Dope, which is actually Dåp, is baptism in Norwegian. And that my friends and dear loved ones, is what we had last week. Okay, now let me just say this. It was not as easy as we thought. Actually, it was very dramatic, in fact, and the elders saved the day twice, but he was baptized and confirmed. Thank all that is good, because it almost didn't happen!
So everything with Salko has been super easy. He stopped smoking, drinking coffee, and accepted everything else with ease. It only took him 4 weeks to be baptized. So going into this week, as a missionary you are always a bit nervous because you know how Satan works, but I also thought well that it would be just some minor things. Well the week comes and first Salko gets sick. Sister Hilton and I always talked about the fact that Satan and the immune system are directly related, and it was no different this time. *See Bible Dictionary: The Fall, Satan, Blood* He kept saying I hope I get better so that I can be baptized! Well Friday comes around and we call him and he tells us that he can't be baptized the next day. It was less than 24 hours left, and we didn't know what to do. We couldn't just call that baptism off! He needed to be baptized! So Elder Hall and Elder Ashton come to Sarpsborg with us and we try talking to Salko, except he won't really talk to us. He is doing like a million different things, and he keeps saying he is too sick, and then he leaves. We are all just praying our hearts out trying to figure out what to do. Finally, he comes back and we get him to sit down and talk to us. It turns out that he got a ticket in the mail that he supposedly didn't pay and he said that he had to pay it and deal with it, so he couldn't get baptized. Luckily the elders were there because I was speechless at this point. I have learned that in these situations its better for me to keep my mouth shut. The elders talked him down and figured out a plan and then offered him a blessing. In the blessing Elder Ashton was very clear about the fact that Salko needed to come to his baptism and the confirmation. After the blessing Salko was feeling a lot better, and so we made plans for the next day, and went to bed feeling pretty good.
The actual day of the baptism went smoothly. Everyone showed up on time and did exactly what they were supposed to. Well, one of the Talic kids that was supposed to sing was no where to be found, but that was minor. We had 4 of the Talic children there, and a cousin. It was a great show up from them! Many members came and there was lots of dessert afterwards. It was great! We came and saw them after the baptism and everyone was so excited. Salko was so excited to get the Holy Ghost the next day and the kids were excited that he was going to be finally a "real Christian" as they call it. Salko talked to the police department about his ticket and found out that they had made a mistake and that he didn't have to pay anything. All was well in the Norway. It was an exhausting, but good day.
Sunday I woke up and didn't feel very well. I just felt really anxious and worried and I couldn't figure out why. I couldn't focus in personal study to save my life. I just kept thinking about everything coming up in the next 3 months that I have to do. It was so frustrating. When I was talking to Sister Trydal about it in comp study I just kept thinking that usually when I feel this way something goes wrong, but I brushed it off. Well pretty soon I found out what the feeling was about. We went to the Talic's house to get the kids ready and make sure that Salko was ready and it was pure madness. There was lots of tension and Salko wouldn't talk to us. He kept saying that he had stuff to do and that he couldn't come. Well I'm going to be honest, I freaked. He hadn't been confirmed and the chances are if he didn't come to church that he wouldn't be ever, so we followed him around his house trying to talk to him, but he wouldn't give us the time of day. The kids were ready and waiting so I decided to just go grab them when their dad came out yelled at Salko and the kids. Belma the 5 year old looked at me and said "We don't have permission to go." It all happened so fast, we didn't really know what was going on, not to mention the fact that it was all happening in Bosnisk, which we don't speak. So we left thinking that the dad said that no one had permission to go to church anymore, and I cried the entire was to church.
Once we got there we told the elders what had happened. We had to go to RS right away because we had a lesson to teach. After the first hour Elder Drage came up to me and said "Come on lets go, we are going to go get him." So Selwyn (the member that baptized him), Elder Drage, and Elder Hall drove to his house. 20 minutes later I get a text that said "You're welcome" from Elder Drage, and they all show up with 2 of the Talic kids about 10 minutes after Sacrament meeting started. Just in time for him to be confirmed as a new member. Moral of the story? Sister Hodgkiss is glad she is dying soon because I don't think my heart can take more of these last minute game changers!
I'm so glad that everything worked out. Apparently there was quiet a misunderstanding between everyone and Salko was overwhelmed so the dad told him to sleep it off. He had just woken up again when Selwyn and the elders got there. I'm grateful that Elder Drage listened to his promptings! And I am so glad that Salko is now baptized and confirmed. Now just to get him to church for the rest of his life.... Right, we will take that one next week!
The kids were the cutest and sang at the baptism! Everyone loved it and the kids were so proud of themselves. They had practiced for weeks. It was almost time to sing and the 10 year old, Selma was so nervous and told me she didn't think that she could do it. I told here the if we are scared then we can pray and Heavenly Father will help us. So we said a quick prayer. The song went great and they were all really happy. Afterwards it was my and Elder Drage's turn to sing and I told them I was super nervous. Selma looked at me and said "I guess we are going to need to say another prayer then." It was so cute! We said a prayer and then I went up and sang. Afterwards she smiled and beamed because Heavenly Father had heard our prayers.
The ward loved Elder Drage and I's song. They asked us to sing the next day. Selwyn is from Trinadad and has this deep black voice. He came up to me afterwards and said "That was just like sweet sugar bread. You're sweet sugar bread." I about died. Now the elders love to call me Sweet Sugar Bread whenever possible, and of course they say it in a deep black man's voice. I die laughing every time. Selwyn's Finnish wife came up to me and said "Your light reflects who you are. Yours is so pure and clean. Keep it." It made me smile and think about the light that we each have. I have been uplifted and strengthened by so many other's light.
"If you want to give light to others, you have to glow yourself." - President Monson
When Elder Bednar was here he said something that caught my attention. He quoted D&C 50 "...that you may chase darkness from among you." I have been thinking about darkness and light so much lately! I don't know what it is, but its just been stuck in there. Maybe it's because I have had those dark times. Times where there seems to be no end, where there seems to be a heaviness that sits upon my shoulders, and even times where I have questioned if God loved me individually. I think back to those dark times and I think about the feelings that came when that light began to come back. Some times it was only for a few hours, I would visit a member I just loved or have a experience where I felt close to the Lord. And there would be so much peace. We all want peace from the world. We can look around today and there is so much happening. There is so much pain in the world, there is so much going on in our own lives. Do we ever take a moment to just sit? To just feel? And think things through? To we take time to bask in the light that we have?
I studied darkness and light today and I found a scripture that I really loved. It is D&C 88:67 And if your eye be single to my glory, your whole bodies shall be filled with light, and there shall be no darkness in you; and that body which is filled with light comprehendeth all things.
The gospel brings that light that we need. This weekend we have the wonderful opportunity to hear from those that carry much light, the prophet and the apostles. Who is excited? I am! I already made a list of questions that I am going to be looking for answers to. I don't know about you guys, but every time I listen to conference I come back feeling lighter. I definitely feel that there is more light around me around the weeks after conference. I am super excited!!
Belma the 5 year old was praying for after our meeting, on Friday, to encourage him to be baptized. I was helping her say the prayer and I said "thank you that Salko can be baptized" and she said "thank you that Salko can be killed." I said døpt and she said drept. We were all laughing and trying to remain reverent at the same time. Kids are so cute!
I hope everyone has a fabulous week! I love you all!! We will be facing soon!!
Keep it real. Keep it classy. And may the odds ever be in your favor!