Monday, March 9, 2015

Words Are Not Sufficient... Week 102


I could spend some time catching you up on the week, but really, the whole week involved one thing: making sure everything went smoothly for Phil and Lynny's baptisms. As previously mentioned, due to the lack of an announcement at church, or the lack of the opportunity thereof, it fell to the shoulders of President Armstrong, Sister Kemp (RS President), President Eastwood (Elders Quorum), and the missionaries to spread the word that Phil and Lynny were being baptized the coming Saturday, the brunt of the informing falling to us. I could sum up the week's events with that- we found ourselves scurrying around like chooks without their heads as we went about informing the masses. It took all week.

But a few important days to note were these. On Tuesday Phil and Lynny had their baptismal interviews with Elder Tanner and President Carter via phone. We originally had started the evening at about 5:30pm for tea (Mexican nachos... we love Lynny very much). Interviews started at about 7:30 after the kids were put down, and they went until 9:30 or so, and it was actually Lynny that had to remind President Carter that our curfew was up. Whilst one or the other was interviewing, it fell to me to entertain whoever wasn't being interviewed, so I basically sat at the kitchen table and conducted question and answer sessions whilst everyone else shared in a massively overwhelming spiritual moment- it's a bugger when you're not the district leader or President and can't do interviews, but such is the Lord's design.

So after that, we proceeded to see Phil and Lynny almost every day of the week for at least a brief exchange. We took Wednesday andThursday nights to finalize their baptismal program. On Wednesday we started filling in the blanks regarding hymns, speakers, and the like. The question also came up- who would be baptizing them and who would be confirming them. Phil had already put a lot of thought into it, since he knew his friend Ben would not be carrying out the ordination. He looked straight at me and said, "Baptizing," then to Elder Duabe, "and confirming." His reasoning was that I was the "next best pick" (Lynny tried to rebuke him for that, but I understood- they were sad that Ben could not do it, but they recognized that they needed the ordinances performed as soon as feasibly possible, thus they went with their "second best") because I had been so involved in their conversion process. He chose Elder Duabe to confirm because he reckons -and he's right- that Elder Duabe is a "very spiritual man, very in tune with the Holy Ghost" and thus he got that position.

Lynny took another day to decide on the grounds that "there are so many good people to choose from!" which was acceptable to us.Thursday night we finalized their program and asked again, "So Lynny, have you put anymore thought into who you want to baptize you?" and she gave me this really big smile and was kinda quiet but kept looking at me. Then Phil laughed and he looked at me, and Elder Duabe laughed and he looked at me, and I wanted to at least hear it so she said, "If you haven't guessed I'd like you to baptize me, and President Armstrong can confirm me." And thus it was decided. The privilege of baptizing them cannot be expressed in words, thus words are not sufficient. I was very humbled that they had both opted for me to perform that ordinance for them.

We spent the rest of Friday making sure everyone that could know did know to be at the chapel at 10:30am Saturday morning. We also took Phil and Lynny on Friday to get their baptismal gear sussed out that same Friday.

Saturday morning rolled around, and though I was striving to be one with the Spirit that morning and really relish what was about to happen, as per the norm with most missionaries, I was consumed by anxiety and nervousness. The moment right before two people, a family, is about to enter into the fold is the most gut-wrenching moment ever because you just don't know what's going to go down. We went to the chapel at about 8am and started filling the font (takes 2 hours to fill) and I delved into some scriptures to quell my anxiety. It never works and I just sort of glaze over the pages and get lost in thought again, but I read specifically in Mosiah 18 (hope I got the reference right) when Alma the Younger baptized in the Waters of Mormon, and that actually helped.

