Monday, July 16, 2012

All nations, of their own nation and tongue . . .

Well, it's hard for me to put into words everything that happened weekend.
I have talked a little bit about Pohai in past emails, but everything finally came together this weekend. We have also been teaching another girl, who is a close family friend of theirs, her name is Lisa. Pohai and Lisa were both baptized Saturday afternoon and confirmed on Sunday. I cannot describe what it was like to witness that event, or even to explain how significant those baptisms are.
Pohai is a member of the Pacheco family in the Agor clan. Missionaries had been trying to teach them for years, but to no avail. The timing was never right. Just about a year and a half ago the sisters were finally able to get in to get to know them. Slowly at first, but then all at once, individual members of the family (in-laws and grandkids) decided to be baptized and the ones that were members already started coming back to church. When I first got to Steilacoom there were only 2 kids left in the Pacheco family who have not been baptized. Now they are down to one. The struggle to teach Pohai, however, was extra significant because she is deaf. How do two English-speaking, non-signing missionaries teach a deaf girl about who her Heavenly Father is and the great plan that He has for her?
They don't.
We found the solution in Jamie and Ann Wilson, a deaf couple in the stake. They are the most amazing people I have ever met. They had been praying for a missionary experience and we heard about them from a member in our ward and when we met with them, we all knew that this was the answer to so many prayers. They have been teaching Pohai for just about 2 months, starting from the basics, teaching her who God is, how much He loves her, and how she can live with Him and with her family forever.
Lisa is the youngest of 6 in her family. Her parents and 2 oldest siblings are members, but they have been less-active most of their lives. They recently reconnected with some distant family, who happen to be members in our ward, and they started coming to church, grudgingly at first, but more and more willing over time. Lisa was the most prepared, and led the way. She constantly tells her siblings that Jesus loves them and they need to rely on her.
The two of them were both ready and waiting to be baptized, so we were able to organize everything, get all the logistics worked out (becuase Lisa lives in Lacey, definitely not in our area) and they were baptized on Saturday. It was an amazing day. Hands down my favorite part was when Pohai came up out of the water and looked at everyone standing in the room watching her (standing room only, we had to have the meeting part int he chapel because so many people came) and she smiled and everyone did the sign for applause (bringing your hands up and waving them). It was so happy and so special. They did the same thing for Lisa when she came up out of the water.
I had the great opportunity to bear my testimony while they were changing and I was speechless. I stood up and didn't have any words to say for a minute. This scripture, however, has come to have so much meaning to me, and this is the one that I shared:
"For behold, the Lord doth grant unto all nations, of their own nation and tongue, to teach his word, yea, in wisdom, all that he seeth fit that they should have; therefore we see that the Lord doth counsel in wisdom, according to that which is just and true." (Alma 29:8)
This gospel is so important that the Lord will prepare a way for ALL of his children, no matter where they are or what language they speak, to hear and learn of the gospel that will being them back to His presence forever. When I got my mission call I was disappointed that I would be speaking English and staying in the US. The Lord showed me over the last few months, and I finaly realized it on Saturday, that He always has a greater purpose in mind and that He will make anything possible for us. Anything.
I am amazed at how blessed I am to be here, to witness these great miracles, and to be so loved by my Heavenly Father. The words to "I Stand All Amazed" sum it up pretty well:
"I marvel that he would descend from his throne divine
To rescue a soul so rebellious and proud as mine,
That he should extend his great love unto such as I,
Sufficient to own, to redeem, and to justify."
We are so blessed. I love you all and I hope you have a great week. What miracle will you see today?
Sister Sara Chronister

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