Tuesday, May 26, 2015

What Shalll We Give?

My beautiful beloved family whom I adore!!

How are you? Sounds like all is going well and you are now freed from the slavery of the school year.... now to enter the maybe more psychotic slavery of summer. Yay summer!!!

Anyway. Hope you know I love you all dearly :)

This week was pretty great!! It FLEW by, but they are all really starting to fly by to be honest. It is really crazy. ON Monday for Pday we made pizzas with the Fowlers which is always a fun Pday. Then we played a few really violent rounds of Uno (which is still called Uno in Spanish, fun fact, I was hoping it would be called One.....) Then that night the Fowlers had a Family Home Evening and we were able to bring CLEICI!!!!!!!!! I was beyond excited. I don't know if I have mentioned her lately, but she is a less active who we have been working with my whole time here in Nasca. She is amazing. She is 21 and about to have a baby, the end of this month!!!!! She hasn't come to church since she found out she was pregnant, but we have been able to have some amazing lessons with her and she really wants her baby to have a gospel foundation, so she is working really hard to get back to church. It was a perfect F.H.E. about seeing the hand of God in our lives and the Spirit was very strong. It was a great night!

On Tuesday I had exchanges with one of the other sisters in Nasca and it was really good. I think I learn more on the exchanges than the other sisters who I am supposedly helping. We had a lesson that afternoon with Lizbeth (Enrique is away in the mine on the weekdays) and she was a little discouraged. They are having a lot of opposition in getting the money together to get married (it is insanely expensive and complicated here) and their whole family is telling them they are making a mistake. We were able to talk about following the prophet and left a Liahona with a talk by President Monson for her to read. We have been praying and working super hard for them this week. They are seriously so special, and I know that is why they are being faced with so much opposition. Satan knows how great they are. 

On Wednesday we found a new less active named Gloria! She is really confused about church doctrine and what she believes, but she has a lot of desire to be able to be able to listen and work on gaining that testimony back. We were able to explain the importance of the restoration of the church and the doctrine of Christ. Ever since we had the last training with President Douglas, not a lesson has gone by that we haven't talked and testified of the doctrine of Christ. It is truly a daily pattern of life.  It is how we come to be disciples of Him and be worthy to return to Him :)

On Thursday we had a lesson with a recent convert from the other branch about family history and committed him to prepare to go to the temple on  the 13th of June. He is super prepared and has a really strong testimony of this gospel and of the Book of Mormon. We are getting a lot of people ready with hopes that we can take 15-20 people to Lima to go to the temple on the 13th of June, which is also the day of transfer calls. Pray for them!! That night Hermana Mendez and I ended up talking about the mission and what we had learned and the meaning of life. Haha, but really it is amazing, It just continues being amazing to me how much I have learned in such a short time. I thought I knew a lot before the mission.... but I didn't. 

On Friday I was reading in Doctrine and Covenants 59 verses 8 and 12.  In the footnote of verse 12  (it is 12a in Spanish, no se in English.) It talks about what Christ wants us to offer to him. The song "What Shall We Give?" from Christmas started running through my mind and I realized that all He really wants and all that we can really control and give to Him is ourselves and our will. Then, that night we taught Lizbeth about keeping the sabbath day holy and it was awesome. She had told us that Fernando had like a parade thing for school (there is ALWAYS school stuff on Sundays here.  It is terrible) and that they weren't going to be able to go. We were able to teach the doctrine of the sabbath day and how we would be blessed for observing it and why it was so vitally important.   She was like, Wow I understand now, I can't even miss one Sunday, one day of taking the sacrament. We will be there. There will be other parades, but not other opportunities to remember my Savior. She is seriously awesome. Their family is one of the most prepared families I have ever taught in my whole mission, maybe the most prepared.

