Monday, July 2, 2012

Steilacoom is the Celestial Kingdom

Direct quote from my new companion, who called us this morning and will be here on Wednesday. I would have to agree.
We had an amazing miracle this week. We have been teaching a girl named Ariana all transfer. Her parents were baptized just over a year ago and Ariana recently turned 9. Her dad approached me about 6 weeks ago and said that we needed to come over and teach her about baptism because she wants to be baptized and she needs to understand a little more about it. We were happy to oblige. Ariana, however, has some disabilities. She has autism and cerebral palsy, but is very high functioning. That's why her parents waited to baptize her. They wanted to make sure she would understand it. So we spent the next 5 weeks teaching her, coming up with creative ways to help her remember, and seeing her really learn and grasp it and grow. The first lesson we had with her we asked her why she wanted to be baptized. She said, "To get the Holy Ghost." We planned, with her mom that day, to have her baptized on June 29th. We didn't tell Ariana the exact day just in case things came up, we didn't want her to have that day stuck in her mind and have it become a problem. As things progressed, we didn't get much support from the parents on her baptism date. They were pretty iffy about it. They said she could get baptized when we said she was ready, and she was (when we went over the gospel she did great, then her sister wanted to try it too and she was correcting her sister on it), but they kept needing more and more confirmations that she actually was. The whole time, however, we never changed the day she was getting baptized on our board. It always stayed the same.
So then Monday night we had dinner with them. We knew it was crunch time and that she needed to be baptized this weekend. I almost got her dad to agree to a day, but then the opportunity slipped away. The next day we decided that we needed to go over there and just tell them that we had thoughtfully prayed about it and that she was ready to be baptized-this weekend. The only catch was to do it without her in the room in case her parents didn't want to do it. We stood there is their apartment, making small talk and finalizing plans for her interview, when it hit me that I had to bring it up. I was terrified. I said a quick prayer asking God to help me be able to say the words I needed to and for Ariana to be able to be out of the room so I could talk to her parents. As soon as I finished, the panic in my chest melted away. Ariana all of a sudden got up, put on her jacket, and went and played outside. I turned to her parents and said, "We've been thinking a lot about her baptism and we know she is ready. She should get baptized this weekend." Her parents hesitated and decided to hear Ariana's side. She came back in and said, "Saturday! At 8:00!" That was amazing. Two night later she was interviewed, we practiced her being baptized in the font, Friday everyone and their dog tried to push it back another week, but we knew and Airana knew that she needed to be baptized this weekend. It felt like the 3 of us fighting against the adversary, all together.
Saturday she was baptized and it was the sweetest thing ever. She looked so happy and loved the warm water haha. We meticulouly watched the temperature to make sure it wasn't too cold for her. Sis. Eichenmiller shared a great scripture in 1 Nephi where Nephi says, "And I said unto him: I know that he loveth his children; nevertheless, I do not know the meaning of all things." Ariana doesn't know everything, but she doesn't need to. She knew that she needed the Holy Ghost and that was all that mattered. It was such a huge testimony to me of the Savior's charge to all of us to become as a little child. Afterward we had treats and Ariana, Sis. Eichenmiller, and me sat out on the stairs by the gym just talking. Ariana was going to go to the movies that night with her family. She was eating all of the sweets she could and looked so pure and happy. I couldn't help but feel so honored to see her baptized and to learn from her. She'll be one of the ones teaching me how to make it to the Celestial Kingdom.
So then we got our transfer calls. Sis. Eichenmiller is leaving, and I will be here another 6 weeks at least, with Sis. Grenfell. In the bishop's wife's words, "Why can't we get any easy names here?" Oh well. It was a great end to a great week, and I am so grateful for it. Love you all so much. Stay strong, be happy. SMILE.

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