This week was an interesting one, to say the least. The whole week I felt like we were catching falling pieces of precious china. We had several investigators interested and progressing towards baptism but, for various reasons, almost all of them came to dead halt while crossing the double yellow line on Progress Lane.
To start off with, we had a mother and son scheduled to be baptized for this Sunday afternoon. The son is about 14 years old and has a heart of solid gold. He’s a little timid, but every time we talk to him he’s always excited about following Jesus Christ. At one point, he was a little hesitant about getting baptized in the Church of Jesus Christ because he thought he would have to listen to the Mormon Tabernacle Choir
all day, stop going to the beach, and drink only water instead of Coca-Cola
. We assured him that that was not the case and the process moved forward. The mother was less dedicated, but dedicated no less and was working on quitting her coffee addiction. The husband, well… he likes to drink. A lot. He likes drinking in bars, he likes drinking with friends, he likes drinking at home, at football games, at the morning market, and to establish himself as a man who enjoys liquor he has placed a display cabinet of various rums, whiskeys, and vodkas in the front room of the house. Our hope regarding his eventual conversion and change of life was no less strong than our hope for his wife and son, but our vision with him was longer term. This last Sunday, the whole family went to church. The wife loved it. The son loved it. The husband kind of loved it. Everybody had a good experience. Even the husband recognized the powerful force for good inherent in the meetings of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints. But then his friends started talking to him about the church. I’m not exactly sure what his friends said to him. To be honest, I’m not sure I really want to know. We’ve heard everything as missionaries, from “The Church is a sect” to “They worship Satan” to “They kill small children in their temples”. I can assure any and all readers that the above accusations are egregiously untrue. The worst bit is that almost nobody says these things to us personally. They say it to the investigators we are preparing for baptism, and the investigators feel ashamed of telling us, so they make up some story about why they don’t want to go the church anymore and we have to dig and dig to find out what went wrong in the process. The really interesting bit is the animosity towards the Church of Jesus Christ specifically. People tell their friends “Oh no no, you can join any church – any church but the Church of the Mormons”. Because of the rumors out there, many parents are more comfortable letting their 15-year old sons sleep with their girlfriends and get drunk at home than go to Church on Sunday. (Where, I might add, we teach against alcohol abuse and extramarital affairs). The whole thing leaves us scratching our heads. In any case, the father of this family heard the rumors and came to us in the middle of the week saying “I want to die Catholic. I’ve got a lot of things to change. I drink. I smoke. I may or may not use drugs. And so, thank you for everything, but we don’t want to meet with you anymore”. I wish I was exaggerating in my paraphrasing. He mentioned that he has a tradition on Sundays of going to the market, watching football, and drinking beer until late at night. Every time we speak with him, the wife and son hang their heads and say nothing. Apparently, he came home on Wednesday and said “Nobody – Nobody! – will attend the church of the Mormons. Not this Sunday, never. And NOBODY is getting baptized”. We tried to speak with him but our efforts were unfortunately ineffective. I only hope that a few years down the road the son and wife find a way to break free and follow what they know (because they do know, they’ve expressed so quite clearly) is true.
In other news, I gave a Book of Mormon
to the local judge and he’s reading it!
I love you all!
Happy New Year!