Elder Carter's Argentinian Mission

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A Baptism to Remember


This past week was amazing!  Hilda (Hilda del Valle Mena de Galvan) was miraculously baptized!

The miracle wasn’t that she decided to get baptized because she has been extremely excited for her baptism for over a month . . . the miracle is that we had a baptism at all!  There hasn’t been a baptism in our branch for a really long time.  We had trouble with the interview and she was finally approved for baptism at 8:30 at Friday night.  That left us with Saturday to make all of the preparations.

We woke up and went directly to our Branch President’s house.  The three of us started to make all of the preparations.  When we got to the chapel, we found the faucet to fill up the baptismal font was broken.  There was absolutely no way to fill up the font!  We left to assign a talk to a member that lived nearby while President Jimenez kept working (yes, we had to assign the talks the same day, too!).  I don’t know what he did while we were gone, but it started working.  Water was coming out but the water heater didn’t turn on.  The font started filling up with freezing cold water!  It is winter here and without central heating it is very dangerous (especially for someone like Hilda) to get cold and wet.  When we got there, he closed the valve and opened it one last time and the water heater miraculously turned on.  We still have no idea how it started working, but it was obviously another tender mercy.  In any case, we couldn’t fill up the font until we cleaned it.  A small window to the font had broken earlier.  It was sealed off from the rest of the church, but it had filled with millions of bugs.  Most of them had long since died, but there were still many living amongst the cobwebs.  It looked exactly like something out of Indiana Jones.  We killed them all and spent the next two hours in an “Extreme Makeover” of our baptismal font.  With (even more) heavenly help we got it clean and started the 8 hour process of filling up the font*.  Later we continued looking for an adult baptismal dress that we had lent out to some missionaries in another area.  We called several people looking for a delivery service.  Nobody answered.  We couldn’t have a baptism without any baptismal clothes!  While desperately calling to find someone that could drive across the city to get the baptismal clothes we found a member who happened to have a baptismal dress in her house.  I have no idea why it was there, but I was so glad that it was.  We went by and picked it up.  We spent the rest of the day inviting and giving assignments to the other members of the branch.  Everyone came and it was an amazing baptism.  The spirit was really strong and that is one of the things that I was the most grateful for.  Everything else worked out fine, but if the Spirit hadn’t been there everything would have been in vain.  Nevertheless, a loving Father in Heaven provided for everything – from the most critical needs to the smallest detail.  He is in control and when we do our part, He will always do his.

Here are a couple of pictures from the baptism.  The first is me and my companion with Hilda and the second is with her family and a couple of the members that attended.
Hilda's Baptism
Hilda's Family

Also, here are some from the past couple of weeks that I couldn’t send earlier:
1- Argentine Flag
This is the Argentine flag in the Plaza in Tucuman.  Sorry it isn’t more majestic . . . there was absolutely no breeze.
2- Elder Serón
This is Elder Serón, he is from Chile.  It looks like he is yawning, but he actually posed like that for the picture.  He is a really funny Elder and an awesome friend.
3- Elder Miranda
And this is his companion Elder Miranda from Perú.  He is super nice and always really happy.  He is also the perfect example of Christlike service.  He has cooked us meals, cleaned the dishes, made our beds, cleaned the bathroom, ironed our shirts, cleaned our desks, washed our clothes . . . you get the idea.  He is an awesome example for me!  (we normally all take care of ourselves, but somehow he does it when we aren’t looking!)
4- Our Patio
This is Elder Miranda on our patio while I was on the roof.  The roofs here are different than in the USA.  There are stairs up to a landing with chairs and everything (don’t worry, I was perfectly safe).
5- Argentine McDonalds
We decided to go to McDonalds last week.  I picked the cheapest thing on the menu and it came out to $27 (yes, the cheapest meal was a Triple Mac)!  I was surprised by the price, too!  Then, I converted the price from Argentine pesos to US Dollars and realized that it is normal . . . (although still the most expensive food in town – remember the sit down Chinese buffet for $25?)
6- Enjoying Lunch
Here we are enjoying our meal.
7- My Friend Ronald
…and me with my good friend Ronald McDonald.
8- Very Old Orange
Here is an old orange that nobody ever took care of.  It wasn’t so orange after a month or so.  I finally threw it away but when I grabbed it it launched green dust everywhere!  It was really crazy!
9- Tie Collection
And last, but not least, my tie collection (several of you had asked what my ties are like).  I still have some originals to trade, but about half are from other missionaries and members.

Well, that’s it for now.  Have a great week and I’ll talk to you all soon!

Elder Carter

*There isn’t any water pressure here in Argentina so everyone has tanks on top of their houses and other buildings that require water.  All of the chapels have a water tower, but it still takes over eight hours to fill it up the font.  We should have started at 11:00 but we couldn’t because it was filled with bugs.  We started filling the font at 12:00 and it was still filling when we entered the font at 8:00 at night.  Hilda was baptized with the faucet submerged and still quietly filling it up.

posted under Pictures, Weekly Letters

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