Thursday, May 27, 2010

Though the world may hate me, The truth of His word sets me free.

May 25

I had the most incredible day yesterday. I felt so close to the Savior. I felt Him walking beside me with every step I took. I was able to talk to my mission president about something that has been troubling me. The spirit was so strong throughout our visit and as I left his office. I felt as though a huge burden had been lifted from my mind. I had a peace with me the entire day. Sister Cordoba and I had the opportunity to serve extra hours in the Visitor's Center because of some scheduling errors. Last night we had sociable practice and the spirit was so strong. We sang “I know That My Redeemer Lives” as sisters. Everyone has parts. Not very many of us could make it all the way through the song. (It will be interesting to see what happens at sociable). Most of us had tears flowing down our cheeks and the spirit was thick. We were all so united as sisters. Each Sister’s testimony of Christ was filling the room. It was so wonderful, so perfect. My day could not have ended on a better note. (no pun intended). Nauvoo has taught me so much about Sisterhood, built me so much. My heart is lifted to know that when “Sisters in Zion” is sung, I will now and forever feel that I have a part in it; that I can lay claim on the glorious blessing of Sisterhood, something that I did not feel like I had any part in before my mission. I have learned and gained so much from all of this. Part of me feels very much the same, but I feel very much improved upon as well.

There is another song in Sociable that Sister Davis sings. I don’t know what’s it’s called, but it’s about a person gaining a testimony of the restoration, and of the gospel and then serving a mission. I love it. I love listening to it. The line that is repeated the most refers first to Joseph Smith and then to the missionary. It says, “He knows that I know, I can not deny it, I will live my life by it, though the world may hate me the truth of His word sets me free”. I have thought a lot about that line. I am sure most every missionary feels the same. Sister Davis sings it so powerfully. When I listen to it I am reminded how bound my life is to this work. I have a testimony of this gospel and I can not deny it. I will not, so long as I live (which will be forever if I reach what I’m aiming for). I love the gospel. I know that my redeemer lives and loves me too. I know that the Book of Mormon is the word of God and that the Priesthood has been restored to the earth. That families are and, have always meant to be, forever. I know that Jesus Christ’s atonement breaks every mold and opens every door to salvation and exaltation. This is it. If I were asked to, I would die for Him, but I am asked to live instead. And I will live for Him! I will go where He directs and I will do as He instructs. I love Him.

In our companionship study today we talked a lot about the Book of Mormon. I had stopped reading it for a while hoping to have some fantastic study idea for it to come into my head, but nothing came, so I just started over. There has been a stark difference in my study and in my day. There is such a powerful spirit that comes with the Book of Mormon! Even if it’s just a verse a day. I love it. I am excited to go to the temple this next coming Thursday because I have a really cool study to do! I have found a part in the scriptures that has never stuck out to me before (in J.S. testimony) that has just taken hold of me. I love the Scriptures!!!!

Thank you for all of you support and prayers. They are felt on a day to day basis. Thank you for your letters. I promise I will get back to them. God willing, I will get back to them. I love you all!

From Nauvoo,

Sister Bailey

Thursday, May 20, 2010

And so Nauvoo I say "Hello" to you!

