Tuesday, December 30, 2014

Happy New Year!


How are you? I can't even begin to express how amazing it was to Skype with all of you guys. Seriously. Just to see your faces and here your voices and see that everyone is still their same crazy self. Seriously, highlight of my life. I am just so blessed to have such an amazing family (who, by the way, everyone thinks is gorgeous. I don't know why they were so shocked.... should I be offended? hahahaha)

Well, this week was pretty great for my one and only Christmas away from home. We watched a movie as a zone, ate a bunch of weird christmas food (including paneton and rice with raisins in it), stayed up until midnight (inadvertently) and watched a bunch of fireworks. We re-enacted all of our different Christmas morning traditions to the best of our abilities, and we had a really fun gift exchange. I gave my comp a skirt and she gave me a pillow (because mine sucks and smells like dust) and then we all opened the little things we got from home. Hermana Muñoz was very thankful for her stocking, by the way. she thinks you are all awesome :)

Then on Christmas day I GOT TO SKYPE WITH MY FAMILY. Best day ever. Best christmas present ever,  I actually really don't think anyone is ever going to be able to beat that one. Hahahaha I loved having Christmas away from home just because (I know this is about to sound cliché) it makes you really step back and appreciate everything. You are stripped of all the stress, drama, commerciality, (is that a word) and just everything. And, on top of that you aren't with your family either, so you just think about how much you love your family and are grateful for them and how incredibly grateful you are for Jesus Christ. President said something super profound that I am not even going to try to quote but it was along the lines of that Heavenly Father understands missionary families and missionary christmases sooooo well because he had to let his son go. He couldn't give him anything. He couldn't really do... anything. But he had to let him go for that time to do his mission. He had to watch him and feel that despair of not being able to provide or fix everything.... because it had to be done.  It was really cool.

Well, this week were changes. (Transfers?) and I get to stay in Ica in family history!!! Hermana Santiago (from Mexico) (we served together in San Juan) is going to be my new companion. I love her so much already, so I think it will be a great transfer! I am going to miss Hermana Muñoz sooooo much... I learned a ton with her. But she is going to be awesome in Pisco, her new area. Hermana Wilkins is going to stay in Nazca and train!! and I am way excited because I think I will get to do an exchange with her. Me and Hermana Santiago (Hermana Santiago and I? oh grammar, where art thou?) are going to be the Sister Leaders for the South :)

Well, I hope you have an awesome week! and a very happy new year :) I can't believe that 2014 is over. It was a really, really great year. I learned more than I ever have in a year in my life creo.... and I am excited to see what 2015 will bring! Well, one of the things it will bring is me home. That is a crazy thought! My New Years resolution is to try to be the missionary that Christ needs me to be to do His work in His way. I love you all so dang much! I can't express fully my gratitude and love for each and every one of you and all of the amazing support I always have. 

Sorry this email is super short and scattered, but remember that I love you and that Christ loves you. That the temple is the most amazing place on this earth, and we all need to work to get there and to stay there. That it is never, ever too late to be what you want to be :) To be what you need to be. Repentance is the most amazing thing in the whole world. Moroni (or Mormon? crap.) 8:26 talks about all of the feelings and blessings that just pour over us as soon as we repent. The Atonement is real :) One thing that hit me this week was that it really is real... more than just its power and import, it really happened. It actually occured. I don't know why that hit me so hard, but it is something VERY real. Very personal, for all of us. Very tender. It is the most important event that has ever taken place in the whole universe :) And it took place for us.

Merry Christmas my pretties!!


I love you so :)

Hermana Lauren Bailey



Also this might be a short one because well I really actually don't know where the time goes so dang fast but it does.


Quick updates (because I get to talk to you on Thursday) (Oh my gosh can't even deal)

On Monday we just went shopping and then like relaxed and slept and such.... Which we almost never do. But we are all so tired so it was actually really nice. (Have I mentioned the four of us all are living in our house for like a month now? It is insanity. but I do love it )

Then, after the district meeting on Tuesday, we hopped on a bus to ride the like 3 horrifically hot hours down to NAZCA to have exchanges with the Sister Leaders :) In short, it was a very very hot bus ride followed by proselyting all afternoon and the next morning with Hermana Galo and Hermana Freyre in their area (the area where my trainer Hermana Trejo served) (have I mentioned that she returned to the mission and was companions with Hermana Rush until this week and now Hermana Rush is in San Juan San Juan (my first area!!!) because she got transferred for her neck? Fun facts.) And it was GORGEOUS. And so hot.  Well,  it is like a mix of Ayacucho and Ica, but really hot and dry. but the houses and the streets and the people are great. And I learned a lot :) I mostly was just hit with a huge feeling again of how much I love Peru and the Mish. I just love the people and the gospel and teaching and just all of it. It's a joy.

Also, they had a member with references come out with us and IT WAS A WHIRLWIND. Seriously, members are so powerful and they make all the difference. Share the gospel :)

On Thursday we did service with the other two companionships of San Isidro and we were like breaking up dirt and moving some garbage and it was SO HOT. I might have almost died. (maybe that isn't why I am dying missing a white Christmas. My melting mind can't even fathom snow at the moment) But it was for this sweet old lady in our ward who I adore. I think she is like 65 and she is always taking care of and helping her mom who is like 95 (not even kidding) and it always makes me all teary to see the way she takes care of her. It is like a really powerful demonstration of an unsung hero to me. The world is full of unsung heroes, just being humble disciples of Christ. I am so blessed to know and observe sooooo many in those who serve around me and the people I see and my FAMILY and friends. 

Then, during lunch that day, the zone leaders called and were like hey we have 40 soles (like 14 dollars ish?) and we need you guys to make the chapel gorgeous for the Christmas Multi Zone tomorrow. Me and Hermana Muñoz almost died. We hurried and changed our clothes and dashed to the sketchy markets and bought plasticy green garland and plastic gold bells on like that Las Vegas beady rope and wrapping paper to wrap fake presents. In the end, an awesome member from another ward had a huge nativity scene and it all somehow turned out awesome. I didn't take a pic (because don't know if you can in the chapel?) But hey maybe I do have some of mom's Martha on Meth genetics. Hermana Douglas and President were super surprised and happy, so we felt good about it :)

Well Friday was the Christmas multi zone with President! We had some really great talks, 2 like short Christmas programs (Us and Nazca. We sang "Oh Come All Ye Faithful", gringos in Spanish and Latinos in English and I had the privilege of directing the music, and they sounded really good.) And then we watched  a movie about a surgeon guy called "Gifted Hands". It was really good but weird to watch a movie. Hahahaha.   But i loved it. We ate Lomo Saltado for lunch too so I was pretty happy :) Then we all got to take a pic with Hermana and President Douglas, and I just love them so much. We didn't end everything until like almost 5, but it was really spiritual and fun.

Saturday we had a Stake Christmas program and we sang the same thing, and I felt the spirit so strongly. I am really so grateful I get to spend this Christmas on my mission. It makes me so much more aware of my blessings and the reason for it all. It has been a cool experience :)

Also this week, I have been thinking a ton about Mary the mother of Christ. I think (ya know how they always ask the weird question "If you could have dinner with anyone in church history who would it be?" ice breaker question? No? Maybe it is just missions then. #awkward) that I would love to be able to just talk to her and interview her. Her story is amazing. I think she must be an incredibly faithful women, and I hope to be able to pattern my life after her faith.  Like when her only answer to all of the new information about her coming child was "Behold the handmaiden of the Lord". 

Also, I found a new favorite mission scripture (well, another one). Mosiah 18:30 if you replace MORMON and AGUAS OF MORMON with like your personal season in life. Like I did it with PERU and THE MISH and I love it because at any time of our life, the things we go through and see and such are what make us realize that our Redeemer truly exists. and that makes our lives and our existence beautiful :) 



Sending all my love and Christmas wishes from Peru,


I´m Dreaming of a White Christmas.... The Temple :)

Gabby!!! She was one of my very favorite members in my very first area in san juan and I SAW HER AT THE TEMPLE. One of the tender mercies of the day. I cried a little.... hahaha

Holy cow I love you so much my dear great family!!!