On Saturday, we had a lesson with both Lizbeth and Enrique and we were super nervous because they were expressing a lot of doubts about getting married and other things we had taught. We went into the lesson praying for guidance and it was once again an amazing spiritual roller coaster. Their questions are directly from the Book of Mormon, and the Spirit is constantly guiding us to scriptures that answer their questions. They had to push back their wedding date, but they are now planning on being married on the 11th of June, and baptized on the 12th. They are even more determined to get to that goal, and they are working very hard to gain strong testimonies of the Gospel. In reality, they already have them, but they are just in the process of accepting it :)

Yesterday was a pretty great day in church! Lisbeth, Enrique, and Fernando came as well as Cleici and all her sisters. I know that this branch is ready to grow, and now we are just working on the members and helping them to be strong. It is a really young branch, but there is a lot of potential here:) I can't wait to see it in 30 years, seriously.

Every week I am continually amazed by the power of the atonement that I feel and see every single day. I know without a shadow of a doubt that Christ paid the price for each and every one of us, and that he suffered all our sufferings. That is real and literal, infinite and pure. I know that Christ lives, and that this is His church. I know that He loves us, and wants us to succeed and return to Him :) I love him, and I am so humbled to be a representative for Him for 18 months.

I love you all!!! Have a great week! Share the Good News!!!!!!

Hermana Lauren Bailey

Faith is Like a Little Seed

My beloved beautiful perfect HUGELY TALL AND GROWN UP family whom I love!!!!! 

It was so amazing to talk to you yesterday. I can't get over how much the boys have changed.... but it is good to know that the important things stay the same. I can't believe that was thae last skype call in my mission... but it was a great one!!

Anyway. I am going to hit a couple of highlights of the week, because it was seriously an amazing week. We were able to see lots of miracles and tender mercies, and have a lot of faith building experiences. 

One of them was on Thursday night. It was about 8 p.m. and we still hadnt found any new investigators or had any real success all day. We decided to say a prayer to be able to find somebody new in the last hour of the day. As we finished our prayer, we decided to go and contact a reference. Well, on the way we were going to swing by a members house and ask for more references, but she wasn't there. Then when we were walking down this like dark, dirt road, a guy comes out of nowhere and gives us a watermelon.... so we were like, "Oh, maybe this is God's gift of a new investigator."  So we started talking to him. He was really nice but mostly just really, really has a passion for watermelon and mother earth.... like he worships mother earth. Soooo... maybe false alarm. But we laughed pretty dang hard for about 10 minutes. Then, we finally got to the reference's house (with the watermelon hahahah) and the lady (the girlfriend of the reference) let us right in! So we found a new investigator and have an appointment tonight with their whole family. Whooo hooo!! Prayer, Watermelons, and Yesenia. Miracle 1 ;)

Then, On Friday we were in Marcona doing family history, and out of nowhere we get a text that says something like "Hermana Beiley, this is Lisbeth. I need to meet with you.... can you come to the plaza in Vista Alegre?" Backing up a little, on Thursday we walked past her house and heard her fighting with her husband/boyfriend (no one is married). We were sure she was going to tell us they were splitting and involve us in some strange drama that we can't actually participate in. But even though we were in Marcona an hour away, we really felt like we should go. So we tore out of the chapel running and jumped in a van to Marcona at like 7 pm. When we got to Vista Alegre it was about 8. We ran up to the plaza and started looking for her, and when we finally saw her we saw that she was there with her son (3) and husband as well. We were even more confused and nervous, but we walked up to them. Backing up more, her and her pareja came to church once.  The week that no one we had planned for came and they walked in. So I recognized him and he has had a little experience in the church.  When we got to the bench, Hermana Lisbeth started to hug me and to cry. We were so nervous. Then she just whispered in my ear, "We are ready".  Then they proceeded to tell us that they wanted to be bapitzed, fix their family, and change their lives. We were dumbfounded. It was a beautiful lesson about repentance and the process of it all. The next night they came to Family Home Evening. They couldn't come to church, but we are hoping this week to be able to put a baptismal date with them and a wedding date. They are truly amazing. It was an experience I will never, ever forget. Vans, texts, and prepared hearts. Miracle 2!

