Tuesday, December 30, 2014

Happy New Year!!

Hi Family!

It was so fun to talk to you all on Christmas!! I was really looking forward to it, and I'm glad I was able to see you again!  I know the time was short, but thanks for letting me in on your Christmas night!
This Christmas was very merry, for the four of us in Johor Bahru (Me, Elder Mitchell, Elder Durrant, Elder Lundahl-Wolford.)  We opened the presents under our Christmas tree first thing in the morning, and delighted in our spoils for a little while before personal study.  We ate too much chocolate - I found a really yummy fruit-chocolate blend, in a classic Malaysian flavor: Jackfruit.  Look it up - and then ate too much good food at Elder and Sister Schollenberger's apartment, and then at the home of our previous Elders Quorum President, where the members gathered for a Christmas feast.

We had a white Christmas, after all!!  One simply amazing investigator, the girl who I taught a little last January, code named Irene, and her mother were baptized on Christmas Eve!!!  Their baptism service was wonderful, and everything went smoothly.  They bore moving testimonies at the end of the service, and seemed happier than I'd ever seen them.  Irene's father came back from Indonesia to see their baptism, and a couple of the family's friends came to support them.  On Sunday, I was surprised and honored when Irene asked me to confirm her.  It was a very spiritual experience, seeing her and her mother become members of the Church and begin walking the covenant path!  I'm glad that I could be a small part of it.  I feel more like an observer, really, just cheering them on and supporting them.

Right now, I'm teaching two promising investigators: Frank and Sally. They aren't related in any way, and they've both been Christians for a long time.  Frank was treated rather poorly at his previous church.  The pastor approached him and told him he couldn't be bald because it might look like he was a monk, not a Christian.  Frank basically taught us the gospel of Jesus Christ this past week, and he's looking forward to a baptismal date in January!
Sally is very timid, but faithful in reading the scriptures.  She always appears to have something bothering her, and she looks a little sad, but she's beginning to laugh and open up a little bit as she meets with us.  We hope to help her choose a baptismal date soon, as well.  I'll keep you updated.

Well, time's almost up, but I want you to know that I love you all so much, and I hope you have a fantastic new year!  Any resolutions?  I'd love to hear about them.  I feel strongly that our resolutions, if set with a purpose, will really help us to become better people, come closer to Jesus Christ, and find the things we are truly searching for in our life.  I encourage you to think about what Elder Ballard says:  

“I am so thoroughly convinced that if we don’t set goals in our life and learn how to master the techniques of living to reach our goals, we can reach a ripe old age and look back on our life only to see that we reached but a small part of our full potential. When one learns to master the principles of setting a goal, he will then be able to make a great difference in the results he attains in this life.”

Love and 新年快樂!

Tuesday, December 23, 2014

So little time! (but great pictures)

21 Dec 2014

Being back in Johor is really surreal for me.  I think I had the wrong attitude when I was here last time, and I'm definitely going to do things differently now.  I feel that I have learned so much since then, and I'm anxious to continue learning in this unique opportunity the Lord has given me.  I'm really excited to see so many old friends (Stan and Rosie) and several new ones!  I pray for them always, and they really help to strengthen my testimony.

I pray for you all, too! and I love you!
Wow, I don't know what has taken all my time today!  I'm so sorry I haven't been able to talk to you very much these past two weeks. :(  
I'm looking forward to seeing you all on Christmas!!
Thank you for all you have sent to me today!


Zone Conference Friends and Ipoh Caving

Wednesday, December 17, 2014

Transfer Surprise

Sister Baer,

   This is Sister Schollenberger.  I am half of the Senior Missionary Couple serving in Johor Bahru District.  I just wanted to let you know that your son, Elder Baer was transferred to Johor Bahru.  He served here once before and we are excited to have him back as one of Zone Leaders.  

   He asked me to email you so that he could set up a Christmas skype with you.  Transfer news arrived after he was done emailing.  He wanted to make sure to be able to co ordinate schedules with you so that he will be able to make the most of his skype time.

