Actually, it is not for 1000 days. It is just that 3 years times 365 days plus June 27 through June 30, 2008 equals 1098 days, and that is way too cumbersome to convert into a blog headline. Futhermore, our release date will not be determined until May or June of 2011. Therefore, 1000 Days sounded just about right, more or less. Having noted all that, we are humbled and thrilled (Pres. Uchtdorf would refer to the feeling as "joyfully overwhelmed") about having this marvelous opportunity to serve in La Mision Mexico Veracruz.

Con amor,
Pdte. y Hna. Pete and JoElla Hansen

Thursday, May 13, 2010

Okay. Ready for a really different and entertaining (and long) baptismal story? Here we go.

On Saturday, January 4th, Mom and I went to a baptismal service. It didn't quite work out. The elders were there, the bishop was there, the water was in the font, members were not there but they were coming late as always. But, Joaquin, the candidate was AWOL. The ward mission leader showed up shortly after we did. He said that he saw Joaquin a few blocks away and he said that he was coming. But, he had to sit down and rest. Joaquin is really a beeg guy. I mean beeg. Get it? So, we jumped in the van with the elders to go find him and give him a ride. We had a specific location where he was seen, about six blocks away, sitting on the steps of a school. We drove in circles for half an hour, but didn't find him. He would be really hard to hide. He is really beeg, if you catch my drift.

Candidly, the missionaries have had a tough time getting Joaquin baptized. Mom and I met him at the bautizona at the beach on December 19th. He volunteered to me that he was going to be baptized on January 2nd. On the 1st, in the evening, he was walking home. He found himself in a predicament. He really needed to relieve himself, so he slipped into an alley to do so. For some unknown reason, the locals picked him up and jailed him so he was not available on the 2nd. That was weird,by the way. People do what he did everywhere around here at all hours of daylight and nightime, both genders. But, some Roscoe Rules local wanted to start the new year off right and log his stat for the month so he could spend the rest of the month sleeping under a coconut palm. Anyway, Joaquin was jailed for a couple of days and missed the baptismal service, but he got out in time to go to church. We figured his baptism the next week would wash away that infraction, no problem.

Joaquin is solid. He loves the Book of Mormon. The missionaries passed by one night for a discussion. They verified that he was reading. He said that he was. They asked for a report. He said that he had completed 1 Nephi 20. But, he was really excited about chapter 13 and 14. "Do you know which is the great and abominable church? Did you know that the Book of Mormon indentifies it?" he asked. Missionaries like to dodge that one, not desiring to offend anyone.

"What do you think?" they asked. "Easy. It is the ______," and referenced one whose headquarters are in a boot-shaped peninsular nation. Gulp. That is exactly where they didn't want to go, so they said that is nice and that the scripture refers any church who fights against Christ. "Nope," he said. "It is the 'boot church.'" Joaquin comes from an evangelical background and doesn't like the "boot church." They elders smiled and changed the subject. That brings us back to the 4th. Where in the world is Joaquin?

We drove in circles some more. All of a sudden, there he was crossing a major boulevard to our left. The elders jumped out. There was no escaping the elders. He just got a little bummed out, had some questions, and wanted more time. Of course, they granted his desire. We aren't here to force baptisms. The last thing we want to do is drag someone into paradise kicking and screaming.

In the end, he was baptized after church the 12th. We borrowed a triple-x sized jumpsuit from the temple and it was too small, but he had a beeg white shirt to put over the top to cover what wasn't because he couldn´t zip-up above his waist. The missionaries are really small. So, they kneeled him down in the font and after the prayer, the baptizing missionary, Elder Hernandez, who is the tallest of the trio of elders tried to put him into the water forward but they slipped. We weren't there, but I guess it was pretty entertaining. They got it done right on the second try. The ward was all there and they love Joaquin. He was pretty excited by it all.

Then, a month later, we found out as a result of a report we send in to SLC that he had been baptized and confirmed into the same ward in 2007. Some guys really love water.

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