Wednesday, August 21, 2013

A Happy Birthday Indeed

Liebe Familie,
This week was SO COOL! 
On Monday night, we brought our GML to Grace's for an appointment. We left, and he told us he wasn't sure if she really understood all of the gospel principles well enough to get baptized. He counseled us to pray about it and reconsider the wisdom in her being baptized the following Saturday. We went home, but it was a little bit late, so we just went to bed and decided to pray about it in the morning.
The next day, we had district meeting, and I had to make cookies for it. We have started doing a thing where we all bring something for lunch afterwards, and it was our turn for Nachtisch. Unfortunately, I had to do it during personal study time. So, although I had a General Conference talk out, I wasn't really reading it. I was just thinking. Sister Brinck was in the other room studying her scriptures. I just started thinking about the past people that had gotten baptized and how some of them took more time than others, but at the end of the day, they were all ready. I started thinking about why. As I compared them all, I thought about the baptismal interview questions. I thought about how these questions are what the First Presidency, and by extension, God, has determined a person needs to know in order to be baptized. They need to know that God is their Heavenly Father, and they need to know who Jesus Christ is and what His role was. They need to know that Joseph Smith was a prophet, and that Thomas S. Monson is the prophet today... I thought about how Grace KNEW all of that stuff. In fact, she sometimes taught us new things about these concepts. I also thought back to the day when Sister Brinck and I had prayed about what day Grace should be baptized, and how strongly we had felt that she would be ready on the 18th of August as long as we do everything we can, and Grace does everything she can. Grace had kept every commitment, and was very much so ready to get baptized. We had taught her multiple times each week, and had prayed the night before about what we should teach her this week in order to make sure she was ready. Determining that the spirit wouldn't lie, I reported my answer to Sister Brinck. Sister Brinck had, of course, had a different trail of thoughts (she had thought about how much 8 year olds understand, but they understand enough), but we both came to the conclusion that Grace was ready to be baptized. She was interviewed on Tuesday, and the district leader agreed. So our GML made the necessary preparations for Grace's baptism. He said that when he received our SMS that the she passed her interview, he got an overwhelming feeling of peace, and he knew that Grace would be alright. 
Tuesday, we went back to the Nespers to help another couch get moved. We came an hour early with the elders and talked for a little while first. We read in 3 Nephi 11 with them. After we read the chapter, we asked what they thought as we read the chapter. Tina told us she felt peace. And that she feels peace whenever we come. She said that she gets so excited even thinking about how we are coming because she knows the peace will come, too. We talked about the Holy Ghost. We were about to try to set a baptismal date (the chapter talks about baptism, too, so it was doubly perfect), but the man who was supposed to drive the elders to pick up the couch came ten minutes early! So they left, and we were supposed to keep Mandy entertained so she would stay out of the way as the furniture was getting moved. I pulled out my gospel art book, and we looked at all of the pictures of Jesus. I asked her what his name was (pointing to Jesus in the picture), and she would think about it every time, and then determine it was Jesus. Surprisingly enough, that entertained her for about an hour. 
The next night, we visited them again. We had planned on watching the Restoration film, but they had no DVD player. So we changed gears, and we taught the third lesson. When we got to baptism, they mentioned (again) how they know they need to baptize Mandy, but they feel like she is too young. They feel like she is so innocent and without sin. Also, does she really understand what she would be doing? Then Beate (the grandma) said that she was baptized when she was 7, and was a lot more aware. We told them that we baptize at age 8, and they got so excited. They told us that their friends had told them that she should be baptized in the Catholic church, but they didn't understand why it mattered. So we talked about authority, and the whole time they kept saying how it made so much sense. Then we gave them the soft baptismal commitment (when they know the Book of Mormon is true and that Joseph Smith was a prophet, would they follow the example of Jesus Christ and allow themselves to be baptized). Tina said, ''We must!'' And Beate just nodded with wide open eyes, indicating the same thoughts. So, then I told them it was good to set a goal to show our faith that we can receive an answer; we told them that we had prayed about it, and we felt that the 21st of September would be a day on which they could be ready to be baptized. We asked them if we could set that goal, and they were even more excited! We bore testimony that they could receive an answer, and they were just so so so excited.
Then, we had Austausch on Friday, the next time with which the Nespers were met. Sister Holman asked them if they had prayed about Joseph Smith and the Book of Mormon. Tina told how she had prayed that night. She has a fear of big crowds and tight places. Because of this, she has not been to a grocery store in 15 years - her mom just always goes for her. But the next day, she was driving in the car, and she drove past a grocery store, and the spirit told her, ''Just go in.'' So she did. And she wasn't scared at all! Sister Holman asked her if perhaps that was an answer. She thought for a few seconds, then said, ''Yeah!'' It's cool how the spirit talks to each of us differently. For Tina, her prayer was answered when the spirit spoke so much peace to her soul, that she was able to overcome a fear that had been plaguing her for 15 years! 
Meanwhile, I was in Pforzheim, and we met with a less active and an investigator who are working through the stop-smoking program. They are so cool, and Martin, in particular, is fighting so hard to quit. We read a really cool talk from Elder Oaks called ''He Heals the Heavy Laden.'' It was so powerful, and they just loved it. It really was a powerful talk, and that is your homework for this week: read it.
We also set a baptismal date with a new investigator for the sisters in Pforzheim from Iraq! He was so cool, and his whole family was so hospitible. They fed us a full-on dinner on our first visit! Never had Iraqi food before, but it was quite lovely:]
Saturday, we did an Ausstellung in Pforzheim, and it was incredible! Sthepany (pronounced like my first name, but she is from Peru, so it is spelled differently) and I teamed up and gave out more than 11 Book of Mormons in those few hours! She is so cool, and I am excited to keep in contact with her:] 
Then, Sunday, Little Miss Grace was baptized! It was a wonderful, wonderful day. The ward has been so awesome at fellowshipping her, and she was just beaming all day. She had to be dunked twice because her dress didn't go under all the way the first time, but it was awesome! The other family from Nigeria in our ward came, and Obehi and Grace just bonded. They were both so excited to have someone with whom they could speak Igbo, and Gold (the three year old daughter of the member) kept calling Grace ''Oma'' (Grandma). 
Have an incredible week!
Sister Stephanie Reid

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