Wow what a week. I haven't had a whole lot like this one. It's going to be a crazy one and might be long and I might ramble. I might cry, I may laugh, but whatever I do laugh or cry, scream or dance, whatever it is, it will completely and utterly freak everyone in the library out. So I will hold my peace for now.
We were privileged to be part of something really cool this week. we had Leadership Training at the mission office. Every leader in the mission was there and we were called for this special training for new missionary work. Let's just say that a new Preach My Gospel Manual is on it's way next summer. But the Principles of it are being taught to the leaders now so that they can teach the rest of the mission. Therefore when this change comes we will ready and we will be prepared. It was certainly one of the greatest experiences of my mission, it was daunting to be in the presence of so many Spiritual Giants. I felt awfully inadequate there and felt a little out of place but the Lord called me to do what I'm doing for a reason so I knew I was supposed to be there.
I've applied those teachings I've learned and wow is it making a difference! It's incredible. I love it, it's so much easier to follow the Spirit and to help others keep commitments, In turn we were also blessed teaching the most lessons ever in our area and the district taught a lot of lessons as well, the highest in 10 months. It was incredible.
But now for my favorite part of my week thus far. we have investigator whose name is John. He had been in prison for a long time for some fairly serious crimes. In prison he was taught the gospel and was converted to the church. He was released last year but has wanted to be baptized since '04. He had been on parole and probation which in turn those people who are on that cannot be baptized. He waited and waited. He attended church every week. He was taught by missionaries(myself included). Monday last week he was released from parole and probation at the same time which began a new step in his life. It also began the greatest week of his life.
He was interviewed by President Tuesday night and was informed that he could not be baptized for some time(possibly a couple years). President told me that he had to take this to a higher authority than himself. Thursday to my surprise at the training meeting President approached me and asked if John would ready to be baptized this weekend. My jaw dropped and President told me he would tell me tomorrow if that would really happen. The next day President gave me a baptismal record signed and ready. It really happened.We went to the Taylors who he lives with and made a plan. We called John to the house. Brother Taylor told John Sister Taylor needed his help. Sister Taylor told John that she needed help planning his baptism. He told her not to joke about those things and reminded her how much that meant to him. I pulled out of the baptismal record signed and said we're not joking. Tears filled his eyes as he rose up and gave me the biggest hug ever.
Last night was John's baptism. I had the opportunity to be a witness of the baptism and also to take part in giving him the Holy Ghost. I was asked to sing a solo and sang "I Stand All Amazed". It was one of the most incredible days of my mission. As we sang the last "Nearer My God to Thee"(which is my favorite) during the last verse I could not hold tears back. I looked up at John and saw how happy he is and could feel the joy radiating from him something I had never seen in him before. It was beautiful, I could for a moment imagine him at that point in time welcoming me to heaven. It was remarkable. I gave him hug at the end of it. John to me is a perfect example of how the atonement of Jesus Christ is available to all. He is living proof, that Jesus Christ can heal even the deepest of wounds, and pull us out of the darkest of places, and give us hope.