Wednesday, May 27, 2009

P.S. I.m not sooo bad...

I know I said my companion was an awesome runner and that she puts me to shame, but, as time has gone on, I have really come to realize that she is more than a runner... she's a flippin' MACHINE!!!! I mean, I really began to feel like I had really gotten awful and out of shape. But I learned this week that there is a 5k here that the sisters get to run (and I'm totally doing it!) that my companion ran last year. She totally came in second place! HAHAHAHAHA second! I don't think I've gotten all that bad, she is just way out of my league. Thank goodness for her patience or I might never get out to run.

"I've got a shirt and shoes and I don't smoke. I must be doin' okay!"

I feel like I've been going a mile a minute with these e-mails. I'm want to slow down a little, back up and cool down. This desire comes with perfect timing! I finally have a little more to say about Nauvoo!!! Things are picking up and the Young Preforming missionaries are here and things are beginning to move a little faster. That seems to be how I work. When my surroundings are slow my mind races, and when my surroundings speed up, my mind takes a load off. Or at least a short break. I am also trudging my way through Talmadge's "Jesus The Christ" and that combined with all the ta-do of the summer months in Nauvoo should keep me plenty busy.
SO, I have come to a conclusion about Nauvoo. If you hate America then you should definitely cross Nauvoo off of your "things do to" list. This place loves America, and how could you not? This is the promise land after all! I can't wait for Forth of July! The productions that are now taking place are "Just plain Anna Amanda", "High Hopes and River Boats", "Rendezvous", and "Sunset by the Mississippi". All of them are fantastic. We meet and visit with some 300+ people everyday. I'm amazed at some of the people who just stumble on to this place not having a clue as to what it is, why it's here and who owns the Visitor's Center. We had two young men walk in to ask if they could park their truck here for the weekend. When one of the Elders went to find out I asked if they had ever been to Nauvoo before. They both put their hands on their hips and took a long look around. One finally said, "No. I mean, what is this place? a museum?" I smiled and said no, but that I would be happy to give them tour while we were waiting. They were more than happy to. We talked about Joseph Smith, The Book Of Mormon, the early Saints, the Temple, the persecution, the faith, the sacrifices and the peace. They were rather disturbed at the persecution the early Saints went through. They wanted to know why people kept chasing them out, destroying their homes, their farms, and their families. They needed an explanation. Nothing I said of the fear of things that are different or the politics satisfied them. It bothered them. To tell you the truth all the anger and violence doesn't make much sense to me either. I told them that as they walked away. They both took some Comment cards to fill out and then they were gone. As they left I thought about our discussion. It's true. As you learn about what the early members of the church went through you find yourself wondering why. I know that when there is something good in the world, there is always opposition. In the "Joseph Smith; The Prophet of the Restoration" movies there is a quote that I like. It says, "When we are accomplishing the most good, that is when we face the most opposition.” The question that leaves is not so much why the anger, or why the violence, those are thing fueled by the Advisary. He is not going to let this work go forth un-challenged. He will do all he can to try and thwart it. We can find peace in knowing that even his best efforts, as powerful as he is, cannot and will not be triumphant. "The standard of truth has been erected. No unhallowed hand can stop the work from progressing. The truth will go forth boldly nobly and independent! Til it has penetrated every continent, visited every clime, swept every country and sounded in every ear! Til the purposes of God shall be accomplished and the Great Jehova shall say, 'the work is done'". But I've strayed from my original train of thought. The question that is left to ponder is why, after all they went through, did the Saints press forward? Why didn't they call it quits? Why did Joseph and Hyrum Smith give their lives for all of this? Why do the young men and women take two years of their lives and dedicate it to getting rejected and turned down and having door after door shut in their faces?
Faith. Faith in Jesus Christ. He is where they put their everything. He is what their lives, their families their faith was centered on and I know many that I could say the same for. "We walk by faith not by sight" (2Corinthians5:7) "Faith is the substance of things hoped for, the evidences of things not seen" (Hebrews11:1) "But without Faith it is impossible to please Him, for he that comes unto God must believe that He is, and that He is a rewarder of them that diligently seek Him". Ether 12 is a Chapter in The Book of Mormon that I cannot wait to get into! One would be hard pressed to find a more riveting dissertation on the topic of Faith. Alma 32 does a good job, but Ether 12 is, or has been recently, one of my favorites. If any one is looking for a good read I would suggest any of the passages above. They have helped me so much to gain a greater understanding of faith and faith is one thing you cannot have enough of.
Oh yeah! Nauvoo. :) Things are busy. We work all day, everyday, and barely have time to eat. But it all gets done. We are putting on a "Sociable" on the 19th of July. Sociables are what they call Sunday night firesides out here. We have to sing. (HAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHA....yeah). We practice every night we have the chance and I spend 50% of the time trying to figure out what people are talking about (octave, descant, measure) and the other 50% of the time trying to find where we are in the song. Apparently, the Lords wants me to be able to sing. I wish Him the best of luck and find comfort in knowing that HE knows that I can only offer my best efforts. I'm trying. It takes me back to 5th and 6th grade chorus performances. When I really get lost I just imagine my old music teacher from elementary school waving her little hand in spasmodic motions with her hair sprayed do bouncing up in down. Distracting as it is, it keeps me entertained and brings a smile to my face.

