Thursday, June 19, 2014

June and July for Jesus

This week we had a Zone Leader Training meeting where they introduced us to our theme for the transfer which is the title of this email. They challenged us as a mission to read the 4 gospels this transfer and to focus on the Savior in all we do. It was a great meeting which I will refer more to later in my email!
This week couldn't have gone by any faster, no joke! We got a mini-missionary this week. Her name is Hannah and she is 17 and from O'Fallon, IL stake.  The stakes around here are super into getting the youth involved in missionary work so they do mini missions every year. Hannah kicked it with us for the week and did everything we did. Because she was here, we were able to get some of the young single adult sisters to come out with us on splits. It was honestly sooo great to see the members get involved and to see how effective we were with our time! We got some really solid potentials and the members enjoyed working hard. Now, we are going to try to get the sisters to do splits with us every Saturday! Hannah stayed with us from Tuesday to Saturday and it was actually really sad to say goodbye. When she first came she said she wasn't sure if she was going to serve a mission and at the end of the week she said she was pretty sure she was going to go now because of us! That seriously made my whole life. I loved that we were able to help someone decide to go on a mission.
This week was so chaotic! First, Wednesday night we did splits and the YSA sister said she had a nonmember friend coming to her house that night for a bonfire and she wanted us to meet her. So we stopped by on our way home, met her, stole some marshmallows, and then shared a spiritual thought! Then when we got home, I realized that the house key wasn't on my key ring and I had lost it at the bonfire. We texted the members and asked them to look for it while we tried to figure it out. They couldn't find it and it was getting late so we exhausted all of our options (which included sleeping in our car or getting a locksmith because our apt manager won't open apts in the middle of the night).  It was 10:15pm and we went back to look for it at the bonfire. We said a prayer and asked Heavenly Father for help. When we got there we found it within 5 minutes! Talk about a miracle! We felt really bad for being out so late but I know the Lord answered our prayers!
The other miracle happened Friday night. In the evening, when it was getting too dark to tract, we went to go visit a part-member family. They weren't home and I was kinda like this stinks. Well, as we were getting in our car, the Parkway 1 Elders called us with 5 referrals!!! The Lord truly works everything out and this is His work!
Since I have passed my halfway mark and now have my year mark looming before me, I have been thinking a ton about where I have been and where I am going. At the Zone Leader Training meeting, we had a training by the STL's. It was about becoming the people that God wants us to be on our missions. They compared our mission to our mortal lives in that in the scheme of eternity our mortal lives are a small dot and in the scheme of our lives, our missions are an even smaller dot! Something that the sisters said really struck me. They said that in the pre-existence, we learned and grew sooo much and that when we came to this Earth, we agreed to forget all of it just so we could have the chance to become like our Heavenly Father! I loved that! And everything we do now is to prepare us for eternity! In comparison, everything we do on our missions prepares us for the rest of our lives. Heavenly Father has been giving me an eternal perspective lately about how much my mission has changed me into who He wants me to be. I am so grateful for my mission and I know I wouldn't be who I am right now if I decided not to serve. 

My First Offspring!

This week was hectic madness. I deep cleaned the whole apt and decorated for this new baby missionary to come! Then Transfers Day rolls around (Wednesday) and I had meetings all morning training me for this new missionary. Well, when transfers start, the first girl gets up on the pulpit to read off the name of her trainer and her area, and instantly I knew she was my child! So, I ran up gave her a hug and said come join the family (because I was sitting with my "mom"). The whole day/rest of the week was just a blur. But some info on her. She actually already served a mission for 4.5 months in Birmingham England but went home for medical reasons for 6 months so now I am retraining her! She is super awesome though and still has that new missionary fire. I am stoked to see where these next 2 transfers take us!
For those of you who don't know mission lingo, when you train a missionary, they are your "child" and you are there "mother." I know missionaries are weird, but I think its super fun!
As for an update with our investigator, we officially set a baptismal date for her on June 28! What happened was we visited with her one last time before transfers so Sis. Williams could say goodbye. In our lesson though she said she still wasn't sure about June 28 for baptism. So we asked her right then and there to pray about it. She said she would but wanted each of us to pray first. So all of us prayed and then she gave one of the most beautiful prayers! Once she finished, we asked her what she was feeling/thinking and she said "I feel good, I am getting baptized on June 28." I WAS SOOOO STINKIN EXCITED!  This is seriously so amazing. Later on in the week, we taught her some of the commandments and even though we weren't teaching the Word of Wisdom, it came up. The reason we have been waiting to teach it was because we heard her say earlier that she wasn't going to get baptized if she had to quit tea. Well in this lesson she told us that once she got baptized she would quit tea! DOUBLE EXCITED! Ever since she decided to get baptized the Lord has really changed her. She came to church yesterday and told everyone about her baptism and everyone said that she just seemed so much happier. I feel so blessed to have been able to witness this marvelous change within her! Its been reeally life-changing.
As for the rest of our investigators, we are kinda struggling. But luckily my companion is ready to hit the pavement and work really hard so I know we are going to see some miracles these next couple of weeks and that we are going to fine the Lords elect!
So many of you have emailed me and asked me about training. Well it's absolutely wonderful and I love being able to go back to basics, but it's a huge responsibility! I feel honored to be trusted by the Lord to do this but I also have realized how inadequate I am. I keep apologizing to my companion for being an awful trainer. But I honestly I have learned so much these past coouple of days. The more I get to know Sis. Nordstrom the more I know that Heavenly Father put us together for a reason. I see how every experience on my mission thus far has strengthened my talents so that I could train her and help her be the missionary that God wants her to be. I just have such a  testimony that God knows us soo well. That he has a plan for each of us to become the people He needs us to be. And although, sometimes we may not fully understand why things happen, God knows what will make us grow. 

