Monday, June 28, 2010

I love growing in His fields

June 22, 2010

Today has been the best preparation day ever thus far. We decided to plan only the things we wanted to do and the most logical order to do them in. This has truly been a day of rest! Sister Pulleyn and I got up and went running. We didn't worry about what time we got home we just ran until we felt like going home. It was beautiful. I felt like I was running off the stress and worry and fatigue of 15 months. It was just before a storm came in so the sky was fantastic and the air light and cool. We ran to inspiration point, a place where Joseph Smith went to think, and looked out across the Mississippi. As we headed home it started to rain. Just enough to cool us off and re-energize us. Up past the temple, down past the shops on Muholland Street until we turned onto our road. We sprinted the last bit. We started laundry and made the best breakfast I've eaten in a long time.(sweet potato hash browns, strawberry pancakes, an omelet, poached eggs, and french toast) It was so good. I wont be eating lunch today. Then we did all our cleaning and showered and then tried to nap. It actually didn't go all that well, but I think that is part of why I liked it. I was looking forward to the nap more than probably anything today because I have felt incredibly exhausted as of late. It drove me through my run and made me cheerful through cleaning, laundry, shower, and breakfast. I didn't end up getting down until 10:15 and then I laid there for 15 minutes. I just barely started to slip into sleep around 10:45 when Sister Pulleyn came in to say it was time to get ready to e-mail. I asked for 15 more minutes and then laid there some more. The thought that came to my head was, "this is useless".   I got up and read and we are now e-mailing and plan on writing letters for the rest of the day. (We have moved our temple day to Friday). I am perfectly content. It really struck me to know that I couldn't really scoot into the nap I expected to have. After all it is what drove me through this morning!!! As I have thought about it more it makes me think about how there is no rest after this life and how the work just continues. The thought of "rest" sometimes seems to drive us in this life and when I have thought about "no rest" in the world to come I have felt, at times, my eternal perspective shudder a little, but I think it will be much like today was. The thought of rest will drive us through this life and then when we arrive that initial thought of resting will seem useless.  Who can sleep when there is so much work to be done? I think that by the time this life is over, after we have run our course, supped our fill and tied up loose ends we will be so pumped and intent on moving on that rest will seem useless.  The best rest we will be able to think of would be to help our family members still running around, to feed those still hungering, and to bear up missionaries on door steps so that the work can be finished. Then maybe we will rest...or maybe we will be too anxious to move on to the next task. Rest does have it's purpose, but it also has it's place.

The sociable is over. Pageant is on it's way. The summer is, as usual, moving quicker than it sometimes feels like I can move my feet. But the Lord will attend.

The sociable was different than last year. It was fantastic and wonderful but it still feels good that it's over.   I feel like I learned more, partly because I trusted more. Last year I struggled because I can't sing, I didn't know how to act or look, I couldn't remember the steps, my lines, etc.   I was so stressed. This year I felt I was able to learn more because, since I had hurtled sociable before, with the Lord's help, I knew he would help me again. I learned more because I worried less. The things that stood as obstacles last year were non issues this year. I moved forward with faith. I took note this year that most in attendance were members and missionaries, but I felt the spirit so strongly and I was filled with love and happiness to be able to spiritually feed them on their sabbath.  All in attendance came to our sociable on their sabbath.  They had deemed it worthy as a sabbath day activity and I walked away knowing that it was. I had hoped to see a non-member named Brenda there but she didn't make it.  I thought that her absence would take away some of the sweetness I felt, but it didn't. I was so glad to serve who ever came, no matter what walk in life they traveled. I also took note that there was at least one non-member man who was very touched. Sister Pulleyn talked to him in the visitor's center yesterday before he headed out on the rest of the Mormon trail, in part because of the spirit he felt here. He mentioned the spirit he had felt and how he was praying that the Lord would guide his feet. President Ludwig once said that we "should never give unconditional service". I agreed, but I feel like I have learned more about that this sociable. Unconditional not only in not expecting something in return, but with out respecting the person. Member or non-member, Missionary or visitor, King or peddler. He would serve them all, unconditionally and just as happily as the other, so will I. I have not learned to value non-member tours or moments to testify to them any less, but I have learn to value member tours and moments to testify to them, more.

For sociable we sang "The Lilies of the Field". It talks about how Heavenly Father provides us with what we need, and how "He clothes the lilies of the field and feeds the birds in the sky". The point is that we are His children and He will care for us just as well and more than he does for the lilies and the birds. "He will heal those who trust Him and guide them with His eye". The difference between us and the lilies is that He lets us chose to accept or reject His care. He will never take away our agency to chose.

I like growing in His fields. 3 Nephi 12:28-34 & Matt. 6:25-34

Sister Bailey

Friday, June 18, 2010

Nothing but Christ

June 15, 2010

We just came from the temple. The spirit there was very sweet, very quiet. I loved it. I love the temple.

