Monday, July 20, 2015

Howard Bound

Hola mi querida familia whom I love dearly and eternally so much!!!!!!!!

You guys are the best, did you know that? 

Well, I am really pretty scattered, and I don't know what to say. I can't believe that this day is real, or that the time has gone by so fast. I feel so grateful and so blessed, and my heart is so full that it hurts.

This week was miraculous and very tender, full of soooo many tender mercies and special moments that were like little divine signatures and gifts from my Heavenly Father.

I wanted to bear my testimony this week, because that is one of the most tender mercies that Heavenly Father has helped me to have during this time.

I know that families can be together forever, and that the sealing power of the priesthood exists in his holy temples. Helaman 10:7, Malachi 4:5-6, Doctrine and Covenants 110:13-16

I know that Joseph Smith was a prophet called of God to restore His church. Doctrine and Covenants 135

There is a plan! We came from living with God, and we are here to prepare to live with Him again.  Alma 34:32-33

There is only one way to return to HIm, by accessing the power of the Atonement through faith in Christ and His Atonement; daily, constant, profound and sincere repentance; making and keeping sacred covenants; and enduring to the end.  2 Nefi 31

The only way to be happy in this life is by making covenants and keeping commandments. Mosiah 2:41

The Book of Mormon is true.  It is my guide and my strength. It is the most correct of any book on this earth. Moroni 10:3-5

I know that my Redeemer lives! What comfort this sweet sentence gives.... 3 Nefi 11... He is here. He is in your world's darkest moments, and He will be the light.

Love.... it is why Christ suffered and died for us. It is why God sent His only son. It is why we live and breathe. It is how we grow closer to Him. It is the most powerful force on this earth, 2 Nefi 26:24

I know that angels and spirits exist, and that they protect and minister unto us. Moroni 7:29-30

I know that miracles happen every single day in our lives, and that they are tender mercies of the Lord poured continually upon us because God loves us. Ether 12:12

I know that Thomas S. Monson is a prophet of God. Amos 3:7

I know that Christ suffered in Gethsemane and that as we ponder that fact, our hearts are filled with profound gratitude that crowds out all negativity. Alma 34:38

I know that divine light and peace develop in places of peace and quiet, and that our own minds and hearts can be sanctuaries of peace. Moroni 8:26

I know that the Holy Ghost can influence and guide us in all things, and that if we are worthy, it can dwell with us always. 2 Nefi 31:12, 2 Nefi 32:3, Ether 4:11, Moroni 10:5

That trust in Christ and in His grace and love lead to hope through the Atonement and Resurrection Moroni 7:41 and that this faith and hope brings peace to us.

The power of the Atonement makes it possible for us to  repent, and erases the pain and despair caused by sin. 2 Nefi 9:7

The atonement also allows us to see, do, and become good and more like Christ, molding us in ways that we could never do for our mortal selves. Eter 12:27, Moroini 9:25-26, Phil 4:7

He lives! And He is our eternal hope. He is the light and the life of our own personal worlds. He is the source of peace and joy. He loved us enough! He came to earth and He kept the most holy of covenants-one that he made with the Father to suffer and die for each of us that we may return. He loved enough, and through Him all things are possible and all things have a divine purpose. There. Is. Nothing. Impossible. For. HIM. He died to save ALL. He rose again to break the bands of death for ALL. His eternal sacrifice is incomprehensible to me. But I do know that its power is so very, very real and that He loves us.

                These 18 things I know. Y en el fin, todo es Gracias a √Čl

I am so incredibly blessed and so incredibly grateful. I can't even express how much my heart is feeling right now. This last Saturday was possibly the most beautiful, tender day of my mission. We went to the temple, and on Friday when we met Hermana Rush and Hermana Mendez (Nasca and Ica) to go up together, Lisbeth and Enrique and Fernando were with them as well. Them and Hermana Mendez didn't tell me anything, but they came up on Saturday with us to the temple and it was AMAZING. So grateful, so blessed, so sweet and tender. We also saw a ton of the relief society from San Juan and Hermana Bott and Hermana Bond and Hermana Rush and Hermana Mendez and Hermana Chavez. Then we got home right in time for Hermano Roberto's baptism done by Eutemio, our recent convert, and the Spirit by that point was so strong it was choking me. I. am. so. blessed. 

I love being a missionary. 

I love this gospel.

I love my Savior :)

Oh, tis sweet to sing the matchless love. 

Until next time,

Hermana Bailey

I Can't Actually Wrap My Head Around All of These Things

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

How the heck are you? Sounds like everything is going well at home, and that summer is in full swing with all of the included hustle and bustle. I love you all very much :)

As I sit here right now, I am trying to think of what I would like to say. Usually, every week I read from the notes I take in my planner during the days about things that happened, and then I just write a quick summary. It is almost always super scattered, as I am sure you have noticed. But so are my thoughts almost always. The mission flies by, every day and every hour. I think it is because we are running on an eternal time clock, and these minutes are not my own. When I try to make them my own, the time drags on and I don't feel satisfied. The time we have here on earth is given to us to be able to use if for what we really should use it for. That is the battle, battling priorities of good, better, and best and trying to learn how to listen to the spirits voice to guide us. 

