Monday, February 6, 2012

No More Strangers

 Eight or more months ago, my friend Sheree's boyfriend began attending our church services.  As he was a nice Catholic boy, I was surprised when he continued to come, week after week.  Surprised, because, although Sheree is a beautiful girl, it takes some commitment to come to church every Sunday, particularly after our schedule changed in January from an 11 a.m. main worship service, to a 9 o'clock one!

Not too many weeks after that, Nathan began attending my Sunday school class as well.  Brother Ibey, Sister Rodriguez, Sister Polhamus and I team teach the Gospel Essentials class, and we were thrilled to have him there.

I began to notice a change in Nathan's demeanor as the weeks passed by.  I sit up in the choir loft, next to the organ, and so I see faces during our services.  I could tell as disinterest changed to interest, and then avid interest, until one day I thought I could see that he was touched by the Spirit of the meeting.  I think I was right - it was not long after that, I learned that Nathan had asked to have the missionary lessons.

Sheree & Nathan
I will always think of Sheree as one of "my" girls, as I was a teacher in the Young Women's program for a half a minute when she was younger.  (I think that counts!)  So, I was thrilled to hear when Nathan agreed to be baptized a member of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints..
From left to right: Sheree, Nathan, Nathan's Dad, Nathan's mom, and Nathan's brother
Nathan's baptism was performed on Friday night.  There were so many people there!  A great many of them were named Ibey, but there were also lots of other ward members.  I was so happy that Nathan's family attended the service.  They were so kind and very supportive of their son's decision.  I think you can just tell by their body language in the above photo that they are a close family who love each other.
A bit of Elder Cracroft, Elder Robison, and the Halls.
I tried to get some shots of all the people who attended, but since I was behind the piano for the service, by the time I'd finished my postlude music most everyone had gravitated towards the refreshment tables set up in the courtyard.  It was too dark out there to get any decent photos, but the brownies and cake-pops were excellent!
General crowd picture - see, everyone is heading off towards the food off to the right...

Sheree and Nathan
I love baptisms.  There is always such a wonderful spirit there, both of peace and testimony, as one by one, people make their first covenant with our Heavenly Father.  In the words of Paul, the Apostle of old, who was also a great missionary:
Ephesians 2

19 Now therefore ye are no more strangers and foreigners, but fellowcitizens with the saints, and of the household of God;
20 And are built upon the foundation of the apostles and prophets, Jesus Christ himself being the chief corner stone;
21 In whom all the building fitly framed together groweth unto an holy temple in the Lord:
22 In whom ye also are builded together for an habitation of God through the Spirit.
I also, and I hope not irreverently, think of the words of Obi-Wan Kenobi, "You have taken your first step in a larger work..."

Baptism is just the beginning.  There is so much, much more!

Welcome to the Pickering Ward family, Nathan.  We're so glad to have you.

1 comment:

Marybeth said...

This was great. So glad you got a picture of Nathan's parents.