Monday, December 2, 2013

Wet, crying and clean: my first baptism

COLUMBIA, Md. — Hola, mi querida familia!! Feliz Diciembre!

Holy Smokes.... December? Since when? Craziness. 

How was everyone’s Thanksgiving? I hope SO good. Mine was excellent! We did service in the morning, then I got to go help cook at a member's house and we ate at our branch mission leader's home. They are awesome! Then, a family gave us some papusas later. Needless to say, I had a lot of food. 

We weren’t allowed to proselyte on Thanksgiving, so we had a lot of plans with the members. Unfortunately, many of them called and canceled. :/ So what do you do as a missionary who cannot go talk to people on Thanksgiving? Volleyball at the church! :) Turns out a few other missionaries in our area had people cancel too, so we had a little activity at the church. It will be interesting this month because we cannot proselyte on Christmas or New Years Eve/Day. 

This week was fabulous. Many reasons why it was so fabulous, but at the top of the list, JENNIFER GOT BAPTIZED AND CONFIRMED :) Wahooooooooooooooooooo! 

She was baptized on Saturday and confirmed Sunday in church. It was a great baptism. Weird because it was my first, so we weren’t exactly sure how it would go. But the Spirit was very strong. It was awesome, too, because it was all in Spanish! :) Man, I love Spanish, have I mentioned that before? ;) Let me tell you a little about the baptism:

Jennifer had a lot of support from the branch. Quite a few people came, which was great, especially the young women. (She is 15) Hermana Crotzer and I had a lunch appointment in Elkridge that day, so we drove there to visit and eat with a family. Then we had to rush back to Ellicott City to start filling the font. Quite the new experience for me — never done that before. After a while of playing and messing around with water temperatures, we got it down and the font was filling up. It takes about 2-3 hours to fill, so we were there early. We got everything set up, made some cutesy stuff (I love being a sister) for Jennifer and waited for everyone to arrive. 

Remember, we are in a Spanish branch, so everything is on "Hispanic timing". Our branch mission leader and the Riveras said they would meet us at the church 30 minutes before the service to get ready and take pictures and such. Well 30 minutes before and it was me, Hermana Crotzer, a bunch of empty chairs, a full font, and an empty church parking lot. Talk about scary! 

I was a little nervous, but everyone ensured us they were on their way. Sure enough, about 5 minutes before the service was supposed to start, everyone showed up. They about gave me a heart attack, but no worries, I survived. 

The service was beautiful. I loved watching her go under the water and come back out with a big smile on her face. But my favorite part was "behind the scenes". We took her back into the bathroom to change and she had the biggest grin on her face. She started squealing so I gave her a great big hug. She started crying and would not let go. I stood there, in the bathroom of the church, with a soaking wet teenager hugging me. I pondered for a second how special this day was for her and how it will change her life forever.

Finally, she looked up at me and said, "Hermana Newman, I feel amazing. Why do I feel this way? Why am I so happy?" It took me everything not to cry. So of course me being me, I laughed instead of crying and replied with a big grin, "Why do you think, you silly girl?! You are feeling the Spirit!" She smiled and just kept squealing, "I feel so good, I love this feeling. I am baptized!" This simple moment between this young girl and me made such an impact on me. I want to feel this way all the time. I want to be squealing jumping for joy, saying how great I feel because I am a member of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints!! 

The service was ended with a musical number on the violin, and Jennifer giving her testimony. Her testimony was short and sweet but POWERFUL. Wow. I can’t even describe the Spirit that was felt in the room. I am so glad that I have this opportunity to be her missionary now and forever. What a great blessing that is. Her journey has just begun. I am excited to work with her family more and get them all active and members of the church. We need more strong families in our branch, and they have great potential to be one! :)

We are working hard to find new investigators and work with the members. It’s a little hard because we haven’t found a new investigator for quite some time. But we are still looking! We visited with one of our other investigators this week and she informed me that she has been off coffee for more than 15 days. Woo! Gotta love La Palabra de Sabiduria

I have said this soooo many times before, but I LOVE watching people change their lives and follow the example of Jesus Christ. We are still working through some stuff back in Honduras, which can be tricky, but I know this sweet little lady will be baptized no doubt! She always tells me how much she loves The Book of Mormon. She knows it is true and loves to read it. The difficulty now is she is having eye problems and eye pain, but can't go see a doctor :/ Let me tell you, working with these people has made me seen all the things I have and take for granted. I am SO blessed. I have had quite a lot of humbling experiences out here and she is one of them. She has so many trials, but yet she doesn’t let it get her down and she has enough faith to realize this message is the truth and she wants it in her life. I will be thrilled the day I hear she is baptized! :) She is so solid.

Well, this week has been great! Looking forward to another one! :) How is Utah, by the way? Cold? Any snow? I miss my snow!!!!!!!! It's cold here, but no snow. Lame. I love it here. Every second of it. Have a wonderful week and remember who you are, and whom you represent. Go find those people who need the gospel! There are so many out there who are waiting for all of us to do our work and spread the gospel! I love you with all my heart. 

Con amor,

Hermana Newman :)

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