We've been working with German a lot lately. We love him. He loves us. His wife says that every morning when he wakes up he asks, "Are the missionaries coming today?" He took the missionary lessons from some Elders [guy missionaries] a while back and gave them a hard time. They stopped coming by. Then the Sister missionaries found him. They began teaching him and his less active [in church] (for 15 years or more) wife, and they began to open up and let the light in.
When the missionaries first invited him to be baptized he said no. Then we asked him again a few weeks later, and his answer was a quiet but firm YES. We had his baptismal date planned for October 25, but he was just so excited and pumped on the gospel that he asked us on Tuesday afternoon, "Look Hermanas, if I KNOW this church is true and feel like I'm ready, could I be baptized sooner?" We both looked at each other and then back at German. "Um YES!" we both said in unison.
"You could get baptized THIS VERY Saturday if you wanted." I told him. Then he got a look on his face. He was seriously considering it. "Pray about it, and call us tomorrow!" we told him. Sure enough, the next morning, a text message arrived on our tiny cruddy grey brick phone. And there in hard-to-read Mexican text-slang it said, "We're going to do it. Saturday's the day."
We took a moment to scream like teenage girls and dance around the house. Then we cried for a tad. Then we danced some more. "Wait a minute," I stopped and said. "I have no idea how to plan a baptism."
We went to Preach My Gospel [a guide to missionary service] and called our District Leader enough to bug him, and in the end we pulled it off. We did it. We organized an amazingly perfect baptism with talks, special musical numbers, and the Spirit. The day of the baptism was magical.
There really aren't words in English or in Spanish to describe it, but I'll give it a go anyways. We showed up right on time and they were already there waiting out front in their Sunday best (they are THE most darling people). We got everything set up and then went outside to take some pictures.
We took a million and one pictures and laughed and laughed. Inside jokes galore. Then we went inside and got started. By some miracle, we invited enough members [of the congregation] and investigators [people receiving missionary lessons] that we filled that little room right up. There were two small talks and I gave the second. I shared my testimony of the miracle it was that two white girls who both speak pretty iffy spanish could help get someone to baptism.
I shared a scripture in Alma 26 about our great reason to rejoice. I don't remember exactly what I said, but by the end of it everyone was crying and laughing and the room just filled with an almost tangible love. It was like the room was glowing. It was like it was on fire with some sort of unseen celestial power. It was like a little slice of heaven.
Then the moment came for German to be baptized. Everyone got very very quiet and he stepped into the water. Never ever ever, as long as I live, will I ever forget that sight. German. My investigator. But more than my investigator, my friend. And even more than that, my brother. A precious son of God.
Hermana Crystal and I held hands and leaned so far forward we were practically falling out of our chairs. I felt joy. Pure joy. The kind of joy that makes you want to jump up and down and shout and burst into tears all at the very same moment. It was indescribable. When he came out of the water and smiled, I thought I would explode of happiness. It wasn't my baptism. It wasn't my convert. It was God´s. He just let me come along for the ride. And boy am I glad that he did.
While German was changing, Hermana Crystal and me, and two other ladies in our ward [congregation] sang A Child's Prayer in Spanish, with the harmony part as well. It was beautiful. And powerful. Then German came back in and had a few minutes to bear his testimony. It was wonderful. He bore powerful witness of the gospel. He told his reasons for being baptized that day and they were ALL the right ones. He was ready. He was prepared. He was glowing.
And then to end we sang, "I'll Go Where You Want Me to Go." We sang it, and I cried. I cried and cried because I remember so clearly singing that very same song in the MTC [Missionary Training Center in Utah]. I remember singing it and having absolutely NO idea what I was getting myself into. What pain, trials, hardships, joys, successes and life-changing experiences I would have. I was filled up to overflowing. Just like it says in Preach My Gospel, "more joy awaits you than you have every experienced."
God loves me. God loves German. God is so very good.
My dearest mother sent me a dazer this week. A giant clunky remote looking thing that sends off a high frequency sound that only dogs can hear and apparently repels and scares them off. Hermana Crystal and I had a good laugh when it arrived because it looks like a time travel device.
Then we set out to give it a try. And get this: IT WORKS! We were finally able to visit a ton of people that we couldn't before because of their terrifying and angry dogs. It is awesome. No matter that all the Mexicans think I'm crazy because I randomly pull a giant grey remote out of my bag, point it at animals, and press the buttons repetitively. We are dog free baby.
HONESTY IS THE BEST POLICY
It's hilarious. But I'm starting it pick it up. When I'm explaining people to others, I say things like, " you know, the fat white one." and then they respond, "ooooooh her." It's a bit sad. But you get used to it.
So if I come home just saying everything like it is and being overly honest someone just let me know.
*Baptism Happiness. I love German. Resisting the urge to hug the crap out of him the whole baptismal service was quite exhausting. The love was just too much.
*German and His White Buddies. Never prayed and fasted for one person in my life. It was worth every prayer. It was worth every skipped meal.
*We laugh. A lot. Sometimes so hard that we cry.
*the dazer. Look out rabid dogs. We gon find you.