Dearest friends and family, mostly friends because the family heard all of this when I called them yesterday (#twiceayear #missionperks), this week has been spectacular. And full of miracles. Legit ones.
A miraculous thing happened yesterday. And I want to quickly relate the story that led up to it.
Elder Lopes and I have been teaching Socorro and two of her sons, Luigi and Carlos, since I arrived here in Brockton. And when it came to their baptisms some wrenches were thrown in the way. Two weeks ago, Luigi and Carlos stopped answering the door for us. This was scary---we usually meet with them every day after school. Eventually we got to Saturday, when we meet with Socorro, and they still hadn't talked to us. Socorro was interviewed for baptism that night, but felt she hadn't completely adhered to the Word of Wisdom (health principles of the church) and wanted another week to prepare. That night we talked to Luigi and Carlos about what scared them, and it was baptism. They felt too young, they felt like they didn't know enough, and when we asked about the Restoration, they weren't sure about it. We made a compromise with them: we can't help you if you don't talk to us, so open the door for us and we'll get everything resolved. They agreed.
We met with them every day this past week. We turned their apartment into a maze to teach the role and power of the Holy Ghost. We played Post-it pictionary to demonstrate the apostasy from Christ's original church and how the original picture needed to be brought back, not simply redrawn or reimagined. It came to friday night, three days ago, and we were sitting in the hallway going through the baptismal questions with them. We came to Joseph Smith and the Restoration and asked them if they believed. And they said they did. Luigi said he didn't know why really, just "had a feeling". Carlos just said he believed it. And so we finished the questions and asked them if they wanted to be baptized. Still, they weren't sure. Then this thought came to my mind, and we expressed it to them. "This sunday is mother's day, and your mom is getting baptized."
A little light turned on in Luigi's head I think, because he said out of the blue: do you think we could make it a surprise? Do you think we could get baptized but not tell her until right before?
And we said.... OKAY! Carlos concurred, and thought I thought it was pretty audacious to try a surprise baptism we decided to do it. They were interviewed 30 minutes later, and the next evening we interviewed Socorro. Sunday arrived and we made the programs with all three names on it, careful not to show Socorro, who still believed she was the only one getting baptized that day. After church the members gathered in the cultural hall for the baptism and Socorro went to go change into white. We took Luigi and Carlos to go get changed and prepared. And then Socorro was waiting in the room with the other members, we stood out in the hall with Luigi and Carlos. "Ready?"
Elder Lopes walked in first and told Socorro, "we have a present for you for Mother's day today."
And I followed Luigi and Carlos into the room.
When Socorro turned and saw her sons, dressed in white, walking towards her, it was like getting hit by the Spirit train. She started crying and embraced them as me and E. Lopes just watched beaming. I looked at the members and most of them were crying too... it was the most beautiful expression of motherly love I've ever seen. Pure joy at the thought of being baptized with her children.
Elder Lopes baptized Socorro, and I baptized Luigi and Carlos. When we walked in and I saw her face, it was one of the sweetest feelings I've ever had. I know this work is true. There were a million ways for our surprise baptism to go wrong, but every piece fit perfectly. It was a miracle. HAPPY MOTHERS DAY.