I turned 22 years old this week. That was a little unreal.
Especially when they brought out the "23 yrs old" cake and my eye twitched and luckily it was a mistake and NOT real life.
So I'm going to take you back in time just a tiny bit with my journal. Back when I wrote this:
"I'm 21 years old- this is my only year to be a missionary. I don't want to waste a single moment. This is the time! And I can make it just as this of Moroni: "Behold, there never was a happier time among the people, since the days of Nephi, than in the days of Moroni, yea, even at this time, in the twenty and first year." I was promised success before I came, so I look forward to what my 21st year entails!"
And then a month ago:
"I remember writing about how my 21st year of life would be the most memorable- turns out that was an absolute understatement. I saw more, did more, and believed more than I ever have."
This week I saw what it looks like to be transformed by the gospel through Brother Game. He quit smoking, drinking, wearing idol necklaces, long hair in a ponytail, the works, to be a member of this church. I saw him yesterday in his clean shirt and neatly done conservative hair and thought to myself, "I didn't tell him to do that."
It reminds me of the book "Our Search for Happiness" by Elder Ballard. He said that he met a man that had a life that needed to be cleaned up in every way. Each day they visited, he noticed something had changed. A clean apartment, cut his hair, stopped drinking... why? "Just thought it was the right thing to do."
This week my "younger brother never given to me in a normal American family situation" got baptized. AKA my Cornelius.
I have no pretty words to be able to describe what I saw, but it was indeed the best birthday present I have ever received to see someone I love so dearly get baptized. I'm sure all of you know who Joe is from Roi-et if you've ever read my emails before. Dome was my second promised brother.
And yesterday I saw him go into the waters of baptism, come out, and later find out he said to Elder Astle as they came back into the sacrament room after changing, "Why do I feel so different? I want to wear white every day."
He got up to bear his testimony and said, "I came to this point through my own willingness and my own faith in God. I know this is a good change for me, and will lead me to happiness. I am so happy I was baptized on this day."
And you know what? I can echo him.
"Behold, there never was a happier time among the people, since the days of [the twenty and first year], than in the days of [Sister Painter], yea, even at this time, in the twenty and second year."
It was, a happy birthday indeed.