Wednesday, October 30, 2013


Ha phewww I feel so much better this week! It was just my stomach adjusting to the food here. But I got some Pepto halfway through last week and now I don't even have to take it anymore! And it feels like I have friends here finally. It was rough, the transition from feeling so loved and at home at the CCM to feeling like I had no one here.

Wow, so cool news is that we have 6 baptismal dates and there were zero when Hermana C. and I got here. One lesson, we were teaching a woman, and it was going really well. It seemed that we were all feeling the spirit. I made eye contact with Hermana I., and she gave me a mini nod, so I assumed that meant I was supposed to invite the investigator to baptism. Turns out, Hermana I. just thought I was trying to say something and was encouraging me to speak. But it all turned out for the best because she accepted!

I feel like my testimony has been growing so much out here on my mission. Every time I teach someone about the first vision, or the Atonement, I can feel the Holy Ghost testifying to me of the truth of what I am teaching. I know that the Holy Ghost is what changes people's lives, not our lessons. It is what motivates people to act, to pray, to repent, to draw nearer to God through the medium of the Gospel. We really just have the small role of allowing it to teach people through us!

As I wrote in my short email to Mom, my understanding of what faith is and how we, as ordinary faithful members of the church can use it, has grown SO much these past few weeks. (If you are interested in this topic, I recommend Faith in the Lord Jesus Christ by Gene R. Cook. It is incredible). I had an incredible experience with this this morning. Lately I have had trouble with talking to people on the street (for obvious reasons--that I am not very good at Spanish still and worry about not being able to communicate anything meaningful).

However, this morning, in my prayer, I made a promise with Heavenly Father that I would not only say the easy "Good morning" or "We are missionaries from the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints, have you had the chance to meet with missionaries before?" What I wanted to do was have a meaningful conversation and leave the person I was talking to ready to learn more. We were waiting for a bus this morning to head into the city to deal with some immigration stuff for Hermana C. (a complicated process), and asked for the help of woman also waiting. She was so helpful, and I felt an overwelming feeling that we as a church need her! We sat together on the bus, and I found a way to share not just a pamphlet but almost all of the first lesson! It was incredible, and it felt like we were both feeling the Spirit.

Also, the best thing was, after we got off the bus, she had arranged for a driver from her work to drive the four of us (her, me, and my two companions) to the Immigration office. The looks on all the other missionaries' faces when we got dropped off in a car was soo worth it.

Alright, so the conclusion of my short story is this: that the Lord blesses us when we demonstrate our faith and are truly committed to acting. Like one of the elders in my MTC district said, Heavenly Father wants to bless us, he just asks that we obey his commandments first.

Love love love,

Hermana Romero


My first real email from El Salvador! Although we all got the chance to write a short email to our parents last week, I haven't had a full P day until today. I hope you aren't dying over there Mom! I know you love my emails, and I'm glad you like the pictures (still don't have a converter, so I will hopefully be forwarding you a few from Hermana I.).

(Good news dad, I think you will love this--Hermana G. LOVES Clay's new book, so I got it approved to read. And guess who else loves it now?!? My trainer, Hermana I.)

(You guys are teaching Primary?? Since when??!)

This week, I started forgetting English (Just kidding, that happened long before my mission). I turned to my companion, Hermana I., and asked her if "happy cookie" (galleta feliz, as the title suggest) was an expression in English. I think I was trying to think of "happy camper"...? Either way, we both thought it was pretty much hilarious!

Speaking of companions, let's talk about my new ones. Yes, that is plural...I am in a trio again! Again, it is perfect because I have Hermana I. as a buffer/translator between me and Hermana C. who speaks about 3 words of English (and all the English she knows we have taught her. But all the Latina missionaries here are supposed to learn English so we are helping her.) We are in a beautiful area called Las Arboledas in the zone Ilopango (I love the sound of the word "Ilopango". You should get Kevin to say it for you).

