Tuesday, May 27, 2014

Where There is Faith, there are MIRACLES (Bayley)

So, yesterday being memorial day, I'm writing a day late.  I hope yall enjoyed your Memorial Day holiday - we spent ours with our district running from doughnut shop to doughnut shop, just trying to get ourselves some good ol celebratory doughnuts, but apparently so was everybody else in Pasadena, since shop after shop was out.  But no worries - we're missionaries.  We have faith, we do work, we see miracles - and eventually we found doughnuts.  Then we all went to the park where we hovered around a merry-go-round waiting for the little kids that were swarmed all over it to give us a go, instead occupying ourselves with the monkey bars and five-foot high rock walls.  Finally one little girl came up to us and asked "what are you doing here?" When we told her we were just playing and having fun, she said "but you're a grown up, and this place is for kids."

So that crushed my spirit, but only a little bit, because eventually we did get a go on the merry-go-round.

But anyways

My goodness gracious giddy aunt.

This past week was amazing.

I feel like I say that basically every week...and it's always true of course, but guys, seriously - THIS WEEK WAS AMAZING.

Allow me to explain.

On Sunday, we had 2 BAPTISMS.

What's more, on Sunday, we had 7 INVESTIGATORS at church.

What's more, on Wednesday, we had a former investigator show up at church, tell us her life had gone backwards since she stopped meeting with us, and that she knew she needed to come to church, meet with the missionaries, and be baptized.

What's MORE, we saw just how personally God loves his children - we saw Him work in such a personalized way, that there is no way you could witness the miracles we saw and deny the reality of God as our Father.

Obviously I'm going to give you the details, so let's start with those baptisms: Sister Paris and Mary.

Sister Paris is the sister who has been coming to church with her member husband for years, and when we announced her baptism about half was the ward was like - "wait, what? Sister Paris isn't a member?"  True story.  Several weeks ago she came up to me and told me that she felt like it was time, and she needed to be baptized, and Sunday night we watched her enter the waters of baptism.  I love Sister Paris so much.  She is seriously one of the most spiritually in-tune people I know, and she knows just how incredible this gospel is - to the point where she has waited for years and years and years to be baptized because she wanted to be absolutely confident in her decision.  We learned this week that when Brother Paris first proposed to her like 11 years ago, it was at the Houston temple, and that after she agreed to marry him he promised to one day take her through the temple.  And now, eleven years later, their eternal family is within sight.  How amazing is God and His timing?  Pretty darn if you ask me.  I just consider myself so blessed to have been here when that time for her finally came.  If Sister Paris is not a miracle story, I don't know what is.

Our second baptism was Mary, who is 18 years old (as of this week) and who we have been teaching for a while, but she has always been very nervous and scared about baptism.  As her date was fast approaching, we were really nervous about how unsure she seemed about it, and truly poured out our hearts in prayer to God to not only give Mary the answer and confirmation she needed that this was true, but to help her recognize that answer as such and have the courage to act on it.

So with Tuesday comes zone conference, and amidst a spiritual feast of discussions on faith and miracles and instruction on family history and goal-setting (and also a scrapbooking activity in honor of President and Sister Crawford's alarmingly imminent departure, which mostly just served as a reminder to me that I just am not crafty, especially under time constraints) we get a text from Mary telling us that she has had some sort of dream/vision thing about her baptism.  Which we were super excited about but also super nervous (you never know where those "I had a vision..." discussions are going to go).  So we went over that night and she told us that in her dream/vision/thingamabob she had felt like she was an angel, and also that she was surrounded by angels, and had asked aloud if she should be baptized, to which she heard a loud voice shout "NO!"  

Which obviously was not what we were hoping for.  

But she went on to ask us if that was God shouting at her, to which we whipped out our scriptures and pointed out numerous places where the voice of God was identified not as something loud or harsh, but quiet and gentle.  We told her that the voice was either God's or Satan's, and we asked her to describe the voice and to compare it to the voice of God that is heard in 3 Nephi 11.  She told us immediately that no, the voice she had heard was nothing like the description of God's voice, and so realized that it was Satan telling her no, and that if Satan told her no, not only was he real and fighting against her, but also that if Satan was saying "no"...God was saying "yes", and she needed to be baptized. 

After that, she had so much confidence and strength moving forwards to her baptism, more than we had ever seen in her, and so we were of course pretty confident and excited in turn about Sunday.

Until Saturday night, when we received an unexpected phone call from her that she wasn't ready and didn't think she would be baptized.  We told her to pray, and bore our testimony of the importance of baptism, and as soon as we hung up decided that we needed to fast.  

Sunday morning, we texted her to confirm that she was coming to church, and decided to move forward with trust in the Lord that she would be baptized - so we didn't tell the Bishop or Ward Mission Leader or anyone that she was thinking of backing out.  What would happen was the Lord's will, obviously, but we wanted to be sure we did everything in our power to make that baptism happen.  Mary came to church, still unsure about whether or not she was actually going to be baptized (*note* I probably got like 4 ulcers during this entire experience, just FYI), and after church got out, she went home.  But we prepared with Sister Paris for her baptism, and the young man who was planning on baptizing Mary just found a jumpsuit and that fit him - just in case - and we just held onto that faith that God's will be done, and that whatever happened was entirely His plan and in His control.  

Five minutes before the baptism was to begin, Mary came through the church door, came up to us, and said she knew she needed to be baptized today.  She changed into a jumpsuit, we snapped pictures speedy fast, and 20 minutes later she was baptized at one of the most incredible spiritual baptismal services I've ever attended.

Now, if THAT is not a miracle, I definitely do not know what is.

With Mary's baptism, we had to just trust God completely - whether it went through or not, I had to completely surrender my will to His and be at peace with whatever happened.  Which was a miracle.

What's more, at that baptismal service, we had almost the entire chapel filled with people coming to support these two sisters, and as we sang "Come Unto Jesus," the closing hymn, I may or may not have even gotten a wee bit teary eyed (maybe possibly like barely not really) - because let me tell you people, I don't know if I have ever felt my heart so full of joy and gratitude for my Savior, and for my Heavenly Father, and for the love they have not only for me, but for these people.  

Y'all, this gospel is real.
God is real.
Miracles are real.

And it just really doesn't get much more real than that.

Sister Bayley Enright

 ​President and Sister Crawford :D

 Sister Killian, Sister Paris, and me

 ​Dallin (who baptized Mary) Sister Crump, Mary, me, Sis Killian, Sis Paris, and Sis Miller

​Alasnee, Sister Crump, Mary's sister Liz, Mary, me, Sistah Killian

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