Quote of the week--MaryAnn*, after we showed her the Official Declaration about how we no longer practice polygamy:
"Where's my highlighter?! Now I can show every person who brings up dang polygamy! It drives me crazy, and I've been a Mormon for HOW many hours?!?!"
The joys of being part of the true church:')
This week was completely hectic! Trying to throw together a baptism last-minute that is as spiritual as possible for the members and MaryAnn... all on our own? Aye aye aye. But it turned out perfectly. A lot of work went into this baptism. I'll put it this way--the number 1 most-used phrase this week to describe our companionship (used by completely separate people) was "chickens with their heads cut off". Woo hoo.
The morning of, we had font-scrubbing, font-filling, chapel-cleaning, chair-setting, refreshment-baking, cake-frosting, errand-running, and phone call-making. We couldn't catch a break for a meal and miraculously were able to talk to 52 people along the way. The missionaries came to the chapel early for last preparations, and Elder Dudley was all excited and nervous to be baptizing someone for the first time.
It was a really great group effort because the elders found MaryAnn, we taught her, the elders dropped in for a lesson once a week, and Elder Dudley baptized her. So it was a giant group effort, and we loved it. MaryAnn got to hear the lessons from different points of view, meet the women in the ward (from sisters bringing them to lessons), meet the men in the ward (from elders bringing them to lessons), and receive all the support that comes from that.
It was touching. MaryAnn showed up Saturday evening wearing her brand new Mormon-looking outfit and her brand new Mormon-looking haircut. She got dressed in all-white and looked angelic and we took pictures. Right before the service began at 7, we and the bishopric and the members associated with the program had a prayer meeting to bring the Spirit. I started playing a bit of prelude that affected a few of the missionaries because they were primary songs that we used to sing at our own baptisms, and now we're all out here on missions.
MaryAnn chose the opening hymn--"I Need Thee Every Hour." I conducted. I gave the opening prayer and was overwhelmed at the pulpit, seeing her family and the ward members who came to support. I was so proud of MaryAnn. She has changed everything in her life to do what's right.
After the opening prayer, Sister Thompson gave the first talk on baptism. It was perfect. She drew parallels between MaryAnn and the Saviour. Then Sister Day, MaryAnn's best friend in the ward, gave a talk on the Holy Ghost which was perfectly directed at Michelle.
Then we had a musical number. MaryAnn had specifically asked for Amalia to sing. She sang "How Great Thou Art" and I came up with an arrangement to accompany her on the piano. (Sister T and I came in to harmonize on later verses). I'm grateful for the Spirit, because it softened the rough parts and made the tone very powerful for MaryAnn to make her first covenant with Heavenly Father.
She was baptized. Sister Thompson and I gave her great big hugs. She said she felt wonderful.
We watched Mormon Messages about the Book of Mormon while we waited for them to change.
Our ward mission leader, Brother Aitken, was conducting the meeting. When MaryAnn came back, he bore his testimony and said that since his mission in Mexico, he's always loved baptisms because they reminded him of who he was and why he did missionary work. It was one of the most powerful testimonies I've ever heard, and a lot of that was because I was reminded of who I was too.
Bishop welcomed her to the ward with another great testimony. We had refreshments afterwards and are now teaching her sister, Barbara, who came to support.
Sunday she was confirmed. She was nervous for that part because she has a hard time in front of groups of people. But she said that when Bishop said the words "Receive the Holy Ghost," this peace just filled her up. I was bouncing up and down in my seat, I was so happy it felt like it couldn't fit in side of me.
After the confirmation, during the sacrament, I glanced across the room at MaryAnn. And did a double-take. Because she looked DIFFERENT! There was a physical difference. It was amazing.
The four missionaries gave her our gifts after sacrament meeting: a triple combination (which she's been dying for since June), a journal that we decorated, a copy of her confirmation blessing that we scribbled down, and a True to the Faith book. She was so excited and carried it around with her to the clinic that day, telling everyone she was baptized into the Mormon Church and showing them her Book of Mormon!
She just received her first visiting teaching assignment:)
The Church is true. Conversion is a miracle.
Love you all!
|We all accidentally matched! Elder King, Elder Dudley, me, Sister Thompson|
|MaryAnn's awesome calendar|
|Sisters who actually know how to pop the hood ;)|
|Excited to fill the font!!|
|Sister Thompson (while reviewing the photos): "Aww. Look, in one of them I have the model face, but not in this one."|
Me: "No, Sister T, look! Zoom in, you have a model face!"
Sister Thompson: "Oh yeah. Yeah, I do look like a model."
|MaryAnn and Elder Dudley. She wanted him to baptize her since day 1!|
|MaryAnn and a few of her closest friends in the ward, Julia* and Sister Brentwood*|
|The girls :)|
|The gang--Elder King, Sister Thompson, MaryAnn, me, Elder Dudley|
|Me and Sister T hangin out|