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

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