Monday, February 8, 2010

Snow & the Celestial Kingdom

Hello Family,

I'm glad that you all helped mom to have a wonderful birthday. To me
it sounded pretty fantastic. And even more exciting is the trip to
Arizona. I know that will be a blast!

Thank you for your thoughts on baptism as a gate. Oddly enough,
President Kunz's email this week was titled "Baptism is the Gate."
Here are some of his thoughts that I'm sure you'll appreciate.
"Baptism is the gate, the entrance, the door to the path toward
eternal life. But like any gate, it requires a key to unlock it
(faith) and effort to open it (repentance)." Cool huh? President Kunz
is so wise and so inspired. I really appreciate his leadership and
know that he was supposed to be my mission president.

Last Sunday we were having dinner with a family in the branch and they
told a really funny story that happened that morning. I guess they
were getting ready for church when someone mentioned mormons. The
youngest boy (about 8 years old) says "Mormons! I've heard of them!
They are the ones that settled Utah!" Naturally, their whole family
looked at him sideways, wondering if he was kidding. But he was
completely serious. Then the oldest boy told him "You are a mormon."
"No I'm not, I'm a latter day saint!" Isn't that the funniest! This
kid, who has a really strong testimony and understanding of the
gospel, didn't know that our nickname is "mormons." We all laughed
really hard over that one!

On Thursday night, we went to the Trail Center with Michelle to watch
the Joseph Smith movie. I LOVE that movie. It is so powerful.
Afterward, we bore our testimonies that Joseph Smith was a prophet of
God, and Michelle completely agreed with us. She already has a super
solid testimony. And she finally set a day to be baptized! April 3rd!
It's a ways out because she's pretty cautious, but she could easily be
baptized sooner. Hopefully she will become more confident and
comfortable with what she knows as we continue to teach her. Then she
won't be so timid and will feel ready to make this covenant with God
and receive the promised blessings.

Luckily, we made it to the Trail Center before our cars were grounded
(due to snow) and we were able to spend the night and go to President
Kunz's training in the morning. He always gives such good trainings,
and this month it was about our potential to become like God. He had
Sister Kunz stand up and he said that every time he sees her he thinks
of her as his queen, because that is exactly what she is. Because they
have been sealed in the temple they can become a King and Queen with
eternal increase just like our Heavenly Father and Heavenly Mother.
That idea really hit home. That is what I want, I want to become like
God. I want to be sealed in the temple. I want my future spouse to see
me that way and so I better start by seeing myself that way. I am a
daughter of Heavenly Parents with the potential to become like them.
Remembering that is so important. It helps me make good decisions that
will lead me to that exaltation and eternal life.

There is a room in the Trail Center called the Memorial Room that has
a beautiful view of the Winter Quarters Temple and the Pioneer
Cemetary. As I stood there, silently watching the snowflakes fall, I
was filled with gratitude. Gratitude for the pioneers who sacrificed
so much to pave the way for us. Gratitude for our Savior who
sacrificed himself so that we will live again and have the opportunity
for eternal life in his presence. Gratitude for the restoration of the
gospel, which gives us everything we need (the ordinances and
priesthood power to preform them) to prepare us to return to God's
presence. The white, sparkling snow made everything so clean, so
crisp, so beautiful, and so soft. I think it was a glimpse of how the
celestial kingdom will be. Full of light and peace and joy and love.

Well family, I love you all very much. I pray for you. I hope that you
will continue making good choices so that we can all enjoy the peace
and happiness that comes from living the gospel and one day all return
to live with our Heavenly Father. It will be AMAZING!

Sister Bailey Mortensen

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