I am glad to hear that you are all doing well. The news that Will got a job is especially exciting! Congrats Will! It must feel good to have a car and a job.
I gave a tour to some distant cousins this week, Curt and Mary Whitaker (and I probably spelled that wrong). It was a powerful tour, and of course they loved hearing about the Mortensen family that came across in the Willie handcart company because Curt is a descendant of Morten (the oldest boy who stayed to serve a mission). They came back the next day and left a note with their email. Would you mind emailing them to say thanks for coming in and that I loved talking with and learning from them?
This week, Sister Worthen and I learned the power of the Book of Mormon. We went to visit a recent convert named Sandy. She's an older lady that struggles with the Word of Wisdom. When we arrived, she was smoking and drinking and had basically given up. We were heart broken. Sister Worthen, who knows her better, did everything she could to persuade Sandy to stop, to trust Heavenly Father and remember the promises she made with him at baptism. We tried to help her remember and recognize the blessings that come from keeping the commandments, but she didn't seem to care. Sister Worthen was about ready to give up and leave because we can't force anyone to choose happiness. I didn't know what else to do except read the scriptures so we all opened to Ether 12 and started reading about faith. We took turns reading and talked about what it meant as we went along. After reading verse 27 about Heavenly Father making weak things strong, Sandy took a deep breath, walked over to the sink, and dumped out her beer. Sister Worthen looked at me in shock and then gave Sandy a huge hug. The change that came over her was truly a miracle. Instead of being depressed she was smiling. Instead of being discouraged she had hope. That is the power of the word of God. It truly will "divide asunder all the cunning and snares and the wiles of the devil, and lead the man of Christ in a strait and narrow course across that everlasting gulf of miser which is prepared to engulf the wicked" (Helaman 3:29). Needless to say, Sister Worthen and I are on an Ether 12 kick and keep inviting everyone to read it. We just love the Book of Mormon.
We're also working with a really sweet old man named Don. He is set to be baptized on June 12th. He really knows the Bible and at first he was more interested in teaching us than letting us teach him. He has a lot of good questions and is getting better at listening so that we can answer. Bit by bit he is developing a testimony and it is so cool to see. It took him awhile to see why priesthood authority was so important and he would leave messages on our phone saying "So, supposing all this stuff about Joseph Smith is true ... I don't see what you want me to do about it. You say I need to be baptized again because my baptism wasn't valid? ... well can't I just wait until I die and have you do it for me? ... I just don't know what you want me to do. Anyway, I do appreciate you girls coming over and I thank you for your fellowship. See you tomorrow." Isn't that great. He really spends the time studying these things out and is usually able to answer his own questions. We are just there to guide him where he already knows he needs to be. He has also said that he sees something different in us; at first he thought it was "the vitality of youth" but now he knows it is the spirit and is excited to receive the gift of the Holy Ghost because he desires that happiness that we have. Sister Worthen and I are constantly getting comments about how smiley we are. I think that is mainly because Sister Worthen really is always smiling. So I guess that is working well for us. Another one of Don's concerns about being baptized again is that he won't really change. He's afraid he will be baptized but then go back to his "evil ways." So we had a really good lesson about repentance being sincere when we confess and forsake. He is doing great and we just love teaching him.
Sophie, have a very happy birthday! It sounds like mom is planning a most excellent party. Have fun!
I love you all!
Sister Bailey Mortensen