Monday, April 21, 2014

First Baptism!

Hahaha yes I took that picture in the air in her honor haha. Ironically I have met the authors of the two blogs that I read before the mission. They are both serving in Arica. Hermana Brewster (likes to jump) is in her last transfer and is really great. Always happy and a great example. Hermana Severston is also really fun to be around and is one of the Sister Leaders so we do exchanges with her every once in a while.
I did finally get the package! Thank you so much. I have already put those measuring cups to use (and the skittles too) Thank you for all the letters, they are so sweet. I also got some awesome letters from the stake relief society activity and I loved the quotes that they attached. Thank you so much!
L did get baptized and confirmed this weekend. Our own Easter miracle! Although I was not sure how to plan a baptism, I think it went really well. We had a special musical number by one of the YSAs in the ward and a few talks and testimonies. After the baptism we finished with sugar cookies,  which everyone loved. It was a bit stressful the week before baptism. We wanted to be sure that he was really ready for the big change and covenant.
I remember when we first met him. We had gone to his street, which just happens to be the last street in our sector and the city, looking for a member that supposedly lived there. We were disappointed to find that the address did not exist but since we hardly ever walked to that street, we decided to knock on some doors and present ourselves. His was the second door we knocked and his sister invited us to come in and talk to them both. She was there visiting for the weekend, but he invited us to return. At first, the lessons were filled with silence. He hardly talked at all and because of an attack that left him unable to walk and without any long term memory, he couldnt read the scriptures. We would ask a few questions at the beginning of the lesson and receive short responses. At the end, we would ask if he needed anything and then we would leave. We were uncertain of his feelings and progress.
However, the members were willing to go and pick him up to take him to church and bit by bit he started to open up. He said that he really liked attending and thought that everything was beautiful. After the first few lessons we convinced him to say the closing prayer. He would start out speaking loudly saying "Padre Nuestro" and then mumble inaudibly. We thought that maybe he was wasnt saying anything, but in the second lesson we realized that he was indeed saying heart felt prayers. It was really cool. He never rejected an opportunity to say a prayer including a few times in Gospel Principles, but he always maintained his quiet tone.
He said that he would be baptized in the first lesson if he recieved an answer to his prayers about the church. We were super excited and always asked how he was progressing. We made sure to read from the Book of Mormon every lesson, so that he could learn,  although he  was unable to read himself. A few times his nephews helped him read too.
He has had a hard troubled past, but it touched his hear that that would all be washed away. The date for his baptism had to be pushed back a couple of times for different reasons, but finally the day arrived. He had a difficult time standing in the water, and the prayer had to be repeated twice because his legs floated up when he went under in the water. However, despite the difficulties he came out of the water clean. He was happy and glad that he was able to be baptized. It was really a great day to see him be baptized and I am glad he felt ready to make that promise with Heavenly Father.
In the coming weeks we, with some memebers,  get to teach him the ordinances of the church. I hope that he remembers the feelings he had the day of his baptism and always try to live worthily. He is great.
That was the great highlight of this week. We continue to work with D,  the taxi driver, but have still not met his wife. This week we are going to try to put a baptismal goal and drag him to church. He is still really interested and loves reading whatever assignment we give him; however, church attendance is difficult for him. Pray to help him have the time and desires to go.
We had a great experience with A. She is an investigator that always attends church but she needs to divorce and remarry her partner before she can be baptized. This weekend she went to Santiago because her father had passed away and she wanted to attend the funeral. A few days after she returned, we went to visit and had planned to share a short scripture about the resurrection. I started out explaining how Heavenly Father wanted us to be happy and sent us here to live in families, and that in the eternities we are going to live again with our families. Her eyes enlightened and she humbly asked " I am going to see my father again?" I was so happy to be able to tell her " Yes, you will see him again". We spent some time talking about the plan of happiness or salvation and how families can be forever. It was a really great experience and we all felt the spirit really strongly. SHe mentioned that she didnt understand much about the church but that she keeps attending because there is a peace there that she hasnt ever felt anywhere else. Sometimes people ask her questions about the church that she cant answer, but she knows that it is different from any other place. Her testimony was amazing. After the lesson, she felt renewed efforts to get her marital status up to date, and hopefully this week she will go and see what she needs to do to get a divorce. The spirit in that lesson was probably the stronget I have felt in any lesson so far. It was amazing. We were sharing simple truths that change lives.
I hope you guys are still holding up. Sounds like a crazy Easter week, but soon it will be all over and summer time. My companion and I are having a ton of fun and she is a really great teacher. I love it. She is a bit shy, but she knows the gospel principles and has really great experiences to share. We are getting along great!
I love you guys,  talk to you next week!
Hermana Biggs
PS could you send some more dessert recipes? Maybe some healthy stuff if that exista. I know theres that recipe for whole wheat cookies somewhere. See what you can do. I am baking all the time and need some new treats for FHE with the families. Thanks:)

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