Wednesday, September 18, 2013

Craziest Day of My Life. . .Perfectly Orchestrated By The Great Conductor!

Letter from 16 September 2013

What a Great Idea!

An even better idea!  Hermanas Houghton an Ware with J, N, and A on the day of their baptisms!
Dear Wonderful Amazing Family and Friends,

THIS WEEK WAS CRAZY. Yesterday was the craziest day of my life. But we'll go in order :)
Hermanas with N, who is looking at a
picture of Christ's baptism

Three people to talk about. N is the blonde lady who's looking at the picture instead of at the camera. She is the one whom our member invited to be baptized who is a family history fanatic. She is so funny - when we went by last Monday night she had been reading the Relief Society manual on Teachings of Lorenzo Snow and wanted to know how to pronounce all of the English words - Kirtland, Pettibone, Ohio, etc. I said "ok" at one point, and she wrote up for me the history of the word okay. Here's the story: "Un pueblito en Nueva york habia un general que se llamaba Olkinbell y se firmaba 'OK.' De ahi viene la palabra ok=okey, esta bien." Oh, and one more thing. Her maiden name is Noelia Natividad. And she was born on Christmas day :D
Hermana Houghton, A, and Hermana Ware

We met A last Saturday when R (who has been convinced by family members that he doesn't need to be baptized again) asked us to pray for her (when we teach him he always invites people to come hear about Christ, and then if they decline he tells them that Jesus loves them :). We said the prayer but A was not at all interested. Then the next day R invited her to come to church with him, and she came! We gave her a Book of Mormon and she accepted baptism for the following Sunday. We went by the next day and didn't know how to get ahold of her, so we started teaching R. Then she came out of her apartment singing, holding her Book of Mormon open under her arm. She came down the stairs, sat down, and told us "Me bautizo este domingo" (I'm getting baptized this Sunday). She had read most of 1 Nephi! She had her interview on Wednesday, with R, and while he was being interviewed we taught her Word of Wisdom, Law of Chastity, Tithing, and Repentance. On Sunday morning she wasn't ready when her ride came and so they left. We finally got ahold of her through R, and found out she was still sitting, waiting patiently for her ride. She got baptized yesterday afternoon!

J with Hermanas Houghton & Ware

J is incredible. He gained a testimony of the Restoration of the gospel about a month ago, without any outside help from us, but at the time was almost always drinking. He's told us from the beginning that he was going to be baptized Mormon, and he was going to change his life. Well, this week he did. He had his interview and still wasn't sure about being baptized this Sunday, but during church he made the decision to not wait any more.

So yesterday during church everything was crazy. We went by an investigator's house before church and found out she'd slept in - so we waited for her to get ready and were late for sacrament (then she decided that it was too late and she wasn't going to come anyway :( After sacrament we realized that A wasn't at church, and got a member to come with us to pick her up. Another investigator then had some questions for us before he had to leave. Then I had a low blood sugar and had nothing left to treat it with. The only thing available was butter-flavored maple syrup in the church fridge (gag). Our ward mission leader Hermano Villeta went to fill up the font and found out it was clogged. Worked on that for 1.5 hours and gave up. Then we called President Anderson to get permission to have the baptisms in a pool... following which it started storming, lightning included. Finally we talked with our zone leaders and decided to have the baptisms at the stake center, 25 minutes away. We had to fill out J's baptismal record, find baptismal suits, and make sure everybody had rides. Amazingly half the ward came for the baptisms, and our Relief Society President had arranged for lunch for everybody. Everything went over smoothly, even though we hadn't talked to any of our investigators during church at all. It was a rush. I figure that if they can make it through that then day-to-day craziness will be nothing!
After the baptisms and eating with the amazing Villeta family, we decided to stop and talk with l A. (our recent convert :) who hasn't come to church in two weeks. He wasn't there, but his brother F was. F has never even let us talk to him. He always leaves and tells us his brother isn't home. But yesterday he opened the gate and we sat down with him. We taught him about prayer and Jesus Christ, and Sister Ware persistently invited him to be baptized. He accepted it all. We gave him a Book of Mormon and a pair of reading glasses (I keep a stock of cheap reading glasses in the car so our investigators don't have any excuses for not reading), and he was touched by the Spirit. He said he was going to start reading as soon as we left, then come to church next week and get baptized the following Sunday.  
Sister Ware and I went home and decided that we needed to spend most of the rest of the day finding new people, and visit a less-active recent convert, L, whom we'd been meaning to see for a while. As we prayed about where to go to harvest I got the impression that we needed to ride bikes. Rain was threatening so it sounded like a bad idea, but we prayed about it and decided that was what we were supposed to do.
We biked down to L's house, contacting people on the way. We sat down with him and he told us he kept on meaning to come back to church, but he never quite made it. So we said, ok, let's go right now. L rides his bike to church, so he was a little bit incredulous but was really excited. He told us about the first time he met with the missionaries he went to the church and had a member, K, meet with them there. So when he went inside to change shoes we texted her and asked her to meet us at the church. We biked over with him and welcomed him back to the church.
We walked around the chapel and talked about each of the paintings. L relived his memories of feeling the Spirit at church. We ended in the chapel, where I felt like I should go up to the stand and play "How Great Thou Art" on the piano. When I started playing he asked who told us that was his favorite hymn. As I kept playing he started crying.
K walked into the chapel as I finished. We went to the clerks' office and watched the new "Daily Bread" videos by Elder Christofferson, after which L and K had a heart-to-heart and figured out the root cause of his inactivity.
IT WAS AMAZING. Everything was perfectly orchestrated by the great conductor. I saw and felt the love of the Lord for His children. He has a perfect plan for each one of us, and is always watching out for us.
I love Alma 60, by the way. I think every member and missionary should read this and think about his or her personal responsibility to God and His children. Because with our knowledge of the gospel and our many blessings, aren't we sitting on thrones, surrounded by people who are spiritually dying? We can't ever give less than 100% with what we have been given.
I have been so drained by this week. But it is so incredibly worth it. I know that the Lord loves His children. I know that the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints is true, and is led and guided by a living prophet who is in turn directed by the living Christ. I am so amazing blessed to be able to be a part of this church, this great work of salvation, and this wonderful plan of God.
I love you all! Don't ever give up - this is the work of the Lord!
Hermana Houghton

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