May 18, 2010 

     Transfers could not have gone more perfectly for me. I, or should I say WE, have been switched to Nauvoo. That's right! Sister Cordoba and I get another four weeks together! I am so excited! I have been learning so much from her and was not ready to let her go. I am able to talk with her so easily and she has helped me figure things out and be at peace with things I've thought about for years. I am so much better because I know her and I love every minute of being her companion. She is someone I will always be able to turn to for anything for the rest of my life. I love being able to hear her testimony and watch her excitement about the next 18 months ahead of her. It's so weird to be here for my second summer. I think the weirdest part is watching the new sisters. It's like looking back to a year ago. We are in the same place, at the same time, but we're on completely different spots on the time line. It's like time is all wrinkled up. It really has helped me understand the Sisters who have since gone home from last summer. I always feel a tinge of sadness when I realize how little time I have left. That isn't a thought I let cross my mind very often though.
     Right now we are trying our best to get ready for "Sociable, which means we sing for nearly two hours every night. This year it is about the Book of Mormon and it's a month earlier than last year so we are really crunched for time. It's going to be SO good. We're also focusing more on and receiving more referrals from people.  This includes both self and member referrals and it has been great! But, this also means that LOTS of calling is to be done. So, if we're not singing, we're on the phones. I love it all!  As a musically disabled person Sociable practice blesses me to be able to see miracles.  I have always loved the call center and now it reminds me of tracting so it's even more fun.
Today we went to the temple with Sister Bitter (Sister Cordoba's MTC companion) and Sister Lukens(the very last companion I had before leaving Nauvoo). It was a very good experience. It's been a little weird being back in the Hatch and hearing about all the other sister's plans to go home. It actually has made me feel very uncomfortable. I have identified myself as a queen of second guessing. As I hear about everyone who is going back to school in the fall it makes me go through my decision process all over again. As I went to the temple to day I went searching for a re-confirmation that the Lord supported me decision to go home in September. I had a feeling of peace come over me while there. I felt the way I had when I had prayed originally and it has given me comfort and strength. I feel much more prepared for those conversations now. I am so grateful for personal revelation.
     In my studies this week something was reiterated to me and made clearer by way of a parable of Christ's explained in Jesus the Christ by James E. Talmage.  James E. Talmage talks in depth about the parable of the sower. It actually reminded me a lot about being a Nauvoo Missionary and a life time missionary and missions in general. Talmage calls this parable "the parable of the four different kinds of soil" rather than the parable of the sower, because that is where it draws our attention and it is through the different kinds of soil that we are able to learn the greater lessons. The four soils are 1. the hard packed down soil, much like the kind found on a well used dirt road or highway, 2. topsoil that is too shallow to grow anything on because of the solid sheet of bedrock underneath it, 3. a field good for growing that is already inhabited by thorns that choke out any other kind of growth and 4. good soil, nutrients rich, plowed and ready for planting. The different types of soil represents the hardness or softness of different hearts.
 He goes on and talks about how many authority figures in religion have tried to use this parable as something to label and classify different "types" of people, making them a "type", rigid and unchanging, rather that a situation, fluid and influenced. He then retorts this concept by explaining that parables are only useful as long as they are applied accordingly. When the principle is applied beyond the purposes intended than the lesson becomes useless.
He then takes the parable further and talks about how none of the kinds of soil are permanently so. The packed down soil can be plowed and nursed into an environment fit for seed to take root, the bedrock, with great effort can be broken apart and removed, the thorns cleared out and the nutrient rich soil invaded by thorns, neglected, packed down and dispersed over any hard surface that would impede the growth of anything. The sate of any heart is subject to change with appropriate effort or the lack there of. I would think it much harder to prepare a poor field for planting than to scatter seeds into a rich moist soil, ready to produce. To break up the bedrock and remove it, to clear out the thorns and to plow the tough trodden down soil. But! all of this needs to be done. I would rather do the harder part. I would rather break up rock and move it out, battle fields of thorns and plow out paved high ways than flick my wrist and watch things grow. I am grateful to those who follow after, who plant the fields and bring in the grain, but when harvest time comes I want to do the harder part. As Nauvoo Sisters that is what we are often called to do. We rarely see produce from our labors, but people come to Nauvoo and leave better. Someone later will come and plant a seed and watch it grow and possibly gather in the grain, and I am thankful to them for finishing the job.  But, I'm grateful for the opportunity to do the harder part. The Lord has trusted the Nauvoo Sisters with the hardest part of labor. I am honored to do it for Him.
I apologize if this doesn't make much sense, but it was and is how I feel about my study. For what it's worth it strengthened me and I felt taught by the spirit as I read.
I know that the Gospel has been restored and I know that Jesus Is the Christ. I love all of you. Thank you so much for your support. Your letters are always the high light of my week. 

They keep me smiling.

Sister Bailey

Friday, May 14, 2010

Pictures from Nauvoo

My husband and I were on vacation in Nauvoo and ran into the missionaries. We stopped them and took their pictures. They were all so cute and excited about the gospel and it was wonderful talking to them. I have a son serving in Ft Worth Tx. There is a mom down there that has sent me a few pictures. I loved it. There is something comforting in someone else seeing them and knowing they are OK. Enjoy the pictures.

