Wednesday, September 22, 2010

The big day is here

Sister Bailey returns from her mission tonight!  We are so excited to have her home and so proud of her service this past 18 months.  She will be speaking in church this Sunday, September 26th, at 1:00 p.m.  All are welcome!

This is the testimony last of all

September 20, 2010
 This week has been the last of a lot of things, but Sunday felt like it. The last time I usher people into the west theatre, the last sacrament meeting in Nauvoo, the last district meeting, the last time listening to a general authority speak to me as a missionary (I don’t care what anyone says, its different as a missionary), the last dinner at the Ludwigs with all the sisters (I went back for seconds), the last drive down the river road, the last time I’ll watch the lilies on the Mississippi turn from white to a hazelnut-mud brown, one last time serving in Carthage, the last time testifying of the story there, the last district discussion with the senior couples…Today hasn’t been much different. Last load of laundry, last walk down Muholland Street, last e-mail etc.. I am acutely aware that I am leaving. The closer and closer it gets the more peaceful I’ve felt about the timing, the past and the future. Peace eases our burdens, but it doesn’t take them away. We still bare them, but we “cannot feel them upon our backs”.  I guess what I’m saying is that I wouldn't have it any other way, but I still have a fog of sadness about me. Maybe not even sadness, just somber...ness. I feel very sober about pretty much everything. My sense of humor is all but gone. Sister Schetselaar was such a great last companion. She helped keep me healthily focused. We set goals, we reached them, we conquered lessons. We speak only in British accents after nine. She acted as if I wasn’t going home even when I’ve felt completely overwhelmed and surrounded by it all. It’s exactly what I needed.

     Sister Aston is writing her family next to me. We’ve spent most the day packing and shopping and getting things done. Tomorrow we’ll serve in the visitors center, I’ll have my exit interview, and then we’ll be busy for the rest of the night with the temple, dinner at the Ludwigs for all the sister leaving, and one last show of Rendezvous.  I would imagine that even in the midst of it all it won't really feel like it’s happening to me. Watching Rendezvous will be the last thing we do here in Nauvoo.

     As I’ve been writing this I had a very odd thought come to my head. I wondered if this was how the Savoir felt in His last days. He knew He had to finish His course and do what His Father had asked of Him, but He too had served, lived, laughed, loved, and now it was nearly finished. I see that as an odd thought because what the Savor went through is completely different, much more sacred, much more intense and something that I will never have to face in my life. I am grateful for that. I won't have to face a lot of things because of what He went through.  Some of the things I will never have to face are purely because He faced them for me. But I do know that regardless of how separated I may be from the things He felt in those last days He is not separated from what I am feeling in mine as a missionary. He did feel this way. He felt and knows how every missionary feels when they are torn from a world they love and are thrust back into one they’ve grown estranged from. He felt and knows exactly how it feels for a parent to lose a child and vice aversa. Not only that, but He knows how a specific parent feels to lose a specific child. He knows how a patient feels when they are told they have cancer, incurable or otherwise, and how it feels to be the doctor who breaks the news. He knows how it feels at the point of recognition when we finally see the error in our ways. He knows how it feels to have to correct it and how hard it is to find peace again.

     There are so many more things I have gained on my mission than given. Eternal friendships, a greater understanding of His love for me and for all people, a firmer knowledge of His plan for us, where we came from, why we’re here and where we’re going, and most importantly how we get there. A closer relationship with the spirit, softer heart, a better view of myself.  18 months has felt like 18 seconds, but it’s time now. In those short 18 seconds my entire eternity has been altered. I love Jesus Christ. I know Him. He is the Savior and Redeemer of the world. As we come to better know Him we better know our way. He is our way. He is the light and the life of the world. He has drawn a clear line and I will be found on His side. The Missionaries from the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints can and are more than willing to help anyone come to know Him better. They are His representatives and are commissioned by the only true and living church on the Earth. This is His Church. The Savior’s Church. After centuries of being lost, it’s here. I'm humbled to be a part of it.


