March 14, 2016
This week was really busy, but really good! We were able to get everything ready to go for Saray's baptism, meet with a really great referral from the Visitors' Center, have exchanges with the Sister Training Leaders and more. It sure went by quick!
This weekend was Saray's baptism and it was AMAZING!!! Everything was perfect, and I am so glad we were able to be there. We were not able to meet with Saray face to face each day, but we did have some sort of contact with her during the week, so I wasn't worried about anything once Saturday came around. We showed up to the church, the font was being filled, and we were having a baptism! There was some minor stress involved, but over little insignificant details. She had gone out and bought a super cute white dress and white heels, and she looked beautiful. Once she changed into her jumpsuit, she kept the heels on and we kept laughing about it. She pulled it off though.
Sister Green, Saray, and Sister Hatch
She had a couple of the ladies from Newport Beach come and give the talks, and they were so sweet! I was really impressed with how well they did fellowshipping her and helping her in whatever way they could. And they came up to LA just for her baptism. Anyway, she had to be dunked twice, because her friend that baptized her didn't quite get the words to the prayer right. However, he paused before he said the prayer and you could tell how special that moment was for him. Come to find out, that was his first time baptizing someone. He was asked to bear his testimony after the baptism, which I thought that was really neat. He is the one that originally brought her to church too, so it was perfect.
Saray's friend who introduced her to the Church and baptized her, Saray,
Sister Green, and Sister Hatch
After her baptism a couple of people from the ward wrote a song inspired by her story, and they sang it as a special musical number. It was soooooooo GOOD! They prefaced it with the scripture of the Prodigal son coming home to his father and the joy they shared in that moment. Her testimony at her baptism was fantastic and very heartfelt. You could tell that she had a sure witness from the Holy Ghost and knew the truthfulness of the gospel. Everything about this baptism was just right for Saray and it was a very happy day. I loved every minute of it. She just blows me away and makes me speechless.
Saray (center, holding the baby)
Sister Hatch and Sister Green bottom right
Then yesterday she was confirmed in Sacrament Meeting. She called us about 30 minutes before church started, and she told us she was going to be late. Normally that would worry me, but at that point I knew that nothing would stop her being confirmed. She showed up right as we sang the opening song, and received the gift of the Holy Ghost without any problems. Now she is officially a member of the church!!!!!!!!!!!!!! She looked beautiful and I can't wait to see what Heavenly Father is able to accomplish with her and through her.
As I was sitting in Sacrament Meeting yesterday, I couldn't help but feel so happy and content. We were sitting next to our new investigator and his member friend who gave him a ride on one side, then a less-active girl on the other. One recent convert was right behind us, the other a couple rows in front of us, and Saray also a couple rows up. Then after the meeting Bishop told us that another less-active guy was sitting just behind us, and he is one that many people have been trying to have come to church for a long time. He came to Family Home Evening last Monday as well. I was happy that our people came to church, especially our recent converts, without any help from us. I just don't quite know the right words for the way I was feeling, but it was really great.
That goes for Saray's baptism as well. The Spirit was definitely present during that baptismal service, and I know everyone could feel it. I had the biggest cheesiest grin on my face, and I'm not even embarrassed about that. It puts a little smile on my face just to think about it. Saray's baptism was a huge tender mercy and miracle that I am so thankful and humbled to be a part of. My joy was so great, just like it talks about in D&C 18, hence the subject line. 'Nuf said.
I received my letters from the last 3 weeks this last Saturday (Things have been pretty busy lately). I was very thankful for Courtney and Dad's comment about how my emails have changed over the course of my mission. I have found myself thinking about how different I am now than I was when I came out. It makes me feel good knowing that I have been able to be broken down and built back up again. We'll have to see how the finished product comes out in August ;)
Love you!! Sister Hatch :)
P.S. You should look up Gladys Knight and the SUV choir. They are coming to our mission in April, and it is going to be good! I don't know if we are allowed to go or not though :/ It's still cool though.