Warm Southern greetings, my loved ones!!!
Another crazy busy week has come and gone. Can you believe I've already been out for a whole transfer now?! (Oh yeah, we missionaries don't think in months. We think in transfers. Ask any missionary, I can pretty much guarantee that's what they'll tell you.) I only have 12 more transfers?! BAH! Not fair! Time is going by WAY too fast! So before I waste any more, let's answer some questions and then I can tell you about the crowning jewel of my week!
Okay, the infamous questions, thanks to mi madre:
1. What ward are you in and have you meet Mrs. Bakers relatives? I wrote about them a few letters back.
I am in the Baton Rouge 3rd ward, and I cannot tell you how amazing these folks are! They are AMAZING! Really really. I just love them so much! They are always excited to see us, and keep telling us how excited they are to have sisters serving here again. I could not have asked for a better place to start my mission. I've really connected with the members here, and Sister Dansie and I can both tell something BIG is about to happen, and we're SO RIDICULOUSLY EXCITED FOR IT, IT'S NOT EVEN FUNNY!!!
Where are Mrs. Baker's relatives again? In Natchez, or was it somewhere else?
2. What families are you teaching or specific areas are you working in that we can pray for or put names in the temple to assist you?
We are trying to teach Jessica's family. Jess is a favorite! She's so cool. She was baptized in August, and she just eats the gospel up! Her mom, Judy, is finally interested, and so is her brother Junior. Her sister Iesha isn't yet, but hopefully we'll get through to all of them. We keep trying to get them over to the stake president's house for a lesson, but obviously they are meant to do lots of good because Satan is working really hard on them. The first time we tried, Jess got attacked by a pit bull, and her mom had back problems so they couldn't make it. The second time, her mom got called into work, and something else happened so they couldn't make it. It's really frustrating. I wish I could just put them in this giant protective bubble until we could get to them again! But that's all right. The Lord knows them, and loves them, and if He says they'll be taught, well then, THEY'LL BE TAUGHT. So please pray for them. Also, pray for Valentina, and I'll explain why in a minute.
3. Any new sayings or strange food of the week?
New sayings? Hmm...no. And no strange food yet, but I might be eating alligator later tonight! Seriously! I'll let you know. I've heard it tastes like chicken.
Okay! Now the SUPER EXCITING PART!!!This last Wednesday, Valentina was baptized!!!! Can I just say, GOD STINKIN' ROCKS?!?!?!!!! It was incredible! The Spirit was very VERY present, and everyone could feel it. Brother Joffrion gave a talk on baptism, and explained to Valentina a little more about why we are baptized and what we promise and what God promises us. Then Elder Jones met Tina down in the font. As he started to speak, I had this amazing feeling building up inside me. You know that excitement you feel when you're on rollar coaster, and you can see the big hill in front of you, and as you're going up it, your heart beats faster and faster, and you get goosebumps everywhere, and just as you reach the top, there's that moment of silence, and you think, "Oh boy!"? That's about the best way I can think to explain how I was feeling, except you've got to times it by like a billion. I have never felt that way before in my entire life. When she came up out of the water, Valentina just started to sob. Sister Dansie said she's never seen anyone grasp the Atonement that quickly before. Tina just stood there and cried. It was the best feeling ever to see her realize that she was pure, she was clean, and she was loved by her Heavenly Father. Brr, I've got goosebumps right now, just remembering it! Sister Dansie and Jessica went back in the bathroom with her to help her get ready, and I stayed out in case they needed me to play the piano for interlude. Sister Dansie said that Valentina couldn't stop smiling. Valentina told her, "I have never felt like this before. I have never felt this happy." It was the best day ever---worth every second of worry, stress, everything, just to see Valentina's joy. If I never see another baptism on my mission, it won't matter. That one I will never EVER forget.
Truly, this is Christ's church. Nowhere, I repeat, NOWHERE else has the full truth. Christ's power and authority is here again, restored today on the earth. It is through that power and authority that we can and will have the most and best happiness we can ever imagine while here on earth. We cannot obtain that happiness anywhere else. I know, without any doubts, that Jesus Christ is our Saviour, our Redeemer, and that He loves us. He called a prophet to restore His church. I know that Joseph Smith was that prophet, and that he did see God the Father and Jesus Christ. As John Taylor said, "Joseph Smith, the Prophet and Seer of the Lord, has done more, save Jesus only, for the salvation of men in this world, than any other man that ever lived in it." (D&C 135) I testify that this is true. I know that we have a prophet here on earth today, President Thomas S. Monson, and that he is also called by God to lead and guide us here on earth.
This is my testimony, and I will never EVER retract it. I will never go against the knowledge and the truth I have been blessed to know. And I will do everything in my power to help all those I meet, all those I see remember who they really are---precious children of a loving Heavenly Father---and that there is a way to have that happiness we are all seeking for. That Way is Jesus Christ, and that is why I am here. I am here to show others the way to Him.
I love you all, and thank you for all you have taught me and for your prayers.
2 Corinthians 4:5
For we preach not ourselves, but Christ Jesus the Lord; and ourselves your servants for Jesus' sake.