Nursing Home We Visit Weekly


I am staying and not just staying, but staying staying for another 3 months because I am training! Pray that I dont mess this up. I am really excited, but nervous though! It will be fun to get some fresh blood into this area and I know the work will accelerate with her greenie fire!
This week just whipped by us. And because my family keeps asking, yes it is hott here. Humidity is sooo crazy. But there were some wonderful highlights this week:
The investigator I mentioned last week, the one we invited to baptism and she basically said yes, we saw this week and we followed up with her. She talked with her husband and he said he is fine with her getting baptized! So we extended her the date of June 28 and she said she wanted to pray about it and then she will let us know this week! But it is sooo happening! I was reflecting on our journey with her these past 3 months and it has been miraculous. When we first met with her, she was sooo not interested and because of all the love that we and the ward have shown her, her heart has been softened tremendously to the point that she agreed to baptism! I cannot believe it! Love changes lives!
Our other highlight was with our recent investigator that we have started teaching. She's a Chinese girl that lives in out apt complex and she has only been in the states for a couple years. How we met with her is the coolest story! Sis. Williams and I were sitting in our apt one Saturday night doing our studies because we didn't get a chance to do them in the morning. While we were studying, we heard a knock on our door. It was this guy with a Chinese girl (now our investigator) and he said he was from Mississippi, a member of the church, visiting St. Louis, and he wanted us to meet his friend! When do missionaries ever have a referral know on their door!?

 So, our first lesson, she mentioned that she had a bad taste of Christianity because people from churches would come up to her and tell her that if she didn't believe in Christ she was going to hell. So to help her overcome her hesitations, we brought a lady who came here from China and speaks fluent Mandarin to help us teach and fellowship and we taught her just the basics of who God is. The lesson was soooo great! The member was so wonderful for our investigator and explained things in a way that made so much sense to her! We can see the light beginning to grow within her.
In my personal study, there is a scripture that keeps sticking out to me. It is Isaiah 55:8-9  "my thoughts are not your thoughts, nor my ways your ways. For as the heavens are higher than the earth so are my ways your ways and my thoughts your thoughts." This scripture has really struck me because it reminded me that the Lord has bigger and better plans for me than I could ever imagine. That although, I am a huge planner, the Lord knows me better and knows what I need to grow and progress. What I need to be doing is relying on the Spirit in all things and continually aligning my will with Heavenly Fathers.

Memorial Day Fun!

This week was sooo nutso. I feel like so much happened so quickly that none of it really happened. Thats what a mission does to ya, leave ya with no concept of time!

Well several major highlights this week I don't even know where to start! First off, Memorial Day was soooo fun. Our ward had a breakfast and softball game in the morning, which a part member family came and a less active family came! It was soo wonderful! We got an appt to see the part member family this week and we didn't ever think the less active family would come so it was awesome to see them there! Then that day we got to go to the Art Museum! It was sooooo good! It is never open on Mondays, but it was this past Monday because of the holiday. I LOVED IT!

So our investigator, the one I mentioned that we invite her to baptism every lesson and how I love her so much and that she's basically my family... well, when we stopped by to invite her to the Memorial Day breakfast this week.  She got some devastating news about her daughter's friend and we were there to comfort her. It was really special to be there and to help her. When we were leaving though, she told us "I have been thinking a lot about baptism and I guess we just need to figure out when." I WAS FREAKING OUT! All of the prayers have been paying off. We are going to go back this week and figure out a date! I'm so stinking excited.
The other intense moment happened when we took a part member/ less active couple that we are teaching to the temple so we could teach them the Plan of Salvation. We had a picnic then taught the lesson but when we finished it we didn't quite feel like we should leave yet. We were talking about both of their reading this past week and I had this overwhelming prompting of the Spirit to invite him to be baptized. So I invited our investigator, and he said yes when he gets his answer he will. And then I had this overwhelming prompting that we should invite him to pray right then and there, and then Sis Williams invited him to do so. We discussed it and we decided that all of us should go off and pray individually. So we did and then we came back and the Spirit was so strong you could choke on it! We each shared our experiences and he said he didn't get an answer. (So bummed, but we will figure it out when we follow up). But his wife, the member, was just crying the whole time. She wasn't able to talk about it in that moment, but we know the Spirit was testifying to her that that was where she needed to be! It was truly a powerful experience where I had never felt the Spirit soo strong. 
This week was wonderful and it just keeps getting better. I reflect sometimes on who I was and where I was a year ago and I can't even believe it. I have changed and grown so much for the better. I don't even know who I was a year ago, but I am eternally grateful for how the mission has helped me become who I am now! Christ's Gospel has been restored on the Earth today and it is the only way in which we can be eternally happy. God still speaks!! I love being a missionary and being able to witness so many miracles! 