This week we had  baptismal interview with the man who is going to get baptized this week (whooooooooooooooo) Roberto, and he passed with flying colors. He is 74 years old and hilarious. He works as a like self sufficiency guru for all of the city and everyone loves him. He is one of the most intelligent, charitable, hilarious old men I have ever met. When I first met him, it was his second lesson with the missionaries and my first day in la villa, Pisco. After teaching him about Christ ministry on the earth, I felt impressed to have him read 2 Nefi 31:10-12, emphasizing that baptism was only valid by the priesthood power we had just explained. Then we taught the apostasy, and he almost started to cry. The spirit was testifying to him that what he now understood thanks to the Book of Mormon scripture and wanted more than anything did not exist for a time. When we got to the restoration and Joseph Smith the spirit was palpable, and we invited him to be baptized. He said yes and his date never fell. The other older man who was rescued a few weeks ago is his friend and is going to baptize him, despite his cancer. 
 As we sat in the church waiting for the interview, the spirit swept over me and I remembered all of the special moments and miracles with all of the other converts and rescues from my whole mission. All of the sacred moments as they were prepared to enter in the waters of baptism and make a covenant with God, and to see someone that I loved so much make correct choices. I remembered the pivotal moments in the lessons with each and every one of them, and the piercing feeling of when the spirit comes into a lesson, like angels rushing in on chariots of fire and fills a tiny room of a humble home to testify of the truthfulness of the message of the restoration. I remembered all of the crisis moments, all of the heartbreaks. I remembered all of the intense do or die lessons and how much it hurt when someone I loved so much decided they didn't want to listen to us anymore. I remembered the feeling the first time I felt the pure love of Christ for me and for those around me overwhelm me, and how it feels to have that more and more often. I remembered the many days that I staggered off of a bus in front of the Lima temple with a group of anxious converts and rescues to do baptisms for the dead.  I remembered watching the sunrise on the house of the Lord, and seeing the light enter even more profoundly into their lives and hearts. 
I remembered the nights where I got home to my apartment tired and frustrated, and when I learned to pray and talk to my Heavenly Father. When I learned and knew without a doubt that He existed and that He answers prayers. The thousands of times that he spoke to my heart that these things are true. The days where I knelt to verify my own testimony, and felt once again that it is true. I remembered walking down dusty roads and watching kids play volleyball as the sun sets in front of stick and adobe houses. I remembered walking with companions whom I grew to love as my sisters. I remembered how it feels to testify to someone who is crying in the street, and to be able to assure them that there is hope. How it feels when someone lets you into their house for the first time, and at the end of the lesson you kneel with their whole family on a dirt or cement floor and hear them offer their first prayer. I remembered the miracles I have witnessed and the truthfulness of this work, of the countless examples and courage that I have witnessed. I remembered the hand of the Lord in his work.

I remembered that He died so that we might live. I remembered that I owe him eternally. I remembered that I am so grateful just to be a part of his work. I remembered how much I love my Savior and this gospel and my family. I remembered all that my heart could never, ever forget. As I have mentioned before, I once thought that I was here to help change people's lives. I quickly learned that they would change mine much more profoundly and tenderly than I ever could. I am so grateful, and my heart aches to know that this chapter must come to an end so soon. It aches with love for all of these people and for my family and for this gospel. I am so grateful. I don't even know how to express it in words. They are things that are too celestial for earthly words. It is a much more celestial feeling. I am so grateful :)

I know that this church is true. I know that families can be together forever, and live in eternal glory with our Heavenly Father. I know that Christ is our Savior and that he died for us on the cross. I know that through him, all of us can be saved. I know that this life is the time that we have been given to prepare to live with Him again, and that it is never, ever too late to come unto Him and be healed. That the spirit that comes when we repent is tender and can stay forever as long as we remain worthy of it. I know that God loves us, and that He answers our prayers. I know it :) 

I love you. I am sorry this is so scattered, i just typed and typed ahaha. I. love. you. dearly. 

Hermana Lauren Bailey
Peru Lima South Mission

Monday, July 6, 2015

Bind Me Not........

Hello my beautiful family that I love!!!

This keyboard is sticky and I hate it. Hahaha anyway!

I really do love you guys. That is the only thing that is keeping me sane.... because if i didn't love you so dang much I would escape into the sierra of Peru and stay there forever. But I love you dearly.

Well, this week flew by! Every week flies by, and it really hurts my heart. But it was a great week!

