Monday, August 25, 2014

Fwd: Letter #73 - 8/25/14

---------- Forwarded message ----------
From: Elizabeth Montgomery <>
Date: Mon, Aug 25, 2014 at 4:34 AM
Subject: Letter #73 - 8/25/14
To: Christine Montgomery <>

Dear family and friends,

Wow... how many more of these letters are there going to be? Seven I think. My time in Odessa has pretty much just flown by already, and before I know it, I'll be sittin' on a plane thinking about future marriage plans (just kidding... sort of) :D

Well, Dasha got baptized and confirmed! I was stressed all weekend about making sure everything ran smoothly, and indeed, everything went well. The baptismal program was all that a baptismal program should be, plus President Packer and his family happened to be in Odessa and they came too! That was pretty neat. Elder Bukanov baptized Dasha (twice... the first time, her toe came up out of the water), and Elder Brough gave her the gift of the Holy Ghost the next day.

I reflected a lot this weekend on the grace and mercy that comes from the Atonement of Jesus Christ -- that a person can have the sins and mistakes of an entire lifetime washed away by baptism, and how every repenting member of the church can retain a remission of their sins every week by partaking of the sacrament. That is pretty incredible. I also realized that my perspective on baptism has changed during my mission. I used to view it as mostly an exciting event, something that every missionary strives for, but now... even though it's still very exciting, I see it now in the perspective of enduring to the end. It's a beautiful step in a beautiful process of life-long conversion, but at the same time, that covenant is in vain if not kept until the end. Retainment in the Church is just as important as baptism; in fact, everything we do in the church is for one great purpose -- the salvation of souls -- and one aspect of it is no more important than another.

I gave a talk yesterday in church comparing the gospel to a mansion. I wanted to write it out today, but I'm out of time, so I'll leave it for next week. Life is just dandy around here, probably thanks to many of your prayers. I'm still out of the know about what's happening in Ukraine, but just know that I'm still safe and happy.

Love you all! Have a great week!

Sister Montgomery