Tuesday, October 19, 2010

Ammon's Baptism... the Small and Simple Things

For Ammon's baptism back on August 7, I got him a baptism memories book. I've tried several times to get him to write in it, but it wasn't until two nights ago, that all on his own, Ammon pulled out his book and sat down to write about his baptism. If there's one big lesson I need to learn with this child, it's that even though he does need some prompting and prodding, he really likes to do things on his own time schedule! Anyway, after reading his sweet remembrances, I did some of my own pondering. And now, the writing...

About a year ago, we took Ammon to a gathering called "Eight is Great," in which all the children who would be turning eight during the next year were taught about the importance of baptism and some of the things that they could do to prepare themselves. We walked away from the evening with a little booklet of activities that we could do with Ammon to help him prepare. I had all the best intentions... I did pull out the packet several times and we certainly talked a lot about baptism during the past year, but I also did not complete some of the things I'd wished to do before it came time for Ammon to make his decision. Therefore, when it got closer to August and his 8th birthday, I started to feel a little bit of stress. Did I help him really prepare? Does he understand the significance of such an important step? Does he have a strong testimony of the restored Gospel of Jesus Christ? What if he decides that he doesn't want to be baptized?

Well, Ammon did decide to be baptized and it was a simple and beautiful experience for him and for me. I let go of all of my grandiose and magical expectations for my first child's baptism, and instead I realized that Ammon is an eight-year-old child and that he has an eight-year-old understanding of the Gospel and a beautiful eight-year-old testimony to go with it (when he wrote in his book what his feelings were after he received the Gift of the Holy Ghost, he described it in perfect eight-year-old terms: "My whole body felt like handwarmers" [I'm thankful for the inspired primary teacher who described the feelings that the Holy Ghost gives us in these terms because Ammon testifies that this is really what he feels]).

I also realized that this is but a beginning for him. He has entered the gate which will lead him back to his Heavenly Father (2 Nephi 31:17). This certainly does not make him perfect, just as I am far from perfect. We both need our Savior and His redeeming Atonement. We both need to plead for forgiveness when we make mistakes. We both need to make this part of our every-single-day lives. I've stopped stressing about whether I sufficiently prepared Ammon for his baptism. Instead, I feel grateful for inspired Church leaders who teach me the small and simple things that I can do with my family to assure that Ammon, and my other children as well, are prepared for life and its many challenges.

Sometimes, when I hear the giggling during a family prayer or the fights during Family Home Evening, or the apparent inattentiveness during scripture study, the natural man in me just wants to throw in the towel and call it hopeless (and I'll admit that I have done just this more than once). However, deeper within me is a strong and fast testimony that if I continue to make these small and simple efforts, my children will gain the firm foundation in Jesus Christ that will carry them through this life's many storms (Helaman 5:12).

Many small and simple things that happened before, during and after the baptism all added up to make it a perfect baptism day. The booming voice of Brother Franz teaching Ammon that his name was being recorded in Heaven twice on that day. The soft but sweet voices of all of Ammon's cousins (on the Zavala end) singing "When I Am Baptized." The inspiration that flowed when I prepared for the talk I gave. The wise words from Aunt Coyo telling Ammon to actually "receive" the Holy Ghost. The beautiful authority to act in God's name, the Holy Melchizedek Priesthood which Jacob holds and with which he was able to baptize and confirm Ammon. The support of all three of my sisters, their families, and especially my parents. The sweet words from a primary president testifying to Ammon that he is literally a child of God.

One more small and simple thing for which I am grateful: I was at Deseret Book about a month after Ammon got baptized and I bought a really cool plaque that now hangs on my my boys' bedroom wall.

I hope that it will serve them as a small and simple reminder of some very important ages and events in their lives. Eight - the age at which they can be baptized and make sacred covenants with Heavenly Father; Twelve - the age at which they can become holders of the sacred power to act in God's name, the Aaronic Priesthood; and Nineteen - the age at which they can become Elders in the Holy Melchezidek Priesthood and full-times missionaries who preach the restored Gospel of Jesus Christ.

It continues to be the small and simple things that will help my children to reach these important milestones. It was a beautiful experience and blessing for me to see Ammon reach the first of these important steps.

I'm thankful to have a husband who was able to worthily baptize
our son with the sacred authority and power of the Priesthood.

My big little son.

I want to share my life with them through all eternity...

Ammon loved having his best buddy cousin, Isaiah, here from Utah.
Isaiah got baptized just one month later.


The Finau Family said...

congratulations Ammon, hopefully someday soon we can all meet, because I have an Amone too.. Same name different language.. COngratulations to you Munyer family..

Chelsey said...

Another beautiful post. I'm glad to know I'm not the only one who gets frustrated reading scriptures:) Do you know which baptism sticks out in my memory most from my mission, Nancy's. When my children are baptized I try to always share that story, the rain, the beauty of the spirit and the songs.

munyer jerk chicken said...

Yes, LoyAnn, it would be nice to meet. Ammon will be excited to hear about your son, Amone. Do you pronounce it the same?

And Chelsey, I will ALWAYS remember Nancy's baptism. It was perfect in every way. Do you keep in touch with her through Facebook. I do and it sounds like she and Mathias are doing great.

Lora Stratton said...

You inspire me. Thank you for the reminders. I love you!