This morning Sister Leonard (the sister Hannah and her companion live with) sent me a photo and a note that the missionaries wouldn't be writing today. So it was such a great surprise to get this letter from Hannah! (To those of you who speak English as a second language, Hannah's subject heading "supplies" is her way of saying "surprise"; glad to see she still has her quirky sense of humour!) I attached the picture Sister Leonard sent me as well as a picture of Briana (in blue) from her baptism.
So, remember when Sis Leonard said that we wouldn't be emailing till later?.... Well. The libraries ARE open on Presidents Day. Awkward. After a violent game of volleyball, I'm now sitting at this computer. Aren't you happy?
Well, this week, Briana was baptized!! That's really the only important thing about ever. Before the baptism, I was breathless. I was pacing back and forth, going out of my mind with excitement!! I've never been this excited for a baptism!!
When the baptism started, we had the whole RS room filled! 85 people came... estimated. That's not including the kids that came! It was packed! Even Briana's mom and sister came! They've been pretty against this from the start... and yet they both were smiling the whole time!
So, the night before, I had told my Zone Leaders that I wouldn't cry. I'd be overjoyed, of course! But I'd make it through without crying. Yeah, well, 5 minutes into the service, all you can hear are sniffles and most of them are mine. I was just hit with powerful waves of emotion as each new thought came to me. Briana is more than an investigator-- she's probably one of my best friends. We've spent so much time with her and talked and chatted about more than just the gospel and now she's looking into BYU and is aiming for a temple marriage.. SIster Heap and Briana and I are probably going to be apartment-mates or something. We just... we're friends sharing the gospel. So, as Sister Elmer was giving her talk about baptism, I realized that, because she's chosen to be baptized... she's going to be with me forever. She won't be sealed to me (obviously...) but her choices are leading her to the places where I'm going. The phrase "Sisters in Zion" comes to mind with elevated and intensified meaning. I get to be with her forever.
The service was rife with spiritually-emotional thoughts and revelations... One of the things I've always wanted was for my family to be at my investigators' baptisms. Before, I've felt like Mom would walk around the corner, and sit by me. So once again, I was just talking to Heavenly Father and I told Him "I wish my mom was here." Immediately, I heard the words "I am here." They sunk right into my heart as I realized that I do have a parent with me. Heavenly Father has seen every step of the way! And of course He would be there at His daughter's baptism.
One of the LA's we've been working with shared her testimony while Briana was changing. She talked about her conversion story... and then she said that she knows God loves her because He sent her to the most persistent ward in the world. The missionaries are over, the visiting and home-teachers are over, the bishopric stops by, her door is always knocking! And she knows it's because we love her! Haha I felt like high-fiving a million angels. It feels good to know you're doing the right thing. And to know that THEY know you're doing it because you love them to your toes.
And then they asked me to bear my testimony.
I talked about how, when I first came into the area, the first person I heard about was Briana, and she made such epic progress weekly, and she was just the best investigator ever. I talked about how she's an example to me that Heavenly Father loves us all so much because I got to watch it all happen. This whole process, I felt like I wasn't the one doing ANYTHING. It's true. In the ideal situation, you step out of the way so that the Spirit can do It's thing. Her desire to move forward with both brain and heart working in on this has told me a lot of the things I need to be doing. I don't fear her going inactive because she's so thoroughly converted.
This baptism means a couple of things to me. It means that, first of all, I'm going to be with my best friend forever,. I know the sealing powers only work in familial relationships... but knowing that she has entered through the gate, if we both do our parts, I'll be there with her in Heaven.
It also means that now, the members of the ward have seen what can happen when we invite a friend to do something simple... or get the missionaries involved in a sly way. I think a lot of people confuse missionary work with being a "name-tagged" missionary. They think that when we ask them to invite their friends, they have to give them a Book of Mormon. While that's AWESOME... it also means being a really good friend and telling the missionaries to come over and use the bathroom and get a drink of water when the friend's over ;)
That's really all it takes. Just be a good friend, everything follows naturally if you love them.
I love you guys so much. I love that I'm with Briana for forever... but I'm sealed to my mom, my dad, and my brothers. I am theirs and they are mine, legitimately. I think that's my favorite thing about the gospel. I'm not worried about the future, because somewhere in it, there will my family be.
Love y'all-- FOREVER!!!
PS: This week was also kind of a rough week... We've been waking up a half hour earlier so that we can work out harder/better/faster/longer plus an intense week regardless of lack of sleep... so....I tried some energy drinks out... I still hate Monsters, but Rockstars get the job done nicely. I didn't have one on Sunday though and man, that day was weird. Haven't had one today, I'm doing a cleanse.. But... I won't be telling you how much Diet Coke Adult Gunson has had without parental supervision. Suffice to say, there is a Sonic right across the street from where we live and we're friends with one of the roller derbies. I love being an adult. MWAHAHAHAHAHAHAHA bad choices! ;)