Pig Skins and Swimming Pools
I see skies of blue, converts in white, and I think to myself, what a wonderful woild! What an amazing week! First of all, Maria Elena and her grandson Kevin were baptized this weekend! I don’t think I have even started to describe what a huge miracle she is. I’ve known her the whole time I’ve been here in Topeka, and I talked to her a couple of times, but didn’t really think she was very interested in learning about the church. I had no idea how much the Lord was preparing her to hear the restored gospel. Here’s our time line: Sunday, 15 June, she randomly showed up to church with her family, so we asked her after sacrament ended if we could teach her. Tuesday, 17 June, we taught her the restoration at her daughter Elvira’s house and invited her to be baptized on 28 June, 11 days out, which she accepted. Thursday, Friday, Sunday, Tuesday, Wednesday, and Thursday we taught Maria Elena and her grandson Kevin all of the lessons, Friday, 27 June, she passed her baptismal interview, and Saturday, 28 June 2014 she was baptized! This was the fastest progression I have ever seen on my mission, but it was simply because she was so prepared and ready for the gospel! She loves everything that we’ve taught her and we are so excited for her and the blessings she will continue to receive! It was amazing to feel how strong the Spirit was when we would teach her. And did I mention she only speaks spanish? NO ENGLISH. Okay. I do not have very much time on my mission. Do not be surprised when I come home and my spanish is not very good. Because in reality, it is not very good. But it is good enough to be an effective servant of the Lord because he blesses us with the gift of tongues to communicate his message every day. So I consider it a huge miracle that we were able to help her progress so fast and she still had such a solid understanding of the gospel.
Saturday was an incredibly special day for Topeka. Just in the Topeka area, there were 7 people baptized! Five of them were from our district!
Let me tell you about our baptismal service on Saturday.
It was supposed to start at 4. As a branch, we run on a different standard of time. It started at 4:30 right on the dot. Here’s the crazy part. There were 35 people at the baptism. Only 7 of them (besides the missionaries) were actually members of the branch. The rest were investigators and family members. Maria Elena’s entire family came (except for her husband) to support her even though there are no other members besides Elvira and her family. President and Sister Bell also came (and got to practice their spanish)! It was incredible. Maria Elena asked me to sing a song with my guitar at the baptism, so I sang “El Cristo Es” (“This Is The Christ”). And then of course, there was a whole bunch of applause from Maria Elena’s family. But it didn’t stop there! Nope. They also applauded after each baptism. It was so exciting. Sister Hymas and I were laughing our heads off out of pure happiness.
After the baptism we had a…
FIESTA!! Of course! Elvira, her daughter Jackie, and Maria Elena worked so hard to make food for everyone who came and we all ate and talked in the gym following the baptism. So great.
Then that evening we got to go to another baptism Sister Macovichuk and her companion were having and we sat right behind President and Sister Bell. Those two are hysterical. President Bell let me look at the mission facebook page because he posted a picture of our baptism on it. WEIRD. Facebook. I’m actually glad I never got to use it on my mission haha. Then they had a competition to see who could back our car out the best when we were going home that evening. They’re the best.
Okay. Here’s the blue ribbon story for the week:
Sunday during sacrament Maria Elena and Kevin were confirmed! After Kevin’s blessing, Jackie (his sister) leaned over to me and said, “They got his name wrong again. They did that yesterday at the baptism.” Uh oh…The witnesses didn’t even catch it the day before, and no one said anything either, until Jackie mentioned it to me. So I wrote a little message to President Dodd and explained what happened and asked, “Is that ok? Does it need to be done again? We can go fill up the font right now!” Long story short, right after church we went to fill up the font again so Kevin could be baptized correctly by his real name. BUT, turning off the water is a bit confusing because both handles go in separate directions…we thought they went the same…and thought we had turned it off…but we hadn’t. Whoops…We came back 10 minutes later to find we had flooded the women’s dressing room with 1 1/2 inches of COLD WATER. Which meant the font was cold too…Sorry Kevin. Remember how my first baptism we used pots to boil water to put into the font? This time we used pots to take water out of the font because it wasn’t draining fast enough. iyiyiyiy. But after about 7,000 trips to the shower drain with giant pots and lots of mopping, we had cleaned up enough and removed enough water to put some hot water in. Closest thing to swimming I’ve had on my mission!
We had a small little baptism at 5:30 that night with just us, the elders, Elvira’s family and Maria Elena, the branch president, and the branch secretary. Baptisms are so important to the Lord. They must be done the right way!
Other things worth mentioning that happened this week:
1. Forced down a pig-skin taco. Most disgusting thing in the world. Like a greasy taco filled with strips of fat. Nasty.
2. I scored a goal in indoor soccer. Who knew soccer skills came with the gift of tongues?
3. Attended a baby shower for one of our members…ate baby food and bottle fed Sister Hymas…can’t say I’ve ever done that on my mission.
4. Didn’t have anything to give her, so I drew that “Bundle of Joy” card while we were eating dinner. Told her she had to frame it 🙂
5. Got an incredible priesthood blessing that gave me some amazing and needed counsel.
6. Dyed my hair…haha yeaaaaah…it’s brown. Surprise!
Love you all! Have a great week!