Tonight, Sister Christensen and I were privileged to attend our first baptism. When we arrived here two months ago, we were told that the Assistants had recently found and began teaching an investigator. President assigned us to attend the same ward as the assistants and we were introduced to Pete. He is a tall slender gentleman in his mid-forties. He seemed like his interest was genuine and sincere. After Gospel Principles class that first Sunday, Pete stopped and asked me a couple of questions that I answered and then gave him my phone number and told him to feel free to call me anytime if he had more questions. Over the next several weeks, Pete would call two or three times a week, sometimes with questions, and sometimes just to say hi. Pete called and asked us for a ride to church. He didn't have a car, which is not unusual here in Eugene. They have excellent public transportation. I soon learned that he was living with a girlfriend and she had no interest in the church. She also had no interest in marriage. He was left with a choice he didn't want to make.
Tonight, we learned more of his story. He had been best friends with two other boys since junior high school. One of them was a member. Through their association, one other had joined the church in high school. Pete wasn’t interested, but they continue to be friends to this day. He continued to read the Book of Mormon, he studied what the missionaries gave him. He prayed. He even got on the train and went to Salt Lake, because, as he told the elders, he wanted to see the temple. The temple square missionaries taught him, and he returned to Eugene. He made the decision to be baptized. It meant he had to move. In the process, he also had to find a new job.
Through it all, Pete continued to read and study, talk to the missionaries, the members in two wards now, and to pray. He made the commitment to be baptized. He moved with the help of two wards. Over the past few weeks, by my count, he has been taught by nine elders, two senior couples, the mission President and his wife, and a general authority who was in town for training, and went with the assistants and another senior couple to teach Pete when he was struggling a couple of weeks ago. Pete watched all five sessions of conference at the chapel. He attended two wards, that’s six hours of meetings for the past six weeks. He would ride to church with us, and then home with someone from the other ward. Tonight, in company with two wards and around 100 people who have come to love this gentle spirit, Pete was baptized by one of his best friends who flew out from Utah to be a part of it all.
I have been thrilled, humbled, and impressed at all the Lord has done for this good man. I am glad we were able to be here to be a small part of it. There is no where I would rather be. I love this work. I love this church. I love my Savior and being able to be a part of His work. I can’t wait to see what is next.