On St. Patrick's Day, we got to spend the evening with Shayla and her family. Bishop & Sis. Haws hosted a special dinner for her and some friends and family, and then after dinner we all went to the Stake Center for Shayla's baptism.
We've been so lucky to meet Shayla--it's like all of a sudden she showed up in our lives and it's been awesome ever since. Mitchell is the Ward Mission Leader and the missionaries told him at the beginning of this year that Shayla was interested in having missionary discussions. Her husband Victor had been deployed in Japan and while he was away, she started looking into joining the church. It's been an amazing journey for her, and for us to tag along and experience it with her. We were lucky enough to host several of the missionary discussions in our home. When my friend, Jenny, joined the church, I remember Sister Bess always had awesome treats after each discussion and she was a great hostess. So in my mind I remembered Brother & Sister Bess and tried to do everything possible to make Shayla's experience in our home a good one, and it just turned into a life-changing experience for us to be a part of it with her. My kids have felt the Spirit of missionary service. It's been awesome to have the full-time elders in our home so often and to become friends with them. It's been great to see my husband lead and get to conduct the convert baptism meetings. And most importantly, I will NEVER forget how it felt to hear Shayla say she wanted to get baptized. The look on her face as it sunk in and her excitement to take that step in her life was so WONDERFUL!
Elder Thurman, Victor, Shayla, Wendy, Elder Costello, Elder Page, Nancy, Angie
I'm so proud of Shayla and the choices she's been making. I know that the choice to be baptized and receive the Holy Ghost are milestones in our lives that must be made to return home to our Heavenly Father.
I got to help her make the program for the baptism and it made me cry when she asked me to speak at her baptism. The last time I got to speak at a baptism was when my little brother, Heber, turned 8. Tessa spoke on Baptism and did an amazing job, and I spoke on the Gift of the Holy Ghost. With the help of my fabulous mother-in-law, and my awesome mother...AND Mitchell, too, haha! I made my first rag quilt that week and gave it to Shayla at the baptism to help her remember the analogy of what the Holy Ghost or Comforter feels like. The service turned out great, and Shayla had so many friends and family there for her, plus great support from the ward. I was so happy.
The next day she got confirmed a member of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints, and one week later her beautiful daughter, Ali, got her baby blessing (Mitch got to be in the circle for both of those things, which was neat). I was so happy Victor got to be in town for these huge moments for his wife. I'm so happy for everyone who was involved, and I'm most happy for Shayla. She's going to leave our ward soon, and we are going to miss her SO much, but I know we will always be friends, and I'm so lucky we got to share this experience with her.