I guess as far as my spiritual thought this week, it is definitely different, a lot more real to be out here teaching real people. I am helping REAL people come unto Christ, and that is such a blessing. I can see the light of the Gospel coming into their eyes. It is truly like we are finding Christ's lost sheep, and bringing them back to the fold.

Also, I would like to invite every sibling/parent to send me (in the next month, and maybe one every month for the rest of my mission) a photo of themselves taken recently and a sentence or two about what they are up to in their photo. You all expect me to send photos, but never update me about your life!! :)


I am not sure how much time I get to be on here tonight, but I just wanted to let you know that I am safe and sound, staying at the mission presidents home tonight and tomorrow, going to the temple tomorrow! And leaving Wednesday...I am so excited to find out where my first area is and who my first companion is.

Fun facts: when we got here, it was completely dark!! At 6:45!! Sunset is about 5:30 ans sunrise is 5ish... And apparently they pull sisters in at 8:00 just to be safe and because people go to bed early here.

Also hahah this cracks me plane friend told me (after finding out that I would be spending 18 months in El Salvador) that he was going to pray for two things: my safety and for the Mexicans to win the preliminary game for the World Cup tomorrow!


1. Continuing in the grand Baratta tradition of injuring missionaries while playing a fun game of soccer, I mildly sprained my companion (Hermana G.'s) ankle while trying to steal the ball from her! Luckily she is a champ, and has been recovering really well. Although last night, we went to see the doctor, and it was the MEXICAN one so he couldn't really understand us and we couldn't fully understand him either, so he sat us down in a sort of sketchy looking back room, sprayed some icy spray on Hermana Graham's foot, and told us to wait there for half an hour. Then he gave Hermana Graham two pills, which she dutifully took, only to realize they were double doses of Ibuprophen and she had already taken two! She was a little loopy and incapable of speaking Spanish the rest of the night, but I guess that's what happens when you have 1200 mg of Ibuprophen in your system...always an adventure at the MTC haha!

2. We had a very crazy night of sleep this week! Apparently (and this is all relayed secondhand from Hermana G. because the only thing I could remember was a mosquito buzzing in my ear and me trying to kill it), Hermana D. was sleep talking IN SPANISH all night, about the bubulubus. Who knows why! And then a couple of our casa-mates had a 2 AM flight, so someone came and banged on our door/rang on the doorbell really loudly in the middle of the night. Hermana G. was so terrified that someone was coming to break into our house, that she came and got me up so we could check it out together. The weirdest part is: I have NO RECOLLECTION of getting up. Freaky! But hilarious. :)

3. Our teacher told us she had talked to President Pratt about having us sing at a devotional (since the entire district is insanely musically talented!) and later that evening, everyone in went to go talk to him about it, and see whether we could actually do it. He stared at them strangely, and said, "I don't even know what you're talking about." and then walked away. Because he is hilariously frank like that.

Okay, finally, the highlight (nonspiritually, at least) of my week: I have made friends with some of the hairdressers here, from socializing with them (in Spanish, no less!) at lunch, and one of them, when she heard that I was leaving this week, said that she would miss me! It was really sweet. Then I told her that I miss her (present tense), so I guess I still have a ways to go with my Spanish! At least people seem to understand me pretty well, even if I have trouble understanding them.


I am so excited to head out to El Salvador. Still don't know my flight plans, but I'll get 'em soon. Plus I get another email day before I leave, Monday or Tuesday!

Hermana Romero

Sunday, October 6, 2013

Update on Sending Packages and/or Letters

Hermana Romero/Baratta forwarded this on Thursday Oct 3:

from: Rosemary Baratta
to: Mom , Dad
date: Thu, Oct 3, 2013

Please inform people of the content of the email I just forwarded, and (THIS IS URGENT) please tell people to start sending  Dear Elders [plus any mailed letters - added by mom] to El Salvador because they take about 2 weeks to get here (I just got the September 21st ones yesterday) and I have less than two weeks left in Mexico! (crazy how time flies)

The address we were given for mailing letters to El Salvador is:
Sister Rosemary Julia Baratta
El Salvador San Salvador East Mission
Boulevard del Hipodromo No 537
Colonia San Benito
CP, San Salvador
El Salvador

