Hey y'all I am home from my mission!
It zoomed by faster than a armadillo being chased by a toddler, but man, it sure was the greatest 18 months. I needed that spiritual growth somethin' fierce. I left a lot of people in Oklahoma who I love dearly, but they are still in my heart.
One of my great regrets from my mission is that I didn't journal as well as I wish I would have. There are many excuses I could use but it doesn't erase it! So in being home there are many things that trigger memories of the mission and I want to write them all down so they won't disintegrate in my memory bank.
Tonight during Family Home Evening with my parents and Matthew, and Hannah, we sang A Child's Prayer, my favorite children's hymn. As we sang, I choked up and tears started to roll as the spirit brought to my remembrance one of the most powerful baptisms I attended while on my mission.
It was in Lawton, Oklahoma. It was the baptism of Nichole. She had had QUITE the journey, she was lesbian but conquered her old lifestyle and had managed to quit smoking which was the biggest of feats in "Smoke-lahoma" since everyone is hardcore addicted to their cancer sticks. There were quite a few missionaries in attendance there since we had investigators in attendance but more so since everyone had fallen in love with Nichole and some missionaries were even allowed to come back (since they'd been transferred) even the mission president was in attendance, this was his FIRST baptism since he'd been out in the field.
For the musical number all the missionaries in the room were invited to come up and sing A Child's Prayer. We did not know that we would be doing this, so as my companion and I walked up there to join the other missionaries they quickly filled us in that the elders would sing the first verse, the sisters would sing the second verse, then when we sing together the sisters would sing the first verse and the elders would sing the second verse.
The pianist began playing.
The elders sang, and I grinned from ear to ear as their tender, untrained voices strained to sing the high notes of the first verse. They sounded like little children! Then we sang the second verse, it's usually the girls sing first then the boys sing second but I liked this version! Then for the third verse we combined and sang together.
Me being the only one to remember to come in with "Heavenly Father" I sang a solo for a bit before the other sisters joined me, as we sang the spirit smacked me in the face: We are his children, and this is our daily prayer to Him. Tears rolled down my cheeks as what used to sound like little tone-deaf children, changed to a choir of angels. I KNOW there were angels singing with us, I have no doubt about it in my mind, I felt it! I looked at our mission president, President Mansell and there were cheeks streaming down his face too.
As if the spirit wasn't strong enough in that moment, then came time for Nichole to be baptized. She met Brother Timothy G. Hudson down in the water. And she smiled from ear to ear from excitement. Brother Hudson raised his arm to the square and began to say "Having been commissioned..." but his voice quivered and he broke into sobs. He enveloped Nichole with his arms and cried for a few moments then raised his arm back up, said the prayer, and by the power of the priesthood, he helped Nichole enter into a covenant with Heavenly Father to always follow and remember His son, Jesus Christ. When she came up out of that water, she beamed and glowed with the light of Christ just exuding from every pore. She truly had been changed.
25 And the Lord said unto me: Marvel not that all mankind, yea, men and women, all nations, kindreds, tongues and people, must be born again; yea born of God, changed from their carnal and fallen state, to a state of righteousness, being redeemed of God, becoming his sons and daughters;
26 And thus they become new creatures, and unless they do this, they can in nowise inherit the kingdom of God.