I am so mad I forgot my cord this week, because I have a picture of MY FIRST BAPTISM!! Our Mongolian investigator Zaya got baptized on Saturday, and confirmed on Sunday. I played the piano for it, but that left no time to take pictures with her in white, I am so sad. But I did get one after, with her hair wet, holding her little girl in front of Jesus getting baptized painting. The service was great. Her husband came with her two girls and sat in the front row. We had other investigators come as well. After the service, Zaya just looked at me and said "I feel so happy!" I wanted to cry (I know, I am such a girl missionary) at that simple statement. Zaya speaks little English but her whole story was the mongolian sister missionaries before us found them, Zaya's mom (who was just visiting from Mongolia) taking their trash out one day. They talked about Jesus Christ and she was interested in hearing more about following Him. They taught one lesson to Zaya and her husband, and then Sister Hewett and I got transferred in. We have been working with Zaya slowly, getting help once a week from another missionary who speaks mongolian (from mongolia) to clarify gospel terms. Zaya is taking English classes, but obviously community colleges don't explain most of the things we teach her. But she kept telling us she wanted to get baptized and follow Jesus Christ. When she told me of her happiness at her baptism, and I could see her glowing with it, I was reminded just how simple the gospel of Jesus Christ really is. What wonderful hope, light, and restored knowledge and authority we have. It reminded me of my baptism; whole I don't remember much, I remember I couldn't stop smiling all day. As we follow Jesus Christ, and feel His spirit, we make changes in our life.
I have been reading in "Our Search For Happiness" by Elder Ballard in the missionary reference library and there was a part about how missionaries were teaching a man, he was a bit of a dirty man, into drugs, etc. But he found the elders on the street and asked what they were selling. They said they weren't selling anything, what they had they were giving away. He said he would take it. Every time the missionaries came to teach the man had showered and trimmed his beard, cleaned his house, dumped out his booze, applied for jobs,etc. The missionaries didn't even ever invite him to do anything, he just did it on his own as they talked about Christ. I thought of Zaya and how the Spirit really is the universal language and causes us to change and better ourselves naturally as we let Him into our lives. This is a major reason we ask everyone to read the Book of Mormon personally, every day. It allows the Spirit (especially the spirit of the Restoration) into our hearts and we change. We can try and try to get more temple marriages, less actives back to church, etc but really as they read the Book of Mormon daily, these things will naturally happen. There is so much power that comes from reading the Book of Mormon. I've been blessed to see it in my life, now I have to focus on helping others do the same.
I loved the Christmas Devotional! We got to eat dinner and watch it with a member family. I actually stayed awake the whole time. I thought of Pres Uchtdorf and how I need to show more love for those who give me things, Pres Eyring I thought of the question "what will be in my treasure box in heaven? memories of what was important? or things that wasted time?", and with Pres Monson-woah, his story of visiting his primary president when she was in her 90's was amazing. I thought what a grateful person Pres Monson is. He didn't care that the others were scoffing at him saying it was no use, she didn't talk to anyone. It made me ask myself how much do I actually lose myself and show that kind of care to others?
Sunday we had a special combined 3rd hour where we showed a part of "the district", missionary training videos we use of actual missionaries getting followed by camera men. We watch a segment of a recent convert sharing the gospel with her friends and they turned out to be super prepared and ready to be baptized! Then the missionary purpose flashed across the screen (PMG P1) and lots of the ward was crying. Then we talked about turning comments and questions from friends into invitations. We talked about Christmas tools. By the way, visit mormon.org/christmas and link things to your facebooks. Share videos, ecards, free motab, bible apps, etc. or your friends can request a christmas message from the missionaries. Everyone was told to think of 3 families and then we gave them kits full of pamphlets, cards, etc.We already have members telling us they immediately thought of people!
I must go, I LOVE YOU! Walnut Creek is on fire!
Love, Sister Martin