Transfers were on Sunday, New companion: SIster Pulleyn! I am so excited for this up coming transfer. If there is only one sister in Nauvoo that I could learn something from (which there isn't, there are 21) it would be Sister Pulleyn. She is one of the happiest people I have ever met. She is from Reno Nevada. She has walked a different side of life than I have and she wears the Savior on her face. I want to do that always! I cannot wait to get to know her better and to share insights with her and to love her and to serve with her. She is amazing. She made up of nothing but silver linings and those warm spots in front of the window when the sun is shining. I served with her in Carthage our first transfer, so I know her a little bit, but I cant wait to get to know her more.

I have noticed something over the past couple weeks since we have been back from our winter assignment. A change that has taken place, one that I am very happy about. Last year I would, along with everyone else, guess what would happen at transfers. As I settled on the thing I wanted least, the thing that scared me most, that would be the result. If the thought of something made me particularly uncomfortable, that would be the thing that Lord had in mind. I began this summer by guessing what would happen at transfers by how uncomfortable I felt. When I spent my first night in Carthage my first thought was "don't get too comfortable". I was sure I was leaving because it made me uncomfortable. But then I stayed. As time has gone on I have realized that I am much more comfortable and sensitive to the confirmations of the spirit. It has helped me in my service here also. I have more confidence and I feel more directed. When transfers came the first time I felt most at peace with moving to Nauvoo, but the thought of being split from Sister Cordoba made me uncomfortable. We both moved to Nauvoo together! This transfer, although leaving Sister Cordoba made me sad, I felt so peaceful about receiving a new companion. I also felt peace about staying in Nauvoo. It leads me to believe that over the past 15 months I have been better able to align my will with Gods. Which fills me with a great amount of peace and happiness. I have felt my relationship with my Heavenly Father grow ever stronger over time. I love His counsel. I love to be taught by Him. He is probably the only one I do enjoy being "taught" by.

I have been reading Jesus the Christ (by James Talmage) lately. I want to finish before I go home, but I don't know if that will happen because I pick everything apart as I go, so I end up moving slowly. But I love it. This week I studied both the parable of the hidden treasure and the pearl of great price. Both talk about the kingdom of God. In the hidden treasure a man finds his treasure in a field. He then sells everything he has and buys the field so that the treasure can be his. In the pearl of great price the man's life is centered on finding pearls and gems. When he does find the "pearl of great price" after so long and so hard of searching he sells every gem and pearl he has ever collected over the years and buys that one great pearl to have and to keep.

The man in the hidden treasure parable reminded me of people who happen to stumble on the gospel or are born into member homes, the search is almost non-existent, but the price is still his all.

The man in the pearl of great price reminds me of those whom I have met who have been searching all their lives for the gospel. I have known some of them in my life time. I could picture their faces in my minds eye as I read, some of them are still searching. They pick up many good and lovely things, but when they find the whole truth, the truth that will save them, there is still much to be sacrificed. All other gems and pearls must be given up.  Those lovely and choice things, they must be willing to give them up to have a place in the kingdom.

I have also met and sometimes known those who will search and search and acquire and acquire and then when the truth that will save them is in front of them they choose to trade salvation for their good and lovely things. Those things may not even be inherently bad, but the cost is still the same.... everything they have. It doesn't matter how you gain a testimony, or even if you do gain a testimony, what matters is what you are willing to do to keep it and to progress. It cost your all. It is worth every penny, every tradition, every ounce of pride in you. Nothing is so worth it's cost.


Nothing but Christ.

Sister Bailey

Wednesday, June 9, 2010

Something New to Learn and Something Old to Change

June 8, 2010

Nauvoo always takes some wiggling into before things settle, especially when all the missionaries are moving in and there really is not a schedule or routine to settle into. But most of the hubbub is over and we're getting closer and closer to putting on our Sunday night sociable for all of Nauvoo (June 20th ) and then Pageant. Sister Ludwig and President Ludwig are amazing. The Seniors are outstanding and each Sister here (and each missionary) is here for a reason. There is always something new to learn and something old to change. Such is life. Speaking of changes, this is the last week of this transfer. I can't believe transfers are already here. Chances are that the Lord will be splitting up Sister Cordoba and I. I love her. We may not be companions through all this but we will be dear friends for the rest of our lives. Maybe I can convince her to teach my children Spanish.

I have been very specific in my prayers lately, and very candid also. It has been a very sacred experience. I feel like my relationship with Him is more defined and that I have moved closer to Him in my life. My testimony of prayer has grown immensely.

This week has been an incredible week, but I am at a loss as to what exactly I could share with you.

The interview that I had with President Ludwig was a very interesting one. I didn't have much to talk to him about, but he had thought of some things he wanted to talk to me about. He asked me questions that required me to look back on my entire mission and it was quite the experience. I appreciated the opportunity. He asked me about the ways in which I had changed. There are so many. He had me pick three. Then he listed some things that he had observed. It was an incredible experience to have and I am so grateful for priesthood leaders. I am so grateful and blessed to be born at a time period on which the priesthood, the authority to act in God's name, is on the earth today and causing truth to go forward at an unreal pace. I know that the Book of Mormon is true, that we have a prophet today, and that God is in the details of our lives. He loves us so much. He will provide the way, but we need to take it.

