Tuesday, May 29, 2012

Cameron's Baptism

SAN DIEGO— A LOT has happened this week! I guess some of you know that Cameron was baptized on Saturday. It was AMAZING. Let me share part of my journal about it with you (I barely had time to write down his story, so its not that great of an entry).

Sister Kennington and I at Cameron's baptism
May 26, 2012
I can't believe this day finally came. 

This was one of the most powerful baptisms I have been to so far on my mission. Jason, his friend in the Church, bore a powerful and simple testimony and then we had a musical number by Kelly.

She sang, "I Will", by Hilary Weeks which blasted the room with the Spirit. The song was about standing tall even if you are alone-something that Cameron has had to do ever since we started teaching him. 

We then watched Cameron and Brother Bryant (the one who referred him to us) walk into the baptismal font. Sister Kennington and I had our arms around each other as Cameron was baptized. It was amazing. I knew that if my spirit was as excited and thrilled as it was, the hosts of heaven must be singing for joy. I wanted to cry as I pictured Heavenly Father smiling down from heaven. What a proud Father He must have been at that moment. 

As Cameron was getting dressed, Sister Kennington and I shared a message. We played the Mormon Message, "The True and Living God" by Elder Holland.  Then we had three of our members (who we previously asked) to one by one get up and share their one-sentence testimony of Jesus Christ

"I know that my Savior lives." 

"I know Jesus forgives me of my sins."

"I know if we follow Jesus Christ we can return to live with God"

Just imagine the power of those simple, yet intense testimonies of Christ. Sister Kennington and I then got up: 

"I know Jesus is the Christ" 

"I know that Christ lived. He died. And He lives again." 

As we closed in the sacred name of Jesus Christ, we all sang the hymn, "I Believe in Christ".  At the close of the song, our Branch President invited Cameron to get up and share his testimony. He said that he had researched, studied and read the Book of Mormon and that he knows the Gospel and the Church are true. He explained that he felt like he had been through his own great apostasy, but now he was found. 

It was so touching to hear him testify. You can tell what a strong spirit he is. It was confirmed to me again, when he was receiving the Gift of the Holy Ghost. His blessing said that he was one of Heavenly Father's favorite sons and that one day he would be sealed in the temple. It hit me so hard how much Heavenly Father wants each of us back. 

We all have our own “apostasies", whether it is lack of reading, praying, or studying the scriptures. Whether it breaking the commandments, not going to the temple, thinking bad things... whatever it may be, living the gospel of Jesus Christ is what brings us back and what keeps us on the right track.

I was reading the conference talk "In tune with the Music of Faith". Elder Cook's words stood out to me:
"Having faith in the Lord Jesus Christ and keeping his commandments are and always will be the defining test of mortality."

What we do defines us. This time on earth IS important. It is where we prove to God who we really are. If you are struggling, let me share with you some advice from President Kimball:

"I find that when I get casual in my relationships with divinity and when it seems that no divine ear is listening and no divine voice is speaking, that I am far, far away. If I immerse myself in the scriptures the distance narrows and the spirituality returns."

I think the question is not, "Does God hear me?", I think the question is "How far away am I from hearing His answer".

Speaking of answers to prayer, let me share with you a quick miracle Sister Kennington and I experienced this week before I end. 

A few weeks ago, Sister Kennington got the impression to ask the elders if they wanted us to meet with one of their investigators, Camilla. They are teaching the whole family, in fact missionaries have been teaching them for years. The elders accepted, as they were on their last resorts to figure out how to get this family to understand. Sister Kennington and I went over about a week ago, and got to know her. It was perfect. She is a 17-year-old girl, and you know how well it would have gone over if she tried to tell the elders about her prom dress and her frustrations about her 1-day-old manicure chipping. Needless to say, we clicked right away and were able to teach her the Restoration

The Spirit testified so strongly; I was almost expecting the Holy Ghost to start shouting at us. Heavenly Father and the Holy Ghost were able to work miracles on her in those precious few minutes and her understanding was clear and her heart was opened. Just yesterday, we met with her again. It was funny because the elders were there with the parents doing service. We taught Camilla in the dining room. We retaught the Plan of Salvation and once again the Spirit was intense. In fact, my heart was pounding out of my chest, I could almost hear a voice yelling to invite her to be baptized. 

She said yes! She wants to be baptized this weekend before her and her family go to Brazil. Her dad called us today not very happy, he says its too fast and she is not ready for that. If there is one thing I have learned it is that, with God anything is possible. If he gave Moses the power to part the Red Sea, who am I to think he can't soften the heart of an old man? Definitely something Heavenly Father will do if it is according to His will. So please Keep Camilla and her family in your prayers.

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