"It's the B-Word....BAPTISM!"

July 13, 2015
I hope you enjoy that wonderful quote from "The District" DVD's! I sure do :) Look it up... guaranteed a good time ;)

​Well... It's story time, everyone! Take a seat... you'll need it for this one!!!

(DISCLAIMER... This is extremely long... but definitely worth your time!)

At our first baptism!
Me with the Baptism Boy, Luis!
9 Miracles and ​counting...
On June 6th, 2015, Sister Tycksen and I decided to go and tract the Aubrurn Ridge apartment complex in Glenwood Springs, CO. It was a new complex that hadn't really been tracted by missionaries before and we were constantly being prompted to go and do some finding there. That morning, we received a call from our Zone Leaders who challenged us to specifically go out that day and find someone "super solid" and set them on date for baptism. Well, we took the challenge, prayed specifically for a miracle to find the ONE, and set out. When we arrived, we OYM'ed a woman named Mara, taught her a little about the Plan of Salvation, but alas, no baptismal date. As to not seem awkward and walk back to our car after talking with Mara, we proceeded to walk forward and knock on the first door we came to. After two knocks, a young 12 year old boy answers. I ask him in Spanish if his parents are home. He goes over and summons his mom and a woman comes to the door, talking on the phone. She pauses, takes one look at us and says "Pasale!!! Pasale!" (Come in, come in!) Without introduction, we pass and she urges us to sit. We were sitting for about a minute or so while the young boy (Luis) is just staring at us smiling. When the woman (Alma) gets off of the phone she just walks over to us, smiles and says "I'm a member of your church! I've been waiting for you to find me!" We were shocked. She introduced herself and they had just moved here from Mexico about 6 months prior. Apparently, she had been trying to get in contact with the church since they moved and hadn't been able to find it. She had been praying for the missionaries to come and find her since they moved. She has had two open heart surgeries and is in Colorado on medical terms. Her conversion story is so inspiring and she is the only member in her family. She had been praying for us to find them and said that she knew that we were led there that day.

Without delay, Alma asked us if we would be able to teach Luis so he could learn about the true church. Her husband is a very staunch Catholic and she wanted Luis to make the decision for himself if he wanted to be baptized, without any outside influences. Well, needless to say, we jumped on that opportunity and taught him the first lesson. We invited Luis to be baptized on July 11th and he accepted. Miracle #1 complete.

Well, we continued to teach Luis every week. The following Sunday, all 3 of them came to church, including the dad (Andres). We developed a deep relationship with the Perez/Romero family very quickly. I had an immediate love for this family and knew that Alma had been waiting for us to come and help her family become eternal. Luis received very quick answers to his prayers that this was the true church, however, every time we would ask him if he got an answer if he should be baptized, he said no. (Come on... answers about the Prophet, Joseph Smith, The Book Of Mormon, but not baptism?!) We continued to prepare him for a baptismal date of July 11th.

After about 4 weeks of learning, Luis had a STRONG testimony of the Restoration and was prepared for his baptismal interview. The Saturday before his baptism (July 4th), we reviewed the baptismal questions, and he agreed that he was prepared to have his interview the following day. Sunday came, Luis, Alma, and Andres came to church and Luis told me that he didn't feel prepared enough to have his interview. What had happened? After a long talk, I told Luis that he was ready and that if he had the interview and still didn't feel prepared, then we could push the date back. He had the interview with Elder Morales and passed with flying colors. Miracle #2. Elder Morales told me his concern was that he didn't feel like he would be able to come to church every week. E. Morales made him promise to come to church whenever he could, but said nonetheless, that he had an amazing testimony. After talking to E. Morales after the interview, we came to the conclusion that maybe Luis needed to attend church a few more times before he was baptized to feel more comfortable. However, when he left for the day, Luis was telling his mom that he was getting baptized! Miracle #3. To say the least, we were VERY confused! Sister Newell and I continued to pray for Luis to be baptized on July 11th.

On Wednesday of Baptism week (July 8th), we went to Luis' to talk to him about his baptism that Saturday. Unfortunately, he was in summer school and we could only meet with him mom. We had a wonderful lesson with Alma on faith and she really opened up to us. After about an hour, we were preparing to leave and I got the guts to ask Alma about Luis' baptism that Saturday. Playing a little dumb, I said, "So, what time works best for Luis' baptism this Saturday? 1 PM?" She responded with, "Oh, that's too early, how about later on in the evening?" "WHY OF COURSE!!!" Taking that as a yes, that Luis had told her that he was ready to be baptized this week, we set the baptism for 8 PM Saturday evening. Miracle #4.

A little uncertain if we should start planning a baptism without actually talking to the baptismal candidate about the day/time, we began to call members and set things in order for Saturday, the 11th. On Thursday evening (July 9th), Sister Newell and I were finally able to see Luis again to talk about the baptismal program. Feeling inspired to share 2 Nephi 31:17-18 before even introducing our purpose for being there, the spirit was strongly attending us. After reading the scripture and further explaining the purpose of baptism, I took another gutsy move. "Luis, we talked to your mom about your baptism being this Saturday, the 11th, at 8PM. Who would you like to baptize you?" Luis paused. I felt like I couldn't breathe. He then responded with, "Can Elder Morales do it?" SIGH OF RELIEF. We continued to make baptismal preparations for the next 25 minutes. By the time we finished, Luis had chosen the necessary persons for talks, prayers, songs, etc. Andres (his non-member father) was even chosen to give the closing prayer at the service. Although a little nervous and uncertain in this newly deemed duty, Andres said the closing prayer in our lesson that night (with a little help and instruction from Luis). Miracle #5.