On Monday I was actually really scattered, and really tired, but we cleaned our whole house (last command of President Douglas). Then we got to work and it was really easy to focus again. Something I have learned on my mission and in the temple is to be where you are in the moment with all that you are. Just leave all the worries in your mind aside when you are with others and focus on them, and slow down and let the spirit come and open your ears and your heart. We had some really special lessons with 2 different less active members.  One with a girl named Almendra who is about my age and is really fighting to believe that God can really forgive her. And one with an older man named Eutemio who got rescued this last week (whoo!) and has cancer in his nose (don't ask I don't understand either). It was a very powerful lesson to be able to testify of the healing power of the priesthood as well as the atonement.

I came on this mission thinking that I could offer my love to people and change their lives.... and then they changed me. Today, I had an email from a rescue in Nasca (Cleici) and I just love them all so much, all of those people who I have had the opportunity to know, and who have helped me grow. How did I  get to be so blessed? They have changed my life. 

Tuesday and Wednesday were really good days, I really felt like we were doing it all and being missionaries of whole purpose (don't know how to say that well in English). We were finding new investigators ( a new one who told us I have always wanted to get closer to God, but never knew how? "Oh my gosh I have a book for you".....) and helping a recent convert couple from one of the branches to do family history and go to the temple this week. And working to retain our own recent converts and recent rescues and rescuing Eutemio, and helping Roberto progress towards baptism. It just felt really good. Like I finally know how to make it all work together... and it is when I stop trying to know and start listening to the spirit. 

On Thursday we had a multi-zone to get to know the McGinns... they are super nice and really great. I am excited to work with them. I got to see Hermana Rush and Hermana Mendez which was the highlight of my life :) love them. 

On Friday I went on exchanges with Hermana Wilkins who is my sister leader now :)  I was retired... ahahaha It was so fun,  her first exchange - my last.... Everything has changed so much, and it was an amazing day. We found a new family and the lesson was so spiritual. Who knew two Southern Utah University girls would be sitting in  little house in Peru teaching a family in Spanish? Who knew two SUU girls could change so much and figure out just how small two little SUU girls are. 

On Sunday Roberto came to church!! He is our investigator with a baptismal date for July 18th :) He is seriously so great and so prepared. He is like 70 and is so receptive. He has left coffee and beer and came to church in a white shirt yesterday.... We didn't tell him to, he just did. He is amazing.

I love you all so much! I love this gospel. I love this mission. I love these people. I love my Savior. This is so scattered, but I just want to tell you everything and about everyone and it gets scattered. I love you all so much. I know this church is true, and the Christ's atonement is infinite. Alma 37:44-46. 

The Book of Mormon is true.

Absolute truth exists. 

And this is it.

Hermana Lauren Bailey

Saturday, July 4, 2015

Set Me Free to Find My Calling.....

My dearly beloved family whom I love dearly!!

Whoa, lots and lots of things are happening in the worlds of all the people whom I love so much! HUGE shout out and congrats to my dearest of dear friends Jenessa who is continuing strong in the duty of a missionary.... to be ANXIOUSLY ENGAGED in good works. Hahaha but seriously so happy for her :) Couldn't be happening to a better person. 

And the boys and the family are just so big I can't get over it. Big milestones and happy days :) I love being a part of an eternal family that is so close knit and so special, and I love being a part of so many eternal relationships that have blessed and enriched my life. As I mentioned last week, I never knew my heart could love so many so much, and I feel so blessed and so grateful.

Speaking of marriage and beautiful happenings, I sent the pictures of the wedding and baptism of Lizbeth and Enrique!!!! It was an amazing day for them, filled with lots of opposition up until the very end, but they are doing well and are oh so happy. The branch is really rallying to help them get situated in their new lives as members of the one and true church, and they are progressing rapidly :) I miss them so much it hurts, but that is bound to happen when you love so deeply. I am just grateful to have been able to take part in such an exceptional teaching and learning process with them- I can truly say my faith and testimony grew leaps and bounds with theirs, and it was a beautiful, beautiful time in my mission.

Speaking of beautiful times, the whole mission is pretty great and this week was very special! Lots of little spiritual moments that are like Heavenly Father telling me that it is all ok and that I am doing well and that he loves me and all of those around me.... We had a lesson with a less active where I felt strongly prompted to promise her some very specific blessings if she were to attend church. It was a very powerful moment of feeling like a real mouthpiece of the Lord and seeing the spirit work in her. In her prayer, she promised God that our visit would not be in vain and that she wanted to change her life. We also had a lesson with our investigator con fecha, Roberto, and we taught the word of wisdom. He had problems with alcohol and coffee, but he accepted it right away and is going strong, hasn't fallen in a week! He came to church yesterday :) He is really awesome. 

