It's a Christmas Miracle!
FENTON "LEROY" TALBOTT JR. GOT BAPTIZED. Goodness gracious. So good. So much heart and energy and prayer poured into that man. So many packs of gum and Vitamin C pills bought to keep him from dipping. I love him with my soul. Let me tell you a story:
Michael Whatley was baptized when he was young. He went to church with a friend for a while and decided he wanted to be baptized. He was maybe 11. Fast forward FORTY YEARS. He went inactive in the church shortly after his baptism and then had the craziest life ever. So a few months ago the missionaries were teaching his neighbor, and she said, "I think my friend Michael would really like what you've been teaching me". So the missionaries found him, found out he's a member, and reactivated him, Right before I got here, he got the Melchizedek Priesthood, and on Saturday he got to baptize Leroy. It was one of the most powerful experiences I've ever witnessed.
When Leroy got changed and returned, he whispered to me, "I feel so clean! I just feel so great!"
Then we all fervently prayed and pleaded with the Lord that he wouldn't have to work Sundays, and he got them off! So he was able to get confirmed on Sunday! Hallelujah!
So that was the highlight of the week. Among many, many, many others. The lowlight was definitely the day before. There's a sickness being passed around the missionaries and I caught it on Friday so I tried to get up and work through it, but I kept pretty much falling over in public places, so Hermana Anderson stayed home with me while our companions worked our areas for a couple of hours. I tried to sleep but wound up too antsy and made four million phone calls to organize the baptism. After much stress, the work was done. I'm still trying to fight this yucky virus. Lowlight number two was being dropped by four of our investigators yesterday. But I'm going to choose not to talk about that. but enough about me...
And the Savior has manifested himself to everyone around us in such an evident way. Any time people complain to us about the commercialization of Christmas, their stress and anxiety, their distaste of individual family members, et cetera. The cure is always the Savior. The cure is always drawing closer to the Lord and trying to understand WHY they're facing the difficulties that they are. This is my favorite part of missionary work. Being able to feel the love our Father and Heaven has for his children, and then trying to help them feel the same thing. It's odd because sometimes you meet people, and you know exactly what would help them, exactly what would fix their problems. We stand so aware of what element of the Gospel would improve the quality of their lives. And to them, we're just a stranger, another vacuum salesman. It's. So. Frustrating.
So here's what you need to do, go tell somebody that God loves them.
The Spirit of Christmas is literally the Spirit of Christ. That spirit that everyone loves so much as a child is whimsical because it is founded in something that is simple and stress-free. The spirit of Christmas is giving and serving selflessly, not getting wrapped up in making sure you're doing enough. Focus your Christmas season on improving your relationships with others, including your Savior, and you will be able to carry on the Christmas spirit for the rest of the year.
I love the Gospel of Jesus Christ. It has the ability to provide lasting change, the kind of change that isn't broken by January 15th, like every other New Years Resolution.
I love you all. I hope I get a chance to talk to some of you via Skype! I'm planning on calling between 10:30-12:00 Utah time. Stay by the computer! Love you all. Missing you to the moon.
Leroy's on the left, Michael's on the right!
Lookin' way cool on a Big Wheel, waiting for someone to show up to an appointment.