D got baptized!!! After 8 years of investigating, she made the commitment! The baptism was absolutely amazing, the Spirit was very present, and what a privilege it was to represent all of the missionaries who helped get her to this day. When I came out here, all I wanted was to baptize people, and I figured everyone we taught would be ready fairly quick! But I have learned that that's more the exception than the rule. Those of us who were raised in the church had the chance to learn for 8 years before we were baptized! Doesn't it make sense that some people would take just as long? It has been such a learning experience for me to see the different stages of conversion. D thought about this long & hard, and when she finally made the decision, she knew that she was promising to take upon herself the name of Christ. I think the coolest part was that she made the decision at the beginning to not take the sacrament until she was baptized. She understood what it meant, and she wanted to wait until she had made those covenants. I don't think I've ever felt the Spirit during the sacrament as strong as I did this week. To witness a brand new convert partake of the sacrament for the first time brought a whole new meaning to the sacrament. It is how we truly access the Atonement of Jesus Christ. The first step is to act by participating in the ordinance of baptism and promising to give of ourselves, and then we have all power to overcome anything and everything through Him.
Thursday we went to Edmonton for Zone Meeting and exchanges. I've been to Edmonton 3 times, but this time, I finally got to see Edmonton! I was with Sister Ph's, one of our sister training leaders, and her area is in downtown Edmonton! Man, I have missed the city! We had the coolest opportunity to go to a lesson with the Tagalog elders. The members that were supposed to come fell through, so we went and taught E. 95% of the lesson was in Tagalog! We were both praying so hard for the gift of tongues! Haha Tagalog is close to Spanish in some ways, so I was actually able to catch some of the lesson! But the best part was the Spirit that was there! Definitely in the top 5 of Spirit-filled moments on my mission! When you can't understand what's being said, you have to pay real close attention to how you feel, and how you think the other person feels. The Spirit is truly the teacher, and when you completely rely on Him, you learn as well!
Friday, we volunteered to assist with a community volunteer appreciation event. Everyone who volunteers at various places throughout the community was invited to attend. We knew this was a golden opportunity to meet people! Friday morning, Sister Ba and Sister Br (still on exchanges) went to help set up. While they were helping, they met a 19 year old girl name B. They had a blast with her, explained a bit about our missions, but that was kind of it. Well that night while we were at the event, one of the other volunteers told us someone was looking for us outside. So we went out, and there was B with her friend H! She said she had so much fun with the sisters earlier that day, and so they wanted to invite us to BULL-A-RAMA! I almost cried tears of joy! Two potential investigators and a full night of bull riding?! Life is so good!
So Saturday we went to Bull-A-Rama, and we had so much fun with these girls. They see us as actual human beings rather than weird religious people, and they are so open to asking questions and letting us tell them about our faith. We're having dinner with them tonight, and so we're going to ask them if they would be willing to let us teach them the discussions. They are so kind, and they would make amazing members! So please pray for them!
I just love being in Cherry Grove! The people in this area have hearts of gold, and they take care of us so well! I know this is exactly where the Lord needs me, and there are many adventures ahead! I never updated you guys on the March Madness Book of Mormon challenge, but I did it! I read the Book of Mormon in a month! It was an incredible experience, and one I will never forget! My testimony has increased immensely of it's power and wisdom. I've now read the Book of Mormon 3 times in the last 6 months! And every time has been different. However, each time I read Moroni 10, the same feeling of peace and truth consumes me as I finish the final page. I hope each of you have experienced that same feeling! If not, test it out! Read this amazing book, and gain a witness for yourself. That's the beauty of this gospel! We don't have to take anyone's word for it. We can find out for ourselves!
I love you crazy people! Although I'm in a completely different country, I have felt very close to the ones I love this week. Have an amazing week!!
Sister Bethany Christensen