Well.... this week was insanity. I feel like a ton of things happened but it was really all just part of one thing... THE TEMPLE. I have never seen Satan working so hard in my whole mission, which was actually a huge testimony to how important the temple must be if he is going to work so dang hard to make it so people don't get there. It was a crazy, beautiful week.

First off, I got a whole bunch of packages from friends and family this week, so I just wanted to re announce to the world that I really truly do have the best friends and family in the whole entire world and I am not even sure why or how I got so blessed, but thank you. truly, truly thank you.

Then.... the week was a whirlwind of stress. Tuesday through Friday were full of last minute lessons and printing off different forms and having people come in to print out there reserved names to do the ordinances in the temple. They also all had to come in and pay for the bus and such before Thursday, so there was a lot of frantic calling and coordinating so that they could get the money together.

When we started out the week, we had a list of 21 people to go to the temple. In the end, 9 went and 8 entered to actually do ordinances. Satan worked HARD. Some people weren't able to get interviews for their recommends, some people couldn't receive them (tithing kills here. It is so sad because no one pays it! I knew it was a problem because it is a huge focus in the mission. But it really wiped out like more than half of our original 41 person list for the temple. It makes me really sad. The church needs tithe payers! Because true discipleship requires sacrifice.) Some people couldn't get enough money together to go to the temple (which was so hard for me because it is like 50 soles which is not a lot, but it is for them. I just wanted to pay for them all to go! But I also have learned that if they don't sacrifice to look for the ancestors names, their dates, to get the money together, to be worthy to enter, it isn't worth it to them. It doesn't have the same affect. Sacrifice burns into you because it is something that hurts. something that isn't easy. Giving up something good for something better. Sacrifice is what refines us and makes us rock solid in the gospel. I think that sacrifice is the reason that pioneer blood and pioneer fire has such a huge effect in lives of people 8 generations down from the actual pioneers! Because sacrifice creates and cements something that can't be erased. IT is the refiners fire, and it is absolutely necessary). 
We had one person who was all ready to go, recommend and all, but then lost her recommend for a mistake this week. We had another guy who paid and everything, but then his crazy catholic family wouldn't let him go. It was insanity. I felt Satan working on ME. Playing on my weaknesses and on me and my companion and everything. It was actually almost funny, and in a strange way it almost made us stronger.

In the end, all of the Satan fighting was totally worth it. On Friday night, we boarded a SOYUS bus at 1130. We slept (sort of. Soyus is, I am pretty sure what hell is like. But it is also a character building experience so I am okay with it) and then at like 5 a.m. we got to Lima. At like 530 we got to the temple and we got there right at the same time as the caravan. We were all sitting in the dark, quiet visitors center where everyone waits until the temple opens. There were a bunch of people there from all over Peru and one group from Chile. It is amazing to see the effort people put in just to get to the temple. The spirit of happy anticipation to enter the house of the Lord was all over the place. It was energizing. Then, the temple opened at 6 and we went racing inside to start bargaining and pleading because we didn't  actually have an appointment (we found out that day) and so with a lot of prayer and sad eyes and me promising them that this would be a part of history and really having the church increase in Peru they let us sneak in our converts :) It was a huge blessing. Huge. Then, Hermana Bott got there with her converts from Ayacucho and I just about died with happiness. Tender mercy. I love Hermana Bott soooo much. I am pretty sure we knew each other in the Preexistence :) and I also got to give her a birthday present, her birthday is today :) So that was great. Ah.

Other tender mercy was that right after all of our converts had gotten into the temple, we were crossing over to the visitors center thing and I saw Gabby!!! She always came out with us in San Juan my first area and she is amazing. I love her soooo much. I just heard someone yell in like a super incredulous voice HERMANA BAILEY?!?! It was amazing. We also saw a bunch of missionaries from our mission, so that was fun.

Then the real fun started and the converts started to come out of the temple, all excited and smiling and just gleaming really. It was amazing. The mom of the family I told you about was able to do  a session for a family member, and it was her first time in the session in over 10 years. It was literally incredible. They all just came out and bore their testimonies and were just in awe of the temple and how beautiful it is and the amazing feelings they felt. I love them so much. I love the TEMPLE so much. This gospel is TRUE. The temple is.... magical. SACRED. It is the closest we can get to feeling our Heavenly Father here on earth. It is the end :) I am so grateful for that trip to the temple. If only to see the smiles on the faces of people who now GET IT. 

Oh family. I love you so much I can't even say. Oh my gosh.... CHRISTMAS IS NEXT WEEK"!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! I get to see your gorgeous faces in like a week and a half!!! Hahahahahah  I love you sooooo much!!

Have a great Christmasy week.

Remember that I love you. so so, sosososo much. You are my heroes and my best friends :)

I love you!!



I love you!!


I love you.

Monday, December 8, 2014

I Want to Be Excellent

Beloved familia...

WOW!! I kid you not, every week just goes by faster and faster. It is a little disturbing to be completely honest. Although I was thinking this week... when things or seasons in life go by soooo fast, is it because we are living on a celestial time table? 1000 years is only one day to God, so maybe when we are living in celestial moments, we are really only living closer to heaven and therefore running on their clock. "When time touches eternity" took on a little more meaning for me when I thought on that.

Anyway. Yesterday we got to watch the Christmas Devotional! and I thought about all the crazies watching it at the same time back home and the annual nativity and such. My favorite song was The First Noel! It made me think back to when we sang it on Temple Square in Choir and I felt the Spirit so strong. We sang the same version, arranged by Mack Wilberg. I love music so much :) Even though the devotional was in Spanish... I was really grateful the music wasn't. Hahahaha. Trust me, Spanish Christmas music is not the same. 

This week on Wednesday we had Zone Concilio for december (where the zone leaders go to a leader meeting and then come back and teach us everything) and we talked all about baptism and the importance of the Holy Ghost and baptism by fire. We endure to the end by continually having our rough edges burned off by the Spirit. "Receiving the gift of the Holy Ghost" connotes that we will have to keep doing it, keep living it, and keep trying to let it burn off our rough spots.

Then, on Friday, we had a multi-zone! It was so fun, down here we have them with Nazca so I got to see Hermana Chavez and Hermana Wilkins as well, so that was fun. I always just love seeing and listening to and being around President and Hermana Douglas. They remind me sooo much of mom and dad and they always are so great to us. I got to translate for Hermana Douglas this time! So that was terrifying but it was also a really really cool experience. She cracks me up. She also accidentally said fart instead of fault and she was like uhhh... don't translate that. Hahahaha. President talked a lot about helping investigators to have faith in the Atonement of Christ, not just faith in Jesus. Because tons of people believe in Jesus and have faith in Him, but they never fully come to grasp repentance and therefore can never fully partake of this spiritual burning and refining that comes with the Holy Ghost and repentance and it will be harder for them to come to know and understand those things. They also talked about how we are not called to a mission or to be missionaries because of who we were before, but because of our potential after. They played the song "Glorious" by David Archuleta and talked about the importance of seeking God's hand to guide us to what our part is in this world and in all that we do. Hermana Douglas finished by saying that the miracle of a mission is that it changes the missionary-because they submitted to the Lord and His will. It hit me really hard when she said that, because I feel like maybe I am just barely starting to grasp that. And it is truly changing me and my mission :) I hope. :)

Also this week, I was reading in Alma 32 about faith and the seed. All of a sudden my mind just started like interviewing me. (Personal revelation crazy person style. Just talking to myself over here). How is the soil of my soul? Am I receiving all of the good word that He is giving to me? Am I really feeling it and internalizing it and changing, or am I just living life a little bit under my potential? Because it is easier that way? Am I forgetting who the gardener is and stubbornly trying to do it all on my own, weeding and planting and watering and all such things in my own way without listening to the counsel of He who knows? Am I progressing? Do I feel and obey the whisperings of the Spirit? It was definitely an eye opener. And then I remembered President told me once, it isn't silly to be spiritual. And now I think it isn't silly to live in a world of wonder created by our own marvelling mind at the goodness of God and the way that everything speaks His name. Because it does :) He is consistently trying to remind us of His love for us. and we can see it with spiritual eyes :)

