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