Monday, December 7, 2015

Clayton's Baptism

December 7, 2015

Clayton- Elder Oxspring's first baptism!
Wow such an incredible week it was!! And of course the big news is that our dear friend Clayton was able to enter into a sacred covenant with Heavenly Father this weekend. I cannot describe how amazing it has been to see the change in Clayton in just a couple of months! Unfortunately I won't have the time to write every detail about the baptism, but I'll do the best that I can. So it seemed like everything was going against us during the day or two leading up to the baptism. It was so stormy with hard rain and powerful wind for about two days straight. The branch president even called us on Friday and wanted us to possibly consider rescheduling Clayton's baptism for a different day because he was worried about people traveling to Limerick with the crazy weather and flooding that had been going on. But there's no way Elder Carmichael and I were going to reschedule after all the arrangements had been made! It was a bit difficult to arrange getting down to Limerick with Clayton as well because just about all of the members were unable to give us and Clayton a lift down to Limerick, so we were going to resort to taking the bus. But fortunately, we were able to figure it out.... 
     So on Saturday morning, Elder Carmichael and I had to cycle down to the city centre in the pouring rain and driving wind going right into our faces so that we could meet Clayton. We got soaked! And Clayton had to walk a short way in the rain to meet us as well. One of the members, Alex Christy, was able to arrange to drive us, so she met us in the city centre and drove Elder Carmichael, myself, and Clayton to Limerick. Unfortunately, not very many members from Galway were able to drive down to Limerick for the baptism, but we got lots of support from members and missionaries in Limerick! All 4 of the companionships in Limerick were there and brought investigators as well, so it was wonderful. It was such a great service and everything went smoothly! I had the special privilege of being able to baptise Clayton. I cannot put into words how incredible it was to be with Clayton in the waters of baptism, dressed in all white, to perform the ordinance of baptism and help Clayton become born again and enter into a covenant with our Father. It is definitely something I will never forget!! Clayton was beaming afterward and it carried into his confirmation the next day...
     So unlike the previous 3 days, Sunday was filled with sunshine! Clayton showed up to church in a sweet suit for his confirmation, which was awesome because he normally doesn't get that dressed up. But he was looking so sharp and was so excited for his confirmation. Elder Carmichael gave the blessing for the confirmation, but I was also able to help in the confirmation.
Clayton's confirmation day
He had such a bright smile the whole day and was able to stay for all 3 hours for church, which he hadn't been able to before. And we had an incredible testimony meeting as well! A less-active member from Colombia named Karen who I had seen on the street several times showed up to sacrament meeting finally after I had invited her several times. And she knew Clayton because they go to the same English-learning school, but she didn't know he had been baptised so it was cool! And she even went up to bear her testimony in broken English and in her testimony she mentioned me saying something like "I always see this Elder [pointing to me] and he always invites me to church and I never came, but I finally made it today and I am so happy to be here." The whole sacrament meeting was just wonderful with Clayton's baptism and seeing Karen there finally and I was just overwhelmed with emotion because I realized that I was making a difference in people's lives. I came out on my mission to make a positive impact in the lives of others, and I really felt like that while sitting in church on Sunday.
     Oh, and our incredible investigator Victoria was also able to come to church and stayed for all 3 hours! She continues to be so amazing! She understands everything we teach so well and is just so committed! She loves everything about the church and is excited to be baptised. She has a baptismal date of December 26th and we see no reason why she wouldn't be able to make it! We are able to teach her several times a week, which makes it even better- we love going to her home to teach her. Ah there are so many great things happening in Galway, and I just love it!! So our moves call is next Sunday... I better not get moved from Galway!! There are too many good things happening right now for me to get moved, and I don't want to move right before Christmas! But we shall see...
This upcoming week is going to be so exciting though!! We have another All-Ireland conference on Wednesday because Elder Kearon of the Europe Area Presidency is coming back to tour our mission, so we are spending all day in Dublin on Wednesday. And then this next weekend we have the branch Christmas party on Saturday and the primary program, which I am the pianist for, on Sunday. Good stuff!! I hope I can be delighted to tell you next week that I am staying in Galway once more. 

Chocolate advent calendars from Elder Carmichael's mum

got milk?
These boys love milk and apparently it's a Galway missionary tradition....

Last year....

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