Friday, June 26, 2009

We live, we learn, we laugh

"Get thee behind me Satan: Thou art an offense unto me: For thou savourest not the things that be of God, but those that be of men." Matthew 16:23

And that is the theme of this e-mail.
You can say it to almost anything! Temptation, sin, bad habits, discouragement, anger. Satan relishes in all these things and essentially, he is the one holding the silver platter it's being offered on. Don't give into his tricks and his deceitfulness. He's awful!
I know this first hand, and if you so desire, I would invite you to laugh about what I am about to share with you. Why? Because it is the dumbest, most trivial thing I have ever worried about in my life. It has also been one of my biggest trials on my mission.
To put it frankly, I suck at being a girl. I mean I am a girl, but when it comes to "being" one.....the hair, the nails, the outfits, the shoes, the delicate talents (like singing for instance), I am utterly awful at all of it. It's never bothered me. Ever. Until now. I felt like every time I would put forth an effort I would be reminded that "I just couldn't do it". I let this boil over into missionary work. I have no idea how I connected being a good missionary to being able to walk, talk and look like a girl but I did. Every time I failed to do something "right" I had automatically failed for the day as a missionary. And this happened a lot. It actually got to the point that I found myself fighting back tears in the restroom one morning at the Visitor's Center as I attempted to put my hair back. A thought crossed my mind as I did so. I had officially succeeded in being a girl. I was crying over my hair. "This is dumb", I thought and I moved on.
As stupid as my little story is, the principle is the same. Satan will drag you down. He wants you to fail and will do anything to try and get you there, or at least think you are there. So stand up and look one of the silver platters he has been offering you lately, one you may have nibbled on even, smash it back into his face and exclaim "GET THEE BEHIND ME SATAN! THOU ART AN OFFENSE TO ME!" and move on! It will feel good. Nephi said it perfectly when he said, "Why should my heart weep and my soul linger in the valley of sorrow, and my flesh waste away, and my strength slacken because of mine afflictions? And why should I yield to sin because of my flesh? Yea, why should I give way to temptations, that the evil one have place in my heart to destroy my peace and afflict my soul? Why am I angry because of my enemy? Awake my soul! No longer droop in sin. Rejoice oh my heart, and give place no more for the enemy of my soul."

For those of you who know me it will come as no surprise to you that this morning, Sister Barry (not my companion, but an amazing sister) and I ran to the best playground I have ever seen and played our guts out for our half an hour of exercise this morning. It was THE best and I plan to send home pictures of the playground when I get a chance to. It's AWESOME. It's one of the old wooden ones and one of the coolest things in Carthage. THE coolest thing is of course, the jail. Sister Aston and I then got all our chores done, letters, cleaning, laundry and headed out exploring. We have so much more exploring to do, but we found a waterfall!! and took pictures. It was great and really pretty. We saw a snake!. We are going to the temple at four and so we're actually in a little bit of a rush (it's three right now). I still have to write my presidency letter too. Ah! so little time. Anyway, thanks for all your love, support, and prayers. They mean so much.

Sister Bailey

"Come what may and love it"
"Your future is as bright as your faith"

Hello Hello I am On A Mission

And I'm really dumb!. I sent THIS one to

E-mail kills me.

