|Doing the Haka (part 2) at the Christmas Party at the Mission Home|
|From left to right, Elder Rapata, Kirsty, Nicky and Mathew|
|Elder Cunningham came back from his AP duties to see Kirsty get baptized.|
It has been a crazy week, but one of the best I’ve had on my mission.
This past week Nicky, Mathew, and Kirsty all got baptized!
We saw Kirsty three times before her baptism, and throughout the week she was filled with excitement for her baptism. She was making sure everything was taking care of, etc.. She is just someone that is so pro-active and outgoing. Through being so outgoing she has found herself fully involved in Institute and YSA activities, which is THE key to her lasting conversion. And it has all been her. We invited her the first time, and from then on she has been pro-active about getting there. She is such a great convert!
Now with Nicky and Mathew, I cannot begin to tell you how far they have come since we first met them. Nicky especially, has really blossomed over the past couple of weeks. She went from really shy, and reserved to being more confident every week. Nicky has been through many trials as she has grown up, and it is amazing to see the joy that she now expresses that has come through living the gospel.
Nicky’s feelings about her baptism really showed, when she came up and asked me after church, “I want Catherine to be baptised, how do we make that happen?”
Catherine is her other child who lives with her Dad, but has been to church with her many times. The only problem has been that she is never there on weekdays so it is hard to teach her. But Nicky said that she would move some things around. With her request, last night we went up and taught Catherine and committed her to baptism in January. It was a memorable lesson with her because of the testimony of Nicky that she constantly was sharing to her daughter.
These four people are very close to my heart. And seeing the three of them be baptised and confirmed this past week is the true joy of missionary work. It is very special and difficult to find words to explain.
I think back to the dreams that I had as a new missionary. I wanted so badly to see people accept the message that we had. I wanted them to feel what I had felt, and know what I knew. Seeing that now come to pass in the lives of three individuals is truly a special experience. It was what I had envisioned as a new missionary. I am grateful that the Lord has placed me here at this time to be apart of their lives. The Lord is directing this work, and we are simply the tools. It is humbling to sit back and realize how the Lord has blessed this Chester area in the past couple of months. Truly remarkable.
This week at church we had two new people come by the names of Stephanie and Chris. They are a couple that we have been teaching for a couple of weeks, and actually street contacted whilst we were finding with President Preston a few weeks back. This Sunday was the Children's Nativity, and they really enjoyed the fellowship that they received. They have great potential, and we will continue to see them!
Lorna is doing so well! I forget to write about her because she practically is a member. We see her once a week, generally on a Sunday evening and she just explains what she has learned in the week. She is now becoming an expert on family history.
The training that Elder Rapata and I gave at the mission home was on “Loving others as the Saviour does.” It was my favourite of all that I have been apart of thus far. One of the main things that we focused on was this phrase:
I love you if...
I love you because...
I love you even though...
In regards to others, sometimes we may think I’ll love you if you do something for me, I’ll love you if your nice to me. I’ll love you if you get here on time, etc... We let the way they act towards us determine how we feel about them.
Then others times we may say I love you because you made it here on time, I love you because you are always nice to me. love you because...It is still conditional upon what it is that you like about that person or what deed’s have been done to you.
Our mindset should be: I love you even though...you may not set up an appointment with me. I love you even though you do not understand why we are here and slam the door...
It applies great to missionary work, but also to all relationships that we have. Even sports teams, Dad!
The way the Saviour loves is unconditional. There is not a contract or an ultimatum to the love that he has for each of us. He sees past our faults and desires us to love him and keep his commandments. Let us all recommit to love unconditionally and show it through our service to one another.
Our day in the mission home was one to remember. We did many things, skits, gift exchanges, and watched 17 Miracles (if you haven’t see it, wow, get it and watch it).
We all got a temple recommend holder, that is soooo English, and has our mission motto on the back. It is top-notch and a lifetime gift that I will cherish.
We also had one of the best dinner’s I have ever had. See the thing is that over here they bring out their “Thanksgiving” cooking on Christmas. Sister Preston really impressed us with a proper English Christmas Dinner.
I will speak to you on Christmas Day, I will hopefully call around 3 or 4 England time.
Speak to you then!