To baptize 290 in the year 2013 we will: Step out of the Boat.
This goal of 290 baptisms didn’t really mean that much to me and I didn’t think overly much about it. It was exciting to know that there were baptisms happening in the mission, but I didn’t really care about counting or thinking about what that meant. I wasn’t thinking about the goal altogether.
But this past week, at Zone Training in Munich we received quite a shock when the Zone Leaders announced the December Fast:
On Sunday we fasted for this goal, to baptize the 180 people that we need to baptize to reach this goal. It seems impossible, it seems incredible and it sounds erroneous, but I felt this great possiblity of YES! We can do this.
But the more and more that I’ve been thinking about this I felt more and more doubt creep in to my heart. Our mission has only had 110 baptisms in eleven months, how are we supposed to baptize 180 MORE in less than eight weeks?
The feat seemed too high, to great for my finite mind.
I caught myself in the middle of this distressing thought and instead of focusing on all the reasons that we couldn’t achieve this VERY high goal, I decided to focus on the reasons that we COULD accomplish it.
My faith has never been so tested in my life. I realized this last week that I don’t know HOW to exercise my faith to the working of miracles. When I sat down to make a list of all the things I could do to exercise my faith into the working of miracles I came up blank. Not even my magic solve-every-problem list making could help me here.
I was completely at a loss, I’ve heard so many stories of miraclous moments and I’ve seen them wrought in the lives of others, but never have I seen so great of miracles worked in my life! At least, that’s what I thought.
I sat there, bemoaning my negative attitude, trying to ignore the list of things that were all against me, every reason, every possiblity, still not really seeing a way that I could fight through the idea that this goal was the goal of a dreamer. Someone who really didn’t know what it meant to be realistic. Because everyone knows that Germany is a really hard area. It’s a really hard place, and no one likes to listen to you, and no one likes to hear about the gospel because they’re all really really Catholic, even if the last time they set foot in a Catholic church was Easter. Maybe.
I thought of all of our investigators and how we can’t get appointments with half of them because they’re so busy, or won’t answer their phones, or are never home. And the other half, that we meet with, aren’t progressing, aren’t ready to take that step and be baptized.
And in the midst of this disaster, this disaster of a mind almost overthrown by doubt, all faith had jumped ship with fear of going apostate, only to have drowned in the depths of a war torn belief. I remembered a scripture that has carried me through many other seas of doubt. Luke promises us in chapter one that the “Things which are impossible with men are possible with God.”
And it seemed that the storm that waged around me stilled as I heard the Master’s voice whisper to my heart, “Peace, be still”.
Once I made this realization that it WAS possible and that it WOULD happen because the Lord and the faith of over 200 missionaries was in play, He would calm the storm and bring His children to the truth because this is THE TRUE CHURCH! If I could scream that from the roof-tops then I would. But the Lord is not going to leave His children in the dark with as many missionaries as there are. He did not send this wave of missionaries here, to this mission for nothing, He sent us here because He needs us to bring His beloved children to this gospel, to the beautiful things of this knowledge that He’s given us.
I consider myself blessed that I’ve been given this opportunity to exercise my faith and to get people baptized here in this mission. I’ve seen miracles already, from an investigator spontaneously showing up at church, to another accepting the invitation to baptism and to the using of my magic black person powers to find people.
This Church is true and ALL Things are possible with the Lord. I know that this goal of 180 baptisms in eight weeks is huge, but Alma baptized more in less time that that. I know that we can accomplish this and I will not loose faith. I will be strong and trust in the Lord. He is on our side and with Him, we cannot lose.
I love you all, I feel your prayers and I feel your love. Thank you so much.