Ok. First, sorry for the huge overload on pictures this week... But I forgot to send any last week, Sister Bauer loves pictures, we had a baptism, and it's the last week of the transfer, so... enjoy ;)
We have transfers tomorrow, but we are both staying! We will have a lot of changes in our zone, though. I will be the only sister left in the zone who has been in Newport for more than a transfer. Weird. I'm not a greenie (which means a NEW missionary) anymore. Also, this next transfer will only be 5 weeks because of Christmas. They don't want to switch anyone or send anyone home 3 days before Christmas. By the end of this transfer, I will have spent 6 months in Newport! :) I really do love it here.
So Paul got baptized this week!!!!! :D I am so happy! Funny story from the baptism, though: The elders forgot to show him how it would work in the water beforehand, so when they walked into the font, Paul said, "Ok let's do this!" and started just leaning back to go under and Elder Garrett had to catch him :) lol it was so funny. But no worries, Paul was a great sport and we got it done the right way. So many of Paul's friends came, and I felt the spirit so strongly as Sister Bauer and I sang "Joseph Smith's First Prayer" to the tune of "Come Thou Fount of Every Blessing." Coolest part? That wasn't the only baptism I got to be a part of on Saturday! Earlier that day, Brandon got baptized. Brandon is an older man from Iran, but moved here years ago. He had been exploring many religions, trying to learn. Sister Phinney and I actually contacted him while we were on an exchange at OCC campus. We invited him, along with many other students, to come to a free lunch we have every Thursday at the institute across the street. The next week, Brandon actually showed up! And by some miracle, the elders were on exchange that day with one of the elders from East Bluff, where it turned out that Brandon lived. So the next week, the East Bluff elders and we got to teach him the first lesson, and then the elders continued teaching him. But we would see Brandon every once in a while at the church building, and he sat with us during General Conference. It was really cool to watch him just drink the gospel in and finish a journey he started on his own. I got to speak at his baptism, and it was a beautiful thing to be a part of. I am so thankful Sis Phinney and I followed the prompting to talk to him even though he didn't look like a student that day at OCC. I am sure the Lord would have gotten Brandon in touch with the East Bluff elders somehow, because he was ready. But we got to be a small part of it all, and I am so grateful for that :)
I know that the recent policy change regarding children of a homosexual household has really worried, hurt, and upset a lot of people. All I want to say is this: please trust in the prophet's voice. Remember your testimony. Hold to what you know is true. We are always encouraged to seek out our own personal confirmation of revelation. Pray about it. Do you believe in the Restoration of the gospel? In the priesthood? In the prophet? Do you believe in modern revelation? The Book of Mormon? Then you have something to turn to. Ultimately, you must have a testimony that Heavenly Father loves His children, that Jesus is the Christ, and that He leads His church on the earth today. I am not asking you to trust blindly. Turn to the scriptures. Turn to the many, plentiful resources the church has provided (especially www.mormonnewsroom.org/article/handbook-changes-same-sex-marriages-elder-christofferson?HP_FR_11-6-2015_dPAD_fCNWS_xLIDyL1-A_ ). But most importantly, turn to your Father in Heaven in prayer. He will guide you, and light will come if you have faith.
My ponderize scripture this week is Doctrine and Covenants 45:3-5
"3 Listen to him who is the advocate with the Father, who is pleading your cause before him—
4. Saying: Father, behold the sufferings and death of him who did no sin, in whom thou wast well pleased; behold the blood of thy Son which was shed, the blood of him whom thou gavest that thyself might be glorified;
5. Wherefore, Father, spare these my brethren that believe on my name, that they may come unto me and have everlasting life."
I really love verse 3. The very first word is "listen." Listen, not just hear. Listen to your Savior. He is pleading your cause. He is on your side! Believe in Him, believe Him, and trust Him!
I love y'all so very much! Thank you so much for the letters and emails! Make this week a great one! :)
Sister Heather Bambas
California Irvine Mission
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