Monday, July 27, 2015

A Sunday Baptism

27 July 2015

Our teenage investigator was baptized yesterday! Not only that, but another newly baptized teenage boy showed up after not attending church for some time. He walked in as a counselor was making announcements and the bishop hurried and whispered something to his counselor and the young man received the Aaronic Priesthood! He stayed for the baptism and they asked him to be one of the witnesses. I love this ward and the leaders who pay attention and know what needs to be done for the new converts. This young man showed up as a surprise and they changed plans and acted fast to help him progress and give him an assignment. It was really neat seeing someone who was baptized my first week in this sector being a witness in the next baptism. 

The young men’s president, baptized the young man who was baptized today. We sang "He Sent His Son" with the primary kids, a last minute musical number that I wished we had prepared better. The baptismal service was full of people and we passed out cards to let people write notes to him. I thought of Mom and wished I had pens to pass out too so everyone would write with the same color of ink. We're amateur at this, I tell you. I can't wait to be a mom so I will know everything. 

This young man is such an interesting kid. He has spiritual gifts and knows how to read people. Even our district leader who did his interview mentioned it. I think he was amazed and kind of scared. I don't know how to describe it but Hermana Fullmer does. He's like a fourteen year old version of Sherlock Holmes. BBC, of course.

We were finally able to find the family we had started teaching again after church after not seeing them for a week or two. 

We also found a new investigator due to a wrong address I had written down. We went to visit someone who wasn't home and as we walked away I realized that I had written down a different apartment building in my planner than Hermana Fullmer. Hermana Fullmer was sure she had the right address and I thought so as well but I said, "Let's go anyway, just in case. If it's not them we'll just be making a contact." The woman who answered the door invited us in before we could even say, "Hello, we're missionaries..." and she told us that she was atheist, believed in reincarnation, was angry, had a lot of questions about why life was unfair, and was looking for something but she didn't know what. Sounds like something straight out of Preach My Gospel, no? We explained our purpose to her and left her a copy of the Book of Mormon, telling her, "This is what you're looking for. This will answer your questions." She accepted the invitation to read and pray about it and we'll be visiting her next Sunday. Outside her building I reminded my companion that we found her the same way we found the family, a wrong address. We've tried EVERYTHING in Preach My Gospel recently to find new people to teach but in the end we learn that this isn't about our plans or our ideas. There's someone who knows what He is doing. We see God's hand in our work every day.

District class was uncomfortable this week because one of the sectors has been closed this transfer and one companionship was home sick so our district was just our district leader, his trainee, and us. One of the zone leaders came and sat in, which helped. Our district leader taught his class and as we practiced with our companions his new companion started to cry. The Elders all left to cheer him up, I assume, and give him some confidence. He really does speak Spanish well, for a new missionary, but I think it would be frustrating to be surrounded by people who all have a lot of time in the field—a district leader, a zone leader, and the sister training leaders, and no one else in your first district class. I was in charge of teaching the second class, but when the Elders left, Hermana Fullmer and I were there alone so we made phone calls to investigators until they came back. I taught about Chapter 1 of Preach My Gospel. It's always been important for me because the first time I read it was the first time I remember feeling the desire to serve a mission. It's a good thing I'm familiar with it too, because our district leader assigned me to teach it the day before which was the day we also happened to be in leadership council all day and I had no time to prepare. My class was supposed to be specifically about the sections on how commitments are the key to faith and repentance, baptism and confirmation, and a successful missionary. I like the part about success. I knew there was a new missionary in our district so I brought gospel art pictures to help me teach and we talked about successful missionaries from the scriptures. I didn't know that he would be one of the few in attendance that day and that he would be having a particularly hard day. I was glad to have pictures.

This week we have an activity planned at the church. We're going to be showing "Meet the Mormons" and we are inviting all of the members to invite their friends. I hope they take the invitation seriously. The sister we are teaching will! Investigators are the best member missionaries! Hermana Fullmer and I have been making copies of invitations that our ward mission leader made and passing them out in the metro station when we don't have appointments. It's fun because I feel like the girl at the beginning of "Meet the Mormons" as I ask people about what they believe and if they know any Mormons. Thanks to Uncle Brett and his letter last week about science and religion I had some thoughts to share with an atheist student in front of the metro station. 

We had exchanges on Friday and I got to work with Hermana Verastegui. We visited the young man who was baptized Sunday, who had invited a friend to meet with us. We showed a Mormon Message, "Origins," and talked about our purpose as missionaries and gave him a copy of the Book of Mormon.  When I asked him what he thought, he said that as we talked he felt something that he hadn't felt in the Catholic Church. It's amazing. The Spirit testifies of truth. Missionaries don't have to be convincing speakers or salesmen. Obviously we have to learn how to teach but in the end the Spirit does all of the work.  

We also visited the sister we are teaching during exchanges and got to meet her new grandson. Her son and daughter-in-law are nervous to be new parents. "No one teaches you how," they said. I wish we had more opportunities to teach them the gospel. I know it would help them. Tomorrow we are going to have a family home evening with their whole family and I hope that they can all start to investigate the church.

Today we cleaned the house. Exciting. And we are going to Lider. That really is exciting. I like grocery shopping and cooking. Hermana Fullmer and I are learning to cook new things. I hope I come back from my mission changed in many ways and that I can develop more Christlike attributes, but if nothing else, I have become a pancake expert. And I learned how to stand on my head.

Lots of love!
Hermana VanCott

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