Sister Bailey 

Friday, September 17, 2010

Redifining Lines

September 13, 2010
This morning we went to the temple. It was a wonderful start to the day and a wonderful start to the transfer. I received a wonderful confirmation about my travel plans, which sounds funny, but I did. I wanted to know that it was the right thing to do, not that I was making an effort to run from everything that makes me nervous about going home. It's not. It's the right thing to do. I don't know why and maybe I never will, but I need to travel. It will all work out. It already is. I know that sometimes when we do the right thing, things are hard, it feels like hell itself is rising up to meet us, but this time it's not. Everything is falling into place.
I had a rather direct answer to my prayers the other day in the visitor's center. When Sister Hamano and I left the call center to go down to the floor I , for some reason had a sadness come over me. I was sad about a lot of things. I was having a hard time concentrating. While on the floor I became very easily frustrated and was caused to go the the Christus, listen and then head for a bathroom stall to be alone. I prayed. I called for my Father in Heaven and felt Him around me. It felt so natural to speak to Him in that moment. I expressed what was going on and then remembered then endless admonitions that we have received from Prophets and apostles, both living and dead, to look outside ourselves and serve. I then expressed my desire to serve, that I wanted to just help someone. Give me peace and help me help someone, lift someone. So then I went to the floor again to stand and wait for visitors. It didn't take long before and visitor found me, walking up to me as I approached him. He was a young man named David, just graduated from BYU and on his way back to Gaithersburg Maryland, not far from my house. The first thing he said to me was, "Hey! can you help me..." I was shocked at how direct Heavenly Father had decided to bless me with an opportunity of service. with a smile I couldn't hide I said, "Yes! what can I help you with?" He was lost, actually stranded. He had been stranded by the storm the night before and now had to wait for his engine to get fixed. He had never been to Nauvoo and was having a hard time "wrapping his brain around this place". We talked about the map and briefly about how God brings people here for a purpose and how excited he should be to be here. He wanted a tour so I grabbed a Sister and we went along. The spirit was very sweet. At the end of the tour we talked a little about youth programs and his plans for home and then got him settled into some plans for the rest of his day, Sunday and Monday. Then he was happily off to the temple. My heart was full as I watched him leave. I always knew God answered prayer, but my testimony has grown so much about how quickly and directly he answers them. He is so mindful of us. I love Him. I love God and I love Jesus Christ.
Yes, we had transfers on Sunday. I am still in Nauvoo. My new companion is Sister Schetelaar. I am thrilled. She's an awesome missionary and incredibly easy to love. I want to be easy to love. That's something I'm working on. Softer though I may be than before my mission I can still be kind of prickly when I want to be. Thank goodness we always have more to work on. Life would get boring if we ever stagnated. Sister Schetelaar and I have set some good goals. We're gathering scriptures this week to help us better teach about Heavenly Father's Plan for us and it is going to be so fun. I love that lesson! It is so full of God's love!
The last day Sister Hamano and I were together was wonderful. We served at the Brigham Young home and told stories as we studied. I was reminded very clearly about certain things that happened right before I left on my mission, things I need to follow up on. I have a goal to write back ten letters today. It should be good. After that happens I will be all caught up and ready to go.
I am excited for this week. Sister Schetselaar and I are going to plow through it. I can't wait to learn as much as possible from her and I hope to be some benefit to her as well. I know that it's all going to go to fast and that, I guess, is my constant for the transfer. It all feels very strange to be at this point.
We were blessed to be able to listen to Elder Hallstrom this week. I learned so much while he was here. I guess the most important thing is that I have learned so much while I've been here. He spoke about "The name of Jesus Christ". Specifically, "In the name of Jesus Christ", which is a phrase used quite often among the Latter- day Saints. He spoke about it's true meaning how special and sacred it really is when we do use it. And how much it can teach us as we think about it's use. It most often refers to " The authority of Christ", "The mission of Christ and "The essence of Christ". I'm excited to go through to Book of Mormon and figure out which way it's being used.
We watched a movie for sociable, which was strange but approved by president. It was a good movie: "The Christmas Wish". It made me think hard about my Savior and my interactions with others. Justice is never ours to administer..... it is God's. We are to become like the Savior and, as such, should learn mercy and love before ever paying a mind to justice.
Eric Sande and also Sister Morgan both said something about missions along the same lines as one another. Eric was referring to his future mission and said, "I know my mission will eternally change me, but I am not scared". Sister Morgan said, "The things here in Nauvoo have changed us for eternity". Eric's comment was the first to bring the concept to my attention. Missions really do change eternities, for everyone involved..... missionary, investigators, contenders and members. Missions draw lines. It redefines lines and continually invites all people to pick a side. It alters eternities. It has altered mine anyway. I know I have said it before, but there really is no going back. We only go forward. "My past is redeemed, my present makes sense, and my future is bright", not to mention in the hands of someone who loves me more than I can comprehend. Sometimes, when I listen to myself, a lot of my fears and trepidations feel silly.

