Date

June 13, 2016

Area

Raleigh North Carolina

Companion

Sister Higgins

Let me tell you.

BEST. WEEK. EVER.

The Kininga's got baptized!! (4 of them.) And Danielle and the Kiningas were confirmed as members of the church. It was the most stressful and the most peaceful thing that's ever happened to me simultaneously.

So Saturday we were preparing all day for the baptism. Usually it doesn't take much time to plan a baptismal service, but this one was a little different! We have an awesome ward who has just wrapped their arms around the Kiningas, and each quorum and auxiliary wanted to participate in some way. We were really grateful for that. We learned how patient a Bishop has to be when working with every quorum and auxiliary, that was a good lesson for me.

We get everything planned and print the programs and set up the building for the baptism. At 6:30 we head over to the Kiningas to teach a little lesson before the baptism and help them get everything together. When we got there, they were all asleep!!!!! *flip the table* Higgins and I wanted to go jump on their beds but we restrained ourselves. I guess they had a really long night preparing for their baptism and for Mikael's birthday party and they wanted to take some naps. So we get them crack-a-lacking before their rides come. Brother Bodhaine and the Plautz's came to pick them up. We were already running behind, and once we got to the church they still had to put on their white clothes. That took a while too. Emmanuel wanted to sear his superman shirt underneath the jumpsuit, which you can't deny, would be pretty cool, but we had to make him take it off. Finally we get the family into the chapel, half an hour late. Thank goodness we had someone there playing some awesome prelude music! Other missionaries were there with their investigators, and the stake president was there, and so many members of the ward, so that was kind of stressful (Dad you know how we can be with time, I was freaking out just a little bit....) BUT WE GOT THEM THERE AND THAT IS WHAT COUNTS! haha This baptism had French. Swahili, English, and Chinese translation going on. So cool. We had 2 talks from members of the Releif Society, then Sister Higgins and I sang a song in Swahili (prepared the day of!) and then Drew B. from the YSA (who would translate lessons for us and was a key fellowshipper to the Kiningas) performed the baptisms! It was so good. SO GOOD. I wish you all could have been there. Then Bishop Younce gave some remarks, and President Bodhaine threw down like always. He is the most powerful speaker I have ever met. He spoke in French for Jen, and English for the other kids. On his mission he served in Switzerland, but he met a man from the Congo (where the Kiningas are originally from.) This man received a copy of the Book of Mormon and "Elder" Bodhaines address if he had any questions. Months later when President Bodhaine returned from his mission he received a letter in the mail. It was from this man from the Congo! The letter said, "Elder Bodhaine, I have read the Book of Mormon, I know it is true and that Joseph Smith was a true prophet. Please send missionaries to my country to teach my people." President Bodhaine called somewhere in Salt Lake and got them to send missionaries to the Congo. There are now almost 50,000 members of the church there, 2 missions, and 153 congregations. AMAZING RIGHT?! Jen thought it was so cool. Well, we all did.

After the program members were coming up and giving hugs and welcoming the Kiningas. Brandon (a bug boy) asked Emmanuel if he wanted to serve a mission. Emmanuel smiled real big and said he wants to one day. Sister Higgins and I both agreed that was the highlight of the evening. IT WAS THE BEST DAY EVER. Sunday was so good too. They all got confirmed. So did Danielle. The Spirit was so strong. We took up most of the Sacrament meeting. After the meeting I have never been approached by so many ward members. You can see the spirit of missionary work lighting their eyes. We were surrounded by investigators and returning less actives and recent converts in every meeting, I wish I have 27 copies of myself to sit next to all of them, but that is what members are perfect for.

Sunday night we went to the Kininga's to celebrate Mikael's 1st birthday! We sang him a song with Drew's ukulele, and ate some delicious African food. It was a good way to end the weekend. We got to know more of the Kininga's friends and neighbors which was great as well. Africans like to make you eat until you are about to blow, so I was so full..... Then we had another party at Danielle's house to celebrate Ethan's birthday! More food. I gained so much weight in those few hours. That's beside the point. Danielle and Ethan may just be my favorite people.

Here's the story. Amy and Michael are some of our new people we are working with. They just moved here from DC! Michael is a member, and Amy has been investigating on and off for a couple years. They also have a 3 year old son named Carter. They are the cutest little family. Michael had some things come up during meetings with missionaries in the past that he is having a hard time understanding, and told Amy he didn't feel like coming to church for a while. It broke Amy's heart, she is working so hard to be baptized and go to the temple. (And when I say working hard I mean it, this girl means business.) She has been having a hard week. It has been sad for us too, because Michael was making great progress in the short time we have known him. During Gospel Principles Danielle leaned over and invited her and Michael to their party that night. Danielle had not met Amy before, but I think she was just prompted to talk to her. It was an amazing thing to witness a recent convert to the church act on a prompting they had from the Holy Spirit. Can I just tell you that that evening and Danielle's party, it was such a miracle. We were worried about how to help Michael and Amy, but Ethan and Danielle, and John and Elise Aragon (who all have been through similar situations with their conversions) strengthened each other that night. It was the most amazing thing to see. Obedience to inspiration brings miracles, and Danielle was proof of that!

Sorry for the massive all-over-the-place letter. Just so much to say, so little time, and so little motivation to use proper English sometimes...

I love you all! I hope you are having a good time, that's what we are here for!

-Sister Wilcock




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