Sunday, February 8, 2015

What I Have Learned on My Mission

So life has been crazy. I got a new companion!!! Her name is Sister Martinez. She's super great. The last week of my mission will consist of helping her meet all of the investigators and learn everything she needs to know in one week. haha Challenge Accepted. I know she will be great and I know Heavenly Father put her here for me.

This week we had a baptism! It was great. The service was so beautiful. We met her because she lives with some family members who are members. Kayla cried the whole time. She was really so prepared for this. It made me really realize that what we do matters. We have such an influence as members of the church. It reminds me a quote from Pres. Uchtdorf "Doing the things that matter most, will lead us to the Savior of the world." So do the things that matter most. We don't even realize the effect we have on those around us.

So this is my last email. My last week of my mission. I have been really reflecting on what I want to say. I think the best way to end this wonderful journey I have been on is to list 18 things I have learned on my mission:

1. Don't deny the promptings of the Holy Ghost. The more we listen to them, the more we are in tune to the spirit's influence in our lives.

2. God is not a God of coincidences. He places us where we are, with who we are, when we are there for a reason.

3. The Book of Mormon was meant for our day. It is a tool Heavenly Father has given us so that we can have the spiritual protection necessary for these days.

4. Joseph Smith is undoubtedly a prophet. He saw what he said he saw. Why? Because it makes sense. God would continue speaking to His children because He is the same yesterday, today, and forever.

5. The Temple is one of the most amazing gifts Heavenly Father has given us. If you want grow closer to Heavenly Father and understand more of your purpose, go to the temple.

6. God intends for us to be happy. The world thinks it has the way to be happy, but true, never-ending joy comes from living the Gospel of Jesus Christ.

7. Christ is the center of all we do. This is His Church. He is the gospel and everything else is merely appendages to it.

8. The Bible tells us what Christ did, the Book of Mormon tells us why He did it.

9. We cannot live with personal revelation! Our return to Heavenly Father depends on it.

10. The Atonement provides a strengthening and ennabling power. It helps us do and overcome things we cannot imagine. 

11. Prayer is the ultimate communication with God. He wants to hear from us even if it seems small and insignificant. He wants to hear the range of our feelings and emotions.

12. Listen to the words of the prophets and apostles. They are modern day scripture. They know what we need to hear.

13. Missionary work is the best work we could be apart of. It is the work of saving souls. It is Gods work.

14. Trust and rely in Heavenly Father and His plan for you. He knows what we are capable of and what our potential is. We can only reach that through with His help.

15. Sometimes we experience trials due to others agency, But sometimes we experience them because the Lord sees it fit for us to grow.

16. The Priesthood power is real and it is on the earth today. Our church could not function without it.

17. The Savior has literally walked the path that we walked. He knows our mortal journey and the experiences we may have. Due to this, we can have an intimate and personal relationship with him.

18. I didn't realize how much I could love and feels Gods love on my mission. And I didn't realize how much it would change me.

Thanks for all the love and support these last 18 months friends and family! I really couldn't have done it without all of you. 


Sister Caroline Bailey

Monday, January 26, 2015

Exchanges and Miracles

This week was insane!!!! We had 3 exchanges in a row again. It was crazy. Plus, all the sisters decided to break down and struggle this week. But its okay. I feel super honored to be able to help these sisters grow. The Lord is truly using me as his instrument.

Couple of amazing things this week!!! First off, our baptism is all good to go Saturday!!!! I'm so stoked. To be honest, we have set this date with our investigator before but she totally dropped it and shes dropped a date before that, so I really didn't think she would get baptized. But we set the date for January 31 and when we went back afterwards, she was like "ehhh Im still praying about it." But we went forward and planned it all. Then we had a lesson last night and she was soooooo stoked for her baptism!!! She said she was a little nervous but really excited. She even planned more stuff for her baptism. We also went over the interview questions and she did great!!! She has been ready all along she was just a little scared and needed a little push!

Another miracle, Wednesday came around and we were on exchanges and we still hadn't found any new investigators for the week! Well, we were frantically contacting potentials and formers but we couldn't get ahold of anyone. Well ,when we were contacting a potential, we saw this woman standing outside and we went and talked to her (mind you we had like 5 min before out next apt). We talked to her about the Book of Mormon and about families and we asked her if we could come share more and she said yes! 

That is something I really feel like my eyes have been opened to lately. I have realized that Heavenly Father is so mindful of us and our prayers. Even with the smallest of concerns or worries, the Lord helps us. He answers in the smallest of ways, but we only see those answers if we are looking. His hand is ever present in our lives and we can see it if we look. I know the Lord answers my prayers daily and loves each of us so much! How many more witnesses do we need of His love.

#ZONE CONF so hard...

This week was Zone Conference. It was seriously sooooo stellar. I can't believe it was my last one. It definitely felt unreal. 

This week was stellar. We had #zoneconf and 3 exchanges. So we are definitely tired. But what's so amazing is that the Lord is picking us up and carrying us to accomplish more than we ever could on our own. I'm so weak and human and it's amazing to see how this work carries on despite that. I feel so blessed and honored to serve such wonderful sisters. Their spirit and examples helps me change and grow.

We worked hard this week though! We taught lots of lessons and found lots of new investigators! This area so awesome! This week we started teaching 2 more Part-Member families. It seriously was the most genius idea to start holding Family Nights for these families because they love it and they can definitely see a difference in their home. Actually, the mom of one of the families came up to us at church at asked us to teach her son. She told us that she wanted us to teach her son and that she thinks hes ready to be baptized. SO AWESOME. So we went over and taught him! 