Sister Bailey

Tuesday, September 7, 2010

almost no post this week

September 7, 2010

I have spent most of my e-mail time e-mailing my Mission President today. I have a lot of things on my mind. The more time goes by the heavier and heavier my mind becomes and the harder and harder it becomes to lighten it.
Saturday was one of the most spiritual days I have had on my mission. Ever really. I felt so close to God the entire day. I was receiving so much important revelation. We ran the grape stomp and I didn't walk once, which was my goal. I got home and got ready for the day but wasn't in any hurry. In fact, by the time I got in the shower I'm pretty sure I was late. So, when Sister Hamano said from downstairs, "Sister Bailey we've got to go NOW!" I was just happy I was ready on time. When I looked at my watch after I had said , "OK I'm ready", I realized that we were way early for service. I paused just long enough to ask, "So, why are we leaving now"? Sister Hamano then explained that she had to go to the temple and interpret a wedding of a deaf man and his wife. I grabbed my temple bag and we were off. In the car I did the math and there was no way I could have gotten ready that fast even if I had been hurrying, and at the pace I had been moving at there was NO way. I knew that angels had moved me and quite possibly stopped time for a while in order to get us out the door when we needed to be. The Sister dropped us off at the temple and we ran inside. It was wonderful. It was the first temple marriage I've witnessed. I was filled with the spirit and kept thinking to myself, don't settle for less than this, don't settle for less. I felt so humble to be there. When it ended I wanted to tell them how much it meant to me. I have promised God I would be married in the temple on a number of occasions and felt redundant to be doing it again in the recesses of my heart. I said a heart filled prayer afterwards. The rest of the day was spent half on earth and half in heaven. I could hear the spirit so clearly. I could feel it's presence. I received promptings quickly and received much personal revelation in between. Tami and Nick walked in around 5. It was wonderful to see them. They are not members of the church and are concerned about their son who has been asking a lot of questions about life that they don't know the answers to. They had so many questions. I loved them so much. They were two of the most honest hearted, humble people I have ever met. They asked simple questions and they asked hard questions, but because of their hearts, because of their spirits, all of their questions were so easy to answer. The spirit gave me exactly what I needed to say. They wanted so much to learn more. They said they needed to ponder a little before they had missionaries come to their house, but they took the restoration pamphlet (about the bringing back of the authority to act in God's name and the things Jesus taught) and the plan of salvation pamphlet (about Heavenly Father's plan for each of us to return to Him) and the gospel of Jesus Christ pamphlet. I had been carrying it around while I talked with them and referenced them once or twice. At the end of the tour Tami pointed to the pamphlets and said, "I want to read those books. May I have them?" There was no question. The Spirit said "Give her the books". I did. They are going to visit and look at temples and listen to members testimonies. I know they are headed for good things. Great things, if they let God guide them. I was so grateful to be blessed enough to meet them. They were so honest. So humble. So easy to love. I haven't met very many people like them and it was one of the most spiritual experiences I've had. The day just continued. No matter what happened I felt the spirit there. It never left me. Everything that happened was like a lighting bolt from heaven. It was a very good day for me.

Time is flying by. Things sometimes don't feel like they happen. There is never enough time.

Sister Bailey
Seek and ye shall find, knock and it shall be opened unto you.

Thursday, September 2, 2010

A Little Behind....

This is Anne's mom....
Below are four posts dating from August 12-August 31st. I am a little behind as I have been out of town and was unable to post while gone. Lots of reading, I know, but some good stuff.                                                                   Sister Bailey is scheduled to return home on September 22nd!  We can hardly wait!

I know

August 31, 2010

This p-day is not going exactly as planned, but it will be good. All of my companions, this summer and last, have been exactly what I needed when I had them. Sister Hamano is no different. I have learned so much from her just by her sheer example and she is EXACTLY who I needed the transfer before I leave. She is the best listener I've ever met and is going to do incredible things where ever the Lord calls her. She has been such a healing balm in for me. I love her.