    I am really excited to have Elder Baer back with us.  He will have a Christmas Lunch with us and I am not sure how many of the members will want him to have dinner with them.  You have raised a good son!  You can be proud of him!  He asked me to tell you he loves you.

   Thanks for sharing your son,

     Sister Schollenberger

Zone Conference and other insights

December 15, 2014

Dear Family,

You always begin with questions that I never answer.  Sorry.  I looked back at my camera to some of your recent questions, and I will try to answer them now:

- No, Ipoh doesn't have senior missionaries
- My answer to the sacrament question about the order of the bread and water was pretty much the same as Dad's, but not as punny.
- The FHE's that I remember most were ones when I had something to see or do.  I remember specifically one with an activity about the Word of Wisdom where I fed good things to a paper face, and put bad things in the trash can.  I remember very clearly a lesson that Mom taught me when I was really young, using paper cutouts of the Earth, and the Sun, the moon, and the stars to represent the plan of salvation.  (I've been using my own laminated cutouts with the "spirits" and "bodies" very often as I teach lately.  I think the ideal Family Home Evening is not too long.  I remember sometimes really looking forward to FHE, and other times when I knew that I'd be sitting on the couch for longer than I wanted to.  When we used the scriptures in conjunction with an activity, I learned the most.  I specifically remember Mom sharing with me scriptures such as Doctrine and Covenants 38:30, 1 Nephi 3:7, Mosiah 2:17, and Doctrine and Covenants 89 on different occaisions, which have had a lasting effect on me and the way that I made decisions in my life.  I remember watching the Book of Mormon Storybook videos.  I always looked forward to watching those, and I think that they helped me understand the Book of Mormon before I really began to read it on my own.    Anyway... I think as long as we learn principles from the scriptures and everyone laughs together, Family Home Evening is a success.
- I received the package this week!  Thank you so much for sacrificing your time and energy to find a new Book of Mormon and matching case!  I really appreciate it and I love the Jelly Bellys, too!  (I also received a package from Grandma and Grandpa Baer.  When I opened it, I found several smaller wrapped gifts.  They are under our Christmas tree right now, waiting to be opened on Christmas morning.  Thank you again!!)

Zone Conference was, once again, fantastic!  I loved being back in Singapore and seeing so many good missionaries and friends.  I think I received more specific direction and guidance dealing with Applications that I can make to bring my missionary service into better harmony with the Doctrines I know and the Principles I've been learning recently.  Our focus was on the branch council meetings that should take place regularly.  How do ward council meetings go in the 3rd ward?  Are there action items created and assigned that help individuals to plan specific times and purposes for the work that they will do in the coming week to move forward the work of salvation?  I absolutely love being in Ipoh, where I feel a connection of genuine love between members and missionaries.  I feel that this is the closest I've come in my mission to breaking the barrier between the "missionaries' Church" and the "members' Church" that so often comes between us.  (Maybe every missionary says this, but I am discovering that I was definitely not living up to my potential as a member missionary before I put the nametag on.)

We had a chance to watch the Christmas Devotional at the conference, as well.  I'll admit that as I listened, I was writing Christmas cards at the same time, so I don't think I took in everything, but I liked the talk about Jesus Christ's family.  I know that if we develop the same attributes that Mary, Joseph, and Jesus exemplified, we will find the most important things in life, and we will be happy.  I know that by doing this, we will also come closer to God, and we will receive strength from Him, and feel His assurance that all things will work together for our good.  I really do think that I've been able to feel the fruits of these important qualities in our home as I've grown up.  I want to thank you all for helping me to feel the love of the Savior, and for choosing to live in a way that allows him to bless us.
I also enjoyed watching "He is the Gift."  Have you seen this video on lds.org yet?  If not, I highly recommend it.  I also recommend that you think about and write down just one way that you will share the gift at Christmas this year.

I love you all, and I wish I could keep emailing you for hours, but I'd better get started on sending you pictures now!

If you have more questions, email them to me soon, because I still have to write President Mains, and get transfer news.  (I know I say this every transfer, but  AAAUGH!!)