The next letter

This letter is not dated at the top. I do remember some of the events quite vividly:

Dear Family,

Things go, er, are going well! I'm pumped, I'm excited, I am slightly injured, though -- Our P-day was moved to Tuesday for Zone Conference on Wed. So the big zone activity on Thursday was to play basketball. Well...ten plays into the game, my ankle, well, I landed on it & I think I killed it. (HAH) I actually sprained it quite badly, but things are going a bit better now. It is quite swollen, and has begun to bruise -- I've taken some wonderful pictures of it, but I just have to wait until I get them developed.

Anyhow, I have a weakness, so perhaps (not perhaps -- for sure) -- so, for sure I'll be humbled (According to Ether 12:27), but other than that, things are great here on the West Side of Lethbridge. On Sunday, I, and Elder Ogden, had our first baptism, which was quite exciting. Sis ... , originally from Japan, now from B.C., was visiting her sister, a convert to the church, when we incoincedentally [is that a real word?] showed up, offered to teach her the discussions. Now - she's a member of the church, and is so happy that she has the gospel in her life. What a blessing to have her come to me at this stage in my mission, to have her accept the gospel.

[this next part is a little funny]

We have two other commitments with two mothers, Dayna who I know will be baptized on Sept. 21st. Also Renee scheduled on the 16 Sept.

[funny part is 'dayna' was about as on again/off again as any investigator I ever met. She never did get baptised as far as I know, yet my enthusiasm led me to testify that she would be. I think it was supposed to be me showing how faithful I was that I knew she would be baptized].

The letter goes on with some rants and ravings of a self-absorbed missionary. But here is the funny part. I was able to perform the baptism for the Sister who was from Japan. She had to be in her 70's. She was willing and humble. I was very nervous about making sure she went all the way under the water at the baptismal service. I had heard many stories about people having to baptize people over and over and over, and I was determined to NOT be one of those.

So we walked into the font and said the prayer and then I laid her into the water. He held her there while I surveyed her body to make sure everything went under. I think I held her under for 3 or 4 seconds. Compared to the usual 1/2 second, it felt like a very long time for everyone else watching. On the way home, my Zone Leader asked me, "Elder Bettilyon, what do you think could have gone better at that baptismal service?" I replied, "Maybe there could have been more water in the font." (It was a tad low). "Yes, I suppose," he replied. "Anything else?" I just sat there, feeling stupid and a little embarassed and finally he said "YOU COULD HAVE BROUGHT HER OUT OF THE WATER!!". The two zonies and my trainer all hooted and hollered. They just loved having someone so dim-witted with them. (It actually is pretty funny. I didn't feel that way at the time, but the picture of this well intentioned Elder holding this tiny Japanese woman under the water is just so sad....). Interesting how writing about it makes me want to feel angry at my zone leaders again. I vowed after that experience to never make that mistake again, but even more, to try to make the actualy event of the baptism a calming and peaceful one for the person making new covenants.

It also stirs up feelings of how wonderful this Sister from Japan really was. She had been married and outlived her husband and had suffered a brain aneurysm but had lived through it. Her sister who was converted was never really too active, but I am still amazed at how quickly she attached herself to the gospel and believed it. We honestly believed at that time that the Lord had saved her from her brain aneurysm so she could be baptized.


Chris said...

LOL - I must've felt like doing that several times, but never actually held them under! It's even funnier knowing what the size difference must've been between you two. Couldn't have looked good. Keep it coming.... great stuff.

Justin and Emily said...

I can't help but laughing. I can just imagine this! I actually remember the pictures from that letter. I am sure I read it, but it was soo long ago. I can, however, still imagine your bruised ankle. I guess it left some impression on me that my older brother was injured in the mission field.

Torrie Family said...

I can't wait to read more, what a great idea! You were a great missionary! Thanks for everything.


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