Saturday evening. We drive to the church. The font is being filled by our valiant and cheery Ward Mission Leader, Carlos Ibarra. We spend our time laughing and joking with him as we watch the font being filled. Javier walks in. He tells us he has just got off work but he wants to be in the chapel. "Here in the church is the Spirit, is you guys, the Elders. Outside there is temptation, evil, and difficulty." What he says has a strong impact on me. We leave the care of the slowly-filling font in their hands to drive to South River to teach a lesson. It begins to gently rain outside. We are happy as we walk in the dusk and knock a white door looking for a woman we contacted on the street the day before. No one answers. We need to return to the chapel.
Brenda arrives in a white blouse and a skirt. She has made so much progress in the last 3 weeks and we are smiling with her. She is nervous but ready. Members of the church begin arriving. I dress myself in white. I have forgotten my tie, so I put on a used one, probably worn by a worthy Priesthood leader years ago. The baptism starts. We sing, we pray, we listen to a well-prepared talk by Brenda's dear friend and fellowshipper, Karla. Time. We step into the baptismal font. Brenda is baptized and is clean.
EVERYONE. It's a wonderful life.
This week has been one of the most spiritual weeks of my entire mission. We had zone conference on Wednesday and I wept like when I was a little child when it came to a close. It gave me strength and desire. I want to serve God for the rest of my life. President and Sister Jeppson sang their hit song (not really, it's just the song they sing to close every zone conference) to close it up and Sister Jeppson began crying and couldn't finish but President just kept singing his harmony as he stared at her with the biggest loving smile on his face. I was a wreck during the song as well as into the closing prayer. I felt the most intense spirit of power, unity, and love. Another testimony to me that we are supposed to spend time and grow with one another. God lives. Even if others say he doesn't, truth it truth. He lives.
|Brenda after passing her baptismal interview|
|Language study in the park|
|Elder Bennett attempting to play the guitar|
|Elder Bennett and I cruising|