[We have been humbled and yet grateful for the unexpectedly sad and tender experiences of Katelyn's first investigator to accept a baptism date. We will remember him, his family, and the members in Moncks Corner who cared for him. The letters have shared this unfolding story.]
I guess I'll start with the most exciting thing that happened- we have someone on date to be baptized! Last night, Sunday October 20, we went to visit a recent convert that we love. She has a friend, Bobby, who she's kind of dating. He's been in and out of the picture since I got here, but he's come to church fairly regularly, and he's been reading the Book of Mormon a little bit every day. Last night when we stopped by he was there and he asked us what he had to do to be baptized! We were very excited to tell him everything he needed to know. He's scheduled to be baptized on November 16, but we're going to try and move it up to November 9, since we'll be up in Irmo with the apostle on the 16. We're very excited for him. Sister Bell was so happy when we left our friend's house. So now we're going to do our best to help Bobby get a testimony, I don't think he really understands or believes in our church doctrine, but he likes the church and he wants to be a part of it. We're very, very excited to teach him.
After Sisters Conference [on October 22, Katelyn's birthday], we got our new car. Elder Fenton told us to take the new one, and to give our elders our old one. . . . We didn't get on the road until about an hour later than we were expecting to. And then before we could get to the interstate our gps died! We got so lost. Finally we stopped at a Wendys to get some dinner and someone there gave us directions. We didn't get back to North Charleston till almost 9:30. The elders weren't very happy with us, they had to wait at the church for us to bring them the car for about two hours. We were really disappointed that we weren't able to teach Bobby that night.
And then Wednesday afternoon we got a call from his friend in the ward telling us that Bobby had been in a serious accident at work. He had been in the bed of his truck unloading something, when a lady hit his truck, and he went flying out. She completely totaled both cars. Bobby broke every bone in his face, and several ribs. He was in a coma for a few days, but he'll be ok, but it's going to take awhile for him to heal. So things with him are kind of on hold for now. He's down in a hospital in Georgia, which is where the accident was, but hopefully he'll be moved closer to here soon.
Halloween night we had to be in our apartments early, by 7:00, so Sister Bell and I used that extra two hours to start redoing our area map, because it badly needed to be updated. We were right in the middle of that when we got a phone call from one of the members of our ward. She told us that Bobby's friend had just called her and told her that Bobby wasn't going to come out of his coma, so his family was going to let him go. We were absolutely shocked, since the last we'd heard, he was going to be fine. We immediately called his friend, and we had a very emotional phone call with her. We found out yesterday Bobby's family is waiting for a second opinion before they let him go, but he's basically gone.
Having an investigator die is something I never expected to have happen to me on my mission. At first I really didn't know how to handle it. And of course, Sister Bell and I both immediately started talking with each other and with our friend about the plan of salvation, about how Bobby can still be taught and baptized, and about how God knows what He's doing and everything happens for a reason. But at first just saying all that didn't really bring me that much comfort. But as I've prayed about it, and as we've talked about it with other people, those words have begun to bring comfort. Especially driving home from ZTM, when Sister Bell asked me how in the world we were supposed to share a postive, uplifting email with our family when we'd had such a tragedy this week. And as I told her "We'll tell them that while we won't get to teach Bobby, other missionaries will, and while we won't get to baptize Bobby, he will still be baptized," the full meaning of those words finally hit me. And I felt so at peace. And although it's still very sad, and I'm still disappointed that we won't get to teach Bobby and see him change and see him accept the gospel, he will still have that opportunity. And at some point on my mission, I will have that opportunity to teach and to baptize.
In a way I've kind of already had that experience, with another sister in the ward who has come back to church. We had dinner with her on Friday night, and as we were talking with her, she told us how much happier she is now that she's coming to church. And she said that if it hadn't been for us coming by so persistently and for her member friend encouraging her, she wouldn't have come back and she wouldn't be as happy as she is now. When she said that, it made me so happy! If for some reason my mission ended right now I could go home happy, knowing that I helped one person to find the joy of the gospel again. Moments like that really do make all the other hard times worth it.
Tuesday afternoon, we found out that Bobby had passed away. We knew that it was just a matter of time before we got this news but it was still very sad. His friend went down to Savanna to see him, and when she got there the lady at the desk informed her that he had "expired" the day before. She was the first one to find out. . . . It was really hard for her, but she's hanging in there. His heart just stopped, which in a way was good. . . . At least this way he went on his own. It's been kind of a bittersweet weekend, because this was the weekend he was scheduled to be baptized.