We had an extremely cool baptism this weekend. Margarita, Amalia's mom, was baptized! She is a tiny woman in a wheelchair who is over seventy years old. A week ago, she did not want to get baptized at all. But something changed. The Holy Ghost helped her out, and she really, really wanted to get baptized. The baptismal service was really intense. At seven o'clock (the planned starting time), no one was there - which was expected - but lots of members came in time for the real starting time. We just picked Margarita up and carried her into the font and baptized her. She was holding her nose the whole time. I don't feel like I can convey why it was so neat very well, but I won't accept any one's lazy excuses for not coming to church anymore, because Margarita makes it every week.
The impact and consequences of every action of a missionary are far-reaching, and more influential than we sometimes recognize. We represent a lot, and because of that, it's necessary to be exemplary at all times. We contacted a house a while ago, and the woman was very angry. She told us that she had once turned away missionaries, and they stole her statue of the Virgin of Guadalupe as they were leaving. Those missionaries probably didn't realize that their actions would affect the work years later, or they just didn't really care. On the other hand, we have been teaching Reynato's family this week. He received us really warmly at first, which was good, but it was a bit mysterious.
He mentioned, "Other missionaries have come by before."
"Did they have a name tag like this?"
" Yep, yep. And skirts."
...sister missionaries! The misioneras who had come by years before had left a really good impression on the family of the church and of the missionaries, and so we have been able to teach the family and they immediately wanted to listen. I'm striving to always maintain the right kind of presence and fulfill the responsibilities I have.
We taught a man named Ricardo this week. When he first came out of his door, he was holding a cigarette, and continued holding it throughout the lesson. So, we challenged him to be baptized and taught him the Word of Wisdom. He said that he really wanted to quit smoking and drinking, so Elder Merrell asked him to give us the cigarette he was holding.
"Naw, this one will be my last one, and then I'm done."
"What if the last one was the last one, and then you never have to smoke again?"
We had him say a prayer and ask for strength to give up smoking, and so he asked to be able to give us the cigarette right then. Right after the prayer, he handed us the cigarette. He'll be praying and reading the Word of Wisdom pamphlet to have strength to quit so he can get baptized next month!