Dear Elder Bailey,
We had a wonderful trip to California. Thank you for sending such a wonderful testimony to your Grandparents. It is so hard to know what they think. Grandpa's hearing is getting so bad, I doubt that he really hears much in conversations. He mostly guesses. Grandma has a real problem with short term memory. She can converse with you and hold her own for a time, but she won't remember that you just had that conversation with her five minutes ago. She is rather frustrated. They are both pretty healthy, though, and seem to be doing well for now.
Our last day was spent having a lovely time at the beach at Corona del Mar. The water was warmer than expected and so beautiful.
Then we went to eat at a cute 1950's diner for lunch. Cami and Greg enjoyed their sandwiches.
And then on our way to do more sight-seeing in Los Angeles, we got rear-ended on the freeway. There was a lot of congestion. We slowed down, the lady behind us slowed down, but the lady behind her did not. Ouch!
We are all okay and made it home safely, but the car is now in the shop getting repaired.
Dad and I went to one day of BYU Education Week. We went to a few outstanding classes. The ones we enjoyed the most were about Abraham Lincoln. His honesty and willingness to do God's will were amazing. Another class we thought was good, and quite entertaining, was about "Five Reasons Joseph Smith Could Not Have Written the Book of Mormon." The presenter was from Texas and had an engaging Southern accent. We only attended his last class, so we missed all of the build up from the previous classes. He had advertised all week that he had a surprise for the last class.
A former member of the Church who thought he was a hot-shot journalist had approached the presenter by claiming that anyone with any journalistic skill at all could have written a piece of fiction better than Joseph Smith's "fictional" work: the Book of Mormon. So the presenter challenged him to write a short story like the First Book of Nephi in just a few days and keep to specific parameters. Some of the things he had to include were:
1. Narrative, inspirational story about a family that leaves the Middle East and travels to an unknown land.
2. Include 3 completely original place names and 6 original names of people.
3. Write in Biblical style.
4. Must be just 3900 words.
5. Must be first draft with no editions.
If he took the challenge, the presenter would pay him $500 and all of the usage rights would be given to the presenter.
The guy accepted the challenge, and the presenter showed parts of the "masterpiece" to the class. It was incredibly lame. Even one of the made-up names was "I, Nephi" spelled backwards. Simply ridiculous.
Fortunately the presenter saved the class time by going on to bring the Spirit back to the topic. We know the Book of Mormon is a translation by the gift and power of God, through his prophet Joseph Smith. It is too bad that so many people list to follow the adversary, but cannot leave Joseph or the Book of Mormon alone. They have to continue agitation.
One great story about missionary work. Another presenter told about how his daughter recently returned from her mission in Tennessee. She worked with a part member family where the wife was LDS and the husband was a minister of another Church. The wife told the missionary that she felt that she would be the one who would make a difference in whether the husband would listen to their message. It had been 12 years of missionary lessons and never would the husband really listen. On one visit he was persuaded to come in. "We won't bite...come on in," the Sister Missionary said. After the lesson and some back and forth discussion, the Sister said to the husband, "Do you catch?" He said, "Of, course, I can catch." "Then, CATCH!" She tossed him the Book of Mormon. Once he had it in his hands, she said, "Read it."
Some weeks later, the Sister Missionary asked him, "So what did you think?"
He answered quietly and under his breath, "I know it's true."
She said, "What?" (trying to get him to speak up)
"I know it's true."
He was soon after baptized. He even brought some members of his congregation with him. Unfortunately, there were protesters at his baptism (angry members of the old church) that were disruptive enough that the police had to come to keep the peace.
The presenter said that the wonderful news was that his daughter and their family were traveling out to Tennessee in a few months to go through the Temple with this good couple. How great is that?
I just love wonderful inspirational stories!
Have a wonderful week,
From Elder Bailey:
Well, this week was pretty good. We taught a 17 year old investigator that we have not met with in 3 months because she lives outside our area. She wants to come to our ward. She is super golden and wants to be baptized but we are waiting on parental consent. Mom said yes and Dad said, “I will think about it.” She knows the Bible super well and recognizes the Spirit, and knows the Book of Mormon is true. She is trying to take the time she has waiting for her parents to say, “yes,” to build a good gospel foundation. We taught about tithing, and she already knew what it was and explained it to us perfectly before we taught it. It was awesome!!!! Brother Taylor came back and we are setting up splits in our wards this week. We are going to get a lot of work done this week.