He came in new suit to show proper reverence for his baptism day.
He is a student here and was introduced to the gospel by our Chinese-speaking Elders. Here is another really lovely part to this story: he was baptised by Siti, now his friend in the Ward - who was baptised almost a year ago himself!
And is that all? Nope. This is Neil's good friend, Raker. He has been meeting with the Elders and now has a baptism date in April!
He's another truly charming, articulate man. I was speaking to both of them when we were together the other night. I asked Raker about his family. "Well, there are just three of us...my parents and I". I had forgotten Chinese law about parents having only one child. Neil said his family was the same.
Seeing both these endearing young members made me so sad to think they had no siblings. The freedoms we take for granted.
Raker says the laws have changed now so a man and woman who were both 'single children' are allowed to have two children.
One of our children sometimes asks, 'Do you feel like being spontaneous?' Well, Friday we held the most successful 'spontaneous' YSA gathering we've ever had. And I had almost no faith it would work!
A few days earlier, we had received an email from Elder and Sister Foote, European Directors of the YSA program. They were coming to England for the dedication of the new Manchester YSA building. "Would it be possible for us to get together with some of your YSA's in Preston so we could meet them?" My internal reaction - "What?? You can't get students together at a moment's notice! They have classes, studies, projects due, dates, lives! This could be a disaster with 2 people and us showing up!" (like in those 'responsibility nightmares' you sometimes have)
Luckily I didn't voice ALL my fears to my eternally optimistic companion. He emailed assurances back to Elder & Sister Foote. Then we bought eight pizzas, made fruit salad, baked cookies, threw in a table cloth and some flowers...and Kiera sent out a facebook invitation. And...this is who came!
Oh ye of little faith, Sister Meese. Not only are there 30 people pictured, but five of them are investigators! The Footes (why doesn't that sound right?) are in back; the other 'older couple' in front are our stake YSA advisors. The Footes turned out to be delightful people, joining in all the games and visiting easily with all the YSA. And they couldn't quit exclaiming about our amazing young people. : )
Okay, the building dedication I mentioned? Sunday evening in Manchester, and I think there must have been close to 400 people there! By the time we arrived with Neil, Siti and Raker, the chapel was full...as was everything up to the fourth floor (floor 5 in USA)- where we watched the meeting on a large flat screen. Elder Christofferson spoke and gave the dedicatory prayer.
That building is going to be a major blessing to the whole mission!
Hey, we also just got another new senior couple (making fifteen!). They're the Cunninghams, from....(fanfare) England!! They drove their own car here so they got to bring their bread maker, etc. They're delightful to listen to. Every locale (I swear it changes every ten miles) has a different accent around here.
Oh, and speaking of Seniors, four couples recently took advantage of one completely sunny P-day, had a picnic lunch and toured a local estate. It sure was fun to touch base with each other.
Well, time to close again. But here's a fun photo to end. This is our cute little hair dresser (key word - 'little') She comes right to our home to cut our hair. She just cuts it dry. She's also hired to give hair cuts to all the missionaries coming through the MTC here.... just to sharpen them up a bit as they go into the field. She gets seven minutes to do each Elder at the MTC. Unfortunately, sometimes the ones they get out in the field with their limited funds look like 'two minutes each'! * sigh *
Well, have a wonderful week. And I'll soon have pictures from the next Preston baptism! Yahoo!