HAPPY BEST CONFERENCE WEEKEND EVER!!!!!
I'm assuming you've already seen the pictures and the veckoskörden, so you know that yes, Lamech was baptized yesterday. It was amazing. I'm still on a spiritual high so I'm sorry if this email comes out a bit disjointed or a bit in Swedish.
I'll just start from yesterday. We woke up and immediately got to work baking refreshments for the baptism. We (in other words, Syster Haynes) made delicious coconut dream cake as well as chocolate chip cookies. After studies she continued baking while I called everyone in the phone who hadn't already been invited to the baptism. Nobody could/wanted to come, but I did manage to set up a couple appointments for this week. We got most of the cookies baked and then it was time to get going. Oh yeah, we also made chicken salad and tuna salad for sandwiches for Lamech, us, and the Elders to eat in between conference and the baptism. We got to the church around 1:00 to find that Edward, our ward mission leader, had already started filling the font. It takes about three hours, and the baptism was at five, so we had plenty of time. (note-we went to the church on Saturday afternoon to set up the baptismal font. It's a hole in the Relief Society room floor so we had to uncover it, and put the rails around the sides. We also cleaned it out and cleaned the RS room.) So the font was filling and we're in a classroom ironing Lamech's baptismal clothes (we brought our iron with us from home. Among many other things. It's a wonder we even made it to the church!) when Edward calls us in to help. We all run to the font to see that it's draining. We tried to stop it all from draining out while Edward climbed down under the floor to figure out how to get it to stop draining. Cool fact-our church is built on top of an old swimming pool. So when you open the hole in the floor, there's a swimming pool under the RS room, and then the font is just sitting in it. Soon we get it to stop draining, but we lost a lot of the hot water. The water heater for the font only holds about 60 liters or so. The water heater in the kitchen also holds about 60 liters. So we filled buckets of hot water from the kitchen and ran them to the RS room to dump in the font to try and warm up the water. We missed the very beginning of the Saturday Afternoon session of conference which started at two, but soon the hot water in the kitchen ran out as well. Lamech came and we all watched conference together. Then we ate our sandwiches and ran more buckets to the font, because the water heater in the kitchen had heated up some more water. During conference, Edward designed and printed the programs for the service, which looked really nice. Soon ward members started arriving. There were so many of them there! They were so supportive of Lamech, it was awesome! Lamech and Edward both put their white clothes on and we got pictures. My camera ran out of battery after one picture, but luckily I got them all from Syster Haynes. We realized that nobody had really explained to Lamech how the baptism is actually done so we pulled Brother Trejos in to demonstrate. Poor Lamech was so confused because Brother Trejos only speaks Spanish, so he's trying to explain it all in Spanish...but he figured it out eventually. We went into the chapel to start the service, which was in English for Lamech while Äldste Mangum translated to Swedish for those who didn't speak so much English. Lamech was pretty nervous and quiet. Everything was going well and Syster Haynes was giving a great talk about baptism when the Spirit prompted me to remember to put the phone on silent. So I silenced it and within minutes it vibrated in my hand. It was Masoume, who had said she would come. She was at the bus stop but didn't know how to get from there to the church. I try to surreptitiously reply and not let people see me being a bad example, trying to explain in the simplest Swedish how to get to the church. At the same time I'm trying to figure out how to stall so that Masoume can find the church, but I can't catch Syster Haynes' eye. Not that I could leave and pick her up anyway. So I said a desperate prayer that she would be able to find the church. Syster Haynes finished her talk and everyone stood up to go to the RS room where the font is. I look out the window, and there's Masoume and her daughter (Helia) walking in the front door. They made it just in time and Masoume got a front row seat for the baptism. Lamech and Edward were pretty cold. The Spirit filled the room as Edward baptized him, and the whole room was silent. When he came up out of the water, we waited in silence for Lamech to say something. I was expecting either something like "hallelujah" or something well thought out and ponderous. Soon we realized that he was crying. The Spirit was so strong. Edward gave him a big hug someone gave them both towels and helped them out of the font. Lamech looked so happy! We all went back to the chapel and watched a couple of the church's Bible Videos about the life of Christ-the one about Christ's baptism and then about his Resurrection. I was sitting by Masoume and she was explaining to me what was happening. She's studied a lot about Jesus Christ. I asked her how she felt watching the baptism and she said "I felt like crying too." She was feeling the Spirit. Syster Haynes and I sang a musical number (Savior