Hello again everyone!
It's only been a few short days since I last wrote, and not too much has happened. However, we were blessed to witness Ofa be baptized this weekend! And what a spiritual experience it was! Ofa was grinning from ear to ear as he walked out of the font.
I think the best part of the baptism happened during the feed we had afterward. While we were eating, Ofa's mum got up and spoke to us all. She talked about her experiences with the Mormon church she's had through out her life. She grew up in Tonga in a Methodist family that always studied the Bible together. For a while she attended Liahona College in Tonga, which is a church-run school. That was her first exposure to the church. When she came to Australia, the only church-going family she had here were aunts and uncles who were LDS. They were a great support to her, and a wonderful example. She has felt for a very long time that the church is true, but has been scared to join because of her family's tradition in the Methodist faith. For anyone reading this that knows anything about the pacific cultures, they'd know that everyone in Tonga is either Mormon or Methodist, and the families are always very strong in their faith. Hence why she feels nervous to go against the family tradition. But she's always pushed family members who are looking for faith or help in their life to the LDS church, though. That's one of the reasons why Ofa approached us. As she witnessed her son's baptism, you could tell she was touched by the spirit, and, during her speech, announced that she is going to join the church. This is such a wonderful miracle! I have great faith that Ofa's example will be instrumental in bring most of--if not all--his family into the gospel.
We had a really awesome experience this morning. I believe I've mentioned before that our mission has had a goal to achieve 100 baptisms this month. This is a fete that has never been accomplished before in Australia, and likely happens very rarely in the Pacific area. I mention that because the challenge came from Elder James J. Hamula, who is the Area President. We had a mission-wide conference call this morning with President Henderson. He spoke for a while about a few things before finally announcing the number we achieved. We could already tell we had achieved our goal, because he couldn't hide the excitement in his voice. He told us we hit 105 baptisms in June! After the president's remarks came a big surprise: Elder Hamula came on the phone to congratulate us on achieving our goal and to tell us how proud he was of us for working so diligently. It was a great experience to start the day off receiving praise from a general authority!
Anyway, I am really grateful for the Lord's blessings and tender mercies. What a great month Elder Bly and I had. I hope we'll be able to match this last month of my mission to it.
Love you all!