Thursday afternoon Rosa Mercado had her baptismal interview. Her baptism was set for the 21st but she didn't come to church the week before because of work and so we were counting on pushing it back a week. She also thought she'd have to work this new job the next Sunday. Well, after the interview, we asked. She said Nick (her english teacher's son, was ready to baptize her Saturday). Soooooooo with no ward mission leader, most of our branch not knowing we were planning on having a baptism, and 2 days, we organized a baptism!!! We made lots and lots .... and lots and lots of phone calls. As Hermana Nielsen said, right now it's hectic, but at the baptism it'll just work - and it did. ALL of the members that live in the trailors, as well as all the investigators we're teaching, came to the baptism! That is 3 families and one family of investigators (Elbia and Manuel)! We also finally met Rosa's english teacher. They were soooo excited to have introduced her to the church and it was a thrill to see her get baptized! She was nervous not knowing exactly what to expect, but she definitely felt loved! It WAS a bit scary though, when Nick baptized her because it was more of a tsunami than anything else. We laughed in the bathroom after because she didn't know what happened. Even President Worsley talked about it, "this was memorable. I didn't know how much muscle Nick had!" In any case, the spirit was felt, our faith was strengthened in witnessing an ordinance by the proper authority, and it was wonderful! Our leaders were supportive and the members were happy to help! One family made the program and weren't even able to attend. I LOVE this branch.
Sunday I sat there thinking about my numbered days in this branch. We were in PEC that morning and I just have never loved a branch more than I've loved this one. Each leader is so concerned for the welfare of the people they are over. Our Branch President started the meeting by going around and asking each person in the room (there were about 15) how their quorum/auxiliary was doing and following up with how each of their families are doing. The love that is in this branch is the love of Christ, Charity. I will weap leaving this area because I love each and every one of the members. Don't even get me starting thinking about leaving Hermana Nielsen. Yikes. At least I know we can continue our good times at BYU and road trips to meet each others families. Arboledy Branch though. Oh my goodness. I've never felt so much at home where I am such a transplant as a missionary. I have learned so much from the members!
There is an Hermana who is waiting to die. When I began serving here she would be at a lot our dinner appointments because the members liked to invite her. Now she is in the hospital, accompanied by her family - blood and from the ward. Hermana Casas! What a wonderful life she has lived. It will not be long until she will leave this world and she will go on to do more of God's great work on the other side!
It makes me think more of Ryan. He is serving. It is like we are serving side by side.
Yesterday we ran into the woman that talked to Elbia and Manuel about coming to church and inviting us to their house (by the way, the Branch loves them and they are so excited to get baptized in 2 weeks!!!!). Tony, not even a member, has struggled. We had the great inspiration yesterday to talk to her son (long story ... she doesn't even live there) but she was there and were able to reminise about her late husband who died one year ago the day we talked to her. Cool to see we were instruments in the Lord's hands.
I love you all! I pray for you! I hope I get to send some pictures in the last 2 minutes. Keep up the good work. Matthew 6:33 -> read JST. Serving is how we will get there! Love always, Hermana Clark