Last night, we had a lesson with a little familiy of three that is prepping to go to the temple this weekend with us (oh my heavens please pray for our little caravan. I am so scared that the adversity is going to strike hard these last couple days. December 13th:temple or bust!!) And it was amazing. It is a single mom, her daughter who is now preparing to go on a mission, and her 14 year old son. At the end of the lesson, she started bearing her testimony to us and said "I know that our roots are deeper now. We are not ever leaving again. We have never felt the Saviors love so culminatingly brilliant in our lives, and we are more than excited to enter the temple on Saturday and help other people to receive this same blessing". I just started crying, because that is exactly why we are here! It is working. It was a huge testimony builder to me :) 

Right after that we were greeting everybody and waiting for the devotional to start and an overwhelming feeling of love and appreciation for these people, and this mission, and opportunity, and for my Savior just hit me. I was filled with the kind of joy it talks about in the Book of Mormon when it talks about the Sons of Mosiah and their missionary work. 

I want you to know that I love this Gospel with all of my heart. That I know that this is the work of the Lord, and that He is hastening it. That we are on the winning team. That there is so much beauty in life. And I want you to know that I love my family. They are my greatest treasure and joy and strength. I love you with a love that fills me to the breaking point :)

Don't you ever worry about me. You have done and given me SO MUCH that has no price that I will never feel as if I go without. You have given me the pure love of Christ :) The gift of a family firm in the Gospel and filled with love and understanding is a gift that fills me and gives me joy every single day. The best Christmas gift I have ever received is YOU. And I am blessed enough to have it for eternity :)

I love you so much. This week is the temple trip! We are working hard to help these people to make it. Prayers would be appreciated :) Miracles do exist. I love you all so dang much it hurts :) Never ever forget.

Stay warm!

I love you.

Thank you.


Monday, December 1, 2014

The reason for the season....

I held a bird....we all know how much I hate birds!

Peruvian Thanksgiving....Service, Turkey Sandwiches and Inca Cola!

Well. This week was awesome. I am therefore exhausted. Hahaha, but when I sit down at this computer to write to my family every week, I am just hit with how much I love the mission. It is an amazing thing. Every single part of it :)

Anyway, I will start at the beginning. On Monday, we went to the stupid Huacachina again (I love the Huacachina.... but it is like the most intense exercise ever to climb the stupid thing) and I just stand on the top of the burning hot sand dune and marvel at how many things the Lord has created. It is... beyond comprehension I think, but mostly it just makes me really tired to think about it. Hahaha also, I actually ran down the dune this time and it was soooo scary. I almost died. Adrenaline rush :) Then that night we were teaching in the Sister's area and we were teaching this guy and he was saying that it isn't physical hurt that bothers him, it is that his soul hurts, his heart literally hurts (his 14 year old daughter died of cancer). We were able to share with him the powers of the Atonement beyond just the cleansing power. It was a powerful lesson, and I in the middle of the lesson just felt so strongly that God loved this man perfectly, and that sometimes he lets us suffer and go through devastating things so that we can more fully appreciate when he takes away our burdens.

Then, on Tuesday, we had our zone meeting and when they gave us our time, we were really serious. The last week we only had 9 lessons, and Presidents emails were scaring me, so we said it was time to get real serious. I talked about obedience and the levels of obedience, and we talked about how we obey for love of our investigators and converts and rescues. We bring them and take time out of our day and sacrifice for them to do their family history because we love them and want them to go to the temple. The fire was really there at the end because they were all fighting for lessons slots.. It was awesome. We pension at this little restaurant of a member family across the street and this little old lady who is a member and has a daughter on a mission is like the waitress.  When we went to pension on Tuesday, she just kept hugging me and then she told us that her daughter had changes in the mission that day and that all of the emotions and feelings and longing for her daughter were just really close to the surface that day. I have had days like that (where all I want is to see my family for 5 minutes and hug them and touch their face) and I told her that her daughter loved her and was happy, that she was okay and that it would all be worth it in the end. Because that is what I would have said to my mom. I love you guys :) and sometimes, when for some unknown reason the separation hurts more than others, just remember I love you and I am happy :) and it will all be worth it.  (only 7 fast Sundays left, after this week.... :))

ON Wednesday we were crazyyyy busy. We taught 8 lessons! there is one older recent convert couple that has been coming really regularly and they are so cute. and they have a bunch of names and they are so excited to go to the temple.  Every time we add in a new name or talk about the temple they just cry and talk about how grateful they are. Their names are Manuel and Maria Ferreyra, and they are preparing to go to the temple on the 13th. They have been diligently searching all over to find dates and all the necessary information to go, and the other day when they had a lesson, he just came running in with his temple recommend all signed and he was just glowing. I love family history.

There is this mother/daughter duo that is also prepping to go to the temple that I just adore. Their names are Carmen and Rosella and they crack me right up. They are actually a little insane but in the best way possible. They are also recent converts and have a lot of fire and excitement to work in their family history and spread the gospel and just anything really that has to do with the gospel. The second lesson we had with them they brought like a binder of info and just called uncle after aunt and cousin after and it was awesome. They are so determined to find as many people as possible to help receive the ordinance of baptism :)

On Thursday (yay Peruvian Thanksgiving! Which means it doesn't exist!) We did service with some of the Elders. We took them turkey sandwiches to celebrate Thanksgiving and the member we did service with bought Inca cola and we all went in a circle and talked about what we were grateful for and it was actually really a beautiful moment. It was one of the most special and unique Thanksgivings I have ever had. My comp also left me notes and made me hot cocoa for breakfast and we ate pizza for dinner. So all in all, it was a really great Peruvian Thanksgiving :)

That afternoon, we were in one of the other chapels that we go to every week to teach lessons and it was awesome. The people in that ward are amazing. There is this couple named Luisa and Ismael that always come when we are there so that they can observe the family history and to talk to us in the quiet moments. They are sooooo funny. It kills me. They are a really humble, poor family and they are giving all that they have to be able to go to the temple on the 13th as well. In that same ward, we are teaching one recent convert named Juan who is working soooo hard to get a recommend because the bishop won't give it to him until he finishes the Book of Mormon (I don't know, pretty sure it is apostasy? but he has the keys....) and it is really awesome to watch his progress and determination.  And there is this other little convert of 14 years old and he is AWESOME.  His name is Julio and he is one of the most converted converts I have ever met. He is the only member in his family so he is going to go by himself! (Well, with the caravan and Juan). He is so cool. I am learning so much from the faith of these converts and rescues that I get to work with.  And the family history just lights a fire in them :) It is amazing.

Well, all in all it was a crazy week. We taught 28 lessons,and our goal this week is 35. We are planning to take about 20 recent converts and rescues to the temple on the 13 of December which would be AMAZING (and amazingly stressful) considering we have only taken 4 since we got here (because it is 7 hours away and expensive). I am learning so incredibly much about the power of sacrifice. These people sacrifice so much to go to the temple, and in my house it is 15 minutes away in pretty much whichever direction I choose. GO TO THE TEMPLE. DONATE TO THE TEMPLE PATRONS FUND. The temple is the most important thing in the whole world, and for much of the world it costs and awful lot more than 3 or 4 hours and a gallon of gas. 

I love you so dang much family. More than I can even say :) I am not even sure how this much love can fit in my heart. Actually, I thought I was a loving person before my mission but I really wasn't. And I am still not. But I am trying to learn it! Oh how I love you. Until next week!!! Happy December!!! Listen to Christmas music for me :) :) :)

Moroni 8:26


I love you!

