This week has been absolutely crazy!! Ah! More than half of this week has been preparing for Robert and Lisa's baptism on the 8th. What a roller coaster! They made it, but the journey was so difficult.
So Robert and Lisa have not smoked for 3 weeks now and are going strong; they are working so hard on keeping the Word of Wisdom. Up until the 6th we thought we had experienced the worst of what was to come, but we were so wrong!
On Tuesday the 6th, we set up baptismal interviews at the Visitors' Center because we knew there would be things for the kids to do and we could celebrate by walking around the temple after hearing the good news. Our zone leaders Elder's Bowerman and Rountree did the interviews. Elder Bowerman came out with Robert and said he was good to go. We so were so excited because we were worried about Robert the most because he was struggling with the Word of Wisdom the most. We thought that Elder Rountree and Lisa would be out any minute. Twenty minutes passed and Sister West and I knew that something was wrong. I was the first to see Elder Rountree's face come around the corner and the second I saw his face I knew that something had happened. He talked to us and told us of an impression that he had to say no to the baptism. He didn't understand the impression and was scared to follow it but we were so glad he did!
We took Lisa aside and talked to her for two hours outside the temple trying to determine what was holding her back. After a lot of stories and many, many tears we got to the bottom of the situation and determined that she needed to forgive her mom. She was really bitter about being denied baptism because that was all she ever talked about but after bringing up feelings she didn't want to face, she got the courage and used her faith that Heavenly Father would be able to help work through this so she could be baptized.
After this exchange, Sister West and I thought we would have to post-pone the baptism. But after talking and praying, we decided to set up a follow-up interview with President Jenkins on Wednesday because we were going to do everything we could to help Lisa keep her date.
A couple of hours before the interview, we went to go speak with her and teach her from the Book of Mormon about repentance and following the prophets. We seriously taught her for three hours. After much testifying, she knew that what the Spirit was telling her was true and she called her mom and told her she forgave her and took out ALL 16 piercings. She didn't even need to do that! I am so amazed by her faith and her desire to have the Holy Ghost with her.
We went with Lisa to the interview and she totally passed! We seriously jumped with joy!! We talked with President Jenkins afterward and he said that he was impressed with her faith and what she was willing to give up to be baptized. She didn't need to remove her piercings or forgive her mother, but she did because being a member of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints was the desire of her heart.
So both Robert and Lisa were baptized on the 8th. My first baptism! After four months, 3 sets of missionaries, and a lot of prayers they finally made it and were confirmed on the 11th.
Yesterday we had Mission Conference with Elder Cardon from the Seventy. He taught us for six hours. I have never felt so spiritually uplifted like that. Such an amazing man who taught with the Spirit. I learned the most about the role of the Holy Ghost in conversion and how without it, people aren't really being converted. Ugh! I could go on forever about the things I learned. Another email for another day :)
But now that the baptism is over, we are in serious finding mode. We have no investigators right now! We are prayerfully using our area books and going out among the members to get referrals because we know there are prepared people to find. We have been fasting and praying as a mission to find 3 new investigators a week for every companionship during the month of August. We found two the other day, now it's time to use faith and work hard and be diligent to find the elect of the prepared people.