This last week was really different and really good. Sister Brinkerhoff and I served on NRI (Nauvoo Restoration Inc.) on Thursday. It was my first time and I loved it!!!!! LOVED IT. We painted fence pickets for the Scovil Bakery while we listened to conference talks (speaking of conference talks someone has borrowed and misplaced my conference Ensign :( Those things are like gold! Besides my mommy sent it to me!). We painted in a warehouse because it was cold and wet outside. The whole place smelled thick of paint and paint thinner. It sent me back to the summer of '07 when I worked for Webb Signs with Marshall Cottingham. What an awesome summer.
On Saturday we were the first sisters ever to serve with "Nauvoo on the road", which is basically a missionary's version of a road trip! We packed up a ton of stuff in a trailer, decked ourselves out in Pioneer clothes, and headed for Quincy to help out at a "friends of log cabins" event. We didn't really know what that meant at first, we were just happy to be there! Come to find out there are some really old log cabins that are being threatened to be torn down and these people have all gotten together to save them. It was neat! and fun. Sister Brinkerhoff and I taught people how to make candles and play pioneer games. I don't mean to brag, but I would have been one rockin' pioneer kid. You get good at those games when that's all you're doing all day. It was so fun. A man that was there with his family thought I was a thespian until he saw my tag. This opened up a great conversation about our basic beliefs, that yes, we do believe in the bible! and Yes, Christ is my savior, my rock, my redeemer, my all! We also talked about our beliefs when it comes to the trinity, how they are three separate beings. God the Father, His Son Jesus Christ, and the Holy Ghost. That they are one, but one in purpose, the same way in which a mother and a father are one in purpose. The same way that we may be one if we strive for that unity the prophets and apostles have called for. Anyway, it was awesome. A really great way to end the transfer.
Transfers. Transfers were on Sunday. I am back in Carthage. My new companion is Sister Aston. She is a stellar missionary and really has her mind on the work. The past 24 hours have been great! Sister Goodrich (one of my first companions here in Nauvoo) has come back to Carthage with me and we are living in the same apartment. In Nauvoo we were roommates! It is nice to be back. In fact, transfers couldn't have gone better for me. I wanted to go back to Carthage, but I wanted to make sure I loved Nauvoo before I left. And I do! I love it. I have also been saying all transfer that "if the Lord has need for me in Carthage again I wouldn't have any complaints". I am true to my word. Not a one! It should be a good transfer.
There is an exhibit here now that has been in Kirkland (Ohio) for a while but now it has come here. It is a series of statues that depict different events in the Savior's life. They are really powerful. They are done by an LDS artist and should be here through December after which they are headed to.......drum roll please........THE D.C. TEMPLE VISITOR CENTER!!!!!! WOOOOOOOOO and the crowd goes wild!!! Seriously though, you should go see it. It should be there sometime after Christmas. Go see it. Go see it again! Bring a friend! My gosh, please bring a friend. Mom, Dad, Lindsey, bring Marshall and Dan. They would absolutely LOVE IT.
The BYU ball room dancers have been here all week and will be here all this week. They are fantastic.
My favorite part of transfers is probably our president's interviews. President Ludwig is so caring and so inspired. I had so many questions answered about things and we just have the best conversations.

I'm working on pictures I promise. Preparation Days are absolutely insane.

Sister Bailey.

Helaman 5:12 And Ether 12:4!

Saturday, June 20, 2009

Rejoice! Rejoice! It is the last dispensation!

SOOOOOOO THIS IS LAST WEEK'S E-MAIL... I SENT IT TO (an e-mail address that does not exist). MY BAD.

Come Sunday another transfer will be over and I will have a new companion. I Love Sister Brinkerhoff and will miss her dearly, but change is good, and fun if you choose to make it fun. I love all of the Sisters here and can't think of one that would make for a hard transfer. The only thing missing in Nauvoo so far is Pagent. It has been so nice to be so busy. This week I met the Abram family. They are getting sealed in the temple TODAY!!! I cannot get them off my brain. I feel so blessed to be able to take part in their joy. What a stellar family! They are wonderful and bright. The spirit they carry with them is so powerful and I wish I knew who had taught them so I could write them and tell them how wonderful they are. Rex and Reatha have two daughters, Raleen and Gabriel. Every time I see them it's like we have been friend for ages. We even took pictures! (I will try and send some home). They are going to come find me in the visitor's center on Friday and tell me all about the sealing. I can't wait. They have loved Nauvoo and Rex has said that he is trying not to think about this morning for fear he might "pee himself". They have such a grasp on the eternal nature of things. Their testimonies shine through their faces. They can share the peace they have found with out saying a word. I hope that I can do the same. That I can remember always that we have "great cause to rejoice" and that that rejoicing can shine through my face, that it can be found in my smile and in my eyes, in my embrace. I would love to get my hands on Joseph B. Wirthlin's "Be of good cheer" talk. The Abrams bring that talk to my mind. What a joy to be able to look adversity in the face and grin as we shout "the gospel is still true"! And when you think about it, thanks to continuing revelation and a prophet on the earth, it only gets truer and more complete everyday. We certainly DO have GREAT reason to rejoice! (John 16:33, 3Nephi 1:13)
Nauvoo is a place thick with the spirit. Happiness runs as rampant as malaria and yellow fever did back in 1839 when the Saints first arrived here. Miracles happen everyday. I can't remember if I already included this in my last e-mail (I know I wrote my family about it) but I promised myself a while ago that I would only write in my journal on days where something amazing happened. I have written everyday since.
I was able to serve in Carthage on Saturday again! It was wonderful. Carthage usually is. It was an "emergency" change in the schedule. Sister Brinkerhoff and I found out the night before. I couldn't have been happier to be flexible. There was a youth conference here and also a "Joseph Smith Family reuinion" bus tour that have come through. Both groups were so cool.
I had so much to write about in this e-mail. Now it's all escaped me. Sometimes I feel like getting on here and just saying "Everything is still more wonderful than you could imagine" and then be done with it. That's not to say I don't love writing them, it's just hard to scramble for the words to accurately describe all that goes on.
Oh! Practice for the "Sociable" is going well! When I really bring people down I just mouth the words, but even that isn't happening to often. I was also given an assignment for the Sociable. I am suppose to take pictures on the topics of "Prophets and modern day revelation" and "Temples and family". It has been a joy! It has been so nice to get back into photography and I have grown so much just being able to try to find shots to represent both of these tender topics. They are both things that mean so much to me and I have really tried to do them justice. Maybe I can send some home with the label of each topic and my mom can post them.
I hope all is well at home. Thank you for your letters! They are answers to my prayers. I think of you often and pray for you even more.