---------- Forwarded message ----------
From: El Salvador San Salvador East Mission
Date: Wed, Oct 2, 2013 at 11:00 AM
Subject: El Salvador San Salvador East Mission

Welcome to the El Salvador San Salvador East Mission! Just a word of caution that we would like for you to send on to your parents and loved ones; the postal system here in El Salvador is very unreliable so please tell your parents and loved ones to NOT send packages by private mail systems like UPS, DHL express, Fedex, etc. If they do the packages will be stuck in airport customs and we will not be able to retrieve them. Please tell your loved ones to send packages by US mail as these will arrive directly to our office without any fees or problems. The address to send packages to is:
Elder/Sister (Your name)                     = Sister Rosemary Julia Baratta
Mision El Salvador San Salvador East
PO Box # 3362
San Salvador , El Salvador
Central America
Thank you and we are very excited to have you join us here in El Salvador very soon!
Elder Soza
Secretario de Migración y Viajes
Misión El Salvador San Salvador Este.

Since we haven't gotten any photos this week, here's another from earlier weeks.

Hahah - the Elders trying to sneak into our Hermana picture

This was the day she arrived at the MTC
& was greeted by the Christensens

Saturday, October 5, 2013

Week 4: These are spicy pickles!


Dearest family! (and friends)

Do I have a good story for you all this week! (As always, the best stories about me and are about my relationship with food haha). Tuesday evening, I was putting dressing on my salad, and I saw a bucket of pickles. At least, they looked like pickles, and they smelled like pickles! I decided it had been a while since I had last eaten a pickle, so I grabbed one for my plate. Midway into the meal, I remembered the pickle and excitedly took a bite. An itty bitty bite. All of a sudden, my mouth felt like it was on fire! I spat it out, and, turning to my companion, said, "These are spicy pickles!" ...Turns out, they were jalapeños and not pickles!!

On another note, Mexico City has a TON of mosquitos (I guess because it is the rainy season here?). Sometimes, when there are a lot of them in our casa/bedroom, I go a little crazy, trying to kill them. Last night, Hermana G. and I spent about 15 minutes stalking around our room, hitting stuff (since they like to hide in the randomest of places) and chasing any that came free. Basically, the best way to describe my attitude towards these little fellers is: "Come closer to me so I can kill you." Luckily I only have about three bites, so apparently they aren't as fierce as the ones in Yosemite or Massachusetts.

So, spicy pickles and mosquitos aside (or included, since I still am getting a good laugh out of them!), the CCM is still great. We have been teaching a lot lately, especially since we added two more "investigators" to our teaching pool (two of the elders in our district). It is decently fun, but a little discouraging when I can tell that they are just listening out of politeness and not feeling the spirit. Since I just hit the one month mark of being out on my mission, I have been a little introspective, and wondering how I have grown/changed/developed over this past month. I think part of it is for sure the lifestyle that I have been living has changed...The things I do to fill my time here at the CCM are very different from the things I used to do when I was at home before my mission. However, I hope I have changed in more than just my habits...I hope it is my character that is changing too!

We had a phenomenal devotional on Sunday that has put into words and powerfully reminded me what I must do to be an effective missionary, not only here at the CCM or out in the mission field, but also for the rest of my life. The speaker, President (Brother?) C., spoke about Christ's statement, "Render unto Caesar's that which is Caesar's, and render unto God, that which is God's."* (M&D, if you can look up a reference for that, that would be great! I don't have it written down anywhere). Specifically the second half of it, because God has created us in his image, and this statement ought to remind us that we must render ourselves unto God. Rendering yourself unto God is a higher level of obedience than merely doing what you are supposed to according to a set of rules. It's higher, even, than D&C 58:26-27*, be anxiously engaged, rather than being slothful. It is consecrating or dedicating our time, our whole souls, everything to God.

