Tuesday, August 13, 2013

"And now, let the baptism begin..."

Out in the fields at Brighton Girls camp

Hello hello wonderful everyone! I hope it's been a beautiful week for you all. 
(Sorry for the delayed post...Kelsey's family has been up in Alaska.  Watch for her next post on Thursday) 
As I look back on the week, I can see a major pattern becoming clear--baptism.  I got to go to my first baptism last Sunday and it was such an amazing experience! I was so blessed and so fortunate to go with a Sister in my district.  Her name is Sister Alvine and she is from France and Africa and was teaching a French speaking family that recently moved here from Africa.  She has been teaching them for just a few months and truly is a miracle family. 

The whole baptism actually was a miracle.  It was a miracle that we got to attend, and when we got there we saw that Sister Alvine was sooo needed there.  The family doesn't speak a word of English and there was no program put together for the baptism.  Sister Alvine being the amazing Sister she is, just put everything together last minute, and would translate everything, even the songs into French for the family to hear.  The spirit was so incredibly strong and Sister Alvine just radiated an excitement to be there. 

The ward mission leader was conducting the baptism and we could all tell he felt a little uncomfortable and wasn't quite sure what to say.  He got up at the front of the room and said, "And now, let the baptism begin!"  Everyone felt a little uncomfortable with the way things were being done, and sweet Sister Alvine just lightened everything up.  In her French she clapped her hands and exclaimed, "It is such an exciting day! You will now be baptized!"  Everyone just smiled and laughed.
Forget me not :) thanks for that book Rob, and thank you everyone for not forgetting about me!

There was a mother and her 10 year old son and 16-year old daughter who were being baptized.
The joy that these three individuals had on their faces was something I can never forget.  As a returned missionary from Tahiti raised his hand and started to say the baptismal prayer in French, I couldn't help but stare at his hand.  I thought about how his hand, my hand, all of our hands are made after the same likeness and image of our Father in Heaven and Jesus Christ.  It hit me so hard though as I stared at his hands, that Jesus Christ has the prints of nails still in his hands today, and I pictured what it would be like it Jesus Christ himself were there at the baptism, baptizing this small and beautiful family from Africa. 

All of the youth conference coordinators had dinner together.  They're all so wonderful!

I know that there is so much symbolism in baptism--people will talk about baptism by immersion as laying down our old life and coming up a new person, or even relating it to the resurrection, but today I thought of something different.  I thought of how we cannot be baptized alone--we need someone there taking us down into the water, and lifting us back up again. 

We are never EVER alone in life.  Even when we make the promise to our Heavenly Father at baptism to always remember him, and He promises us a remission of our past, a clean slate, and the gift of the Holy Ghost, there is someone by our side, and although we cannot see Jesus Christ looking down on us, we can feel him there, and know it is because of him that we even have the opportunity to be baptized. Just like in the process of baptism by immersion, there may be times that we are taken down, times in our life when we are sad, we have trials and feel like we cannot get back up. 

It is by the hand of someone that we are able to come back up out of the water---just as in our lives it is by the hand of our Savior, Jesus Christ that we can come completely back up through the ups and downs of our lives. He will never forsake us or leave us, we just need to open our eyes and see he is there.

It reminded me of my own baptism and how happy I was on that day.  It's my most vivid memory from my childhood. I remember being baptized, going back into the locker room, and my best friend was sitting there waiting to be baptized next.  I excitedly told her that if she was too nervous I could just be baptized again and no one would know.  haha we all know that wouldn't have worked out too well, but I really was that excited and that happy about being baptized. 
 I am learning each and every day that deciding to be baptized was one of the best decisions of my life.  The happiness I felt that day has carried me through so much in my life, and I know it is a decision that will impact me for eternity.  It is a decision that shows Heavenly Father that I know I am His daughter and that I will make little decisions, each day to bring me closer to Him. 

After playing the "life line" game :)
Think about your own baptism, or the people you know in your life who have been baptized.  Why did they do it?  Why did they choose to make such a promise to God and to live their lives in a way that is different in many ways from people around the world?  It is because Forever's Longer.  It is because we don't just want happiness in the moment, but we want happiness for eternity.  And going through the trials of our faith, and learning more about our Father in Heaven and about Jesus Christ have taught us that life is good, but eternity is beautiful and it is something Heavenly Father wants to give us all. 
I have left my family for 18 months for the amazing opportunity to teach others that they can be with theirs for eternity.  If you know me, you know I am quick to love, quick to really genuinely care about people, and I promise you today that I would not be here if I didn't know this was all true. 

Sister Humble and I were feeling it was a good idea to get some Japanese food! So good! She also attempted to teach me how to use chop sticks :)
I miss my family, my friends, my loved ones but I have realized that this gospel is all about forever's, it is all about second chances and happy endings.

Here are some fun pictures from our day at Brighton Girls Camp...

Love my MTC companion! Please write Sister Marsh letters, she is getting surgery soon!

Meet our district!

Brighton Girls camp was the best! 4- wheeling :)

Love my old roommate Sister Li from Hong Kong! Her Sister is even serving here now too!
Sister Reniva and I having fun with our "bob the builder" helmets :)
With some of my favorite Sisters- the AP's!

With my very dear friend, Sister Takahashi from Canada.  She is amazing and we have really become family out here. 

Sister Marsh and I have gotten strong since the MTC, eh? :)
I hope this e-mail finds you all happy and well! you are all AMAZING! Have a beautiful week and remember I am always here for you!

Love always,

Sister Briggs

Thank you Grandfather and Grandma Jeanie for the dinosaur toys! :) rawr!
SHOUTOUTS: Grandfather and Grandma Jeanie- thank you so much for the DINOSAUR TOYS, it was amazing to see you and meant the world to me that you came with so much love! Thank you! Sara Donakey- AH! it just brightened my whole day to see you up here at Temple Square, thank you for your kind words and your encouragement.  Robert Donakey- thank you for the toys and the delicious brownie mix, you're the best! So good to also see Sister Moffatt, my teacher from the MTC! Congrats also to Marc Gallarde from Cebu on your mission call! You will be wonderful! :)

 I think I can convert her into a dinosaur fan, maybe?

1 comment:

  1. My daughter is serving in this mission too. Another one of those Canadians. She LOVES your daughter they were in the same tour training group in the MTC. Sis Takahashi is our neighbours niece. Love reading her posts. You can follow our sister at a sisterinzion.blogspot.com