Monday, July 26, 2010
I'm so glad you had a good pioneer day! Spending time with family is definitely the way to go. It was exciting to meet Jeff and get his little report that all is well with the Mortensen clan. It sounds like everyone had a blast in Colorado doing crazy Colorado things. Those memories of catching mice and riding a four wheeler and driving for the first time are unforgettable. I can picture Sophie as a good little motocross racer. If she wants to try that a good contact would be Travis Chambers and his family. I remember that he really enjoyed that sort of thing. I can't believe Will got run over by a jet-ski! That's crazy! I'm glad he's okay. Hopefully you all make it safely home.
I got my first birthday present this morning when we came to the Trail Center to email! Sister Itri and I are very excited to listen to Men's Chorus. So thank you from both of us!
Our pioneer day was fantastic! We went to the Kanesville Tabernacle for a little bit to mingle with members and see "the Pancake Man." Then, we had an excellent lesson with Ann. She's a young single adult that just got her life in order and started coming back to church. She is full of the missionary fire that comes with repenting and seeing the atonement work in your life. That process automatically makes you want to share the joy of repentance and forgiveness with everyone. We love her so much! Then, we took Anthony on a church tour and reviewed the restoration. He also stayed for Meredith's baptism. I'll give all the details on that in a sec; first I want to talk about an amazing lesson we had with Beth and Anthony.
On Tuesday, Beth came on her first ever team-up to see Anthony. It was amazing because they are both amazing! Anthony expressed how he is reluctant to pray and Beth jumped right in with her testimony of prayer. She shared how much the gospel has helped her and her family, saying that if it weren't for the missionaries, she and Kevin might not be together any more, but that the things we've taught have helped them become better, happier people. She shared how she overcame her addictions to meth, alcohol, and finally cigarettes. And she explained how good it felt when she was baptized. She said something like this: "When I came out of the water it was just like the Joseph Smith story. You know, with the pillar of light. I felt that warmth." I was so happy and proud of Beth. Hearing the testimonies of people I've worked with is incredible! I think my favorite part was when she talked about her favorite scripture. Anthony said he didn't want to come to church and feel out of place. Beth's response to that was to share her testimony of church along with Jacob 2:18-19. Sister Worthen had read those verses with Beth and Kevin several times, reminding them to put God first so that He would put them first. After reading "But before ye seek for riches, seek ye for the kingdom of God. And after ye have obtained a hope in Christ ye shall obtain riches, if ye seek them." Beth testified that she knew that promise was true because she had seen it work for her family. She explained that Kevin had been out of work for months and months and was really frustrated with that. It meant that Beth had to work nights at a really hot, sweaty plant to support their family. Well, because they trusted Heavenly Father and came to church, He blessed them. Just a few days after his baptism, Kevin got a call from his previous employer asking him to come back to work. And Beth knew that that blessing came because they put God first by seeking for the kingdom of God. I was so impresssed with her testimony and with her scripture knowledge. I mean, she just recently started reading the Book of Mormon and that this was her first time helping teach. Sister Worthen would have been so proud, because she really did emphasize that scripture with them. I could hardley contain my happiness. I wanted to run over there and give Beth the biggest hug ever!
So, Anthony came to Meredith's baptism. I think it was really good for him to see how happy she and everyone else was. Her love for her family, for us, and for the Savior was so apparent. She is only 11 years old, but she is very close to the spirit. There's just something different about her. She is setting such a great example for her family to follow by being baptized. She is the pioneer of her family so we thought it was appropriate that she was baptized on pioneer day. After her baptism, while she was changing, I played the piano a little bit and people wrote notes to Meredith. She changed really fast and then came and gave Sister Itri a hug. She looked around for me, and when Sister Itri pointed out that I was at the piano, Meredith lit up and ran over to give me a hug too. She is so adorable. I know that Heavenly Father loves her and is happy with her choice to be baptized. Her family felt that too and even commented on it as we showed them the chapel. I love the joy that comes into people's lives as the accept and live the restored gospel.
So, those are the highlights. It has been an incredible week. I love you all so much. Remember as you take the sacrament that you are basically being re-baptized. Reflect on the sacrifice of our Savior and promise him that you will be better. I know that we can be cleansed each week as we repent and re-new our baptismal covenants by taking the sacrament. We are so blessed!