We had a great Father's day. I'm pretty sure it was thunderstorming the whole time, but we were inside so it didn't matter. Sister Worthen and I delivered our talks despite or lack of preparation (she was more prepared than me but just as nervous). She did a great job and I really felt the spirit as she told the story of her family being sealed when she was 16. My talk also ended up being a lot about covenants. The little preparation I did do told me that these young single adults needed to hear about the importance of making and keeping covenants so I quoted a lot from Elder Christofferson's "The Power of Covenants" and a little bit from Elder Bednar's "Honorably Hold a Name and Standing." In our first sacrament meeting (the family ward) Brother and Sister Hillam spoke on many of the same things Sister Worthen and I were planning to share in our talks later that afternoon. Bro. Hillam told a story that I really liked about his first night being a father and holding his little baby boy through the night. As he looked this precious child of our Heavenly Father, which he had been entrusted to raise, he wondered how he would be able to help him become who he needed to be. Then it hit him: just help him make and keep sacred covenants, that is the most important thing we can do and teach our children. I loved the way he put it because it gave words to an idea that I was starting to discover. This life is all about becoming like our Heavenly Father and we do that through covenants. As I looked back on all the lessons dad taught me, the most important one was to live the gospel, to make covenants with my Heavenly Father so that I can become like Him and live with Him again. I tried to convey the importance of the baptismal and temple covenants to the young single adults and I hope they understood. I used Helaman 5 and Mosiah 5 to emphasize the importance of taking the name of Christ upon us. Something that I love about being a full-time missionary is that we literally have Christ's name written over our hearts. We represent him and must honor his name. And yet, we all have shown our willingness to take upon us the name of Jesus Christ by being baptized, and we renew that covenant each week as we partake of the sacrament. It helps me realize what a great responsibility I have to live up to that name by trying my best to follow the example of Christ.
A wonderful thing happened this week. We went to teach Kevin and Beth and persuaded Beth to say the opening prayer. It was very short, but in it she thanked Heavenly Father for answering her prayers. Afterward, Sister Worthen asked her how Heavenly Father had answered her prayers. Beth then told us that she knew the Book of Mormon was true. We wanted to shout for joy and run to give Beth a hug, but we decided that huge smiles and words of praise were more appropriate. Apparently, Beth was having a rough night when she decided to pray and ask God if the Book of Mormon was true. The next morning, she felt this warmth that she had never really felt before and she just knew that the Book of Mormon was true. We asked her what that meant to her and she explained that it helps to know that despite all the confusion and different ideas that are out there, there is something true that she can hold on to. Isn't that wonderful! I was so happy I could have lept through the ceiling! I was reminded of Ether 12:6 which says "ye receive no witness until after the trial of your faith" because Beth's answer was, in a way, my answer as well. I admit that I have been a little frustrated recently with all the people that keep telling me the Book of Mormon isn't true. I hurts to have them criticize something that I hold so dear. My entire testimony is founded on the truthfulness of the Book of Mormon and I love it so much. When I teach, I always bring things back to the Book of Mormon. No matter the concern, I know that it can be resolved by studying, pondering, and praying about the Book of Mormon. I know that Heavenly Father will answer that prayer by the power of the Holy Ghost if we "Ask with a sincere heart, real intent, and having faith in Christ" (Moroni 10:4). The trouble is, most people don't sincerely want to know and Heavenly Father won't tell them it's true if they aren't willing to act upon it. That's where the real intent comes in. On Wednesday night, Sister Worthen and I literally ran from an appointment where a lady told us the Book of Mormon was true. As soon as we got home, we went in our room and prayed, asking Heavenly Father to reconfirm the truthfulness of the Book of Mormon. And He did! I felt that warm reassurance that I have felt before, testifying to me that it is true. I know the Book of Mormon is true. And I love seeing other people receive that witness for themselves. Heavenly Father loves each one of us and He will let us know the truth.
I love you all very much!
Sister Bailey Mortensen