P'day fun

At a Hindu Temple 

 A Sculpture of a Buried Man 

PF Changs!

Happy Mother's Day!

So cliche, typical missionary post: I got to skype my family! It was so great to be able to see them and catch up. It's weird how we all grown up so fast!
This week was pretty rad tad man. First, we had Zone Conference this week! I love Zone Conference. It's a wonderful time to renew our energy and get some new ideas. And I played the cello for the musical number. Talk about cultivating your talents. I did not think that would happen, but my old companion (who is my STL) peer pressured me. I was really glad I did it though! Everyone came up afterwards and was like who knew you were so talented. The theme of Conference was Remembering our Purpose. It was great because we really got to take the time to reflect on why we are out here. As missionaries, we get to change lives! Its remarkable. But sometimes, after all the rejection and disappointment, we forget why we are out here.  Through all the trainings (and watching the Because of Him video-y'all need to watch it) the Spirit truly testified and confirmed to me that I am out here because of the Savior. It was sooo great! PS...4 out of 5 of the comps I have had on my mission were there!
SO...our teaching pool is dwindling and we are struggling, but it's okay.  We visited an old, little single lady this week and she told us of her conversion story and she said that before she started taking the lessons, the missionaries were really discouraged and were praying really hard for someone to teach. Well that story really, really touched our hearts, so before we went tracting that day, we prayed with our whole might to find someone who would was ready for the restored gospel. No more than 3 doors knocked later, we met a lady who asked us some questions and said that she would like to hear more. TALK ABOUT A MIRACLE! So we are going back on Tuesday. Although we are struggling, we trusted in the Lord and He answered our prayers. Its all about the Lord's timing and through all of our experiences, He teaches us and strengthens us.
Also, yesterday, we had 3 Less Actives come to church! It was soooo amazing! Our purpose is to bring others to Christ, so that includes nonmembers, active members and less actives. Slowly but surely we are changing lives. Seeds are being planted and sometimes we plant them and sometimes we harvest them but either way we rejoice together when we bring souls unto Christ!
I am studying the New Testament and wow is that good stuff. I have a couple chapters left in Revelation and then I am finished. Two things I have discovered while studying the New Testament is that is has strengthened my testimony of the Book of Mormon, they truly go hand in hand. Second, I feel like the New Testament explains what Christ did and the Book of Mormon explains why He did what He did. Both bring us closer to Christ!

Happy Cinco de Mayo!

A mix of my Arizona culture combined with the Midwest...Happy Cinco de Mayo! 

So this week was again pretty uneventful! Sis. Williams and I have come to this conclusion, that our investigators aren't really investigating. We are teaching a bunch of part member families, but they seem to be meeting with us out of convenience rather than actual interest. This week, we had Zone Leader Training, we learned that an investigator is progressing when they actually want to meet with you. So the fact that some of them didn't really want to meet with us was a sign to us that we should probably stop meeting with them. The families love us, but by continuously bringing the spirit into their home and they don't act on the things we teach or they feel, it ends up hurting them more than helping. So our teaching pool is kinda dwindling a bit so we are going to take this week and hit the pavement to find some solid people!

Last Monday, we finally went to the ARCH! It was soooo fun! Plus, I got to see Sis. Firestone which was the best thing in my entire life! I really truly miss her and being her companion changed my life! It's amazing to see what kind of relationships we make with people out here. I know these relationships are going to last a lifetime.

We also went bowling with our investigator this week! (I will send pics but ignore my awk legs). It was sooo fun!  And we also talked to them about the BofM. The wife is less active coming back and we are teaching the husband. They are seriously so amazing. We are sooo close with them and they are both eating up the BofM. Especially the husband! He is already on 2 Nephi! He has some hesitations because he grew up Catholic, but we are working hard to address his concerns! I seriously love this family soo much and I want them to have the eternal blessings of the temple sooo bad! 

Some things I have realized today and this past week are that being a missionary is sooooooo wonderful! Sometimes I feel like, wow, what asacrifice I am making, but in reality this is the greatest blessing I could ever have. Everyday for 18 months, I get to share what I love with people, I get to become the person Heavenly Father would have me be, I get to become more converted to the Lord, and I get to see people's lives change. Reading Pres. Uchtdorf's talk on Gratitude from this last conference really struck me. We are made of the stuff of eternity! In our lives, there are no such things as endings but only endless and eternal beginnings. Everything we experience is an opportunity for us to change and become refined disciples of Jesus Christ! I love being a missionary and I am soo passionate about this work. Sometimes things don't work out the way we want them too, but we can't ever forget how blessed we truly are! Remember "Thou therefore endure hardness, as a good soldier of Jesus Christ." (2 Tim 2:3)

Happy Easter!

I am staying for another 6 weeks! I am soo stoked to be able to stay in this area and to see some of the fruits of our labors! I am also excited to be able to stay with Sis. Williams because I know I have so much more to learn from her!