- Sharon Chatelain Missinary mom to Elder Chatelain Ft Worth TX

Thursday, May 13, 2010

Time is a relative thing

                                                                                                       May 11

My brain is going in so many directions right now I can hardly figure out where to go first. This week was good. Part of me feels like so much has happened and the other part is shocked at how fast things went. Speaking of things moving fast, I can't believe it's the last week of the transfer. I'm not ready to let Sister Cordoba go. I love Sister Cordoba. She has helped me so much over the past two weeks and I feel like I still have so much to learn from her. Study is always a spiritual experience. She has helped me more and more to keep better and better track of my goal to feel the spirit work through me. It has been helping me become more sensitive to the spirit because I am looking for it and noting it's guidance. Studies have been fantastic. Service has been fantastic. Maybe I should just start with what is freshest and move back wards.
Today Sister Cordoba and I went to the temple. It was wonderful. I was very focused on something that has occupied my mind for the past 24 hours or so and it was wonderful to step out of the world and into some peace and quite so that I could ponder it more effectively.  It has been a really good day and an even better day to be on preparation day rather than serving. There has been no conclusion drawn, but faith and trust in whatever heavenly Father decides to do with the situation has be built and strengthened.  I know that by the time tomorrow comes I will feel much better and be thinking much clearer. The rest of today should be good. We've done our shopping and will clean the car before cramming as many sites into our day as possible. I called home on Sunday (Mother's Day) and was able to talk to my family! I can't believe that will be the last time I call them until I come home. It was wonderful to talk to them and I found myself wishing I had a little more time. We talked about a lot of things and my mom is planning her trip here. (So should the rest of you)  Everything seems to be going great back home and everything is going well here also. It's one of those times in your life that sneak up on you every once in a while. When the winds stop and the worry lulls. Things are very quiet and pleasant for me at the moment.
One tender mercy from on high this week was being able to have Susan Easton Black come speak to the sisters this past Sunday in district meeting. I missed her! I was fervently taking notes the entire time. I like the way she speaks.  She always has some sort of a goal. I identified her goal this time as "getting to know and learn something from Lucy Mack Smith". The most valuable lesson did not come until the very last minute as she was concluding. Heavenly Father seems to do that with me. I don't know if that's how I learn best or if he's teaching me patience, but it seems to come last of all. The most valuable piece of revelation that happened for me was when, as she closed, a thought came to my head. It had very little to do with what Sister Black had been talking about at the moment. It was very personal and very clear. Very crisp and coincided with a goal I have to more fully obey the Lord's commandment to "be of good cheer". As I reflected on that piece of light I had received I realized that I have some changes to be making. I'm not really sure what this piece of light means to me but I know that it is something good. It is a piece of light that I do not want to go out or fade. I am going to talk to Sister Cordoba about it some more. We are excited to hear Sister Black speak again this evening, We don't know what it's going to be on.  She usually doesn't know until that night and the woman NEVER uses any notes!
Zone conference was also wonderful. I needed it so much. (IT happened on Sunday) I am looking forward to reading over the notes that I took. It was so apparent that President and Sister Ludwig had been praying and preparing. I know that many of the Sisters feel the same way. I am continually amazed at how mindful Heavenly Father is of each one of us and that His spirit can make the same message fit every one of His children's needs. Everyone walked away so spiritually fed. Sister Ludwig spoke about being clay in the potter's hands and President Ludwig Spoke on Personal Revelation. Both had a series of points on the subject. 
Sister Ludwig:
1. Every lump of clay is different
2. There is a cleansing process involved to eliminate debris (as we eliminate debris in our own lives, the master can shape us more easily
3. Clay must be centered on the wheel (We must be centered on Christ)
4. When the clay does not take it's shape, the potter stars over (Repentance & The Atonement)
5. The potter works from the inside out
6. Clay never reaches its full potential until it is fired (We must trust the potter, even through adversity)
---When men and women turn there hearts over to God they will find that He can turn them into much more than they could on their own.
President Ludwig:
1. Comes in a Still Small Voice
2. Revelation usually comes as thoughts and feelings
3. We must be living worthy
4. Pondering the Scriptures leads to Revelation
5. We cannot force spiritual things. --- "Do not force it or you will open the door to being mislead"
6. When Revelations comes we should heed it. We must ACT. --- expect it to be revelation and follow through.
7. When deeply spiritual experiences  are given don't treat them like candy. Keep them to yourself unless strongly prompted to share. --- "I do not tell all I know. I have learn that if I speak too lightly of spiritual things, the Lord will not trust me with them in the future.
"Keep these things in your hearts and ponder them"
President pulled much of His talk from the by president Packer on personal revelation, "The candle of the Lord".
This is such a special once in a life time, never the same time in my life. I don't want to go home, I never want to leave, but I know that I must. I cannot stay in this Eden forever. The thought might not be so daunting if I knew what was going to happen. I have talked to God about it over the past couple of days and I know what I feel good about. I really need a blessing of peace. Particularly if what happens is contradictory to what I feel I have received from the spirit. I know what ever happens, It will be right.
Sister Bailey
"Take courage, We'll stand together, with a grip on the iron rod" --- Rendezvous

