So many wonderful things were able to happen this week, and it was all incredibly powerful! God answered a lot of prayers, and provided for us in endless ways, I couldn't possibly count them all and put them in one measly little email. I'll do my best to give you a good idea though. :) It started with the wedding. I knew in my heart that things were going to work out because it was all happening so Charlie could get baptized, but in the mean time, it was scary! We borrowed an arbor from a member in a different ward, then some tool and bamboo posts from someone in our ward. We had planned to have the wedding on a certain beach that day, but when we got there the beach was FULL of people! So we walked down the shore for quite a ways and finally found a good place to have the wedding. We set up the arbor, bamboo, and tool pretty far away from the shoreline, but far enough away from the log the guests would all be sitting on that it wouldn't feel claustrophobic. Well, eventually, after everything was set up and ready to go, Charlie and the groomsmen showed up as well as the majority of the guests. The wedding was supposed to start at 7 pm, but their daughter took her dear sweet time getting there, and so it didn't start until 8. By that time, we had moved the arbor closer to the aisle a good 5 times, until finally it was strattling the aisle. When the ceremony finally did begin, the sun was at a perfect place, the wind wasn't overpowering, and the shoreline stayed where it was for some reason (not by chance. I was praying HARD that it wouldn't come up any higher till after the ceremony), but as soon as they said "I Do" and took a few pictures, the water rushed all the way up to the log the guests were sitting on. Here are some pictures. :)
|"This is where the arbor started ... Haha!"|
|"The arbor moved back a bit with the shore..."|
|"And this is where the arbor ended up. :)"|
|"Afterwards, this was the sunset while we had s'mores around a campfire. Pretty, right?"|
It turned out to be exactly perfect. As a wedding planner, I was stressed beyond belief the whole time, but I kept my cool and just did my best to make sure the bride and groom were happy. :) We had found a photographer for free and everything, so while they went off to take some pictures, we set up the campfire, played some music, and had a s'mores bar for the guests who wanted to stick around a little longer. That was a nice way to end the evening. Eventually, Mary and Charlie came back over to the fire pit and had some s'mores too, and we all just talked about how nice of an evening it was. Mary was glad to have it be over so that they wouldn't have to worry about it anymore. All we had to worry about now was the baptism and reception, and those would hopefully be much easier to put together...
We got to the church on Saturday afternoon to set up early for the reception, but when we got to the cultural hall and turned on the lights, there were intricate decorations all set up for what looked like a luau for a teenager. We were petrified! Where were we supposed to set up for the reception?!? Well, it turned out to be a graduation party, but they had it BEFORE graduation that day, so while we were in the young women's room filling up the font, this huge Polynesian party was going on! Someone came and found us and told us we HAD to join in the celebration, so we did. :) It was so fun! Lammi and I decided that we must marry into the Polynesian culture because it was just so much fun and it was normal to yell out and make noise and laugh like a crazy person. ;) That's just how I do. Haha! Anyway, they were done with the party and all cleaned up by he time the baptism started at 6, but before we went to finish getting ready for the baptism, the man who threw the party for his daughter told me he would leave his professional sound board and speakers up so we could play decent music at the reception. I almost cried. I was just planning on using my iPod and a dinky little speaker that I have, but there is no way that would have filled the cultural hall. I was so grateful! He left us a microphone as well as the sound system, so it made the reception feel a little more planned out and just a lot better altogether. It was great!
Before the reception, came the baptism. I cannot describe to you the immense happy spirit that was there. Charlie has been dying to be baptized for at least a year now, but he has had to wait because they kept putting off the wedding. After the wedding ceremony, he came up to me to thank me for all we were doing and he said, "I am SO excited..." as he said this a tear escaped his eye, "to be baptized." No one could deny that the spirit and angels were present at Charlie's baptism. It was so much stronger because Charlie had had to exercise his faith and wait for so much longer than normal to get baptized. But he remained faithful the entire time. After he was baptized, there was a huge smile on his face the rest of the time. It was priceless. Everything about that baptism was just wonderful. There were nonmembers there who felt the spirit just as strongly as I did - they were brought to tears as Charlie was baptized and then as we taught the Restoration. Families were there together, the children that were there were reverent and sweet, and everyone was just happy. It was a beautiful atmosphere, and I wish I could explain to you the feeling, but it's something you have to just experience for yourself.
I'll remember each baptism for a different reason, and this one will stay in my heart because of just how happy Charlie was. His spirits were lifted so much, and he had a peace and calm about him that can only be brought on by the spirit. On Sunday, he received the Holy Ghost. That was beautiful too. :) But the best part is... He received the priesthood yesterday too! Usually, you wait a little bit, but he had to get it right away because at the reception after the baptism, we asked their 10 year old son, Toby, what he thought about baptism, and he said he wants to be baptized! So he is getting baptized this Saturday, and Charlie is going to be the one to baptize him. :') It's such a cool blessing! I am so excited. We haven't taught Toby anything yet, so we are going over every day this week to give him the lessons and prepare him for baptism. It'll be pretty special to see Charlie baptize him only 7 days after his own baptism. I am thrilled. And so is the whole family and the whole ward!
Speaking of the reception, it went so well! I was shocked, because we had kinda forgotten about it since we spent so much time and energy worrying about the actual wedding, so when it magically all came together I couldn't help but be grateful and amazed at how much God blesses us. The relief society showed up during the baptism and set up beautifully for the reception, the bishop's son baked and decorated a cake for them, and we had the wonderful sound system. It came together beautifully! The important part is that Mary and Charlie were happy, and I think it was a success. :)
Altogether, this week was phenomenal. Yes, I had a major migraine on Sunday when it was all said and done, but it was worth it. I'm so grateful I was able to help put together their wedding, reception, and Charlie's baptism. I love planning, I really do. :) I also got to go to dinner with my dear Rowley's again, and then I got to work in the Vancouver 1st Ward for a day while Sister Lammi attended her end of the mission temple trip. I feel so blessed to have served in such wonderful areas with such wonderful people and such wonderful companions. My mission is precious to me, and I can't believe I only have one transfer left... 7 weeks are gonna fly, and that terrifies me, but the genuine happiness this gospel brings is eternal, it won't just last while I'm serving a mission. That's one of the beauties of it. We asked a recent convert this week why she decided to join the church and live the gospel and she said after she had read the Book of Mormon for the first time, "I had my testimony confirmed that Joseph Smith couldn't have made this up. And if that's true, I don't have a choice." If this Gospel is true, then we don't have a choice. We MUST live it. We have to do all we can to follow our Savior, and as we do that, we will feel the happiness that comes from the companionship of the Holy Ghost and the love of our Father in Heaven and His Son, Jesus Christ. I love this Gospel, and I will never forget the feelings I have had as I serve Him with all my heart, might, mind and strength. I would encourage you to do the same so that you might taste of the sweet joy that comes from it. I love you and I'll talk to you next week! Hurrah for Israel!
Sister Nicole Guilott
P.S. A few more. :)
|"You know who they are. :)"|
|"My District plus the zone leaders. Good group of missionaries for sure!"|