Tuesday, 12 July 2016

"If we fail, we fail with glory"

One of the missionaries present at my baptism, two and a half years back, posted a quote I'll never forget. "The only thing needed for evil to win is for good men to do nothing." And that quote couldn't have been more appropriate with yesterday's encounter.

As a newish branch, Osizweni still has portable everything. That includes the chapel and the baptismal font. It takes about eight hours to fill the font with a hosepipe. That's what we did on Saturday. Unfortunately, the font has leaks, so when we arrive at the chapel early in the morning we need to top the font up. At least until we get a new font. When we arrived at church yesterday, it needed more than just a top up. It was very low. Our only problem? There was no water. Not even a drop came from the tap.

What were we to do? We had three baptisms that needed to take place and there wasn't enought water. With hands to our heads, we almost thought to call it off. Then a few thoughts came to mind - we only need enough water to cover their bodies, if we can find just a little more (by that, I mean more than a hundred litres) it can be done. So we began asking the members. Turns out, our Young Men and Young Women presidents heed the prophets counsel - they had water stored at their house.

Our 1st Counselour in the Branch Presidency, who wasn't going to be at church, showed up and got his non-member family to collect the water and buckets they had at home. With all the collections, a bit of driving, and a successful turnout at sacrament meeting, we were able to get enough water.

First was Sister Thandiswa. I went in first and wanted to jump out almost immediately. The expression on my face said it all. It was freezing. But she braved it up. We went down low on our knees. I hurried the words and we did it in one swift motion. Then, after the immersion, we both slipped and struggled our way. As she got out I climbed right onto the steps to find even an inch of warmth. Everyone laughed. I got back in, Brother Sabelo entered and we did the same, one swift motion, no mistakes.

At this point, I was almost numb, so I told the next to hurry in. Brother Bongani, the tallest of the lot, came in and almost didn't go under fully, so I pressed him down a little further. On his way up, his weight pulled me down and we were both immersed, struggling our way out.

As the three newborn babes in Christ went to change, I had to remain in the water. "Where are the buckets?" We needed to save at least some water before dismantling the font from the inside. There's no plug. We collected, and then dismantled.

Guess what?! The water came back. Immediately after the baptisms! Sigh. This will be an experience we'll never forget. Even me, as it was my last Sunday in Osizweni.

You have it! I'm being transferred. And you would never guess where. I'm going to serve the people of Kloof and Hillcrest. I'm going back! Clearly there's more work for me to do there. I'll be leaving Elder Rakotomalala behind and whitewashing with Elder Nyirenda. I'm looking forward to five hours of church, two sacrament meetings, and two coordination meetings with leaders from two different wards. Whoah! This is going to be interesting.

Upon saying goodbye to the people I've grown to love, little kids ages two to six began singing hymns. My companion and I joined with them as we witnessed this uninitiated spectacle. Afterwhich, one of them went up and said, taking the room with its adults by surprise, "Good morning brothers and sisters. I'd like to share my testimony. I love Jesus Christ and I love Joseph Smith. In the name of Jesus Christ, amen." This continued with every child bearing testimony of their love for the Saviour and their family. I was blown away. That was the best way to say goodbye.

One of my favourite investigators who I keep reporting on said something that made my heart swell with joy. Upon our farewell and photo at the car he said, "And don't worry about the 24th. I'm ready." Such a feeling of peace and assurance came over me. I thank the Lord I was able to be there to find him and witness his readiness. Unfortunately I won't be there to witness his baptism, but the fact that it's happening is enough for me. So long as I get photos.

I will miss the people of Osizweni. I have family there. But I know that I'll see them again. And if we're all faithful, it'll all be worth it!

The Gospel is true. There are challenges along the way, undoubted. There are people that come and go, undoubted. But what the Gospel offers, nothings else can compare. Through it we become new creatures. Happy creatures. Good creatures. Faithful creatures. Strong creatures. Conquering creatures. Through it we become who our Father wants us to be.

Keep going. Never lose hope. Never give up. Just keep trying and doing what needs to be done. "If we fail, we fail with glory."

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