I was very blessed this week to attend four days of Leadership Training with President and Sister Kunz, the Zone leaders, the District Leaders, and Sister Evans (the other TC trainer). We learned so much about the Atonement and were able to apply it more in our lives and I came away just so much more excited to serve the Lord. One big "aha!" moment for me, and apparently President Kunz as well, was realizing why we focus so much on baptism. Baptism is central to our purpose because it is central to God's purpose to "bring to pass the immortality and eternal life of man." As we work to help others be baptized we are becoming more and more like Heavenly Father because we are becoming more and more united with Him in His purpose. And really that is the whole point: to become like Heavenly Father. That's what we want for ourselves, our families, and the people we teach: to become like Heavenly Father. And we do that by uniting with Him in helping His children follow our perfect exemplar, Jesus Christ, so that we can all return home to Heavenly Father. I hope that made as much sense to you as it did to me.
One other huge thing that I learned during leadership training is the importance of and the power of prayer. I am trying to improve my prayers by really taking the time to converse with Heavenly Father, to "counsel with Him in all my doings" and pray specifically for others and the blessings I receive. Also, there were several instances throughout the trainings in which my personal prayers were answered. At Sister Evans suggestion I had asked Heavenly Father to teach me about me, to help me understand my true worth. From comments made throughout the week I learned that I have a powerful testimony because I live it, that I am clean and pure in heart, that I am a peacemaker, and that Heavenly Father can use me to minister to others as I reach out in love. These have helped me so much to see my worth more clearly and choose to be my happy, cheerful self. Sister Kusnerik and I realized that we just needed to be ourselves and love each other for who we are. That simple decision has helped our companionship so much. I don't worry about what she thinks of me nearly as much as what I or Heavenly Father think of me and we are all much happier as a result.
The highlight of my week was attending the temple. It has been way too long, at least 5 months since I was there last, and I plan to never, ever go that long without serving in the temple again. I realized that it is much easier for me to resist temptation when I know that I'll be going to the temple soon. It's like that painting in the Trail Center called "Shall we not go on in so great a cause," that shows the pioneers struggling towards the vision of the temple in the distance. When I have that goal in mind it is much easier to overcome any obstacles that lie in my path. I truly appreciated the opportunity to bask in the peace and the joy that always fill the temple. I also gained a deeper understanding and appreciation of the covenants that we make there. It was a great chance to renew those covenants and recommit to live them more perfectly. I just love the temple. We are so blessed to have them all over the world and often so very close to us.
Our big miracle this week was Jesus G. accepting a baptismal date. We read Alma 7:11-16 with him and asked him to prepare for baptism on January 29th. He hesitated by asking "Do you think I'll be ready?" and I immediately responded with "I know you will." We explained that as he continued learning from us, reading, praying, and coming to church he would be ready. He is a very sincere man with a great desire to follow Christ. He's going through a rough time though because his wife just divorced him. He definitely feels and recognizes the spirit and he always calls to tell us if he can't make an appointment or something. We are just so happy for him to be working towards starting new on January 29th!
Well, I Iove you family! Have a great week!
Sister Bailey Mortensen