Joe was baptized yesterday!!!! It was the most beautiful, spiritual, powerful baptismal service I have ever been to. This baptism was really unique because although we taught Joe in Chinese, he was baptized into the English ward because his main fellowshipper goes there. So both us and the English sisters got to participate in this amazing miracle. The best part of this baptism was that Joe’s parents came all the way from China to see him get baptized. We met them for the first time yesterday and they are ANGELS. Also, they are probably the tallest/biggest Chinese people I have seen. Anyway, it was just so tender to see how much they loved and supported Joe in his decision to get baptized. We were also able to give them each a Book of Mormon for them to read when they go back to China today!
So Joe’s conversion story is the definition of prime member-missionary work. He came to America for school and it was his neighbor (a member) who started taking him to church. We met Joe in May and like most people from China, he didn’t know anything about God. But after we invited him to pray for the first time, he said he received a very clear answer that Heavenly Father lives. And it just kept going uphill from then! And his neighbor (the most hilarious 80 man ever) has been right beside him, every step of the way – sitting in with us on lessons (even though he had no clue what we were saying) and taking Joe to church every week. Also, I have just been so impressed with how much wisdom and desire this 17 year old boy has. I know Heavenly Father prepared him to come to America to receive the gospel. I also know that Heavenly Father prepared Joe’s neighbor and his wife to receive the gospel so that they could be an instrument in helping Joe receive the gospel. I know that Joe’s decision will impact and influence his parents and his sister for good. I love Heavenly Father’s perfect orchestrations!
We also had exchanges with our Sister Training Leaders! I went up to Sunland again to be with Sister Thatcher and Sister Baker. It’s been awhile since we did exchanges and it was exciting to be in English work for a day. They had a super bomb day planned, but like many days go, all the lessons got dropped so we spent a lot of time walking and talking in the incredibly uphill Sunland. During that day, there seemed to be a theme of Jesus Christ’s Atonement and prayer. I love the idea of grace. In the definition of grace in “True to the Faith” it says:
“Reliance upon His grace enables you to progress and grow in righteousness. Jesus Himself ‘received not of the fulness at first, but continued from grace to grace, until he received a fulness'”.
A complete sacrifice won’t happen in over just the course of one day, or maybe a week or a month. It involves a lot of ups and downs. Even Jesus Christ “recieved not the fulness at first” and even He needed grace. But I’ve learned that once you make the decision to change and have the desire to forsake a sin or a bad habit or a characteristic, you have begun your journey of progression and righteous growth. And in that course is when we have to completely rely on Christ’s grace. Many times this week, I felt like I only had His grace to cling on to and that’s when I truly found out for myself that His grace is sufficient.
Sister Thatcher also told me a quote that I really liked and needed at that moment: “Regrets are experiences not learned from.” According to that definition, it really is possible to live with no regrets!!! I love the Atonement.
So hilarious story of the week. The Zone Leaders don’t have a car this transfer so we’ve kind of become their chauffeurs and we had to take them to District meeting this week. So in Thursday morning, we got inside our car and found out TIWI (a new mission driving device thing) sucked up all our car battery. We called the Zone Leaders to let them know we would be late. Their response was very matter-of-fact. They said we had to pray and then after, yell at the car “FA DONG (Chinese for “Start”), ELEMENTS OBEY,” because apparently it works every time they did it. So we were yelling at the car (probably for 5-10 minutes), but it still didn’t work and then the Zone Leaders told us we didn’t have enough faith and that we weren’t yelling loud enough. And then Sister Mann said since she is a physics major, her faith in our battery was pretty low, Anyway, long story short, we had someone from the mission office to come jumpstart our car. The elders were really disappointed in us and Elder Chen even memorized his first scripture in English to scold us for having little faith: Matthew 14:31. Oh man, it was quite the morning.
I love you all! And HAPPY HALLOWEEN!!!