Monday, May 10, 2010

Is it really May?


May 4 

Is it really May? Where has the time gone? Are the Young Performing Missionaries (YPMs) really going to be with us this next coming week? Things that seemed to take forever last summer are happening so quickly.
It has been such a good week!!! Sister Cordoba is AMAZING. I love listening to her testimony. I love giving tours with her. I love how much she loves the gospel. I love our studies and I love spending time with her. She really has become one of my best friends in an incredibly short amount of time. As a missionary you love all your companions, but every once and a while you have those ones that make you wonder where you would be going or NOT going for that matter if you weren't put together. Her second day she gave a tour all by herself in Spanish!!! It was amazing and it was so fun because I was able to bear my testimony at the end in Spanish.  I felt to grateful that I was able to learn how in Washington. All the tours we have taken have been amazing. The spirit is so strong. We are completely different places in our studies which is amazing because we've been able to learn so much from each other. The Lord really does know exactly what we need, or who we need, to progress in this life. With things picking up so fast we are staying plenty busy. I am way behind in my letters. If you are waiting for one take comfort in knowing that no one else is receiving any either.
On Sunday Sister Cordoba and I gave 3 tours!!! Sister Cordoba did one of them virtually by herself and it was sooooo good. A man had come in from outside hoping someone would come take a picture of his family for him. We happily volunteered and then invited them back in to take a look at the Visitor's Center. They were so cool. They wanted a tour and I said that Sister Cordoba could take them. She looked at me like a deer in the head lights, but I felt strongly that she needed to take them.  As she walked over to the statue that depicts God the Father and Jesus Christ appearing to Joseph Smith in the grove of trees in 1820 I walked the other way to find one of the other visitors we had taken around the VC who had asked for a referral card. I handed him a couple and checked up on whether or not he had any questions, all the while praying fervently in my heart that Sister Cordoba would be given the words that she needed, that the spirit would bear her up, and that she could see a miracle. After a little bit I walked over to sit in on Sister Cordoba's tour. She was bearing her Testimony of Jesus Christ and the Book of Mormon. I realized very quickly that I had volunteered her to take a family who knew very little about the church. They were listening intently and I could feel why. The spirit was so strong. The man who seemed to be the leader of the group interrupted Sister Cordoba to say, "As you tell me about these things I feel this warmth rise inside of me".  Sister Cordoba picked right back up saying, "I know that feeling, That feeling is the holy ghost". She taught them about the God head and the Holy Ghost's role to bear witness of truth and then told them that the warmth they were feeling could be felt just by reading the Book of Mormon. The man who had identified the spirit's presence responded in a thirsting tone, "Really?" She asked them each to read the Book of Mormon when they left Nauvoo. He said that he would have to get a copy when he got home. She then said that we would actually like to give him one and he again said in an almost anxious voice, "Really? You would do that?".  The tour continued and so did the spirit. I got the copies of the Book of Mormon and had them ready at the end of the tour. When I mentioned to them that "I have those copies of the Book of Mormon for who ever would like one"  the man who had originally mentioned it came over to me saying, "I definitely want one! I'm going to to read it!". Another motioned to me that he wanted a copy also and when I stretched my hand toward him he almost snatched it out of my hands as if he thought that if he did not take it quickly enough I would change my mind. Both of them were so eager to keep that spirit they had felt with them. One of them filled out a referral card.  On it he thanked us for the Book of Mormon and expressed his gratitude for our testimonies. It was an amazing tour. It was a direct answer to my prayer. I asked Sister Cordoba to tell me more about the tour before I came  and after I left.  She went on to tell me that the spirit told her very early on that they were unfamiliar with the church and not members. When this happened she was able to find out why they had come to Nauvoo. They said that they had been driving down the road and saw a sign. They had never been here. They had never heard of it, but they felt as though they should pull in a take a look around. I had almost forgotten the way that the Lord prepares and leads people to Nauvoo. During Sister Cordoba's tour and after I felt so close to heaven. I knew so acutely how important this work is and how involved He is in it. Before they left Sister Cordoba was able to bear her testimony to them about the plan of salvation in response to some of the questions that they had.
All the tours we have taken together in Carthage have been just as spiritual. I could go on and on. This is a miraculous place. Miracles happen minute by minute.
I love Nauvoo. I love it. I love this gospel.  I love the Senior Missionaries and I love Sister Cordoba. I love this place. I had a moment a while back in the car. I was driving to Nauvoo.  I forget who was with me, but I was filled with a spirit of joy. I know that I will leave this place one day, but I'm am not sure how. Kicking and screaming I suppose. 
Today Sister Cordoba and I went to the temple. It was an incredible session for me. The last time we went as  Sisters I had a really hard time staying awake. This time I had no trouble. I gained more insight and more questions to think about. More concepts to mull over in my head.
Afterwards we met Elder Sandstrom for a handcart trek. It was a very spiritual experience and very unifying. It was neat to do with just the two of us and we both felt so close to those early saints. We talk a lot about the hardships they went through and the struggles they faced. We started and ended with Elder Sandstrom's testimony. It made the experience very sweet.
Sister Bailey
Please come to Nauvoo. This place can change your life for the better if you are willing to let it.
Alma 38:5

