It sounds like things are going well. Congrats to Sophie in track and band. That's pretty cool that we got the same award. And welcome to Ty. I'm sure it's fun for everyone to have a full house again. The cleaning sounded like a good adventure. I hope you don't get rid of all the little kid books though because I'd like to have some of them. If "Go Dog! Go!" is still alive I'd like it for the memories. And Rox-a-boxen and some other ones that I can't think of right now.
I also wondered if you could help me prepare a talk. Sister Worthen and I are both speaking on the 20th in the singles ward about fathers and having priesthood in the home. The counselor who asked us to speak said it might be a little mean to make us talk about our dads when we don't get to see them, but he figured we were tough enough to handle it. We'll see. Mainly I'm wondering if mom or dad have any stories I could tell. I can't remember a whole lot (I think Heavenly Father blesses us to temporarily forget things from home so that we can use that brain space for remembering names and scriptures and missionary stuff) and don't have access to my old journals so anything you can think of would be great.
Church was really good yesterday. We had three investigators come to the family ward and one to the singles ward. Our lesson in the family ward for gospel principles was incredible because everyone felt and followed the spirit in sharing their experiences and testimonies. It was exactly like D&C 50:22 says it should be: "Wherefore, he that preacheth and he that receiveth, understand one another, and both are edified and rejoice together." Dawn (a new investigator) shared how she has tried a lot of churches but never felt at home and now she knows this is where God wants her. She knows it wasn't a coincidence that her daughter met Sister Whatcott's daughter because they were supposed to invite her church. I sat there in amazement because we've only had one 15 minute lesson with her and she already knows the church is true! The elect are out there, searching and "only kept from the truth because they know not where to find it!" A little later in the lesson, Dawn also shared how she was only able to overcome the "demon" of cigarettes by praying to Heavenly Father for strength. Her story really helped Jason, who is still struggling to stop smoking. Jason also had a cool light-bulb moment during that lesson as he looked at "the gospel" diagram on the board. Out of nowhere he says "I get it! I'm on step number two: repentance." And we all smile and say "Yes Jason, you're in the process of repenting, and once you do that you can be baptized and receive the gift of the Holy Ghost." It was a great Sunday!
We're also making a lot of progress with Bob. He's engaged to a member and grew up Catholic and is an all around great guy. They have four kids and we really love their family. He has been taught by missionaries before but never had the lessons in order and that seems to have confused him. I think he likes knowing that we are teaching him something that we've been trained to teach instead of just answering his questions. He read his assignment in the Book of Mormon and was excited for us to come teach him more. In our last lesson he accepted the baptismal date of July 10th, saying that he is willing to work toward that! We are super excited for him and his family because they are taking the steps to become an eternal family!
Kevin and Beth have had a rough week 'cause their three year old, Tara, has been in the hospital with pneumonia. We went to visit them had a lesson there. Tara is a trooper. Their other daughter, Grace, is five and has some kind of mental disability. She is the sweetest little kid and she always runs over to give me a hug. I just love that. Little kids are the best and I think they can tell that we have the spirit because they love being around us. There is this one neighborhood where they all come running up to us asking when we will come over and see them. Too bad their parents don't do the same thing. Hopefully little Tara will get well soon and Kevin and Beth will have time to meet with us and come to church. They are a great family.
Family, I suggest you read together the section in Preach My Gospel entitled "Bear Testimony Frequently" (p.198-199). It is very good. It doesn't mean that you have to get up every fast and testimony meeting, but it does mean that you should bear your testimony as you share the gospel. In the MTC we called it "teachifying" and I love it. Our role as missionaries is to invite the spirit so that others can feel and follow it's promptings. Bearing our testimony is often one of the most powerful ways of inviting the spirit so it is important that we do it. Also, "a testimony is to be found in the bearing of it" (President Packer). So, I challenge you to read that and then try it. Bear your testimony this week. It doesn't have to be formal. It could be as simple as "I love going to church because I know it helps me be a better person." It doesn't matter if it is in FHE, at church, on a home/visiting teaching visit, at school, at work, or even to a complete stranger (bonus points for anyone that does share their testimony to a stranger). I know it will invite the spirit and help you strengthen your testimony as well. Please tell me your experiences with sharing your testimony.
I love you so much!
Sister Bailey Mortensen