At the last ice cream social we had as Sisters, Sister Johnson and I just sat on the couch and talked about missionary work and how fantastic it all is. We also talked about the love that Heavenly Father has for His children and all the care that goes into bringing us home, back to Him. I love Him! I love His purposes and His ways! I love that He lets us help Him bring His work forward, I know that He could very well do it by Himself, but He lets us be a part of it. I love this work. I am so grateful for the diligence the Lord exercises in each of our lives, for our happiness, for our well being. Sometimes I wonder if He ever gets giddy as He plans " She (or he) is going to LOVE this" and I wonder how He feels when we don't recognize those blessings. In all His perfect love for us I would imagine He just feels a greater resolve to help us feel His love for us. I love His Love. I love how we have more of it the more we share it. I love how we can struggle with the same problems over and over and over again and how patiently He waits to help us. I am grateful.
We went out into Quincy and went tracting as Sisters, at least half of us did. We're going again on Thursday. It felt so good to be out on the street again just talking to people and sharing the gospel. People are so prepared. Just through short conversations they ask questions I've been able to know the answer to my whole life. Questions that are answered by the Book of Mormon and the temple and the Prophets on the earth. We met so many wonderful people. It actually made my love for Nauvoo grow, to understand and talk with and love the people in the surrounding communities. I am so excited to go again. It feels so good. I know that there is a Prophet on the earth named Thomas S. Monson. God speaks through Him the same way He did through Moses and Abraham and Issac. The authority to act in God's name is on the earth and the work of God is going forward. Families are forever. Jesus is the Christ.

We went to the temple today. It was wonderful and I, as I usually do, received some much needed comfort and clarity not to mention revelation while in that Holy House.

You will have to forgive me. I know this letter is short, but I find myself becoming shorter and shorter in words and longer and longer in thought. If that makes any sense.

I love you all.
Helaman 5:12

Sister Bailey


August 24, 2010

It was hard for all the Sisters to say goodbye to Sister Quick, Sister Westwood, Sister Barry and Sister Picard. They left on
Friday morning. It was a weird day. Every time someone leaves it changes things. Their presence is missed and we're working twice as hard to live up to what they were putting in. I love those sisters. I am so grateful for the friendships I have made. They will last for eternity. I will never be the same.
I am so different than I was 18 months ago. Completely different. I have changed so much. I don't feel like I even know that Sister Bailey of last April 2009. It feels good to be a new person and I wonder what she might think if we were to meet. I am in a different place, a different mind set, a different light, and I have a different heart. No matter our differences I know I'd thank her. I am grateful for her willing heart and I am grateful for her efforts, because no matter how non-existent she is right now and how much I would never want to go back, the present Sister Bailey owes her existence to the Sister Bailey of last April, and October and so on. I love the Atonement. I want the Sister Bailey of five years from now to be thankful for me, and happy for the distance between us. It's not that I was a bad person before the mission, I am just so different. I feel like I'm traveling lighter now. I wonder what else I have to sluff off and leave behind. I am grateful for old Sister Bailey's sacrifices and determination. As a missionary something that I've noticed is that we are blessed, but blessed for other's work. As we work hard we are led to people who have been being prepared for years. The real fruits of our labor are ones that future missionaries will see, not us. In that same respect the product of all the work we put into ourselves is never actually seen by that version of ourselves that put in that effort. Blessings and work are seen best in retrospect and cannot be predicted except by One who can see and know everything. And they seem to grow with time. At times the law of sacrifice seems much like a bank account. We pay once and are forever blessed, not with one blessing that lasts forever, but with blessings that flow down forever, to us, and to our posterity.

Well, as it is considered the above thoughts expressed were nothing close to what I had originally intended. But the principle is the same. I am different. I am grateful for it and in the coming years I plan to be even more different. I'm so grateful to be able to part of this work both now and forever, "to bring to pass the immortality and eternal life of man", as His missionary, as His daughter, and as a trusted guardian to His children.

This work truly never ends.
We've made some insane changes to the call center. So much faith and trust have been put into those changes. Miracles are happening. The Lord works in mysterious ways.

Sister Bailey


August 17, 2010

Nauvoo is insanely quiet. I say insanely because insanity is a good description of what it does to Sister missionaries. Like last year the call center is where I prefer to spend most of my time. There I can be productive and bear my testimony over and over and over again. I love it in the call center. The time I do spend on the floor is time well spent. The annual exodus of Navuoo is in full swing. Seniors are dropping like flies, or rather taking off like them. A happier thought I guess as they are going 30,000 feet up instead of six feet under. The young preforming missionaries are gone, as are the band. They left this morning. Sister Barry, Sister Quick, Sister Picard and Sister Westwood are all leaving on Friday. It's weird because I went into the MTC with all of them. I will miss them so much.

