Those of you who know me, know that I have a peculiar habit of remembering dates and bringing up trivia related to significant dates in my family’s history. I now have three important November dates to remember. November 3, 4 and 5. Here’s why:
November 3, 1993. This was the day that I entered the LDS Missionary Training Center in Provo, Utah, to learn how to become a full-time missionary for the Church. Donned in my new suit from Mr. Mac and wearing an orange “dork” dot on my name-tag to indicate that I was brand new to the center, I was ready to go. After a tearful goodbye with my family, I walked out into the corridor and began my life as a missionary. After getting my hair checked (to ensure it was short enough) and my immunization card verified (to make sure I had received the right shots), I lugged my suitcases to my dorm room, met my new companion (Elder Olson from Oregon) and began to unpack. Soon we were eating dinner at the cafeteria and then meeting our branch presidency who gave us the “have-you-properly-confessed-all-your-sins” talk.
My first day as a missionary in the MTC was a mix of great excitement, homesickness, confusion and joy which I’ll never forget. At times I thought I would go crazy due to the monotony, but it was a spiritual feast for a young man eager to share his beliefs and anxious to learn how to do so in the Portuguese language.
November 4, 2007. This was the day I blessed my fourth child, James Andrew Lambert, in sacrament meeting and presented him to the ward. He was blessed with the ability to be empathetic and have insight into human nature that would help him be loving and not judgmental, always looking for the good in others. He was also blessed to be a leader, a counselor, a follower and someone who could be relied upon. He was blessed with faith and diligence that will give him the power to change people’s lives.
Many members of my family were there to support us, and it was a wonderful experience. What’s more, it was my turn to conduct the meeting so I got to bear my testimony about the plan of salvation and the importance of families in Heavenly Father’s plan. Afterward, we had a luncheon over at our house for 12 people from Robin’s side of the family and 15 from my side (along with the six members of the Andrew and Robin family). As you can imagine, it was somewhat chaotic, but fun. I love seeing family and it was great to have the support. Here’s a picture of him and Robin. Don’t you love the little sweater he’s wearing? He has cute corduroy pants to go with it!
November 5, 1982.This was the day I was baptized in the East Millcreek Stake Center about two weeks after I turned 8 years old. I remember being dressed in white and rehearsing the baptism with my dad in one of the rooms at the building. I was anxious not to have to be baptized twice due to not being immersed completely (i.e. having my foot come up out of the water), and so Dad suggested that he put his foot on my feet once we were in the water so that they wouldn’t pop up. It worked like a charm.
The font had a beautiful painting behind it that made it seem like you were being baptized in the River Jordan like Christ. I had a great feeling that evening, and have felt a similar spirit many times since as I have attended baptisms. It’s been 25 years since that day, but I cherish the memory and treasure my membership in The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints.