Wow. What a week it has been. It has definitely been one of the most incredible weeks of my mission. So many good things happened. It was definitely one of those weeks where everything seems to go wrong at first, but it all works out in the end.
First of all, things were crazy. Ciaran, Ciara and Luke's baptisms were planned for Saturday, and we still had quite a bit to teach them before they actually got dunked. We phoned up the dad on Tuesday to make sure it was still OK to come teach them that day, but no dice. Turns out they had some event planned for that day for over six months so they had to cancel, but that we could come over every other day before the baptism. So we did!
Every time we went over the kids were so excited for their baptism. Luke was especially excited, and he would always tell us the countdown to when it was going to happen. "3DAYS LEFT TILL WE GET BAPTISED!!!" Yup. That a great thing to shout as an 8 year old :)
As we taught them about tithing and fasting, Ciara was a little worried about paying her tithing. She said she wasn't sure if she'd always be able to pay it through her whole life. We tried to address her concerns, but in the end invited her to pray about it. The next day was the day for their baptismal interviews (Friday). If you know about baptismal interviews, you know that you've gotta be willing to pay tithing in order to be baptised.
Friday comes along, and we had zone meeting. It was nice and inspiring (as always)and I gave my departing testimony. Just before the meeting, we got a stressful text from our ward mission leader about things not working out OK for the baptismal service to proceed, and we learned that there was no baptismal clothing to be found in the chapel we were expecting to find some. GREAT. Just what we wanted, more challenges! We made a few phone calls, but in the end just had to go into the meeting and wait it out. After the meeting, we checked our phone and we had a text message saying that the problem concerning the baptismal service was sorted. Phew! But we still needed baptismal clothes.
After zone meeting we travelled with out district leader to the Joseph household and each child had their interview one by one. Ciaran came back first and exclaimed "I passed!" Ciara was up next and she came back with a smile on her face and she told us she passed as well. Her prayers must have been answered about tithing :) and Luke came back last, and of course he passed!
Everyone was solid to get baptised! That meant that sister Nielsen and I had to go into full on baptism planning and preparing mode. Aka, beast mode. Luckily a member had sorted loads of things out for us already, so we didn't need to worry about food or who was going to speak or inviting people. We just needed to print baptismal programs, fill the font, and find clothes. Sounds simple, but little did we know what Saturday would bring.
So here is the rundown of Saturday:
9:30- we get a call from the member who was supposed to take the whole Joseph family to their own baptism, and their car has stopped working. We are instructed to now find a lift for 7 people.
10- call president Leppard to sort out confusion the bishopric had on when the kids were getting the Holy Ghost.
10.15 frantically call a member to ask them to type baptismal program (the computer at the church just so happened to stop working the day before.)
10.16- bike to members house, spend an hour figuring out how the format worked and finally we have it all together!
11:25- take memory stick to church and the printer also decides to freak out and won't print anything. Joy. Found one member to take 3 people from the family.
12:30- go eat Thai food with a member :) we love Thai food.
1:30- bike back to church and get one copy of the program to print, so we photocopied it 25 times to make programs
2- we realise no one cleaned the font-we cleaned it for a bit And began to fill it up. We also get a call from a member saying their car is fixed! Everyone can be there!
2:05- member arrives to set up food for the baptism, so we helped her out
2:20- we go through the baptismal clothing again and find that there are loads of adult sized ones, and one for a micro-sized child.
2:40 we practiced our musical item
2:50 people start arriving for the baptism, and two of the three kids get there.
I'm tired of writing like that, but you get the point. It was crazy. The font wasn't filling up fast enough, and the baptism was supposed to start at 3. Luke and Gareth (the dad) got stuck in traffic and didn't get there till 3:30, but everyone that came was patient and waited nicely. The baptismal clothes fit Ciaran and Ciara, but Luke's was too small, so he had to wear a massive jumpsuit. Basically it looked like he was wearing a robe. But he was smiling all the way through it!
Forty minutes late, the service finally started. It was lovely, and the Spirit was there. All 3 of the kids got baptised, and they loved it. They were so happy! So many members came and loved seeing everything. Miracles.
Another miracle is that all three of the kids were able to come the next day to church to receive the gift of the Holy Ghost. Honestly they were three of the best confirmations I've ever heard! The Spirit was wonderful, and the kids were beaming. We love them so much! In both Ciaran and Luke's it was talked about how they will serve missions, and in Ciara's it talked about how she will touch people's hearts through music and singing. It was amazing.
After their confirmation, I got to give a talk in sacrament meeting. It was nice, and about Christmas! Here is a quote I used for it:
"We all have complaints about Christmas- the hustle and bustle, theadded expense (a special burden for those who don't even have a job),the commercialisation. Besides, many Christian traditions have theirroots in pagan customs, and Jesus wasn't in December anyway.
So who needs Christmas? We do! All of us! Because Christmas can bringus closer to the Savior, and He is the only source of lasting joy."
I'm pretty sure by now you might be bored or confused after reading this scattered email, but just know that I loved the week. I love being a missionary, I love seeing people change their lives, and I love the Lord. I have learned so much about my Heavenly Father and my saviour Jesus Christ over the past 18 months. It is impossible to put my feelings about everything in one email, but do know that I have loved every moment. I know that this is the church of Jesus Christ, and I know that He lives. This work is definitely marvelous, and I am so blessed to be here.
This is my last email as a missionary, but as the scriptures say "there is a time and a season for everything." I'll see some of you soon. Thank you all for being amazing friends and family members, it wouldn't be the same without you :)
|teaching Ciaran, Ciara and Luke|
|zone meeting, sometimes you go crazy :)|
|posterity in the mission (minus sister grant). Two of my daughters,|
my granddaughter and great-granddaughter :)
|I ❤️ sister Nielsen|