Dear Families and Friends,
We got a Baptism!!!
It has been a very rewarding week. As you can clearly tell from the subject line, we had a baptism. For the first time since my training, I was able to break out the baptismal clothes, put on the white tie, step into a baptismal font and with arm raised to the square repeat the words: “Habiendo sido comisionado por Jesucristo…”.
I had forgotten how rewarding missionary work actually is. I think perhaps the many months of just contacting people in the streets, knocking on doors, and inviting my investigators over and over and over again to pray, or read their scriptures, or just come to church, took out of me the real joy and happiness that comes from actually watching someone make changes in their life so that they might fully partake of the gospel of Jesus Christ. But all that changed thanks to this little 11 year old girl who made the choice to join the Lords restored church this past Saturday, the 16th of January.
Her name is Danela. Her older sister got baptized some couple months back and for some time she had toyed with the idea of getting baptized herself. It took a lot of effort on our part. You would thinking teaching a little 11 year old girl would be easier than an adult but you would be wrong. Honestly, when I first met her, she was just a headache for me. She didn’t wanna come out of her room to listen to us, she would literally throw stuffed animals at me while we taught, and most of the time she actually understood what we were telling her.
Little did I know however that deep down she was trying very, very hard to gain her own testimony of the gospel. I noted that in each of her prayers she said with us, she would pray very sincerely for her family, for the desire to read the Book of Mormon, and the ability to be able to understand the message. Little by little she came to church, read her scriptures, listened to us not only with her ears but with her heart, accepted a baptismal date, and finally made the resolve to be baptized, And the Lord was kind enough to let me be the one to do it.
The service was wonderful, many nice and friendly faces attended. The speakers gave great messages and I was blessed with the opportunity to perform for her a special musical number. I was so happy to be dressed in all white once again, it is an indescribable feeling. When all was said and done, Danela stood up to bear her testimony. She started out just fine, but slowly her words began to stutter and tears filled up her eyes. Through the sobs, she expressed her deep sorrow that her father could not be at her baptism, for even though he gave us permission to baptize her, Danela father did not fully support her decision and thus did not attend the service. I looked into her eyes and for the first time I saw all that she really had to struggle and fight for in order to reach her baptismal date. I saw the many hours she must have spent praying that her father might change his mind, and that her whole family would be present at her baptism. It broke my heart really to understand that through it all, her determination and testimony were enough to make this decision, despite the lack of support from her father. She finished her testimony strong and it brough peace to my heart to know that God knew what she was going through, and the spirit present in that little baptismal service was undeniable.
I am very thankful for this stubborn little 11 year old who in many ways has changed me. Hers was a baptism I wont soon forget.
Love Elder Cruz