I feel that this goes along with another idea I have been thinking about lately: admitting that we don't always know what the right thing to do is, trusting that God will guide us if we try to do the right, and trusting that His plan is better than ours, even when we have a hard time understanding how. I know that God will bring peace to our hearts if we try to follow his will. It may not always be answers to our questions, but if we are willing to follow him, we will be blessed with the ability to accept how things are. I have seen this time and time again in my life, and it is one of the greatest ways that I have felt God's love.

Also, Moses 1:39 "my [God's] work and my glory are to bring to pass the immortality and eternal life of man" and D&C 4:5 "And faith, hope, love, charity, and an eye single to the glory of God" are talking about the same thing. I wish I could say I came up with that myself, but it's from Brother C.s' talk. It reminds me of how someone (one of the elders in my district, perhaps?) was describing how the gospel is like a tapestry, and all of the threads are interwoven and connected. It's the same way with the scriptures...Themes pop up across the scriptures, verses that echo each me, it testifies that there is a Divine revelator, inspiring all these works, and that his hand is in all of these.

Another such connection (2 Nephi 33:1*, Ether 12:25*), is something I have been thinking a lot about lately. When I was younger, I used to prefer writing to speaking, because it allowed me the time and ability to control my words, and communicate my ideas clearly. As I have grown in my understanding of the Gospel, I have started to understand what Nephi means when he says, "I am not as powerful to write as to speak" (Pardon my terrible translation from Spanish to English!). I am beginning to understand that, when speaking, face to face, with another person, not only can you understand better what they are saying with their body language and tone of voice, but you also can allow the Spirit to testify through your words. As you do this, the actual words you say become less important, and the stirrings of the Holy Spirit in the other person's heart (and what it testifies to them they must do) become more important. So cool.

Here is another cool (but slightly strange experience). We have all had to take on different characters (preferrably based on real people we know - I chose a non-Mormon friend of mine) and pretend to be investigators for the other missionaries of the district. I took this pretty seriously - when the missionaries challenged me (as the investigator) to read the Book of Mormon, that night, I went home and did that. As I read, I felt prompted to stop and pray, so I did. As I prayed a simple prayer ("Heavenly Father, if you are there, I just want to know"), and I felt an incredible feeling of love wash over me, and I KNEW that God loved the actual friend who I was praying on behalf of. Incredible.

Hermana Romero/Baratta in front of the CCM
[Missionary Training Center] in Mexico City
I am so delighted to hear from so many friends and family!! I get more dear elders than everyone else in the district (probably put together haha). I am only supposed to write back on P Day, so I do what I can, as promptly as I can. I am glad to hear that everyone is doing well, and especially that Dad is working on Joey's Park (as a director? I skimmed that email, sorry!) Love you all and best of luck!! If you want to hear about anything more specific, please send it to me in my email, and I will try to address it next week,
Hermana Romero

PS, Don't forget -- start sending letters to El Salvador this week, because they will NOT get to Mexico before I leave! Much much much love to you all!

Hermana Romano/Baratta with her district
in front of the Mexico City Temple

"We have a beautiful view of the mountains, 
and the brightly colored houses that are covering them. 
The houses are SO close together here!"

From the New Testament of the Bible: 
MATT. 22:21 ... Render therefore unto Cæsar the things which are Cæsar’s; and unto God the things that are God’s. 
From an LDS book of scripture called the Doctrine and Covenants:
D&C 58:26-27
26 For behold, it is not meet that I should command in all things; for he that is compelled in all things, the same is a slothful and not a wise servant; wherefore he receiveth no reward. 
27 Verily I say, men should be anxiously engaged in a good cause, and do many things of their own free will, and bring to pass much righteousness; 
The next two are from another LDS book of scripture called the Book of Mormon:
2 Nephi 33:1 And now I, Nephi, cannot write all the things which were taught among my people; neither am I mighty in writing, like unto speaking; for when a man speaketh by the power of the Holy Ghost the power of the Holy Ghost carrieth it unto the hearts of the children of men.
Ether 12:25 Thou hast also made our words powerful and great, even that we cannot write them; wherefore, when we write we behold our weakness , and stumble because of the placing of our words; and I fear lest the Gentiles shall mock at our words.

