Wednesday, August 10, 2011

although the road to the temple is steep, it is the only road i wish to travel

Hi family,

Sorry I am emailing you all a day late!  We came to library yesterday to email and for some reason the email site would not work for me but it worked for Sister Mills.  I was so frustrated and annoyed.  So I just had to sit there while she got to email and use the computer.  But no worries I had forgotten my list of things to email home about so I have them with me now to email you.  Plus, I got the package that you sent me in the mail so I was luckily able to call Wells Fargo and sort out the issue with my credit card.  The lady I spoke with on the phone said that they will submit the claim to the company that charged my card and they have 60 days to respond.  So until then they temporarily refund my card.  So it will be a while before the issue is finally and hopefully resolved in my favor.

Last week was the best week of my mission.  I got to go to my favorite city ever, SEATTLE!!!!!  for our ward mission leader and his fiancee's sealing.  It was the neastest experience I have witnessed on my mission thus far.  As I watched these two recent converts to the church kneel across the altar in the temple where they were sealed as husband and wife for time and all eternity, my role and responsiblity as a missionary came full circle.  Missionaries had found Robert tracting less than two years ago and now he was being promised the greatest blessings he could receive here on earth and in the life to come.  He was able to bring his now wife into the church and they faithfully waited until she was able to go through the temple.  They are both the only members in their families so the sealing room was packed with members from the bishopric, endowed members of the ward, and 6 sister missionaries.  Their wedding reception was very modest and simple.  But the pure love for each other and their love for the Savior was so radiant.  They didn't have the fanciest decorations, or the most sophisticated food, or even the most elegant crowd of people that gathered to support them, but what they did have was the kind of testimony and conviction that is needed to have the dilligence and faith to recognize being sealed in the temple was the only option.  I only hope that whoever I marry will respect, honor, and cherish me like Rob does Carolyn.  That my husband will love the Lord like Rob does.  He has only been a member for 18 months but has just excelled in his callings and role in the church.  They had a wedding picture frame that the guests could all sign and I wrote, "Rob & Carolyn, If everyone had a love and marriage like yours, the world would be a better place to live."  I know that my sights are set only on the temple and although the road to the temple is steep, it is the only road I wish to travel.

Our baptism with Nolan was great!! True YSA style.  People were late, the talks were a little...animated.  Some of the moments could have been a tad more reverent.  But at the end of the day, there was so much love in the room and the Spirit was there.  Nolan was confirmed on Sunday and this coming Sunday will be interviewed to receive the Aaronic Priesthood. 

We have our baptism for the two Samoan girls this week also on Thursday!!!! We set a goal as a zone to baptize weekly and we are totally meeting our companionship goal so far!!  President Weaver might even drive up for the ordinance.  I am giving the 10min talk on the Restoration and Brother Elkington is going to try to take off work so that he can come.  It is going to be great! It's crazy that their mother is less active and their step-dad is not a member but they are both extremely excited and supportive of their baptism.  Their step-dad is home for the week from Alaska where he is gone for months at a time as an Alaskan fisherman (Deadliest Catch style).  That is why we are having the baptism midweek, he really wants to be there and will be gone on Sunday.  Plus he wants to cook us all Samoan food to have after the baptism.  Apparently he is a really excellent cook so I'm excited to see what he'll make. The girls' auntie is currently in the hospital and the step-dad asked us if we would go visit her and say a prayer with her.  She is currently pregnant and there have been come complications so they are hospitalizing her.  Stepping foot into a hospital was a little hard. The same smells and equipment that I had become all too familiar with these past few months with Grandma, all came flooding back when we went to visit her.  But I knew that this time I carried the mantle of God with me as a missionary and I was there to administer to the sick.  She is a member in another stake so she had been given a blessing.  We chatted with her briefly and said a quick prayer with her and her husband.  The girls' family is extremely shy, so it was no surprise that her auntie's family was too.  We heard back later from the girls' mom that their auntie really appreciated our visit.  Brought me a lot of joy.