Another piece of ward business, I hit my 9 months of being on my mission this week and this time of the month is a year from when I received my mission call. Can you believe it!? It's crazy to me how much things have changed and how much I have changed in one year. I can't believe I am actually here serving the Lord with all my heart, might, mind and strength! It's so wonderful and I couldn't imagine being anywhere else right now.
So this week we really didn't get to see our investigators because they were all super busy, BUT the Lord totally made up for it. The lessons we did have were soo good and we doubled in our less active and member lessons. It was soo marvelous to see how the Lord made up for where we fell short with our goals. Usually, I get super stressed about stuff with that, but when I relied on and had faith in the Lord, He worked everything out for us.
A cool miracle we had this week was that one day we went to see an active sister that just moved in and who the Relief Society had asked us to see. We went by and she wasn't there. We didn't really know what to do, so we prayed and asked Heavenly Father what we should do because we were at a loss. Well ,right when we finished our prayer, we looked up and the sister was pulling into the driveway. The Lord totally answers our prayers and points us in the direction we need to be!

In addition to awesome weather and an awesome week, it was Easter! Church was absolutely beautiful and wonderful! Sis. Williams spoke and we both sang in the choir. And a part member/ less active family we are teaching came too!!! And they got us an Easter gift (I got another cat shirt, heck yeah). Because it was Easter, I really reflected on what part of the Atonement has really struck me. What I have realized is that Christ's Atonement covers his mortal life, his suffering in the Garden, his crucifixion and death, and his resurrection! All of these things are apart of Christ's Atonement for us. His Resurrection has really struck me. In 1 Corinthians 15:22 which states that in Adam all man die, but in Christ all are made alive. Because Christ did one no other mortal being was able to do and was resurrected and suffered the Atonement we are all able to be made alive again both physically and spiritually. I know my Savior lives because he lives in each of our hearts!


"The Temple Rocks!"

The miracle of all miracles happened just last Monday! Background story: A couple weeks ago, we got a referral from a member and we went to go contact it. Well when we got there, we got the man's wife and she told us she was too emotional because her husband just left her and she didn't want to talk with us right then. Well ,we felt so sad for her that we just knew we had to go back. So, this past Monday, we went by and dropped off cookies. She told us she couldn't talk to us right then, but was so grateful that we came back. The night she turned us away, she knew she shouldn't have because God sent us to her. So she asked us to come back the next night. The next night we went back and she told us her whole story. We then talked about the Atonement with her. And I got the amazing opportunity to bear my testimony to her that the New Testament explains what Christ did and The Book of Mormon helps us understand why Christ did what He did for us. I couldn't help but get emotional as I reflected on my life and how much the Book of Mormon has healed me. We committed her to read it and she promised us we would! We hope to go back to see her this week! It just amazes me how much we touch people's lives. I feel like what we do is so simple, but it touches people so deeply!
This week we also got to go hiking with our investigator! It was so beautiful and so fun! We really got to connect with her and get to know her more spiritually! She has such a  wonderful relationship with God and we have high hopes for her progression!
Then Saturday was the kicker for the whole week, we got to go to the temple!!! It was sooooo great!!! When I was in there, I was thinking first, I never want to leave, and second this is what life is all about. We need to be getting to the temple. I realized that I need to be picturing all of our investigators going to the temple and helping them get there. As members, we need to be going to the temple and helping those around us get there as well. The temple is such a sacred place where we get to make covenants and claim the blessings God has for us. The temple is our source for strength and power. It is one of my most cherished blessings of the Restoration!

Thunder, Lightening and Tornadoes...Oh My...

This week I experienced my first tornado warning! It was storming like crazy all day Thursday!  By the evening, a tornado went off so we went in our closet and put a mattress over our heads! Then, a member called us and she was like I am worried about you and I have a basement, drive to my house before the storm hits! So, we went to her house and spent the rest of our evening there. Needless to say, it was super anti-climatic but pretty exciting. Atleast we know how they go now!
This week was sooooooooooooooo awesome!!! Sis. Williams and I are growing soooo much in this area. We got 3 new investigators, a baptismal date, and we have 10 people in our teaching pool. This may seem like whatever to some of you but this is huge for us. Whitewashing this area was difficult and we struggled with meeting people and teaching but now we have some solid investigators!! The Lord is just blessing us sooo much for all of our hard work. It's so amazing to see the fruits of our labors. Every time I freak out about something or get stressed over investigators, the Lord always makes it work out and blesses us tremendously. You think I'd learn by now though, huh?  Well I just feel so blessed to be here and to teach the gospel to the people in this area. I feel so blessed to have the Spirit lead and guide us and to see God's hand in all things. I feel so blessed that He allows someone as inadequate as me to preach His gospel.
I want to mention an wonderful lesson we had with a less active sister yesterday morning. She's a recent convert, single adult but wants to stay in the family ward. When we first got her records, we tried to contact her, but shed never respond to us. So finally, we decided to do the "drop by" (Seinfeld quote anybody?). And she was there so we shared a message and set a return appt. We met before conference yesterday and we went over the Restoration with her. She confessed that she,s been less active for the last little bit and that she was doing things that weren't making her happy and she knew she needed to come back. She began to cry and told us visiting with her inspired her to make the necessary changes to come back. It was so touching. It was probably one of the most touching lessons I have had in awhile. None of us has ever gone too far from our Heavenly Father's love and Christ's grace. God's arm is ALWAYS extended towards us, we just need to reach out and grab it! Our lesson just reminded me that the Atonement is real and we have access to is always!