And So Nauvoo

****This is an email sent on April 20th.  It got "lost in the mail" (i.e. sent to Anne's mission president instead of to us...oops!)
I am in Nauvoo. The mission anyway. I have actually been assigned to Carthage. I am companions with Sister Westwood again. I have been assigned to serve as "Carathage group leader". I'm still figuring out what that all means. So far I know that I have a lot to do and figure out. We arrived on April 14th in the evening. We did not receive our assignments (to companions and otherwise) until the second day. We've spent the past couple of days training and getting re-acquainted with the scripts and each other. Yesterday was our first day of service in the sites.

When Sister Palmer ( Spokane Washington Mission President's wife) picked me up from Zelma's house (Zelma was the sister we lived with) I said goodbye to Sister Salisbury and Sister Jeppson, climbed in the car, glanced at Sister Palmer and burst into tears. We drove in relative silence for a short ways and then I decided that talking would be better than crying. So I talked with Sister Palmer. I cried though my exit interview and went to bed. For those last three days I felt like what I would imagine the guy on Indiana Jones, Temple of Doom, would have felt like. The one who gets his heart ripped out while he's still alive. I thankfully had the knowledge and assurance that it was not all for naught. I had God to support me and push me forward, to tuck me in, to get me up, and to carry me to the terminal. If He hadn't, I may have gone A-WOL.  I'm sure that the man from Indiana Jones, who was actually getting sacrificed to a FALSE god, did not have that same assurance and strength. Again, I am thankful that I did.

