Samantha and Devinee were baptized on Saturday! It was such a beautiful day. The lyrics to a Nashville Tribute song keep coming to my mind to describe the way it feels when someone you have been teaching, who you come to absolutely love, enters into that covenant with Heavenly Father: "The most wonderful sound I've ever heard, is the sound of water running in the church. When someone I've come to love got dressed in white, my eyes saw the first glimpse of Heaven's light." So true.
Everything about the baptismal service was beautiful. The girls were really nervous before, especially Sam, because a lot of people were planning on attending. I sent Sam a text the night before and told her to read Doctrine & Covenants 84:88 for comfort and it was so cute because the next day, right before she was baptized, she kept saying she just needs to remember that angels are surrounding her and will bear her up, AW.
The spirit was so strong and both Sam and Devinee said they felt completely clean and renewed when they came out of the water. After the ordinance was performed, the service continued and I sang/played, "Glorious," by David Archuleta (Sam and Dev's favorite song). It was hard to get through because every time I looked up, I saw tears in the girls' eyes so in the middle of the song I just stopped and kinda laughed and cried at the same time, then tried to continue.
Sam and Devinee got confirmed as members of the church and received the Holy Ghost the next day in sacrament meeting. Their blessings were amazing. I am so excited to hear about all the wonderful things these cute girls will do in their lives. I look forward to the day I can be there with them as they are sealed in the temple. I have truly found my friends out here in Florida, two friends that I know I promised before we even came to this earth that I would help share the gospel with. What a joy it is, sharing this gospel and preaching repentance, inviting people to change and better their relationships with God. I am just so happy.
So on a side note, I stepped in a red ant pile on Saturday night during our ward pioneer day activity and got attacked. I haven't been able to sleep like at all the past few nights because every time I move, I'm woken up from how uncomfortable they are. NO FUN. I also got bit by a mosquito on my face right by my eye...pretty hilarious. Gotta love the south in the summer!
In my email last week I mentioned Ronnie and how prepared he is among all the hard trials he has been through in his life. We were able to teach him a couple more times this week and he was able to come to church again yesterday. It is rare that an investigator is this eager and excited about coming to church and we feel so grateful for that! The one thing Ronnie wants to know more than anything is how he can find God in all of this. We are trying to help him see and feel how much Heavenly Father loves him.
It is so interesting. before my mission, I probably would have been a little nervous to teach someone like Ronnie, who has spent a lot of his life in prison and made a lot of mistakes. I probably wouldn't have believed that someone like him could turn his life around. I think it really all comes down to the fact that I didn't truly understand the atonement of Jesus Christ and the healing power that He offers. Christ can literally take someone who may be so far gone and completely change him (if that person lets Him.) I think that is the important part. We have to give Jesus Christ who we are and LET him change us, better us, into someone we thought we couldn't become. He has that power, we do not. And that is what Ronnie is doing. He is allowing Christ to change him and heal him. It is so amazing to witness true repentance and change in someone's life. I feel like I am finally coming to understand even just a small bit of the atonement of Jesus Christ.
Thank you all for the prayer, letters, and emails. I love hearing from you all! I love my mission. I feel so blessed to have been given this opportunity! I love y'all :)
430 Riverwood Dr.
Crestview, FL 32536