Well this week has been nuts! So many ups! and sadly some downs! But hey that comes with the territory right?
So to start Monday we had 2 baptismal interviews, one for Yusixu, and one for Austin, I am so happy to say that they both passed with flying colors! They apparently did super well because when the district leader was finished he asked "what have you been teaching them?" I replied "the Gospel", and he was said "Whatever you have been doing keep it up, because I have never interviewed anyone more prepared then those two!" WHOA! crazy! but it's true they are both so prepared to be baptized! I can testify that their preparedness is not from mine or my companions efforts, but simply the Lord's and his preparation of a people, I simple get to act as his mouth piece, a calling i am so blessed to be entrusted with! It is a true honor to serve my Lord!
So speaking of baptisms....Yusixu was baptized!!!!!!! Oh my goodness, it was the most amazing experience ever! The testimonies of that family are insane! I would have to say that they rival some of the general authorities testimony, that is how amazing they are, and how much they know of the truthfulness of this Gospel. It amazes me just how much they were able to soak in, and understand in such a short amount of time! Mom and Dad Ren bore there testimonies at the baptism, and I haven't cried much on my mission, but dang I was having to fight tears back! Mom, who speaks the least English of them all, typed out her testimony and bore it in English so that we could all understand it. IT WAS PHENOMENAL!!!! At one point she began to weep, and sob. I dont know that there was a dry eye in the room, but when she regained her composure she said "I cannot express the joy I feel from this Gospel, the happiness and peace it has brought to my family is overwhelming, while my husband and I cannot join ourselves, I know that my Heavenly Father knows me, and he knows my families situation, he is proud of us, and he loves us, and I do not know how, or when, whether it will be in this life, or the next, but we will get our day, and my family, the thing I have the most pride and joy in, will be able to be united for time and eternity, we will spend our forever in the Kingdom of our Father, the Celestial Kingdom, to dwell there forever as one with our Father, and his Son, our Savior and Redeemer Jesus Christ." I have no other words to add to that, but my own testimony, we are all each truly known by our Heavenly Father, and by his Son Jesus Christ. They are there for us, at all times, no matter what, they are there. I recently have been looking back on the story of Peter. Specifically as he walked on water. We all know the story, but I think there is a greater level of depth there then we realized. Peter of course begins to walk on water, out towards Christ. His eyes are focused, he is on his way. But then it says Peter saw the wind (can you imagine how strong the wind must have been blowing to see it?) he saw the waves, and he began to sink. He took his eyes off the Savoir, he let the distractions of the world pull him under and away from the Savior. He let the trials and tribulations we each face take him away from the real importance of this life. But, here's where the story gets good, he recognized he was sinking, and rather than fighting, or struggling on his own, he simply calls out "Lord save me". At this point in time we don't know how far away the Savior is, in the beginning of the story it states "he was a ways off", and I personally cannot imagine that he was to much closer. But as soon as Peter calls out for him, he is there, he runs jumps, whatever he needs to do to get there in the very second, the very instance he needed him. He helps Peter up, and they return to the boat together. How often do we allow our eyes to be pulled away from the Savior. How often do we begin to sink, and rather than calling out for help, we are stubborn and fight, and struggle to keep ourselves up. It's a lesson we must all learn, it's a lesson I am still learning but I know that just like Peter, the very second, yes that very instance I call out for my Savior he will be right there pulling me up out of the darkness, pulling me back to my feet and back on the right path. It's a testimony we must all learn, but the Ren's know it, and I know it, we each continue to learn and grow with the gospel, but if it's a lesson you do not yet know then there is only one way to find out, and that is to get on your knees and to ask, to call out "Lord save me" and wait and see what happens next, you will be amazed at how instantaneous the response will be, the Savior is truly standing by your side, waiting to help you, but he wont do anything until you ask, so what are you waiting for?
So on top of this week, Austin passed his interview with the district leader, and president nelson, and he has now passed everything needed to be baptized this weekend! It is so amazing, and I have truly long awaited this moment for him! I can only imagine how much it means to him and his family! He is so terrific, and so ready to make this next step in his life! I am so proud and excited for him, but I know that his Heavenly Father is even more, his plan is at work at yet another one of his kids life and it is truly a blessing to get to see!
Well I dont have to much more time, but know that life continues on here, and it's continuing at a toasty 60 degrees, is it really February? I am not to sure! Thanks for all your love and support! and tell Ryan good luck this week! He will do great! I love you all so much and I miss you tons! Stay safe, and get your fill of Taco Bell in while I am gone!
Sister Kaycie Sondrup
p.s. transfers aren'tfor another 2 weeks, we get calls not this Thursday, but next, pray I dont leave! I am so not ready to go yet!