On Saturday, we had an appointment with a family we contacted and have never been able to find.... but all of our appointments fell through so we decided to give it another shot. When we got there, they were there! Drinking.... but not a lot. They are a super young family, a mom and dad and 2 daughters, and they are married! Unheard of, seriously. Anyway, we had an amazing lesson with them and they seem really interested! Another family! We have been praying for families all week, and I have been praying for families my whole mission. Seek, and ye shall find! Miracle 3 :)

Miracle and tender mercy number 4 was Sunday when I was able to talk to my amazing family. I am truly grateful for each and every one of you and love you dearly. I don't' know what I would do without you. I am quite convinced I have the best family in the whole world, and I think I could win any argument about it :) Thank you for your support, testimonies, and examples. Please, stop growing whenever you would like. Hahaha, but I love you so dearly and was so grateful to be able to see your faces and hear your voices :)

It was a really good, hard, beautiful, miraculous week. I can feel myself being shaped and molded, which isn't always easy, but is always necessary. I know that through the atonement of Christ, we can be better people and come to be what he wants us to be. I was reading Doctrine and Covenants 76:69 and in Mateo 5:48 (I think....) in the footnote it defines perfect as being complete, fully developed. The atonement is so that we can become complete, whole. Fix the bad things about us and be better in Him :) I testify of the truth of this gospel and the reality of his atonement. 

I love you all dearly :), more than mortal words can say. I miss you, and I am excited to work hard until I can see you for real :)

I love you!

Hermana Lauren Bailey

Tuesday, May 5, 2015

Carry On, Carry On, Carry On!

Hola my dearly beloved family whom  I love and cherish dearly!

Wow. This week flew by. This 6 weeks flew by in reality.... it just keeps on going faster and faster. It stresses me out. Hahaha, anyway I feel like a bajillion things happened this week, all of which weren't incredibly important, hahaha, so I am just going to hit on a few days and spiritual happenings of Vista Alegre in Nasca, Peru. 

Oh, first off Hermana Torres had transfers to Lima, and now my companion is Hermana Mendez from Mexico. We are actually finishing together, so that should be fun. She is an amazing missionary and has the fire that this branch needs to get working. I am really excited for this transfer :)

Anyway. This week was Concilio and it was amazing, a total focus on the Book of Mormon. We talked a lot about how it is the key, the base of everything. If the investigators can come to know that it is true by reading it with real intent and asking in prayer if it is true, they can progress through any doubt they have. That if they read it, and we use it to answer their questions and bear testimony of its truthfulness, the power of the gospel will enter more fully and quickly into their lives. It was super spiritual and a very powerful meeting. Also, I got to talk to Hermana Bott all the way their and all the way back. She is truly one of my best friends. She got transfered to Lima too... Gonna miss her. 

Then on Thursday we had the Zone Concilio and I have really gotten to be comfortable teaching in front of the zone. I feel like that is one skill I had to develop being a leader... being able to teach in front of big groups of people and not shake and look like I am going to die. That has lessened,  a little....

Wednesday was a really good day. We had an awesome lesson with an investigator named Lisbeth. She is the mom of the little family that came to church last Sunday. Teaching her is amazing, she is so prepared- We are really hoping to find her husband this week and help them to get married and progress in the gospel... Pray for them, and that we can find more families like them this week.

Sometimes I find myself wishing I could just video tape everything. Just to let you see what I see, feel, love.  Like a little barefoot boy carrying Inca cola on his head and kicking a soccerball as he runs down the dirt road as the sun sets in front of houses made of adobe, sticks, and tin.  And as we teach Hermana Lisbeth about the Book of Mormon and testify of the truthfulness and the power in prayer, inviting her to ask God and having her respond with tears in her eyes that she wants to ask. 

I know this is short, but I get to talk to your beautiful faces on Sunday :) Wow, that flew by. I never thought we would get to this point, hahaha and it flew..... I am so thankful for this time I have to serve a mission, to be an instrument in the hands of God.

I had a testimony when I got here, thanks to amazing parents and family, but I never imagined how much it would grow.

I know that this church is true. I know without a doubt in my mind that the Book of Mormon is true. 

I know that the Savior lives, and that he loves us. That through him, we can overcome our weaknesses. Ether 12:24-29

I love you so eternally much. Thank you for everything! See you Sunday :)

Hermana Bailey