And now for what all missionaries are raving about....Conference!!! So great and so wonderful. My amazing experience was that Friday night I was telling some of my fears and concerns with going home in 9 months with Sis. Williams and they were all addressed on Saturday during Conference! I was astounded at how much Heavenly Father cared about my concerns and answered my prayers! I loved Conference all around! I felt like the main message was that because of the Restoration, this is th only true church where the ordinances of salvation can be found! This is Christ's Church and how wonderful of an opportunity we get to hear God speak through His prophets and Apostles!

God Knows Where We Need to Be

This week honestly proved to me that the Lord loves me soooooo much. I had so many wonderful things happen to me that I am just bursting with joy!
The first one, I got to go on exchanges with my trainer Sis. Scott!! It was so fun! It honestly felt like a little slice of home. We had so much fun together and we got to catch up on everything. It was fantastic. I didn't want the exchange to ever end. 
The second one was honestly the main reason I am here in St. Louis. It truly has solidified to me that the prophet is supremely inspired on where we need to go. I have made so many connections here it is insane. But, this is the most insane of them all!! For those of you who don,t know, My Grandpa Bailey joined the Church here in St. Louis. He played for the NFL Cardinals when they were here and he helped build the stake center nearest the temple. So, when I got called to St. Louis, my family was so excited.  So, We went to a family in our ward named the Oscarsons for lunch this week. Background-  Brother Oscarson was the Stake President when the temple was built here, the mission Pres of the Stockholm Sweden mission, and his sister-in-law is Bonnie Oscarson the YW General Pres.  So, anyways, they are an awesome family who have been living here forever!!  I was asking them what was the stake center nearest to the temple when the temple was being built (because apparently our ward building is the nearest stake center to the temple currently but our building is fairly new). I told them it was because my Grandpa was converted here and helped build the stake center. They asked who my grandpa was and I told them "Monk Bailey" and THEY KNOW HIM!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! They were friends with my Grandpa when he lived in St. Louis forty-five years ago! They actually knew my dad when he was a little boy. I also found out that Larry Wilson's (Larry Wilson is an old NFL Cardinals player who is beloved by St Louis and was instrumental in helping my Grandpa join the church) ex-wife is in our ward and I talked to her as well. She actually knew my Grandpa and Grandma when they were all in college in Utah. I literally cried when I found all of this out. The Lord places us where we need to be for a reason. Before I left on my mission, my dad said he felt like I was coming back here to pay back the people who helped my Grandpa join the church. Being here, I feel like that is totally true. 
With all of that and Women's General Conference, life was amazing this week. There is literally no other place I would rather be!! 
I also want to share a training that one of our Zone Leaders shared this week. So with our investigators, most of them know the Church is true, they just have a hard time committing or there is some small detail that is holding them back. This training really struck me and I totally used it in a lesson. It's in Matthew 13:45-46 about the merchant who is seeking good pearls. Basically what our Zone Leader pointed out is that we are all seeking good pearls, whether is be good morals/standards, uplifting messages/music, etc. but when we find the Pearl of Great Price we need to be willing to sacrifice all that we have for it. And the Pearl of Great Price is the Restored Gospel of Jesus Christ. We need to teach and show people the importance of the gospel and emphasize that we need to be willing to give all that we have to obtain the blessings we receive from the Restored Gospel. That is something that I have been trying to focus on myself and help those that we teach realize as well!
All in all, this week couldn't have gotten any better! We had Pres. Interviews this week and he gave Sis. Williams and I permission to go to the temple on the 12th!!!!!! I can't believe today is my 8 month mark! I am almost halfway done and I feel like I just got here. The Church is sooo true and I LOVE being a missionary. I couldnt imagine anything more rewarding!

Hastening the Work of Salvation

Hey there everybody. I first want to say that it happened, I finally heard someone pronounce Missouri as Missourah!
Well the subject line of this email was basically the theme of Stake Conference this weekend which was just absolutely crazy with miracles which all started on Saturday!
Sat morning we went and volunteered at a thrift shop (sooo fun btw and I exercised great self-control). Well, afterwards we were going to stay out and do visits but we both felt like we should go home and do our studies earlier rather than later that evening (we didn't get a chance to do them in the morning do to meetings). Well when we did our studies we both felt impressed to spend companionship study in Preach My Gospel on baptism! And then we also picked a scripture of the day that we share with who ever we visit and if they let us in their home.  The scripture we felt inspired to 

