It seemed at first an ordinary Tuesday night. Elder Stephens and I had stopped at the church for a branch choir rehearsal we had been invited to attend. After the rehearsal concluded, we started walking out to our bikes when I was approached with a last-minute request to perform a baptism.
With only minutes to prepare, I pulled a heavy-duty baptismal suit from the font-side closet, donning the several-sizes-too-small jumpsuit in a jiffy. I silently ran through the baptismal prayer as I walked down the hallway. I was to baptize Sister Han, a 70-year-old woman who the sister missionaries had arranged to be baptized on very short notice. We demonstrated a dry run of the ordinance in the hallway. Then, I walked through the restroom and into the font entrance.
After a brief period spent sorting out the arrangement of hands during the baptism, which Sister Han had already forgotten, I recited the prayer and began to submerge her beneath the water. She resisted with gusto! Her legs shot out and kicked about, and try as I might, I couldn’t submerge her head without use of excessive force. I pulled her back up, we calmed her down and once again sorted everything out, and I said the prayer again. Once again, she flailed about the second her head touched the water. More determined this time, I exerted slightly more downward pressure, but her legs scrabbled and slid about on the font floor. We wallowed about for a moment before I gave up. After a brief coaching by members, Sister Han squared herself up and prepared again.
After she failed to fully enter the water for the third time, she asked, “Am I done yet?” I decided that the fourth time would be the last. Once again, her legs shot out and kicked about, as stiff as I-beams, but I was determined not to fail. She scratched at my arms with vigor, but I reached over and gently pressed her head the last few centimeters into the water. At last, the saving ordinance was complete. Sister Han was happy, albeit tired. I hope the experience wasn’t too traumatizing for her.
On the path up, my countenance brilliantly illuminated.
Aside from the memorable experience of helping a fellow soul conquer thorny obstacles along the covenant path, this week’s exploits included a P-day excursion to the beach, which I hadn’t known was only about five minutes from our chapel. I sat on one of the gigantic concrete dikes watching the waves in their patterns crash against the shores. The unusual angle of the swells against the coast created a unique pattern of backwash surges and double-waves, as well as a high potential for riptides. Even if we were allowed into the water, I probably wouldn’t have swum in.
On Saturday, our district and the zone leaders hosted a so-called “tsunami” in Beinan. This missionary event consists of a full day of concentrated salvation bombardment, provided by a dense brigade of missionaries stationed in a single small area. Every door was systematically knocked several times, and all locals found out on the streets were thoroughly instructed in the manner of prayer.
From our efforts, we garnered a sizable sheave of new investigators, including a very unique individual who expounded to us the prophetic nature of Michael Jackson’s lyrics. According to him, Jackson was translated off the face of the earth when his skills became too great for the comprehension of man.
Me and Elder Stephens before going up to 鹿野.