October 10, 2010
What a week! Hectic as, but we pulled through with a lot to be proud of.
We have a new friend named Ugurcan, who is Turkish, 14 years old, who we tracted into a couple weeks ago. He was friendly and open-minded from the start, and curious what we had to say. We became friends as we talked to him, and he invited us to play sports with him. So on our P-Day, we got to kick a soccer ball around, I got to do a little tumbling, and we even got a short lesson at the end. It’s neat to have a friendship to hang out, but also discuss those big life things that turn us towards seeking the truth. We’ll see how he feels about the Book of Mormon.
That’s mild news. We were hit with a wide curveball on Tuesday when we got a call from Lucinda. She said she did not want to be baptized on Saturday and that Claudia would not be either. I asked about what was concerning her. She said she felt it was a bit fast, and she’s nervous to commit, and she doesn’t want everybody there for it to be a spectacle, and so on. She said she really appreciated all we had been doing, and really enjoyed us coming over, but the baptism would have to wait. I was jarred, but I calmly asked her to just read Alma 32, not write off the baptism quite yet, and reconfirmed a dinner appointment the following evening for us to go over any concerns and plan whatever would make her more comfortable, even if it meant pushing back the date. That whole night Elder Bartle was pretty panicky and frustrated, and the whole Zone was praying for us after that. The Echuca Elders Born and Che were coming down that night for a district meeting the following day, and we had a plan together. Elder Born was supposed to interview her on Wednesday and go with Elder Bartle, but he thought it might be better for Elder Bartle and me to go instead of him. But, I thought it was better for Elder Born to go with Elder Bartle so that a) if she changed her mind, they could still be interviewed, b) Elder Born would bring a fresh perspective to the situation, c) Elder Born first tracted into her with me and she was hoping to see him again, and d) Elder Bartle needed the chance to do it himself. Honestly, I still felt that Lucinda had felt the spirit enough to still be baptized, sooner or later, so I was not worried.
They came back that night with wide smiles saying that the main concern was a public baptism and they arranged to have it small and private, with no arguments. It happens every now and then with converts (like on member we have in Shepparton), and it’s fine to do. So on Saturday at 10:30, the family arrived and we had a short, sweet meeting and did the ordinance, both Lucinda and Claudia. They all had smiles on their faces, even Daniel. I asked Lucinda how she felt, and she said, “Happy!” And she looked very happy. They were then confirmed on Sunday.
Unfortunately, Jada and Ebony could not be baptized this week because Sister Bethune, their grandma, went to the hospital at 2:30am on Saturday with appendicitis! It will happen later, but we’re just glad she’s okay. But we still had the service for Sa, and the whole branch came to support him, Elder Bartle and I sang, Elder Che shared his conversion story, and I got to baptize Sa at his request. Lucinda came to the baptism with her daughters as well, so that was great.
We then helped the Elders in Finley, Elder Mitsvotai and Elder Parr, with their baptism for which they had to come down to Shepp and use our font, because Finley doesn’t have one. We also gave a talk.
So, let me recap for you: on Saturday, we had 3 baptismal services: one at 10:30, one at 3:00, and one at 7:00. When I say “baptismal service,” that encompasses organizing clothing, musical numbers, font-filling time (2-3 hours), programs printed, speakers, prayers, hymns, towels, keys, cars, timing, attendance, cleaning, and more little problems that require attention. It seemed like even though we were doing every little thing, small things would fall through the cracks in terms of organization. But, somehow we pulled it off and we had 4 baptisms happen in the building without any showstopping hitches. I am proud of us.
Let me go back to that part with Elder Bartle and Elder Born working things out with Lucinda. Since then, Elder Bartle has changed in the way he works. He is more proactive, more encouraging, he’s on top of plans with We need to do this and that, and he is a more confident and bold teacher. We were visiting with a less active member and he was boldly saying things that even I was hesitating to say. But I think that he realized when he visited Lucinda that evening that he can do what a missionary does, and do it quite well. It even seems like I’m working with another me based on the way he thinks and invites. It’s funny, but also very convenient. We’re sharing the weight now, and therfore moving much more quickly. I love it.
So that is the bulk of the week. We had 3 successful baptisms, and the others will come eventually. This next week will be very busy, because we’re getting more appointments with some potentials to follow up with, and this weekend we’re driving to Wangaratta for interviews and District Conference. I’ll be happy to see President again.
I’ll mention one more interesting find, as best as I can remember it…. one door we knocked on revealed a young single mum who immediately said, “Nah! Not interested, sorry!”
“But wait! I haven’t even said anything yet!” I commented.
“Nope! I don’t believe it!”
“Don’t believe what?” A pause. “In God?”
“No, I believe in something, but not necessarily God.”
“Really? Sounds confusing.”
“But what about Adam and Eve? How does that work?” She described her question of how they could have a family out of children marrying and having children.
“Well,” I started, “Our bodies were different back then, and it was possible. The Bible also says Noah lived for something like 900 years, and that’s not possible today, but things were different. It was a long time ago. If God wanted it to work that way, it would have worked. But that can’t be your only concern, is it?”
“Well, is God really male? There’s no proof that he’s a man!” She retorted.
“Oh come on! Jesus clearly said ‘Touch me not, for I have not yet ascended to my Father!’ How much more clear can you get?”
She looked at Elder Bartle and said, “I can’t believe it. I’m arguing with a redhead and I’m losing!”
She explained that she is a redhead and that she always wins her arguments. She also called me a gingersnap more than once. Whatever. We gave her a booklet and we’ll follow up with her later. I just thought that was so funny. She’s spunky as, but somehow I was able to meet her with the same, and my studies have sure paid off. Anyway, I hope you enjoyed that story.
Elder Bartle and I are enjoying maximally our new Children of Eden soundtrack. We love the first several tracks. Thank you!
I’m having a lot of fun out here. I heard through the grapevine that President is really happy with us, and he’ll probably keep us here a while longer, so I’m getting comfy. Now we just need to find some more golden people.
I love you so much! Glad to hear how well things are going. Enjoy the pictures. My favorite is the one with Abby and her new friend. That’s the way childhood should be.
-Elder Scott Baker