There was nothing particularly interesting about my feet, so I was a little confused when Nieves, a recent convert in Bolivia, said she was thankful for them.
“I’m so grateful for your feet,” she would tell us in the weeks following her baptism.
Nieves had readily received the restored gospel, but when we invited her to be baptized, she hesitated.
She explained that she suffered from a painful skin condition. When her skin touched cold water, it felt as if a thousand needles were piercing her pores. This condition prevented her from doing even ordinary tasks, such as washing vegetables or scrubbing clothing by hand.
We explained that the baptismal font could be heated, and we assured Nieves that she would be baptized in warm water. Her face brightened, and she chose to be baptized on Christmas Day. My companion and I told the branch president about her skin condition, and he said the font would be heated in time for the afternoon baptism.
When we arrived at the chapel for the baptism, however, the font had just been filled with extremely cold water! The frantic branch president explained that because of a miscommunication, the water would not be ready until much later.
My companion and I knew that Nieves wanted to be baptized that day, and we believed that the Lord desired the same thing. We found an empty room and prayed that He would help Nieves to be baptized.
We felt comforted after the prayer and decided to proceed with the service. Those who spoke before the baptism taught beautifully, but I was suddenly nervous when I heard, “Elder Nelson will now baptize Sister Nieves.”
I tried to hide my discomfort as I stepped gingerly into the frigid water. Nieves took my hand and lowered her foot toward the water. I braced myself for the worst, but Nieves did not shriek or even wince. She stepped calmly down the stairs and smiled up at me.
After the baptismal prayer, she lay back into the cold water. When I lifted her, she emerged grinning. I was filled with gratitude. To me, her baptism was a miracle.
The last time I saw Nieves, she said something that cleared up my confusion about her interest in my feet. She said, “I’m so grateful for your feet, which walked to my door and brought me the truth.”
I think of Nieves and her simple faith and gratitude whenever I hear these words of Isaiah: “How beautiful upon the mountains are the feet of him that bringeth good tidings, that publisheth peace; that bringeth good tidings of good, that publisheth salvation; that saith unto Zion, Thy God reigneth!” (Isaiah 52:7; see also Mosiah 12:21).