Pray for me. :)

I love you all. You dance through my thoughts and prayers <3
I love this work. I will gladly do it all the days of my life.

Sister Bailey

P.S. The subject title of this e-mail is a response I received from an old lady who came in when I asked her how she was doing. :)

Friday, May 22, 2009


Transfers were Sunday. I now spend my days serving in Nauvoo. I loved Carthage. I didn't want to leave. But, I feel so good about this move. For the past four weeks the Lord needed me in Carthage, for the next four, In Nauvoo. My new P-day is Tuesday. My new companion is Sister Binkerhoff. She hails from Arizona and is 5'8". We make quite the pair. :) She is a really good missionary and we have a lot of things in common. She's a health nut when it come to eating (how perfect) and loves to run. We ran down to the river this morning and back and I thought I might die! at least I'll stay in shape for the next couple of weeks huh? It was a really good work out. We served in the site yesterday! It was fun. Pioneer dresses, as unfashionable as they are, are actually quite comfortable.
I will never forget Carthage. I grew so much there, My testimony of Joseph Smith and the restoration and the early saints grew SO much. I know that Joseph Smith was a Prophet of God. That he was called of God to do the work that he did, to restore the gospel of Jesus Christ to the earth in its fullness.
To understand all of this we need to understand that because God loves us so much, and truly wants us to succeed, truly wants us to return, He has always tried to communicate with His children. Not only through prayer, but through prophets that He calls to be His mouth piece. Through these prophets we learn the will of the Lord for His children. They give us instruction from the Lord, instructions, that if followed, make it possible to return and live with Him. When they speak to us it is as if God Himself was speaking to us. We see this throughout the Bible. Adam, Noah, Moses, Abraham all these men were called of God to teach the people. We also see a pattern of Apostasy...... when the people of the earth rejected the words of the prophet, rejected the direction from their Heavenly Father. After all, no one likes to be told what to do, or that what they are doing is wrong.
When Christ lived on this earth He lived and died for us. He also set up His church. With a Prophet and Apostles. He gave to them the authority to act in God's name. The priesthood. He then told them to go forth and preach His gospel. They faithfully did so. However, the people of the earth, as in times of old, rejected the words of the prophet and these apostles. In fact, many of them were hunted down and killed. That priesthood authority, the authority to act in the name of God was taken from the earth. The world entered what we call The Great Apostasy. The priesthood authority was taken from the earth and the doctrines began to be changed by men who did not have the authority to do so. Many precious truths were lost. There were men, many good men who noticed this. They tried to fix it, setting up their own churches. But the gospel was like a piece of broken glass. It needed to be restored by the living God and Christ Himself. As time went on the earth was prepared to receive the Gospel again. And in 1820, a boy, fourteen years old, confused about the will of God and concerned for the eternal state of his soul knelt in prayer under the direction of James. "If any of you lack wisdom let him ask of God". When His prayer was uttered he saw "a light exactly over my head, above the brightness of the sun, which descended gradually until it fell upon me. When the light rested upon me I saw two personages, whose brightness and glory defy all description, standing above me in the air. One of the spake unto me, calling me by name, and said, pointing to the other, 'This is my beloved son. Hear Him!". Joseph Smith saw God the Father and His Son Jesus Christ. They appeared to Him and answered his prayer, explaining that the true church was not upon the earth. He was instructed to continue as he was until He was instructed other wise. He was intrusted again. He brought forth a new book of scripture; The Book of Mormon, a second testament to Jesus Christ. A record that had been protected from the world, leaving it unchanged from the mouth of God. He translated this record by the power of God.. Heavenly messenger continued to attend to Him. That Priesthood Authority was restored to the earth to Joseph Smith by those who had gone before. He lived and died for this Gospel. The early saint sacrificed everything to make this Gospel and the blessings that come from it available to us if we chose to have it in our lives. I am so grateful for that sacrifice. If there is any doubt about what I have said I would encourage you not to take my word for it. This is a testimony that I gained through earnest prayer. Truths that have been witnessed to me by God. Ask Him. Humbly kneel and pray. Pray and ask God, who knows all things and is perfect and cannot lie, if these things are true. If Joseph Smith is the man that I profess him to be. "If any of you lack wisdom, let him ask of God. Who giveth to all men liberally and upbraideth not; and it shall be given Him". (James1:5).
I hope that all is going well with everyone back home. I hope that I did not offend anyone by the things that I have written, but I cannot apologize for the things I know to be true. I would die for this gospel, but I have been asked to live for it. I plan to do so until that day that I can return to live with Him. And I hope to see many of you there with me. :) I love you all. Know that my prayers are littered with your names.
I love this work. I cannot believe I have past my two month mark. 18 months just isn't long enough.

