It's good to hear from my friends and family. This week was a good week, and at the same time, a haze. Lots of stuff that happened. This week was the preparation of Jackie and Anna's baptism.
This week was the decision to truly follow the savior's example and be baptized in his name. I'm grateful for the stress and the preparation of this baptism. It wasn't like the Mendez family, my first baptism. But, it was close! Not only that, but, preparing for Jasvinn and her two boys to be baptized this coming week and getting the Winchells to be baptized this coming 2 weeks.
A lot has happened this month and it's only the beginning of the month! Some highlights from this week. We taught Jasvinn and her two boys. It was fun, but at the same time truth will always be revealed, when influenced by the spirit. Jasvinn is so ready to be baptized! She comes to church almost every week. She loves the scriptures. She reads them with her kids almost all the time. They are committed and did I mention they’re ready!?!
I love that members of the church can have a testimony one that is bright and intact and strong. We know God will help us in times of trial. Nephi had struggles and the Lord prepared a way for him to accomplish the His task. When Amulon tried to persecute and kill the believers, the Lord helped them. We testified that the Lord will prepare a way, as long as she was faithful to our Father, that all will work out.
I was able to quote Ezra Taft Benson: Here then is a great truth there. In all the pain, the agony, heroic endeavors in life we pass through a refiner’s fire and the insignificant and unimportant in our lives can melt away like dross and make our faith bright intact and strong.
All these trials and challenges, I can testify, make us into a bigger, brighter and firmer person of hope and light and truth. I see it in Jas everyday, as I serve her and her family. It's extraordinary, seeing the change in people. Its been a delight seeing it with this family. As we left, I was impressed to tell her the story of Helaman and his 2000, but I forgot the impression. Then later that week, we were to have another lesson with her and her two kids. My companion were trying to think of what we could do. My companion yelled, “Their MOTHERS KNEW IT!” The armies of Helaman!
We went in and told Jas, basically, that she was one of the modern day mother of the stripping warriors! She, like that, along with her boys, we told the boys to listen to their mothers and follow with exactness. We also talked about obedience and how obedience can lead to blessings. Our trials and challenges can be made light with the Savior's help. We saw it in Alma and Nephi and the bright young men in Helaman’s army. We told Jas that she need only do what she is doing… to continue praying, continue reading, continue teaching her boys the ways of the gospel and if she do this she will be blessed, she will have a way to get baptized! I bore witness that God will prepare that way to do whatsoever thing he asks us to do. Love this family!!!!
Now as far as baptisms... Jackie and Anna. This week, has been one hectic week, but very rewarding. There was a little time attack… a member teaching most of the lessons part. We had to buck through the lessons this week to finish. This week has been all about Jackie and Anna... Lessons, dinner, full stomach, fearing that we weren't going to finish on time and move the date another day. All that bunched together and you have a pretty good baptism!
These two women are bright in truth yearning to learn more. I'm so grateful I had the chance to teach these daughters of our loving Heavenly Father! They are very special and they were ready! It was a good baptism. Anna's family came and witnessed her taking upon the name of Christ. I'm sure they felt something thing special that day and I'm sure one day they will come to the truth and knowledge of the gospel and see the blessings that these two sisters have received.
I was invited to give a talk on the Holy Ghost for them. Sister Westbrook, Jackies best friend, gave a great talk on baptism, referring it to a Kit Kat candy bar… if you aren't aware of the name she said to KEEP the commandments ALWAYS remember him and last TAKE upon us his name. It was a great talk! Then, I got to see the coolest thing one of the greatest things - to witness in these 2 years, the best years of life, no one can offer but God - Jackie went first and Brother Westbrook baptized her.
Then, it was Anna's turn. It was a moment to capture! Anna is shy. She was hesitant to get in the water, but brother Westbrook told her it was going to be okay. I saw him whisper to her and heard him ask, “Why are you getting baptized?” She responded in a small whisper, but I was able to hear it, “Because I'm following Jesus Christ.” After that, she was brave and was immersed. Take a moment and think of your baptism, the smile you had on you face, realizing you were doing something, maybe one of the most righteous decisions you've made in your life. I saw that! This baptism… everything was going in slow motion and I enjoyed every second of it!
I know the gospel is true! I know that Jackie Anna made this righteous decision in their life and I'm so grateful that I was there to witness it. I’m going to be even more happy with Jasvinn and her boys, when they receive the blessings that Jackie and Anna had the opportunity of having along with the Winchell’s. They haven't come to church at all. They are solid. They are ready, but, coming to church has been a problem with them. Well, the stake decided to bring artillery. The whole stake is focused on them. I'm grateful for their effort. These families need the gospel! They cannot survive without it. I'm grateful to be one connected to that true vine, that vine being Jesus Christ.
We had ward conference and bishop gave a great talk about all we can. Labor and do it with a good attitude and if we do that we can be truly happy. Heavenly Father wants us to labor in righteousness. Bishop said It's good to be with you, it's good to labor with you, work and serve with you. He talked about the importance of work. He said if we are sweating a little and crying a little while we are doing it, this is when we know we are laboring and trying to please God. It insures that our hearts are committed in love. And that we want to serve each other.
Work is important! Gordon B. Hinckley said forget yourself and go to work. Work in this life is the most important thing we can do. We work to have faith. We work to repent and become better with the faith we have and we work to reach our goals. Giving up things that may be not be easy and do maybe a hard thing, but, it's the harder right that matters and in this case, it's following the Savior, Jesus Christ through baptism and even harder with all that we have. working to the very end and receiving our just reward.
Heavenly Father requires that we work in his vineyard.
I've been called to the work and, believe me, being here these almost 9 months… I've sweat a little and have cried a little and have pleaded for a break. So I believe and know that I'm doing hard work, but I have also understood the work of my Savior, Jesus Christ. He worked. He worked with prayer, performing miracles loving everyone and helping everyone come to the truth.
Like in General Conference, he did not dodge sinners. He was not lazy in showing people their potential. He healed and he blessed, he did all that he did and not only that he worked to the last days of his life. In the Garden of Gethsemane, he worked to the point of falling on his face and pleading with his Father, “If this work could have a respite, just enough to have him breath, a freeing breath, he asked if he had to finish his work. I can testify that he cried a lot and he sweat a lot, to the point of blood and each drop, so that we could do the work that we have been given and that work is small but it's fulfilling.
We sweat a little and cry a little, but when we look back at the work we've done and see the task that made us better, in the long run, we smile and we smile because Christ helped us through it. Christ worked hard and he continues to work today. He works with me, as I serve my tithing of work in this life. I want you to know that I'm grateful for his work. I'm grateful for the souls that have been found in his work and I'm grateful for my tears, whether they be sad or happy and the sweat of riding my bike, bearing my testimony, knocking door to door and just doing his work. I'm grateful that this is the work to bring to this people Christ’s gospel. I’m grateful to be a part of it.
I love you all!