Thursday, March 30, 2017

Coral Reef March 27, 2017 Angela's Baptism!

Hello everyone!

I hope you are all doing well. I am doing so great! This week has been absolutely amazing!! 

On Tuesday the highlight was having a lesson with Rose and Angela, we reviewed the baptismal interview questions with them so that they would know what to expect. They both answered them all perfectly! It was so awesome! 

On Wednesday we went to Angela's house to show the video of the Restoration. When we arrived she was so excited because she'd made us tacos and brownies and icecream. She loves us, and I think it was some small way she felt like she could serve us. We watched the short video of the Restoration with her, and she loved it! The whole time she just kept saying "wow, this is such a good movie." At the end she begged us to know where she could buy one. We told her that she could keep the copy we'd brought, and she was so excited to share it with her family. After that we had another great lesson with Rose and she loved the idea of doing baptisms for the dead, and also eternal families. 

On Thursday Rose and Angela both had their baptismal interviews with our district leader. Sister Carling and I were a little nervous, but they both did great! Our district leader said he was very impressed, so we were very excited. We spent a lot of time trying to get everything figured out for the baptismal program, but we got it all set!

On Friday we had interviews with President Richardson. He talked to me a lot about how to help our investigators stay active after they are baptized, by getting them a calling and getting them to the temple to do baptisms for the dead. I love President and Sister Richardson, they are the best.

On Saturday morning we both woke up feeling a little stressed. We had so much to do to get ready for the baptism and also a whole bunch of other appointments and meeting that we had to go to. We were very worried because we were not able to get a hold of Rose all morning. We had tried to call her probably 75 times! She didn't answer so we tried calling Chikira, nothing. Finally at 2:45 we were getting desperate so we stopped by her house, and no one answered the door. As we were pulling away her grandpa came out of the house, so we stopped to ask him where Rose was. He said she'd left, not super helpful. There was really nothing else we could do, so we just prayed that she would show up at the chapel. After a crazy morning of running around without two seconds to eat or pause, we finally made it to the chapel at 3:30to set up for the baptism. We set up the chairs, moved the piano into the gym (which is where our chapel's baptismal font is), filled the font, and made a cute little refreshment table complete with our homemade (jk, frozen and boxed) cookies and brownies! We set out the programs and hymn books and then met with out ward mission leader to review the program. Our ward mission leader is Brother Sanchez, he was so excited to conduct (he is a recent convert himself of 2 years), but also nervous because he doesn't really speak English. We helped him practice what to say. 

Then Angela showed up with her family. Her son, her son's girlfriend's mom, her niece, her nephew, and her granddaughter came. None of them are members, so that was awesome to have them all there. Angela was so cute and excited. She put on her jumpsuit, and then the members started to show up. We were very pleased with the turnout. Everyone was so excited for her, and she felt so loved. We were still anxiously waiting for Rose, but around 5:10 we had to call it quits and move on with the service. One of the young women in our ward played the piano, then we had a short talk on baptism, and on the Holy Ghost given by two women in our ward. Next was a special musical number by the bishop's family. Then Angela got baptized!! Sister Carling and I stood outside the font to hand her a towel. When she came out she gave the bishop the biggest hug, and then came up the stairs to give us a big sopping wet hug. I love her so much! After she was all changed Brother Sanchez went a little off script and asked Angela to share a brief testimony. I am so very glad he did, that was one of my favorite parts. Angela talked about how she has visited many many churches in the past, how she has had some very major struggles in her life, but how she truly has the desire to follow Christ. She shared her conviction that God had witnessed to her that this is the true church, and that she feels so grateful to have it. Then she got very emotional as she talked about the day Sister Carling and I knocked on her door. She said she was in a very dark place, but that she could see the light of Christ within us. Ever since that day she has felt so much peace, and happiness. She said she could feel our love and support every day, and that she will never ever forget us. We have changed her life. My eyes watered about 50 times. Those are the words that a missionary wants to hear! It is so amazing to know that all of the hard work made such a difference in her life. I feel so humbled to have played a small role in helping Heavenly Father reclaim one of His precious daughters. I just kept thinking that He must be feeling even happier than I feel. I cannot even describe how much love I feel for Angela, or how much joy we felt as she was bearing her testimony. It made it even better that after she was done our Zone Leader's came to talk to us and said "wow, good job Sisters. She is truly converted." It was the best!! Her family loved it as well. When Angela came out of the font they were all crying, and they all just gave her a big big hug. We got to talk to them a little bit afterwards, they are so nice! We are really hoping to be able to teach them as well this upcoming week. 

After that some sweet sisters in our ward offered to take us to grab dinner, which was super nice because we hadn't had much time to eat all day. We got some delicious subs with them, and they talked about how glad they were to have been able to be at the service, all of the ward members love Angela. Later we went back to the chapel to clean up the baptism stuff and then we watched the general women's session, which was awesome! There was such a focus on keeping our lives centered on Jesus Christ, and I truly know that that is the only way to find peace and happiness. 

Yesterday (Sunday) Angela was able to get the gift of the Holy Ghost in sacrament meeting. Another awesome experience.  Then we helped her to fill out her first tithing slip. She is doing so well, and we have some very very high hopes for her. 

The only downside was that Rose did not come to the baptismal service. We still have not heard from her or Chikira. It breaks my heart because we feel so much love for them, and we know what a difference the gospel will make in their lives, but they are choosing not to accept it. We are still praying that maybe one day (in the near or distant future) they will be ready for baptism. 

Last night we went to go visit a less-active member in our ward that we hadn't ever met before. Terri and Dave (her non-member husband) welcomed us right in. Dave was overjoyed when he found out that I play tennis. He loves to play, and even makes tennis courts as a living. I think that helped him open up a little bit, so that was awesome. Terri talked our ear off about her horse, TJ. She showed up pictures, told us stories, and at the end she honored us by letting us try some of "TJ's favorite apples". Apparently his favorite are the honey-crisp, but only if they are imported from Canada.....but she was super duper sweet. By the time we walked out she had gifted us some apples, some drinks, a jar of marshmallow crème, and some fruit dip. We committed them to watch General Conference this weekend, and Dave (who has never actually been to church before) agreed immediately for the both of them. They begged us to come back for another visit, they are such a cute couple. 

It has been an absolutely crazy, stressful, busy, but so so so happy week!! I love being a missionary! I know that this gospel is true, I have officially seen the difference that it makes in someone's life, and I am so grateful to be able to share that message with the people in Florida! I love you all!

 Hermana Carling, Angela, and Hermana Monsons at Angela's baptism.

Love, Hermana Monson

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