Disclaimer: Duane and his girls' baptism was my favorite day of my mission thus far. So I reserve the right to talk all about it now. :)
It was the most spiritual baptism I've ever seen. Did I ever mention that his 17-year-old daughter, Sabrina, was absolutely terrified of getting baptized? Well, she was. Our very first lesson with them, we talked about baptism and I told them that baptism symbolized the death, burial and resurrection of the Savior. Well, Sabrina (who has some handicaps) just caught hold of the word "death" and ever since, has been convinced that she will die when she is baptized. She would always ask us: "When you're baptized, are you still alive?" As much as we explained it to her over and over again, she couldn't get over the image in her head that she was going to die.
In spite of all this, she knew what the spirit felt like and knew what we were teaching was true, and she knew she needed to be baptized. So she went forward with it. Her sister Tiffany went first. When Sabrina's time came, she was so afraid but she squared her shoulders and announced to the room: "That's it. I'm going to do it everyone." And she did. Timid, shy little Sabrina has more courage and faith than most people. I've never seen her so happy as when she came out.
Duane, as you may recall, only has one leg. And he couldn't wear his prosthetic into the water. So it required two men to help him into the font. And he had to trust them completely to lower him under the water and then back up, because he certainly couldn't do it himself. That was my favorite part. It is so symbolic of our completely dependent nature on the Savior - not a single one of us can lift ourselves back up once we die, physically or spiritually. We need Him. Just like Duane needed them.
He was so content. So happy. All three of them were. And my soul has never felt so full. I was nearly bursting with all the emotion I felt - joy, peace love. My favorite little family were all baptized. The next day, they were confirmed in Sacrament meeting and received the Holy Ghost. Afterwards, Sabrina came up to us with her eyes shining. She said she felt the Holy Ghost inside of her. To hear her pure spirit testify that the Holy Ghost is real touched my heart so deeply.
And do you know how I feel right now? I feel like a parent whose child just graduated from high school! I watched this family - Duane especially - grow from spiritual infancy to spiritual maturity in a matter of two short months. Being a missionary is very much like being a parent. I taught him, corrected him, encouraged him, watched him change and grow... Then, suddenly, he is baptized. And he doesn't need me anymore. In gospel principles they asked him to share his conversion story and his testimony. I was listening and slowly the realization came to me - he is like a child who is entering adulthood. I raised him, and now it is time for me to step back a little and watch him apply everything I've taught him. I'll still be a part of his life forever, but it's different now.
People need the missionaries to come unto Christ by being baptized. They cannot go any other way. Now he is baptized. And I feel like a mom watching her kid go off to college ha ha. Did I teach him enough? Did I raise him right? I can't reverse time and change anything now. That time is past.
And I just wanted to pitch a fit and cry and say it wasn't fair. But I didn't. Because I was in Gospel Principles surrounded by mature adults and that would have been awkward. So I just prayed my little heart out that night and begged Heavenly Father to take care of my beloved little converts and make up for all the mistakes I made while teaching them ha ha.
Well, now I've really just laid my soul bare. I hope you enjoyed that ha ha. My point is that I love that little family. As missionaries, we still continue to go in and teach regularly for at least a year. But there are a few things that shorten that time for me: 1) Transfers are in two weeks and I might leave the area and 2) They are moving within a month. Either way.... my time as their missionary will soon be coming to an end. And I am very sad.
But, not discouraged! ;) In spite of my emotional roller coaster with all these new and exciting landmarks, I am very happy. Possibly the happiest I've ever been as a missionary. We picked up two new investigators yesterday, two brothers who have questions about latter-day-prophets. The work keeps moving forward. The sun still shines. It's usually about 110 degrees outside and I honestly don't even notice the heat. Miracles happen, folks. :) Every day, they happen.
I hope you have a lovely and splendid week. I love you all.
Sincerely, Sister Ball