Yolanda. Got. Baptized. Those words feel so good to say. She talked to me a little after the baptism and also while we were at their house for dinner yesterday. She, along with her brother in law who baptized her, told us a pretty cool story.
Yolanda´s husband, Marco, has a brother named Victor who lives in the middle of Chile. He was worried about Marco and the direction his life was going and so he got a message into the hands of the elders here in Ancud this past September and asked if they could start to visit his brother and reactivate him. They started visiting, but had very little success. They ended up offending them and were not really ever received again. Elder Cluff visited them with his last companion and never really had any luck either. Then I came along and something about the Cluff/Rich combo just clicked. My first lesson with the family we were all laughing and Yolanda participated in the lesson for the first time ever. She said something was different this time and she knew she needed to be baptized. This is a woman who has had a relationship with the church for years and years through friends and family who are Mormons and has been to church a million times.
She didn’t have a chance to bear her testimony on Saturday after her baptism or Sunday during sacrament meeting, which was fine by her because she is very casual and reserved. However, during dinner she surprised us all by asking if she could share her testimony with Elder Cluff and I because we were “the angels that brought her to this beautiful moment.” Her two daughters, who are still not members, got to hear it as well. She talked about how she has always been a good person, been involved with a church and noble causes, had a healthy family, and tried to have a relationship with God, but as much as she tried to deny it, she felt incomplete. She said we arrived and changed her perspective about the church and she decided to give it one last shot.
She said at her baptism she didn’t feel like some crazy feeling, but she said she felt a little different. She said during her confirmation, she felt nothing. It was just quiet. She was disappointed at first, then realized there were babies crying and screaming, diesels passing by outside, and lawnmowers too, but none of that registered because the only thing she could hear was Victor´s voice saying, “Receive the Holy Ghost.” She said she knew without doubt in that moment that she was complete. And for the first time, I saw Yolanda cry. I felt God´s infinite love for her as I watched the tears stream past the smile she could not repress.
I thank all who were a part of making me the man and the missionary I needed to be for this family, and the families I have still yet to meet. May God bless you all in your own endeavors and search for eternal happiness.