And they were GREAT! Jose is such a cool guy that he was hyper antsy all night waiting for his baptism. The service was HUGE! There had to be about a million people there between the ward and the YSA ward he'd been attending in Bakersfield! (Not really, but we got close to matching the sacrament meeting in attendance!) Then, yesterday I had the opportunity to give him the Holy Ghost, and it was really awesome to be there and watch him grow. He was so much more solid in his testimony afterwards. We talked a lot with him after church about how his family is HYPER anti, and Brother Estill came over and shared his testimony. Brother Estill was on track to be a Catholic priest and everything; but when he moved to Alaska and then Washington, he converted, and his family dis-owned him. It was really hard on him for a long time, but just recently he said he'd been feeling super unsettled. That's when he decided to go and do the temple work for his father and brothers and when he did, he felt remarkable peace, and knew they'd accepted it. Sometimes we're in a position in this life where we can't really see the truth, and so we cannot truly choose. So he told Jose to hang in there and be happy; even if he goes through some really rough stuff, Heavenly Father has a plan and guess what? We're gonna be happy at the end of it.
Then, we were really worried about Cami and Josh. They've been going through some REALLY rough stuff lately, and both of them have been acting strange. (It's totally this guy's fault => ) So we spent the week comforting and strengthening Cami, and trying to raise Josh's hopes and spirit. Yesterday, Cami came into the church about an hour before she was to be baptized and was crying her poor little eyes out. So, as we asked her how she was and all, Mynor nudges me and says "Tell her we need to pray" (in Spanish) which just goes to show how in tune with the spirit and how awesome Mynor is, even if he doesn't speak hardly any English. That helped a ton, and a meeting with the bishop helped even more. Then, Josh showed up, and he seemed still a little down in the dumps and all, but we got them all in white and got the thing going.
What happened may be one of the strongest testimony builders in my mission so far. The baptism was great, and after her father baptized her, Cami was just glowing, she was so happy! But even better than that for me, was Josh. The whole time Elder Buckmiller and I were a bit concerned about whether he was truly ready or not. He was very down the whole time, and didn't seem to be paying any attention, but after he was baptized he COMPLETELY changed. I don't really know how to describe it other than his countenance lifted. He had a new light in his eyes, and whereas he'd been a bit sullen and depressed before, he was smiling and cracking jokes and laughing before we'd left the building. I could hardly believe it! Later that night, we met with him and talked with him and his mother about the priesthood, and how in not too many weeks, Josh will baptize her. He was on fire too! This guy, who said literally NOTHING for the first five times we had a lesson with him, was engaged, answering his mother's questions, very excited to work in the gospel, and asked for (as he worded it) "All the literature." Meaning, the scriptures, the Gospel Principles book, the prophet books, Preach My Gospel, etc. I'm so happy for him, I can't hardly wait to watch him grow now. Next Sunday, he and Cami will be recieving the Holy Ghost, which will be fantastic. This week has been a week of true miracles here.
So that's what we've been up to. Time will tell, but we may very well have some more "Miracle baptisms" out of nowhere coming up in the next few weeks, I'll keep you posted on what happens.
As far as transfer goes, this is week six. So, by this time next week I'll know what'll become of us; whether we're lucky enough to hang together (we could totally pull off semi-eternal companions over here) or what. Also Mom; don't worry about how much the kids pick up. Keep up doing your best and the Lord will bless those small efforts that in the long run, "Tommy Monson" will share stories of his primary teacher over a pulpit someday. Dad, keep workin' hard, and find some time to play harder; rest and recreation when appropriate is an eternal principle (a principle I'm very excited to explore in a few eons from now. ) Brittney, don't forget you're a BOSS! I love you to pieces and am super proud of you. Keep up the good studies, and continue seeking the Lord's plan, cuz it's the best one. (By the way, I'll be sending a printed out picture you and Danielle's way soon that is too amazing to keep for myself. You'll love it!!!) Danielle; I love you to infinity beyondseyonds! Keep up the good work playing basketball like a pro and throwing down shots! Continue studying hard and behave. you're a crazy smart girl, and you'll do great things too. To all the rest of the family; play nice, have fun, love the gospel 'cuz it's true! As my old friends would say (cough COUGH! Kris! cough!) "Smile, Be happy, The church is true, and Satan hates your face!"
Until next week;
Elder Matthew David Clough