Victoria's baptismal program was beautiful. She had so many friends and family members that traveled to be here and support her, it was amazing. Watching this day come together filled my heart with joy. As her baptism got closer and closer, I expected this "burning in my bosom" type experience and...it never came. I thought for sure that as I was able to witness Victoria enter into the waters of baptism that the flood gates of my tear ducts would over flow and...the tears never came. I was surprisingly calm. I was a little befuddled but still totally at peace.
After the service we went to Olive Garden! :D For the next 12 hours I was still wondering why I didn't have this grand experience that I had anticipated.
Sure enough, the next day at church Victoria came forward during sacrament meeting to receive the Gift of the Holy Ghost and the second Brother Hummel opened his mouth, I was weeping like a child. What a blessing it has been to be called to Dover at this time. Victoria was 100% prepared by the Lord, I simply showed up at the right time. He could have called anyone else to be here, but He called me. I've never felt so much joy in my life. Pure joy is the Gospel of Jesus Christ, and in the ordinances thereof, the power of godliness is manifest. I have never known such peace. I cannot believe He counts me worthy to be His mouthpiece.
During Relief Society we taught Ashli about the message of the Restoration. We kind of had to teach the Plan of Salvation at the same time in order for her to understand the context. She attended Victoria's baptism, so we talked about how baptism is the gate in which we enter the path back to our Heavenly home. It's just the beginning. We told her that we didn't want to rush her to baptism, but we helped her to understand that she could not be baptized in China. We knelt in prayer with her as she offered the most sincere prayer I have ever heard. She asked our Heavenly Father to let her know if she should be baptized before she goes back home to China. She knows there will be many restrictions there, and that she doesn't have much time here. As she was praying, SO WAS I! I honestly couldn't feel a thing, and neither could Sister Howard. I just plead with Heavenly Father to help Ashli to recognize her answer, because we can't do that for her. As she ended her prayer and we sat quietly for what seemed like eons, with tears streaming down her face she finally said, "I think I am lucky enough to be baptized before I go home to China." And by this point we all had tears streaming down our cheeks. We promised her that her Heavenly Father is so mindful of her. He will help her every step of the way. He wants her to be happy and He will help her to do what is right. Please keep her in your prayers! She leaves for China onand her service will be held that weekend.
THEN, that night they prepared us a feast! Heaven help me, I thought I was going to throw up. We call it, "eating for Jesus". You know what a texture eater I am! ....sesame paste....assortments of tofu, a plethora of mushrooms and last but not least...DUCK EGG!!!! I'm fine. I lived to tell about it, didn't I? It was a bunch of horribly textured things covered in nut taste. BUT, there was cilantro! :D Man, I guess I got my wish, a slice of China in my mission (: I love those girls.
The Gospel of Jesus Christ is real. It's blessings cannot be received by mere observation, but only in the living application of His teachings. When we show our desire, light will flow into our souls. Our Heavenly Father will help us every step of the way, we just need to show Him - by our actions- that we care. We can only love someone to the extent that we are willing to sacrifice for them. After all that the Savior has done for us, what are we willing to sacrifice for Him? A life of living His Gospel? I sure hope so. I love the Lord with all my heart. Thank you for your constant support and much needed prayers.