[Papa Rich, Nanajan, and Connor on his confirmation day.]
Here's a message from me, Laura, the big sister who keeps the blog:
When Elder Rife left on his mission, I told him that I thought it would be cool for one of his converts to be his nephew, my son, Connor. I asked him to write in his letters to Connor basic gospel truths and his testimony so that together we could teach Connor and prepare him for baptism. Michael and Connor have exchanged letters over the past 7 months and Michael always shares his testimony. He sent him a letter a few weeks before his eighth birthday with a perfect explanation of the gospel of Jesus Christ. As a mom it means so much to me that my baby brother on his mission is corresponding with and teaching and testifying to my oldest son who is baptism-age.
When we planned Connor's baptism (which took place during our Disney Cruise with the Rife family) we decided that Nana would give a talk on the Holy Ghost and I would give a talk on baptism. I decided to delegate most of my talk writing to Elder Rife. I asked him to share his testimony and share what he would share with an investigator.
Elder Rife sent back the perfect message for a baptism talk. I want to share it here on his mission blog so that you can see how Michael has had a part in the conversion and baptism of his oldest nephew, even from far across the earth.
Here it is:
This is such a special day for you. I remember so clearly the day when I was baptized. Your mom asked me to read something in front of everyone and I was too scared to do it so I started crying in front of everyone. Pretty embarrassing, huh?
More importantly than that I remember the feeling I had right as I came up out of the water. I felt so clean!
Baptism is very important, Connor. I'm sure you have learned all about it. But in order to be with our families forever we must be baptized. In the gospel of Jesus Christ there are 5 main parts.
#1 Faith in the Lord Jesus Christ—which means that we believe that Jesus Christ is our Savior and Redeemer. Faith in Christ leads us to act.
#2 Repentance—which means we say sorry for the wrong things we do. If we are rude to our sisters or brothers we say sorry to them and we say sorry to God in prayer. We also try to not repeat the wrong we did.
#3 is Baptism—Baptism shows our Faith in Jesus Christ. When we are baptized we make a covenant with God. A covenant is a promise with God. We promise that we will follow Jesus Christ's example and God promises to bless us. Because Jesus Christ was perfect and we are not, it's important that we repent when we make mistakes.
Connor I want you to picture a big, HUGE door that is locked. And on the other side of that door are tons and tons and tons and tons of blessings! Baptism is the key that unlocks that huge door and helps us to get all of those amazing blessings.
#4 is the biggest one of those blessings—the Gift of the Holy Ghost. The Holy Ghost is such a precious gift, Connor! The Holy Ghost helps us to feel of God's love for us. Through the Holy Ghost we can know what things are right and what things are wrong. The Holy Ghost comforts us when we are sad and warns us when we are in danger. The Holy Ghost helps us to learn more about Jesus Christ and His gospel.
The last part of the Gospel, #5, is Enduring to the End. Or as I like to say Enjoying to the End. This means that we follow Jesus Christ for the rest of our lives. We continue to go to church, read the scriptures, and pray. As we do that Heavenly Father keeps blessing us.
Connor I am so proud of you for making the decision to be baptized. I promise that God will bless you in many ways because of your decision to be baptized. Remember that Heavenly Father is only a prayer away. You can talk to Him whenever you want and I promise that He listens to your prayers. He loves you, Connor.
Thank you for setting such a good example for Abby, Andrew, Hannah, and all your cousins. You're the man, Connor. Congratulations again. Always remember the day you got baptized! I love you Connor!