I'm so sorry to hear that you got sick too! I seem to have passed it on to everybody. The sisters here are getting it one by one. They all have the same exact symptoms so I tell them just go to bed and sleep for 3 days. I am all better now. I even have started working out again. I hope you all get all better soon!
This week has been so good other than me being sick:) We met with Alex every day before her baptism to help her stay strong. She really was having a hard time with all the opposition she was receiving from her non-member friends at school and her family. Thursday night we had a meeting with her at the VC and she came and was joking around as usual, but then she was like, "I told Ethan (her friend who ended up baptizing her) today that maybe I just shouldn't get baptized cause it's just getting pretty hard and he gave me a lecture and told me to come to the temple and pray today so can you two go outside?" We all then went out and prayed together and then watched some Mormon messages and then spent the rest of the time just talking. I guess it helped cause she was all excited again for her baptism. She had gone all out and handed out invitations to everyone and had her program planned like a week in advance.
The day of the baptism came and I have to say that it's definitely up there with my favorite baptisms! The turnout was unreal! The entire chapel was filled. More people came to this than went to church! Beth and her husband came because their son Brigham was speaking and another investigator in the ward that the other sisters are teaching, Kalani, came and later told Alex that she was such an inspiration to him and makes him want to be baptized. She also had some non-members from school come to "support" her and even her grandma and little sister came! Apparently there was a lot of drama with that one and she almost didn't have anyone from her family come but her little sister Taylor wanted to come so bad so the grandma brought her. Alex looked so beautiful! She was sooo nervous at the beginning. After the baptism she kept saying, "wow, I feel so clean!" Even after the confirmation the next day she was like, "It's kind of eerie how clean I feel even now!" She bore her testimony after and just glowed of happiness. The line to give her leis afterwards was so long it was more like a graduation or a farewell rather than a baptism. Why can't every baptism be like that! Why can't everyone receive that much support and love from the ward and community? She is definitely more outgoing than most, but she needs that love and support so much and it was so great to see that. I think it was really great for her grandma to see as well. Her grandma was even smiling by the end!
It was such a great experience, but I wish that a few of the people that we had invited had been able to make it. A giant storm and flood was the excuse of many for not being able to come, including Nina. The storm was pretty crazy though. We had been getting flood warnings for the past few days and the rain really hit that night. One of the poles for the power lines near the PCC was actually struck by lightning and fell down, causing the power to go out along that road for 5 hours (including our pad) and people driving back to Laie from town had to stay on that side or drive around the whole Island to get back home. It was pretty insane. I'm so glad that things could work out for her special day regardless of the weather.
This week is the last week of transfers. It goes by so fast! Sister Cavalcante is finishing her training now and is all grown up;) I hope one of us gets to stay in this area at least. I love this ward and the people we are teaching so much! Nina and Beth have progressed so much from the time we first got here and I know that they could be baptized within the next few months for different reasons. There is always so much work to be done and I'm so grateful to be a part of it! I am so grateful for the scriptures and prayer and the power of the priesthood and for so many blessings that Heavenly Father has given me! My heart is full and I love my Savior so much! He truly is always there for us and blesses us with miracles continuously!
As for Christmas, I do still have the decorations from last Christmas and am excited to put them up this next transfer (can you believe Thanksgiving, Christmas and New Years is all in next transfer?!). I'm not sure what to ask for except maybe that recorder, and the CD of the Tabernacle Choir Christmas concert last year;) (apparently one of the missionaries serving here was a dancer in the show last year). I honestly don't know what else to tell you though. I do definitely want a lot of love in it:) I will love anything that is sent. You are the best family in the whole wide world! I love you and miss you all and pray for you always! Thank you for all of your prayers and love.
Les Quiero Mucho,
Hermana Rowley (Shayla)
Here are some pics from the Baptism. The last on is with her lil sister and grandma and Ethan