Glen Taylor (76 years old!) The stake President sons Ben Treadway baptized him. He's going to Italy Milan mission in January.
October 10th 2011
Well since Mom isn't here to read this one, I guess I’ll write it to the boys and Dad and I assume Ellie didn't get to go either so she can be among the first to read this one. It’s going to be a good one I hope. I have a pretty sweet story to tell today about some events that have happened in the previous weeks ending last night. It really has defined my purpose as a missionary and it was an amazing experience I will never forget. So a couple of months ago the missionaries in the Tongan ward were tracting and they ran into a Samoan guy with a Lao girlfriend. Well the Lao girl was the interested one so they tried to give her to the missionaries who speak Lao (even though she speaks perfect English or I guess I should say understands it) You see Manat (the Lao girl) is paralyzed from the neck down. She can't move anything but her head side to side. She can't even nod or anything. She has a lot of trouble speaking and you have to read her lips to understand what she is trying to say. Well the Lao missionaries didn't want to teach her. The Lao program here is dwindling to the point where they have 3 active members and a load of in active people who haven’t been to church in 20 years. So their main goal is to grow the group so the program doesn't get shut down. So when they found out about Manat they said no because she wouldn't be able to come to church ever so it would be a burden to their program. So Elder Taufu'i and Elder Seumanutafa started teaching her (the elders of the Tongan ward). She really desired baptism so they began working with her more and more and then they found out she would never be able to come to church. So they contacted me and Elder Manukailea, being their zone leaders, to find out what they should do. We didn't know so we talked to President Lewis and he asked if she was accountable and we said yes she definitely is all there, she is just a quadriplegic so she can never come to church. Well he said that anyone that is accountable, or alright in the head, has to have baptism or they can never go to heaven. So we continued on in the process of teaching her. The Lao missionaries found out she was getting baptized so they got all defensive but then they remembered she wouldn't be able to come to church so they again declined teaching her. Here is where it all comes together. So I had been to lessons with Elder Taufu'i and he has some spiritual connection with her because he can hear her talking even when I can't see her lips moving. She will be sitting there and he will start asking what and I would get all confused because I don't see her doing anything and he would be like oh she said she needs help because her head has fallen back too far and she can't breathe. It’s amazing. I've seen it time and time again in the lessons with them. So we went on and she had a date to be baptized. The date was supposed to be this Saturday but her family didn't know about it and they wanted to come so they did. This is where it all gets crazy. So the Tongan ward did the baptism program and first off it was amazingly spiritual to begin with. I don't know how many people have been to Polynesian functions but before the meeting begins they all just sit there and sing acapella hymns until its ready to start. So they were singing their hymns, singing my favorite in the process, How Great Thou Art, in Tongan and it was amazing. All the Lao people were already crying and following along in the hymn books reading the lyrics. So another thing. Elder Taufu'i's aunt married a Lao guy. Manat married that guy’s brother so they are randomly connected in that way. So we had the baptism. Her being paralyzed she needed a lot of help in the font so they asked me to help baptize her. I was with Elder Taufu'i who was holding her body and Elder Seumanutafa (who is Samoan) who held her head and said the baptismal prayer and I held her body and plugged her nose and mouth and helped push her whole body down so we only had to do it once. She was so scared but so courageous. After we all got changed we all confirmed her and she was saved after that point. It doesn't matter if she ever comes to church or anything. She has been baptized and received the Holy Ghost and is saved in the Kingdom of God. That’s what our purpose is. Saving Souls. Not growing a ward or group or keeping alive a dying program. Even better the guy conducting the baptism knew Manat, him being Tongan, but they lived by each other six years ago and he would pick her kids up from school. He said she was normal then and now she is totally different. But it was an amazing experience. Oh and for a musical number Elder Taufu'is aunt and cousin sang a song that was amazing and they both cried through the whole thing. I don't think there was a dry eye in the room. It was hands down the best experience and most spiritual baptism of my mission. Manat Soutsevang is saved. Other than that the rest of the week was kind of lame. We went on a few exchanges, one with the hmong elders who we live with and the APs. It was good and fun. Elder Manukailea goes home next week. This is his last week. It’s kind of hard being with him cuz it makes me think a lot about what it’s going to be like going home but that’s not for a long long time more. So I just work hard and forget about myself. So yeah. That was the cool thing this week. I hope it made sense and you enjoy it.
Love, Elder Tyler Pete Arnett