Friday, September 26, 2014

Weddings & Baptisms!

It is September 4th.  We have finished our first set of entrevistas (interviews) and are ready to head for home.  We feel like we know our 225 missionaries a little better now!  This was our view as we looked out of our Holiday Inn Express window in Temuco this morning.  Gorgeous, right?!

Calla lilies grow like wildflowers down here - and so tall!

Can you see the snail in this one?

Shortly before we were going to head for home (a 4 hour drive), two of our Elders asked if we would attend a wedding reception for two of their newly baptized converts, and if Lothaire would speak at it!  What??  We were so glad that we chose to stay!  It was a priceless experience.
It is a VERY common practice for two people to live together for years and years and never marry.  In fact, the government provides special benefits for single parents, which are sacrificed when marriage takes place.
In this case, Rolando and Elisa had been living together for 15 years, and have a 14 year old son who is also named Rolando.  They loved each other very much and were very happy.  Young Rolando was introduced to the church by one of his friends, and felt the truth burn within him.  He desired to be baptized but his parents objected and wouldn't give him their permission.  He met with the missionaries and attended church alone for three months to show his commitment.  His parents finally gave him their permission.  Rolando's next hope was that his parents would come to know the truth of the Gospel and be baptized so that they could become an eternal family.  With time, a faithful Bishop and exceptional missionaries, this came to pass.
There was only one thing standing in the way of their baptism - they had to be living the Law of Chastity, which means they had to get married first!  So - wedding first, followed by baptism, followed by a reception in their honor given by their family, friends, and missionaries!
When we arrived, everyone was seated in the chapel of the church and there were two white covered chairs in front of the pulpit.  Lothaire, as the Mission President, was asked to speak and gave a beautiful talk on love and marriage.  Then the Bishop spoke, there was a pretty musical number, and a video of their life together!  And then the back curtains were opened and we all went in to where the reception had been set up.
They were so, so happy!

Here you see young Rolando standing in front of his parents, next to one of the missionaries who taught them.  There was wedding cake and punch and lots and lots of food!

Here are Elisa and Rolando with the Elders who taught and baptized them.  It was delightful to be a part of this heartwarming occasion!
Two more of our great Elders, happy at the party!

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