Monday, July 7, 2014

A "très particulier" baptism

My heart is just FULL TO THE BRIM.  First of all, I am staying in Arras for another six weeks!!!!  Seriously, I am so happy, I love this place, my comp, and all our friends.  Then I only have six more weeks until the end of my mission.  I'm pretty sure I'll be moving for the last transfer... crazy.
Anyways, on to the main event:  PHILIPPE'S BAPTISM.  Everyone kept saying that it was "un baptême particulier."  Meaning "a very special" baptism.  No one could really put their finger on it, but the spirit that was there was...incredible.  I just felt so...full.  Soeur Tupai made the trip from Nogent to be there, Philippe was literally glowing the entire time, almost the entire paroisse showed up to support him, the talks were powerful... there was just an overwhelming feeling of peace, and the joy and approval of a loving Heavenly Father.  I wish I could explain it better.  There are a few things I will never forget:
-- when after twenty-two years of telling missionaries "no, I'm not ready," Philippe walked straight up to me, with a light in his eyes, and said, "Je suis prêt!",
-- the way that Philippe burst out of the water (never seen anything like it, so much energy) -- symbolizing his desire to just take off running in his new life
--playing Soeur Tupai's favorite hymn (the lower lights) on my violin.  I can't believe we were able to see this baptism together
Talk about the walls of Jericho falling down...Philippe is a completely different person.  He and Aline showed up at 9 o'clock Sunday morning (they've never come to all three hours since I've been here), I heard him pray for the first time ever (Frere Leterme asked him during Sunday School, I was so proud of him) and he attended Priesthood for the second time in his life... and just four months ago he was filled with doubts that seemed insurmountable... what a miracle.
His confirmation was beautiful, we definitely saw him wiping away a tear as his wife bore testimony... seriously, I love being a missionary.  These are just joys you can't explain.

Speaking of joys, Murielle also accepted a baptismal date!  We were pretty hesitant about it because we didn't know how she would react, but we decided together to take a leap of faith.  And she said yes!  She had a lot of concerns (like having to go under the water, that the water would be cold etc...) but she said yes.  Her progression lately has been astounding.  I really can trace it back to when she started counting her blessings...Soeur Liabeuf suggested that she start doing that, and it's made a huge difference.  She sees more and more the hand of God in her life, and that he really does love her:)
We found some new friends this week too!  Carole's two sons, Benjamin and Baptiste...they are adorable.  And little Baptiste said the closing prayer last night!
We also met our new mission president and his wife (the Babin's).  They are from Evry (south Paris) and absolutely GENIAL (awesome).  I'm excited to work with them for the last little bit of my mission!  We are going to see miracles for sure.
Well that's it for this week folks, until next time!

Soeur Hilton

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