Tuesday, April 9, 2013

Debbie's Baptism

Josh and Debbie are colleagues at work.  One day Josh was heading out on a run and Debbie was just finishing one, and they started talking about running.  Debbie wanted to train for a marathon, and Josh happily gave her some pointers and offered to go on some runs with her.  During those runs, the conversation often turned to things of a spiritual nature, and Josh shared with Debbie some of the aspects of The Gospel he enjoyed.  As Christmas rolled around, Debbie was asking him many questions about the church, and had started perusing Mormon.org.  We wanted to have her over for Christmas day brunch, but she became ill and wasn't able to make it.  In her email explaining this, she said, "I've been reading a lot about your church online.  Do you know how I might get a copy of the Book of Mormon?"  :)  We put together a little basket of some food and goodies, and Josh tucked a copy of the Book of Mormon in there with some passages marked, along with his testimony.

After Christmas, Stewart and Annette came to visit, and on New Year's Eve, we had Debbie come over for a visit and invited the missionaries to join us.  It was a special evening and the gospel discussion was a sweet experience for all.

After many months of  discussions and meetings with Debbie and the missionaries, Debbie made the important decision to be baptized.  I really appreciated the time and thought she took to prepare and really commit to being baptized.  She did not enter into the covenant lightly.  It is a big deal, and I know that once Debbie decided, she had received a witness for herself and knew for herself that she was ready.

Saturday, March 30th, Josh had the privilege of his first convert baptism.  It was a sweet experience, and I'm so glad we were here to witness it.  I've never had that experience of introducing a friend to the gospel, and it makes me so happy to see Josh's journey in having that missionary experience with Debbie.  We've prayed for her as a family.  We were all there at her baptism.  Even Boo was able to sit in on a discussion and share her feelings about her baptism!

I know it sounds cliche, but Debbie looked different after she was baptized.  She looks younger, lighter -- like a weight of burden has been lifted from her shoulders.  I'm so proud of her and the changes she's made to her life.  Becoming a member of the LDS church is a big deal!  It's a commitment, for sure in many aspects.  I admire people who take that brave step and make tough changes in their lives for the better.

Four of the many missionaries who had the privilege of teaching Debbie.

Ed and Karen Whitehead and Debbie.  Ed confirmed Debbie the following day.

Josh and Debbie

Debbie posted the following on her Facebook page:  "Thanks to the assistance and persistence of many people, the past two days have been amazing and filled me with gratitude, joy, relief, amazement, love, hope. I’m still trying to figure out why the baptismal water felt physically different than other water. It was more buoyant and soothing than, say, bathtub water, even though I was immersed for only a few seconds. I’ve never felt anything quite like it. It’s official - I’m A Mormon!"

Josh posted the following comment:  "It has been quite an experience, hasn't it I think of the six missionaries that taught you - several of which who are now home. What a miracle it was for them to be here while you were investigating the church. I also think of your circle of friends - how much it has grown. I'm inspired by your physical health, a testament to the Word of Wisdom and how The Lord blesses us physically and temporally. I was also touched during your confirmation and blessing today; two things stuck out to me specifically: that you would be a student of the scriptures, and that you would bless other people's lives through service and sharing the truth of the gospel. Debbie, I hope you can see all the potential with which your Heavenly Father has blessed you -- I truly feel that this is just the beginning. I'm looking forward to seeing you in the temple a year from now...an event/opportunity you will be able to ponder this weekend. Congratulations dear friend."

D&C 18:15  "And if it so be that you should labor all your days in crying repentance unto this people and bring, save it be one soul unto me, how great shall be your joy with him in the kingdom of my Father!"  


Sally said...

How wonderful!

Sarah said...

What a neat thing for the whole family to witness! Way to go, Josh, for opening your mouth as we are all told to do...and family for opening the home to discussions.