JOHN GOOCH GOT BAPTISED THIS WEEK EVERYBODY.
JOHN GOOCH. Known on 20 years worth of stacks and stacks of teaching records as "THE GOOCH" ...
Now to be known in the Banbury ward as Brother Gooch :)
MIRACLES ARE OUT THERE.
okay enough excitement let me tell you about this amazing miracle filled crazy hectic week and how we ended up having a baptism among a flood of other miracles
Monday we spent our pday with most of our district exploring Kenilworth Castle. I had been to the grounds before when I served in Warwick but never inside them. We had fun exploring the castle ruins and the gardens. And the elders of course had fun climbing the castle ruins. Then we got back to Banbury and did some glorious finding and just met so many genuinely nice people which means so much. We found 2 new investigators which was just amazing. Later that night we called Sister Jones and in the wisdom of her last night she said "when you find 2 new friends on a Monday night you know it's gonna be a good week!" She was right!
Tuesday morning we helped the Coventry sisters both get moved out and to the train station. Sister Olsen was off to be a new STL and sister Jones was off to head home! It didn't get real until that train pulled away and the elders looked at me and said ... well Sister Cebs looks like you're next! *tears* We headed back to Banbury and taught our beautiful friend Amina about the plan of salvation. It was glorious. Then we did a load of finding. We stopped by a less active member we had been really prompted to go see. She'd had an odd day off and told us that she usually is never in when missionaries have tried in the past. She teared up during her message and it was just such a confirmation that we had truly followed the prompting of the spirit to go and see her. Then we had dinner with the Walks and they made us homemade funeral potatoes. Like they literally shredded potatoes by hand because they wanted to make those for us. They told us a beautiful story about a horse they once had as we ate dinner. Then we dropped off a bike some other sisters had borrowed to a recent convert here named Rhiannon. She was baptised in January and she is preparing to serve a mission. So we gave her a copy of preach my gospel and just talked about what a blessing it is to serve the Lord and she just was glowing.
Wednesday we had this great lesson with John Gooch about prophets and specifically modern day prophets. We had a lovely chat and then at the end Sister Walk asked him if he had got in contact with his sister yet. And he mentioned that she would in fact be here this Saturday. And so Sister Walk was like well then let's still have the baptism then! And he just got this huuuggee smile on his face and asked if that was still possible... because let's be real after 20 years none of us wanted to wait until july! So we made some calls and then from there worked as hard as we could to make it happen!
Thursday we had the first district meeting of the transfer then afterwards we planned with the Zone Leaders for our zone conference trainings next week. We came back and had a lesson with John to go over baptism prep and the program for the baptism. Then we had to finish wrapping up our trainings for our first Zone Conference the next day. With the baptism and other appointments we hadn't had a lot of time to put anything together so we were a little stressed. Thankfully the revelation came right in the nick of time and it all came together quite beautifully.
So Friday morning we headed to the mission office for the Lichfield Zone Conference. We were able to give one training on the importance of follow up and another on increasing our work ethic. When we were thinking of work ethic we started thinking about superheroes and how they always work so hard despite convenience. So we came up with an acronym for how to be "super" missionaries! Simplicity Urgency Purpose Earnest and Righteous! We had a lot of fun going along with the superhero analogy and sharing this with the Zone. The last sister's here left all these bright notecards so we quickly cut everyone a superhero mask for fun. Hopefully it was memorable and fun amidst the hours of trainings! Then because it's my last transfer I was asked to give a departing testimony.. something that quite often starts with "wow I never thought this day would come..." thankfully I avoided that, but man was I thinking that! It was overwhelming to stand there and realise my time will come to an end soon and try and sum up what I've learned. Luckily it was an early Zone Conference and I've still got plenty of time left to learn more :)
Then we drove back and headed straight to our wards game night. We moved it to once a month so that we can have a better turnout and not waste any precious time. And three of our friends were able to make it along with many members! There was some good fun and fellowshipping. And also lots of screaming kids that made us even more exhausted!