We have little fake callings in our zone.  Prayer pope (someone that gets to pick who says the prayer) the Holy High-Fiver (someone that gives everyone encouraging high-fives) Miracle Man (someone that you call when you have a miracle happen that you want to share with the zone.  So I am the stewardship scribe.  I get to make the stewardship board at zone meeting and fill it out.  All of our different stats, numbers, and goals for the week.  I also have been self-appointed as the zone baker.  I love baking for everyone.  It is something that I get to do that I really enjoy, plus it makes everyone really happy.  So far I have made chocolate rolo cookies, oreo truffles, german chocolate cupcakes and this week I am making muddy buddies.  I try to make things that are relatively cheap and don't recquire a lot of cooking equipment and time to make.  Our district leader even offered to have the elders help pitch in to pay.  So far I have been able to make treats with what we have lying around our kitchen but if it ever comes to it, I might take him up on his offer.

One of the hardest things on the mission....eating when I'm not hungry.  Sometimes when we stop by members homes they are like "here! eat!"  It is usually just after we have eaten or when I am totally not in the mood for eating.  One time, when the member wasn't looking I scraped some of my food on to Sis Mills plate and she helped me eat it.  The sisters in the mission are doing a health/weight loss fitness program for the next 3 transfers.  It was initiated by Sister Anderson who works in the mission office.  She has gained 18 pounds on the mission so she wants to lose 1 pound/week for the next 18 weeks that she has left.  We are supposed to call in our progress each monday....yeah....we haven't been doing too well.  I love treats too much.  Luckily, I haven't gained any weight.  In fact, I have actually lost some.  There is no way that I would be able to work 15 hour days without the help of Heavenly Father.  There is just no way.  So I could probably be better at filling my body with better fuel.

Last night the new military senior couple missionaries, Elder and Sister Finnegan, invited me and sis Mills over for Family Home Evening. (They work primarily on base with all the navy and military members).  Elder Finnegan used to work as the guy in charge of the MTC bookstore so he has copies of almost every devotional and speaker that has ever given a talk at the MTC.  Last night we watched a recording of a member of the Seventy, named Lynn G. Dobbins.  He spoke on how we can better understand and perpetuate the conversion process for our investigators.  He asked what is our biggest hope as missionaries after we teach a family or an individual the lessons.  Naturally, we all think: BAPTISM!!!!!  Wrong.  Baptism is the third principle of the Gospel of Jesus Christ.  We should hope that our investigators FIRST have FAITH in the Lord Jesus Christ.  Because after the missionaries are gone, after ther baptism, after they start attending the ward for a while, if they do not have a foundation in the Gospel that is first built on faith, they will eventually fall away.  Ever heard of an anagram?  It's a word or words that can be scrambled around to have the same letters form a new word.  He put up the words: THE EYES.  The anagram that he made was THEY SEE.  Then he quickly said that this is not true.  That seeing is not believing.  That you cannot gain a testimony through our five senses.  How many times did people in the scriptures see an angel, hear the word of God, taste manna from heaven, feel the tangible gifts from God and so on an so forth and yet STILL DID NOT BELIEVE?  Read these scriptures (3 Nephi 1: 11-13, 22 and 2:1-2)  As missionaries we should not be holding their hands through their conversion process where we are the ones leading them solely, pulling or dragging them to the Christ.  Instead, we should be taking their hands and placing them on the iron rod, where they can then (with our support and encouragement) learn to lead themselves.  Because if we didn't plant their hands there, when we leave, they will be in mists of darkness (Read 1Nephi 8 so good!)

I encourage and invite you all today to read the Book of Mormon.  To read with a sincere heart, with real intent.  Did you know that if you were to read just 5 pages/day from the Book of Mormon you could have read it 3.5 times in one year?? 3.5 times multiplied by however many years we will live = lifetime of knowledge and increased insight from the word of God.  It has brought so much more understanding and recognition of how much my Savior knows and loves me.  Individually as a child and daughter of God.  It is the best conversion tool I have as a missionary for my investigators and I know this, because it has been the best conversion tool the Lord has given me in my personal conversion.  Start today.  The rest of your life and the happiness you can have await you.

I read this quoteby Elder Jeffrey R. Holland and thought I would leave them with you:

" Faith is for the future.  Faith builds on the past but never longs to stay there.  Faith trusts that God has great things in store for each of us and that Christ truly is the "High Priest of good things to come" (Hebrews 9:11) "

I love you all and hope that all is well at home.  Dad, yes I get your emails and love them!  Have you received the cards I've sent you.  I'll write you another this week.  Good luck with everything as you head back to school, Mom.  You too, Scott and Jill.  Love you guys.

Sis Baylon

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