Baptisms from Sunday, September 17th:
|C, Elder Lund, J, & Elder Bullough|
I hope that these pictures above could set the tone. This week was honestly one of the longest weeks of my mission, starting on Monday and Tuesday both of which went late into the afternoon. [Elder De Hoyos from the Quorum of the Seventy was touring the mission.] Then on Thursday having a new missionary training for 31 new missionaries and roughly 30+ trainers. It was to say the least very hectic and a bit stressful. Although each day was all made worth it after we would come home from our meetings with C and J the two men in the pictures above. We spent almost every night last week at both of their houses getting them ready for baptism, it was a blast! I will always remember the feeling on our drive back being grateful for the Spirit that both Elder Lund and I were able to feel at each of the lessons that we taught them. They were so ready and had made the decision clearly in their heads and to God. They prayed about it, even fasted about it and decided that September 17th was the day to get baptized!
I want to briefly state their stories, I can't obviously include every detail but I will do my best to include the most important parts of their conversions.
J found us through the Lakewood elders. They got a referral for him and went by and taught him. After their lesson they referred J to us. We went by that very next day and were able to talk to him and understand some of his story and why he was interested in meeting with us. He moved here from the Little Rock, Arkansas mission, and was taught by the missionaries down there and attended church quite a few times. The way he found the missionaries was quite funny actually. J said that one night he was wondering and prayed to God and asked him for a sign that even a dummy would understand. And the very next day there was a card from our church in his door. Well then, not sure that he could take that as his answer he asked the question again a little while later and then without fail, another card appeared on the door from our church. Boom! So he started meeting with the missionaries and learning and eventually he moved out here. At first he had a hard time with baptism and didn't feel like he was ready but we had one meeting with him where the Spirit was really strong and he committed that on Sunday he would have a date for us that he would be baptized. And sure enough on Sunday, he got his answer. He said that he finally understood why it was so important to come to church, get baptized and continue taking the sacrament, he related it to being recharged every week.--Perfect analogy in my opinion! So he asked us when the next baptism was and we told him that there was another person getting baptized on the 17th, and without hesitation J told us he would do it!
C has quite a story as well. He grew up with a rough background and had gotten into drinking at a young age, so much that he had become an alcoholic by the age of 23. He mentioned that he couldn't get away from it, nor did he want to. Then one day in his drive back home he was drunk and turned into the wrong way of traffic and had to immediately over-correct and rolled his car, luckily just injuring the car and himself. But more pain than his physical pain at that time was the news that he would no longer be able to serve in the military and was being released due to his DUI. This devastated him and sent him into a depression that resulted in more and more drinking. And at the final moments of his life, he decided that he was going to ask God one last time if He was there. And sure enough no later than 30 minutes after his prayer, here comes the knock at the door of two Mormon missionaries. C said that he knew without a doubt that, that knock was not just a coincidence but was a direct answer to him from God. So he let them in and loved what they shared. As time went on he kept praying and reading, and kept asking God for more guidance. At the beginning of meeting with us, C had already gotten his answer about the Book of Mormon and noticed a huge change in his life for the better. He now had friends in the church, he had a job that one of the members helped him get, and he was overall a more happy person, he was no longer "subject to those chains that held him bound!" After C's baptism he gave an amazing testimony at our "Why I Believe Fireside" that night!
Well over a few week process both J and C were able to be baptized on the 17th and came up out of those waters new men!