I'm glad girls camp was a hit. I didn't know you were going camping in Idaho or going to a family reunion in Colorado. Sounds fun. You'll have to let me know how it goes.
Birthday gift ideas (you don't have to use all of them, but hopefully some are small or fun or even home-make-able):
-a pair or two of garments
-a short sleeved, non-cotton, button up shirt that I preferably wouldn't have to tuck in (I realize that's a lot to ask)
-a skirt? (my black one is getting a little worn but I'm sure it can last)
-super-sticky post-it notes
-a basic plan of salvation "game" where the kids have to put all the pieces in order ( I like when there is a stick figure with a spirit and a body)
-a space saver vacuum bag (so that my bedding will shrink when I pack it)
-pictures of you guys (ones I can hold in my hand)
-Reese's, craisins, etc.
We've been setting people for baptism like crazy! On Friday we set Lisa+Richard (July 24th, family ward, newly-wed couple), Meredith (July 24th, family ward, 11 and super cute), and Melissa (Aug 14th, singles ward, her boyfriend took her to temple square and she loved it)! On Saturday we set Don (July 31st, family ward, Sister Worthen and I stopped teaching him but his heart has softened and he wants to be baptized)! And yesterday we set Tiffany (Aug 28th, singles ward, has been going to church for several months and is almost done reading the Book of Mormon)! All of them are excited and looking very prepared for their baptisms!
I gave a talk in the family ward this Sunday. I was asked to share things I've learned on my mission or my favorite chapter from Preach My Gospel. All throughout the week I kept thinking about Chapter 4 and how important the Spirit is in missionary work. Then, after teaching Don on Saturday, a new, semi-related topic came to mind. Don asked about becoming one with Heavenly Father, Jesus Christ, and the Holy Ghost. He said it could be pretty easy for him to convince himself that he was close to God and Christ but if he doesn't feel the spirit, then he must be wrong because Heavenly Father, Jesus Christ, and the Holy Ghost are one. If he really is one with one or two of them then he must be one with all three. We tried to explain that the gospel (faith, repentance, baptism, receiving the gift of the Holy Ghost, and enduring to the end) is the way to become one with the Holy Ghost, with Jesus Christ, and with God. It was after that lesson that I decided to change my topic. I suddenly realized that the gospel is the what, the why, and the how of missionary work. We share the gospel so that people will live it and become like Heavenly Father. But we are only successful in this as we live the gospel ourselves. We are not the teachers, the spirit is, and if we aren't living the gospel we can't have the spirit and it cannot teach. So, my new topic was "our purpose," which is to "Invite others to come unto Christ, by helping them receive the restored gospel, through faith in Jesus Christ and his Atonement, repentance, baptism, receiving the gift of the Holy Ghost, and enduring to the end." Really this is just an extension, or more specific way of stating Heavenly Father's purpose, which is "to bring to pass the immortality and eternal life of man." As we help Heavenly Father fulfill His purpose, we are fulfilling our purpose and we are happy. It is all about becoming more like Heavenly Father, and Jesus Christ. The gospel is the process we go through to get there. By living the gospel we access the power of the atonement and the Holy Ghost and we become more and more like Christ. One of the most amazing things about it is that the more we help others come unto Christ, the closer we get to him. He spent all his time focused on others, so as we serve others we become more like him. And we must qualify for and rely on the Holy Ghost to truly be able to help those around us. We don't know them nearly as well as Heavenly Father does so we need His help. If we will listen to and follow the promptings of the spirit, we can be an instrument in His hands in bringing His children home. I love being a missionary!
I love you all so much!
Sister Bailey Mortensen