Sister Bailey.

Suggested reading for the week: Joseph B. Wirthlin's "Be of Good Cheer" talk. If you don't have a copy you can get on on under general conference talks. And if all else fails, ask my family.

Tuesday, June 9, 2009


HAPPY BIRTHDAY RYAN BELLOWS!!! I cannot believe it has already been a year! I love you so much and am so thankful for the updates I have been receiving from your mom!! She is the best! Not being there as you learn to walk and talk has been one of the hardships of serving my mission. I LOVE YOU LITTLE GUY!!!!!! Be good. :)

Thursday, June 4, 2009

This is a dumb email. Sorry.

To be honest I can never remember what I write in these e-mails. So much happens in the seven days in between that I can't remember where I left off. It doesn't help that every one of those seven days is a Monday either. Ma, you wrote me this week and said that writing my day to days in my e-mails might be a good idea. I've tried not to just because they are boring, but we'll give it a go.
Nauvoo is great. Things are really picking up. You would think it would be hard to memorize all the information for all the different places I serve, but when the Lords asks you to do something and you show your willingness to do it, He gives you all the help you need. And when you are really incapable of the task, it's almost like he does it for you, but you have to be willing. Memorization is NOT my strong point. I've felt that it's one of my downfalls actually, but as long as I put in the time to study and do my best to get it down He will make good on His promise from D&C section 100:6, "[that] it shall be given you in the very hour, yea, in the very moment, what ye shall say". You can do absolutely ANYTHING the Lord asks.
In response to some of your questions...I change companions every transfer, I do cook my own meals (thank goodness) and I will try to get you a picture of me in my dork, I mean, my pioneer clothes. Living arrangements in Nauvoo....get ready to laugh. I, Sister Bailey, who in the past have gladly avoided much female companionship at all, now lives in one house with 13 other sisters. Thirteen. We have three bathrooms, three fridges, three vanities and four bedrooms so it could be worse. It's been okay. I've learned a lot. The thing I am most grateful for is that I have yet to learn how to dress myself. Many of you know this, but matching, along with memorizing , is not a strong point for me. Nor do I care much about it. In Nauvoo I have the opportunity to live with 12 outfit police and as a result I can walk out the door knowing that, even though I am not in a pair of jeans or sweats, my top does indeed match my skirt, no matter what the color or pattern. Also, apparently black shoes don't go with everything. This is news to me, and I haven't exactly figured it out. Who knows, maybe I'll get there someday.
The best part of my week was Sunday. The whole day was on fire! Sacrament meeting, district meeting and service!!! I was able to go to Carthage to serve for the day. It was such a blessing. I hadn't noticed how much I missed it. Everything about it, the tours, the video, the Rebers (a senior couple serving there), the drive!!!! I can't remember a drive that had me that excited. I haven't smiled that much since transfers. It was so good to be back. The drive down was stunning. The Mississippi was sparkling with sunlight. It looked as if Barrett Crow (the 7 year old autistic boy I had in summer camp last year and adored) had dumped all the silver glitter he could get his little hands on into the water. For some reading this that description won’t make much sense, and I apologize, but it's the best one I’ve got. When I arrived Elder Reber was walking up the walkway. I smiled as we shook hands. With that familiar grin he said, "Welcome home Sister Bailey!". It was the cherry on top of the sundae! I almost ran into the Visitor's Center, hugged Sister Reber, and took the first tour. I was able to take the last one too, and both were so good! Oh the feeling in that room! I will never get over the feeling in that room. I love to be there. I love to teach there. I love to learn and think in there. It is hard to believe that a room in which such an awful scene played out could later be so sacred, so special. The ride home was just as peaceful as the ride there. The sun was just starting to set and the reflection off the water was almost blinding. My thoughts have been revolving around Joseph Smith lately. As I stared out the window at the trees and that water and the riverbank and the sun I couldn't help but recall Joseph's description of the first vision. "I saw a light exactly over my head, above the brightness of the sun which descended gradually until it fell upon me...and when the light rested upon me I saw two personages, whose brightness and glory defy all description, standing above me in the air". Above the brightness of the sun. The sun reflecting off the water on that drive was brighter than I have ever seen. I can't even imagine what it must have been like. How do you accurately describe such an experience? How do you do it justice?
Anyway, I'm running out of time and can't remember what else I was trying to say. I'm now lost in the first vision.

I love you all.

Sister Bailey

p.s. this e-mail doesn't make much sense. Sorry about that. I'll try to do better next week.