Wednesday, December 30, 2009


Hello Family,

I did compose a lovely email thanking you all for your wonderful gifts and saying what a good time I had this Christmas, but it disappeared when I tried to send it. So, here is the abbreviated version.

Thank you for all the warm stuff you sent. I have already used it and am very grateful for the extra warmth. My favorite thing you sent was those individual letters. It was so good to hear from each of you in those letters and then on the phone.

Sister Smith and I had a wonderful Christmas. The senior couples spoiled all of us Trail Center sisters with quite the Christmas Eve party and then a brunch on Christmas day. It was great to spend time with them and all the sisters.

We found lots of new people to teach yesterday as we helped them dig their cars out of the snow or talked to them as we walked. So, I guess all the snow is a blessing. Still, I was very happy when our cars were ungrounded. It makes getting everywhere so much easier.

I hope you all have a wonderful start to the new year!

Sister Bailey Mortensen

Monday, December 21, 2009

Merry Christmas

Dear Family,

I am excited to call on Friday evening and hear from all of you! The missionary handbook says to keep the call short (preferably no longer than 30 or 40 minutes).

These past few days I have felt so full of love. I am overflowing with it. Singing Christmas hymns with the ward makes me feel like I have a family here. I feel their love and I love them.

I have never felt so full of the Christmas Spirit in my life! Christmas as a missionary is amazing so I'm glad I get to do it twice! On Saturday our ward had their Christmas Party and it was fantastic because this family that we just met came and felt very welcomed. We had been trying to contact and teach the McCormick family for weeks and finally we did. And then they came to the Christmas Party the next day! They are neighbors of the Wahls, a family that was baptized last summer, so Sister Wahl was so excited to see them and share the joy she has found at church with them. After the party, the McCormicks 11 year old daughter came up and said to us "We are definitely coming to church tomorrow." And they did! And they absolutely loved the Christmas program. The mom gave Sister Smith a hug and said "Thank you for opening my eyes." Sister Smith and I have were beaming the entire weekend because we felt the happiness of sharing something so precious and dear as the gospel of Jesus Christ with this family. The gospel has blessed us so much, knowing that our families can be together forever and that we can receive guidance through a living prophet, that we are so anxious to share those blessings with everyone around us.

The Spirit of Christmas truly is the Spirit of Christ. To me that spirit is the love or charity that he has for each of us and that we should strive to have for each other. And missionary work is all about sharing the love of God with others. God loves us and wants us to receive all the blessings he has. His whole purpose is to help us become like Him (Moses 1:39). So, He has provided a way (through our Savior, Jesus Christ, Mosiah 3:17) and commandments (2 Ne 9:23-24) for us to return to Him and receive that greatest gift of eternal life (D&C 14:7). And He did it all because he loves us (John 3:16).

As missionaries or members of the Church, we have received many blessings from God. When we recognize those blessings and feel God's love for us, our love for others increases, as does our desire to share those blessings of the gospel with them. Like God, we love them and want them to enjoy the same blessings that we have found in living the gospel of Jesus Christ. So, we invite them to keep the commandments upon which those blessings are predicated (D&C 130:20-21). We invite them to be baptized so that they can be clean and worthy to enter the kingdom of God (Alma 7:14-16, John 3:5). That is the greatest gift we can offer anyone, the gift of eternal life with God and our families. It brings me such joy as a missionary to see people accept that gift that God and Jesus Christ offer through me (D&C 18:10-23). And I offer it because I love them.

To those who feel the joy of living the gospel, I invite you to "pray unto the Father with all the energy of heart, that ye may be filled with this love," this charity, this Spirit of Christ and Christmas so that you can "be an instrument in the hands of God to bring ... [your] brethren ... to the knowledge of the truth" (Moroni 7:48, Alma 17:9).

To those who have forgotten the joy of living the gospel of Jesus Christ I invite you to remember and start anew to follow him. Think of those times when you felt God's love or recognized His hand in your life. Know that He is there, that He loves you and wants to bless you. His love is unconditional, but His blessings are conditional on our obedience. Because of the atonement of Jesus Christ we can repent, we can change, we can start new. And if we are sincere, God will forgive us and give us the strength to overcome all things. I have seen this happen in my life. Even when I have no idea how I can possibly overcome a certain trial or weakness, I trust that God knows and that He will provide a way. And He does! Because Christ suffered for us he understands us perfectly. He knows what we are going through and he can help us through it. Turning to our Savior Jesus Christ is the only way to have lasting happiness.

To "those who do not belong to the church I speak by way of invitation, saying: Come and be baptized unto repentance, that ye also may be partakers of the fruit of the tree of life" (Alma 5:62). The tree of life represents the love of God. As we follow the example of Jesus Christ by being baptized we are cleansed and the doors to the kingdom of God are opened. That is the only way to live with our Heavenly Father after this life. I know that the authority to baptized was restored through the Prophet Joseph Smith. The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints is the true church of Christ once again on the earth. We will be blessed and have lasting happiness as we follow His teachings.

I wish you all a very Merry Christmas!

Sister Bailey Mortensen

Monday, December 14, 2009


Dear Family,

It sounds like the Ward Christmas party was pretty fun, a little crazy with the fire alarm and all, but I’m sure that just made it that much more memorable. Thank you for sending my Ensigns. It is so good to have them as a reference. I just love looking back at all the amazing talks we get at conference. Our leaders are so inspired and their messages contain so much truth and counsel. They are great!

