Monday, February 18, 2013

Post-Mission Postcard

Well, It's been one month now.  A few days ago I got a letter in the mail--from El Salvador!  Elder Bailey sent me a message.

The mission was the best thing I've ever done in my life.  There's not a day that goes by when I don't think about it.  In fact, I can't even carry a conversation without having to say something about my mission or the Gospel.  

My last couple of days in the mission were a mixture of feelings.  I was very excited to get back--I wanted to study, I wanted to see my family, see Utah, and step on AMERICAN SOIL again.  I absolutely loved the mission, but after two years...well...I really missed my family.  Mom, Dad, Joseph, Mike, Scott, Jen, Caleb, Kathryn, Joshua, and Abigail.  I missed them a lot.  

Monday, after writing my family for the last time, we went to Los Chorros (see picture of waterfall on postcard).  It was absolutely beautiful.  El Salvador is one of the "paises mas hermosas" in the world (once you get past the idea that everyone throws their trash on the ground).  Now I'm not gonna lie: it was hard to work the last couple days.  But I still did it.  We found new investigators, taught some good was great.  I said goodbye to all the members and took a quick picture with each of them.

Thursday Morning.  We got up a little early, got ready, and went to Hermana Veraliz's house for a delicious, typical Salvadorian breakfast of beans, eggs, and cream.  After, we went to the Cerna Family's house and taught them lesson 2: The Plan of Salvation.  Great lesson.  It was a good way to die.  For lunch, we went to the Figueroa's house and ate some bean soup.  Then we returned to the house, I changed into my brand new, WHITE shirt, and grabbed the bus to Santa Ana.  

I got to the office, and then had my final interview with President.  He is such a genius.  He gave me some great advice, and released me as a missionary of the Mission El Salvador Santa Ana/Belize.  After, I went to President's house and we had some delicious pork loins with a tasty pineapple sauce.  Mmmm.  Hermana Cordón is a good cook.  After, we had some ice cream, and then they took me into the living room for the "eternal family" talk.  I liked it.  I want an eternal family.

We ended going into another room and singing Placentero Nos es Trabajar. It's one of my favorite hymns in Spanish.  After, President offered a prayer and I said goodbye to my family in El Salvador.  I honestly felt very happy.  I was excited to go home and see my family; but that night, as I was writing in my journal, it hit me.  I was leaving all of that.  I started to feel kinda sad--like I was leaving a good part of who I was behind.  I didn't really like that too much, so I quickly went to sleep.

Then at 4:30, my alarm went off.  I got up, got ready, and got in the van when President Vargas arrived to pick me up.  It was dark as we started pulling out of the neighborhood where the assistants live.  They live at the top of Palmar.  I had been there so many times.  We started driving out of Santa Ana.  I had walked and driven so many times down that road.  It was hard to think that I was leaving it for... who knows how long.  

Now look.  I'd never really considered myself a crier.  In fact, I could probably count the number of times I had "cried" before my mission on one hand (after childhood, obviously), but the mission made me soft.  As we started driving away, I just started bawling.  I loved my mission.  I had grown so much, changed so much.  Everything I wanted to achieve, I achieved.  But  the Lord had something much bigger planned for me.  I honestly learned and realized so many important things that I never even realized I needed to know.  I had learned to be happy.  I had learned to always smile and that, as President Eyring told us before the temple dedication, "things WILL work out."  I had learned who my Savior was and how to trust in Him.  I had learned to trust in other people, and love them.  I love a lot of people there.  I miss them.  They have forever changed my life.  I learned how to get along with people and how to endure trials.  I gained a testimony.  The list goes on.

I loved my mission.  So that's why I cried.  It's hard to leave something that means so much to you.  I can honestly say the Lord directed my mission.  It wasn't much how I expected--it was much better.  I left with a testimony that God exists.  He is mindful of us.  He wants the best for us.  He restored His church in these last days so that we can find the truth.  He's given us the Book of Mormon: more scripture that helped me every day of my mission.  I feel happy every time I read it.  It teaches me and guides me.  He gave us a family.  Now no one has a perfect family--but they do have people who love them.  My family is eternal.  I'm very grateful that I can be with them for not just this short life, but forever.  God has given us commandments.  They protect us, and also make us happy.  And that's really God's purpose, isn't it?  He wants us to be happy.  He loves us a lot.

