This week was amazing and full of many blessings!
I'm going to skip the whole week and go right to Sunday, where we had Hank & Tina's baptism! Wow it was so AWESOME and I couldn't be more grateful for the opportunity to be a small part in there amazing adventure they are starting. They were glowing so much when they came in and were grinning ear to ear. I had the opportunity to baptize Tina and it was an amazing experience. She was so happy and I was practically bouncing of the walls the whole time! We had a great turnout- even our Mission President and his wife came!
I would just like to say there is no place I would rather be right now. This amazing time I have to help others grow closer to their Father in Heaven really is an amazing blessing! I love what I'm doing and its even cooler in Chinese ;)
Hope you all had a great week because I sure did!
Wo Ai Nimen!
Ben, Hank, Tina, Elder Willes & Elder Zang
Ben's recording brought a smile to my face that hurt it was so big! Right out of the gate he "yells" in Chinese "The Church is TRUE!" His enthusiasm was infectious throughout the whole recording. My boy was on cloud 9 for the events of this week-the baptism of Hank and Tina. He ♥loves♥ those 2 more than he can express and it makes my heart swell with gratitude for the experience he is having with them.
He wasn't sure, with this being his first baptism, how it really all worked. Does 1 person baptize? Do they get to pick who they want to baptize them? Who confirms? All these sort of questions. He didn't care how it happened, just that he was able to be present for this momentous occasion. When he called to finalize things with Hank and Tina she yelled, "Oh, Oh, I want Elder Nelson to baptize me!" Ben lost it, cried like a baby! Elder Willes and Ben have been there from the beginning and have been HUGE instruments in bringing the gospel to these 2, so when Ben told Elder Willes they were getting baptized he broke down in tears. Elder Willes was able to baptize Hank, so they each had the opportunity to be involved. Both of them were so happy for this couple and their decision.
These 2 are such a solid couple that Ben shares a story of them going to a grocery store. In California you are charged for each plastic bag you use in hopes that people will bring reusable bags. When they entered the store they were given one for free. As they were walking out of the store they noticed it had another church's name printed on the bag. They PANICKED! They asked Ben if they could talk to him after English class. He was a little nervous because what had happened to the last investigator, Sister Lin. They started out with, "Elder Nelson-we have something to tell you and if it is a sin and we can't get baptized, we understand." They relay the story of the grocery store and how they noticed that it had another church's name on the bag. They were worried that if they used it that it meant they belong to that church and are not 100% committed to the LDS church. 😁😁
Ben started to chuckle and told them that they were fine and that we as a religion are kind and loving to all other religions as well. And hey...now they have a free bag! LOL For Ben this was such a testament and a good reminder of their devotion and love for the Gospel of Jesus Christ. They want so bad to do good and to be on the right path.
Ben's words about the baptism(you can hear his smile when he talks about them):
"They announced Hank and Tina's baptism in church today. Everyone was super excited, Hank and Tina were grinning ear to ear. (you can hear him smiling) Sorry, I get so excited talking about them! They had a ridiculous attendance. They set up the normal chairs for baptism, like 4 rows but the ward hasn't had a baptism in 3 years, so holy flip the place was so filled. There were even people standing in the back. Then to make it even better President and his wife came so that put more pressure on us. Hank and Tina were really intimidated seeing all those people there, but it was so cool.
I got to baptize Tina, man that was really awesome, my first time ever and I was super grateful that she picked me and was able to share in this cool experience with her. As I was going over what was going to happen she expressed that she was scared of water and she was really uncomfortable. I was really worried about her so we said a prayer together to give her some comfort. Afterwards she said, "Elder Nelson when I got in the water and you helped me, all I felt was no fear and just peace and love". It was just a little tender mercy from Heavenly Father that they are doing the right thing. It is really hard to explain the feeling I had in this experience, but it is definitely a unique one. I remember meeting Hank, and he wasn't even Hank, we gave him that name, his name is Hung Yung. Meeting him on campus and how he has come from that day saying, "Hey you guys are cool. You're white and know Chinese." To saying NO to baptism 3 times til now when he says prayers, they are super powerful! He always thanks Heavenly Father for helping him find the Elders that have helped him grow. They have their own testimonies and they ask how they can help the investigators, it is so cool! This is such an amazing blessing as a missionary that I get to see that. Granted it is super hard being out here because people shut you down all day, Chinese is hard but getting to see someone's life change for the better, that is the big payoff.
It amazes me to see Heavenly Fathers hand in all of these things. It takes a lot of faith. We are working with one of the hardest cultures in that aspect. They usually only want to meet with you because you are white and know Chinese or because they are curious because they are in America. It never really is because they want to learn, and when they figure out why you're there, they disappear. But when they take that leap of faith and start doing these things, they are putting a lot on the line. Their families threaten to disown them and so many other things can happen. So to see Heavenly Father bless them is awesome!
So I started this thing awhile ago. Mom you sent me those Mrs. Cavanaugh's Mindy Mint chocolate bars, I think I have 3. Well I decided not to eat them, which is really been hard because they are my favorite, but I called them my "Baptismal Chocolate" and decided that if I have a baptism I can eat one, which makes them even more sweet. So I am holding it in my hand right now and I am about to eat it because well...we had a baptism! It was really funny because when I saw Elder Willes again at the baptism the first thing he said was, "Have you eaten your chocolate yet or are you going to wait?" I told him that it was my tonight treat. I have 2 more left so I need to have 2 more baptisms if I want to eat them, right? They have been taunting me for like 3 months."
Ben also had the opportunity to teach Simon (he speaks 4 languages). He teaches him in English which in his words: "Holy flip Mom it's easy to teach in English! I can use words I want and make everything so beautiful and colorful." I was laughing because I know how hard it is for him sometimes with the language and trying to explain things in a way that make sense when you don't know their language as well they do.
They had the opportunity to teach Jay again and he finally read and prayed for them. They invited him to church and he said, "If the Clippers lose, I will come to church." Ben thought that was crazy but took the next few days to pray really hard that the Clippers would LOSE! He says,"Well the Lord has his own agenda because the Clippers won and as promised he did not come to church. So I will have to smack him later this week. Just kidding! I love that guy!"
Ben talked about how some of these people that they are trying to teach are involved in the Communist party and they are extremely scared of the repercussions of joining the church. He said that seems to be the new obstacle that they are having to deal with.
My sweet son at the end left us saying, "So just to make Mom nervous or scared there is a HUGE fire on the hill that will probably burn our apartment down so that will be cool. So if I don't record next week I'm probably dead!" Just kidding Mom! Don't start freaking out or call President or anything, I'll get rebuked. It's just a little fire, everything is fine! Haha!" SERIOUSLY!!! This kid of mine!
Favorite quote: "I'm just going to keep working hard, learning my Chinese and offering that salvation stuff everyone needs"😀