|Sunday Sept 30,2012|
Bishop of Decatur ward, Ryan, Brian, Gaki, Elder Shelley
Brian and Gaki and now members of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints. They were both baptized on Sunday before Church. Yesterday was one of the happiest moments I have had so far on my mission. I had the opportunity of baptizing Gaki, and confirming Brian. Brian was baptized by the Bishop and confirmed by Elder Shelley. It was such an experience that I will never forget.
The baptism started at 8:30 AM before church. We could not do it Saturday as we originally planned because Brian had to work. We had to baptize them this week so that they could receive the Holy Ghost this week in sacrament meeting (because next week is conference). Neither Gaki or Brian has source of transportation. Finding them transportation was not extremely difficult. The Bishop was going to pick up Brian and Gaki's daughter was going to bring her. When we got to the church Brian was there but Gaki wasn't. I was very nervous due to the fact that the baptism started in 5 minutes. I called Gaki and asked if she was on her way. She said that her daughter hadn't picked her up yet and my heart immediately sank. She lived 15 minutes away from the Church... I thought the first person that I was going to have to opportunity to baptize was not even going to be there! I said a quick prayer in my heart, and no later than 10 minutes later I see Gaki, her daughter, and grand daughter coming down the hall. They must have been driving pretty fast.
The baptism got started pretty much on time. Gaki can get dressed quick. I sat down in the seats in front of the font with Gaki on my right and Brian on my left. I look over at Brian and he had his head down praying. I look over at Gaki and she turns to me with a big smile and says, "I am giving my life to God." When Gaki said this it really struck a chord in my heart. Our only worry throughout teaching Gaki was her understanding of what we were teaching her. She is from Africa and her English is pretty broken. So when we'd ask her what she learned from the last lesson, she had a tough time communicating in English what she had learned. When she turned to me and said "I am giving my life to God" I realized that her understanding of what we have been teaching her is better than anyone's. She knew exactly what she was about to do, and she knew exactly why she was doing it. She had felt the spirit during our lessons and that is what confirmed to her that what she was doing was right. Regardless of our teaching skills the spirit is the best teacher, and it testified to Gaki that what she was doing was right.
Brian was baptized first. Right when he came up out of the water he said, "Yes!" He was so happy to be baptized. When I opened the door to go into the side of the font to baptize Gaki, Brian was there just weeping. I gave him a big hug and he said, "I love you man, thank you." When I stepped down into the water and showed Gaki where to stand I was very surprised by Gaki's calmness. The last two women her age that I have seen getting baptized were very nervous to go under the water. Gaki was not scared one bit. I turned to her and asked her if she was ready and she said that she was. She went down into the water and came right back up. I asked her how she was and said "great!" with a big smile. We went back and got changed and then came and sat in the seats in front of the font. When I sat down Gaki turned to me and said "I gave my life to God." Later Glovia told me that Gaki was saying to her daughter and grand daughter that she loves it here and she is never leaving. I was so impressed by Gaki and Brian's dedication to following Christ's example.
The baptism finished about 20 minutes before sacrament meeting. Before Gaki was going to be confirmed she decided to scare me again by just disappearing. Sacrament meeting started and Gaki and her daughter were no where to be found. I was so stressed I couldn't help but laugh. Five minutes into the meeting I get a call from Gaki and I go out in the foyer and there she is with her daughter. Her hair was put down into braids and I immediately knew why she left. Her hair was pretty wild after the baptism, so they had to go do something about it. Haha. In sacrament we had three confirmations. Gaki, Brian, and HINDILLO! Hindillo was baptized on Friday! Three people that I loved dearly were about to receive the Holy Ghost. Hindillo was confirmed first by the bishop. Then Gaki was confirmed by Elder Shelley. Goodness, I love this lady so much! Right after she was confirmed she gets up and I go in for a handshake and she pushes my hand away and just give me a big hug! I was took me by surprise but it was so touching. It was then Brian's turn to be confirmed by me. It was absolutely an honor to confirm Brian. He has been waiting for this moment most of his life. As I was confirming him you could tell that he was getting very emotional and I just know that it is because he knew his search for the truth was over. After I was done confirming Brian he gets up and give me a big hug too.
After their confirmation they stayed up on the stand and were presented to the congregation. You could see the joy and excitement in all of their faces. When the Sacrament Hymn started Elder Shelley and I look at each other and just smiled. During the sacrament I felt so at peace. I knew that I had done a good job and that Heavenly Father was proud of me. Yet I knew that none of this happened because of my own efforts. Gaki and Brian were placed in front of us by God. There is no doubt in my mind about that. They were prepared by the Lord to hear our message and all we had to do was bring in the harvest. I am so thankful that God let me have this experience.
When I came out on my mission I was scared that I might not get a baptism, that I would not be a successful missionary, or that I might not affect anyone. I am so thankful for choosing to come out here and serve God. I am so thankful for the experiences that he has given me. I have seriously had the best start to a mission that anyone could ever have. I am so blessed.
I hope that y'all enjoyed this letter. I hope to hear from everyone the upcoming week. I am not being transferred so my address is not changing this transfer. So don't be scared to send me TONS of mail. Haha.
I love you all sooooo much.
-Elder Ryan Romero