Oh man. What a week.
First of all...yesterday Taylor was....BAPTIZED AND CONFIRMED!!!!!! Yeahhhhhhhh!! Haha I was laughing reading mom's email about not rushing Taylor into anything and that conversion takes time. Not that that is a laughable matter, because it's not, but it was funny or I guess more ironic that when I was reading that paragraph he has already been a confirmed member of the church for almost 24 hours. Just FYI...in the WA-TAC we invite people to be baptized after the first lesson. Hard and fast rule. We invite people to be baptized on every church tour. We even invite people to be baptized at the door. We are baptism focused missionaries. Not baptism number hungry missionaries. But ones that understand our roles and do everything we can to bring people to the Gospel.
So rewind the clock to yesterday morning. We had a mission wide fast for our 200 baptisms for the month of October goal. I fasted for that and I also fasted for Taylor. The adversary as you all know works so hard the last days, hours, minutes, and seconds to keep people from going through with their baptisms. Taylor had shown up to church yesterday and seemed fine. There were a few minutes between the time he arrived and the time that sac mtg started so we took him around and introduced him to people. I later found out during the meeting that it really freaked him out that people I introduced him to that morning already knew his name before he even met him. I told him that they were just excited and happy for his baptism. He felt a lot of eyes on him even though there really weren't. He has ADHD so he is kind of anxious/nervous in general. He sat sandwiched between Sis Holman and I on the pew along with the senior couple missionaries and Brandon, our other investigator. It was ward conference and the entire stake presidency was there along with several stake leadership people. He couldn't figure out why everyone was "voting." I told him that the members of the ward were sustaining people to their callings in the church or basically showing their support of them and their callings. Babies seemed to have been particularly noisy that day. Lots of kids fussing. I looked down to see Taylor's leg bouncing up and down. His face looked drained of color and I thought I saw him wipe some tears from his eyes. I passed him a note asking him if he was ok. He said that he just felt really nervous. I told him that it was ok to feel a little nervous, but that he shouldn't feel fearful because everyone is in support of him no matter what. 5 minutes later he jumps up and climbs over 4 people in our row to literally run to the bathroom with his hands over his mouth. I asked Elder Finnegan to go in the bathroom and check on him if he didn't come back in a few minutes. A few minutes went by so Elder Finnegan went to check on him. Taylor came back about 5 minutes after that and said that he had thrown up and is going home. Oh my goodness...
When you have an investigator go running out of sac mtg to go throw up because he is so nervous, you become nervous. Elder Finnegan took him home even before the meeting was over. Worry struck my mind. I became filled with doubt. I doubted my ability to calm his nerves. I doubted my teaching. I doubted that I had prepared him enough. I doubted myself. I doubted and became discouraged. It seemed like Satan was working on me as much if not more than he was working on Taylor. A rain cloud accumulated over my head and followed me around the rest of church. I didn't even rejoice in the fact that our other investigator, Brandon, had come to church. I was so distracted and distraught over Taylor. Was this baptism going to happen? Just as I thought "Well at least it hasn't been announced over the pulpit" the counselor conducting sac mtg announced the baptism over the pulpit. Hm. The look on my face as I discussed what had happened out in the halls after the meeting made it apparent that I was worried because a lady in the ward thought that maybe the baptism wasn't going to happen.
I realized though as I was continuing my fast that day was that I was fearful instead of FAITH-FUL. I was doubting not only in myself but I was doubting in God and what He could make happen. We left the second ward we attend during the second hour so that we could check on Taylor. Brother Hew-Len had noticed Taylor had run out and looked sick so he offered to come over and give him a blessing. Taylor declined the blessing because he said that he was feeling a lot better. I felt such a sense of relief. I decided that right then and there the Lord was looking out for Taylor and for me as well. So I decided that I needed to show my faith. So we did our 5-7 at 3pm that day. We did our full-time finding like we are asked to do when originally I thought that we should just skip it because we didn't have the time. We faithfully went out finding, knowing that if we did all that we are asked we would be blessed. And we were. Not only did we find a potential investigator that agreed to come on a church tour, Taylor was ready and excited to be baptized.
