Tuesday, July 5, 2016

Happy 4th of July from Lynchburg, Virginia

"Stand fast therefore in the liberty wherewith Christ hath made us free..." Galatians 5:1
This was the Flooding Rain

This week started out so weird. On Monday we had just finished our Preparation day, and we were having dinner with a member family. Sister Weavers looks at the phone and she sees that we have 2 missed calls from the District Leader. So we are thinking "What's going on?" We send the District Leader a text and say that we are with some members having dinner. He texts us back and tells us that there is a flood in Lynchburg and that we need to go home asap! WHAT? Okay, so we start freaking out and we thank the members for the meal and start going home. I am the driver (because Sister Weavers is in training) and accidentally go the wrong way home! (Nice one, Sister Willis) Ahhh. Don't worry though, we got home safely, there was just tons of rain. It was literally raining buckets!! It's all good now though :) 

So, if any of you have been paying attention to my emails, WE HAD JOHN'S BAPTISM THIS SATURDAY! It was so amazing. I am so grateful to have been able to be part of the experience!
Also... JOHN FINISHED THE ENTIRE BOOK OF MORMON IN 2 WEEKS! This means, that according to the deal that Sister Wevers and I made with John, we have to sing something at his baptism...
Here's the whole story:
Sister Weavers and I at John's Baptism

Selfie at the Baptism
We asked John to be at the church by 5:00 and the Baptism started at 6:00. Sister Weavers and I had a lesson at 3:00 and so we were gonna head over to the church at like 4:30 to fill up the font and make sure everything was ready. We got a call from Tom, (our Ward Mission Leader) and he was concerned about the baptismal clothing. John is a big guy and he would need a really big jumpsuit for him. We hadn't even thought about it! We had been talking and talking about the baptism for weeks, trying to make sure everything was ready, and we missed one of the more important parts. THE CLOTHES! Sister Wevers and I get to the church and we are making sure the font is filled up and warm and we pull all the baptism clothing out of the closets and start looking at all of them, hoping that we might some how find something that will be good for John. Nothing. I am like freaking out at this point, I didn't know what to do! We called Tom and told him that we didn't have any luck and he stayed totally calm, and said he would try and find something in his dad's temple clothes. John shows up at the church with his mom and his aunt, (WHOOOO!) and we took some pictures with him. He actually posted some of them on Facebook right after we took them! How cool is that? 
All of Us with Tom, Who Baptized John
Anyways, Tom gets to the church and he had some clothes from one of the members in the ward. Sister Weavers and I are folding programs and a few minutes later, John comes and tells us that the clothes that Tom brought are too small. I am like majorly freaking out right now and Tom goes and makes a call to someone else in the ward. John is getting more and more nervous for everything as it goes on. John is wearing a white polo shirt and tan pants, and so Tom asks Brother Robertson, who is in the Bishopric, if it would be okay if John just got baptized in that. Brother Robertson says "A man needs to get baptized tonight, don't let a pair of pants get in the way!" 

So we go ahead with the program and start. Literally 5 minutes into the program, a member of the ward walks in, holding a folded up white pair of pants. WHAT A MIRACLE! So we go in to watch John be baptized and he has just changed into the white pants. The spirit was SO STRONG and you could tell that John was really nervous, but everything went well. When he came up out of the water, he gave Tom a huge hug. It was so touching. So we all go back to the Relief Society room, and we waited for John and Tom to change and come back. So after about 10 minutes, John's mom leans over to us, and says, "I don't think he brought a shirt to change into." So we run down to the bathroom, where Tom has just come out of, and he tells us that John doesn't have a dry shirt! Good thing John lives like a mile up the road from the church! John's mom runs up to his house to get him a dry shirt, and Sister Weavers and I are just in the hallway talking to Tom. Sister Weavers and I are starting to get nervous, because when John gets changed, we have to sing a hymn for everyone! We choose to sing "Nearer, My God to Thee". I am singing soprano and she is singing alto. We told Tom what we were singing and he asked if he could join us. We said, "Yes of course," because he is like a really good singer. 

Here We are at the Celebration
So everything worked out, John got his shirt and he changed and then we went up to sing. It was SO pretty! We all were singing different parts, so it sounded so cool. John really enjoyed it.  He even teared up, because he was feeling the spirit so much. He was emotional for pretty much the whole service. His mom even was crying! Everyone, I testify that the spirit is real and it does in fact touch hearts and change people. 

After the Baptism, everyone came up and was congratulating John, and it was so great! Sister Weavers and I got him a tie, and we each wrote him a card of congratulations. We each bore our testimonies to him and he cried some more. What an incredible day. I will never forget it, and I hope and pray that John won't either. 

The next day in Sacrament meeting, John received the gift of the Holy Ghost! In our Gospel Principals class, we talked about the Gift of the Holy Ghost, and John shared with us some of his feelings about it, he told us that it was feeling the Holy Ghost before he was baptized that really helped him to change and become better. It was SO COOL that he recognizes that! #TheSpiritIsREAL

Thomas Jefferson's Home in Forest, Virginia
What a blessing it has been to be able to find, teach, and baptize John! I truly know that I was called to serve here because I needed to find John, and to help him know the knowledge that we have about eternal families. Because of our Heavenly Father's plan, we can be with our families forever! We can live in peace not only in this life, but in the next. I am so grateful for this plan and for this opportunity that I have to share it. I know that this gospel is true, and I know that the spirit can touch lives and change hearts. I have seen it. I know that the Book of Mormon is the way that we can come closer to our Savior, Jesus Christ. I am also so grateful for this wonderful country where we live, and for the freedoms we enjoy. I am grateful for the Declaration of Independence and for our founding fathers, for following the inspiration from God to write it. 

USA! USA! USA! (Sorry, Sister Weavers, for yelling this every time we saw an American flag :) )

4th of July Celebration
Someone Gave Us the Taco Bell Sauce Packet, It says, "Call your mom."
Yesterday for the 4th, John, and Sister Weavers, and I went to see a historical landmark pretty close to where we live! We went to Thomas Jefferson's house! That's right, a previous President of the United States, Thomas Jefferson. The man who wrote the Declaration of Independence, Thomas Jefferson. It was so cool! They were having a big 4th of July celebration! We got to see someone dressed as Jefferson, read the Declaration and that was awesome. It was a really good experience. We saw some old stuff that they used back then, and we even got to talk to some historians. The most interesting part for me was learning about all the slaves. It really put things into a different perspective for me. We got to see some of the things they used for instruments, and what they sounded like all together. We saw one guy make a shingle out of a block of wood and it was super cool. What a great day! Hope you all had fun :)

# Ponderize 
Alma 46:12 "And it came to pass that he rent his coat; and he took a piece thereof, and wrote upon it—In memory of our God, our religion, and freedom, and our peace, our wives, and our children—and he fastened it upon the end of a pole."

Love you all so much! Read your scriptures, stay cool and be safe :)

~Sister Kayla Marie Willis

410 Alta Lane #11
Lynchburg, VA 24502

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