He loves us so much that He prepared a plan for us to return to live with Him.  He offered up the greatest sacrifice known in our universe.  As Amulek explained, "not a sacrifice of man, neither of beast, neither of any manner of fowl; for it shall not be a human sacrifice; but it must be an infinite and eternal sacrifice."  God sent his Son Jesus Christ to suffer and die for us.  And HE DID IT.  Now we can repent.  We can change.  We can be happy.

That is really what the atonement of Christ has done to me.  It has made me happy.  I am forever grateful for that.  

Well, those were my two years.  I served well, and I'm happy with them.  Later that same day, I got off the plane and got to hug my mom.  It was the best thing ever.

In the name of Jesus Christ, Amen.

Wednesday, January 9, 2013

102: Juayua 10

Hey fam. Umm. So the cyber has had a whole bunch of problems, and
I'm not going to get to write. So what I'll do is I'll write the
letter later today, then I'll take a picture of it and send it next
week, because I don't have any more time.

There were a whole bunch of problems, and the mission USB I use to
send numbers had a virus. I've been solving the problem.

So, about Christmas...

No, there's not very much gift giving because there is no money. The
little gifts that we gave away made the little kids' day. Seriously,
they were so happy. It was a cool experience.

The video presentation was cool. It went well, I was a handsome little guy.

Elder Bailey

103: Juayua 11

Hello family,

Well, before reading this letter, I would like you to read 2 John 12. (Having many things to write unto you, I would not write with paper and ink: but I trust to come unto you, and speak face to face, that our joy may be full.)

This week has been good.  We've been working hard—we had 4 people in church again, and 2 more who got baptized after:  R. and R., the grandma and the grandkid.  It was a really cool baptism; I baptized the two of them.  Those were my last baptisms.  I guess I'll tell you a little bit more about it when I get home.

I gave my last testimony in testimony meeting this Sunday.  It was good.  I feel good now.  We have two dates in our area still, and we're going to put two more before I go home.  At least that's the goal.

On Wednesday we had the leader's meeting.  It was great.  I learned a lot about how to be a better missionary.

Well, it's been a good two years.  I've really enjoyed my time here in El Salvador, and I've learned a lot.  I've been able to develop my own personal testimony of the Savior and His atonement.  I think that out of everything that has happened in the last two years, that is the most important.  I'm grateful for Him and His church, and that I can be a part of His great work.  I'm grateful for His gospel, and for the opportunity that each one of us have to believe in Him and repent.  That's really what makes us better people.

Thanks for all the support you've given me in these last two years. I love you a lot and am excited to see you again in a couple days.  Take care, and don't do anything stupid!

With love,
Elder Bailey

Wednesday, December 26, 2012

101: Juayua 9

Hello familia!


Merry Christmas!


So I guess the idea of me not calling tomorrow got kind of shot down.  Haha.  I guess I'll call.

In other news, we've survived the end of the world.


So this week has been great in a lot of ways.  All of our work with the members is paying off.  We've gotten some cool referrals.  Last week, one of the young women, M., brought her friend to church, so we contacted her family during the week.  They are way positive.  She, her mom, and her grandparents went to church this Sunday, plus another woman who was a referral from the second counselor in the stake.  So we had 5 people in church yesterday.  We went to visit them after and only the grandparents were there, but they accepted baptismal dates for the 6th of January.  They are way awesome.  The grandma brought a notebook and was taking notes during all the meetings, and after she told us she needed a hymnbook so that she could continue in the Church.   That family is way cool.


