I am excited to report that our dear investigator Hu shu fang got baptised! We were so excited. She quit smoking after months of effort; the patch finally worked for her. The patch is really a blessing- she had been trying to quit for weeks and hadn't been able to smoke less than three a day but with the patch she was able to finish quitting in two days.
Her baptism was one for the books. The dear wonderful priesthood brother that baptised her nearly drowned her. She came out of the water screaming like a banchee. First of all, the water was hot. The cold water facut doesn't work, so going under hot water in hot weather I'm sure was miserable - like submerging in a hottub. Then she forgot to plug her nose and got water up it. So she tried to stand up and he pushed her under because she hadn't submerged all the way. Then her feet came up, and while he was looking at her unsubmerged feet he forgot to realize that her head was still submerged and she couldn't breathe.
When she came up, she came up coughing and gasping like she was drowning...and then skrieking and yelling and crying. I was a bit afraid she actually DID have a devil like she had told us previously and we figured was just mental illness. She said her heart stopped beating*. She was so scared.**
I've never been so scared that an investigator was not going to get baptised because she was so close! So close to being baptised - she had done EVERYTHING but be submerged completely! And so close to walking away - I didn't know if she would go through with it. Her mental illness flared up after she came out of the water and she sort of had a fit in front of everyone. After some praying and calming down in the bathroom while the congregation sang through half of the hymn book, we got her to try again. My brave darling! Unfortunately once again, it was unsuccessful - this time the dear priesthood brother said the prayer wrong but immersed her successfully. After another angry yell and punching the glass, she braved it a third time. She was literally scared to death and a little mentally unstable.
The third time was successful but I don't think she felt particularly spectacular about her baptism.*** She wanted to know why everything was so difficult for her - even being baptised was harder for her than for other people! My heart just broke for her. I was afraid she would never show up for church again, let alone for her confirmation on Sunday. Her baptism was- well, horrifying.
On Saturday we really wanted to meet with her but she didn't feel good and so she rested all day. We were super busy all day with other important lessons and and several miracles and didn't get time to go see her. Then, last miracle of the night, we called her and she said that she would come to the church and meet with us. We taught her a lesson, built up her faith and confidence again, and she said she felt better. Then on Sunday, she showed up to church with her mom Huang You and her daughter, all wearing dresses and looking so wonderful and normal. It was an amazing transformation. Her confirmation had a really good spirit so I hope that she recognized it and won't be tramatized for life.
Well, other than that, Sister Cooper and I are doing just great. We hopefully have a slew of baptisms in the next couple weeks - I have to finish up my work here before I get transfered.
I love this island. I love the gospel. I love you.
* She said that when she was under the water her heart stopped beating and her spirit started leaving her body and a voice told her to come up out of the water and breathe. I'm not sure what happened. She wasn't under for more than ten seconds.
**Most Taiwanese people are afraid of water, probably because most Taiwanese people can't swim. Swimming pools are rare. I think bathtubs and bathing is even pretty rare. Most bathrooms I've been in just have a showerhead on the wall with a drain in the floor that serves as the shower.
***I was extremely happy that we did not have any investigators there because it was the most dramatic baptism I have ever had or ever heard of. Baptisms are often quite dramatic- I had no idea! The only ever baptisms I attended at home I found peaceful to the point of dull.
Cami's note to Tom:
It will be fun for you to see your college friends. You can take them out for a good Walmart ramble or perhaps to rake gravel at the bunker :) I'm sure they will find Elko charming.
I am trying not to think about it too much, but I need to get my plans sort of figuring out for Decemeber?
Amy wants me to drive back to Elko with her across the country so we can bring her car back. I wouldn't mind going and doing some seeing the East Coast.
Tina is talking about taking a week or so off to go maybe to Europe with me.
I'd be up for either. Maybe Tina and I can go sightseeing in the East and then Amy and I can drive back together when her school finishes? Plus I don't know the family plans. I'm up for anything but won't have money because I put it all towards my mission. Plus I don't know what Christmas/holiday plans there are. I won't be busy so I'll be happy to do whatever. Feel free to plan my time with any combination of adventures.
Love you all!
Cami's email to Donna:
Dear Mother -
I got the package! Thank you so much - it was everything I wanted and more. I hope you know I am wearing the green dress you sent me and have worn the other two dresses three times. So they are a big hit. I hope you didn't pay to much for them since I will probably leave them here but I certainly am enjoying and getting my use out of them. And everything else was just want I needed and wanted. Love you!