Monday, August 18, 2014

Banana Day (Bayley)

So yesterday in church there were exactly four shout outs to Colorado - including one over the pulpit by the Stake President who recently returned from Castle Rock.  So points to my home.  Not to mention everybody here is either returning from or going to Colorado within the next few weeks.  Except for me.  So that's nice.

But anyways.

We had a baptism this last week!

Ron is seriously one of the greatest people ever.  He's been taught by the sisters for a little while now and has the strongest testimony of like anyone EVER, but he hasn't been able to get baptized due to some circumstances that would require him to either wait several months to be baptized or move out (which for a lot of reasons just wouldn't work).  And so when I got here, Sister Bolton and I decided that we might as well set a long term date with him that he can work towards, and so we set December 6th with him and have just been steadily keeping him preparing for that date by coming to church and reading the Book of Mormon and all that good stuff.  Well anyways, last week we get a text from his fiancee, Trudy (who is a member and possibly the most hilarious person ever) to call her, and when we did she told us that Ron has decided he needs to be baptized now and is figuring things out to move out and can he be baptized next weekend.

So yeah.  That phone call happened.  And I totally didn't wreck the car when this happened, even though I did sort of slam on the brakes kinda hard because it's not every day you get a phone call that is just the answer to so many prayers all of the sudden. 

So we went by and talked with them and made sure everything was taken care of so that Ron could be baptized, and set a date for Friday - as in this past Friday.  And then we kind of went into frantic-missionary mode to make it happen (since this baptism happened to coincide in the week that we didn't have a ward mission leader, who is the one who usually arranges the baptismal service) but by the time Friday night arrived, the only things that didn't go quite according to plan were 1) the musical number not showing up, and so Sister Bolton and I having to perform an impromptu musical number, meaning that my cover is totally shot and everyone knows I can play the piano now. Curses. 2) the water accidentally almost boiling Ron and Elder McCollum, who baptized him.  Oops. And 3) not having someone to conduct, and so putting poor Brother Hillyer on the spot to do it without any notice.  Which I feel bad about, because it turns out he had never conducted a meeting before in his life - but he did really awesome, and then I think our having to do a musical number on the spot put his having-to-conduct-a-meeting on the spot into perspective.

But the best part of the baptism was that Ron shared his testimony.  And by "shared his testimony" I mean he written it all out all professionally and shared it after his baptism.  In it, he expressed how he felt when he first heard the Joseph Smith story, and that he wanted those feelings to stay with him forever, and had felt them every time he went to church and read, and that he knew now that those feelings were from the Holy Ghost, and that this was what God wanted for him.  It was so incredible to me how much that simple testimony brought the Spirit so strongly to the room, and how much we could see in Ron the change that came over him as he took upon him that covenant with his Heavenly Father, to serve him faithfully for the rest of his life.  Yesterday he received the Gift of the Holy Ghost, and shared with Sister Bolton and I how he and Trudy are preparing now to be able to go to the temple and be sealed.  I continue to be positively FLOORED each time I realize how God is giving me this opportunity to help one of his sons or daughters not only be baptized, and not only come to church, but form an eternal family, and make eternal covenants to bring them home to Him.

And, something that Sister Bolton and I have really learned this week, is how much God is preparing people, and sending us out to gather in the prepared.  In fact, let me tell yall a story about bananas that I promise will have something to do with this whole thing.  So I love bananas.  And something I learned a while back was that each bunch of bananas has that one day where the bananas are just PERFECT to eat.  The day before they are still a little too hard, and the day after they are just a little too ripe, but on THAT DAY they are perfect.  And so of course that day is Banana Day, a day that is celebrated often and on a different day with each bunch of bananas, (and a day that often comes way too soon here in Texas because apparently humidity ripens bananas like nobody's business.)  But anyways, in order for Banana Day to be appropriately enjoyed, we have to be ready - we have to be keeping an eye on the bananas, maybe even trying one a little ahead of time, so that we are prepared and ready when Banana Day comes.  Well, what I'm getting at here, with this truly horrible analogy that mostly just gave me an opportunity to write "banana" more times than I usually get to, is that the children of God all have their own Banana Days.  As missionaries and as members, we are told repeatedly in the scriptures that we are here to bring the gospel to those who will receive it - to those that have been prepared.  Because that is happening - God is preparing His children.  But sometimes, we get caught up focusing on some who just aren't prepared - people who we have to drag to a commitment or beg to just pray, who just show no desire to change.  At the beginning of my mission, it was really hard for me to accept the fact that sometimes we need to set those people aside, and give them more time, and focus our efforts on those who will receive us.  I guess I thought that if I stopped seeing them - that was it!  Their chances of eternal life were OVER!  Which really couldn't be farther from the truth.  I'm just not that important. See, sometimes, people just need a little longer to sit and ripen and be prepared before it is their Banana Day.  While others are right now having theirs - like LaVenia and Ron and Booney - and we just better be ready to bring that gospel to them, as God has been preparing them for for who knows how long!

So sometimes Sister Bolton and I will have someone drop us.  Sometimes we'll have like five or six people drop us (yup, it was one of those weeks) but in each instance we simply looked at each other and declared that it just wasn't Banana Day for those particular people, but that that day will yet come, and all that matters is that we are ready and prepared for whoever is on Banana Day right now - and this principle applies to everyone.  Thomas S. Monson said that "the opportunity to declare a truth may come when we least expect it.  Let us be prepared."  We have no idea who around us is about to have their own spiritual Banana Day, but my goodness, the last thing I would want is to miss such an opportunity.

I love yall so much.  Thanks for your testimonies, for your prayers, and for all your work in God's kingdom.
Love,
Sister Bayley Enright

​Ron's baptism! Me, Sis Barton, Trudy, Ron hiding in the back, and Sis Bolton

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