Backflips to teach faith

March 6, 2011

G’day everybody,
A lot of milestones passed this week.  First and foremost, I am now 22 years old, which puts me right into “young adult” class.  That means I’m supposed to be more responsible than typical teenagers or something.  I’ll try to keep that in mind.  Also, that same day marks a complete year that I have been living here in Australia, which is probably longer than most of you reading this will spend there combined.  Whoah.  Finally, we have a new transfer coming up, so the 6 week rhythm is being reset once again.  Most of us are staying– only Elder Peteru and Elder Hawkins are getting transferred.  Not sure where Elder Hawkins is going yet, but Elder Peteru is getting transferred home.
We had a very eventful week.  My time is a bit short but I’ll let you know the funnier parts.
When I started me mission, there were some kids neighboring us named Jarn, Aliya, and Zack, plus some older and younger siblings.  These three are 10, 8, and 7 respectively.  They love the missionaries.  Now that I’ve come back, they’re not our neighbors anymore but are still nearby.  We got to teach them this week.  With kids, you pretty much can’t rely on them to absorb any verbal instruction.  Luckily, we planned a 4-step killer lesson on the Gospel of Jesus Christ.  We taught faith by having the kids fall from the top of the couch into our arms, so they needed faith that we would catch them.  For repentance, I did a little role play skit of stealing their stuff and not apologizing, which got their attention.  Elder Peteru explained the metaphor of the Holy Ghost being a “baptism by fire” by lighting a tea bag on fire and it flying up in the air “ascending to heaven.”  Their eyes went wide and they all said WHOAH!  DO THAT AGAIN!  THAT WAS SO COOL!  But they also got the message about the importance of baptism.  I asked, “Who wants the Holy Ghost?”
“Oh!  Me!  Me!  I want it!” they alll exclaimed.
“Who wants to get baptized?” I asked?
“Oh!  Me Me ME!”  Jarn said, “I want to get baptized tomorrow!”
Their mom wasn’t about to jump in that quick, but we were able to set a date for April 2nd.  Their mom used to be a member, but she needs to learn more about Joseph Smith.  That’s our next step for the kids.  They all want to come to church, but their mom isn’t as enthusiastic.
To teach enduring to the end, I told them I would do a backflip.  They couldn’t wait to see it.  But right before I jumped, I said, “You know, I’m not sure I can do this.  I don’t want to.”  Aliya figured it out immediately and said, “No!  You need to have faith!  You don’t have faith!  That’s what he’s teaching us!  You need faith!”  So I confessed, “Well, I guess I’ve done it before, and so I can do it.”  Whoosh!  “Wow!  That’s awesome!”
I’ve never ever seen kids so excited to learn about Jesus Christ and get baptized.  That’s something I won’t forget.
I’ve been feeling better from my sickness, I’ve received proper attention, and I think that this transfer will be much more effective.  We have made good progress in this area, but there is still much that needs to get done.  I think the start of my mission taught me the value of a job well done, but now I have learned about the value of enjoying what you do.  You need to appreciate the little things, and look for ways to laugh as you go about your work.  Otherwise, it’s drudgery.  To have fun, you have to do more than just fill the requirements of what is needed.  You have to push boundaries of what is expected.  Sometimes while we would walk along the footpath, Elder Peteru would give me a push to the side, totally throwing off my balance.  It’s dumb, but it makes us laugh.
I love you all.  Thanks for all the birthday wishes and packages!  Thank you also for your prayers.  I know that I am not alone.  I love the church, I love being a missionary.  Love you.
Elder Scott Baker
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