Monday, November 24, 2014



Family that I love so much!!

How are you?!

I am seriously overjoyed that you guys got to meet Hermana Jameson. She is definitely someone who is more than special. And Hermana Bott's family to top it all off! What a crazy thought. I look up to Hermana Jameson and Hermana Bott so much it is crazy. They are amazing missionaries and even more amazing women :)

I also can't believe you got to talk to Elder Perry and such! I heard that the conference was amazing. I bet it was a super special experience :)

Well, seeing as this week is Thanksgiving, I thought I would make this my email of gratitude and outline just a few things I am grateful for. There are so many things that I just am going to hit the highlights. I am so incredibly blessed in my life, and so very unworthy of those same blessings, but I love my Heavenly Father so much for the tender mercies that He gives to me.

I am thankful for my body. I sometimes claim that I hate it and there are more than a thousand things I want to change about it, but when it all comes down to it, I am just incredibly thankful for a body. For hands that feel and can touch and hug. For feet that carry me to help other people, to run, to go where I am needed to go. For fingers to type to my family :) For eyes that can see all of the amazing creations of my Heavenly Father. For ears that can listen to voices and music and the people that I love and the thoughts of those around me. For a nose and a tongue and all that allows me to enjoy this time in mortality to the maximum.

I am thankful for the little miracles, for plants that grow and produce flowers. For beauty that exists in the middle of terror. For people who love and live and laugh. For blue skies and white clouds. For busy days and highlighted scriptures. For mission leaders and singing birds :)

I am thankful for the earth that God created for us. Deserts, jungles, rivers, rain, snow, forests, leaves that change, fields, all that there is from good old West Weber to Lima to Ayacucho to Ica. It is a gorgeous, diverse, beautiful world.

I am thankful for technology. For family history and email Mondays, for sharing the Gospel and combating the evil by sharing the good. Spreading the goodness :)

I am thankful for education. For the opportunity to learn and to grow, to educate yourself and be a force for good. I am thankful for how much easier it is to get an education now, even if it is a sacrifice. It is vital.

I am thankful for a house. Even though my HOME is in Utah far from me, I am thankful for 4 sturdy walls and freezing water and a bathroom and a desk and a bed.

I am thankful for the US of A. It is .... the promised land. I am so proud to be an American. I am thankful for my country :) GOD BLESS AMERICA!!!!

I am thankful for the temple. All that we do depends on the temple and the covenants and ordinances that it includes and how well we work and sacrifice to honor them. We are a covenant people. The things we learn and feel there shape our life decisions and the way we live. It is our final goal and the symbol of all we do.

I am thankful for the Gospel. It is my life, my love, my map and rock. The only constant thing that exists and the driving force behind who I am and who I want to become. 

I am thankful for the Atonement of Jesus Christ. I don't even have words sufficient to express it, but it is what gives meaning to any word I will ever say.

I am thankful for love, the emotion so rich and deep in sentiment and import that it can change the very nature of a person.

I am thankful for Repentance. For the opportunity to, with humility, immediately beg forgiveness and correction and have a clean slate all over again. It is a beautiful, beautiful gift.

I am thankful for prayer, for the power and gift to be able to communicate with Heavenly Father. I am just now relearning that relationship and the beautiful effect it can have on our lives.

I am thankful for my mission. For Peru. For President Douglas. For every single missionary with whom I have served. I am thankful for the eternal perspective that I am gaining and for the faith I am learning to have.

I am thankful for my parents. My mom is my very best friend in the whole world. She is my rock and my counselor and my voice of reason. My dad is the perfect example of a good man, possibly the best man in the world. I am more than grateful for my parents, and I only hope to be half what they are. If it weren't for them, I wouldn't be here. I wouldn't be who I am. I wouldn't be anything. I will be ever and eternally grateful for all that they are to me.

I am thankful for my brothers. For Judd Wyatt and Will. I miss them and their crazy schemes dearly. I love them and cherish their examples and funny memories. They are so much stronger and better than I was, and I can't wait to hang out with them for the rest of their lives (hehehe).

I am thankful for Grandma Judy and her weekly letters (and emails!!). I am thankful for Tonya and her weekly updates. I am thankful for Derek and his constant support. I am thankful for Jenessa and our friendship. I am thankful for Shay and for Parker, for Tyler and Kenzie and Maisie. I am thankful for ward members of West Weber 2nd! I am thankful for amazing family members and friends. I am thankful for Hermana Jameson :) I am thankful for Hermana Bott, for Hermana Rush, for Hermana Bond and for every companion and sister in this mission. I am so beyond blessed :)

Remember how very thankful I am for each and every one of you. Remember how thankful I am for the Gospel :) Look up Thanksgiving in the Topical Guide! Remember that I love you more than words can say.

I love you!

Happy Thanksgiving!


Tuesday, November 18, 2014

My Life is Flashing Before My Eyes!

My Dearly Dearest Dear Family!

I can't believe how fast the time is flying by here in Peru. It is literally shocking. Hahaha, but it is a beautiful whirlwind :)

Well, this week was a tad slow with changes and lots of baptisms here in Ica as well as like half the zone was gone for two days to go to Immigration. But it was still an awesome week!

On Tuesday we had District meeting and it was a great last Zone meeting as well. We had a really awesome transfer with those missionaries and felt a lot of the spirit of Elijah working with them and their converts. I will miss them and the awesome change we have had, but I am so excited to keep working with those that are staying and keep seeing the miracles in the area. 

On Wednesday President called us and asked us for stories about Family History in Ica, so I sent the one that I forwarded to you. They are putting together a presentation to show to leaders in Salt Lake and demonstrate what we are doing here in the mission! I am so excited (not because they will read my story. I am actually ashamed of my grammar no that English is my second language) because  Family History is really catching on every where... I understand now that it is a huge part of what we do in the Gospel of Jesus Christ because it is all tied to the temple and the doctrine of Christ the things we need to do and have in order to get back and live with our Heavenly Father. We are a covenant people :)

Then on Thursday we did service with our district and it was so fun!  But so hard, once again. We moved a gigantic pile of rocks from the front of the house, through the house, to the back. They were giant and there were like 500. My arms hurt so bad until yesterday, hahaha.  But it was so worth it.  I love service, and it makes me feel like maybe  I really actually can help these people in a temporal way. Help them to build a house, to make a shelter for their family. To have something that I am so blessed with. This family was so grateful, the mom is sick and the two sons have to work all the time to pay for medical expenses, and their house is really suffering. These people who have so little teach me so much. They have a faith that is rock solid. And it shows me the importance of having treasures in heaven, not just temporal riches. Because when it all comes down to it, all of these people can be as happy as the richest person in the world because what it really depends on is your relationship with Heavenly Father and with your family and the people that you love.

That afternoon the zone leaders dropped by and I got a package and like 15 letters. Seriously, best day of my whole life :)  I am so thankful for the amazing family and friends that I have. And so are the Elders who were very happy to get a Reese's. They like accepted them like Gollum and it was so funny.

Well, we have a lot of big plans for this change! Pray that we will be able to consecrate ourselves and help the missionaries to see their potential and the potential of their converts and rescues. I love this gospel so much, and I love the temple. I know that our purpose here is completely tied to families and the covenants we make, and I am so thankful for the family that I have. Have a great week!!!

 I love you so much!!!

Random things I enjoyed and thought I would share.

Monday, November 10, 2014

I BELIEVE IN MIRACLES.... Because I Have Seen Them.

Family, Whom I looooove!!!

I love you. And now I shall update you on my life. 

Well Monday was Pday and was actually relatively lame compared to other Pdays because the two Chileans decided to make Chile food, but it took like 6 years so I just passed out sleeping.  It was actually like the best sleep of my life because my companion snores, but she wasn't sleeping so there was no snoring and I was like dead. So I am actually incredibly grateful... still one week later I feel recharged ahahaha. Then, that night we actually ended up having three lessons which is like amazing for any day, but especially Monday. So that was a pretty awesome day.

