I'm glad you enjoyed your last few days of summer. The weather here is finally cooling down a bit and we sure appreciate that.
So many incredible things have happened since last week! The most surprising was to have Sister Ith join our companionship. She is from Singapore and came here from the MTC to wait for her visa. Hopefully it will come in the next month or two so that she can go to her initial assignment of Taiwan. When President called Friday morning to tell me I would be training a new missionary I was shocked. She came later that afternoon and I am so grateful. Having a new missionary in a trio is so fun! Sister Ith says that although coming to Grand Island, Nebraska was a pretty big disappointment (naturally ... she was looking forward to Taiwan) she is adjusting well. She says she feels happiest when we are teaching, so it is a good thing we teach a lot. Already, she is learning to love the people we teach. She is so good at bearing her testimony and sharing personal experiences that back it up. She also chases people on the street even though she is nervous about talking with them. She has brought Sister Bonelli and I renewed energy and enthusiasm for the work. Her mere presence inspires us to be our very best and miracles are happening as a result. None of us are big talkers so we all get a decent amount of time to teach during lessons. Also, it's fun to utilize our different strengths. I love being in a trio!
I got the highest compliment of my mission yesterday in sacrament meeting. I was assigned to speak on President Monson's talk about service. I was also going to accompany Sister Bonelli as she sang "I Know That My Redeemer Lives" for the intermediate hymn. Needless to say, I was pretty nervous about all that. Well, it all went very smoothly (we got a bazillion compliments), and after we sat down, Brother Adams (who was conducting) thanked us and then shared a little story about us. He said his wife had been asking him to turn the dining room table for a while. That way she could get through more easily with her walker. Well, one day, he came home and saw it and the rug turned just how she wanted it. He asked her why on earth she did that ... she could have injured herself. She, of course, replied that she didn't. She said the sisters came by and asked what they could do to help. We turned the table (a very small favor in our eyes) and gave her a big hug and told her we loved her. It meant a lot to both of them and was very touching. Sister Bonelli and I had tears in our eyes because the spirit was very strong. Then Brother Adams said the most amazing thing. He invited everyone, even if they had been apprehensive in the past, to invite their friends to be taught by the missionaries while they were priviledged to have sisters serving in the ward. It was powerful. It was certainly the best compliment I've received as a missionary.
We had an excellent lesson with Darlene and Dennis on Saturday. Darlene is actually best friends with Laurie (in the Ralston LaVista Ward) and it turns out that Dennis was baptized in Guatemala. Darlene felt the spirit, which she describes as comfortable, as we watched the Restoration DVD. Then we invited her to pause and ponder in prayer after asking if Joseph Smith was a prophet. She offered a beautiful, sincere prayer thanking God for sending us and asking Him to show her the way and let herknow if Joseph Smith was a prophet. She paused for a good twenty seconds before closing her prayer. Afterward, she said she felt "good" and promised to come to church. We invited her to be baptized on September 18th and she accepted after we explained that she could know it is ture and be ready by then. It was a spirit filled lesson. Sister Ith did a great job promising the blessings of baptism and expressing the love, excitement and joy that we and Heavenly Father felt at her decision to be baptized. We are all very excited for Darlene. I'm grateful that Sister Ith could be part of such an incredible lesson and see pause, ponder in prayer work on her very first try.
Next Saturday, Anna is getting baptized! She is a sweetheart. Her boyfriend, Chris, will be baptizing her so their whole family is very excited. We are so blessed here in Grand Island. I'm amazed at how quickly I'm able to learn and love my new area each time I am transferred.
I love you! Keep up on your Book of Mormon reading and all the other good things you are doing. And yes, you should tell people that I'm doing grand in Grand Island.
Sister Bailey Mortensen