I love you all. I know that this letter is short, but it is how I am feeling at the moment. Thank you for your prayers. I feel them everyday. I feel and see them answered.

Mosiah 2:41

Sister Bailey

Saturday, June 5, 2010

Lead me, Guide me, Walk be side me, Help me find the way...

June 1, 2010

We went to the temple today. We didn’t go last week because on p-day it looked as though we would be able to attend on Thursday. As the week played out however, it didn’t work out that way. We were able to at least go and stay for a very short time, but we didn’t have time for a whole session. I was so thankful to even be there, but I had planned out a whole study that was going to be awesome. I was SO thankful to be back in the temple today, doing a session. I did do my study. It was very insightful, but the best thing about the temple today was seeing Bonnie. I met Bonnie this week in the Visitor’s Center before a showing of “High Hopes”. I noticed her over many of the other visitors, which is what caused me to go strike up a conversation. She had told me that she liked the history here and that it was all “very interesting”, but that she had no expectations for her stay here. I felt very impressed to change her view, which was weird to feel because I didn’t think she had a horrible view by any means, but I heeded the prompting and told her that it was not adequate to simply expect to hear interesting things. She should be expecting a spiritual experience here. She was entitled to it! What’s more, Heavenly Father wanted her to have one here. I committed her to pray for one, to pray to have her heart open and to pray to recognize the spirit more acutely in Nauvoo. I walked away feeling a little bold, especially to be demanding such behavior from someone so my senior, but I ultimately felt content about what had been said. Every person in Nauvoo SHOULD expect something great, even life changing from their visit here, no matter the duration. Two hours later the next “High Hopes” was going to start and I was seating for it. She walked by me and her name tumbled out of my mouth, “Hi Bonnie!”. Her face lit up and she waved as she was ushered around the corner. I was surprised how quickly I had remembered her name. It hadn’t really even felt like me saying it. It was confirmed to me later, when she found me after the play to thank me for remembering her name, that it was not I who had drawn it from my lips. It had meant a lot to her, or at least it seemed like it had. I momentarily reflected on how mindful God is of his children and their needs and how wonderful it is to be able to help Him in reminding them of that. I never would have known, when I asked for her name, that it would later be something of worth to her. But God did. Anyway, getting back to this morning... I saw her at the temple! She was in my session and I made a point to say hello and ask how she was doing as we left, “Hello Bonnie! How are you?”. We ended up walking out of the building together. Sister Cordoba and I stopped to talk with her for a little bit and she welled up with tears. She went on to explain what a wonderful session it was for her. She had had a very powerful spiritual experience towards the end. She mentioned her and her husband’s recent call as ward temple missionaries and that her father had passed away recently. I couldn’t exactly understand what in prayers had been answered, but she hugged me and thanked me for asking her to pray for a spiritual experience while she was here. She said she never would have asked for one had I not taken the time to tell her to do so. It was a very humbling experience. I think that as missionaries, especially as Nauvoo missionaries, we forget, or fail to realize, the power of our influence. I felt so blessed to first, be able to be an instrument in His hands and second, to be shown a bit of the results of being bold, and heeding the promptings of the spirit.

Another wonderful experience that I had in the Visitor’s Center was with a man named Jason. He is the only member of his family who is not a member. He was very candid about it. As we got to talking I was able to testify of so many truths to him, particularly of the Book of Mormon and eternal families. His wife has taken him to many of the Church history sites, but he has never been to the sacred grove - Where Joseph Smith saw God the Father and Jesus Christ. I told him that I wanted to go there someday. He mentioned that it might be cool and we talked about how strong the spirit must be there. I told him that I wanted him to e-mail me when he went to tell me how it was. He then told me that he probably wouldn’t make it before I did, so instead we exchanged e-mails and made a pact, who ever makes it there first has to e-mail the other one and tell them how it was. He also had mentioned that he had started the Book of Mormon what felt like hundreds of times. I told him to read 3Nephi 11 and to pay attention to how he felt as he read. Sister Cordoba and I were both able to have a wonderful conversation with him about the Gospel and how it blesses families and double testify of every principle we taught. It was fantastic! And, I have even more incentive to go to the Sacred Grove after my mission now. I am praying that he reads and follows the spirit in what to do next. We told him to contact the missionaries when he feels he is ready. He kept saying that he didn’t feel ready.

Sister Cordoba had an very inactive former missionary make a rather contentious comment to her in the Visitor’s Center about our mission. Sister Cordoba followed the spirit instead of her pride and was able to minister to her the way the Savior would have had He been there. She was broken and down trodden and Sister Cordoba lifted her up instead of kicking her back. She is such an example to me. She is fantastic. All of the new Sisters are. I sometimes feel as though they are training us. I am so excited for the next 18 months of their lives. It so strange to be on this end of it.

I am in continual awe of all President and Sister Ludwig do for us every day. They stand in the Savior’s stead for us. I am so grateful that I have been able to serve under their direction and love.

Sister Bailey