Yesterday was Jhizel's baptism, and it was one of the best experiences of my mission. To start off though, I have to tell you a little bit about how teaching Jhizel was. Our main focus was to ensure that she had a lot of friends at church and that she was doing well with keeping her commitments. But we felt like we could add in another element, which would help her conversion even more. When we were talking about it, both Elder Black and I decided almost instantly on what, or better said, who that extra element would be. We have both served in the Algeciras branch. It's actually where we first met. While we were there, we would joke about being companions in Granada -- here we are. It's really cool how things turned out. Anyway, while we served there, we met a recently returned missionary named Claudia. She is kind of the same person as Jhizel, and we thought it would be a great idea to introduce them. It turned out so well, and they get along really, really well. It was great. Anyway, Algeciras is a long way from Granada. So we'd kind of ruled out the option of Claudia coming to the baptism. But on Saturday, we went to Jhizel's house to give her the baptismal clothing and she told us that she had a surprise for us. We knocked on her front door, and Claudia answered! It was one of those moments where you're not entirely sure what to do so you just kind of stand there and stare. Also, my Spanish momentarily failed me, so the first thing I said was "What? Claudia?" Fortunately, she understands a little bit of English. Anyway, it just made us all the more excited about the baptism. It was like seeing family after a really long time, and it was fantastic.
Anyway, the day of the baptism was fantastic. Jhizel was so excited and we could hardly wait till 7:30 pm when the baptism started. The baptism went really well. Jhizel had asked Elder Black and I to do a musical number for her baptism. She told us that she really liked the song "Asombro me da" (I stand all amazed). So we decided to do a violin-piano duet. It turned out really well, but it's been those lyrics that have really been in my mind lately. It could be because I really have been amazed at the miracle of Jhizel's baptism. After her baptism, she came up and told us that when she went into the water she didn't want to leave. She felt so calm and at peace that she just wanted to stay down there forever. Because of a rather unfortunate risk of drowning, it couldn't be like that. But I really did like the feelings that she expressed. She talked about how calm she felt, and when she gave her testimony, it was incredible because she hadn't just been baptized, she had been converted. Her brother also got up and gave a short testimony for Jhizel. He said that he really enjoyed what he felt during the baptism and wanted to eventually, for himself, take the same step. We've actually never spoken with the brother, but we have our first appointment with him tomorrow.
So many miracles. I love this. I don't really know how to explain what it is like to see someone change their life. To see someone become a 'new creature in Christ'. I don't know how to say how glad I am to be out here. It can get very difficult at times, but to see someone dressed in white for the first time makes it worth it. The hymn says it better than I can. I do stand all amazed. This work really is wonderful. Wonderful to me!
What a great day to be a missionary!
I love you and we will talk to you on Friday.
|Churros and Chocolate with the Garcia family.|
This is a typical Spanish treat. You have a cup of melted chocolate in front of you and then you dip the churro in.