It is weird to be back in Nauvoo. Really weird. I am happy to be back, but it feels as though I've only gotten a restless sleep and that I never left. Washington Spokane seems and sounds like a dream I had last night. It is as if I had never left Nauvoo. It has been good to see all the sisters, to get to know the new ones, and to be in Carthage. I am looking forward to the transfer and I am looking forward to the summer. All of the training has been fantastic and I think I have a handle on what I am supposed to do out in Carthage as the group leader. Things are good. The sisters are great! One thing that has struck me about the new group of sisters is that, as I have talked to them, the general consensus seems to be that all of them have "always wanted to serve a mission".  Most of those were stoked about Nauvoo. As I recall most of the sisters coming in last year and most of them returning were taken aback by their calls, struck dumb almost. They didn't know what to think of it! I know I was. I stand in awe of the new sisters examples of faith and hope. I cannot wait to spend the entire summer learning from them. They have already bypassed a hurtle that stood in the way of most of us last summer and it will serve them well.

My studies this week and the first day of serving in Carthage again were both amazing. I'd like to share some of it with you:

I have picked up Jesus the Christ (a book by James Talmage for those who may be unfamiliar with it) again. I just finished the footnotes of the chapter on the sermon on the mount. Yesterday I read #s 3-5  about the "Salt of the earth". I've never really understood that term in the scriptures. I've always taken it with "a grain of salt" (ha ha). I had an epiphany while reading this footnote. People have always explained the Savior's description of his people being "the salt of the earth". To me by referring to the extra taste that salt gives food; that we, being righteous make the world better very much like salt makes everything taste better. The footnote speaks of this analogy in such a different way! It brought me back to the previous realization as well. Salt not only "tastes good" (which is a matter of opinion), but it more importantly is a preservative!!! It preserves things. If the righteous are the salt of the earth then they are preserving it!!! It goes back to the promise God made to Lot about Sodom and Gomorrah, something to the effect of, as long as there are X amount of righteous people in a place it will not be destroyed, or in other words, it will be preserved. The righteous preserve the earth!!!! and if "Salt shall loose it's savor than wherewith the earth be salted"? It the righteous are no longer righteous what will preserve the earth?

The other two footnotes that I read were from "references to the publicans" and "relative perfection". I learn about charity and humility from the "references to the publicans".  Matthew was a publican. He refers to the publicans all the time. To himself, as a former publican in his description of the Apostles, and to others that he teaches as "publicans". To me this showed both humility and change of heart.  I believe that he provides us with a description of his former occupation as a contrast to his new one as an apostle of the Lord. He was showing a complete change of heart. On the other hand the other Apostles omit any references to the "publicans" choosing to instead call them "sinners". In their descriptions of the Apostles they also choose to omit any reference to Matthew's former occupation. This taught me a great deal about Charity and Love. The apostles had a great deal of charity and love toward one another. They do not acknowledge or mention Matthew's past because they love him. When we have true charity for one another we love people for what they are because that is what they are. It does not matter what has happened in the past, Nor is it our place to acknowledge, bring up or mention past transgressions of others. Including offenses toward us.

"Relative perfection". This one was about being perfect, and the Lords command to "be thou perfect" and how that is a real commandment even though it is impossible to be perfect and perfectly glorified as the Father is perfect. As the Son is perfected,  we may be perfect in our sphere of knowledge and opportunity. The analogy given is that of a freshman or Sophomore who is a "perfect" freshman or sophomore. 100% on everything is perfect grade point average. Although they may be a perfect freshman or sophomore, graduation is still impossible for them in the state they are in. They don't have the credentials to graduate no matter how perfect they are in their studies. They need more credentials and more time. They must endure to the end of their schooling in order to make it that far. Thank goodness no one is expected to graduate after only a freshman's year worth of school. It is the same in this life. We need the credentials it takes to reach the Celestial kingdom, but we are not expected to have them all at once; just to be perfect in our sphere of perfection. We need credentials and time to gain all the knowledge we will ultimately need. I thought about this on a much smaller scale also. It made me wonder how many times I've heard people say, about missions and otherwise, "As soon as I felt as though I knew what I was doing, they released me". The Lord allows us to try and perfect ourselves within a certain field and then lets us move on. Just as in school, you must remember what you have learned to do well. In life we will excel if we keep the lessons we have learned. Take a relief society president. It is a calling many people struggle with because of the responsibility involved. However, when released, most say something to the effect of  "As soon as I felt I knew what I was doing they released me". But! can you imagine a relief society president who only had to care for one sister?!?!  That is what a released Relief society president should become when she is assigned as a visiting teacher! A relief society president who only "has" to look out for one Sister. All of the opportunities the Lord gives us should increase our ability to succeed in future opportunities He gives us. Awesome.