Ya know, in the mission I find myself saying at the end of almost everyday saying well, that was a pretty awesome day. Even if it really wasn't at all for parts of it... because in the end, they are all pretty awesome days, because I am a missionary :)

Anyway. Tuesday was District and Zone meeting like always.  The focus of President this week (like every other week) is families families families. It was so funny because one elder was finally like what the heck all we talk about is families.  How can we not be trunky to see ours and get married. And then our Zone Leader was like ya know I think sometimes that is half of the point. To get us to really actually understand the purpose. Why we are here... because really, it is to be a part of a family. Ours that we have and the one that we will someday create. And then I thought of my new slogan for priorities that I have been using in my mission and life.... is it something I need to make time for, or something I was given time for? Families and the divine nature of us is all a part of the plan. I can't explain it. But the point is.... families. Son lo maximo. 

Wednesday..... was sooooo looooong. Ugh. Hahaha but it was actually fine because I watched some Mormon Messages and read some talks.  I  know that life may not always be easy, that we are in reality here to be tested in mortality, but it will always be doable and in one way or another always be incredibly beautiful. Because in reality, we are all just beautifully broken. We need to break to be molded into what our Heavenly Father needs... to become clay in the potters hands. I need to be softer clay :)

On Thursday we went and did service with some of the zone for the first time since I got here! We usually have been doing like forms and such on service day so we haven't gone, but I have missed it. It is one of my favorite parts of the mission! Thursday mornings :) Anyway. we went to the Elders area in Santa Maria and we walked like a mile and climbed a sand dune. While we were walking the Elder was telling me we were going to help destroy and start building a house, which really we do a ton for service. Break some adobe, clean some rocks up, etc. Well we got to the house and it was literally a grass hut on top of a sand dune. We had to take out the big corner poles of bamboo slash wood stuff, move them, and wire this like woven grass wood stuff back up for the walls. Floor of sand dune. It was definitely one of the most humbling experiences of my whole mission. The Elders were so hit by it too, we actually all ended up staying late to finish it and do it the very best we could. They just kept saying it is like building a stupid tree house that you are going to knock down when summer is over, but it is their house! I am so thankful for the mission and the things I am seeing and learning.... it just makes you see things in a really different way. I am so incredibly blessed. I don't understand why sometimes.... but I do know that God is perfect. and that He loves His children and truly wants every single one of us to return to him.  No matter what it takes, no matter where we are in our lives. He loves us so much. Even in a humble grass hut in Ica Peru. He loves us so so so so so much.

On Friday I got to proselyte for like 3 hours! And we are going to proselyte Monday nights now too, so that is awesome. I am so excited :) We taught a little girl and her mom.  I love teaching kids because they just get it better than adults. And it is a secret way to teach super simple and profound so that the parents get it too.... I love it. 

Saturday and Sunday were amazing! We were so close to finally meeting a weekly goal for lessons.... so we made like an all out effort with the whole zone and we made it EXACTLY.  It was a ton of work, but it was so worth it. And it was a really cool experience :) I really do love working in family history. I get to know and help so many people with the fire of new conversion still in everything they do to go to the temple so that they NEVER lose that fire, no matter what. The temple is the key to everything. It is the goal. It is the end. It is the answer. It is a sacred, tender, holy, beautiful place. Everyone should go as much as they can. It is where we can find out who we really are. I love this gospel. I love the temple :)

Well, I love you family. This week is changes, but I am sure I am staying here. But no email until like Tuesday or so.... just FYI. 

Omni 1:26 is my scripture of this week :) 

I love you so much. You all are so special to me. You are my rock and my love :) Thank you for everything you do for me! I love and miss you!


Sunday, November 9, 2014

OOOOOOOHHHH We're Halfway There, ooooOOOh Livin' on a Prayer :)

Soooo.. there are approximately 4,498 miles from Ogden, Utah to Ica Peru and my beautiful beloved family still somehow figured out a way to send me flowers on my halfway mark. Are they perfect? Yes. They are so incredibly perfect. That was probably up in the biggest surprises of my life. The lady touched the doorbell for the church. When we went out we were like,  "Oh she is probably lost". But then she was like,  "Are you Lauren Bailey?"  I was just like "uhhhhh yes?" And she gave me a dozen roses. So surprising. Best surprise of my life :) And all of the elders are just flabbergasted. Flowers? They sent you flowers? From.... your house.... to here? Ya I don't understand either, but it makes me think they are pretty dang great. Roses have never really meant love for me or been so special, but now and forever more I am pretty sure they will ALWAYS remind me of love and make me feel special. I was just delighted :)

Anyway. back to the beginning of the week. On Monday, we watched 17 Miracles with some of the Elders. Every single time I watch that movie I cry and cry. I love the pioneers so much for the faith they had and what they did for the gospel. It kills me.

This week, I learned that I think what is most important in life is to be where your feet are. Wherever you are in any given moment, be all there.  Love with all your heart. Love the person you are with in that moment, and tell them. Show it :) Make the most of life, and love with all you have :) Just my life thoughts. Also on Tuesday night Hermana Wilkins and Freyre slept over in our house on the way to Nazca. Me and Hermana Wilkins slept in my bed and it was probably the scariest night ever because we were sure it was gonna break and we were gonna die. But, it was hilarious.

Well.. Wednesday was my nine months and it was a great day. I got the flowers.  I felt so special after that and I just felt a really special spirit about life and felt my family very close to me. We were actually really busy that night, and a little boy from this ward (San Isidro) gave me a bracelet he made with the Broncos colors on it because he likes football too (that is soooo rare for a 7 year old boy in South America I don't even know how he knows about it).   I just stared at the flowers in the office all day. As you can tell from the pics, I basically was obsessed with them all week. Mostly because it is just so amazing to me that they even made it.  I can't get over it. Hahaha I love love love love love love love love my family. And roses. 

Also, that night while I was saying my prayers, I had a very clear memory back to my first days in the field in San Juan. I felt so strongly that while am still the same nut-job person, I have changed a lot. I like to think maybe I have grown up a little, that maybe I will come home a little more mature and ready to deal with life and be a more better person. More better? Ya. More better. 

Then, Thursday was insane busy and literally almost every single companionship brought somebody in for a lesson and it was amazing and busy and beautiful. I love family history. Did you know the Spirit of Elijah's job is to testify of the divine nature of families? I have felt that so strongly in family history and with the people who come through here. It is a beautiful, beautiful spirit.

Friday... were INTERVIEWS WITH PRESIDENT. It was so great. He is amazing. literally, amazing. He really helped me to get the whole vision of this temple family history work shmeal deal and I really am so pumped now to get all of these people finding names and to the temple. It is all about the preparation and spiritual experiences they have along the way and when they get to the temple. And our job is to prepare them for that, in every way. Then, that night (it was Halloween), when the elders were coming in for lessons, every one that came in brought us candy.  Then the Elders of San Isidro brought us a pizza!!! The Elders here are seriously so special. Well everyone always says it is different in the south (of the mission) but it is so true.  It is like you have a family, because we are so far from everything but closer than in Ayacucho to each other as missionaries, like distance wise. It is so fun.  I feel like they are all my little brothers.... because all the little 18 year-old gringos (so all of them) ask me hilarious questions because I am like their big sister and the only Hermana who speaks English. I love them in the least romantic way ever :) They mostly just make me laugh.

Also, Saturday, we went to the temple with 2 converts! It was crazy. we left at 6 a.m., 6 hours on a bus, sprint to the temple, print off the cards, hug the converts, send them in the temple, go eat lunch, then get back on the bus. But it was worth it :) And it was mostly to teach me how to do it... cause my comp will probably have a change in 2 weeks. AHHH. But it was gorgeous :) and humid. Ya. Don't miss Lima... hahaha

Well, I think preparation is the key to everything. When we prepare for something, it goes better and we can have a spiritual experience;   in a lesson, in the chapel, in the temple, or just starting the day right and feeling tranquilo all day. 