Transfers were on Sunday. Sister Bitter is now in Carthage and so is Sister Johnson. They are companions now actually. Sister Parker and Sister Morgan are the new AP's and are doing a fantastic job. Sister Hamano is now my companion and we are in Nauvoo. This really funny because Sister Parker asked me what I thought was going to happen at transfers and I said, "I'm not sure but Sister Hamano and I are going to be companions and we're staying in Nauvoo". She laughed and we moved on, but that is what happened. I love Sister Hamano. She is of Japanese descent and lives in Hawaii. Well actually right now she lives in Nauvoo but she is from Hawaii. She is a signing Sister. We run together and are a more quiet companionship than most, but we get along swimmingly. She was Sister Quick's companion last and so we spent all our preparation days last transfer together. I'm excited to get to know her better.

Today has been a good one. I did the only thing I cared to do which was to go on an oxen ride. It was so fun! I loved it. Hank and Homer (the oxen's names) took us on a little wagon ride through the trees. After that it didn't really matter to me what we did. We went to the temple and did our laundry and ate food and washed the car and now we're e-mailing. Yes. It's been a good day.

Sorry this week is so short. It felt that way. I have a feeling the weeks will only get shorter from here on out. A strange and depressing thought, one not thought about on a regular basis. Not here in Nauvoo anyway.

Burning myself out

Sister Bailey

D&C 123:13

The sun is up and so is the internet.

August 12, 2010

The most exciting news I received this week is that my Sister-in-law is having a baby in February.

I'm a little at a loss of what to write this week. Not only have I just barely written on Saturday but I also just spent the past half an hour pouring my heart and soul into a computer with the intention of sending it to my mission president. The Internet crashed and it has now been deleted. This is probably the worst p-day ever for this to happen because we're suppose to be running on a schedule.

On a happier note, Nauvoo is still a spiritual powerhouse to all that come. Just yesterday Sister Bitter and I met a man named Lou. Lou grew up Catholic. He is not Catholic anymore. In fact, he seems to be stuck between not being able to deny the existence of a God and the temptation to demand tangible evidence of that existence. We took him on one of the most powerful and short tours that I or Sister Bitter have ever taken. We shared with him Joseph's Smith's experience. We began from the very beginning at Joseph's confusion over what God wanted Him to do, what the scriptures meant and more importantly what it all meant for him. To this Lou said, with exasperation, "Well, I think I can connect with that". As we moved on he talked about the doubts he's had with the rest of Joseph's experience, the confusion lifting and his prayers being answered, his mind enlighten and as a result the restoration of the Gospel of Jesus Christ to the earth. He wants to hold it in his hand. Part of me wants to say that holding the restoration in your hand is like trying to hold a sunrise in your hand. It's an event, not a something. When we watch the sun rise into our view we do not say, "Did the sun come up? I'm not sure, I need to touch it". We know the sun has risen because of the light that fills our world and the warmth that creeps into our skin the longer we find ourselves in it. In the same way, we know the restoration has happened..... not because we can touch it, but because of the light that fills our life as we abide by and believe in the truth that has been revealed to us through the Prophets and the warmth that rises in us the longer and longer the spirit has opportunity to testify to us of this truth. We don't touch it. We see it and we feel it. But, for Lou, and anyone else who does wish to hold it in their hands, Joseph Smith was asked to translate The Book of Mormon by the power of the Holy Ghost. The same power that brought about the restoration and has built up the Kingdom of God on the earth in our day. One can hold the Book of Mormon and in a sense hold the restoration, and even better, one can read the Book of Mormon and feel Heavenly Father's love for them and know that it is true. The same way one touches a hot stove and feels that it is on. I know that the Book of Mormon is true. It testifies of Christ and stands as a beacon to all who seek His face. I echo men of God when I say that I invite all people everywhere to read it and feel of it's power. I Promise you can know it's true. I promise God will bear witness of it in a way that you will recognize.

If anyone is wondering what happened to Lou, he felt the spirit. He filled out a referral card and requested the missionaries to bring the Book of Mormon by. As he reads he plans to call the missionaries in order to get any of his questions answered, and more importantly to call upon His Father in Heaven to recognize the spirit clearly.

These are the things that happen in Nauvoo. These are the things that I plead will follow me for the rest of my life. I will open my mouth. I will speak on His behalf.

I love this place. I love this work. I love the Book of Mormon and I love my Savior Jesus Christ.

I love each of you.

Sister Bailey

2Nephi 33:10-11 "...All ye end of the earth, hearken unto these words and believe in Christ; and if ye believe not these words believe in Christ. And if ye shall believe in Christ ye shall believe these words, for they are the words of Christ, and he hath given them unto to me; and they teach all men to do good. And if they are not the words of Christ judge ye--for Christ will show unto you, with power and great glory that they are His words at the last day...