Monday, August 22, 2011

August 22, 2011

Rod's getting baptized!!!!!  (Rod is Elder Vernon's brother-in-law, He and Sarah have 7 children)
That's so exciting. I'm so happy. I'm really really really happy. I'm so excited that you all have a baptism this week. I need to see pictures!!! I want to see a picture of Rod in white with all those little kids surrounding him. I'm really so happy, I don't even know what to say. That's amazing. And so fast! I thought if he set a goal he would set one a long ways down the road. The last time I talked to Rod is when we went to renew Sarah's reccomend. I said, "Rod, when are you getting baptized?" He said when he was 63 or some other number like that. crazy. Either I've been gone for longer than two years or else this is a miracle.
Congratulations to Rod.
Remember though that there's always big opposition before something great like this can happen. So don't be surprised if like the dryer breaks, and everything seems like it's giong wrong. It's not that baptism isn't right, it's that Satan doesn't want you to get baptized. Or even better I think I'll just e-mail them and tell them congratuations by myself. That would be good. I'm so excited.
This builds my faith a lot. I feel like going out and challenging everybody I see to get baptized. A baptism in the family is something really really exciting. That's a lot of baptisms for Mom in the last month. Enoch, and Rod, and then Mariah and Andrew and everybody else that's over the age of eight. That completes it! Then we just set goals and make plans to go to the temple. I love Elizabeth's little song "We're going to the temple, all dressed in white" forgot the words.
I listened to the little CD, it was so good! I loved it. Enoch sounded just as good as the other little kids, if not better. he's so great. I thought it was so cute, especially the General Conference song.
Our baptism fell through. The day before the mom called us, and said, "Sorry, I talked to his Father, and we think it would be better if he waits until he's older to get baptized, so, cancel the baptism." we started a fast immediately, we prayed, and we planned really hard. And miracles started to happen. I've never had one single day where things were guided by the spirit as much as that friday. I truly felt like we could help the mother agree to let him be baptized the next day. So we proceeded with faith. We had our other new member's mother (who is a devout buddhist, but really cool and willing to help) call this kid's mother and bear testimony of how after his baptism he had changed a lot and became a better student. The spirit gave us a lot of direction. Halfway through the phone call with Zheng xiang cheng's mom, the spirit allowed me to discern that the father wasn't involved at all, that the mother was the only one with any concern, that she had just thrown that in there as an excuse to cancel the baptism because she was bu hao yi si. We called the mom, and set up a time to meet late that night when she got home from work. We called the mission president and got permission to meet this family after 9:30 and prayed some more. Zheng Xiang Cheng is really golden. We love him so so much. Elder Geddes put his whole heart and soul into the work here, and he truly loved that kid and his mom. We met with the mom, and the kid and the mom just had some concerns. She was concerned that he wasn't doing his homework, and what he needed to do, And I think whe was concerned about ancestor worship too. That might have been the real iceberg. But I think we resolved that one as well. But, actually the schooling is a real concern for these people as well. You have no idea how big of a deal school and tests are here. It blows my mind. To these mothers, the biggest indicator of whether or not they are successful parents are whether or not their children behave in cram school and get good grades on tests. do you even know what cram school is? It's  a disgustingly sneaky tool of the adversary that has absolutely destroyed millions of asian families. They send their children to school and that's all they do. When they get home from school they go directly to buxiban (cram school) and stay until 8 or 9 or 10 at night. So it turns out that some children are literally, no joke, out of the home 7 days a week in summer or winter, year round from 7 in the morning to 10 at night in class.
anyways, She just wasn't willing to allow him to be baptized the next day. But it was a wonderful lesson. We had our young men's president there, and the mom and her kid. We talked, and Elder Geddes bore a really powerful testimony about his mother, how she raised her kids in the gospel by herself, and without the church she would never have been able to do it. The mom felt the spirit, I know she did, because she started crying, and telling us about how she was trying so hard to raise her kids well. The poor thing, she's not any older than my sisters are. We didn't try to force anything or give her pressure, which was good because she wouldn't have responded well to that, her feelings were kind of in a mess at that point and she looked really stressed. But the spirit helped that lesson a lot, and instead of losing an investigator, I feel like we kept the kid as a progressing investigator, and added the mom. Even though we didn't give her a baptismal date or anything, she really likes the missionaries now, and I think she'll be willing to let her kid get baptized really soon. I just hope that she can get baptized really soon too. It could help her so much.
I'm excited to continue following the spirit to help this family accept the gospel.
I love you all. I'm excited to keep doing missionary work in Zhanghua! Bubye!!
Elder Vernon

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