Round 4 in Elizabeth and off to a spectacular start!
We had a baptism last Sunday! Jorge Sermeno.
|Jorge Sermeno Baptism|
We started to teach him when I first got to Elizabeth in December of 2015 and the process of teaching him was a little bit difficult. He was pretty stubborn and whenever we asked him to be baptized he would say, "We'll see, Sisters". He was actively involved in all of the ward activities and would come to church on his own every week. Finally we brought the ward mission leader with us to his lessons and he told Jorge about his conversion story. Jose, our ward mission leader, was also very hard headed when it came to meeting with the missionaries. He said that he always knew it was true, every time that the missionaries would invite him to be baptized he almost said yes, but he kept putting it off. Finally, when the two elders who taught him were transferred, he decided to be baptized. He called the mission president and told him that he wanted the two elders who had first started teaching him to be there at his baptism. He told the president that those missionaries had "fought" for his baptism. They had studied and worked hard to be able to help convert him. It touched Jorge to hear that, but had the opposite effect of what we were hoping. We were hoping that he would see that it wasn't worth all of that time to wait and be baptized, but instead, when inviting him to baptism again, he said that when he was ready, he would call our mission president and make sure that we were there at his baptism. He looked, both me and Hermana Stevens, in the eyes and promised us that we would be the ones to baptize him. We laughed and re-explained that we wouldn't be able to do it, but we would be pleased to be there. Keeping the mood light, but still reminding Jorge that we were serious about him being baptized, we told him that it would probably be easiest to do that before we left the area/the mission.
Well, not too long ago, we found out that Jorge lived one street out of our area. We didn't know because we would always teach him in the church. Well, we knew we had to respect the boundaries of our areas, so we handed him over to the elders to finish teaching the lessons.
The elders had finished teaching the lessons, and Jorge still was postponing his baptism. He knew it was true. You could see it. He would even bear his testimony on fast Sunday about the truths of the restored gospel, but he was waiting for something.
One Monday night, a member family in our area was having a family home evening and asked us to attend. They told us that Jorge would be there as well. Well, after a great lesson, dinner, and a short chat afterwards, it was about time for us to get going. I felt prompted to ask Jorge why he hadn't accepted baptism yet (this was one of the first times that Sister Palmer had met Jorge). He simply said that he wanted to finish reading The Book of Mormon first. We asked him about how far he was in The Book of Mormon and how much he was reading every day. He had just finished Alma and was reading quite quickly. We told him that at that rate, he would be able to finish The Book of Mormon by April. He continued to elude the question. We stayed on him and were pretty persistent. We finally just testified of what we knew to be true and what we needed to do when we knew that these things were true. I recounted what had happened in our first lessons, all of the spiritual experiences that we had and then invited him to be baptized for the last time on April 12th.
Technically the Elders baptized him, but I consider him my friend. I sure love him a lot.
Love you all!
Keep praying for the Elizabeth Spanish Sisters!
You'll never guess who my new zone leader is! :)
|Elder McFarland, my new Zone Leader|
Elder McFarland!!! Please ignore the crazy hair and tired faces. ;) We've had some brutal weather today.