Monday, September 13, 2010
Brother Watkins' Baptism
Transfer information is out! After serving in the Camden area for nine months, Elder Taylor is now being transferred. I have really enjoyed the opportunity to serve with Elder Taylor once again and I'm excited to see who is going to come into the area. Elder Poll, one of the Assistants, told us that is was going to be a Spanish speaking missionary. I don't know if he was pulling my leg or if he was telling the truth. We will see on Wednesday! Elder Taylor got a call from President. President McConkie thanked Elder Taylor for his service as a zone leader then President informed him that he would no longer be serving as a zone leader. He is, on the other hand, going to be training a new missionary! That means I get another grandchild. Elder Taylor and I were thinking about it and we wrote out my family line of missionaries. I have trained three times: Elder Taylor, Elder Douglas, and Elder Thayne. When Elder Taylor picks up the new missionary on Wednesday, it will be his second time training. Elder Taylor trained Elder Wood and this new missionary. Elder Douglas has also trained a new missionary. That makes three "grandchildren." Elder Wood has trained twice: Elder Peirre and Elder Mearse. That makes two great grandchildren. :) It is fun to see all the connections within the mission. I know wherever Elder Taylor goes he is going to do great.
This week we had Elder and Sister Sybrowsky tour our mission. It was quite the experience. We had zone leader council with him on Tuesday, and he frankly told us that we have not been fulfilling our purpose (which is true, there has been a slight down trend every month of less and less baptisms within the mission). He trained us on receiving personal revelation and how it is crucial in leadership responsibilities, especially as zone leaders in the Lord's mission. He explained how revelation + leadership skills = miracles in the work. I have also received an assignment from Sister Sybrowsky to ask you to write me the stories of how our family entered the church. Dad, this is an assignment from a member of the quorum of the seventy for you to share your personal experience, and mother you will have to go back through the history books a little. Sister Sybrowsky said, "I don't care how long your family has been in the church, whether it's been over 100 years or if you are a first generation, the stories are going to have one thing in common: full time missionaries. Sister Sybrowsky has promised us that as we read these stories it will motivate us to go out with an even greater desire to share the gospel and to alter a family line just as the missionaries who did it for mine. Thank you for complying with that assignment! :) I am really excited to read them, especially yours dad.
We also had zone conference on Friday in which Elder Sybrowsky told us to stop focusing on the number of new investigators we get and start focusing on baptisms. We get obsessive with getting the numbers and we are losing so many people who could be making and keeping covenants with our Father in Heaven. Elder Taylor and I were commanded by Elder Sybrowsky to move Anna Baker's baptism date up one week. We went over on Saturday and moved it up to this coming weekend, September the 18th. It is going to be a busy week, but I know that an authorized servant of the Lord asked me to do it, so we are going to work everything out for the baptismal service this evening!
Oh by the way, mother, you were dead on. I have been sick the past two weeks. :) I'm not sure how you can know that. I decided not to tell you the past two weeks because I did not want you to worry. I am feeling much better. I promise. You have the mothers intuition, I guess. Thank you for thinking of my physical well being. The members we live with have been great to doctor me up. Sister Dent used to be a nurse. I love the Dents. They are really great. I feel so lucky to be one of the few missionaries in our mission to serve with members.
The base was amazing this week. Brother Watkins was there early and we went through all of the commandments. We went through the baptismal interview and when we finished the interview Brother Watkins stated, "I can't wait to go by the branch back home. The first thing I am going to tell my branch president is, 'I am a new member, I have received the Priesthood, you better start praying to find out what calling the Lord wants me to do, and I need you to tell me what I must do to get a Patriarchal Blessing!'" Brother Watkins was so excited and truly committed to the covenants he was making with Heavenly Father. I had Brother Watkins' battle buddy speak with the branch president, but his battle buddy has not been active and did not feel worthy to perform the baptism, so Brother Watkins asked me to perform the baptism. The only problem was that I did not bring another pair of garments. I wasn't going to let that stop me. I performed the baptism and confirmed Brother Watkins while wearing my garments and then I changed back into my suit. I had wet garments the rest of the day but it just made me happy because the rest of the day I remembered the spirit that was felt as Brother Watkins was baptized. I love this gospel. It was one of the happiest moments as he was baptized. I am so thankful. The branch president conferred the Aaronic priesthood to Brother Watkins and he has been given the assignment for next week to pass the sacrament! It is just great!
I love each of you; I am working hard. I appreciate the support; y'all help to motivate me. I realize how little time I have left and that is a great motivator as well, but my greatest motivation are the covenants I have made with my Father in Heaven. Thank you all! I love you!