|My lovely companion and I|
Carlina (name changed) is a beautiful woman with cancer who had been prepared wonderfully by her family members. Two of her children are members, and many of her sisters faithfully attend church as well. She decided that after many years of *almost* getting baptized, and after all she has gone through that it was at last time. We visited her and knew after asking several questions how very appropriate the timing was. After singing the initial hymn, the spirit came powerfully to my heart.
On Friday we did everything for the baptism. After visiting again, our District Leader Elder Brown interviewing her, and asking about the logistics to her family, we made the program, set up times to fill up the font, asked everyone who could have possibly used the font if we could have it in the morning, set up for a Valentine's Day party, and (in my case) cried a bit at the stress of it all.
But it was worth it. When the sun rose, we stretched and got out of bed, prepared, and headed to Little Neck for the baptism, everything went wonderfully. "It works! It works wonderfully!" In the words of our dear Elder Dieter F. Uchtdorf. It was a bit complex, because she has several holes in Carlina's body necessary due to the surgeries and chemotherapy. We were wondering how one would submerse her in the water without hurting her, so both of our elders were planning on going into the water to help. She's very frail, so we knew both of them supporting her would help. We filled the water up below her hip height, and it was a warm temperature. Initially (before the baptism), Carlina was in quite a bit of pain. We were all concerned, and wanted for this to be a spiritual highlight for her. We didn't know what to do. But as we began the program, and the moment we sang the song she began to be comfortable.
She looks so sad because this was before, but she was beaming
afterwards! I wish you all could could have seen the change in her
We have new members who moved from Puerto Rico! Aren't they darling?
This is the wife and kids. I love them already!
One thing I wrote in my journal that night were some lyrics from a song in the Prince of Egypt. "There can be miracles when you believe... who knows what miracles you can achieve when you believe? Somehow you will - you will when you believe!"
There was also an amazing Valentine's Day party on Saturday. Hispanics go all out! There was cake, fruit, food of every class, music, dancing, children, adults. Essentially, it was a fiesta. The stake patriarch even came - that's how you know it's legit. I even knew every lyric to one of the songs, 'Vivir Mi Vida' I believe. I felt pretty awesome being able to sing it as well as all my fellow hispanics. We had investigators, less actives, members, future members, etc. come. I loved it. As missionaries it is nice to have fun with all of the members! To relax de vez en cuando. (Even though we weren't relaxed and were hosting the whole time. :) When we danced or such it was because a less active or investigator wanted to bond with us).
|Preparation Day Fun.|
Fort Totten District activity! Elders Cinturón, Palmer, and Lance were there, too!
:) sadly, the actual fort wasn't open. :(
Overall this short week (I emailed on Wednesday) was amazing and stressful and successful and oh so worth it. Missionary work is incredibly fulfilling!
I found a quote by Gordon B. Hinckley that I very much enjoy and am going to personalize a bit.
“The work in the field was not easy. It was difficult and discouraging. But what a wonderful experience it was. In retrospect, I recognize that I was probably a selfish young [woman] [and still am] when I arrived in [New York]. What a blessing it became to set aside my own selfish interests to the greater interests of the work of the Lord. …
“How profoundly grateful I am for the experience of that mission. I touched the lives of a few... But I have never been greatly concerned over the number of baptisms that I had or that other missionaries had. My satisfaction has come from the assurance that I did what the Lord wanted me to do and that I was an instrument in His hands for the accomplishment of His purposes. In the course of that experience, there became riveted into my very being a conviction and knowledge that this is in very deed the true and living work of God, restored through a prophet for the blessing of all who will accept it and live its principles.”
I appreciate the testimonies of all those around me who daily add to my own. I bear testimony of the truth of the gospel and how it daily improves, perfects, and polishes me. In the name of our Savior Jesus Christ, amen.
Hermana Ally Voss