Friday, December 31, 2004

Curiosity Did It

Today we baptized one Carrasco. It was a humble little gathering at the pool here. The water was cold but fairly clear considering all the dust that flies around here. The ordinance was performed by the one I call Nephi. Carrasco is being transferred along with some of the other soldiers to another base and so the priesthood was bestowed on him this soon as well. Carrasco used to be a youth minister in his “previous life” and wants to be a further light for Christ in his new church. I was honored to be there and participate. He was set apart in a little grove of trees.

In other news, Ratchet the loveable cat has unfortunately gone on to the Great Garage in the Sky. Yes, sadly he was hit by a vehicle Thursday. In his teenage cat years he had been venturing further and further out of the garage this last week. Finding out what was on the other side of the road turned out to be his doom. He is resting beneath a cross in the backyard and soldiers are showing up to copy pictures and movies of him, of which I have many. Interesting that the phenomena of his gift was taken so soon; I like to think he might have gone to comfort the Tsunami victims in Heaven since he did that so well here. Condolences to the rest of you who have become a bit attached to him too, he had a place in our hearts.

Finally we got some boom-booms lobbed in here again. I wonder if some of the bad-boys from Mosul might have made their way over here since the heat has been turned up on them over there.
Good news: The insurgents tried several attacks, 3 on the police station in Mosul, all of which were successfully repelled by the Iraqis, who stayed and fought instead of running this time. That is good news. They are changing their tactics again and the last one failed miserably too. They made a 3-wave attack at a check point coordinated with car bombs in groups of 12 or 13 insurgents. 25 were apprehended and my guess is the rest weren’t so lucky. I really wish you could listen to the news on Freedom Radio over here, we are getting good reports. It seems the training given to the local Iraqi forces is paying off. The Kurds specifically are especially effective with their special-forces training, I’ve told you of their enthusiasm.

Following are the pics of baptism:
Pic A is a soldier whose middle name is Nephi, and Carrasco. Our recent and the new group leaders look on. I’m sure what you have is acceptable if white is not available.
Pic B is right before the opening prayer--ever see guns at a baptism? Most of the men neglected to remove their helmets….at first.
Pic C Carrasco and friends in the grove by the pool where he was set apart and received the priesthood.
Pic D, most of the group that was able to stay and finally a pic with the “photographer.” Carrasco is right behind me smiling.
I’ve met some youth ministers before and I’ve always liked them. They are souls who really care about helping others, going a step further than perhaps regular church-goers. Carrasco remarked that of most he hopes his family will come around to find what he has. I hope that as well. This could very well be the first LDS baptism in Kirkuk and we may have another soon, a female interpreter I mentioned earlier. We are blessed.
Ernie out.

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