Sunday, August 29, 2010
One day at church, I was surprised to see a colleague with the sister missionaries. She was surprised and delighted to find a familiar face amidst a sea of unfamiliarity. She and her family had visited Temple Square where a sister had told them about eternal families and their hearts were touched by the Holy Spirit. They asked to know more.
I joined her and the missionaries when they met together; I stopped by her office occasionally to talk about religion and food policy; Joy and I had her over to dinner and she returned the favor. It soon became apparent that the question was not whether or not she would discover the truth of the gospel but when she would realize she already knew. Other members stepped in to support, answer questions, and befriend.
Then came the happy day when she declared that she had learned through prayer that Jesus Christ had spoken to Joseph Smith and called him as a prophet, that the Book of Mormon was translated by the gift and power of God, and that this is God's church on earth. She asked me to baptize and confirm her a member of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints.
This was a glorious and beautiful day to me. Though there were people I had taught as a missionary in Germany who were eventually baptized, I had not gone into the water to baptize anyone before. (In fact, even if one of them had asked me to do it, I would have tried to give the honor and the connection to a local member who would stay in the area longer than I.) It was a deep honor and an answer to over a decade of prayer.
The day of the baptism (the 14th) was a beautiful one. It felt like being at the temple. The bishop mentioned he had never been to a more Spirit-ually charged baptism. Her faith and courage are amazing. She is almost certain to face persecution for her choice among friends and other colleagues. But she stood valiantly and declared her willingness to answer to any person why she believes in the gospel. Many people were moved. Hyrum hasn't stopped talking about it either. How supremely thankful I am that we're still in Ithaca so that I could be there to be one part of supporting one of God's children, whom He had clearly prepared long before this to accept the truth when it was presented to her.