coyote crosses the road in front of you, you have to turn around and drive a different path."
"The past three weeks, Elder Jones and I have changed our approach. We rely on the Lord almost completely. We pray before every lesson and tracting. We fast once per week, and we try to follow the Spirit. The area has begun to explode the last three weeks. We are so busy. People tell us all the time that they want to change. One family of nine wants to be baptized on December 1st. It's so rewarding to see the positive change we make in people's lives. On Tuesday, we had quite a day. . . we got chastized by two different people. They were strange people, but they got right in our face, yelling at us. I almost yelled back, but the Spirit stopped me. Instead, the spirit guided us to say the right things to calm them down. It was still really strange though. Most of the people here are very kind and accepting. Most peole are very happy with what we do, even if they disagree with our religion. The people here are very humble. Most don't have running water, and if they do, it costs too much for them to use it often."
This excerpt if from his last letter. He is talking about a man they have been teaching since arriving in Cyrstal two months ago.
"I want to tell you about a cool experience I had yesterday morning. As I was studying, I felt I should study in Ephesians. Really strange, but I did it. Later that day, as we taught ** (a very intelligent man that we watched conference with) I felt I needed to share a scripture in Ephesians. He had a very important question that was answered by what I read that morning. I'm glad I listened to the Spirts.
Also, earlier, while we were watching conference with him, something else happended. Before conference started, I was worried that by watching conferece he would get a strange view of the church. As the opening prayer began, I was worrying. I kept thinking of how I would have to explain everything to him. Just as my worries peaked, I heard a literal voice in my head say "It's in my hands now." Immediately, a rush of peace came over me and I knew that I just needed to sit down and be quiet. As it turned out, he loved conference. We had a great lesson after conference. I'm learning that when I rely 100% on God, things are just better."
This is a picture of President and Sister Batt, Elder Andrew Baker and Elder Porter Jones
Andrew arrived in his mission on 20 August 2012. He flew into Farmington, NM and spent the night there. On Tuesday is new mission companion, Elder Porter Jones, picked him up in a 4-door Chevy pickup and they drove to Crystal, New Mexico. It is on the Navajo Reservation in the mountains near the Arizona border. In fact, part of their area is in Arizona, the town of Lukachukai, AZ. Andrew said that the area is just beautiful at an elevation of about 7,000 feet with trees and deer. He's a happy camper. They live in a camp trailer parked on the church lot in Crystal. He said that he hits his head on the lights and door frames but he has a thick skull so it is okay. Haha! The following are some excerpts from his letters.
"It's monsoon season here, so it's cold and wet. Very cold and very wet. So far, we've met a couple people that seem genuinely interested. They invited us back to teach their whole family! We do a lot of tracting because both Elder Jones and I are new to the area and we don't know ANYONE. I actually kind of like tracting, although I need to get better. The culture is very different. Our mission president said we have the most unique mission in the USA. We get to experience a 3rd world country, while still living in America. The housing is not good and we have to knock on every building, even if it's made out of plastic tarps because there could be people inside. I swear everyone has about 20 dogs. It's weird. And the dogs are ugly and nasty! Still, the people are humble for the most part. The missionaries are the only white people the Navajos like. We open the gym every Tuesday night for basketball and we get people from all different churches. It's fun." "The Lord has really prepared the people for us. I'm excited to meet more people. I've found that doing service for the Navajos really opens up their heart, and helps them Want to hear what we have to say. Lately I've been using a lot of family stories. Some about Grandpa Baker have really helped. We were teaching a medicine man about the Book of Mormon, he doesn't believe in going to church and he doesn't like the idea that white men force their religion on them. I felt impressed to tell him about my grandpa. So I did. I told him how grandpa didn't like the idea of going to church and that he could worship God any way, any where. Then I told him a little about how grandpa was converted. After I told him all that, his countenance changed, and he wasn't on the attack anymore. He promised he would read the Book of Mormon and pray about it. I knew that grandpa was in the room with me then, and that he touched this man's heart. Lately I've been feeling by ancestors with me a lot."
"At' Ah' de'nade' shawl" (I'll see you soon in Navajo) "Gamale chk' ai' enay" (Elder Baker in Navajo)
Send packages through the USPS only and Priority mail. No UPS or FedEx. Send packages and mail to: Elder Andrew Baker New Mexico Farmington Mission 500 West Apache St. Farmington, NM 87401-5819
This is from Andrew's email received today, 15 August 2012
"My address will be changing soon, so I don't know how I'm going to get any letters for a while. You might have to update my facebook or something soon, and tell people to write to my address in New mexico. I'm leaving on Monday at 3:00 AM. they said I can make some phone calls, so I'll probably call you guys. Sorry if it will be so early. I bought a cheap calling card, so I'm good.
