On November 4, 2012, André Perreira da Silva entered the waters of baptism and became a 'new creature', 'born again' in Christ. During the follow weeks, he became a member of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints as he received the Holy Ghost and the Priesthood of God. As he continued to progress in the Gospel, learning and sharing with others his new font of happiness, he had a goal; he yearned for the opportunity to hold his arm to the square and using the Priesthood of God that he had worthily received, perform the ordinance of baptism for someone else. On March 10, 2013, Maria de Fatima Perreira de Andrade entered the waters of baptism where André stood waiting to help her down the steps and perform her baptism! It was an incredible moment as I stood near the font, watching as two very special children of God, who I love beyond description, took important steps in their lives to draw closer to their Heavenly Father.
For one month now, we have been teaching Maria, Nataliany, and Raquel. All of them have embraced the Gospel with all their heart and soul. However, because of their ages, they needed to receive permission from their parents before they could be baptized. The weekend that they planned to ask their parents, my companion and I prayed and fasted for two days. I was positive that Heavenly Father would answer our prayers, soften the hearts of the parents, and on Monday when we showed up to talk to Nataliany and Raquel they would tell us, with smiles on their faces, that they had received permission to be baptized. You can imagine my shock as I left their apartment Monday night with their words echoing in my mind, "our parents won't let us be baptized". I walked in silence through the dark streets of Sousa, but in my mind I was having a heated conversation with my Heavenly Father; "How could you do this to me? Or better, how could you do this to them? Don't you want them to be baptized? Can't you see their desire? Didn't we fast and pray for a miracle? What was the point of my promise to them that if they fasted and prayed along with us that they would receive permission?" As this thoughts angrily replayed over and over in my head, a calm voice broke through the anger and said, "Patience, Courtney, I am the 'master gardner' I know what I am doing. I can see the full picture, and I know what needs to happen in your life, in the lives of these young girls, and in the lives of their parents. Have patience, and all my promised blessings will be fulfilled." It was a humbling moment to realize how foolish I was to be angry at God. Who was I to dictate what should or should not happen in my life? My Heavenly Father knows me better than I know myself, and He certainly knows what I need to experience to become the person that He needs and wants me to become. I know that as we trust in the Lord, and have patience in His promised blessings, we will become more like our Savior.