Also, I love my family. They manage to make me feel loved and super special, even from thousands of miles away. It made those thousands of miles on that nine month day seem a lot smaller :) I absolutely love my family and am so grateful for the knowledge we have that  I get to be with them for eternity! It is a huge blessing.

Quote of the week:  "We don't follow because we are blind, we follow because we can see!"

I love you all so much more than words can even say. Thank you! For absolutely everything.

Hermana Lauren Bailey

Monday, October 27, 2014

hApPy HaLlOwEeN!!!

Did you know that it is actually incredibly difficult to spell Halloween? just FYI.


And seeing your lovely faces made me very happy. Hahaha and I laughed really hard with the hump day screaming.  I think I might forward it to the other Hermanas just for pure entertainment. Hahaha


This week flew by. Every week flies by really. On Pday this week, the Hermanas (well two of them) from Nasca came down for Pday and it was hilarious.  It was Hermana chavez (who I was with in San Juan) and Hermana Wilkins. All we did was shop and talk but it was probably the funniest thing in the whole world. Then, that night I was praying like kneeling with my head on the floor and I heard a weird noise and then something touched my arm and I looked up and it was a ginormous cockroach. I just started speaking gibberish in Spanish and English and my comp was like"what the crap are you doing I was praying", and I was like "so was I, but there is a cockroach and IT IS COMING FOR US".  So we just started screaming and jumped on her bed and then the bed broke so we screamed some more and then we killed it. So now.... not as thankful for cockroaches. Because one touched me. I might pray with one eye open now.... even though we used so much raid we almost suffocated for a week.

On Tuesday we had a zone meeting and it has been so fun to work so much with the missionaries. It is almost like they are our investigators because we are trying to convert them to family history. Hahaha but seriously, the Elders in this zone are very very special, and they always make me think of the boys and how awesome they are going to be as missionaries.

This week Hermana Chavez (who is a sister leader) came up from Nazca to have an intercambio with us and we did it like in a trio. And it was a riot. Literal insanity. But it was really fun and I actually learned a lot. We had a really deep conversation during language study because they want to go to the states after the mish and study, but it is a big leap of faith. But I am like ninety percent sure Hermana Chavez has the gift of tongues and has received her answers... she just needs to do it. So I like went on a rant about trusting in God and living to receive the blessings of the temple and then we all just talked and bawled, but good spiritual crying. So that was fun. She seriously reminds me so much of mom it is crazy.... hahaha

The huge accomplishment of this week was that I now know all of the words to the Cucaracha song. Like the song that everyone always half sings because they don't know the words? I know them. And I am so very proud.Hahahahaha

Yesterday, we went to the stake center to  teach some lessons and like on Wednesday someone called us and was like "Oh, we want to have small training with you" and I was like "Ya sounds great" and we walked in and there were literally like 100 people. Oh that was fun. Hahahaha, but it really was a really spiritual training so that is good and it made all of the people excited about family history and going to the temple.  So we are gaining some member support and starting the fire in ica :) I really think if it just starts.... it is going to be remarkable. I just feel it :) Also, yesterday I got to take the sacrament after 1 month without it and it was the best thing in the world. Literally. Hahahaha D&C 59:9 was my scripture of the whole week just in anticipation for Sunday.

There is a song I want you to listen to, it reminds me of all the people who are special to me and of Heavenly Father and just it is a good song. But I don't know what it is called... The chorus is like "never alone, never alone, I'll be in every beat of your heart when you face the unknown".... so you should look it up :) Because I love you so so so much. hahahaha

Sorry this email is short.... it felt longer while I was typing. Also, I watched the hump day videos like 80 times laughing my head off, so I think it was time well spent. 

I love you all so so much it is crazy, I challenge you all this week to do something incredibly spiritual to mark my nine months..... like gift a Book of Mormon or a pamphlet, or bring someone to church or learn the cucaracha song.  And then tell me about it next week :) Hahahaha I love you so much! HAPPY HALLOWEEN!!! (I expect pictures of that from all.... or  I will kill you. Mwahahaha)


Monday, October 20, 2014

Strength Isn't Something You Have, It's Something You Find

Familia Whom I Love!! Hahahahaha How are you?!?!

This week.... was so fun! Weeeelll every week is fun because I just love the mission. But anyway it was a great week! I hope you all had a great week :) It looks very fall-y. Of that I am a tad jealous, Hahahaha. It is just hot here. It is seriously like Yucca Valley in so many ways. Maybe a few more pscyho people though. Just because it is Peru.

Huacachina!! So last Monday for Pday we went with the zone to Huacachina which is like an oasis thing. But apparently the whole goal is to climb the desert mountain of sand and be able to see the whole oasis which sounds and looks SO much easier than it is. We literally almost died. Hahahahaha but it was so fun and the elders in our zone are so dang funny. They crack me up. They also had to rescue my companion who was too afraid to run down the mountain which was even funnier because they had to climb up again. It was a way fun.  It was a hard Pday, but when we got to the top and were looking all out over the desert, someone said, "Wow imagine what Lehi felt like!" And then we really started talking about it because THIS IS ACTUALLY THE PLACE MAS O MENOS WHERE THEY WERE. Ah. It was so cool. Spiritual conversations on the top of a burning hot sand mountain :) are the best thing in the whole world. Oh, also, they were totally inhumanely killing pigs and I have a video of the Elders reactions that I cannot wait to show you in 9 months. Hahahaha

Well Tuesday was more or less uneventful, but we did have a lesson with these two little boys like 9 and 10 years old who were doing their family history for Duty to God and they got soooo excited! They were so excited to see the names of their great grandparents and it was a really cool spirit that entered when they got so excited.  I love family history! We also had a mashed potato disaster... Hermana Muñoz made mashed potatoes and she like tasted them a little and was like "oh they are delicious", but she forgot to put in the milk so when I put a big old spoonful in my mouth, I almost died. Straight instant potatoes and gross butter. Tears came out of my eyes and she laughed so hard we almost died. Oh the adventures of cooking in Peru.

On Wednesday... Hermana Muñoz's computer got a virus and it is equally as funny, albeit terrifying. It talks and opens up weird pages and we keep trying to fix it, but it is possessed. 

One of the fun things I have been doing this change is teaching English, not only to my companion, but to Hermana Alonso and Hermana Torres as well and it has been so fun, and funny. They all know how to say "What's up dude?," "You're a liar.", "I hate you", and "nitwit". So there is my success as a teacher, hahaha.

Also this week I was reading about Jemima Brown again and how when the pioneers would sing "All is well", she would think "Be gad, all is bad", and I feel like I really would have gotten along well with her. She sounds hilarious. 

Also,  this week, one of the elders brought us pecans that he picked off a tree in their yard and they were SOOOO good, but then we were trying to crack them and one bounced off the floor and hit a man in the head walking down the street in front of the church. Most awkward street contact known to man. Hahahahahaha

We have been trying a lot to like pump up the Elders to bring their people to visit us so we can have success and it has been so funny. They live in the boonies.... literally, in sand drifts, like half of them anyway.  On Friday we made a little handout thing and went to visit all of them and share a scripture and set a date for a lesson. We were in a little moto for like 2 hours and it was probably the scariest thing of my life, but I think it worked :) They are getting really excited.

And then, to top it all off, we had Stake Conference Saturday and Sunday (no, I haven't taken the sacrament in 1 whole month. I think I am inactive) and they talked ALL about family history. It was so perfect! But at the night Saturday session, the Seventy was talking all about family history (Elder Vallejo from Ecuador) and he called me up to speak and share my thoughts. I almost died. Hahahaha President was there and like 400 people. But I did it! And then the Seventy just kept telling me how great my Spanish was and it was a very terrifying, cool night. Hahaha

Then, to top it all off, yesterday we had an amazing experience at the end of the day with family history. A recent rescue and her son came in to do their family history. She knew her brother who works in the temple in Lima had been doing some of the work and searching, so we just started looking for names. Well they all started popping up! We went into the vertical view of her tree and there were even pictures! I clicked on the one of her deceased mother and there were like 6 so I started looking through them and all of a sudden I just felt her grab my hand. There were tears running down her face. Her son just looked at me and said she has never seen her mother. She died the year after she was born. It was the most touching moment I have had in family history so far, and it made it all worth it! Us and the Elders were all crying, and it was perfect.

