Tuesday, April 15, 2014

A day late :/ (Bayley)

So yesterday we arrived at the library to email only to find that the server was out for the entire library district, which meant that all over Pasadena there were frantic missionaries running from branch to branch in an attempt to find a functioning computer, and also calling each other to try and find out if computers elsewhere were more functional (which meant there were a bunch of annoyed librarians who had to keep asking the missionaries to be quiet, since I don't know if you knew this or not but missionaries have to talk on speaker phone, so when we call each other - even if we are trying to maintain whispered tones - it's not exactly quiet library voices) but no such luck - and so we had to email a day late instead. 

But anyways, we had a baptism on Sunday!  Hip hip hooray!  Dearest little Eva, who is seriously the cutest little thing ever, was baptized by her uncle, Brother Guevara.  A few wonderful things about this particular baptism (because of course, all baptisms are the best things ever):
- Earlier this week we sat down with Eva and her mom and went through a whole list of people who she could invite - be it family, friends, neighbors, teachers, anyone (this whole practice, known as "making 'the List'" is something we were taught by Elder Aidukaitis when he came and visited, and it basically has you being as obnoxious as possible until the baptismal candidate comes up with at least 15-20 names of people to invite) and the results from the List were wonderful - the baptismal room was PACKED with family and friends - to the point where all the missionaries just stood at the back since there wasn't enough sitting room.  Which is basically the best thing to happen to a missionary at a baptismal service.
- For the "in between" time (which is that time when the person getting baptized and the person who baptized them are getting changed after the baptism, and everybody else is just sort of milling about wondering what they should do, and usually those leading the service are making desperate attempts to maintain the spirit by plunking out hymns on the piano or putting a Mormon Message on) Sister Crump and I shared the Joseph Smith story - so we like summed up our whole little Lesson 1 in like t-minus 2 minutes up to the restoration, and then I recited the whole Joseph Smith story, and after I was finished we had everyone sing "Joseph Smith's First Prayer" with us.  Basically, the Spirit there was AMAZING.  So strong.  But the best part of all was after I finished the recitation, Sister Crump and I were still standing up there waiting for the Spirit to like sink it, and this little boy in the front row goes "oh snap."  Haha!  So funny.
- After the baptism, Eva's family provided hot dogs and cookies and chips and sandwiches for everyone.  So that was a bonus.

So yes, that whole experience was magical.
But anyways, other stories.

This week, honestly, was one of those weeks where everybody and their chihuahua cancelled their appointments with us, or didn't bother cancelling and instead just didn't show up, which is just as nice, if not more so.  But that's okay, because that meant we had a lot of time to check on everyone we don't usually get to see, and we also had plenty of awkward contacting moments (more so than usual that is).  We had one guy who grilled us about the timeline of Jesus Christ, and if he had in fact been before the neanderthals (this same guy kept trying to get us to tell him what year Adam and Eve had come to earth, which is not something included in Preach My Gospel) and then another guy kept pulling out all these Bible scriptures about the Restoration telling us there needed to be a Restoration, and every time we were like "yes, that's us!" he'd be like "but no - there has to be a Restoration!" which was great. But honestly the best contacting story of the week would be from Hour of Power, in which we knocked on this guys door and were talking for a bit about Jesus and God and all that good stuff, and out of the blue he goes "would y'all like to see some naked pictures of me?"

Yes.  Yes indeed.  Thanks Texas.  We said no, in case you were wondering, and then did our best to keep ourselves together walking away, but we didn't make it down the driveway before dying of laughter.
But I want to share something with you I learned this last week - in which I had the opportunity to really work with the sisters I care for as a sister training leader, and that is this: forget yourselves, but know that God has not forgotten you.  It's amazing to me how much love God has granted me to have for SO many people - seriously I didn't know I could ever love so many people as deeply as I do out here - and even more so it's amazing to realize that the love we feel is but a fragment of the love he feels for us.  He just wants to help us.  He just wants to be close to us - and he always is.  If we ever feel like there is distance between us, then it is our fault.  And too often that distance is created because we think of ourselves - of who we want to be, of who we see ourselves as, and what we want.  Because the truth is - we have no idea.  God knows us perfectly though, and knows exactly who we can become if we only give ourselves up entirely to him and let ourselves be changed.  There's this quote that I love that says (paraphrasing here, bear with me) that to say "that's just the way I am" or "that's just my nature" is to deny the entire plan of salvation - because to say that is to give up, to say we are unchangeable, and to not realize the changing power of this gospel and of Christ's Atonement.  That is the joy of this work - to help others BECOME, and in the process, to become ourselves.
One last note.  This past week, a precious little family here in my ward lost their 3 year old daughter in a tragic accident.  Please keep them in your prayers.
I love you all.  
Sister Bayley Enright

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