Tuesday, March 22, 2011

Baptisms, dates and the color purple

Hello all!
Hope everyone is doing well. On Saturday Bratislava had it's second baptism of the year! Martyn, from Poland, was finally baptized after being taught for over 7 months by the missionaries. He will definitely be a strong member for the church in Eastern Europe. I have pictures to send, but as usual I forgot my camera again. I promise I am still in Slovakia and doing fine.

Erik, the young guy we met last week, is still at the hospital, his mom has been trying to get him out, but for some reason or another they won't release him. Anyway, we've still been meeting with him and he agreed to be baptized on April 23! Here's how it went down: Erik is a pretty loud guy, curses, and likes fist bumps. But amongst all of that it was one of the most spiritual meetings I've had with an investigator. Before we actually started teaching we extended him a baptismal date, to which he enthusiastically accepted. We laid out the story of the restoration again, more simply. When we told him about Joseph Smith reading James 1:5 we asked what he thought Joseph Smith did. Erik says, "He prayed! Money in the bank, he prayed!" Followed by a round of fist bumps. We explained how we got the Book of Mormon and he just told us, "I know this book is true, man. In fact, you can open up to any page and you'll get an answer." He grabbed my copy out of my hand and just opened up and randomly started reading, "Behold, if this be the desire of your hearts, what have you against being baptized?" and then said, "Told you, shake and bake! This book is true, Shake and bake! Pound it!" Another round of fist bumps. Never in my life have I seen someone with that much faith. To just open up the book and receive an answer like that. I told him that this was definitely a sign. That God was shouting at us that he needs to be baptized. We're going to continue meeting with him and get him fully prepared for baptism. :)

We also, finally, met with his mom, Heni. Who, in short, is a firecracker. She talks just as much as Erik and is out to change the world. She loves what we're doing to "Wake up Slovakia!" and is trying to do the same herself. She first admonished us for wearing blue ties (idk why we all happened to wear blue) and NOT purple. She informed us that purple is the color of unity and oneness. I made a mental note to buy a purple tie. She loves Oprah Winfey and is disgusted that most Slovaks don't know who she is. I also made a note to come up with a contact about Oprah. "Poznáte Oprah?" We told her about Erik's decision to be baptized and thinks it's wonderful. She loves the Book of Mormon and told us that she and Erik had read a little from it. Alma 29 about how Alma wishes he were an angel with a trump to cry repentance to the people. Which pretty much describes Heni. (Why have I never had these kinds of amazing experiences with the Book of Mormon??) We than invited her to be baptized that same day with him- as a way of starting with a clean slate with each other and God. However, she does not want to be baptized third time in Bratislava. She was baptized as a Catholic and then again when she was older, because she wanted to make the decision herself. She now plans on a third baptism in the River Jordan, just like Christ. (say what?) Apparently we need to practice teaching authority.... But she really wants us to baptize her 11 yr. old daughter, Athenia. We explained that we will have to teach her daughter before we can baptize her and she agreed to be apart of that process. We hope that she will be converted as she listens in on the lessons with Athenia and as they read the Book of Mormon together. We've been brainstorming on how our lessons can be a little more reverent with these people, but I'm beginning to see that every person will respond to the spirit and truths a little differently and we shouldn't force something that wouldn't be natural or comfortable for them. So far she LOVES the church. Especially Relief Society. (Are you kidding, why wouldn't she love the world's oldest and largest organization for women who just want to help people??) She came to church just far that. I'm definintley looking forward to more experiences with this family.

Besides all that excitement we had a pretty slow week. Our Zone made a goal to break the record in number of investigators found in one week (17). Our companionship only found 1 (dismal). In our defence I was sick yesterday so we lost about 7 hours of good finding time. No worries, the rest did me good and I'm feeling much better, but I'm afraid I might be getting an ear infection. Luckily a woman in the branch has a kid who has ear problems like me and is going to the ear doctor tomorrow and I'm going to tag along. At worst I'll be able to get a referral to an ear doctor. But the zone did do extremely well over all with 13 new investigators; the best we've done since October. But this week we've blocked off a ton of finding time and we are determined to rejuvenate our teaching pool. But we have it pretty good. People are sticking pretty well from last week.

Til next week!

Elder Williams

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