This week was, as usual, super wonderful.
Ralph's baptismal service went SO WELL (:
The day before his baptism was pretty rough. He said he had the hardest time staying away from cigarettes and that Satan was doing everything he possibly could to prevent him from getting baptized. "I was stronger than he was, though" Ralph told us when we met Thursday evening. "I literally yelled at him a couple times and told him to get out of my house. That font is getting filled tomorrow and he can't do anything to stop it." WHAT A LITTLE BEAST, RIGHT?!? I was so impressed with his strength, BLOWN AWAY by his testimony and in awe of his deep rooted, sincere desire to follow Jesus Christ and be baptized by someone holding His authority.
Everything went great once Friday hit!! Usually, the day of a baptism is stressful and hectic...but it was pretty smooth sailing and stress free this time around! Satan even left Ralph alone! He felt like such a warrior, hahaha. We ended up having a really good turn out—a bunch of people from the ward came, we had about four potentials/investigators there and the district came with quite a few non-members, too!! Ralph was so happy that so many people were there to support him (: I was too!!
I don't really know how to sum up my feelings and emotions...but basically, I just really, really, REALLY love being a missionary. Haha I remember hearing Elder Anderson talk about missionary work a few years ago at General Conference and saying something along the lines of "it's not missionary work, its missionary fun!" and thinking, ha. Righttttt. But let me tell you—he couldn't have been more correct. I've spent the last 18 months having missionary fun...and Friday evening was one of the highlights (: Catch the wave, y'all. It'll be the best decision you've ever made!!
To emphasize that point even further, I'll tell you about one of THE MOST special experiences of my whole mission that took place on Saturday!! We met with a lady named Hewin a few weeks ago, and although she is Muslim and really didn't seem all too interested, for whatever reason she allowed us to set up a second appointment. We called her a couple days ago to invite her to Ralph's baptism...and she agreed to come! She even called us the day of asking if she could bring a friend with her! She left pretty quickly afterwards, so we didn't get to talk to her all too much, but we went over today for our lesson, followed up, and were totally caught off guard by her response.
Let me preface the following story by saying we went into this lesson planning on dropping Hewin. During companion study, someone literally said "I'm 99.9% sure she has ZERO interest" so we prepared a little lesson about the gospel of Jesus Christ, emphasizing the fact that we are here not as friends, but as representatives of Jesus Christ to help people follow Him by entering into the very covenant that she had just seen take place the night before.
Well. We got there and ended up having to change our lesson plan a little bit. One of her very first questions was "can women get baptized, too?" We were like “umm, yes” and then proceeded to discuss baptism further. We ended up asking her if SHE wanted to be baptized, and the lady was like "I talked to my mom about it last night. She said no. I came home and my son had told her where I was, so she asked me about it when I got home and I wasn't going to lie to her...” We were like woah, woah, WOAH, WAIT. YOUR MOM SAID WHAT?! YOU ASKED HER IF YOU COULD GET BAPTIZED?! WHAT IS GOING ON?!
Pause. I want to say something. One of the coolest things about getting to serve in Germany right now is working with Muslim people. You can see how the Holy Ghost has started working on so many of their hearts and minds! Some of my favorite heaven-sent realizations people have vocalized have been "You Christian nations do so well, while us Muslim nations are literally falling apart. I don't think that's a coincidence" and "Muslims are killing Muslims. God wouldn't inspire that". Now I'm aware that Christianity doesn't have a perfect track record either...but the spirit has testified to me over and over and over again that he's the one behind comments like that, and God’s work is about to roll forward in unprecedented ways, especially among our brothers and sisters who once rejected Christ as their Savior and Redeemer.
Okay. I have pressed play and shall continue my story now.
So we were internally freaking out, right? As it turns out, Hewin has developed lots of uncertainty and doubt about her faith over the last little bit, as well as curiosity and genuine interest in ours. We literally poured our hearts out to her about the reality of Jesus Christ and His atoning sacrifice...and the coolest thing happened as we did. I don't quite know how to explain this...but I'll try to paint an accurate picture in your head. The sun hasn't shined here in about a week. Literally haven't seen it once. It hibernates here during winter months (yes, I'm whiter than a sheet of paper right now, thanks). But the second we started testifying about the savior, the sun BURST through the clouds and light filled the room. We'd stop, let her speak, see the sun go into hiding again, then watch it break through the clouds the second the Savior’s name was mentioned and testimony of His divine role was borne. The light was so BLINDINGLY bright, I could barely open my eyes at certain points! I kid you not, this happened about five times. Feel free to call it a coincidence, but I can assure you it wasn't. I've been praying for Heavenly Father to confirm the truthfulness of Christ and His gospel to me...and I KNOW that what happened in that apartment wasn't some random light show, rather a sign to both my investigator AND me that The Son of God lives and His church has been restored to the earth.
I wish Muslim lesson #2 of the day was as magnificent as the first one...but sadly, it wasn't. Aballah also came to the baptism yesterday! Except instead of coming to our appointment with an open heart and mind, he came with an open journal. Full of notes. About how the Bible supports Islam. Huh? He even printed out some wiki pages on the subject...in case you were wondering, the Bible tells us to wear a hijab or shave our heads. Yup. Pretty frustrating lesson. We're going to meet with him again this week, though...hopefully the spirit will work some sort of heart-changing magic on him, too!! We'll see!! Wish us luck (;
Love y'all lots!!
Have a great week!!
- Sister Terry
PS: THIS IS IT. MY LAST TRANSFER. 6 MORE WEEKS. AHHHHH.