Saturday was the blessed baptism day of John Gooch! Everything just came together to allow this to happen this week. He showed up to the church already in his white jumpsuit with a suit coat over it and a towel around his shoulders. He was ready and truly so happy to enter the waters of baptism! Being the missionary he already is he invited a friend and his sister to attend and they just loved the baptism service. We had the chance to do a musical number and the spirit was thick. Watching John get baptised was just a beautiful experience that I will always remember fondly. He even splashed around a little bit when he came up which was a side of him we hadn't seen before. As president McKee said last week, he truly is a special man. He bore a unique testimony after of the things that have led him to be baptised.
Teaching John I've realised it doesn't matter exactly how we come to know the gospel is true, it just matters that we have that witness for ourselves. We don't all have to have the same cookie cutter experiences or receive our answers in the same way. Sometimes we worry too much about feeling what others say they have felt or knowing in the same way someone else does. While we all learn from the spirit, we all feel and we all learn in different ways and that's how it's meant to be. And what a beautiful truth to know that the spirit can testify to us in such a personal manner.
And then as if we didn't already see enough miracles this week they just continued. And I know this is already long but you just need to hear these! #blessed
So we went Saturday night to follow up with a new friend named Dora. We'd been so excited about her when we met her but she hadn't been there for our set appointment. So we stopped by and got let right in and we see this beautiful 10 day old baby girl that is just adorable. And she tells us that she's so sorry she missed us because she got our note we left and she had been in hospital having a baby when we'd come by. And she said she was hoping we'd come again because she felt bad.. and we were like whoah you know someone is solid when the reason they missed your appointment is because they were giving birth. So with the sweet spirit of this adorable new baby in the room we taught a beautiful Plan of salvation lesson. Dora told us she went to church before and was taught a bit when she lived in Ghana. She left her Book of Mormon there and she said she always reads it when she goes back home to visit. She's sooo prepared.
Sunday we had a beautiful and another extremely hot day. John received the gift of the Holy Ghost and that was also just amazing to witness and the blessing was so personal to him. Amina was able to come to church and is just progressing so much. Later in the day we had dinner with the Walks and as we were headed Back to our flat we passed the Italian restaurant we ate at a few weeks ago and left a Book of Mormon with a waiter. Well we saw her walk out and pass by but she didn't hear us say hello. And then the owner saw us and called us over, having known lots of missionaries in the past here. It was just the owner and the waiters so he invited us in for some free ice cream to talk about how the work is going and how we are liking our missions and he was just so kind! Such a cool experience to sit and talk with all of them and enjoy some ice cream in the heat of the day.
Then we get out and we have some missed calls and we find out that we got a referral. Which doesn't happen too often so we were pumped. And then we listened to the messages and it got even better. This 18 year old guy from Banbury ran into the oxford elders a few weeks ago and has been being taught there as it's very close to where we live. He's just so solid and is progressing and is on a baptism date but then the elders found out he lived here so they passed him on to us so he can get baptised. So basically we didn't just get a referral, we got a new referral on a baptismal date!!!! WHAT?!? We called him and talked and we are just stoked to meet him soon. Getting a referral is rare, so getting one on a baptism date was literally unreal.
GOD LOVES US. honestly we have just been blessed sooo much this week and I have no idea what we did to deserve all of these blessings. As I sit here in England I am absolutely humbled and testify that this truly is the Lord's work. None of this would be possible if it wasn't. The Banbury font was full this week, but our hearts are even more full with the love and joy the gospel brings. Being a missionary is the best choice I've ever made!
Love you all!
Sister Cebollero xx
P.s. 17 months ago today I left America...😱
I forgot that eggs from the stores in America are white this week. Lol they're all tan/brown here and the Walks mentioned them being white and bigger in America and I literally was so confused.
The amazing John Gooch was baptized!
John's sister came to see his baptism!
It was a very sunny beautiful day for John's baptism
Sister Cebollero and Sister Nelson
The Elders had fun climbing on the castle walls!
Lichfield Zone Conference
Superheroes at Zone Conference