Sister Bailey
2Nephi 33:10

Friday, May 15, 2009

2Nephi 4:15-16

It is wet and rainy here in Illinois. And I love it! Ma, I will take alllllll of your rain! Of course, I'm not watching a group of 15-20 or so preschoolers who have to be cooped up all week. If you get frustrated or stressed out count your many blessings that you're not watching 7-10 autistic preschoolers who have to be cooped up all week! (let me pause and explain myself to anyone who may or maynot be offended by this last comment. I worked at a summer camp for Autistic children. It was THE best job I have ever had and I would not mind at all to do it for the rest of my doggone life! MY Mom came in to help one day. This day was a paticularly rough day for one of the kids I looked after and she witnessed the destruction that can occur when there is a rift in communitation between an adult and a six year old that has access to green paint, beads, and a tub of glitter. It's kind of an inside joke).
At any rate, I got some Clariton D today at walmart and I am stoked. I also got all of my pictures that were lost recovered and transfered to a Picture DVD thing, but didn't have time to print any out. I know you were all dying to know. These e-mails are funny things. I can assure you that my life is now more exciting than it has ever been. Much more exciting than recovered pictures and gigantor worms, but it's so much harder to put into words. The best part of my life has been, is now, and always will be, The Gospel of Jesus Christ in it's fullest on the earth today. For this small portion of my life, that gets to fill every thought that croses my mind, every book I read, every song I hear, and all the words I speak. Nothing else gets in the way. Not school, not the radio, not movies, not a job. HA! The gospel of Jesus christ IS my job. All of the noise of the world has been removed and I am able to think. Think, hear, feel this work. This Glorious gospel! this GOOD NEWS. Which is probably why things are so great.
Eternal truth: God Loves us. He loves you, He loves me, He loves that guy at work or school that smells funny. "...the worth of souls is great in the sight of God" (D&C18:10). This should not come to a shock to anyone. After all, He is our Father in Heaven. Our Father. The literal Father of our spirits! All of this, the creation, the plan, the Atonement. It is because He loves us with all the love and tenderness of a Father. I feel that Love everyday. I have always felt it, but it has become so intense these past few weeks, so crisp, so clear. Because He loves us He gave us families. Parents, siblings, people to love and grow with. Families are ordained of God and are blessed as we become closer to Him. One of the many things in this life that bring us closer to Him is prayer. Through prayer we can communicate with Him and He with us, if we listen carefully, with our whole heart, firmly believing we will recieve an answer. He will manifest the truth of all things unto them that ask. I know He hears our prayers. He waits for them. He rejoices to hear from us.
I keep you all in my thoughts and prayers. I Love this work. And I love you.