Redeemer of my Soul, a capella) and it turned out really good, then Edward invited Lamech to bear his testimony. He said he cried because when he went under the water, a thought came into his mind of his mom. He hasn't seen her for three years, but he's going to visit on the 17th! He also talked about how meeting Syster Haynes and I was a turning point for him, and he bore his testimony that this is the true church. It was so powerful! Sara, one of the members who's helped with a lot of his lessons, gave a talk about the Gift of the Holy Ghost, and then the Bishop welcomed him into the ward. It was all awesome. The closing hymn, by request of Lamech, was Amazing Grace. Then we all ate goodies to our hearts' content. We brought the cake and cookies, and the elders made rice crispy treats, and Lovisa, another member who has helped a lot with his lessons, brought a giant pan of kladkaka. People were basically lined up to talk to Lamech and welcome him to the ward. He's going to be such a strength for the ward! The elders are already asking if he can help teach some of their investigators. The service went a little over time so it was a bit after 6:00, which is when the Sunday morning session of conference started. We put it on and Lamech and a lot of the members went in to watch it. But Masoume was still there so we took her into a classroom and taught her about prophets, and watched President Monson's talk from last conference with her in Persian so she could actually understand it. So we didn't make it in to that session until halfway through Elder Bednar's talk, but it was okay because at least we caught President Monson's talk. I really liked it.So the baptism was a success! Lamech feels so good and he's so happy and the whole ward is so happy! He'll be confirmed next Sunday in Sacrament Meeting. He's so great, and I'm so thankful I've been able to see him increase so much in his faith and come so far along the path to eternal life!
The rest of the week was good. We had exchanges on Tuesday so I got to be with Syster Larson. We taught Masoume with help from a Persian translator, so we know that she actually understands the Restoration. It's amazing how prepared Masoume is, and how we had to not give up on her just because it was hard to communicate with her! She's still working toward baptism. The translator, who lives in Stockholm and translates over the phone, has taken some time off of work just to be able to help missionaries teach Persian speaking investigators, so we'll be able to teach Masoume more during the next month. We also taught Mohamed and Hlimah on Saturday. They would be so much more positive if they weren't so busy, but they're still really positive. We went over the Restoration with them and Mohamed loved it so much he took a picture of the pyramid of cups we made to explain how Christ's church was built on a foundation of prophets who had authority from God. Then when his daughter came in, he explained the whole lesson to her. At least, I think he did. It was in Persian. They're the sweetest family!
Remember David, who we met and found out he was already baptized? He moved to Paris over the weekend. But we taught him one last time on Friday and he brought a friend to the lesson with him! His name is Peter, and he's a staunch Catholic, but he really liked the message of the Restoration. He said he would come to the baptism but he didn't show up. David is so cool. He said "Well I had to present somebody to meet you before I left!" I feel like we've really helped him get back on the path since he came to Sweden. Actually I know we have. On Tuesday we followed up on the word of wisdom and his commitment to quit coffee, and found out that he'd stopped drinking coffee after the first time we told him it was bad, more than a month ago! He has a very sincere desire to follow Christ and he asked us how he could find the missionaries in Paris. He actually called on Sunday to let us know he got there safely and everything. So we're pretty excited about teaching Peter.
So yeah, it's been a pretty amazing week! We haven't been able to meet that many of our investigators, but you know what, Lamech got baptized and that's good enough for me!
I'll probably watch the rest of general conference a little at a time once they're available on the iPhone. But I'm really excited for it! I heard that Elder Ballard committed every member to invite a friend to learn about the church every three months. That's a pretty big commitment! But it's pretty awesome! I can't wait to see the whole talk. I also heard that Elder Oaks' talk was really great. We watched the first session on Saturday night at a member's house but we got there a little late because we were setting up the font, so I missed the beginning of Elder Holland's talk. I can't wait to see the whole thing because the end was great. And of course, I loved President Monson's talk about love. The story about the airplane picking up the boy in Alaska. It seemed like a big theme in conference was to listen to the Prophet and follow him NO MATTER WHAT. They all testified very strongly that President Monson is a prophet. It feels like something big is coming-thank goodness we have a living prophet to guide us through it!
Thanks for the updates on your week! I hope you have a great week with your sunny weather! It's rainy here again. Jag älskar alla er!