We have our first baptism this week!! I am SO excited! It has been a lot of work and prayer to get to this point, but we are finally here!! Our ward is great, we share it with Elders; counting this Saturday, we will have had two people baptized every weekend for the last three weeks! (Elders: 5, Sisters:1) [ We have a good amount scheduled for October!!!]
I love the South! Everyone is so open to talking about religion, to talk about Jesus mainly. Also, everyone sits on their porches here (just waiting for the missionaries..), which makes it easier to contact people. I had the opprotunity to visit Myrtle Beach and Sumter on exchanges recently and there was not nearly as many people outside with porches, so I feel very blessed to be in this area! We are working very hard to invite everyone to come to Christ and be baptized!
Something that I have learned is that exact obedience does bring miracles! We have most of our miracles occur when we decided to stay our the extra few minutes and visit people instead of drive home a few minutes early! That's when we find everyone.
Our first Sunday, we had an inactive familiy walk into church and say that they want to prepare for the Temple and have their 3 children baptized! The parents had been inactive for 16 years and the night before, the husband felt prompted to google the LDS church, drive to it, and then attend it on Sunday. Now, three weeks later, we are still teaching them and they are amazing! They are so committed to living the gospel. People can change and they do change. Keep that in mind. Some people, like the Daniel's family do it in a moment and some do it slowly, but people do change! I am so grateful for the Atonment and for the knowledge that we can change and be better!
Miracle Moment: We stopped by house to visit a lady, Ebony, whom we had taugh the week prior about the Plan of Salvation. She wasn't there, but her father and two cousins were. We taught them restoration and commited them to baptism! Charles, the father, had been wanting to find a new congreation; really he had been wanting to be able to follow God better but didn't quite know how, so we are now helping him and his family. He has been going through some hard times and this will help him enormously! We were talking to him for a little while (on his porch of course) and we were about to pray to start the lesson, then I explained that this was a family message and asked if there was anyone in his family whom he would like to join. He said yes and told his children to come (they said yes sir-good o'l southern manners). At first the 16 and 18 didn't seem intrested, but by the end they prayed to know that Joseph Smith was a prophet (in front of us) and are excited about the Book of Mormon.
You never know how people feel until you ask! I thought they weren't intrested, but it turns our they were! Don't judge a book by its cover. Also, invite EVERYONE. Had we not invited Charles to invite his family, they would not have come outside to listen. Moral of the story: INVITE EVERYONE. Love people enough to not judge whether they want the gospel by their actions and appearance. Give them the chance to decide on their own. You can't baptize unless you first invite. It's their eternal salvation at stake, so don't be afraid to be bold or to interupt what they are doing. Pass along cards are great! Ask your missionary for some, they would love to share them with you!
Also, on a side note. I finally named my bike! Her name is Esmerelda, but I call her Jasmine.
Sister Susan Anderson