Thursday, 30 October 2014

Confirmation... and Ordination - on the same day

The morning was a rush, a little ruffle and shuffle here and there. My alarm clock went and sister was already in the bath. We had to get moving. I searched the house frantically for my Church clothes, the ones I had borrowed from the Farquharsons.

“Has anyone seen my shoes? Where’s my tie?!”

“Go bush your teeth, Jono. Have you eaten yet?”

“No. There’s no time. Is mommy up?”

“She isn’t,” my sister said in absolute dismay. “Go wake her!”
I grabbed a shirt I wasn’t entirely certain was mine, woke my mother and stepfather and jumped into the shower. I haven’t shaved. Filled with stress, I grabbed the razor and cut myself at least twice.

“Is it noticeable?” I asked.

“You look fine. Come, we need to go!”

She rustled us out the house and into the car. You’d think she was a member, but no. I’m shocked myself, and you’ll be even more surprised when I tell you about her own personal views which correspond perfectly with the Gospel. It was now the forty five minute drive to Centurion. Yes, forty five minutes to my home ward.

Let me back up a little. I was a student at the University of Pretoria, and the commune I stayed in fell under the Pretoria East Ward boundaries, maybe even Sunnyside if I wangled my a little. But my lessons happened in Centurion, with the Centurion missionaries (Centurion 2 Ward to be more specific). This was because the friend who introduced me to the missionaries lived in Centurion, and by the time the second set of missionaries arrived they wanted to hand me over to Pretoria East missionaries, but I declined. A commune is not the place for spiritual discussions (too many people, non-members, too much nudity, cussing, alcohol, etc… - I thank the Lord I no longer live there).

Then came Elder Tew. When I asked to be baptised, he said that I could be baptised in Centurion because I had the lessons there (two of them, but who was counting?). Part of me believes that, perhaps, he wanted to baptise me then already, or maybe even just witness it.

We attended Church that morning with my sister’s friend, Bianca. My friend, Deborah-lee Venter, joined us the previous Sunday to witness my baptism. We stuck out like sore thumbs those two Sundays… the convert and his non-member family and friends.
I arrived there that morning and Brother Kevin asked, “So, sir. Have you decided who’s confirming you yet?” I hadn’t. In fact, I’d been putting it off for as long as possible. I’m bad with decisions. Eventually I decided, because of Paul, that Elder Tew would be the one to confirm me. I mean, if Paul from the scriptures baptised and confirmed all his converts, why not the missionaries today? Or maybe I just wanted Elder Tew to do it… and if I’m to be honest, maybe I always knew it.

The congregation sustained me and the other two converts as members. We didn’t. Bishop Kwasi went up to the pulpit and asked, “Did you raise your hands?” We followed through very quickly and took our seats. Sacrament ended and I was told that, during Priesthood session, that day, I’d be given the Aaronic Priesthood and be ordained to the office of Priest.

“You have an hour to decide who’ll perform the ordinance.”
My chest was on fire. I couldn’t tell if it was the Holy Ghost baptising me with fire, or if it was heartburn as a result of anxiety. Whatever the reason, I kept asking for Gaviscon. Eventually, Sister Shan gave me a sachet. It didn’t go away.

Time ticked on by and I had 5 minutes, 4 minutes, 3 minutes left to decide. “Pray about it, and choose,” Sister Shan said. I did. We gathered together with the young men, bishopric, missionaries and my family. “Have you decided?” Brother Kevin asked. “No,” I said. “Let Shamir go first.” I watched the ordinance and, still, no answer. “We have to do it now.” I looked around at the Priesthood holders before me and came to rest my eyes on Elder Tew. He nodded his head and did ordinance.

I could finally breathe. I felt the Comforter put me at ease, reassuring me that this was the plan from the beginning. The words were uttered and a blessing was given.

We returned to the Priesthood session and departed ways after the service. By that, I mean, we spoke for about a half hour and then left. I was off to Alberton for the next two months. And that is another story in itself

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