The point of all this is, I guess, I love to study. I love companionship study!  It's like getting three hours of study in one because you get personal study, then you get companionship study, and you get to learn about what your companion learned!! So it's like you studied with them for that hour also!

Service yesterday was amazing. I have such a better handle on things as far as my assignment.  Sister Quick and I got to take BYU-I Sound Alliance (a singing group) through the Jail with a non-member named Dan. It was so cool. The spirit was so strong through the whole thing and then at the end! Oh my goodness. By the end everyone knew Dan was a non-member. They had been talking to him about himself and about the church, making him feel completely part of the group. He was just passing through. He had never heard of this place. He saw the "Historic" sign and decided it would be nice to swing by. Who does that? He loved the tour! Loved it. We closed the tour with our testimonies and invited them to sing "We thank thee oh God for a prophet" and let Dan know that he could just sit and listen. The spirit filled the room so intensely I thought it might burst. Dan was beaming. He loved it. He came up and asked for our names.  When we asked him how he enjoyed the tour he said it was wonderful. We asked if he had any questions, and he said no. We told him that we would love for him to leave a comment and everyone (BYU-I included) kept telling him how much they enjoyed having him there. He left beaming with a light around his face that wasn't there when he walked in. He took a card, but I haven't seen it. I was left feeling more peaceful than I had in a long time. I had forgotten how strong the spirit is here. It was such an assurance of the good times ahead. It lightened the heaviness of my heart and reminded me of how much I love this place and how important it is for all of us to be here. This ground it sacred. All of it! The spirit will always be here. We can just pull it out of the air. As much as I loved my winter assignment, it's not always that easy in Spokane. Things are not as peaceful as often as they are here. This place is sacred. I still have a hard time wrapping my brain around me being here, but in a completely different light than I did last year. How privileged we are to be called to labor in this part of the Lord's vineyard. How I love Nauvoo. How I love Carthage!. I love this Gospel. I love it. I know that It is true. In the name of Jesus Christ Amen.

After doing our service the Sisters and I had a meeting to talk about the logistics of things that will be happening in Carthage. Regulations, schedules and "rules" as it were. It was awesome. We opened with a testimony meeting. Everyone shared their best experience of the day. The sisters, much to my surprise wanted to have that meeting every night. So we have decided to have family prayer as sisters every night as we part ways. Just before prayer we will share our experiences from the day together. I am really looking forward to it. All of the Sisters are fantastic. They are plunging in and moving forward. This summer will be fantastic.

Sister Bailey

Even thought the summer has barely started, it feels like it is almost over. Like I am running out of time.

Anyone who can SHOULD come out this summer to Nauvoo and Carthage. I would love to see you and you will LOVE it here. That is a Promise.

Sunday, May 2, 2010

On Second Thought

Wow. This week did not go as planned. After six months in Liberty Lake I had almost forgotten how unexpected and constantly changing Nauvoo is. When we received an almost routine call from the assistants to get together the announcements and scheduling bugs that had been looming. It was a shock to everyone to have a mid-transfer move to work out. Everything has gone perfectly. Sister Westwood was at peace as she left, everything was packed up and cleaned in a matter hours, Sister Cordoba (my new companion) is amazing. I feel like I have a much better handle on my calling as Carthage group leader (at least I feel a lot more comfortable), AND I found my backpack (which was missing and basically contained my life. It was a good thing when it was found). Sister Cordoba is from Miami, Florida. Her parents are from Costa Rica and she is bi-lingual! which means I get to learn stuff in Spanish like how to pray and bare my testimony. She is the second of four children and absolutely beautiful. I love her! We get along so well and have A LOT in common.

