Tuesday, September 21, 2010

Elder Ellis Visits

Dear Family,

I'm glad you enjoyed Stake Conference. What a blessing it is to hear from General Authorities like Elder Kevin Pearson. Yesterday, Elder Steven G. Ellis came to our zone conference and it was incredible! I felt so spiritually recharged and rejuvinated. He talked a lot about faith and miracles and seeking the Lord's will. It was powerful and motivating. I'll try to summarize some of the main points.

Are you having fun yet? If not, you need to repent.

Do the best you can ... your very best.

faith = power
obedience = price
love = motive
the spirit = key
Christ = reason
joy = reward

When Elder and Sister Ellis were called as mission president and wife in Brazil Sister Ellis didn't want to leave because the Houston temple was about to be dedicated. Pres. Faust chuckled and said "It will be there when you get back." She learned that "Sacrifice isn't loss - it's merely preparation for something better." They were able to attend a temple dedication in Brazil with their whole family because their youngest daughter just turned 8.

D&C 44:2 says when we assemble ourselves together (at church or general conference or whenever) and exercise faith, th Lord will pour out his spirit upon us. And the spirit does all kinds of amazing things. It edifies, sanctifies, testifies, comforts, guides, teaches (one on one), warns, reminds, reveals, and converts. So take every opportunity you get (especially general conference coming up) to have the spirit poured out on you.

Isaiah 55:8-9.says the Lord's ways are higher than our ways. If I got anything out of the conference yesterday it was to stop trying to do things my way and just have faith to do it the Lord's way. Again and again he put his right hand horizontally up above his head (representing the Lord's ways) and his left hand horizontally down by his belt (representing our ways) to remind us to trust Him who knows best. He cannot lie so His promises are sure and we can trust Him completely. As we do our best to make our ways His ways we will get higher and things will go better.

It is all a matter of faith. If we exercise faith and the Lord will's it, miracles will happen. We are not on our own; this is the Lord's church and we are His authorized servants. We serve the God of miracles. What miracles did you ask for today? Think bigger, think His thoughts (which are higher than our thoughts). And how do we get more faith? We do things that require faith. We study, pray, obey, repent, invite, and work (read the gospel principles lesson on Faith ... it is way good). "When you are on the Lord's errand, you'll have the Lord's support." -President Monson

All in all it was an incredible conference and I'm very grateful to have gone and been inspired and strengthened. The spirit was very srong. It gave me the renewed enthusiasm I need to work even harder and exercise my faith to see miracles.

I am so happy for Darlene Gomez. She is the most solid investigator I have taught. Just this last week her dad died, her husband left her, she quit her job, and she got kicked out of her apartment. And despite all that she is still staying super strong in the gospel. Isn't that amazing! Because she is moving to St. Paul she will be baptized in the 2nd ward so we had a really good lesson with her in the 2nd ward's relief society president's home. Darlene told us that she was wondering if she should push her baptism back but that one morning, she woke up and felt like she should do it anyway. She has invited her family to come to her baptism this Saturday and it sounds like most of them will (and she has a huge family). She came to church in the first ward on Sunday and met tons of people in both wards. Everyone was super supportive of her and her upcoming baptism. She met a ton of people and they were all so loving and welcoming. She even bore her testimony of the Book of Mormon in our Gospel Principles class. She is incredible. I love her so much.

Oh yeah, tranfers happened. Sister Bonelli is now serving in the Ralston LaVista Ward and Sister Ith was transferred to the Lincoln University Singles Ward. My new companion is Sister Warner. She's from Twin Falls, ID and is studying elementary education at BYU-I. She is super nice, super organized, and super great at teaching. We got to teach Relief Socitey at the last minute and it went very smoothly even though all we had time to do was read through the lesson. It is so fun to have a companion with whom I feel truly unified as we teach. I think that comes as we focus on those we teach and on the spirit. If we really listen to the spirit and follow it's promptings then the Lord will orchestrate the lesson so that the people hear exactly what they need to hear. We don't know these people nearly as well as He does so it is imperative that we seek and follow His guidance in order to help them as He would. This morning in companion study we discovered a couple verses that we hope we can become more like. In Helaman 10:4-5 the Lord says "Blessed art thou, Nephi, for those things which thou hast done; for I have beheld that thou hast with unwearyingness declared the word, which I have given unto thee (not our words, but His words), unto this people. And thou hast not feared them (step outside our comfort zones: not care what they think, but what God thinks), and hast not sought thine own life (we set aside all personal affairs, see Matt 16:25), but hast sought my will, and to keep my commandments." Now listen for the amazing blessing of seeking the Lord's will. "And now, because thou hast done this with such unwearyingness, behold, I will bless thee forever; and I will make thee mighty in word and in deed, in faith and in works; yea, even that all things shall be done unto thee according to thy word, for thou shalt not ask that which is contrary to my will." Isn't that incredible! I kind of take that to mean that even when we ask the Lord for miracles, if it is according to His will, they will happen. That is a great example of faith and seeking the Lord's will. I want to be like that. I want to promise people blessings that the Lord himself would promise and then see those miracles/blessings come to pass ... not because I promised it, but because that is what the Lord wants for them. It is such a good feeling to know that I have been an instrument in the hands of the Lord. I love what the missionary handbook says at the very beginning: "you have been called by a prophet of God and set apart to represent the Lord Jesus Christ and His Church. You have been called 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.' How great is your calling! You have been recommended as one worthy to represent the Lord as a minister of the restored gospel." I feel very priviledged to serve the Lord full time during this period of my life. I get to be His hands, His feet, and His voice in reaching out and serving and lifting His children. I can't think of anything else I'd rather be doing!

I love you all very much!
Sister Bailey Mortensen

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