My niece McKenzie turned eight in October and made the decision to be baptized into The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints. She is the daughter of my brother Randy. In our religion, a person can choose to be baptized anytime after the age of eight. Sometimes there will be multiple baptisms, but on this day McKenzie was the only one scheduled so she got to choose who would speak and what songs to sing. Traditionally there is an opening song, a talk on Baptism, then the baptism would be performed. Then after the person has changed clothing, there would be a welcome to the ward talk by a member of the Bishopric and then a talk on the Holy Ghost. Then the person receives the gift of the Holy Ghost by those who hold the priesthood. I was chosen by McKenzie to give a talk on Baptism and her uncle (Katie's brother in-law) was chosen to give the talk on the Holy Ghost.
When Katie asked me to give the talk on baptism, I was honored! I decided that I really wanted it to be memorable and I wanted to use some sort of visual to help. I was only given about three days to think on this, so after praying for guidance from Heavenly Father, I went to work. I looked up baptism talk ideas on Sugardoodle.com and some other sites as well as LDS.org. I wasn't satisfied with what I found and I found myself wanting to be original- not relying on what others had done before. This meant having the Holy Ghost lead me to what I was supposed to say. By friday night, I still hadn't found what I wanted to say and so I took a trip to Walmart to look around for visual aids. I somehow ended up in the keychain isle and was looking through the different little items. I found a magnifying lens on a key chain and thought about how I could tie that into baptism. Then I found these neat old fashioned keys on key chains. I was so excited and began thinking of ways to make it work for my talk.
That night I tried to find scriptures on baptism and was led to three different ones in the Book of Mormon. Mosiah 18:10- talks about covenants, Mosiah 18:16-17 talks about entering the Church of Christ, and Mosiah 21:35 talks about baptism being a witness that they are willing to serve God. I didn't feel impressed to write out my talk like I usually do, but I desired to do it without "purse or script" like it says in the Bible. I went to bed a little discouraged about not finding a way to tie in the keys with baptism. I mentioned this to Ryan who was already in bed. He reminded me about the scripture that talks about "entering in at the strait gate" and likening it to having the key to enter that gate- which is baptism. It was an exciting moment as I knew the talk would come together on it's own.
The next morning, I rushed to get my kids and I ready and leave on time to be at the nine o'clock baptism. It was in Orem which was an hour and 15 minutes away from our house. As I was waiting for the others to arrive, I quickly looked up the last scripture that Ryan had mentioned the night before. I found it in the Bible under St. Matthew 7:13-14. When it was my turn, I was nervous but the spirit took over and I just said the things that came to mind as I read each of the scriptures. It was very simple- just right for McKenzie and yet every adult was reminded of the covenant that they made when they were baptized.
Then I told McKenzie that I had something for her and I held up the keys- there were two of them on one keychain (I had bought them seperatly but then combined them on one ring). I read to her the scripture in St. Matthew and likened the keys on the ring to Baptism and the Gift of the Holy Ghost (which we call "Comfirmation" or being "Confirmed") and how they are the first keys in this life that she will get to return to Heavenly Father and Jesus Christ. I also told her that there are other keys that she will need to get, but that these are the first. I then handed her the keys to keep as a memory of the choices she made that day. My daughter Sydney said that McKenzie reached out really quick and was so glad to get them. I then told McKenzie how glad I was to be her Aunt (by then I choked up and I had tears in my eyes). I told her I knew the Church was true and I told her some other things as well. It was a great experience and I'm thankful for the opportunity I had to stretch my faith a little and not rely upon myself. It seems like it should be such a simple thing to give a little 2-3 minute talk, but even simple things can make a big impression on our lives.