Well, on Friday we started planning full swing. Being this both Sister Newell and I's first baptisms of our mission, we wanted to make sure Luis felt completely welcomed in to the Church of Jesus Christ. After a busy day of planning on Friday, around 8 PM we texted Alma and asked how they were doing that day. At about 8:45 we got a text back saying that they weren't doing well. Apparently, for the past 3 days Alma's blood pressure had been very low and she was planning on going to the hospital that night. Shocked and uncertain of what action to take, we called the Elders and had them meet us at Alma's house to give her a priesthood blessing. Sister Newell and I began praying immediately for Alma's health, knowing that if she was not healthy, we would have bigger problems than a delayed baptism.

Well, when we arrived at their apartment with the Elders, Alma looked terrible. She couldn't move and was in so much pain she could barely talk (a very unusual thing for her). Luis was at his aunt's house in Carbondale and Andres was caring for Alma diligently. The Elders gave Alma a blessing and we headed home with her promise to keep us informed on her health. I had no doubt in my mind that Alma would be healed in time for Luis' baptism the following day. I had asked specifically for Alma to be healed enough to come to the baptism. Later on that night after texting a little bit back and forth with Alma, she expressed to us that she was already feeling better and no longer needed to go to the hospital. Miracle #6. That night I prayed the hardest I have ever prayed in my life. I was literally pleading with the Lord to heal Alma enough for Luis to be baptized so their family could be eternal - but to let the Lord's will be done. I received an answer after many minutes of prayer and tears, that everything would work out and that I would sleep in peace. It was the Lord's will for Luis to be baptized on Saturday.

Saturday morning came- July 11th- BAPTISM DAY. I woke up feeling terrible that morning, having had dealt with some health problem of my own recently. About 10:30 we got a text from Alma saying things hadn't gotten much better and that she was still having bad symptoms and preparing to leave for the hospital. She was waiting for Andres to return from work and Luis was still in Carbondale with his Aunt. I continued to make phone calls, inviting ward and branch members to the baptism that evening. About an hour later, we had finished studies and Sister Newell and I had to make the decision... would we act in faith and continue preparing things for the baptism that day, or wait for a definite response? We decided that the Lord would want us to act in faith and continue to prepare for the baptism. We texted Alma and asked her when she would be leaving for the hospital. Before heading upstairs to make the refreshments for the service, we decided to say a companionship prayer for Alma. We specifically prayed, as always, that she would be healed in time for Luis' baptism that night at 8. Literally seconds after saying amen, our phone went off. We had received a text from Alma. She told us that she had started to feel better and was no longer going to the hospital. Miracle # 7. We continued to text with her and we rearranged the talks and prayers for the baptism that night. We made the baptismal program, refreshments, set up the church, and finalized our plans over the next 3 hours.

After dinner, we headed back to the church. Everything was perfect. Members were committed to be in attendance at 8 pm that night, the font was filled, and Alma was feeling decent. Luis and his parents were supposed to be arriving at the church at 7:15. 7:30 came and they were still not in sight. We texted Alma and she said they were almost at the church. About 10 minutes later, Alma, Luis, and Andres walked through the church doors with ear-to-ear grins smeared on their faces. Miracle #8. After changing into his baptismal suit and taking an uncanny amount of pictures, Luis was baptized. His parents and extended non-member family watched endearingly as he entered the water and descended the steps into the font. Elder Morales baptized Luis in one stroke. I will never forget the look on his face as he looked up for approval from his mom before heading into the restroom to change. Alma was crying, I was holding back tears, and the spirit was strong.

Every chair was filled, except three!
Luis, dressed in white and ready for his baptism 

 As Luis was changing, we proceeded to have the sum of about 50 members that were present at the baptism write their testimonies on note cards. I then choked out a seemingly impossible musical number and Sister Newell gave a beautiful talk on the Holy Ghost. It was one of the most stressful, nerve-racking, rewarding, amazing, but spiritual experiences of my life. There is no doubt in my mind that the Lord is in the details of our lives. He is waiting for us to come to him, ask, and then ACT. Luis was baptized on July 11th, and then confirmed on July 12th. Exactly 35 days after we met him. Miracle #9. I will never again doubt the power of prayer, fasting, and the great influence our FAITH has in the work of salvation.

The Perez/Romero family, Luis, Elder Morales and us before the baptism!

 I love this gospel. I know it is the only way that we can return to live with our Heavenly Father. I love being a missionary. It is the hardest, most rewarding thing I have done in my whole life. Nothing compares to the immense JOY we feel while laboring in the Lord's vineyard. This is what it's all about.

Love, Hermana Pierce

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