We've been teaching this one investigator for a while now; and she is so ready for baptism. The last time we had talked about it was a few weeks ago when she expressed that she just wants to feel like she can "be" the part, and not just "act" it. So we left things off as that we would wait for her to let us know when she is ready to be baptized.
Well, last Wednesday we had a Specialized Zone Training in Exeter, and one of the workshops dealt with inviting people to be baptized. Sister Wilkey joined in with me and Elder Oliphant, and our Zone Leaders and asked us to think of the first person whom we feel should be invited to be baptized, and then real-play it (it's kinda like a role-play, but more real). Stephany Suero was the first name that popped into my head, and as I turned to Sister Wilkey and opened my mouth - I felt tears come streaming down my face. I felt so great, and so happy, yet I was crying, and I couldn't figure out why. After the real-play, Sister Wilkey commented, "I can see that this was pretty meaningful for you." I nodded, and she added, "This investigatory seems like she's ready to recieve the blessings of the ordinance of baptism." I nodded again and then she said, "Well, what are you waiting for?" "Our next appointment is on Friday," I replied. After so much work and prayer, I finally realized that she in ready for baptism, and she is only waiting for us to invite her.
On Friday, Jan. 20th, we taught her from our experience as being missionaries that we weren't 100% missionaries when we came out on our missions, but we had to take that leap of faith and "act" the part for a while until we "became" missionaries. She then accepted the invitation to be baptized on Feb. 4th.
I am so grateful to have been a part in Stephany's conversion process and journey towards eternal/everlasting happiness. The things I have learned through our time of meeting with/teaching her have been so instrumental in my abilities to be a successful missionary. As I pondered about why everything worked out so smoothly for her, I realized that it was because of her desire and humility. I have learned that desire and humility are the keys to conversion and the recieving of all the blessings our Heavenly Father has in store for us.
I have also been pondering a bit about this last year of my life - how much I've grown, all the things I've learned, etc. As I come to the close of my first year of missionary service - and begin my second year - I have realized a few things:
1. Our God is a God of Miracles - look for them daily. He will use any means neccessary to put us right where we need to be.
2. Sometimes we may not always BE who we need to BE, but if we are humble, and full of desire, then we can DO the things neccessary to BECOME who our Heavenly Father wants/needs us to be.
3. Don't ever give up striving to do that which is the will of the Lord - even when things seem to tough to handle, God has always prepared a way for you to acomplish the things He asks you to do (1 Nephi 3:7). You will always have someone supporting and loving you for your righteous decisions. Always remember that there are good things to come (D&C 121:7-9).
4. If we truly strive to develop the attributes of our Savior, Jesus Christ, then we can feel that ultimate peace and happiness that we desire in our lives, marriages, families, etc.
5. Jesus is the Christ. The Book of Mormon is true and is a keystone to the true Church of Christ which has been restored once again through a living prophet on the earth. We are all children of our Heavenly Father, and everyone has the opportunity to recieved the infinite joy of entering into our Heavenly Father's kingdom if we will be faithful, repent of all our wrongings, be baptized by immersion and by someone holding the proper priesthood authority of God, receive the Gift of the Holy Ghost, and keep all of God's commandments for the rest of our lives. Families can be together forever - and this is God's purpose.
All of these things and more I have learned in this last year of being a servant and representative of Jesus Christ. Although my 1-year mark is bittersweet for me, I look forward for all the things I will learn in this next year, and all the miracles I will witness in this great and marvelous work.
From New England with love,
Elder Dustin Carr