Sunday, January 31, 2016

Freezing cold, Anika's baptism, successfully failing

Sister Beus and me with Anika -- just before her baptism
January 25, 2015

Super fun week! 

-potluck for a ward activity
-records for lowest temperatures in Tainan
-Anika's baptism! 

So freezing cold!

Freezing Cold
I didn't believe it could get so cold on this "tropical island" I'm living on, but sure enough winter has finally come! 

The Taiwanese are really not accustomed to cold, so of course everybody is freaking out, giving us bags of scarves to take home and recipes for how to make ginger tea. As we were emailing just now, all within 5 minutes, 3 different ward members called to make sure we had enough blankets in our house. 

Called and asked Sun Mama if we could visit her last night
and she said,  "Sure, but it's so cold that I'm not getting of bed."
So we just joined her!

Anika's baptism
But Anika was a trooper and got baptized on apparently what was the coldest day of the year! She was super cute and was dressed in her baptismal suit and wearing boots and all wrapped up in a scarf.

Anika dressed for her baptism
on the coldest day of the year
As missionaries, we try to plan carefully so that the baptismal service can go smoothly and can be a spiritual highlight for the new member and all those who attend, but they usually never go as smoothly as we hope... As was with Anika's baptism. 

I tried to account for everything that could possibly go wrong, but this was one thing I didn't anticipate. The elders' recent convert blessed the sacrament for the first time yesterday and it was also his first time baptizing someone. So he was very nervous. He memorized the prayer and where to hold his hand, but somehow it wasn't communicated clearly to him that after he finished reciting the prayer that he was then supposed to actually help, well, baptize her. 

Newly baptized Anika:  radiant!

It was already a rough start for poor Anika because she took her glasses off to be baptized so she had already fallen into the font when trying to step in and was pretty embarrassed by yelling her natural reaction when stepping into the water "wow it's so warm! I'll just stay in here and never get out!". Then to top all of that with everyone already laughing at her, she was so obedient and did exactly what we told her to and bent her knees and leaned back after he said "amen."

But he didn't help immerse her into the water at all, he just stood there! So we all stood there and painfully watched Anika in slow motion practically try to do a backbend into the water and with no success, just falling and bobbing around like a little ball in the font. But members started telling him what to do, all of this going on while a sister from the Relief Society started reading off a number from her phone, trying to give me a referral... I answered as politely as I could "Sorry, I'm a little busy right now" and the second time was a success! It was quite the baptism. Despite that things didn't go as planned, Anika's baptism signified her covenant with God and she was radiant.

Successfully Failing
I enjoyed studying another BYU Devotional this week by President Worthen about failure, "Successfully Failing: Pursuing Our Quest for Perfection". He talks about how we focus too much on the word "perfection" but not enough on the word "quest". 

We often hear the scripture in Abraham 3:24-25 about how our time on earth is a time to prove ourselves to God that we'll do all things that He commands us. Usually we think of the word "prove" meaning to demonstrate something that already exists, but it also has another meaning: to find out, learn, or know by experience. That changes the meaning of that scripture a lot for me; this life wasn't designed for us to demonstrate to God how obedient we already were before we came to earth. 

So proud of Sister Beus contacting people
President Worthen says "God formed this earth so we could prove ourselves in the other sense of the word -- so we could find out, learn, or know by experience; truths that we did not already know and that we could not learn in any other way." We could not have remained in our premortal condition, memorized all the attributes of godhood and then take a written exam to become like our Heavenly parents. 

Leaving little messages to thank our members :)
We come to this earth so we can learn how to incorporate these attributes into our character. He then cites some studies from the Harvard Business Review Failure Issue in 2011 which I found really interesting about how not all failures are created equal. In her "Strategies for Learning from Failure", HBS Professor Amy Edmundson discusses that there are essentially 3 types of failure:

- lack of precision in routine but important matters
-inevitable results of complexity in processes
-researchers try to push frontiers of knowledge

Some of these are preventable, some of these are out of our control but can be managed, and the last type of failure is good because it can accelerate our learning process. 

It's interesting to apply this to my life and to try to make similar distinctions in my daily efforts. Things that we should do practically perfectly and eliminate all failings in are daily prayer, scripture study, and church attendance. If we are doing this, then when the other 2 types of failure come, we'll be able to deal effectively with them. 

I learned a lot from his speech and have been trying to figure out things that are just my fault and that I can do a better job of preventing, or staying patient when realizing things are out of my control.

All my love!

Sister Sinclaire Hancock

Yummy leftovers given to us by members

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