Tuesday, December 14, 2010

Omaha is my home-aha

Dear Family,

It sounds like you are all getting excited for Christmas. Going to Utah for Joel's wedding should be a blast and a half! You'll have to tell me all about it.

I was transferred back to Omaha this week! It feels sooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooo good to be back at the Trail Center with all the sisters and senior couples. Honestly, as we drove closer and closer to the Trail Center, I got more and more excited. It was that wonderful feeling of entering familiar territory and then arriving at home. I love it here! I'm serving in the Millard ward with Sister Kusnerik and she is a lot of fun. Everyone agrees that she is very similar to Sister Bleazard in personality and mannerisms, which is funny because I've been companions with both of them. She's from Chicago and joined the church about two years ago. I love hearing her powerful testimony. She also makes me laugh a lot. The other big news is that I am now a Trail Center Trainer with Sister Evans. That means we give trainings every Saturday morning and coordinate the schedule and other stuff at the Trail Center. Sister Evans is helping me learn the ropes and it's funny because neither of us was called to serve in the Trail Center until the middle of our missions. I'm not really sure what to do or how to help the sisters here but I know that Heavenly Father does so I'll just keep seeking His guidance. One thing that is going my way is that I love the Trail Center and I love the sisters.

We had a baptism on Saturday for Mark. His wife Dee Dee started coming back to church about 4 years ago, but he comes from a Catholic background. Many sisters have taught him in the past but I guess Sister Kusnerik really connected with him. She was also raised Catholic so her testimony probably hit home. Also, she just came out and asked him one day "What's the deal?" and he said he had never prayed about it. He didn't like when the sisters challenged him to do things so he'd say he did them even though he didn't. Well, one day as he was driving, he finally prayed. He felt the spirit so strongly he had to pull over, and the idea to be baptized on 12/11/10 kept coming to his mind. When he told his wife he wanted to get baptized she thought he wasn't serious, but when he told her the date, she started crying 'cause she was baptized on December 11th 35 years ago. Isn't that amazing! So, Mark was baptized and it was a wonderful service. The Relief Society room was filled with ward members (there almost weren't enough chairs). Then he was confirmed on Sunday and received an early Christmas present, the gift of the Holy Ghost. The Holy Ghost truly is the greatest gift we can receive in this life. It guides, comforts, purifies, cleanses, warns, teaches, and does so many wonderful things to help us on our journey back to Heavenly Father. I felt very blessed to participate in Mark's baptism and confirmation and witness the joy that he and his wife have experienced as a result of living the gospel.

We did get snow and a whole lot of wind on Saturday. Thankfully, we were in the Trail Center that afternoon so we weren't out in it. I can deal with and actually enjoy snow, but the wind is killer. Most of the snow has blown away or melted by now. My first day back in the Trail Center was very exciting. Not many people came (probably because the weather was so bad), but I didn't care because I was so happy to be back. I was so eager to help with anything that I jumped at the chance to finish Sister Worthen's tour when she had to leave. The Florence Elders had brought a less-active lady and her husband in for a tour and I was able to talk a lot about the temple and making it our goal. At the end, as always, I asked them who they knew that would like to have missionaries come visit and the lady mentioned a friend that had visited with Elders before. So, after they left, I called him and he gave me his address so I could have the missionaries go see him again. I was so excited! My first day back at the Trail Center and I not only got a referral, but was able to contact him and he accepted the invitation to meet with missionaries! I guess I didn't have to be too worried about being out of practice, it all came back pretty quickly. Actually, it's not that different from missionary work out in the field. We are just blessed to have a ton of visual aids and faith promoting stories to bring the gospel principles to life.

So, how is missionary work in the Mortensen household? You know there are plenty of great missionary opportunities during the Christmas season: DVDs, parties, the nativity display, and whatever else your creative minds can come up with. I also want to remind you what President Harold B. Lee said in 1964, "Missionary work is but home teaching to those who are not now members of the Church, and home teaching is nothing more or less than missionary work to Church members." The members that you home or visit teach or work with in your callings need reminded of gospel truths just as much as anyone else. I hope you will recognize the wonderful blessing that it is to share the gospel, the most wonderful gift we can give, with those around you. You will grow so much closer to your Savior, Jesus Christ, as you invite others to follow him as well. Just follow the spirit!

I love you soooooooooooooooooooooooooooooo much!
Sister Bailey Mortensen

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