The second week we arrived in New York we went to visit some members of our assigned congregation, the Rochester 2nd Ward. When we arrived at their home, we were graciously welcomed by this kind family!
As we visited them in subsequent months, we had many wonderful times together, culminating most recently in the baptism of the two oldest children this past Sunday, October 24. When we met this family, the parents had been members of our church for less than a year and their oldest two children, who were older than 8 were not yet baptized. Eight is considered the age when children are old enough to be accountable for their actions and can therefore by baptized.
During the next few months the children were taught the Gospel of Jesus Christ by several Sister Missionaries, including Sister Valele and Sister VanDenberghe. Elder Watts and I also met with the family to teach gospel principles and share Family Home Evenings. We all became good friends.
In the Book of Mormon, in Mosiah 18:11, Alma asked those he had taught the Gospel of Jesus Christ if they want to be baptized. They said, "This is the desires of our hearts." Likewise, this has been the desires of the hearts of these wonderful children for some months, so we were excited when it happened.
We weren't the only ones that were excited, so were their parents. In Mosiah, when the people contemplated their baptism, they clapped their hands for joy. I think this entire family felt like clapping their hands for joy. I know we felt like it!
We have so many sweet memories of times shared with these friends, including watching the Hill Cumorah Pageant with them, attending church together, sharing meals, and sharing Family Home Evenings. We look forward to spending many more happy times together!
Perhaps Alma expressed our thought best when he said in Alma 30:34:
"An now, if we do not receive anything for our labors in the church, what doth it profit us to labor in the church save it were to declare the truth, that we may have rejoicings in the joy of our brethren [and sisters]?"
We are thankful to be friends with this family and to share this joyful, sacred experience with them!
Coming next: Our move.