Monday, April 26, 2010

Feed My Mormons!

Family!
Hey everyone! So yep, the newspaper article was printed and it's been hilarious. People recognize us all over now. The other day, we ran into HEB to buy some M&Ms to play a tithing game with our investigators, and all the workers totally were yelling our names and pointing to us like we were celebs. Ok, not really, it really hasn't been that big of a deal, but we frequently hear in door contacts now, "Hey, I saw you in the paper." Yep, you did. No real investigators have come from it and no one (other than members) came to the Open House and Movie Night we promoted, but that's ok. We have no idea what the effect will be, even if it just puts a positive perception of us in the minds of the people.
Bugs are crazy here. I put bug spray on every day. I think I have quite a few chigger bites too, which aren't the funnest, because they stay there forever! It'll just get worse as the summer draws on.
Quotes of the week:
"Nice Picture." --Random Guy (referring to the newspaper article and picture)
"We can tell people to stop having sex with no problem, but for some reason we can't tell people to stop saying bad words!" --Me
"We're coming back on Thursday at 6."
"I know, that's why I'm not going into work." --Us and our investigator, Matthew
"Feed my Mormons!" --the owner of The Boot Co., a local restaurant that feeds the missionaries for free, to one of the waitresses, 3 seconds after we walked in
After the baptism yesterday, we had a cool experience to serve. We knocked on a house and no one was there. But there was a neighbor in the next yard, so we started talking to him over the fence. As we were talking, the owners of the house--whose yard we were standing in---pulled up in a truck with a couch in the back. We introduced ourselves and they said that they saw us in the paper. They weren't really interested, but offered us water. We were both fasting yesterday, so I said, "No", but Sister Farr (not realizing the reason why she was so incredibly parched), said "Yes." They invited us in and we started talking. They mentioned that they were getting rid of the couches inside, for newer ones. Sister Farr piped in, "What are you doing with these couches? Do you have anyone for them?" I remembered then that a few weeks ago, in the crazy, drug trailers that we have--for some reason--always been teaching people in, that one of the newer families needed couches. This family said that we could have them, but were embarrassed by the state of them. I didn't think they were that bad, just a bit ripped on the side. They insisted that we wouldn't want them because they were in such a horrible state, but, we insisted that they'd work because the family who needed them didn't have anywhere to sit.
We left a note on the families door telling them that we found some couches. I peeked in the window and realized that STILL they were without anywhere to sit. We were at the church later in the afternoon (reason explain later) when the mom called us saying she wanted the couches. We then left with the Elders and the branch president. They came in, took the old couches out, put the new ones in, and left in a matter of minutes. The two couches were balanced one upon the other, as we were driving down the road. We pulled to the house and they family came out excited. The Elders helped put the couches inside and as we were leaving I heard one of the daughters say, "Wow mom, those are beautiful couches." They were really grateful. What is one families trash, is another families treasure. We are all blessed in different ways and in different amounts. This service actually provided us a chance to set up an appointment with the family. We've never taught them, but the mom stopped us in the street saying that she wanted to learn, but after they had moved in. We never really found a reason to go back until yesterday. The mom told us--straight up, without guile--that she is an alcoholic (which we knew when we saw her one Sunday morning with her "breakfast" aka bottle of vodka) and does drugs, but that she wants to change. So we'll be teaching them soon and we're excited.
So this week, Lucy was BAPTIZED! It went...well..we'll get to that. I'll start talking about the week that preceded the baptism. So, we went over there every single day (except for one), to teach, prep and pump her for the baptism. So never has had any doubts about anything--like I mentioned before, totally prepared. We were talking to her one day and she said that she was at work and a bunch of people were talking about religion and what churches they attended. She said, "Mormon" and instantly one of her coworkers said, "Oh, I don't like or believe in that church. They worship Joseph Smith." Instantly, without hesitation or fear, Lucy, "No we don't. We only worship Jesus Christ. Joseph Smith was just a prophet. We believe...." When she told me this story, my jaw completely dropped! I couldn't believe that she had such a strong testimony and courage to defend it. I loved that she kept saying "We believe" as if she already was a member and part of the church. I kept thinking of the "articles of faith" when she was talking. She has a super strong testimony; it's so amazing to see that because really, we did NOTHING. She retold this story in the Gospel Principles class (which is cool because she claims shes super shy and never likes talking in classes, giving prayers, or being called on...but over the course of just a few short weeks, she's completely changed and always makes comments. It's awesome!) when the Elder asked about the baptismal covenant and what it means to "stand as a witness of God at all times and in all things and in all places?" The other members were so impressed and this recent convert, Jo (who is incredibly STRONG himself), said, "Thank you for sharing that. You are an inspiration to me for what you did there." I know that it made Lucy feel good.
She was ready for the baptism after church and got in her clothes. Her little girl, Katrina, kept shouting, "MY mommy's getting baptized!" After the pictures, we proceeded. She got in the water to be baptized and I realized, "Oh no, we didn't go over the way you get baptized! Like bend your knees and plug your nose." I prayed that everything would be alright, I guess you can't be perfect, right? Well, she was baptized and Elder Arens put her under the water, and she wasn't plugging her nose and didn't really know what to do...oops. Turns out that her toe came out of the water and they had to do it again. BUMMER, it's not as cool when you have to re-baptize the person. We told her to plug her nose and bend her knees. As he asked her what her full name was, she said, "Lucy Salinas." I thought, "Hmm..I didn't think that that was her full name. Her name must be 'Lucille' or something." I know that this was a prompting from the Spirit, but I didn't say anything. "No, Lucy Salinas, must be her full name." She was baptized and it was all good. Katrina was so excited for her mom.
After the baptism, everyone had left (except for us, the Elders, and the branch president) and we were putting things away when Sister Farr came up to me and said, "I think Lucy has to be re-baptized." "What?" I said, "Why?" "Because they didn't use her full name." It hit me like a ton of bricks. I grabbed the baptismal record (which Sister Farr helped her fill out a few days earlier, while I was keeping Katrina in order), and noticed that it wasn't done right. I was so sad and embarrassed. "Great, we have to do it again. What if she says no? This isn't what we planned at all." Sister Farr and I sort of just sat there for a bit. Finally, we called her and explained and she was totally fine with it and said she'd come back in a few hours to redo it. The Elders ran to stop the font from re-draining. The water in this font only comes out cold, so we have to get these huge pots from members and heat up water ALL during church, so that the water is lukewarm.
Lucy came back and was happy. She didn't even complain. They baptized her again, but her hand came up. So they did it again and her hand came up again. Finally, on the fifth try, Elder Arens (who, this was his first baptism), pushed with all his might to get her all under. SUCCESS! After the 5th try, she was baptized. "That time it felt right," she said. And it was right. We need to be baptized the Lord's way, or nothing else. Doctrine and Covenants 22 says, "Wherefore, although a man should be baptized an hundred times it availeth him nothing." I gained a testimony even more about how true this church is. I don't really think that in any other church, they would have cared if they didn't say the full name; but rather, as long as they said the name, it'd be alright. Not in our church. The priesthood is order and perfection--just as our Heavenly Father and Jesus Christ are.
Love,
Sister Burt

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