Sister Bailey.

Jacob 4 is a good example of what I was trying to say in the begining of this e-mail. Particularly verse 12. The scriptures always say it better than I can. *(Jacob 4 is in The Book Of Mormon)2Nephi 4:15-16

Thursday, May 7, 2009

Wow. No WAY!

It doesn't feel that near enough time has passed between now and the last time I was sitting in front of the computer screen. Time is passing so fast. This letter could prove to a be short one. Short and dry.

I am still giving tours. I am still loving it. I am, in the most secret corners of my heart, hoping to stay in Carthage for another transfer, but goodness knows that, because I just outed myself, I will probably be leaving. The transfer is almost done! Can it be? Only one more week in Carthage?!?! NO!

The thing about missionary work is that, for a very short period of my life, I get to be sent exactly where the Lord wants and needs me. So if He bids me go to Nauvoo I 1) will fall in Love with Nauvoo, and 2) will learn and grow and be where I need to be in order to best serve Him.

This week! What's new? The rain has left us, much to my dismay, and taken with it the earth worms I found so interesting. SO, my new favorite thing to do for our thirty-minute workouts is play around with the track equipment at the high school we go to to work out. It's track-and-field season so the hurtles are always up. I love them! We did them first as a joke and now I love to see how many I can do in a row.

Oh yeah! So for anyone to whom I promised pictures, I must retract that promise for the time being. ALL my pictures got deleted from my camera. Needless to say I was crushed. When we went to Wal-Mart today to do our grocery shopping I talked with a guy who told me to go to "Camera Land." They have the software it takes to pull up all the ghosts on my SD card and recover the pictures that were lost. I plan to get a disc of all of them, so until then, put your picture wishes on hold and know that I am just as sad, if not more than you are.

Some Canadians came through the jail this week. They were so great! it was an awesome tour! They had questions, and the spirit that was there was great! Which was saying something because it was on a day that we couldn't visit all the rooms in that jail. It was kind of frustrating. Mostly because we had some very disappointed people on our hands. People travel so far to get here. Anyway, I know this sounds weird, but I loved listening to them talk! :) It made me miss my district.

On Thursday of last week (the 30th) we worked in the yard. We weeded the brick and stones so that the jail could look its best for the visitors that came. I had A LOT of time to myself, which rarely happens on a mission and spent A LOT of time in my head. I thought about so many things. This was what I came up with:

Not all the weeds I was pulling looked like weeds. Some were actually kind of pretty, but they were growing in the wrong place. And that made them weeds. It looked so much nicer once they were gone. And when they were pulled up (all the weeds, not just the pretty ones) they needed to be pulled up by the root or else they would more easily return. And who, for one thing, wants to weed the same weed twice? Not to mention that, once weeded, a weed is thought to be taken care of. It may be overlooked for quite some time before being weeded again, growing bigger and deepening its roots the longer it is ignored. It is much easier to weed those parts of brick that have never been weeded before, because they are more obvious. It is also an ongoing process, one weed at a time, until you have a beautiful, clean layout of bricks.

Weeds are very much like sin are they not? And weeding very much like repentance.

Not all the sins we have need of repenting for look like sins. Some are actually kind of appealing, but the Lord has commanded otherwise and that makes them sins. Once they are gone not only do our lives look but feel so much better for it. And when we repent of them (all our sins, not just the appealing ones) we need to pull them out by their roots. Fully repent of them, or else they will more easily return. And, for one thing, who wants to repent of the same sin twice? Not to mention once repented of a sin is thought to be taken care of. It may be overlooked for quite sometime before being repented of again, growing bigger and deepening its roots the longer it is ignored. It is much easier to repent of sins in those areas of our lives that we have never repented for before, because they are more obvious. But sometimes, we must go back and repent again. It is also an ongoing process, one vice at a time.

Come to think of it, weeding that brick was a daunting task. I never could have done it by myself. I am so glad I had the other sister to help me. Repentance can also seem daunting. We could never do it by ourselves. Thank God, quite literally, For that Savior and His atonement. He makes the purposes of this life attainable.
Alma 7:11-13 (Book of Mormon)

I Love this work. I love you all. God be with you.

Sister Bailey