share was in Mosiah 18:8-10 which is about baptism. When we went out and did visits, we felt impressed to go to our investigators homes who we felt like were avoiding us. Back story: they are an older couple whose daughter joined the church in her youth and they have a ton of friends who are Mormon. They have been taking the lessons and they both knows it's true. They have been invited to baptism but won't commit, saying that they are comfortable where they are at. So, we go see this couple and we see them getting out of their car so we rush to go talk to them. We introduce ourselves and then they let us in. SO we are talking for a long while and they are telling us about their children and grandchildren, etc. Well, when we start talking about the Church, I just felt the Spirit prompting me to ask them why they haven't joined yet. I was wrestling with this for a bit because I was like "I can't ask that, I barely know them." But my hands started to get clammy and I got super nervous so I knew I needed to follow the prompting. So, I asked and they both said they were comfortable where they were at. Well we didn't know what to say so after that we shared the scripture (Mos 18:8-10). We could just tell the wife was touched by the verses and we knew that the Spirit was in the room. So, I bore my testimony with all the power and conviction I could muster up of the importance of the Restored Gospel. I actually choked up when I testified to her that I wouldn't have sacrificed sooo much if this wasn't true. And as I was looking in her eyes while I was bearing mt testimony, she choked up too and I knew she knew the truthfulness of what I was saying. Ever since that moment, I ahvent been able to stop thinking about this family and about our investigators. I just feel so passionate about this gospel. I feel that with every fiber of my being, I will do everything in my power and anything that the Lord asks me to do to make sure that the people here have a chance to receive and gain a testimony of the restored gospel!
This weekend we just really focused on the Hastening of the Work. With the age change, the adult sessions of Stake Conference being focused on missionary work, with General Conference, and with the utlizing of social media in missioanry work, how can we deny that the work is hastening?! We are in the days that the prophecies of the scriptures are being fulfilled! It is truly marvelous to me that this is happening and we get to be apart of it. I feel so inspired to put my whole heart and soul into this work because it is sooo important. How can I do anything else when the Lord has given me such an opportunity!
Something funny, awesome and miraculous happened at stake conference as well. I got to see Sis. Vilinigia and sit by her and talk to her!!!!!! It was sooooo great!! I loved being able to see her. But the funny thing that happened was when we sat down in the adult session, the mission president came over and said hello and told us that if Sis. Zundel (the STL) walks in, have her sit behind him on the stand. And we were like okay cool. Well she never showed up. Soo one of the Elders walked off the stand in the middle of the meeting and brought me a note. The note was from Pres Morgan asking me to speak in a few short minutes on how we work with our WML. I just about threw up! But, I walked up there with all the confidence I could muster (especially because everyone was looking at me) and I told them the importance of the WML and how working with Bro. Garbero has produced miracles. I said other things but I can't remember (I think it was because it was the Spirit talking). But several people came up to me and said they really enjoyed my talk.
This weekend was seriously such an eye opener for me. This work we are apart of is sooo amazing. I LOVE being a missionary. The Lord's hand is in all things and He knows what is best for His children. When we rely on Heavenly Father and the Spirit, we WILL see miracles!


Happy St. Patrick's Day!

Now time for the info everyone wants to know!!!!!!!  I am serving ni Parkway 2nd ward and our area is in Chesterfield MO. The ward is about 250 people and basically reminds me of any typical ward youd find in Arizona! It definitely reminds me of home. Or first Sunday was great and everyone is really kind to us.  The ward is about a year old and they said that they haven't seen sister missionaries in years so we are quite the hot item in the area.  We are really close to the city, and I mean really close. Like 15 min away from the temple and 20 min away from the arch. And we are in one of the wealthiest areas in St. Louis. To give you an idea, we are teaching a part member family that lives in the same neighborhood as 2 Cardinal baseball players. NUTS HUH!!!!!!!!! I am soooo not used to this. I am used to poor people who smoke and don't have teeth. Never did I think I would serve in an area like this. But I like it thus far! My companion is Sis. Williams and she and I came out in the MTC together! 

The ward is really missionary minded. We have already gotten a referral, picked up a part member family as investigators and our Ward Mission Leader is on fire! (and its surprising we are doing so well because the elders left us with not really anything.  Oh, the perks of whitewashing)! I super, super miss Columbia and everyone there but know that I am here for soo many reasons. I know that my experiences prior to being here have prepared me to serve here. It's nuts how the Lord just works everything out and how he truly knows what we need.
Like I mentioned, our Ward Mission Leader is on fire. Right after transfer meeting, we had a correlation meeting with him and the other elders. It was great. He talked to us about how every investigator we have we need to "teach to baptize." That as soon as we start teaching someone we need to pray about a date for them to be baptized and what the necessary steps they need to take to reach that goal. This really reminded me of a talk given by Pres Monson I mentioned in one of my earlier emails about how a missionary baptized a lot of people because he pictured them all wearing white! When we teach this way and make goals then we show our unshakeable faith that our message is truly life changing and that the spirit can change peoples hearts. I just really loved the words that our WML said and I am working hard to change my perspective.
These past couple of days we just have been working on getting used to the area and trying to meet our investigators, less actives, and ward members. And I can testify that the Spirit has truly guided us and who we need to see and where we need to be. It has been remarkable. One instance, yesterday we went to see a lady in the ward, Sis. Mckinney. When we got there she told us her whole conversion story and it was amazing. She has been through the most awful of circumstances but she spreads sunshine because she knows how the gospel has changed her heart and her life. She LOVES missionaries and is such a hoot. She told us we were an answer to her prayers because she has been pretty down lately. While sitting there listening to her story, I was so inspired. She talked a ton about the missionaries who taught and baptized her! I realized that we are placed in certain areas for certain people. There is always someone out there who needs the love and talents of certain missionaires. So shout out and thank you to all the missionaries who have left big impacts in their various missions and for the lives that they have changed. I feel blessed to have been able to witness someone whose life has been touched by the missionaries. This is no simple work that we are apart of. We are truly in the business of changing lives and sharing the sweet message of the gospel! "The Kindgom of God or Nothing" As John Taylor said!
I love this gospel and I love being a missionary. I love that I get to be people's cheerleader as a full time job! But somtimes it isn'
t easy, so thank you to all of my cheerleaders! You all ahve been an answer to my prayers!
Love you all and miss you dearly. PLease write me!! My new address is:
15517 Peach Hill Ct Apt 801
Chesterfield, MO 63017

Missionary Fun in Columbia

Fare Thee Well, Columbia!

