Tuesday, June 3, 2014

Szia from Sopron!
Guess what everybody?

I GOT MY FIRST BAPTISMAL DATE, THIS MORNING!! Can you tell how excited I am about this!? This happened this morning at around ten and I'm still on cloud nine about it.
Sexton Nővér and I went into the lesson today with the hopes to help this indvidual understand the importance of being baptized. She had been baptized when she was a baby, and thought that, that would suffice. As I studied in personal study,  I thought about many things that I learned in the MTC and I thought that it would be good to talk to her about the importance of exercising her own faith.
The problem that I faced was not to come across as acting superior to her. I prayed really hard and studied the scriptues all morning so that I could hopefully find the right scripture to help me teach this complex but very important concept.
So we put on our brave faces and went in and taught the lesson. Sexton Nővér actually decided to sit back and listen as I attempted to lead the lesson. I read some scriptures that are very dear to my heart about exercising "even a particle of faith..." We had a great talk and after I was finished Sexton Nővér said that we have a baptism in two weeks, and extended an invitation to her and asked her if she would like to come and see it. Not only did she say yes, but she said that she wanted to be baptized. If I hadn't had been holding on to my chair I might of gone through the roof (which is saying a lot, because we were on the fifth floor of a ten-story building). I was so happy and am still so happy!
Afterwards, Sexton Nővér and I talked about the lesson and she told me that I said all these great things, the crazy part about that is that I don't remember saying everything. That is just a huge testament to me that we, as missionaries, are truly the Lord's mouthpiece here on this earth. We are not the teachers, but the spirit is and it can bear witness to people through a power that is mightier (is that a word? probably not.) than anything or anyone on this earth.
Just witnessing that change of heart in someone that I just met a few weeks ago, was the greatest experience of my life.
While I haven't been with the people of Sopron for an extended amount of time, I already feel the love for them, and I get the great opportunity, as a missionary, to feel just a tiny bit of the love that God has for all of his children and let me tell you, it's a lot, because I felt like I could just hug and squeeze my investigator this morning forever! I felt so much love in my heart for her and was so proud of her decision to be baptized.
Just one other quick little story, last week I got to witness my first baptism in Hungary. The Elders in Sopron, baptized a woman that they had been teaching for a while. She is the sweetest lady ever.
Just being able to be at her baptism Saturday night was such a spiritual experience. The baptism that I witnessed on Saturday was way different from any other baptism I've been to. Not because it was in a hotel hot tub (but I've got to admit, I've never witnessed a baptism outside of a church building). But as a missionary, you understand two additional sides of a baptism. You understand the many hours of finding and planning that goes in as a missionary and they're sincere desire for their investigators to accept their message, and you also understand the many many sacrafices and commitments that the investigator makes in order to enter the waters of baptism. It really makes you look at their baptism in a different way. I felt the spirit so strongly during this particular baptism and the beaming smile that this women had on her face after she came up from out of the water was so heart-warming.
I know that this woman will receive so many blessings, in this life and many eternities to come, because of her decison to be baptized.
This past week has been awesome. We've had quite a few programs and everybody has been just so nice and welcoming. I have yet to go tracting, but I hope that it happens sometime this week. We will probably experience different reactions, but I don't care. I am willing to have a million doors slammed in my face, just so they can see who the missionaries are and what they look like, and while they won't necessarily accept the gospel now, I have faith that they will some other time.
In an email my dad wrote me a couple weeks ago he said something that really stuck out to me. He said that I need to remember that I stand on the shoulders of missionaries that have been before me, and that some missionaries might have gone home without a single baptism, but through they're hard work and efforts I may baptize someone who they found and taught, who decided not to get baptized at that time. That humbled me a lot and I thought that this isn't my work, but the work that I'm doing now and the work that I will do, is because of dedicated missionaries who served before me and that when I leave, there will be missionaries who stand on my shoulders who will baptize the people that I find and teach. That was just super relevent to me and I thought I'd share.

The field is white and all ready to harvest, and I am so thankful that I get to be a part of it. I encourage all members to be missionaries. You don't have to have the nametag to be missionaries, but you can do so by just being a good example and taking advantages to teach people the gospel, which brings you so much happiness. I know that if you do so, that the Lord will bless you.
I will say szervusz (bye) for now.
Whitaker Nővér

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