We started teaching a young girl named Amber on Monday. We taught her about the Restoration, then we had dinner with her mom and grandpa. Her mom told us she was just waiting for her own records to come in, and she was hoping to be baptized on Saturday by her father who was leaving town. It seemed that she hoped that Amber might be ready to be baptized Saturday as well, so they could be baptized together. We worked it out that Sis. Carter and I could come teach a lesson every day to try to get Amber prepared for Saturday as well! We went with that plan and taught her about the Plan of Salvation on Tuesday...prayer, scripture study, and prophets on Wednesday...and the Gospel of Jesus Christ on Thursday.
Amber has been attending church the past several weeks, and she had a friend from church who came to our lesson on Thursday. This helped Amber to be a lot more excited and motivated to learn. At this lesson, we invited Amber to be baptized. Her eyes got really wide, and we all waited in silence for her answer. She said, “Yes.” After we left their home, we called Amber’s mom to tell her about the lesson. We told her that Amber had expressed a desire to be baptized. Her mom was so excited! We had been teaching these lessons with the hopes that Amber’s mom would have her records by Saturday so they could be baptized together. But we found out that her mom’s membership records were not going to be transferred in time.
Sis. Carter and I talked and we debated whether it was still smart for us to keep preparing Amber for this Saturday. We didn’t feel right or wrong either way. I just kept thinking, “Will it make a difference for Amber?” We called Amber to talk about it, and she said, “I just don’t know if I’m ready to be baptized.” She said she felt pressure by her mom and grandpa to do this, and as soon as we had left the lesson she had gone upstairs to pray. Sis. Carter and I talked with her and told her to read her scriptures and pray for an answer, and to call us when she felt anything. When we got off the phone, Sis. Carter and I said a prayer together. We prayed that Amber would recognize her answer and that she would know we love her no matter what she decided, because we didn’t want her to be pressured into this. Sis. Carter went into the bedroom and I continued to pray. I kept thinking about how at peace we had felt throughout the week, and how something kept pushing us forward one step at a time. As soon as I finished praying, Amber called. I asked how she was doing and she said, “Confused. I’m just not sure why I need to be baptized.” We explained some things to her and reassured her. We said we loved her no matter what, and she said, “I know. I can tell.” She was so honest and humble with her concerns. By the end of our conversation, she said, “I know my mom and grandpa want me to be baptized…and I think I do too.” We told her we would be here to help her every step of the way. She was worried before, but now she felt at peace. And Sis. Carter and I realized…we had two days to plan a baptism!!
On Friday, Sis. Carter was on the phone every spare moment. In every break at zone meeting we had a new voicemail. Through all these phone calls, we found out we could not use our local church building for the baptism because there was a huge scouting event all morning Saturday. I suggested using another building, but that seemed too out of the way. We started worrying that this was not going to work out. I said a silent prayer that we would remember all the confirmations we had received that this was right, and that we would have faith. The elders texted and said, “What if we tried using a different building?” Sis. Carter said right before that she had said a silent prayer to know if this was really the Lord’s will and if we should really be going through with this, and if not, for God to please make it known unto us. Then the elders texted. So we kept moving forward.
After lots more phone calls, we were able to get a different church building reserved. We went to Amber’s home to finish teaching all the commandments that she needed to learn about before baptism. We hoped she was retaining all the information we were giving her! We kept thinking, “Just move forward in faith.” That evening, we met Amber at the chapel so she could be interviewed by our district leader. She was nervous, but she passed the interview and Elder Bushman said she was ready! Amber was so excited. We told her mom about the change in buildings, and her mom said, “Wow. It means so much that we’re doing it there—that’s where I grew up going to church, and my boys were baptized there!” It is no coincidence that we ended up using a different building—it took getting past our doubts to schedule this specific chapel and realize that this is the work of the Lord!
Saturday morning…Amber was baptized! With the help of other elders and wonderful leaders from the ward, everything was set up in time and it all ran smoothly! (Except for the fact that Amber’s grandpa went into the baptismal font before the program started…he was ready to go! We had to grab another dry suit for him to sit in during the program before the baptism). I spoke on baptism, then Sis. Carter spoke on the Holy Ghost. Every time I looked at Amber’s mom, she had tears in her eyes. And Amber looked so happy.
On Sunday, Amber was confirmed and received the gift of the Holy Ghost! She looked so beautiful. More than half of the testimonies given (in fast and testimony meeting) mentioned Amber and what a blessing it was to be a part of her conversion and baptism. I realized that this whole experience was much bigger than just me and Sis. Carter. Amber’s baptism effected and will continue to effect her family and her whole ward. What a blessing to be a part of this experience, and to help Amber prepare for such an incredible covenant! She was ready for it, and we were so blessed to be here at this time! The Lord is in the fine details, and He sees the entire picture.
Elder Bushman called this a “shotgun baptism.” Luckily we know that the Lord would not let something like this happen so quickly if it was not His will! We are still in shock and can't believe all of this happened in just a week! But God is in charge, and we have seen miracles!!
I love you all!
1. Random dude we saw driving on the street! Made our day!
2. Before Amber's baptism
3. Our awesome zone!
4. Sis. Carter and I in our halloween purple and black! We celebrated the holiday as much as we could! (And we did not have to go trick-or-treating to get candy--we are STOCKED UP)5. After exchanges! Sis. Hill, Sis. Carter, Sis. Bonner, and I
6. On our wonderful bike ride last P-day
7. Sis. Carter and I on our lovely hike
7. Sis. Carter and I on our lovely hike