The baptism couldn't have gone better. Guess what? I was the chorister. Hahaha it was so scary! I have never lead music IN MY ENTIRE LIFE. But I practiced with the pianist like 5 min before everyone started arriving and it worked out ok. We had such a good turn out. About 30-40 members from the ward came out to support Taylor and be there to witness his baptism. Sis Holman gave the 10min Restoration talk and our ward mission leader conducted the meeting. The YM president and one of the YM gave the talks on Baptism and the Gift of the Holy Ghost. Elder Jenkins, our district leader, baptized him. Taylor asked for him to baptize him because Elder Jenkins is from HI and Taylor felt connected to him in that way. Even more so than the other boys that were his fellowship throughout the lessons. It was the neatest thing to witness. This was the first baptism that I saw from start to finish. Meaning that I was there when we found him at the door, when we took him on a church tour, when we invited him to be baptized, when we taught him the lessons, when we reinvited him to be baptized, when we dropped by his door at night to just say a prayer with him or read a scripture with him if he had a bad day, to the time that he entered the waters of baptism to follow his Savior Jesus Christ, and confirmed a member of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints and receive gift of the Holy Ghost. What an honor and a privilege. A humbling and gratifying experience to be apart of the very start of someone's journey back to Heavenly Father. After the baptism there was awesome fellowshipping going on. Sister Hew-Len and Sis Finnegan stepped up and made refreshments to encourage lingering and conversation after the service. Worked like a charm. Taylor's parents got to know so many people from the ward, many of which were in attendance at the baptism are also in their neighborhood. Addison, Taylor's 13 yr old sister who usually never talks, surprisingly came and in a dress for that matter. I asked two of the YW there to introduce themselves to her and they totally hit it off. Instant BFF's. Hahaha. Now she is gonna start coming to mutual. Score. Basically we are hoping to bring his Dad and his girlfriend Christy and her two kids into the church so that this can be a family unit. If they are baptized by December I could possibly see them sealed by the time I end my mission.
The day started as a lowest low so that when it ended it ended on the highest high. It was such a joyous experience. I love bringing souls unto Christ. Brandon, our other investigator is getting baptized on the 9th. Wahooo!!!
We met this guy named Tim when we were out finding this week. I felt impressed to use the picture of Christ being baptized by John the Baptist at the door with him. Did I ever tell you about how our zone started doing that? It is an excellent, I think genius, finding tool that our own Silverdale zone started. We basically bring a part of the church tour right to their door. We asked Tim, a 41 yr old single navy man, if he had ever seen that picture before. He said no. We taught him what was going on and the doctrine of baptism. that Christ was baptized to "fulfill all righteousness" or to fulfill all of God's commandments and to set the perfect example for us to follow him. He said that he had already been baptized in the Baptist church. We taught him that Christ taught of two baptisms. Baptism by water and baptism by fire. We explained the Gift of the Holy Ghost and what it meant to receive it after baptism. We told him that it sanctifies us. Cleanses us. It acts as a guide, comforter, protector, testifier of truth. We asked him if that was something that he wanted. He said he was at a loss for wards. To make a sweet story even sweeter we invited him on a church tour to hear more about the message that we shared with him and he accepted. It was scheduled for two days later and he was going to follow us down to the church after we met him at his apt. Sure enough he was ready to go with jeys in hand when we knocked on his door first thing Saturday morning. Ok....THIS NEVER HAPPENS. But that day it did. It was a miracle. Mac, remember him? My first baptism in the mission. He came and was the fellowship on the tour. Next thing you know it we invite him to baptism and he accepts instantly. We ask him why and he said because I want the peace that you told me about at my door two days ago. I suddenly felt prompted to relate an analogy of the baptism by fire through the Holy Ghost again to him. Even though we had already told him and even though he had already accepted a baptismal date. I said, Tim, I don't know anything about welding but I would imagine that the baptism by fire works like a welder. It puts the once hard, firm, immovable metal through an intense heat. Making it pliable. The heat causes there to be a glow, a sheen to the metal. It becomes pure. New almost. That is what the Holy Ghost does to us. It helps shape our lives for the better. Makes us glow. Shine. And feel new. He stared at me. "Why did you give that explanation?" he asked. "I don't know," I said. It just seemed to make sense that way in my head as something you would relate to. Turns out he is a welder in teh navy. WOW. Talk about inspiration from the Holy Ghost. That totally helped seal the deal and he is getting baptized on Oct 16th!! Miracles in Silverdale.
Welll on a different note my companion is the BEST. I love her. We get along so well!!! Not even get along but we genuinely have so much fun together. We laugh all day everyday. When you can have fun with your comp, the work doesn't feel like work. It is so awesome. I am giving her more opportunity to take the lead in teaching situations of not spoon-feeding her as much with things but really helping her gain her footing and style as a missionary. She is reserved but not. She has opened up a lot more because she has become totally comfortable with me now. She just needs to get to know the ward a little more and we will be golden. She is doing great!! Couldn't ask for a better greenie. I love it.
The luau was a success by the way. We had abou 350 people there!!! Lots of nonmembers and less actives came out for it. Sadly I didn't dance the hukilau. My comp never learned it and I didn't want to do it without her. I regret it though. Oh well. I recorded it though.
Well we are working hard and seeing miracles. I have the life. Being a missionary is the best.