This past week seriously flew by. I really can't even remember everything that happened. haha! I will do my best to relay some of the highlights of the week:
I believe I mentioned Meradith's preparation for baptism in my last email but I'll recap a little. So last Sunday, we had a lesson with Jesse and Meradith. Long story short, things were getting really crazy with them and we weren't sure if we should continue teaching them for various reasons. We went through the baptismal interview questions, stressing the importance of being as honest as they could be so we could help them. We were going through the questions to just get a better understanding of their progression and understanding. We had started the lesson thinking that there was a big possibility of dropping both of them.. but to our surprise, the spirit was very present in the room as they both talked about everything they have come to know and love about this gospel. Meradith began to cry as she told us that she truly believed that this was Christ's one and only church and that she would "do the whole nine yards to be a member." She recognized the great sacrifice that the Savior had made for her and she didn't see any problem in making smaller sacrifices in return for Him. She then literally BEGGED us for her to be baptized. It was so powerful... at the time, Jesse was very honest and said that he was not ready yet for baptism so we set up a baptismal interview for.
At the baptismal interview, our District Leader was on exchanges with one of the Zone Leaders. As Meradith was in her interview, Jesse told us that the night before he had really been praying for direction and had this numbing feeling go from his head to his toes and everything just clicked and made sense. He then told us that he wanted to be baptized! Honestly, I was so taken back by it and had found peace just a few nights earlier that he wasn't quite ready for baptism that I didn't know what to say... we told him that we were excited for him and that we would prayerfully make a decision on how to help him reach baptism. Later that day, we got a call from the zone leader that was there and he put us in our place, asking us why Jesse wasn't getting baptized. hahaha! I don't know why, but I was so hesitant and nervous about it all because the transformation that took place in Jesse and Meradith had been so quick. My mission leaders advised me to go ahead and baptize both Jesse and Meradith together!!! So, Jesse had an interview the next day by that same zone leader and they were all set to go!! The only worry was the bishop. The bishop had not seen their transformation and he was very against them getting baptized. We talked to him over the phone about it and I was so distraught and confused after talking... I talked to some of our mission leaders again about it and they asked, "Sister Kirkham, do you believe that Jesse and Meradith have truly repented and have a sincere desire to keep the covenants they make at baptism?" I did... but I was still struggling with it for some reason. We invited Bishop to a lesson the next night over at the Stress's home and the lesson was so peaceful! I felt ten times better after that lesson. I learned many lessons this week, one being to do God's will, no matter how out of whack it might seem in the moment.
It was a little crazy putting together a baptism in such short time, but they have had such good fellowship from the ward that everyone pitched in and the service went wonderful!!
It has been so, very neat to see Port Orange progress so rapidly in the Lord's work over these past 6 months. There have been so many miracles and I know that this area is going to see so many more as the missionaries and the people continually strive to be an instrument in the Lord's hands. I hope that one day some of you will have the opportunity to meet some of these amazing people here. This time here in Port Orange will forever be in my heart. I could never forget these past 6 months!!
Remember the beautiful simplicity of following God's will. He truly does know what is best for you and His children. Trust Him. Love Him. Know that He will protect and guide you. He knows what will bring you the biggest blessings--even if you can't see them at the moment.
Thank you for all of the Valentine's treats and cards. I feel very loved. Know that I love all of you more!!!!!!! haha! Until next week!!