First off, congrats to my brother Ryan and my new sister Jennifer for getting married in the Nauvoo Temple this week! Eternal marriage - what a blessing. It was hard not to be there, but we kept busy and focused on... B & D'S BAPTISM!!!
It was SO humbling to see their journey from gaining a testimony of the Book of Mormon to entering into the waters of baptism to make that covenant with the Lord. And when they received the Gift of the Holy Ghost, the spirit in the room was so strong it seemed as if you could reach into the air and grab it. I am so excited for them! Baptism is not the end goal as a missionary, just as a wedding isn't the end goal for a couple. It is a new beginning, the first step on a beautiful path - one that requires continuing effort and faith. I wish we as missionaries could take credit for getting them to this point, but it wasn't us at all. It was ALL the spirit, and the work they put in after we leave their home. Testimonies really are built on our knees in prayer and in sincere study of the scriptures - as well as living the commandments and attending church. No lesson can even compare to how well the spirit teaches and converts.
This week, Mr. J also agreed to be baptized next month! Such a big step for him - he's come such a long way.
I have become aware while on my mission that many people believe the gift of tongues to be something far different from what I've ever imagined. On Friday, we ran into an elderly man named Lynn THREE times in THREE different places. He was super sweet, and said that he felt the spirit so strong with us that he just couldn't hold back his tongues. Then he just went for it. Unless you've heard it before, there's no other way to describe it other than gibberish. We were excited to finally hear what people had told us about down here about the gift of tongues. He proceeded to interrupt us while we were contacting someone, calling us his "angel girls." Which reminded me of the verse in Alma 29:1 in which Alma says, "Oh that I were an angel." Like Alma, I wish I could just get everybody to realize how beautiful and true the restored gospel is - ideally, everyone would accept our message! But we know that doesn't happen. Although expected, it is still disappointing. But I'm learning to accept God's will and his process.
We've also accepted 3 lizards into our home. They didn't really ask, but now they're family. Hey, the more the merrier.
Here's a challenge for y'all this week - make a list of ways the gospel has blessed your life - then go out and share it! We're all missionaries :)