Wednesday, December 9, 2015

Interrupted... Dec 8, 2015

Hi there everyone,
I feel the love! Thank you for the stories and thoughts you share, and for the thoughts and prayers you all continue to send my way. 
So, before I talk about anything else, I need to mention the miracle I´ve been living the past few days. My first Sunday here in the Los Tres Brazos ward, we met a guy named Fr*** who had been investigating the Church a bit on his own, and even attended Gospel Principles. He asked us to stop by his house that night, and we obliged. The first question he asked after the opening prayer was "What do I need to do to be baptized?" --FOOM-- Elder M**** and I were stunned. We had been struggling all that week (and Elder M****, apparently, much of last transfer) to find investigators, old or new, who were showing enough interest and progressing enough to be prepared to be baptized for the Noche Blanca this coming Saturday (12th). The Lord really relieved us there. However, the trial and the stress were not to end there. Fr*** wanted nothing more than to be baptized, but had to marry his "wife" that he was living with (number one problem here in the DR). He lacked the money to do so, which is not uncommon, but his wife was another thing. They had never had contact with the missionaries, but Fr***´s wife, C***, is the sister of the past bishop of the ward, Hermano E***. However, she had been attending another church, where another of her brothers was a pastor (I think it´s an Evangelical church, but I´m not sure). As we taught Fr***, we tried to involve C*** as much as possible, and she would sit amicably and listen, but didn´t want to attend church for fear of upsetting her brother (who always looks for her in his congregation), didn´t want to get married (because she thought it would mean she would be obligated to be baptized), and at first didn´t want to be baptized, again for fear of her brother and for complacency in her (Evangelical?) church. However, once we told her that baptism is not obligatory, but is rather up to the individual to decide when, she seemed to loosen up and listen more intently. We showed up to the third lesson with them, only to discover that they, of their own free will and accord, had been FASTING about the decision to be married, and about whether or not C*** should be baptized. We kept teaching, and they have joined us, together with their kids, the last two Sundays. Despite a few "fire and brimstone" visits from her brother the pastor, C*** has sincerely developed, for herself, the desire to be baptized. Anyway, back to the first lesson: Elder M****, upon hearing that they were not married, felt prompted to invite them to be married in a week. They were shocked, what with all the paperwork and planning, but after explaining that it would just be the formal paper signage (and that they could plan out a more formal boda fiesta), and after laying out a specific plan of how it would go down, they accepted. They actually had all the paperwork they needed, except Fr***´s birth certificate. We sent the word to the Mission Office, where the APs have legal connections, and after two days of stress (because Fr*** couldn´t remember what hospital he was born in) the APs informed us that yes, they had found it. Unfortunately, his second last name had one letter different from his ID. The odd thing was, it had never been that way the last 3 times he´d pulled out birth certificates AND the last 2 times he´d lost and received another ID. When they digitized the books at his hospital sometime in the last year or two, they used a copy of a copy of the books for transcription, and the cross in the T in the middle of his second last name disappeared between copies and became an L in the computer system. On top of that, because he didn't have any prior correct copies of his birth certificate (the last one was in his wallet when it got stolen), and because his mother was Haitian and had absolutely NO documents to correct the second last name (since that name comes from the person´s mother), Fr*** couldn´t correct it unless he wanted to spend months searching for proof. On top of that, the birth certificates of his daughters all had the old, correct second last name. GAAH! What we had to do was have Fr*** change his ID to match his birth certificate, then get all the documents for his wife and kids, then turn them in. The marriage is set for Wednesday, yesterday they had their interviews, and they and their oldest daughter N*** will be baptized the 12th. 
What kind of Internet shop closes in the middle of the day? What the heck? Gotta go.
Love you all, 
Elder Rowe

And that is all we got.  Blehh!!!  It sounds like a wonderful experience full of miracles.  He apparently didn't get a chance to finish or answer any questions.  I am sooo looking forward to talking to him on Christmas!

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