I seriously don't have time to write all of the amazing, spiritual things that are happening, but they aren't even huge experiences. It is just that the more time I am here, the more my eyes are spiritually opened.

This weekend, last Saturday, we also went to the temple with a caravan from our ward and some converts and rescues from all of Pisco, and it was really fun! It is nice to be in a ward that is big and sort of functional (although the church is under construction so the meetings are outside, and it is a disaster, but it is all good) and loves the missionaries. But anyway we saw a lot of miracles leading up to the temple trip. One of the coolest experiences was one of the recent converts, Rosa Cancino, was planning on doing quite a few names in the temple, including that of her daughter who died 2 years ago at the age of 18. When we arrived at the temple and gave her the cards that we had printed out for her to do the vicarious work, it turns out that a glitch in the system had erased the information entered about her daughter and the card was not printed. With only 10 minutes left until the time scheduled for our group to do the work in the temple, we went running to the family history center only to find that it was closed. We desperately looked for a way to make it possible for her to do the work for her daughter, and after many desperate prayers we found a member with a smartphone and it worked miraculously quickly.  We were able to put in all of the information on her daughter and print off the card necessary with a speed that was uncanny and unheard of in all of my time in family history. She began to cry as she waited in line to enter the temple as she remembered the pain of losing her daughter and, now, the joy of knowing that all is not lost.  It was seriously a miracle, and as me and her cried together with the card to do the ordinances for her daughter I felt the spirit so strongly and I know there are people on both  sides of the veil working for salvation. The veil is very thin at times.

I feel so grateful and blessed to have been able to be in family history and spend so much time in the temple. It has been a very special part of my mission, and I am very grateful for it.

I don't have words or time or space to express all that I want to about my testimony and the tender mercies of the Lord, but I do want to bear testimony that I know that real, lasting, beautiful personal peace exists. It is not easy to obtain or to keep, but it is very real and very centered on our Savior Jesus Christ,  and repentance and His atonement :)

I love you all so dearly, and I hope you have an amazing week!

The church is true!

Hermana Lauren bailey

To Your Thoughts I'll Soon Be Listening...

My dearly beloved family whom I love dearly!!!

 How the heck are ya? I really do love you dearly, I hope you know that. 

This week absolutely flew! Like they all do. But it seems to go even faster when you are new in the area. I miss Nasca so dang much. It was so hard to leave, but I have decided that there is like a divine principle in that.... where much is learned, much is loved. I will always have a special place in my heart for Nasca and all of the people there, and I am excited to go visit them. I am just thankful for that time I had there. 

Here in Pisco the members are really great. They accompany us all the time and it is amazing. I love the members and talking with them, they are all really nice and willing to go out with us. This week we found a new investigator named Sandra and she is very receptive.  The lesson was very spiritual with her and we felt the spirit really strongly as we talked about the Book of Mormon. We had a lot of really good lessons this week and found a lot of really good people, but I think my favorite lesson was with a less active named Almendra. All of her family are active members of the church, but she isn't attending. She is 22 years old and studying. During the lesson, we started to talk about the doctrine of Christ and the atonement, and she at one point just started to cry. She told us that she had wanted to come back to the church for some time, but that she was ashamed because she felt like she had done too much to be able to come back to church. She was ashamed and didn't feel like she could be forgiven. We talked about repentance and the way we feel when we repent, and we were able to testify of the infinity of the atonement, and invite her to prepare to go to the temple in July by becoming active again. It was a great lesson. 

Then, that night, there was a cultural event for the dedication of the temple in Trujillo. The celebration was absolutely beautiful ( look for it on youtube maybe.... does youtube still exist?) but I cried through the whole thing. I don't even know why, but it just hit me so hard that the church is so true. So true! It is so tender. I love Peru so much. Where much is learned, much is loved. My heart will always, always be here. I can't even describe the profound love I feel for this country and these people, for this gospel and for my Savior. Alma 29:10

I was thinking this morning that I have been in the city, the mountains, the desert, and now on the coast. Peru is so diverse, and Peru Lima South is really big so I have gotten a little taste of all of it. I feel so blessed to have been able to walk in all of those places and to feel of the love of my Savior in every one of those places. I was thinking this morning also during my personal study, am I truly happy?  I was able to feel so strongly that I truly, truly am. And it is because of my knowledge of the doctrine of Christ and that through faith and repentance, making and keeping covenants and enduring to the end, I can have eternal life with my family. That that knowledge gives me a fullness of joy, and that joy increases to be able to share this with the people of Peru and to see their lives change. To be a part of their lives and to help them and to know so many amazing members and companions and just everyone. I have been so blessed, and I am so grateful. I love this gospel!

I love this gospel family. I  love you dearly. I know that this church is true. 

I love you!

Sorry this is so scattered. Hahaha but I will have a lot to tell you when I get home this way :) Hahahaha

Hermana Lauren Bailey