Welp, it happened again...I am getting transferred. I don't know what the deal is, but I have realized that this is the 3rd time in 3 months that I have had to pack up all of my stuff! I don't particularly care for it, but hey waddya do? The Lord has a plan for us all right! But I am whitewashing (again) into Parkway MO which is really close to St. Louis! I am stoked for the city and to finally be able to see the Arch!!!

One miracle stands out in particular this week to me that I would like to mention! So lately, I have just been struggling with feeling like I am not a good missionary and that every missionary around me is better than I am. They are more obedient, see more miracles, get more investigators, etc. Well the Lord definitely showed me that that is not true. Monday night, a member had her friend from work cut our hair for free! So all 4 of us went over to the members home and ate dinner and wrote letters and got our hair cut. Well, the friend isn't a member so of course we brought up the church with her. Well, after we finished getting our hair cut, we taught the Restoration. Somehow the lesson focused on how the Gospel fills holes in our hearts that we never knew we had. The member actually shared a touching story about some of her struggles that she has experienced in her life. After that, her friend did as well. The Spirit was soooo strong, no one could deny it was there. While the member was talking, I was thinking about how much I love her. Like, my heart wanted to burst at the thought of how much I love her. Then, a thought popped into my head, it was " Now think about how much Heavenly Father loves her." Then I started crying. Then more thoughts came. "I sent you to this mission to be Sister Bailey and not anybody else. I want you to use the talents that I gave you to help and bless those around you." Heavenly Father answered my prayers. I realized that my talents are to love as much as I can to help bring others unto Christ. This is why I am here and this is why I am on a mission. I realized also that these are real live people we are teaching. They desire and yearn for that sense of love and belonging and we can show them that the way to find it is through the Gospel of Jesus Christ.
It stinks to leave Columbia--I won't lie. I LOVE the people here. To have seen this area come alive from when we found it dead when we got here has been remarkable! I cried when I found out I was leaving. I didn't understand why I had to leave now, I truly felt like I wasn't ready. So the night of transfer calls, I knelt down and had an amazing conversation with Heavenly Father. I prayed that he would help me understand His will and help me align my will with His. I again cried! (haha sorry for my female-ness). But now I have peace. I know that everything happens according to God's will and he knows better then we do.
My experiences in Columbia have truly taught me about humility. That this is the Lord's work and it is not about us at all. I have learned that I am such a weak person, but that God uses small and simple things (like me) to bring about His great and eternal purposes! I realized God is not a God of coincidences, and that things happen to us to help us learn and grow. And I realized that the Lord loves me more than I can ever imagine. I love being a missionary and I love bearing my testimony every single day. Its astounding to me that I get to do this for 18 months! Crazy!

P-day Fun with the Other Missionaries

Jennifer Got Baptized!

Other than those periodic wacky, funny moments, this week was greaat!!!! Mainly because Jennifer got baptized. Although, this week in preparing for her baptism, we ran into some obstacles. But, each hurdle we faced, the Lord provided a way for Jennifer to enter into the waters of baptism. The day of her baptism was wonderful. She was radiating with joy. At the end of the service she bore her testimony and it was soo touching. She said she knew that the Church was true and that she was able to sacrifice a lot of things to get to baptism through the power of God. I actually teared up during the closing song because the Spirit was so strong. While I was standing in the starewell of the font, watching Jennifer be baptized, I realized how amazing my calling is. (And for you missionaries out there, it felt like a scene straight out of the District). Seeing someone become clean and come unto Christ is so fulfilling and rewarding. I love the Gospel man.
Our other investigator that I want to mention is doing sooooo well too. He was progressing well for quite awhile then he went on vacation and we lost him a little. But then we sat down with him and had some powerful, bold, and goal-setting lessons and now he is back on track again! Actually, he is above and beyond that. He came to FHE on Monday of his own will and when we committed him to read the New Testament, he read it in 2 days. He is so amazing. He said in a lesson this week that he realized that he can only find true happiness when living this Gospel.
This week, we made it a goal to truly go back to the Basics. So this week in my studies I have just been studying the tools and training manuals that we were given in the MTC. Man has that been amazing. Something that I realized I needed to work on this week is taking every opportunity to testify. And I feel like since the Lord knew this was my goal, He provided a way for me to fulfill it. Yesterday, we got a text from the Elders old investgiator asking us to meet up. Well we told him that it was actually a sisters area now but we would still love to meet up. So, we met up with him, and come to find out, he knows EVERYTHING about the church. He has read all the standard works and actaully has been to an open house of the temple. But he decided against joining. We don't know all the reasons why, but I took the opportunity to boldly bear my testimony of the gospel and the Book of Mormon. I told him I knew I couldn't have him leave without me powerfully bearing my testimony. I don't remember everything I said, but afterwards I was kind shaking.  My experience with him made me realize how truly important the simple principles and doctrines of the Gospel are what we need to center our lives around. I am just so grateful for our loving Heavenly Father.
So since this marks the end of this transfer, I just want to say that something I have learned these past 6 weeks is that there are nooo coincidences. Everything we learn, experience, and everyone that we interract with we are supopsed to learn and grow from. But that's the cool thing about agency, we have the choice to take what we learn, and ACT. I love this Church, I love my Savior, and I love the Book of Mormon.

