This week I had another baptism! His name is Bima. He's about 15 years old and has been taught by the missionaries for months. His parents were baptized about 2 months ago, but he didn't feel like being baptized was right for him at that time. But when I came into Waipahu he really started to progress. I was able to resolve his concerns and get him to tell us things that my companion couldn't get him to say before. To me it's just another testament that missionaries are put in every area for a reason, and supposed to meet every person for a reason.
It was kind of crazy when I baptized him. I was standing in the font, and we rehearsed what was going to happen, but I think he got too nervous. We told him to just kind of sit down, plug his nose, and relax and everything would be okay. But when it got to the time to actually baptism, this kid turned into Free Willy. After I said amen, he jumped and arched his back, then went completely stiff, and didn't even plug his nose. He's kind of a big kid so I had to jump to the side and grab him as he was going down, which almost pulled me into the water, then his belly still wasn't under, so I was shoving his body under the water with my other hand. Definitely not the most graceful baptism I've ever seen, plus the people watching probably felt like they had front row seats to Sea World, but all that matters is his desire to follow Christ and that he made that essential step.
Along with baptism, I want to stress the importance of the sacrament. As missionaries, we repeatedly tell the person how great it's going to feel when they get baptized, because all of their sins are washed away. But I think far less often we fail to realize that we have this exact same chance every week!
I know how easy it can become for the sacrament to just become routine. Just bread and water. Just another thing you do at church. But it's so much more than that. We've all heard that the bread represents His body and the water His blood, but that's about as far as we go. When you take the sacrament, it's representing that you care about Christ's atonement so much, that you literally put it inside of yourself. So that He can always be with you.
I heard a story about a kid who was sitting in sunday school. The lesson was about the prophet of God, and he said to his teacher "I wish I could meet the prophet of God" She then told him that she had met the prophet and shaken his hand, so he could shake hands with someone who had shaken hands with the prophet and indirectly, shake hands with God's prophet. Upon shaking her hand he said "I'm never going to wash this hand!" Thinking that didn't sound like such a good idea, the teacher told him he could wash his hand, and just remember the act always. He ran into the bathroom and came back a few minutes later with water dripped on his tie. The teacher asked him where the water came from, and he replied "I washed my hands, then drank the water so I can always remember this moment!"
We should be that excited to take the sacrament every week. To want to take the bread and water so bad, so that we can remember Christ and like the prayer says, to always have his spirit to be with us.
Also important is to spiritually prepare ourselves to receive such an ordinance. I think it was an apostle that said: You can tell someone's relationship with Christ based on their thoughts when they partake of the sacrament. We shouldn't just mindlessly eat and drink, but instead really think about the Atonement and the effect it's had on your life.
I hope this coming week you'll all remember the significance of Christ's atonement the next time you put that little piece of bread, and small drink of water inside of you.
Jeramman wot wiik in!
-Elder Sammy Merrill