Well this week has probably been one of the hardest weeks of my mission...but I've never learned so much so fast. Last week while we were weekly planning, I felt really inspired to set a goal of having 3 baptisms with Adriana, Melanoa and Heppy. BACKGROUND: Adriana is the 13 yr old girl who the missionaries have been teaching since April or May and who's dad finally gave her permission to be baptized a few weeks ago. Adriana has the purest desire to be baptized...she truly just wants to be forgiven of the things she's done in the past and be perfectly clean. She wants to do what she knows will make Heavenly Father happy. Melanoa and Heppy are sisters and are 12 and 9. They are members of a less active Tongan family in the English Ward who wanted sisters to teach them. They were supposed to be baptized about a month ago but every weekend something has come up...they've moved, were out of town, their brother had a football game, so on and so forth. At the beginning of the week, We promised Heavenly Father that we would do everything we possibly could in our power to make these baptisms happen. I have never worked so hard or desired to reach a goal so bad in my life as I did this week. With Melanoa and Heppy it was really hard because they live farther away and their parents are never home for us to talk to and their mom works nights. But we tried every single day...several times a day, to contact their parents. With their moms difficult schedule we had to find out from her kids what times she was awake and set alarms sporadically throughout the day for us to call her. But when We'd finally talk to their mom and she would tell us that she would get back to us after she talked to her husband and then never would. It was so frustrating. We kept planning the baptism like it was going to happen though and had everything set up but when it came down to it...it wasn't able to happen. But, because we worked as hard as we did to teach them and plan their baptism, we were able to find out the real reason why their parents kept pushing their baptism back and are able to help them and their family so much better now. Ok now Adriana. Where do I begin. Well we have taught Adriana pretty much every single day for the past 2 weeks. We have talked to her dad whenever we saw him and reminded him about her baptism. We told him that he could choose whatever hour he wanted on Saturday from 10am to 9pm to have her baptism and we scheduled it for 4pm on Sat. So on Saturday morning, as soon as we got back from Tampa we went and visited Adriana and made sure everything was all set for her baptism. It was 11am and she was already getting herself ready for it haha. We made sure everything was all good with her mother in law to take her and she was like yup! 4pm we will all be there! 4 pm came around and we were waiting at the church, font filled, hno chacon dressed in white ready to baptize her, president and his wife there and no Adriana. We waited anxiously in the parking lot for 15 minutes until I just decided to go with president and his wife to Adriana's house to see what was going on. When we got to her house Hermana Gonzalez ( pres wife) and I walked up and Adriana's whole family is just running around outside, Adriana is sitting solemnly inside and her dad is outside working on his car. When we came up he acted like nothing even happened he just basically said oh sorry I got busy, I have to fix this right now she can't get baptized. I said it will only take 20 minutes and I can promise you this 20 minutes will change her life. He wouldn't budge. We ended up agreeing on her to be baptized at 830 am the next day on Sunday (again he chose the time) and when the next morning came around, we filled up the font, went over to Adriana's house and no one was even making an effort to go. I guess between the time when I'd talked to her dad and then, he had made the decision that Adriana was not ready to be baptized. I felt like someone had stabbed my heart when they opened the door and said she wasn't going To be baptized. We ended up talking to her mother in law for a while though and really got to understand what their concerns were and why they didn't think she is ready to be baptized. Now we know how to help Adriana better, even though I'm not really sure how much longer we will be able to teach her because they are moving. But through all these experiences I learned that I need to work as if every investigator was going to be baptized that week. I've
never worked so hard as I did this week to help bring others to christ, and in doing so my love for these girls grew so much. I can only imagine the love that our Savior has for them. And because we set and truly believed in that goal, I feel like we were able to
accomplish what Heavenly Father wanted us to. Because of our fasting and prayers and hard work we were able to discover what these girls and families really need. I also learned a lot about agency. All that Heavenly Father has asked us to do is to use our own personal agency wisely. It's all we can do. I cannot make other people's decisions for them I can only control my own and my own effort. Even if things don'thappen the way I want them to, I know that if I can say I did everything I possibly could, then everything happened the way Heavenly Father wanted them to and His way and His will and His timing are always perfect. I was having a hard time after Adriana didn't end up getting baptized, because I just love her so much and I know this is what she wants to do and what Heavenly Father wants her to do. But I just had to come to the realization that God has a plan and it's perfect. I trust in His wisdom more than my own and know that everything that happened this weekend is for as Nephi puts it "a wise purpose that I know not". But even though we didn't not hit that goal this week, in reality I know that we did because we learned the things that Heavenly Father wanted us to learn.
- Also The metro training we had this week in Tampa changed my mission. It was just 2 days of training from a set of sisters and a set of elders (elder knowlton was one of them) and maybe 5 or 6 other sets of missionaries but I learned so so much. We talked a lot about
how to more effectively study, work with members, teach by the spirit, and so many other things. I think the power of learning by the spirit was the most important thing I learned. The Spirit really is how Heavenly Father communicates with us and teaches us the things we need to learn, to become who He wants us to be. I have such a strong testimony of that.
- Today was the end of my 3rd transfer in the Mission and with that, I had to say goodbye to one of my very best friends Hermana Newbill this morning. She is finishing her mission and will be flying back home tomorrow. I have been regretting this day pretty much since the day we got put together. Hermana Newbill is one of the best people, and best missionaries I will probably ever meet. Words cannot describe all the things that I learned from her and her example to me. I know that we were put together for a reason. I wish everybody had the opportunity to become as good of friends as I have with Hermana Newbill...everyone's lives would probably be 10 times better. Man I love that girl so much. My heart is hurting just writing this so I'm going to stop before I start sweating out of my eyes again. But yes Hermana Gibson and I will be staying here in Bradenton for another transfer and I will be finishing training her. I am so excited to see what this next transfer holds. I love you all and hope everyone has agreat week, merry almost Christmas!
Love Hermana Baugh
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