“Just Like She Imagined,” Friend, June 2021
Today was Kvitka’s baptism day. She had been thinking about this day for a long time. She had imagined it all. Wearing a special white dress. Tato (Dad) baptizing her. And all her friends and family there, smiling proudly.
But today was going to be a bit different than Kvitka had imagined.
Some things were the same. She was wearing a special white dress, just like she imagined. Babusya (Grandma) had sewn this dress for Mama to be baptized in when she was young. And now it was Kvitka’s turn.
Tato was going to baptize her. Just like she had imagined. Kvitka watched him dip his hand into the water in the font.
“Nice and warm,” he said. He smiled at Kvitka. She smiled back. Then she looked at the chairs that she had helped Tato set up.
There weren’t many. That was the biggest difference. Kvitka had always imagined that many people would come to her baptism. But there would only be a few.
Ever since COVID-19 had started making people sick, many things were different. She and her little brother, Vlas, had school at home. They wore masks when they left their apartment. And nobody met in big groups. Not anywhere. Kvitka wanted to help keep people safe, but sometimes it was hard.
Like when you couldn’t invite everyone to your baptism.
“Kvitka! You look beautiful!”
Kvitka looked up to see Babusya walking through the door.
“Hi, Babusya!” Kvitka hopped off her chair and ran over.
“You look just like your mama did,” Babusya said. She touched the white flowers in Kvitka’s hair. They matched the lace flowers on her dress. Kvitka liked flowers. Her name meant “flower” in Ukrainian.
“Are you excited to get baptized?” Babusya asked.
“Yes,” Kvitka said. “Only, nobody is here.”
“Nobody!” Babusya said. She looked around. “But I see Mama, Tato, Vlas, and little Melania. And there’s the bishop. And even two missionaries. That’s not nobody.”
Kvitka shrugged. “But none of my friends are here.”
“That must make you sad,” Babusya said. “But we do have two surprise guests.”
Kvitka perked up. “Who?”
“Your aunt Pavlina,” Babusya said. “And your cousin Emma!”
“Really?” Kvitka asked eagerly.
Babusya smiled. “When they get here, will you do me a favor?”
Kvitka nodded. “What?”
“Well, when you get baptized, one thing you promise is to stand as a witness of Jesus Christ. Do you know what that means?”
Kvitka did know. Her family had been studying baptismal covenants for weeks!
“It means to be a missionary!”
“Very good,” Babusya said. “Your aunt and cousin have never been in one of our Church buildings before. Will you be a missionary and help give them a tour?”
“Yes!” Kvitka said.
When Aunt Pavlina and Emma arrived, Kvitka and Babusya did just that. They showed them the Primary room, her classroom, and the chapel. Then they came to the baptismal font. Kvitka told them she wanted to be baptized to follow Jesus Christ. She felt a light, comforting feeling as she spoke. Aunt Pavlina and Emma smiled at her. She hoped they felt the same feeling.
Soon it was time for the baptism. Kvitka held her breath as Tato dipped her all the way under the water—just like she had imagined. There may have only been a few people watching, but they were smiling just like she had imagined. And she was sure Heavenly Father and Jesus Christ were smiling down at her too. That was easy to imagine.