Oh family, I love you soooo much! Do your family history :) Remember that you are loved all the way from Peru!


Monday, October 13, 2014

Cockroaches and Life Lessons

My Dearly Beloved Familia!  I love you all so dang much!

Well. this was a more or less strange week to be honest. Kind of slow, but all is well! And the work is progressing.

Also, I got to eat in Burger King on Monday, so I am very happy. Still. Since last Monday, or whatever day that was....
Also, I bought a new shirt and there are lots of cute clothes and stores here.... So I am really happy about that too. Hahaha it is kind of nice to be in civilization again for a second. Well, almost civilization. There is always something that is like..... oh you're still in Peru. Hahahaha

Also, there is a parrot outside our window and it makes noise allllll the time and I think I am going to kill it. But it is also sort of endearing because it says "Hola" like all day and makes me laugh. Hahahaha

Well, I honestly don't have a ton to report on because all is just starting new this week. We have had some really cool experiences with missionaries and the converts and rescues that we are bringing in, including one Elder from Utah who put in some dates he found and all of a sudden had one line that goes back to Adam and Eve.  His dad isn't a member, so it was a really cool experience for him. Did you know the Seavey line that comes from the Judd line goes all the way back? It is really pretty dang cool.

In the time when we aren't doing a lot, I have been indexing! And it has been awesome. There is a scripture in Mormon 9:30 and also Moroni 10:27 and I feel like family history and indexing are a way for us to hear voices speaking from the dust, like scriptures say. The scriptures are just records, just like our family history records! And it is really quite amazing.

We have some really big plans and goals for this area... Hermana Muñoz and I really feel like this is a chosen place. Well, we know it is. We have felt the Spirit very strongly in some of our planning sessions and I think that with a little time and a lot of work, we are going to see miracles here. Pray for us please! And do your family history :)

Conference was.... amazing. My favorites were pretty much the same as mom's,  and also Boyd K. Packer's and the Jorg guy. I watched in Spanish because there are no other gringas in my zone and I didn't want to be alone with the Elders.... Hahaha. But on the bright side my Spanish is getting really good again because there is no English. Hahaha Oh I love conference. The church is true!

Well on to the title of this email.... there was a cockroach in our apartment this morning.

And he taught me a lesson.

This morning when Hermana Muñoz went in to the bathroom to shower, there was a cockroach in there. She trapped it in the rug and dragged it out to like the washroom patio thing that is outside the bathroom. She went back into the bathroom and  I continued eating my cereal and reading. I happened to look through the door and see it crawl out of the rug. And so I kept watching it. T here is like a 3 inch step to enter the apartment and like a 4 inch step to get into the bathroom, so  I figured I was safe and decided to keep watching it because my suitcases were near it....The cockroach got to the bathroom door, the 4 inch step. Obviously, it wanted to be back where it was comfortable in its cockroach paradise of darkness and humidity provided by the 6x2 square foot bathroom.  I looked at the cockroach feeling around with its antenna things and thought, "Well. it wants to get back home, but he doesn't have the faith sufficient to climb the mountain", and maybe not the strength, having been having squished by my frantic companions shower crocs. 
As I watched the little (actually massive) cockroach continue its search, it seemed to be a little disheartened about the massive wall that was between him and the bathroom and started to feel around some more. He wandered to the rug that had just recently entrapped him and dragged him from his happy place and entered once again, but quickly realized it was the place that had power to entrap him and he quickly exited. He then continued exploring. There was the corner under the wash sink, but that spot was often filled with different forms of dangers and he would have to be super cautious to not be taken by surprise and die. He wandered through the cleaning supplies and the shade provided by my luggage, but saw that it would only provide him temporary happiness. 
He ventured  further and arrived at the step to the room, a slightly smaller 3 inch step. Here, he could put forth a small effort and enter in to the room. Here, he could probably find a more or less suitable home. He could put forth a little less effort and settle for a little less happiness. Pondering with his antennas feeling and weighing the options, he turned and slowly made his way back to the bathroom step.

Being a bug, I imagine he has forgotten all of the details of his former happy home. All he has is some sort of sense or feeling that it exists.... and that it is behind that wall. But he can't see anything... just a seemingly insurmountable wall. I felt for the cockroach.  Oh no I thought,  he has this big wall in front of him, he is injured, and he can't see the end. If he can't see the prize, he is just going to keep sitting there. Or pick one of the lesser options. He is going to settle! He is going to die. He is so close! But he can't see it. He cant see it! He is going to forget what is there. The opposition is too much. He is battle worn. He is tired. All of these propelling and compelling feelings and desires to get to a home he can't see or understand, but knows is his home.... maybe it would just be easier to pick the rug. Or the sink. Or the suitcases. Or even the 3 inch step. But he can't do the 4 inches. He can't see it!

Then, the cockroach taught me something.

We don't have to see the ending point. We just have to have faith and trust enough in these feelings to keep going. To trust in the promises and witnesses of the Spirit that we already have. He REMEMBERED. He felt it. And he started to climb. And, much to my companions chagrin, he made it. He had the faith sufficient to take the steps that he couldn't see to get home. There is no better option! There is no settling. The Celestial Kingdom is our home. And we can only see glimpses of it here and there, but our faith HAS TO BE enough to get us climbing. Because I KNOW that it is there. And it is just over the hill :)

Doctrine and Covenants 12 :7-8

Oh my dear family. This church is true :) As Elder Bednar said, absolute truth exists. And this is it :) I love you all so dang much it hurts. Keep on keeping on :) I love love love love you.


Tuesday, October 7, 2014

I Love the Mission

Josie and her family.

Our Pension's Family
Hermana Bailey, you have a change! You will be opening an area in Institute and Family History in Ica. Your new companion is Hermana Muñoz from chile. They will be closing your current area to Sisters and place Elders.


OH MY GOSH I HAD A CHANGE. And it totally shocked me. Completely. I literally almost had a stroke. Hahaha they told my comp first that she had a change and I was like "um, what?" And then they said the rest! I was so taken by surprise. I will be doing what Hermana Jameson was doing when I got to the mission in San Juan. 

Well, that night we were literally up all night packing and trying to get everything ready for the Elders to move in, fixing our area book, making notes on everything, etc. The next morning, we had to break the news to the family we live with. Then we heard music blasting outside and found our pension waiting outside to take us to his house for a farewell breakfast. Then, our ward mission leader took us out in his car to find every house and person that was important so that he could help the missionaries that are coming. Members were calling us all day. They are so sad that they are taking sisters out of the ward. I cried pretty much all morning saying goodbye to everyone and then again in ward council that night. 
When we finished all that, like 6 families came to our house to help us get all of our stuff to Cruz Del Sur, the bus station. We got there and it was insanity. Since there wasn't church to say goodbye to everyone, like half the stake was there to say goodbye to all the missionaries that were leaving. It was really tender actually. Then, when I had to say goodbye to Hermana Jameson,  I almost started bawling all over again.  I have been in a zone with her 4 out of my 5 changes, and this change will be her last. She is staying in Ayacucho to start half-time family history with Hermana Bott! They will be so great. Then, we got on the stupid bus. Hermana Wilkins had a change as well, so we were sitting by each other. We talked a lot because it is almost impossible to sleep. 10 hours of dark, stupid bus hell. Hahaha, it is not that bad.... but it is not good.

At 7 o'clock the next morning when we got to Lima, we piled in a taxi with all of our bags to get to the office. AHHHH civilization :) hahaha it was awesome. 

So I am going to explain what I know of all these new changes and such.