We had a blizzard! It was at night so we slept through most of it, but still, we actually had a blizzard! Basically, it was snowing and the wind was blowing really hard. The wind was still pretty bad the next morning, but the snow had stopped. I’m not sure how much snow we got because it all got blown around into these mountainous drifts. The drifts actually reminded me of sand dunes; the only differences were that they were white and sparkly and not quite as big as sand dunes. Another difference from Washington is that the snow doesn’t melt. So, it is a good thing that they plow the streets here. We weren’t allowed to drive for a day and a half so we got rides from members when we could and walked. I think trekking through the snow was a good bonding experience for Sister Smith and I. We had a couple people pull over and offer rides, but we said no thanks. Then we offered them the gospel and they said no thanks. I think that sums up a lot of my experiences with talking to everyone in Nebraska. Most people are nice, but happy where they are at and therefore blind to all the blessings they are missing. It’s usually the humble people that are going through hard times that are willing to listen and change their lives for the better (Ether 12:27).

My first ever snow tracting experience was great! We were walking through a neighborhood where tons of people were shoveling their driveways. We would always ask if they needed help. Most said no, so we shared a brief message and asked when we could come share more. They didn’t want us back so we’d just give them a Joy to the World pass along card. Then a man named James said we could help! We grabbed shovels and had a great conversation with him about service and trusting in God and the restoration and coming to church and eventually baptism. We have been challenged to invite everyone that is receptive to be baptized, but James got to it before we did. When we explained that we don’t baptize infants he asked “So, can I be baptized?” and we said “Sure … how about January 2nd ?!?” And he said yes and we set up a return appointment! We were so excited! I’ve determined that those that let us help them shovel their driveways or get their cars un-stuck are humble and more prepared to accept the gospel. So, snow tracting is a great way to find those that God has prepared.

Sister Bailey Mortensen

Monday, December 7, 2009

It Snowed!

Dear Family,

It snowed yesterday! Because it is so windy here it took a while to stick, but we have maybe two or three inches today. A guy out shoveling snow this morning said we're supposed to get another foot of snow tonight. Sister Smith is from Arizona but had some practice driving in the snow at BYU Idaho so she drives really slow and that is good. I love how the snow makes everything bright and sparkly. It made walking around last night much more cheerful. Maybe I will make a snowman or something today 'cause it is p-day. Staying warm hasn't been too difficult yet. I wear my track tights and my underarmor top every day. Last night I finally gave in and put on my big, long, black parka. I also bundled up with mittens, tights, normal socks, winter boots, a scarf, and a beanie. I bought some tan-ish colored tights that are knit (I don't think they are wool) a while back and tried them out a few days ago. They were very warm and I liked that a lot. Mainly, I think my ankles will be getting cold because my skirts are all about mid-calf and my boots only come up a few inches. So, good Christmas ideas are layers (under or over) and anything else that will keep me warm and protect me from the wind.

Thank you for the Christmas package! Sister Smith and I are enjoying the advent calendar and plan to make gingerbread cookies next week. Tell Julie thanks for the CDs; we both love listening to Christmas music. I think I will give the nativity to the Corrigans (a family in the ward) so that they can give it to Gladys and her kids (an investigator we found this week). That way, both families will benefit from the Christmas spirit that it brings. Gladys is super solid. She went to church as a kid, but never got baptized. So, we taught her the restoration and set her for baptism on December 26th! She is amazing! In that first visit, we read Moroni 10:3-5 with her and asked "How can you know if the Book of Mormon is true?" and she said she knew it was true because it felt good. We were shocked, but quickly recovered and told her that yes, it is true and that the feeling of goodness and peace is the spirit telling her that it is true. When we came back for our next lesson, she said she felt a difference in her home, that it was more peaceful. She is so sensitive to the spirit, I just love it! I have never seen or heard of anyone progressing so quickly.

Gladys came to church yesterday and had a great experience with fast and testimony meeting. All us missionaries bore our testimonies, but I think the most powerful testimonies were the simple ones shared by the little kids. A 7 year old named Erica said simply "I know the church is true. I know that Heavenly Father loves me. In the name of Jesus Christ, Amen." I loved it! Two simple truths that she can hold on to to get her through anything. Her sweet, simple testimony really rang true for me so I got up and shared mine. At the end, Cory (the man that Sister Gingrich and Sister Maxfield taught), bore his testimony. He said he couldn't sit still after hearing mine. He said it was the spirit that those two Sisters carried that made him curious enough to listen. He knew the scripture that says you will know them by their fruits and had been disappointed by many churches in the past because their fruits weren't good. But, when he was taught by Sister Maxfield and Sister Gingrich, he saw the goodness and wondered "Who raised these Sisters? How did they get to be so good?" That is why he kept listening and learning and doing what they asked. I hope I can have that same influence on those that I meet.

Well family, I hope you are enjoying and making the most of the Christmas season. Remember, it is all about our Savior, Jesus Christ. His atonement makes it possible for us to return to live with our Heavenly Father. He lead the way and we strive to follow and become more like him. That is the whole purpose, that is why he came: to show us how and provide the way to become like our Heavenly Father and live with them again. I know Heavenly Father loves me and He loves you. He is watching over each one of us and doing all He can to help us come back to Him. We just have to follow. I think my mission is helping me learn to follow the Savior and be more like him. I hope that you are also doing your best to follow the example of Jesus Christ. That is how we will find the greatest, truest, most lasting happiness! I love you all!

Sister Bailey Mortensen