Tuesday, March 3, 2009

One Sunday Evening

From time to time I will share a memory that I have. Here is one from the end of my mission.

I was in quite a drought of success and nearing the close of my mission. My last area was especially hard in this aspect. In the two other areas of the second half of my mission I had only set two people total for baptism that fell through. In Council Bluffs my companions and I set 7 people for baptism that fell though.

I had come to grips with the fact that I might not baptize someone in the second half of my mission. At times it was really depressing but about 3 months from home I got some advice that really helped me out. Thanks, Mom.

One Sunday evening, my companion, Elder Pinchak, and I received a call from a member of the ward that I'd never even met before and I'd been there three plus months already. He told me his name was Tim Albertson and that he had had some health problems and that was why he hadn't been to church recently. He told me that he had a woman for us to teach. He said that she wanted to get baptized. We got her information and were very excited.

The next day, another missionary and I went over to her house right before curfew to just meet her and see what she was like. Well, upon first impression, Delise Steadman looks like an interesting woman. If I remember right she was wearing jeans and a Miami Dolphins jersey. She has red hair and it is cut into a Mullet. She has a great smile. We got to know her a little bit and shared a short message with her.

As we taught Delise we found out that she had been in remission from cancer for seven years and had recently found out that she had a tumor at the bass of her brain. She was in chemotherapy and we would have to catch her before her chemo or after she had had time to rest. This made things complicated.

I believe that we met Delise six weeks before I was to head home. We set her for baptism for the first week of May after learning about the above complications we decided on May 24th. That was a special day. It would be my last Saturday on my mission and it would also be two years after I had entered the MTC. The great thing was that she chose the day without us suggesting it to her.

As her baptism approached we were getting kind of worried because she hadn't been to church the required two times to be baptized. She had been missing because she had been sick every week. She also didn't really know anyone in the ward. She finally made it to church for the second time the week before her baptism. She left after Sacrament which worried us. We decided that she wasn't ready because we still had to teach her a bunch of the lessons before she could get baptized. A lot of stuff had happened since we met her. She dissappeared for a few days which really worried us but it turned out that she had went to a cancer center in Chicago. A lot of shady stuff had happened with Delise but it all had a legit excuse. Anyway we told the bishop and ward mission leader that the baptism was off.

That night I told my Zone Leader that the baptism was off and gave him all the reasons and he said, "well you can get it done, just teach her everyday and get a member with you everyday and she'll be ready." I was still really doubtful about it and was against her getting baptized that weekend.

The next night we were at the Chinese Buffet (a regular spot for us) and we saw the Bishop there. We confirmed with him that she wasn't getting baptized and he bought our dinner :)

Right after dinner we went over to Delise's and we sat in the car for like fifteen minutes discussing how we were going to tell her. Delise was sincere about her desire to get baptized and it would be really hard to tell her that she would have to wait a few more weeks. I decided to call a good friend in my District to ask him for advice. When I told him the situation and everything he word for word said the same thing that my Zone Leader had said the night before. The spirit just overcame me and I knew that this was the week that she would get baptized and that the Lord would provide a way for it to get done.

We went in and told her what would have to happen for her baptism to happen that week and she committed to it in a flash and we all knew that it would be hard.

Now a larger task lay before us. We had to call the bishop and tell him that the baptism was back on and that she wanted him to baptize her. I explained the situation and that the Spirit had spoken to us and he seemed on board.

The plan seemed to be going well and we were getting the lessons in with members and everything. In the middle of the week we received a call from our mission President letting us know that our bishop had called him and expressed his concerns that Delise wasn't sincere in her desires because she had requested welfare help from the church. The Bishop expressed the desire to have the mission President interview her for baptism.

The interview went great and the President Newman talked to the Bishop and let him know and from that point he was on our side one hundred percent and everything went without a hitch. The Bishop decided that his back couldn't handle the Baptism and so we decided that I would do it. It was such a pleasure. It was a pretty small service but there was enough support to make her feel good about it.

The next day something happened that has changed my life. We didn't talk to Delise for the rest of the day and when we tried calling her in the morning to wake her up she didn't answer. We were really worried that she wouldn't make it to her confirmation which was really important that she get it done that week. She did come. She told us how after her baptism that she got really sick and had to go to the hospital. In the morning she told them that she had to go to church and they told her that she was too sick to go. She said that she was going anyway and they made her sign a paper that said that if something bad happened to her that the hospital was not responsible. She showed so much faith and strength in that moment. I learned so much from her example and was so happy to be able to have my mission ended that way by her.

Thanks for reading,
E. Thomas

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