Tuesday, September 10, 2013

Remember, Remember the 7th of September

Hey Everybody!
Welcome to another edition of Around Skellefteå in 8o Days, baptism edition! That's right, there was a baptism in Skellefteå, and let me say that words cannot describe the total and complete awesomeness that it was. I must give it my best shot, however (none of you would forgive me otherwise), and so I thought I would begin with this:

In case you're wondering, Hanna is the girl in white, and I am the man also dressed in white.
Ok, so now you've seen the photo, perhaps I should tell a little story to go along with this. So as you can see from this wonderful photo, the baptism went down, and it was one of the best experiences of my life. It was also one of the most memorable experiences Skellefteå has had in years, and not just because Hanna is the first person to be baptized in 2 years. To elaborate, this baptism is unforgettable because A) it was Hanna's baptism, and Hanna is amazing; and B) this baptism was one of those Murphy's Law baptisms; that is, lets just say that in preparing everything for the baptism, everything that could go wrong, did go wrong. It started on Wednesday when we went to go test the pump for the baptismal font.
(aka, the little yellow thing in the corner). So we turn on the water, and you know what? the water started coming out rust red. I kid you not, that water looked like the Nile after Moses got ahold of it. We figured out that the reason it was this particular color was that no one had used these pipes since 2011, and that they had rusted pretty badly in the meantime. Luckly, the water settled to the chapel's normal, slightly yellowish color after about 2 hours of running the water.
So fast forward to Saturday morning. We arrive at the church at 10:00 to start the water (keep in mind that the baptism was going be at 3:00). We turn it on, and head upstairs (the font room is in the basement) for about an hour or so. At 11 we come down to check the water, and are surprised to see that it is already half way full! Not wanting to have a cold font for the baptism, we shut of the water, deciding we'd fill up the other half a little later.
So we come back from the library, and start the water up at 1:00. Personally, I wanted to wait till 1:30 to do this (remember, it took an hour to fill up half way), but Äldste Knutsson wanted to err on the side of caution, so we started it up. Fast forward again to 1:40. After having been upstairs working on the stuff for the english group, I decide to go downstairs to check the font. Imagine my horror when I come down the stairs to see water flowing out from underneath the door of the baptismal room and halfway down the hall (where there luckily was a drain). I run and shut off the water, and call frantically up to my companion, saying "Äldste Knutsson, we have a problem!". Hesitantly, we opened the door to the baptismal room.

Imagine, if you will, this room (which extends for a good distance to the back) covered in water, and the font filled to the brim. Needless to say, we were a tad flustered, as we began mopping, draining, and praying. We managed to get the room mopped up 10 minutes before the members started arriving.
But wait, it gets better. So we tell the members our quaint little story, and they of course laugh. One of the members and I head down to look at the font. After seeing the water level (remember, we drained the font down a little), Fern decides that is now too low, and that we need to fill it up again. I disagreed, but relented and turned on the water. At this point in time, I have now changed into my white clothes, and Hanna has arrived. I go up to talk to Hanna, and Fern goes up to work on the luncheon for after the baptism. Everything seemed to be going perfectly...
        ...or so I assumed.
We started the program, and it proceeded wonderfully. We had a wonderful talk, and Äldste Knutsson played a fantastic musical number on the piano. Then came the time for us to head down the stairs for the baptism.
Guess what we saw?
If you said "water", you are correct! the baptismal font had overflown a second time! When I saw this, my first thought was honestly to look and see how Hanna was reacting. Much to my relief, she started laughing. I joined in with her, realizing that this was actually quite hilarious. The other members didn't quite think so at first -this was, after all, the first baptism they had had in over 2 years, and they wanted it to be perfect- but after a while, they began seeing the humor of it too. So they start mopping up, whereas I (seeing that everything was wet anyways) decided to just head to the font. I walked on in, and then proceeded to stand there for the next 5 minutes Hanna and I tried to convince everyone to put down the mops and sit down so we could have the baptism. Finally, we got everyone to take their seats, and the baptism was performed. Let me tell you, the moment I put my arm to the square and began to give the baptismal prayer, the feeling of the entire room just changed. The moment Hanna rose up out of the water, I had this overwhelming feeling of peace and love; I knew that this was truly the Lord's plan.
The rest of the program went swimmingly: one of the sisters gave a beautiful talk on the Holy Ghost, and Hanna bore a simple but stunning testimony. Everyone in the room was beaming: I don't think it could have been a happier day for anyone.
I'm not really sure what to say in conjunction to that, but I guess I'll leave you all with my witness that I know that this is God's church on the Earth today, and that through faith, repentance, baptism by someone holding the priesthood authority, receiving the gift of the Holy Ghost, and enduring to the end we all can make it back to be with our father in heaven. I know that Heavenly Father is proud of Hanna, and that He will help her, me, and all His children so that we can return to Him.
I love you all, and I hope you have a fantastic week!
Äldste Kody Christopher Ogaard
P.S. In all the excitement I almost forgot to wish my dad a happy birthday! Gratis på födelsedagen, Dad! I would sing the Swedish Birthday song to you, but sadly, one cannot do that over email. So I would recommend the next best thing: look it up (Ja Må Han Leva), and pretend it's me singing it. I hope you have an awesome birthday, Dad, and I love you!

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