Monday, July 7, 2014

7/7/14 - 1st ASL Baptism!!

  This week- the highlight, hands down, was Juan's baptism!  He is the first ASL baptism in our mission and he has made so much progress – he even quit smoking!  He was baptized Sunday and for the musical number, we played a video from entitled "Christlike Attributes.  Everyone really should watch it, it is so good, AND we didn't have to interpret. It was so neat, we had 2 less-actives in the program, Jim (excommunicated & made us glass stones) was the first person to come!!! Also, the deaf ones that came were Jose- from Torrence (2 hour bus ride), Gabby Gonzalez (less-active we’ve been teaching) and she brought a friend named Juan (seemed to like the baptism, so we referred him to the ASL Elders in LA because he's all the way from Torrence. Plus, we had Don/Anna speak (a deaf couple in our ward).  A lot of the deaf people we invited didn't show, but hey, we had 7 people in the deaf class on Sunday, whereas before we came, we didn't even have one!   The baptism was so amazing and Juan was so funny.  The first thing he does after popping out of the water was turn and give Brother Gerhardt (the elder who baptized him) a thumbs up!  After the baptism, we had lunch with Juan at our Ward Mission Leader’s home.  He shook hands with everybody and then headed out for his bus ride home.  I’m sure he was tired after a long day, but he is so awesome and we’re so happy for him! 
   It was so cool, but soooooo fast!!!!! It’s funny, I thought I would feel some relief with the knowledge that "okay, at least I changed one person's life, and I would get that worry off my chest." But, it’s quite the opposite. Now I feel ready to do anything to set up another baptismal date with our investigators. It really IS only the first step. A crucial step indeed, and next week he'll get the Holy Ghost. Ultimately, I cannot wait until we can come back in a year and go through the temple with Juan. THAT’S the goal...
   Funny, because after the baptism, we went home, ate some chips and salsa for dinner, then started knocking on doors again.  (Funny transition, back to stage one). But, I just picture every person I see in that white jumpsuit and I can't help but smile, and want to do whatever it takes to make that become a reality.
    For the 4th of July, we had a ward breakfast and that was delicious – pancakes and sausage, yum.  We invited all these people from the ward to the activity and none came – oh well, it was still good to reach out to a few families in our ward.  We didn’t see any fireworks, but a member in the ward was sweet and gave us hamburgers, watermelon and cherry cobbler for our 4th of July dinner, so that was really nice.  It was really loud too – tons of fireworks going off and sirens blaring everywhere, but honestly that is nothing that unusual.  We didn’t want to be out on the streets when it got late, so we sticky noted a recent widow’s garage and then visited Shi-Yu – the Chinese woman with dementia. 
Well, that wraps up my awesome week.  The work keeps moving forward, and next up we will get Peter (the one from forever ago w/ the tattoos and fancy cars and gangsta hat). Got in contact w/ him again, and he wants us back, bad.  He might've been still drunk from the 4th, but we're hoping to teach him again!  It’s so cool the think though, that NOW is the time, NOW is the day. All of the other dispensations have built up to this last day, and I hope I can do all I can to do as President Uchtdorf advised in conference - "Not sleep through the Restoration."  I want to labor in His work, not be an observer, and I’d invite you all to do the same. It’s not enough just to save ourselves.  
Love ya tons!
-Sister Jessica McNeill

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