Wednesday, August 10, 2011
Angela Drobynko and Adriano Lai were baptized on August 6, 2011!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!
It was wonderful.
Sorella Olsen and I went to the church a few hours early to fill up the font and waited in anticipation. The baptism was at the stake center in Rome (there is no baptismal font in the hotel at Ostia where we go to church!) and a lot of people showed up! There were a lot of members from Ostia who came (even if it is over an hour away) and other missionaries and their investigators and friends and family of Angela and Adriano. It was such an adventure! Adriano couldn't find a pair of pants that fit him and we ended up putting him in a jumpsuit, much to his dismay. The baptism started much later than we thought and last for over an hour. It was wonderful though, what an incredible thing to watch two people enter the waters of baptism and come out clean and ready to start their new life following the Savior. I am particularly struck by how the baptism is a covenant, bound by the priesthood of God. There are so many other people in the world who follow Christ, even Angela before she met us had committed to living a life following His teachings. BUT, that event was the sealing promise, the everlasting commitment to pattern our lives after His. It is the one covenant that is "legally" recognized by God and the one way that He can in return bless us with the gift of His Spirit and His cleansing power. Angela before was Christian, the Holy Ghost had touched her heart and profoundly influenced her life, but with her baptism, she received the remission of her sins along with Adriano, and the two of them now can stand clean before Him at the last day. Even in the simplicity of the ceremony, I am struck by the power of the covenant that they just entered.
We gave Adriano a tie to wear for his confirmation the next day in church but he didn't wear it (the excuse that he has no shirt that matches, which is true unfortunately). They were both confirmed on Sunday by our bishop, who promised them wonderful things in their blessing. And they are both doing great! We are going to stay close to them in the next few weeks to reteach them the lessons and make sure that any concerns or questions they have are resolved.
We are so blessed to be able to take part in the miracle of Adriano and Angela's conversion.
Other big news. On Saturday night at 10:20, Sorella Olsen and I got transfer calls. We were sure that I would be going to Sicily and that Sorella Olsen would stay and train. Sorella Olsen answered the phone call from our mission president's wife and she told her to sit down and get ready. Sorella Olsen would be transfered to Taranto and I would stay in Ostia and train! I can't believe it. I thought for sure I was leaving and in the last few weeks I have been preparing myself to go. Instead, I will be in Ostia for another transfer tomorrow I will have a brand new missionary from America as my companion. Its difficult to describe everything that I feel. I am so overwhelmed, unprepared, and inadequate. Sorella Olsen is an incredible missionary that will leave a legacy of love. I have seen a lot of tears in the last few days as Sorella Olsen has had to tell Angela and the members that she is leaving. I will now be responsible for trying to follow in her legacy and keep up the pattern of love and hard work that she has created here. And I will now also be responsible for a brand new missionary and helping her to understand how to be an effective servant of the Lord. Ever since Saturday night, my head has been spinning with all the things that I need to do and my stomach churns with anticipation. I have tried to copy down the lists of things I need to do from my head onto paper but end up instead with sticky notes scattered through the apartment. Sometimes I feel like I am about to explode with all the emotional stress of it all, of all my weakness and fears. And then I realize that there is no way that I can do it all and that is okay. That's okay because that is exactly what the Atonement is. It is helping us to realize the desires of our hearts when our abilities fall so short. I will not be able to do everything I feel that I need to with my new companion, but it will be okay anyways. But I have to have faith in this power. I have to believe Christ when he tells us that no matter how severe the weaknesses, I can be made perfect in Him. All my sins of selfishness, all my self-doubts can be wiped away clean if I just trust in Him and desire and search to follow Him. It brings peace to my heart in the moments of distress. I have a much firmer testimony of Ether 12:27. Weakness are given to us by God for this life of probation so that we will come unto Him. When I feel so overcome by the natural man, tiredness or laziness or doubt or selfishness or insecurity, it literally brings me to my knees in fervent prayer. And I know that my pleading prayers are heard by a loving Heavenly Father and consecrated for my benefit. I know that I will be just fine.
I love you all!