Tuesday, October 1, 2013

Hola Familia Querida,

What an amazing week this has been! I thought it couldn´t get better after last week´s birthday celebration! (I hope M&D have been forwarding photos because these describe the festivities a little bit more) but it absolutely did! I think part of the key of what has been making me happy these past few days is making a concerted effort to do three things: 1. be on time to EVERYTHING (which, haha, if you know me at all, you know punctuality is not my strong suit...except in the morning because I am the lowest maintainence girl you will ever meet!) 2. to be more friendly with everyone--missionaries, staff, teachers, EVERYONE and 3. speak spanish ALWAYS because that is the only way I will learn it.

Of course, I haven’t been perfect in any of these things, but making and working on goals really is the key to happiness and satisfaction, at least in my life. Plus I have gotten to make friends with a lot of Mexicans here! They are so patient, even when I talk in my terribly slow, broken Spanish. Echoing the words of Hermana G., I love Mexicans! They are really amazing, and one of the women I ate lunch with one time, the hair dresser for the CCM, is named Rosie too! How cool!

We travel in style! our bus to the temple
was a Mercedes Benz!    Hahaha
As you may be able to tell from this week´s photos, I have a new name on my plaque! How did that come about? Well haha I was going to thank Presidente P. for a talk he gave, and he took one look at my last name, and said something like, Sister, do you know what your last name means in Spanish? And I said that I did, and he suggested that I might prefer a different name, since ´´Sister Cheap´´ sort of sends the wrong impression! So after some deliberation, I chose Hermana Romero (Romero = Rosemary), which STILL gets a lot of comments from the natives, because it sounds Mexican! Haha you just can´t win! Lately, I´ve started telling people my last name is Italian and that it sounds Spanish because it is just easier that way!!!

Another fun fact about my name change. When Hermana N. found out I could have changed it to anything, she said, ´´You should have changed it to N.! I´ve always wanted to teach an Hermana N.´´ Haha I love her. Both my teachers actually. They are great!

Haha so you are all probably wondering what on earth a bubulubu is! (Pronounced boobooloooboo, and if you were saying it any other way, you are wrong!) It is the strangest Mexican jelly candy I have ever encountered. Nobody likes the way they taste, but the name is SO fun to say, that in our district, it has become sort of a catch phrase to say that to each other.

In addition to being an amazingly hilarious and fun experience, the CCM is also really spiritually uplifting. I think it was Sister J. of the Boston mission who told me, ´´As a missionary, you only get one hour to study each day´´, and at first, I was confused why she would say ´´only´´, because, before my mission I would read scriptures for probably max of half an hour. In the past few weeks my scripture study has exploded. I have so many things I want to do, but not nearly enough time--I want to study how to be a better missionary in Preach My Gospel, keep reading the New Testament (to read of the example of Christ), look for scriptures our ´´investigators´´ need, read the Book of Mormon in Spanish, memorize scriptures, etc, etc and there just isn´t enough time! I am so grateful for the days when my district can actually be silent, because getting really good morning scripture study just makes my day go sooo much better.

This week, I have been thinking about my incredible spiritual inheritance. I have been blessed with talents and a testimony and I really feel a desire to share the Gospel with everyone. People out there in the world are so amazing, and I want to help them discover the great joy I have found in being a member of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints. Good thing, huh? Because I have 18 months of that! :)

Love you all, and eagerly awaiting any letters and emails you send!
Hermana Baratta

P.S. I am 99% certain you can still address me in letters as Hermana Baratta, and 100% certain you can still think of me as Hermana Baratta

In Rosie's first blog post, she commented:
"Oh, and fun fact: it rains every day here! for only about an hour, but I am so grateful to have my umbrella."
This week she sent us two photos documenting a couple of her experiences with those daily rains.

We got back from exercise time to find that it has begun down-pouring
and ´´The calle {road} is a rio! {river}´´

On our way back to class that evening, we waded barefoot through the water.
I felt bad for the elders--they couldn´t avoid getting wet so easily!