|This was the photo of Pink that was on the table as you walk in. There was a sheet next to it where you could sign your name to show you attended her baptism.|
The meeting began shortly after we were ready. It was a stake baptism so Pinkleberry was being baptized along with another girl from our ward. Her mother and I planned the program together. And then new little boy recently moved into another ward in our stake, so he was there too, at the last minute. Our bishop K conducted the meeting.
For the opening song, we sang "I Am a Child of God" (Pink's pick)--I conducted and Wiyah accompanied. Then Kelvinator gave a sweet and thoughtful opening prayer. X gave a talk on baptism. It was one of the best (maybe THE best) talk on baptism I had heard. I'm not going to lie. Sometimes baptism talks are hard for me because the same things get repeated and I find it difficult to find new things to apply. But he really captured my attention and said things in a way that sparked new thoughts and opened windows of understanding for me. One thing in particular that stuck with me was when he talked about the memories he had from his own baptism. He said that after he was baptized, he felt "at ease" (among other things). And when he was elaborating on that feeling, he described how he felt better knowing that the mistakes he knew he was going to make, were already taken care of between baptism and the weekly renewing of Sacrament covenants. I'm not expressing it the way he did. I can't remember exactly. But in my mind, I thought that the word I would pick to describe what he was saying was "relief." And really, that was a new thought to me. But I immediately started thinking about the temple and about how devastating it must have been for Adam and Eve to have to leave the garden and the presence of God and how relieved they must have felt when they understood about Jesus Christ's atonement and the plan of salvation. Up until that was revealed to them, they only knew about the consequence of the transgression. They didn't know that there was a way prepared for their return. Anyway...some of the thoughts X's talk sparked in me. I thought he spoke with authority and with the spirit. It was lovely.
Then a young woman from our ward sang "Come Unto Him." Wiyah accompanied. It was very sweet. I really love the words to that song.
After that, it was time for the baptisms. Pinkleberry was first. So I led her to one side of the font and JJ and the other men went around to the other side of the font. They got into the water and I was very nervous for JJ! But he just calmly took a minute to get Pink situated the right way and then he began. As soon as he started speaking, I just settled right down. He spoke slowly and clearly and with the authority of the priesthood he holds. My priest! He said the words of the ordinance perfectly and then very gently lowered Pink into the water. In fact, he was being so gentle that I worried she wasn't going to be quite fully immersed (and I was a little worried about that because she's not great at being under water and I didn't want to have to do this again.) But it wasn't a problem. JJ was so gentle that it was more like placing her under the water, rather than dunking her. She was fully immersed, just barely beneath the surface.
And when she came up out of the water! She was just all smiles and bursting with happiness. I wish I could find words to capture the difference. She had been happy all morning and was happy and smiling going into the font. But coming out of the water, she was exuberant. I quickly grabbed a towel for her and we stepped aside so she could see her friend be baptized. And then we went into the changing room to get her dried off and back into her Sunday clothes. She was so excited. She said she wanted to do it again! When she was ready to go, I had her stay in the changing room and I left to go get Wiyah who was playing interlude music. I traded with Wiyah and played a hymn on the piano while she went into the changing room with Pink. We had worked this out earlier because Wiyah had gotten a special gift for her little sis. It was a necklace with a pendant that says "Holiness to the Lord." Wiyah had asked me to put it on Pink, but I thought it would be more special to have Wiyah do it herself. So that was why we had tag team piano playing!
I sat back down with Winkleberry on my lap. She was very upset. Last week she was sad that everyone else had a job to do at the baptism but her. And I told her that after Pink's baptism, she could come back with me and help Pink dry off and get dressed. I had totally forgotten. Pink was already done and Wink was near tears. So I told Wink that she could help me lead the closing song.
The other little girl's grandmother gave a talk about the Holy Ghost and then it was time for confirmations. Pinkleberry was first again. So she and the Hubba went up and he laid his hands on her head and conferred the gift of the Holy Ghost to her and gave her a blessing. BitBit was in the circle and so was our good friend, Cesar M. (We've known this family since we first arrived in Utah and they travelled long ways just to be here for this. They also came down for Baboo's missionary farewell.)
The other little girl was confirmed and then the last little boy was being confirmed by grandfather, I think, who is an emeritus seventy. He spoke for just a minute before hand about the Holy Ghost and what a grand meeting it would be if we had time to share our experiences with the Holy Ghost.
The closing song was "My Heavenly Father Loves Me" (Pinkleberry's Pick). I took Winkleberry up there with me and grabbed a chair on the way for her to stand on. I put her right in front of me and helped her lead the music. The bishop's wife told me later that she thought it was so sweet that she got all teary and couldn't even sing the song. (The bishop's wife and Wink have a very sweet relationship. She has 4 boys and her youngest is just a year old. Winkleberry loves to go visiting at her house and play with her baby. The bishop's wife likes to do "girly" things with Wink that she usually never gets to do because her kids were all boys. Almost every day, Winkleberry asks to go over and play with her!) Then there was the closing prayer and I got started taking lots of pictures!
|BitBit showing Pinkleberry how Maori men greet each other--forehead to forehead while inhaling deeply.|
|My in-laws came home from their mission to New Zealand a few days early for the sole purpose of being here at Pink's baptism.|
|What I love about this photo: Wiyah's arm around X. JJ's arm around Wiyah. X's arm around Wiyah. Mack completely wrapped up in Kelvinator's emrace. JJ's hand on Wink's shoulder.|
|The only thing that changes in this photo is X's and Baba's expressions.|
|Walking home from the church, JJ was holding hands with the little girls and jumping and running and just playing with them.|
|After everything, we all went out to lunch at Rumbi Island grill.|
After we left the restaurant we stopped in at our office just to have a quiet place to sit while BaBa and BitBit presented Pinkleberry with the traditional gift of a full quadruple set of scriptures. She was thrilled. And while the rest of us sat and chatted for a little while, she dutifully got to work marking the first few verses of Genesis chapter 1.
It was a great day!