Today has gone really well. We are a little behind schedule but other than that we've been able to accomplish SO much. We've done shopping, e-mailing, address labels, tags, Pioneer dress fitting, studies and were able to fill the time in the car by talking with one another. As the day has gone on I think that Sister Cordoba is feeling better and better about her call. It have been sooooooo good to get to know her. We get along great! She has such a testimony and a fantastic life. I could listen to her talk for hours.

The funny thing about all this is that I found myself less than excited about my call in Carthage because of two things: 1) It was an unexpected responsibility and I had no idea what it entailed, and 2) I had done a lot of reflecting in the time between our arrival and when we received our assignments; mostly upon Sister Thomas and what she means to me, what my first ever transfer here really meant to me and how it has shaped me as a missionary. I was looking forward to (something I could not always claim) training someone. Teaching them to love Nauvoo, giving back just a little of what I had gained here, and helping someone else have a better experience on their mission both here and in their winter assignment. I have been trying very hard to follow the council of Elder Bednar to write down impressions more often than quotes. One such an impression happened in one of the many district meetings that followed when you said, Some of you may be wondering "how can I be in Nauvoo?" and even more of you may be wondering "how can I be back in Nauvoo?", but it doesn't matter, because this is the Lord's way and that is the right way. Underneath this note I wrote "Carthage Group Leader IS the Lord's way. Training is not. Focus on that". I did, and things started to fall into place. I had almost forgotten how much I had been looking forward to being a trainer. I was reminded as I looked over the past couple of District meeting notes. I read over and pondered on that impression for quite sometime and felt so good about how far I had come and about being Carthage group leader. Then the phone rang and it was Sister Parker letting me know that Sister Westwood was transferring and that I would be training a new sister. I felt like everything had been running like a little conveyor belt factory and when the call came someone shut the power off and everything just stopped. It was the weirdest thing. I planned on telling Sister Westwood privately after all the other announcements were made, but as soon as I hung up the phone rang again and it was President Ludwig! He told Sister Westwood and then we packed, had a family home evening with the Leals and packed some more because Sister Westwood needed to be out by the next day. It was certainly an eventful night. The family home evening with the Leals was so spiritual. We read D&C 135 with them, shared our testimonies and played a game. We have all loved the time we've had to get to know the Senior Missionaries and learning from their lives and their testimonies. They are the biggest blessing. We also assigned everyone Disney Characters. It was so funny.

Carthage and it's sisters are doing GREAT. Everyone is so supportive, so flexible and so happy to help where ever they can. The sisters are feeling so much better and so much more confident about the script and the Seniors are all amazing. Also so flexible and supportive.

I am starting a study on the blessings of missionary work listed in the D&C. It has been awesome so far. THERE ARE SOOOO MANY.

This week has been pretty nuts so I am a little scattered on things I feel I need to say. One part of my testimony has grown at a more accelerated rate than the rest of my testimony this week and that is of how perfectly perfect God is. He is perfect! and that sentence doesn't even do Him justice. I am so humbled at the time and energy taken to teach me, to support me and to forgive me of every inadequacy I have and to work with me to overcome them. And then to think that He does that for each one of us on a minute to minute basis is mind boggling. It makes me want to take back every doubt and misunderstanding that have taken place over the past 22 years. He is Perfect and His Son is prefect. I am so grateful for my knowledge of Him and His Son Jesus Christ and am so excited at the time and experiences I will have in life to continue to build that know ledge and relationship with Him. And then, if I endure well the lessons, opportunities and experiences I will have all eternity to grow closer, get to know and build that relationship. I received a letter from a friend serving a mission in New Mexico shortly before I came out. She said, "Sister Bailey, This work is so great, I can't wait for you to join me. Every once in a while Heavenly Father gives us a peek into the flawless masterpiece of this work and the view is amazing while it lasts"! Her words have echoed through my head on a number of occasions and I know them to be true. Every once in a while we see the big picture and then it is taken from our view for a time so that we can focus on the task at hand. I cherish those moments. The past two days have been littered with those moments. My whole life has been littered with them. And will continue to be! As long as a hold to the rod of Iron. Sister Cordoba studied Lehi's dream this morning and I have been thinking about the things she has shared with me all day.

I love my studies. I love this work, I love this place, I love this Gospel and I LOOOOVE all of you.

Sister Bailey