Then Phil and Lynny arrived, and all was well- I was completely calm and relaxed again. I had been nervous because Satan has really campaigned diligently to prevent this family from being baptized and from starting down the gospel path, and I felt that he would be especially aggressive in the final hours of their ongoing battle, and I feared him winning. Memories of Sister Farr and Sister Kafoa's investigators not turning up for their baptisms back in Mildura (2013) continued to play on my mind, so when I saw them turn up, when I knew that they had brought themselves to the chapel, I was entirely at peace. We got dressed out, and it was so great to be dressed up in white with them! Together, dressed in white, they just looked stunning, absolutely celestial.

We got to sit with them and their family in the front during the talks, which were very emotion-filled for everyone. The entire branch came (+30 people) and the Spirit's presence was so thick you could sink your teeth into it! Then we made our way down to the baptismal font, and I entered first, and to my horror, the font was missing about a foot of water. President Armstrong had commandeered filling the font after he arrived, and I suppose he didn't see a need for more than enough water that my hips (and I know my hips are quite tall on me) were still above the water, which was concerning for me because Phil is my same height... and it was my job to make sure he was submersed properly. No pressure. I didn't really let it get to me- I had already decided that if I needed to follow him into the water in order to baptize him properly, then I would do it.

He stepped into the font, we stood all the way at the opposite end of it so that he wouldn't bash his head on the steps or wall, and then I took his arm, made sure he was all good, and proceeded to baptize him. It was such a special moment for everyone! Their little boys were so cute with their faces pressed to the glass separating the font from the audience. Phil went down and came back up easy enough (I'd asked the Lord to strengthen my arm... I really didn't want to drop him. Call me silly if you will, but I was stressing about the fine details, too).

Then it was Lynny's turn, and she was already emotional, but I took her hand and guided her into the font, gave her a second to compose herself (and she must've been a bit nervous, because her grip was really tight on my arm), and then I baptized her. Haha, the trick with her was making sure all her hair was submerged!

And then we dressed out, went into the chapel to finish the service, and Phil and Lynny bore their testimonies. They sounded like they'd been doing it for ages! Phil was dropping phrases like "I know that through the infinite power of Christ's Atonement, we can come to live with our Heavenly Father again" and things of the like that just made my jaw drop. Up to that point, I'd never heard them bear pure, honest to goodness testimony. I'd heard them state that they knew what we taught concerning whatever subject was true, but never have I heard them open their hearts like that and just testify of what was true. Even Phil's lip trembled (shouldn't have looked at his wife xD) and I had a moment to laugh because early on in his teaching, he was just perplexed at how people were driven to tears when confessing what they knew to be true, and here was, doing the same thing! Ah, it was just so wonderful and my words are not sufficient to describe my joy and neither are my actions, and the rest of the day was just the easiest missionary day of my life! I loved it! I am so blessed by the Lord! What better gift could my Heavenly Father give to me before I go the way of all the earth?

I don't know what else to say- I was blessed. They were blessed. They're still being blessed! Elder Duabe's confirmation was extremely spiritual and that same Sunday, Phil received the Aaronic Priesthood and was ordained to the office of a Priest, and they received their limited use temple recommends and will be going with the branch this Saturday to attend the temple and do baptisms! Ask me how I'm feeling! I can't tell you because there are no words in the English language to express how amazing I am feeling! I wish I could speak the Adamic language, which was pure and perfect and allowed for such feelings to be expressed properly.

Anyways, that was my week, and I loved it, and now I must battle on and find the next people to baptize and confirm. Easier said than done, especially when my endurance is waning. I put it to you all straight; I am really struggling with holding out to the end. Satan really wants me to just take it easy and relax, and I really don't want to. I want to finish strong, and I have been working diligently. I just need to keep doing it for a bit longer... it's so very hard. BUT, I can and will do hard things, and this is not the hardest thing that I have yet to do, so I just need to square up and face it.

I love you all heaps, and there are more baptism photos to come!

-Elder Schomburg 

p.s. [I wish I could post all of the photos that Elder Schomburg sent - they would absolutely melt your heart - but due to privacy, I cannot post member's photos. This one is WONDERFUL though!]

Elder Duabe and Elder Schomburg
Baptism Day for Phil and Lynny

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