Tuesday, January 18, 2005

Wetter is Better

A Wet Story: Eli, originally from Lebanon and living in the U.S.got a job in Baghdad as an interpreter for the Americans. In the whole group she was with, she discerned one person was different. That person didn’t use bad language, didn’t smoke or drink. You can see where this is going, can’t you? They talked about the gospel and the church. Then it became necessary for her to transfer…to Kirkuk. Nervous that she would be lost to the church, she was promised by her Mormon friend that she would be found. Upon her arrival in Kirkuk, the first person she met,her supervisor, introduced himself by name and then as a member of the church, not knowing about her promise. She found other warm friends and the usual lessons ensued: a date was set for today, Tuesday, January 18, 2005. It began raining steadily last night and continued until a little before the service. My prayers and I’m sure theprayers of others were answered when warm sunny beams sprinkled throughout the ceremony. But don’t worry,the ordinance was done by the proper authority, by immersion. The Air Force had cleverly hidden a Jacuzzi-type body of water (see 1st pic) but made it available for this occasion. Of note: The baptism was attended by a chaplain from Puerto Rico who didn’t speak English well, and his blonde assistant from CA (yes, we met). Also, a cigarette-toting supervisor from my company was there to secure the arrangements as well. The last pic is of Eli with her roommate and a good part of the group, gathered underneath the camouflage. Eli proudly wore her cross after the baptism. We are all young in the gospel in some way, aren’t we? Eli meets in the chapel on the other side of the base from where we meet (we’ve split into two groups) so I hadn’t met her before today. I was nervous about making her nervous with the camera, but my experience is they are grateful in the long run to see the people there supporting her and the feelings that come with remembering. Another thing I like about her is she just isn’t into the Mormon handshake thing, she required hugs all around instead. She seems to be of gentle and very kind disposition, and that is always good. We are in the Saudi Arabian Peninsula Stake, as I found out, but we are officially only in groups with “group leaders” on base and are supposed to continue to belong (and pay tithing, etc.) to our original homewards. This last Sunday I got to teach the lesson on how the D&C testifies of Christ (S.S. Lesson 2). My favorite topic of choice. Apparently the facilities of this base, especially the chapels, are booked-up so well that we only have 2 hours for church. Darn. We have Sacrament meeting, of course, and then alternate weekly Sunday School, then RS/PR. And that is your “spiritual bonus” letter this week…Ernie

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