November 10, 2014- My First Baptism
Hey Family and Friends,
This past week was an amazing week! The biggest thing that happened this week was Jeff's baptism!!
Jeff is just such a great guy and it’s such a testimony builder to see how much he changed since I first met him at the beginning of September. When I showed up, he had already been taught many of the bigger lessons such as: Restoration, Plan of Salvation, Gospel of Jesus Christ, Word of Wisdom, and Temples. However, he wasn't really progressing. He didn't really want to agree to a baptismal date because he felt like he wasn't ready as he wasn't quite sure yet if he wanted to be baptized and he had a major addiction to drinking and smoking. In my second or third lesson with him, we talked about the Book of Mormon because he wasn't sure if he had a testimony of the Book of Mormon.
All new missionaries in my mission get extra training for 12 weeks. One of the things I also had to do as part of the training was to challenge someone to pray about the book of Mormon. Elder Remund and I felt that instead of challenging him to do it sometime after we left, we decided that we would ask him in the lesson to do it right then. We had so much faith that Jeff would receive an answer right away. So halfway through the lesson I asked him if he would pray right then to know if the Book of Mormon was true. Jeff was kind of iffy and didn't really want to do it, but after both Elder Remund and I promised him that he would receive an answer, he consented to do it. The spirit was super strong when he prayed and he received an answer that it was true.
At the end of the lesson I also asked him, "Jeff will you follow the example of our Savior Jesus Christ and be baptized by someone holding the priesthood authority of God?" He took a couple seconds to respond and then he said he would. After that lesson we continued to help him get ready for baptism. At first it was really difficult for him to stop his Word of Wisdom problems, but his desire to be baptized continued to grow stronger. Finally he was able to completely stop drinking and smoking. We met with Jeff a few nights before his baptism and his testimony was so strong. It was so amazing to see his strong desire to be baptized. And then Saturday, November 8th came around and Jeff was baptized!
On Sunday, I had the opportunity to confirm Jeff at church. Elder Remund and I met with him last night to talk to him about his baptism and he said about his baptism, "You know the feeling when you are outside in your yard working super hard and you get super sweaty and dirty, and then you go inside and take a long nice hot shower and wash all that dirt and sweat off? Well, that's what I felt at my baptism"
Before my mission, I had heard the saying many times that "there are people waiting for you out there." Jeff has been an example to me that this is true. That first night I met Jeff, my first night in the field, Jeff told me that there was something different about me than anyone he had met before. He told me that he never opened up to strangers until he had gotten to know them, but he was able to open up to me from day one because he said I had a glow about me. Elder Remund has told me many times that he thinks that Jeff and I just clicked and because of that, Jeff changed from a non progressing investigator to being baptized.
It is super exciting because Jeff and Yomara, Jeff's wife, are super excited about getting married in the temple in a year from now. It’s a little disappointing that I will not be able to go because the closest temple is in Washington D.C. which is outside my mission. I will still be on my mission so I can't leave to witness the marriage anyway. I am so excited for them and their sons Willie and Mikey who will be sealed to them as well. It has been one of the most amazing moments of my life to see Jeff change his life for the better. My testimony has been strengthened about the actuality of the atonement of Jesus Christ and that this really is the Church of Jesus Christ. I'm so thankful for this opportunity to be a representative of Jesus Christ and help bring people closer to their Heavenly Father.
The scripture in D&C is so true that says:
"And if it so be that you should labor all your days in crying repentance unto this people, and bring, save it be one soul unto me, how great shall be your joy with him in the kingdom of my Father!
16 And now, if your joy will be great with one soul that you have brought unto me into the kingdom of my Father, how great will be your joy if you should bring many souls unto me!"
Hope everyone has an amazing week
Me and Jeff on his baptism day