I'm the travel advisor for about 20 people, so i have quite a few responsibilities. Especially since I've never flown before. Oh well, I'm sure things will all work out.
I've met a ton of people here that I knew from college. It's been so cool. I've made a ton of friends, and I love it.
Lately, I've been practicing teaching. Our teacher really emphasizes that we need to teach specific to the PERSON. I've started to develop a great habit of asking "why" questions to the investigator, and helping them connect the dots. My job is to help the investigator think out questions, and I (the spirit) guides them to the right answer. It's such a different way of teaching, but it has been so effective. I cant even describe how beneficial it is. When I quiet down, and ask the questions that the spirit wants me to, it allows the spirit to work in the minds of the investigator, and speak to them the truth.
There was one case when I was talking to a real less-active. She felt overwhelmed with the gospel, and raising some handicapped kids, so she quit the church. After reading "believing christ", i felt impressed to ask her to bear her testimony. After she did, I felt that I should tell her about the atonement, and that god doesn't demand perfection from us. Only our best effort. Afterwards, tears came to her eyes, the spirit was full in the room, and I could tell that she believed in the atonement again. It was a great experience for me. I learned that the spirit rarely TELLS me what to do. He simply puts thoughts in my head that feel like good ideas or questions to ask. Nothing miraculous. Just simple thoughts that feel like good ideas.
Here are some excerpts from Andrew's emails to his family.
I'm having so much fun here. they really got us going into things from day one! It was a lot to take in at once. We had a lot of responsibilities. everyone complains about the food here, but i think it is delicious! It is safe to say, that after a week, I am completely lost in the work. It's all i think about, talk about, dream about. We've been teaching lessons to investigatos (actors), and it has been really fun to learn how to do that. yesterday we actually taught a real non member investigator! He is from kenya! We didn't teach him any lessons, because we only had 15 minutes, but we made really good friends with him. We really got him to open up. we let him know that we love him. I have great companions and roommates. My teacher is the single best teacher i have ever had. He challenges us soooo much. the other day he bore his testimony, and said that he wishes HE had a teacher that didn't settle for mediocrity, that really pushed him. Maybe it would have made him a better missionary. He really pushes us to search for the answers ourselves. Then finally, when we have become exhausted from searching and praying, he enlightens us. He is from south africa and has an english accent. right now, I'm trying to focus on loving others. I was made district president, and that comes with some major responsibilities. I miss home a little bit, but not too much. It would be nice if you guys wrote often. please usewww.dearelder.comto send your letters to me. what happens is, you type me a letter, email it to the website, (or something like that) and then they print it off and put it in my mailbox the same day. Its really cool. During Andrew's being set apart as a missionary his grandmother felt the presence of others in the room. Andrew wrote this about that experience; "I felt the exact same way about when I was set apart. I knew that there were a lot of people in there that weren't from our side. In fact, i wrote that in my journal the other day. I said "when i looked at grandma crying, i knew that grampa, and many other relatives were in the room, and that they will be with me regularly throughout my mission." I felt amazing when i wrote that, like a reassurance that even though there is a lot expected of me, I will be helped. I felt like the reason the lord gave me all these responsibilities right away, was because he wants me to learn to work hard, and to work with others. I feel that there is a great work out there for me, and that He expects a lot from me." I have a great connection with our teacher, brother roberts. I feel like whenever we look at each other or talk, we connect. He helps me out so much. He and I really have great communication between us. I have a lot of questions for him, and he loves to answer them. Tell everyone to write me, not email me! I don't have time! but i have more time to write letters! Andrew will be in the MTC until 20 Aug 2012. Write him letters or use the www.dearelder.com site. His mailbox is #116, mission code is NM-Farm, and departure date is 0820. It's totally free and he gets a physical letter in his mailbox everyday someone writes. He would really like to hear from family and friends. Thanks :) His address for the New Mexico-Farmington mission is:
Elder Andrew Baker New Mexico Famington Mission 500 West Apache St. Farmington, NM 87401-5819
Whelp, I'm here at my house, getting everything ready to go. Have to say, I'm excited, as well as a little scared! I know that I'll be fine, though. I'd love it if you guys wrote me! I'll post my addresses below! I'm going to give my parents the account info for this blog, and they aren't exactly tech savvy. Just be patient with them. ;)
I'll try to send lots of pictures and letters, so write me, and keep looking at this blog! Thanks! :)
Physical Address while I'm in the MTC:
Elder Andrew Charles Baker MTC Mailbox # 116 NM-FARM 0820 2005 N 900 E Provo, UT 84604-1793