Friday, February 26, 2016

Baptism Adventures


In our ward there are the elders (us) and a set of sister missionaries.  The sisters called me to do a baptismal interview of an 81-year-old woman who had moved into the neighborhood, the sister of a lifelong member. I was interested to find out why this little 5 foot, two time cancer surviving grandmother wanted to now join the LDS church.

She explained that she had followed God’s commandments her whole life, had a 60-year marriage, paid tithing donations, and went to church.  After her husband’s death, she found herself living with her only sister who invited the sister missionaries over. A month later she had finished the Book of Mormon and knew she had been missing something in her life and this was it.  She was just so sincere.

The day of her baptism arrived; and an hour before the baptism we discovered no one had filled up the font! So Elder S. and I rushed around to start the two-hour process.  At 7:00 and with a half-filled font they began the service.  Oh who would be the poor human trying to baptize this little grandma in a puddle of water? ME.

Her frail little body entered the water, terrified of falling over.  She was so nervous, almost as nervous as I was!  :)  It took a good 10 minutes to get her calmed down and ready. Timber! Down she went--stiff and straight as a redwood pine, gasping all the way.

“I did it!” she exclaimed.  Nope, her gown had popped out of the shallow water and we had to do it again.  As part of the ordinance she needed to be fully immersed.  So we did it again with the same result.  I knew we didn’t have many chances left or we would probably need a break.

I pronounced the baptismal prayer a third time, this time lowering her down and dipping her completely in the water with her all the while slapping down the floating fabric.  Then we both slipped, wading around together in the water while audible gasps were heard from both the audience and us.  All I remember is seeing the concerned face of our 18-year-old investigator who was thinking about baptism--I hope that’s still the case.

We all survived the quite chaotic baptism.  I came away with two thoughts: 1. People can change at any age, but younger might be easier in many respects.  2. My testimony of the Restoration was put to the test, because if I didn’t believe in it and the necessity of baptism by immersion, I would have just sprinkled her with a bit of water and saved myself a lot of embarrassment haha.

Everything is awesome,

Elder Phillips

Me prior to the baptism

In the water!

View from the museum

An important something at the museum

Goofing around

  notice the beautiful plants in the background

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