All week was a preparation rush for the baptisms on Saturday. We worked ourselves ragged making sure everything was ready. Reviewing, reviewing, reviewing, teaching teaching, teaching, collecting, collecting, collecting information. By the time I and Elder Ravelomahefa went on splits last Friday, all the of the baptizees were fit as a fiddle and passed with flying colors. And lemme just say, that was the relief of the year so far.
Saturday went fabulously. Like clockwork, the right people came to fill their positions and the baptizees came. The talks were short, but sweet. Both I and Elder Slater took some dips in the water to get this thing done, and it was extremely satisfying. Five there were that day, five who went into the waters of baptism and emerged as new men and women. It was so fantastic to see everyone have the lines of pure sincerity and real intent marking their features as they climbed into the portable font. I can honestly say, without reservation, that these people are golden. They'll endure to the end, of this I am sure. Afterwards all of the baptizes bore their testimonies and it was touching. Frere Joel and Souer Suzanne gave incredible testimonies that really showed the depth of their conversions. Jessica (an 11 year old boy) and Pierre were as far as I could tell, extremely nervous, and Hiantra got up there and praised the Lord like it was no tomorrow, gave a stirring testimony, and then had us all pray. It was different, but heart-felt, making it perfectly A-O-K.
The next day, both I and Elder Slater did some of the confirmations of the Gift of the Holy Ghost. That wasn't my first rodeo, so I feel like I did fine. But I was so proud of Elder Slater for overcoming all fear and doubts and going for it. Despite the fact that it was mildly apparent that it was his first time giving the Gift of the Holy Ghost, he did a bang up job of it. Elder Lehnhardt even made a time of it by
giving Frere Joel - who, I think I may have already told you, is fantastic at English - the laying on of hands in English. The rest of Sunday went well with a couple of great soirées that left us on the verge of death by over-consumption of food.
So here I sit, a sunny morning on P-Day writing to you all. There was some other things I meant to write about, but it just doesn't seem to fit when you put the best things first.
Thanks Dad for sharing your cockroach story from your mission. Wow that story most definitely trumps mine! I remembered the cockroach in the pancakes story from you as I was writing my emails last week. But woowhee the fact that she was purposely doing it just to be a stinker and make you guys go away..the nerve...
This week I've become even more lazy about working out, but I've also been getting skinnier, suprisingly. Sometimes I feel absolutely wretched and the food I eat seems to be doing weird things to me. I'm fairly positive I have some kind of a worm in my stomach, eating up all of my food. In a couple more months, I'll go see Sister Donnelly for some anti-worm pills that should solve the problem fairly effeciently. Almost every missionary gets some worms from time to time in this land, so it is natural - worry not. My companion thinks my declining health is probably caused by the food I have been eating lately. When my money started running low this month, I had to start eating a lot of noddles and rice only. We figure that the change in diet could be responsible for me feeling crappy sometimes, as in the beggining of the month I always eat really well.
This all reminds me of the need - painful and frustrating as it often times can be - for affliction in suffering that must exist in this life for us to truly understand things like happiness and joy. I'm a firm believer that the Lord's way is the high way (or the low road, as Nephi says), therefore I know that pain is a catalyst for prayer, and prayer is a catalyst for godliness. So often to I see those who have not known the bitter trials of the real world, or those who simply try to insulate themselves with money, and I know that they do not have true happiness, for they have never experienced true pain with a heart turned to God. Many of us go through these sufferings whether we are rich, or poor, but only the humble one, the penitent one will be able to take from that experience good that lies in all things. Long story short, let us all count our blessings in order that we may see the incredible contrast in how few our trials really are, and how many blessings exist in our lives from our Maker on high.
I miss you guys and pray for you. Well that's all for today folks. Love you much, and miss you not a little.