Monday, November 8, 2010

Double Baptism!

Dear Family,

I'm glad you are all in for a family temple trip when I get back. It will be a real treat. I turned in the form that the mission office sent and made a note that I'd like to extend my mission. I've also informed President Kunz so hopefully they sort all that out.

We had a double baptism on Saturday! It was great to see Jerome (70s) and Nyayien (8) be baptized! Bro. Whitehead is the friend that introduced Jerome to the church so even though he is about 80 years old and kinda frail he baptized Jerome. It took him four tries and some help from Bro. Pyper (who baptized Nyayien) but they did it! You should have seen the huge grin on Jerome's face afterward. He was so happy. Nyayien was also really happy and full of energy. I really felt the spirit. The spirit was especially strong as Sister Warner and I taught the restoration while those who were wet changed. I felt so warm as Sister Warner recited the first vision. I know that was the spirit confirming the truth. I know this is the true church of Jesus Christ. I really felt that as we bore testimony. At the end, Jerome bore his testimony. He read it from a paper he had typed up and it was so cute. He talked about God and the Savior, but my favorite was at the end he simply said "Therefore I believe. Thank you." I love his simple but firm faith.

It was also really exciting to have our investigator, James, attend the baptism. He turned 76 that day and I think that is a great thing to do on your birthday, attend a baptism. He has now gone 3 whole days without smoking and is feeling so happy because of it. He started smoking when he was 10 so this is a big deal. We've been doing everything we can to help him. When we taught him the no smoking program it took us a long time to convince him to get rid of his cigarettes. But with a lot of convincing from us, a member of the ward, and the spirit he finally crushed his packs of cigarettes and threw them away. He's been sticking with it ever since and it is amazing the change that has come over him. He is so happy to finally be conquering Satan. And he knows the only way he's been able to make it this far is because the Lord is helping him. He's praying and doing everything in his power so the Lord is making up the rest and helping to diminish that desire to smoke. What a miracle!

Remember the Sudanese family we read 1 Nephi 1 with? Well they are doing great. We taught them the gospel and invited them to be baptized and the dad said he would talk with his wife about it. He actually brought up the question of "is it okay to be baptized again?" before we even invited him to be baptized again. So we were able to explain the need for authority and then invite their family to be baptized by God's priesthood authority. It went really well. I loved what the dad said at the end, "Now we and all mykids know what we need to do." He was so grateful that we had taught him and his children the gospel, the simple steps we need to take to live with God again. It was amazing!

I have one quick insight to share from this morning's scripture study. ALma 37:34 says "Teach them to never be weary of good works, but to be meek and lowly in heart; for such shall find rest to their souls." Believe it or not, missionary work is exhausting and you pretty much never get a break. In that sense, I'm sure it is good practice for being a mom because you are always on the clock. But even though my body is tired I should "never be weary of good works." If I am meek and lowly enough to ask what Heavenly Father wants me to do next, even though I feel I've just done a good job and deserve a break, and then I keep working to do what He asks, then I will find rest to my soul. I really would rather be tired physically and at rest spiritually than to be resting physically and tormented spiritually. So I'll do my best to be dilligent and work effectively, even when I'm tired. I just love the insights I get as a missionary! Who knew that working hard would result in true rest?!?

Well, I love you all very much! Keep being the amazing family that you are! I think almost all of my companions want to meet you guys because I'm always telling them how great you are!

Sister Bailey Mortensen

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