Thanks for the birthday card. Brenda said that she got one from you too. It’s fun to have a cousin born on the same day. Sometimes we pretend that we’re twins. Because it was our eighth birthday, we had our party together with all the cousins and aunts and uncles. Everyone went bowling—and Grandma Richards won!
Then we came to our house and played games. We had a piñata, and Mom blindfolded us and turned us around and around before we could swing the bat at it. Brenda got too dizzy and knocked a lamp off a table. It didn’t break, though. Whew!
After that, we made our own pizzas. They looked funny, but they tasted great. Because our birthdays are in the middle of July, Brenda made a pioneer face on hers and I made mine look like an American flag. Scooter wanted to put chocolate chips on my pizza for the stars, but Mom stopped him. She let him put some on his piece of cake, instead.
We had one huge birthday cake. One half was chocolate, and the other half butterscotch. It had yellow candles, and Brenda and I blew them out together. We had ice cream, too, and I ate a scoop of pralines-and-cream for you.
Our baptisms are supposed to be in two weeks. Dad—oops! I mean Bishop May—is going to interview me on Sunday. Brenda says that she wants to wait until she’s older. I think that maybe I want to wait too. Maybe I’ll wait until you come home. Maybe I’ll wait till I’m old like Mr. Rockwell. That way, if I make some mistakes between now and then, my baptism will wash away all my sins from my whole life.
Getting baptized is a wonderful event. Of course I would like to be there for your baptism, but I certainly don’t want you to wait just for me. It’s too important! And there’s no advantage in waiting until you’re old before you’re baptized. In fact, Mr. Rockwell wishes that he could have found the Church when he was much younger so that he could have been baptized then.
You see, waiting until the end of your life to be baptized would be like waiting until the end of a baseball game before putting on your catcher’s equipment. Baptism makes us clean of all our sins, the ones both before and after we’re baptized, if we truly repent of them. Your baptism now will be a blessing to you throughout your life. And every time you take the sacrament, it’ll be like renewing your baptism.
And two other great things happen when you get baptized. One is that you’ll become a confirmed member of the Lord’s Church. The other is that you’ll be given the gift of the Holy Ghost to help you have a fuller, happier life.
A good way to learn how to use that gift is to bear your testimony. Elder Butler and I bear our testimonies to everyone we can. It gives us a wonderful, peaceful feeling.
I’m proud of you, and I’ll be thinking of you on your baptism day.
I read your letter to Brenda. We had a good talk, and she told me a secret. She’s afraid of the water because she can’t swim. She said that some people have to be put underwater two or three times.
Dad showed me how to make sure to go underwater completely so that it only has to be done once. It’s fast and easy! I showed Brenda how, and we practiced it. Now Brenda has decided that she’s going to be baptized the same day that I am.
Dad—I mean, Bishop May—interviewed me. We had a good visit. When he—no, then he was Dad—baptized me, Mom was so happy that she cried.
Your girlfriend Kelly came to the baptism. She said that she was proud of both her May men. She hugged me to prove it. She is a good hugger! Sorry, Reed, but you’ll have to wait till you come home for yours.
Sam came to my baptism too. He says that he wants to be baptized. His mom and dad want to know more about the Church before they let him be baptized. They’re going to talk to Mom and Dad. Maybe they’ll talk to the missionaries too.
Dad confirmed me in sacrament meeting. Rachel challenged me to bear my testimony. I said that I would if she did. Dad bore his testimony, and so did Mom and Natalie. But Rachel didn’t. I almost stood up. I got excited, and I wanted to say how happy I was to be baptized and to be a member. I wanted to say how happy I am that Heavenly Father and Jesus love us and how much I love my family. I wanted to say that I am proud of my brother on a mission. But the meeting was over before I got up. Then I was sad. Next time, I’m going to be the first one up, and I’ll say all those things.
(To be continued)