Actually, it is not for 1000 days. It is just that 3 years times 365 days plus June 27 through June 30, 2008 equals 1098 days, and that is way too cumbersome to convert into a blog headline. Futhermore, our release date will not be determined until May or June of 2011. Therefore, 1000 Days sounded just about right, more or less. Having noted all that, we are humbled and thrilled (Pres. Uchtdorf would refer to the feeling as "joyfully overwhelmed") about having this marvelous opportunity to serve in La Mision Mexico Veracruz.
Pdte. y Hna. Pete and JoElla Hansen
Pdte. y Hna. Pete and JoElla Hansen
Saturday, May 15, 2010
The assistants wanted help with a lady who was trying to decide if she should be baptized. Her 19 year old son was ready and so was her 14 year old daughter. The lady, Maria del Carmen, is in the process of a divorce. She wondered about her worthiness. So, I interviewed her. The assitants told her that a "specialist" would come to determine if she was ready.
After Hna. Maria offered a prayer, I began the interview. There was no question about her personal worthiness and repentant attitude. I went through the written questions which examine her testimony of the Godhead, the Restoration, and modern-day prophets. Then comes the one about having committed serious sins, some of which are also crimes. That is where she paused. She is getting a divorce. That is a sin in her native religion, Catholicism. She thought she could not possibly be worthy to be baptized. It toook a long time to work through that. She is quiet, shy, and very intelligent. She never smiled. She would not commit to baptism.
I returned to the basics. We talked about the First Vision. I repeated that story and told her that it is the most important scriptural account in my life. That is the basis of my own testimony. Then, I asked her if she believed that story. She assured me that she did. I said, "You have told me several times that you believe that the Church is true. Will you, then, follow the example of the Savior and be baptized by immersion into His church? Will you do that tomorrow evening with your family?"
Hna. Maria sat for a long time. Then she said, "I feel hot, very hot." I asked her what she meant by that. She said, "My face. My body. All inside of me. Why do I feel so hot?" (It was actually a very cool and breezy evening.) I said, "Let's look at a scripture which will answer your question." We opened to D&C 9:8 and she read it aloud. Then, she looked up at me, eyes very clear, still questioning--not doubting, but seeming to want more. So, we opened to 3 Nephi 11:35.
The scripture--you may want to study it--says that the Lord bears witness of the Father, and whoso believes in the Son believes also in the Father. Furthermore, the Father bears testimony of the Son to him who believes. Finally, the Father will visit the believer with fire and by the power of the Holy Ghost.
I told her that is what happened to Joseph Smith. He believed in the Father and in the Son because he had been taught by his mother. He believed her. Therefore, that which is decribed in v.35 is exactly what happened in the Sacred Grove. The Father literally testified to Joseph of his Son. Clearly the Holy Ghost was part of that. In a different sense, the Father was testifying of the Son to Hna. Maria at that moment by the power of the Holy Ghost. She felt the fire. She understood. She smiled gently.
I asked her if she would be baptized the next day with her family. She sat and smiled. She never said, "Yes." After a few minutes I offered my right hand and asked, "¿Hecho?", which means "done" or "it's a deal." She shook my hand and said, "Hecho."
We went into the kitchen. There, we repeated the experience, including the scriptures, to the elders and her daughter and also to Maria's sister who the elders and Mom had been teaching. At the appropriate moment, I asked Maria to tell what happened and what she had felt which she did as she smiled. It was quite an experience.
While we were in the interview, the elders were inviting her sister to be baptized. We do that in the first lesson. Baptism should not be a secret or a surprise we spring on an investigator after a couple of weeks of discussions. Get the cards on the table. That raises the level of teaching which invites the Spirit. The sister was a little slow to accept a baptismal date. Mom shared her testimony. The assistants later told me that Mom's testimony turned the tide. She accepted her baptismal date.
Maria and her daughter were baptized on Saturday the 30th. The son, who was out of town, gets baptized on the 6th. The sister has a date for the 13th. Her 7 year old daughter, who is the strongest of all, will have to wait a year. She gave the closing prayer. Perfect.
Hna. Maria is the redhead in the middle and her daughter is on her right. The 7-year old stands in front. The missionaries are Elders Collins and Ricks.