We also finally set a date for our investigator for January 31!! She's dropped her previous dates, but we have faith she will make it this time!
So Conference was for sure my highlight. The focus was on the new goal we set for the year, 453. So quick story. We come up with this goal at our Leadership Council at the beginning of the transfer. We were discussing this new goal, at our mission President decided that 450 was probably the most likely goal we could reach. But the rest of us were all like noooo that doesnt feel right. Then an Elder raised his hand and said "This may sound weird but in Alma 45:3 'And Helaman said unto him; Yea, I believe.'" In that moment, we all knew that was the goal for the year. There was no discussion or argument about it. It was such a neat experience to feel the spirit testify to us of this goal. So we tied this into our training we had to give. We told the story of the Anti Nephi Lehies and committed everyone to "bury a weapon" that would hold them back from reaching this goal. The spirit was so strong and everyone told us they loved it. I just want to reflect on the story of the Anti Nephi Lehies though. The greatest thing I have learned from this story is that there is always something standing between me and God, so what weapon am I holding onto that I can bury that will bring my closer to Him? I know this a daily process and reflection I need to have because I am far from perfect. Everyday we need to try to get closer and closer to our Heavenly Father.

"When the Cold of Winter Comes..."

For those of you who aren't as dweeby as me, the subject title is from the theme song from the Lord of the Rings. You're welcome. But seriously, it's soooooo cold here! 

I LOVE MY COMPANION. Sis. Oberfield is so wonderful and exactly what I needed this transfer. I really love her a ton!

This week was nuts! Because there were no holidays, no meetings, and only one exchange, we were able to work super hard in our area. It was awesome and we saw some serious miracles! One of them being this awesome new investigator. Our appts cancelled last week so we were contacting some potentials. One of the woman we contacted opened up the door and we asked her about her Christmas. She said it was tough because her sister died. So we talked a little about the Plan Of Salvation and set up a return appt. But as we were leaving she told us that she was Methodist and not interested in converting but was totally willing to listen. Well we went back this week and as we were getting to know her she told us that one of her main beliefs was continuous revelation. Then as we kept talking she was like "I just love genealogy, I feel like its a special calling to me." And then she was said " Oh I've been so excited to have you guys come all week. Recently I found some members in my family history that were at Hans Mill." We were freaking out at how prepared this woman was. We were able to testify that we want to take the things that she already knows/believes and add to them which will bring her greater peace and direction in her life. It was amazing. After that, she was totally willing to take the lessons! It was amazing to see how prepared she was.

Also, yesterday we had like a #mesagirlsprob They cancelled church after sacrament meeting due to warnings of freezing rain but it didn't even happen. It was so weird. Anyway, we still had our PM family that we are teaching come to church again!! This is the 3rd week in a row that have come to church and their mom (who is the member) didn't come again. We hope to set a date soon and get those kids baptized.

Oh my goodness to day I had the best studies! I read the talk from Priesthood session last Conference, "Guided Safely Home" by Pres. Monson. I loved the analogy he made about us being ships and how we need the direction provided by the rudder to guide us safely to the port. Pres Monson promises us in the talk that if we are on the path to going "home" we will be protected. It really made me think about my life. And I realized that when we are keeping the commandments and doing whats right, we wont be exempt from lifes "storms" but we will have the necessary tools and gear to keep us protected and to help us move forward. If we want to be safe and return "home" we must keep the commandments!

2015 Already?!

I am in complete disbelief at how quickly the time has gone. I can't believe its already 2015 and I can't believe how much things have changed! But I know change is good and change is what the Lord intends for us so we can grow. It still gives me anxiety though!

This week was crazy! I got my new companion! Her name is Sis. Oberfield. I Love her a ton!!! She's soooo great. She's from Mesa, AZ so we talk about mesa girl in Illinois probz, like the lack of Mexican food and the cold weather. We really get along though and its fun to see how many of the same places and people we know.

Crazy NY Eve Miracle!! We lost contact with this super awesome investigator. We picked up her husband too but they both dropped our appt. Well when we were grocery shopping the day Sis Oberfield got here, we saw her at the Walmart!! We were so stoked! So we set up an apt to see her this week.

Yesterday was amazing too! We challenged this PM family earlier this week to come to church every Sunday in January and then we will hold family night for them every Saturday night! Well, the kids totally came to church yesterday without their mom too! MIRACLE!

This week I also was able to go to a baptism for a family I taught in my 3rd area. They are a Part-Member family and they hadn't been taught in a couple years and the Elders had had no success in getting in. Well,
they came to a ward picnic and I just talked to them and asked them if we could come over and get to know them better. Then when we started going over them I asked if we could teach the girls and help them get baptized and they said yes! And they were baptized on Saturday! It was so wonderful to see the seed that we planted grow into a tree! The dad even told me "This is all because of your hard work." There is nothing more rewarding in this life than missionary work! How lucky am I that I get to wake up every morning and serve the Lord!

Carle Baptism

Companion for a Day...Sister Turley!

Caroline's YW leader, Anne Marie Turley, who is from St. Louis, visited Caroline over Christmas.  She got to be Caroline's companion for a few hours.

Anne Marie took these photos so we could see Caroline's apartment. Thank you, Annie!