Monday, June 18, 2012

After the Manner of Happiness

We (the four sisters who work in the Ponta Negra area) had three baptisms scheduled for this Sunday.  The other two sisters had a teenage boy and a middle aged man, and we had our dear Orlanda.  Naturally, nothing went as planned!  Saturday night, we received a call saying that a Bishop in one of the wards in our Stake had passed away and that the viewing would be tomorrow morning.  Therefore, ALL church meetings were canceled for the morning, but sacrament meeting would be rescheduled for 5:00 pm.  Our baptisms were going to take place at 12:00 after the original meetings, but now they would have to happen at 6:00 pm.  The four of us sisters spent the morning running around to our different investigators that we had invited to Church and our three investigators that were going to be baptized, and informed them of the changes.  Thankfully, all three were fine with the changes and at 6:00 we had a marvelous baptismal service! 

I had never witnessed a 79 year old woman being baptized before, and to be quite honest I was terrified that something catastrophic might occur.  One brother who was already in the baptismal font helped Orlanda down the steps.  Then, I turned to our Bishop, who was also dressed in white to baptize the young teenager, and asked, "are you going to help Orlanda too?"  He replied, "No, I'm going to start praying!"  He then bowed his head right then and started praying silently to himself!  hahaha!  Believe me, I was praying too!  Everything went smoothly for Orlanda, and she came out of the font just beaming with joy!  When I asked her if she was happy, she replied that I didn't even know how happy she was at that moment!  It truly is miraculous to see the joy that the Gospel brings into our lives.  Everyday I have the opportunity to interact with a variety of different people.  All of them have one thing in common; all want to have peace and happiness in this life - but unfortunately very few know where to find this true happiness.  In 2 Nephi
2:25 we learn that the purpose of this life is for us to have joy.  Adam didn't fall so that we could all come to this earth and suffer and be miserable!  So then why do so many people suffer?  How can we have true happiness despite the fact that we live in a fallen world?  The answer is simple - through the Gospel of Jesus Christ!  We have the power to 'choose liberty and eternal life through the great Mediator of all men'.  We have the opportunity to apply the atoning blood of Christ in our lives that we may receive a forgiveness of our sins and that our hearts may be purified!  And, as King Benjamin so beautifully put it, "and moreover, I would desire that ye should consider on the blessed and happy state of those that keep the commandments of God.  For behold, they are blessed in all things, both temporal and spiritual; and if they hold out faithful to the end they are received into heaven, that thereby they may dwell with God in a state of neverending happiness!" (Mosiah 2:41)  We may not be able to control the world around us, but we always have the power to 'act for ourselves and not to be acted upon.'  By keeping the commandments and living faithful to the covenants that we have made with the Lord, we will be able to truly 'live after the manner of happiness' - true happiness - the kind of happiness that makes a 79 year old women as giddy and animated as an 8 year old girl!

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