Also, on Thursday we had the mission Christmas activity.  It was a lot of fun.  We played cool games, had the talent show again (I didn't do anything this time).  But this time, what I liked most was the spiritual part.  I had to get up and share my last testimony.  Man, that was hard.  There were 17 people in all who shared their testimonies, and I was the second to last.  One by one, I saw all my friends pass by and share their testimony.  It was really hard to share my testimony, but it was sincere.  After, they had the musical program, and it was very good.  You could definitely feel the spirit a ton.  I'm not gonna lie, it really hit me that I was going home, and it was pretty rough.  Luckily, I was with all my friends who I started with...Elder Mendenhall, Elder Gealta, Elder Romero, and Elder Zepeda.   It was cool.


But don't worry, we're working our butts off, and are finding a lot of people.  We've already got two dates for JANUARY!!!!!  WWWOOOOOT!!!!


Well, I love you all, take care, and Merry Christmas.


Elder Bailey

100: Juayua 8

Hey there family,

So this week has been another week of hard work. We've been working a ton with members, and have been receiving and contacting a ton of referrals. They've had results, and we had 2 investigators in church who were referrals. They're progressing well.

It's been hard in our area. There are a lot of evangelicals, and they pretty much track us down and visit and attack anyone who we visit. We've lost a lot of positive investigators for that, even when they already have a testimony, but it is helping a ton to work with the members. We're having a lot more success in the area because of that.

This week I got to go to Nahuizalco with Elder Gottchalk and Texical with Elder Cade Larsen. They are both very good missionaries. Elder Larsen is awesome. He's working very well in his area. I was impressed.

Well, we're just getting ready for Christmas here, sharing a lot of messages about Christ and seeing the "Joy to the World" video a lot.

Look, if you really want me to call you, that's fine. But honestly, I don't really see a point. I'm going home in like 3 weeks. Just let me know next Monday.

Well, hope it's all smooooth back home. Love you all and love this work.

Take care,
Elder Bailey

Monday, December 10, 2012

99: Juayua 7

Hey there!

So this week was.....CHANGES WEEK. I received my last companion,
Elder Meza. He's from Cali [California], and his parents are both
from Nicaragua, so he speaks perfect English and Spanish. We've had a
lot of meetings this week, so we haven't had a lot of lessons, but
we've been running around asking for referrals from everyone and have
received a ton. Also, the familia M. is progressing really well.
That's the family where the dad lives in LA and is a member. He
already went back to the states, but his family is progressing. His
daughters are way smart, so we'll probably baptize them at the end of

G. is sweet. He got confirmed on Sunday, and is echadno penca.
Seriously, he is a sweet convert. His family is bugging him a lot,
but he has a good testimony. We saw the video of Joseph Smith in the
gospel principles class this Sunday, and he loved it. Then we went to
priesthood meeting and had a really cool lesson as well. So he is in
con todo.

We are trying really hard to work well with the members. And it's
working. To be completely honest, this ward works more than any other
ward I've had. The bishop is awesome, and works a ton, as well as the
members; everyone is giving referrals right now.

Well, thank you for everything, and I hope all is well.

Merry Christmas.

Elder Bailey

Monday, December 3, 2012

98: Juayua 6

Hola familia!

So, I don't have a lot of time, but this week was cool! We had a baptism. G. We had been teaching him for a very long time, but had been progressing slowly. Once he finished his studies at the university, he started really reading the BOM and started progressing. Then we taught him repentance, and he started really thinking about baptism. That was a cool lesson. One week later (last Wednesday), he accepted a date, then got baptized on Sunday. He's 21, he's really smart, and a really good guy. Definitely a powerful convert.

S M is progressing well. He accepted a date for this Sunday, and said that he wants me to baptize him. So, I'm pretty stoked for that.

We also found a new family that is way sweet. The husband is an inactive member and still has a sweet testimony. The only problem is that he lives in the states and only comes to El Salvador 3 weeks each year, and today he is returning to LA. They aren't married, so she's not going to get baptized anytime soon, but wants to keep going in the church. Her kids are awesome—seriously, they are way smart. So they can get baptized, and they want to.

Well, to be honest, I don't have a lot of time, so I'll see you later.

Elder Bailey