JANUARY 21, 2014
Well this week was great. Definitely had its ups and downs. I mean, what week doesn’t? ha ha But this week had a couple distinct ups. On Monday we got a call from President. He asked to speak with me and for a split second I was like “Whaaa?” trying to think of reasons, then it clicked when he mentioned Doug’s name. A little review background. We’ve been teaching Doug for 6 months. Because of past issues he needed First Presidency approval for baptism. He and Bonnie (one of the members) got engaged last week. He is so solid it’s crazy. Because of this wait and the events during it, his testimony is so immovable and he will make an amazing member. Oh wait did I spoil the news? haha YES! He got the approval on MONDAY! So, on Tuesday we had a lesson with him and Bonnie and were looking up scriptures about enduring to the end. We had him read D&C 20:37 and the spirit in the room was thick. It was one of the coolest experiences of my mission. I paused and looked at him and said, “Doug, now that you have First Presidency approval, will you follow the example of Jesus Christ and be baptized by one holding the priesthood authority of God?” (Bonnie is bawling at this point…well, we all were). He kept saying, “Are you serious?” then said, “WELL YES!” He was so giddy the whole evening. So Doug will be baptized this Saturday the 25th!
Then we had a lesson with Kristena. She has been praying about a baptismal date and when we mentioned it again she said, “I’ve picked a date.” In my mind I was thinking, “YAAAY!” This is a miracle because when we first started teaching her she was hesitant about it all. She picked February 5th! This was a miracle filled week!
On Thursday we got to go with the Niras to do temple baptisms with the youth. Oh myyy… SO COOL! It was such a privilege as a missionary to go with them. They both LOVED it. They had so many questions, so it was good that Sister Swensen and I could be there to help answer them and show them where to go. Sister Nira was a little nervous about it, but as we drove closer to the temple, she looked back from her seat and said, “I excited now!” When in the locker room, one of the youth said to her, “Sister Nira, if you slip, I’ll catch you!” haha So cute! The Bishop asked if we would be examples to the youth and do baptisms, too. That was neat … it’s pretty rare to go to the temple on your mission and even MORE rare to do baptisms for the dead on your mission. I felt such a special spirit there as I watched the Niras be baptized for ward members’ ancestors and as I got do it for people. When your purpose as a missionary is to invite others to come unto Christ and help them prepare for baptism, it is so cool to do baptisms in the temple to remind you of what it feels like. I loved watching the Niras walking out of the temple holding hands and talking about how great their sealing will be in a year. AH the gospel is amazing! Then yesterday we got to Skype with Sister Smack and Sister Smith in Anaheim with Karen, our deaf investigator. It was the coolest experience. Sister Smack is a pro ASL interpreter just so everyone knows. She was keeping up with me as I spoke. We had the iPad set up so we were behind it, and as I talked Sister Smack would interpret and as Sister Swensen talked, Sister Smith interpreted. They were also able to help communicate what the priesthood is better than we could with her just reading our lips. We were so blessed to have them and I know the Lord looks out for all his children. Anastasia, a recent convert also is coming back to church. She was baptized a year ago and has gone through a lot of rough things. When we saw her this week she had read 12 chapters of the Book of Mormon and she looked so bright. It was another re-confirmation that the scriptures fill us with light! Another cool miracle…we were out with Sister Brown and our appointment fell through and she had the idea to visit an older sister in the ward. We went and her daughter, who is less active, was there taking care of her disabled grandson in another room. At the end of the visit, I looked into the room next to and noticed the back of the wheelchair in whichhthe grandson was sitting. The spirit nudged me that we needed to meet him. I asked Sister Kidwell, the older sister we were visiting, if we could meet him. She said sure and we got to meet Dustin! I’m not sure what he has but he is sharp! He is 22. After the visit, ideas started filling our minds about trying to involve him in the ward! We are going to go back to see him!
On a fun note, since it was MLK day yesterday and we couldn’t e-mail, Sister Swensen and I went shopping at JC Penny and Target (favorite!) and went to lunch together at Mongolian Grill. Then we played scatterball with the Elders and Sisters in our Zone. Scatterball is kind of like dodgeball except everyone is against each other. I definitely have a couple battle scars…oh well! haha