Our mission here in the Marshall Islands is basically one thing: service. That little word has a lot of meaning and has many hats for us to wear. Our official calling says we are serving as "Member and Leader Support" missionaries. We are to help and support the members as they fulfill their church callings. Our other big calling is to be the support for the eight young missionaries who serve on this island. We have six elders and two sisters who are serving faithfully on Ebeye. Their mission is to invite people to come unto Christ as ordained representatives of Jesus Christ. And that means that they are busy, busy, busy teaching, converting, and baptizing the people here in the Marshall Islands.
"John did baptize in the wilderness, and preach the baptism of repentance for the remission of sins. And there went out unto him all the land of Judaea, and they of Jerusalem, and were all baptized of him in the river Jordan, confessing their sins...... And it came to pass in those days, that Jesus came from Nazareth of Galilee, and was baptized of John in Jordan.", St. Mark 1:4-5,9,
As we read in the New Testament, just as in the days of old, in The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints we believe we must be baptized by immersion. This is a symbol of the death, burial, and resurrection of the Savior. In a similar way, it represents the end of our old life of sin and a commitment to live a new life as a disciple of Christ.
In the past six weeks since we have been in the Marshall Islands we have witnessed weekly baptisms. On Ebeye they have no font, so we all walk down to the water and they are baptized in the lagoon side of the atoll. Each week as I see this it reminds me of Jesus being baptized in the river Jordan. I will NEVER get tired of this scene....
|In front of the church before the baptism, with Elder Duford (left) and Elder Wilson (right)|
|inside the church building|
|at the church for opening exercises|
|Leaving the church we walk past the school and a few homes|
|and we are still walking|
|and winding through the narrow alleyway between the houses.....|
|and here we are at the lagoon site|
|some of the beautiful women|
|Crowding around to watch; to the right is Sister Whitney|
I will never get tired of this scene down by the waters. The baptisms take place on the lagoon side of the atoll as the waves on the ocean side would be too rough for baptisms. This also makes it an incredible and picturesque scene as the sun sets behind them.
|young boy getting ready for baptism|
|walking into the water|
|being baptized in the lagoon|
|entering the waters of baptism as the sun sets|
|President Seremai and us with a couple that was just baptized. |
One of the families showered them with strings of candy!