A Taste of Spring

So this week it has super warmed up! I didn't even have to wear boots or tights or a coat! It was very refreshing. Then the universe was like "psych...." and it got super cold again. Despite the tease, I know Spring is around the corner and it's coming! I am just waiting for it.

Some really, really awesome things happened this week which I am going to highlight. First, because we are serving on a University campus, we are trying to get creative on how to do missionary work and utilize the campus. So on Wednesday, we served hot chocolate at this spot on campus where EVERYBODY goes. It was soooo fun! We talked to so many people and handed out a ton of cards. Plus, a lot of the members came and helped. It was so great to see the members take time and do missionary work. It was like they didn't even need us. We all had a ton of fun doing it too. Its not missionary work it's missionary fun! It was awesome to get our name out there and plant a bunch of seeds.
Another awesome moment is our investigator Jennifer! She is fantastic! She loves the gospel a ton and is just willing to sacrifice whatever because she knows this gospel is true. This week we taught the Word of Wisdom. Well, we knew it would be a little difficult for her so we brought our branch mission leader to give her a blessing after the lesson. It was probably one of the most powerful priesthood blessings I have ever witnessed. The Spirit was so strong in the room; it was almost tangible. You could even see a huge difference in Jennifer and her countenance. I am so grateful that I was able to witness such a wonderful manifestation of God's power on the earth and that my faith was able to be apart of it. The Priesthood is such an amazing gift. Another instance, Jennifer called us Sunday morning and she said that she wasn't going to be able to make it to church because she was really sick, but we told her that if she didn't come we would have to move her baptism back a week (because they have to come 3 times to church before baptism). Well, she called us back and was like no way man and she came to church and stuck it out all 3 hrs. Her faith and willingness to do whatever the Lord asks truly inspires me. I feel like I learn more from her than she learns from us.
This week just marked periods of self discovery. I realized that God loves me and His children very much. That the Atonement is soooo real. That Joseph Smith is a prophet and he Restored Christ's Church in these Latter -Days. I realized that every experience we have, whether difficult or easy, is not a coincidence. That although we have the Plan of Salvation, God has His own individualized plan as well for each of us. I love this Gospel with my whole heart. Sometimes missions aren't easy, but there is nowhere I would rather be. Due to this self discvery, I have decided that I am going to take this opportunity to be a missionary one day at a time and cherish every moment that I have. Every day I am going to devote to understanding the Savior and His Atonement and my calling to serve Him.

The Tender Mercies of the Lord

This week has just been a giant emotional rollercoaster. I can't even describe it. I expected things like this to happen on my mission but things have been good for the past 6 months so I guess it was about time for the storm.

I first wanna do a shoutout to my Aunt Danielle who is suffering from cancer. I was able to fast for her on Sunday so I hope she was able to recieve those blessings. For those of you who don't know, my Aunt is currently suffering from Stage 4 Breast Cancer and her condition has worsened. Luckily, I was able to talk to her on the phone this week and say goodbye. Just want to say how much I love you, Aunt Dan!
In addition to the family stuff, I just have been struggling. For a pick me up, Sister Firestone and I made Tender Mercy Lists. It was so amazing! I really realized how much the Lord blesses us without even realizing it. The Lord knows and loves us soo individually that he even gives us blessings that are so specific to what makes us happy. I have seen that so much this week and throughout my life. Man I know the Lord loves me.
A miracle of the week... So we started teaching a member referral named Caleb. The first lesson with him was awesome. He totally was into everything we said and he seemed to really take it in and ponder and even believe it! WE felt really good about the lesson but then when the member invited him to church, he sorta freaked out..... He felt like he was being pushed and realized that if he accepted the gospel hed have to make some changes. So we tried to call him and to set up another lesson but he never answered. I was sick to my stomach with worry! I prayed so hard and so much for him this week. And then on Tuesday....He called us!!!!!! He said hed love to meet again on Saturday. So we met again and addressed his concerns and it went wonderful! He felt much more comfortable and even said that when he reads the Book of Mormon her feels good!! That's a dream to hear that! And he also texted the member and told her the lesson went great! He truly and sincerely seeks the truth and we could just tell how prepared he is for the gospel! He's such a great guy! It was a wonderful miracle to witness.
This week I have truly felt the Lord answering my prayers. I have felt him lift me up and help me keep going. This morning I read a talk about the strengthening and ennabling power of the Atonement. It was exactly what I needed to hear. It testified to me that the Atonement does more than just heal us and provide comfort, it strengthens us and ennables us to change. The gospel is so amazing and so life changing. I know the Atonement is the reason we are even able to exist. Sometimes we face trials and we have our own spiritual storms, but the Lord will immediately stretch forth His hand to elad and guide us!