Tuesday, March 13, 2012

それはホワイト週間だった! 2012年2月19日---It's Been a White Week! 19 February 2012

Great baptism!
Hey family! 

          Well, as the title says...it has been a white week! It was absolutely freezing and stormy for the first half or so of the week, and then it came to the weekend, and it cleared up to be perfectly blue and and absolutely beautiful weather...just in time for our baptism on Sunday! In answer to your questions, yes, S---- was baptized! :) I feel that this has been one of the most intensely busy and also one of the most miraculous weeks of my mission. We were continuing to meet with her throughout the week to finish the lessons, and getting her ready for the baptismal interview, but due to some unfortunate circumstances, ......kept on getting delayed, several times in a row. I honestly don`t think I have prayed for, or felt a desire for someone`s salvation, more than I did during this past week. Elder Skankey and I were praying for multiple times everyday, as a companionship, as well as personally, and we doing all that we could to be receptive to guidance as to what we could do to help her make her date on Sunday. With ... getting delayed, she felt a little less certain about things, but we kept contact with her every day and did our best to keep her spirits up and promise her that if we had faith and did all that we could to accomplish the goal that we had set, Heavenly Father would prepare a way for us to receive that permission. Well, it got down to Friday, we were on exchanges with Ueda so that Elder Matson could be here to do the baptism interview, and upon meeting with her at Brother Yamamoto`s place, Due to the fact that there was only two days left before the baptism, and Elder Matson was going back up to Ueda that afternoon, we talked some more with her, and decided that even though it looked like it would be impossible, we would keep on working together to get it and reset her baptism date for the next Sunday. Honestly we were all a little disappointed about it, but promised her that it wasn`t giving up, we would just be working for a new goal...We said a prayer with them, and then left for the train station to meet back up with our companions to end the exchanges. We got to Matsumoto train station, and were sitting in the train, waiting for it depart, when we suddenly got a call from both S---- and Brother Yamamoto, saying that they had just gotten a call from S----`s husband, she could be baptized! Needless to say, we were way surprised! We weren`t able to call her then, but we waited until we got to Ueda, and then called her to figure out what had happened. Apparently, she and Brother Yamamoto had been sitting there at his place, talking about the situation, and she had been just about to erase the reminder for the baptism that she had put down on the 19th, when she got a call from her husband, saying that it was okay for her to be baptized! It was one of the happiest phone calls that I have ever had in my life. Right after getting off the phone with her, we started calling everyone that we needed to to set up the baptism again, and set the interview for the next afternoon. She passed the interview just fine, and everyone in the branch was amazing about helping to get the baptism ready. We had it at 9:00 right before church started, and it was as all of the baptisms that I`ve been to, an experience that I will never forget. S---- asked me to baptize her, and one of the friends that she had made in the branch performed the confirmation. Due to a faulty connection in the plumbing, the water in the font was freezing for the baptism and so we were shivering pretty bad...but it went so so well :) We had a great program, and after the baptism S---- got up and bore one of the most beautiful testimonies that I have ever heard about the power that faith and prayer had had in enabling her to get baptized. The rest of the day was a blur of making sure everything was taken care of with records and all that stuff, but it was all so good. Seeing and hearing her faith and testimony of the power of prayer and the truthfulness of this gospel, meeting with her from the beginning and learning about the gospel and growing together has been one of the best experiences that I have ever had. My testimony of this gospel, and faith in prayer has been strengthened so much by seeing that growth, and the blessings and miracles that she has gained from this gospel. I love being a missionary, it is one of the happiest things in the world. 

             I am going to have to cut my e-mail short here pretty soon because we are down to one usable computer today, and Elder Skankey hasn`t been able to use it yet...but I just wanted to add a few more things in. We were able to have some absolutely awesome success with one of the family home evenings that we had this past Saturday night! We met with a sister in the branch who`s son has been in-active for well over a year, and we had a game, spiritual message, and then a little bit of refreshments that we had brought. We had a great time talking with the son while we were playing the game, and he seemed to really be moved by the message that we shared about families. He totally agreed that if they were able to do that every week as a family that they would be able to feel closer, and more happy...and he seemed to want that. Well, right when were leaving, we were saying "okay, see you next time!" and suddenly he turned to us and said "Actually I think I`m going to go to church tomorrow...so I`ll see you then!" We were really surprised, but way happy, and said that we would look forward to seeing him. Sunday morning came, and he showed up for all three hours of church, dressed in a suit! It was so so good to have him there! His mom was really happy, all of the other members were really happy to see him too...and he seemed to have a really good time there. He said he is going to do his best to come next week too! :) 
             Anyway, I`ve really got to go now, but thank you for all your e-mails! I love you all so much! :) Have a wonderful week! 

                                                                                                                       -Elder Voss

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