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!