They called 6 companionships to work in family history. 2 of those (including mine) are full time working in Family History and Institute. The others will be half-time starting to be opening like family history stuff. Our title is Sister Missionary Retencion Specialists. this is one of the only missions in South America starting with this to the extent that we are. I kid you not I feel the Spirit so strong just writing about it. When we got to the office, 11 of the 13 sisters that will be doing it, including Hermana Bott (oh my gosh I was soooo happy to see her) Hermana Wilkins and Hermana Santiago all piled into a van with President Douglas and we drove to the area offices. There, we had a brief training and it was so spiritual. We were all sitting around a big table, and when they started testifying about how this would help with retention and change the way missionaries work, it was almost hard to breathe I felt the spirit so strongly. I am so grateful to be a part of this. I can't even explain it. 

Well, shortly thereafter we said goodbye, and I said goodbye to Hermana Bott. We went out and caught the bus to Ica, and I got to sit on an even worse bus for 6 more hours..... Hahahaha it was awesome. Hahaha but all went well and we arrived safely in Ica! Me and my comp as well as Hermana Wilkins and Hermana Freyre who both left for Nazca this morning. When we got there at 10 p.m.  The zone leaders were waiting for us and Elder Colton, my first District Leader, is my new Zone Leader! They took the other four Hermanas (also Hermana Torres and Hermana Alonzo from our zone) to their house and then came back for us. The two Elders went with all of our bags, and the taxi was so small they were literally hanging out the window. Hilarious! Hahaha at 11 o clock at night. Oh, I love the mission so much.

Well, I am a little in the dark about my new assignment too. Hahaha my companion was serving in San Juan in the Institute, so she knows whats going on :) Thankfully. We will be in an office in the Stake Center, working with recent converts, recent rescues, and less actives.

OH, I ALMOST FORGOT: I finished the Book of Mormon last week :) on the 1st of October. I know the Book of Mormon is true without a doubt in my heart. 

Also, I have an intense request. Plea.  I really need this. Everyone needs to get involved in Family Search :) Get on, scan in pictures, do the trainings, put in stories, everything. Let's do this together :) You can literally be doing what I am doing and helping me :) Involve the whole family! I feel that it is going to have a HUGE impact.  Seriously :) Also, mom, can you send me a separate email with all the dates and places of births, deaths, and marriages for all of my grandparents 4 generations back, as well as any brief facts about them? Also dates of birthdays for all my aunts and uncles and grandparents on both sides.

Oh man. I feel so scattered. So blessed :) So happy. So excited. I GET TO OPEN AN AREA IN INSTITUTE AND FAMILY HISTORY IN ICA PERU. Oh pray for us. Pray for this program :) I testify that the Lord is truly hastening His work in His time and we are all a part of it :)

Oh, I love you all so so so so much.


Hermana Jameson and Hermana Bott (note that one was before the 10 hour bus ride and stressful training and one was after. Hahaha no judgement!)

Sunday, October 5, 2014

8 Months Today.... :)

Rocio's Baptism

Memorize "The Living Christ" with me!
"The most important thing was their love of the Lord and their respect and love for their covenants."

That was a quote from the General Women's meeting! It made me think of my parents and all of the amazing examples of women and marriages in my life :) So thank you to all.


Wow. What a fast week. What a fast change!! It just keeps going faster and faster. I can't even believe it. Well, here goes another choppy, random email from the life of Hermana Bailey!

On Monday, we went to visit the Cordoba family that had baptismal dates. the dad, Lino, wasn't there so we were just talking to Jennifer (that has special needs) and her mom. They were sad, and they finally told us it was because the dad and also the older sister have a lot of problems with drinking and all that comes with it. I suspected it might be as such because they act like they might be abused. But they said it is only when he drinks... I hate alcohol. We left that lesson quiet and a little down about the world, and we passed a store where a mom was sitting outside drinking a beer while her two year-old cried at her  feet. It took literally all that I have to not grab her beer and chuck it as far as I could and do some kind of missionary repossession on her daughter and send her to someone who would love her as she deserves.  Look, lady, the purest love the world has to offer is crying at your feet. Open your eyes to the happiness that matters, that lasts! Ugh. That is my alcohol rant. 

This week and month in the mission, President has been talking to us a lot about repentance and how we can teach it better and it is blowing my mind. I don't even know how to explain it, but one thing  I was reading this week was talking about the parable of the unprofitable servants, and it says that the best they could do would be no more than their duty required, and I realized we can never ever pay back what He has done for us. And that living worthy of our Covenants like they talked in the womens meeting is all we can do to even try. It makes me feel humble, and so very loved by my Heavenly Father and my Savior.

I decided that missions are kind of like girl's camp for 18 months. A lot like girls camp. You are never really clean, never entirely comfortable, there are no down comforters, and it isn't all the way civilized. Hahahaha, anyway, this week we went with our mission leader in his car to look for our investigator with a baptismal date and we literally could not find her. We were desperate! I finally started just praying in my mind and the phone rang,  our investigator!!! No longer MIA!!! I love the power of prayer. I am gaining a way bigger testimony of that. 

This week  I was showing everyone the pictures of my family.... I kid you not they are all convinced Dad is an actor, Mom is a model, and every single one is in love with my brothers.  I think I am going to have to stop showing them to people. My entire family has a following in Peru. Terrifying, but you should all feel beautiful :)

So we have a huge new weekly planning program and it is EXHAUSTING, but I love it :) It makes me feel pumped and ready to work with plans to actually do it. I have heard we are sometimes called to a mission partly for the mission president... and I think that is true. The things I learn from President Douglas are the things I really need to be a better person in life. I think I want to major in international business administration :) Just a thought. Also this week during planning I got really hungry but was also very lazy, so I was just eating dry top ramen and I had a flashback to YMES and how that was such a huge fad when I was like 10..... Hahaha, oh life is so weird sometimes. 

This week,  I came to another conclusion about the Ruta. The Bus. The Combi. Hell. I truly feel that if only every other butt cheek belongs to you, they should probably stop letting people on the bus. It is worse than sardines in a can. So much worse. It is sweaty Mamitas and Peruvians in a bus touching every part of me.  I so do not have a bubble now,  but I kind of want it back....

Sooooo... WE HAD A BAPTISM THIS WEEK!!! On Saturday, our investigator named Rocio was baptized. I don't know if I mentioned her much before, but she is amazing. So amazing. So prepared. Well, it wasn't all roses and happiness to get her baptized. With 4 days left for her baptism, she disappeared. Didn't show to a lesson. Wouldn't answer her phone. And we only sort of know where she lives... so we went on a wild goose chase (that I mentioned earlier) to find her with our Ward Mission Leader. We finally contacted her, had her last lesson, and set up her interview. Then she didn't show up, but then she did for that night. Then, we found out she had a child that she had never mentioned before. We listened to her whole story about that (she only has custody every other year) and cried with her, and then all was ready. She was baptized by the Bishop on Saturday and it was very spiritual. then she stayed and sat with us for the whole transmission of the Women's Meeting! It was  great experience.

I loved the Women's Conference. After, I was thinking a lot about my family and my Mom. I sometimes wonder if I say things to the sky, they will somehow reach you. So if you ever hear whispers on the wind... they are my messages sent in words on the wind. Hahahahaha :) I KNOW I AM CRAZY. Another dog followed us yesterday. FYI.

Sunday.... was a little rough. All of our members who were going to pick up investigators.... didn't. Zero in the church. That was hard. But our leaders noticed, and I have faith the semana will be better!!! I love our Elders in our ward, sometimes. They actually drive me nuts, but it is so funny. We ate with them for lunch yesterday (arroz a la cubana. amo.) and it was great. Oh Elders.

Well!!! this week is Cambios... so no Pday for 10ish days. Also, i want to know the announcements for Conference and everyone's personal thoughts on Conference because I don't get to watch it!!!! Ok. I think that is everything..... I love you!!!! So so so soooo much. Thank you.