Friday, March 30, 2012

March 27, 2012

I am very aware that we are in Lent right now. I noticed an unfortunate increase in my fish consumption a little bit ago, and it is becoming painfully more obvious by the day. I will say, I have become an expert at hiding the fact that I don't like what I'm eating.

I had a family convinced that Siete Mares was my favorite food ever one night when they gave it to us (Siete mares is a Mexican soup made with 7 different kinds of seafood, all chopped into giant, recognizable pieces....octopus, squid, shrimp, fish....). I will be glad when Lent is over, though.

We had a fish for dinner last week called mojarra. Basically, it is a whole fish, about 8 inches long, that is fried and served whole. So you use your fingers/tortillas to pick the meat off the carcass. Of course, you had to pick off the scales/fins first, and I was mildly tempted to eat the eyeball just for fun, to say that I did, but I decided against it.

Sunday, March 25, 2012

March 20, 2012

On Wednesday morning, a member of our ward called us to go down to the Mission Hospital to give a blessing to her non-member friend's son, a 7-month-old baby who was in the intensive care unit. We were able to meet the member, her friend and her friend's brother (who turned out to be someone we had street contacted only a couple days before) and go with them in to see the baby and give him a blessing. We had to be completely 'sterilized' to be able to go into the baby's room, so we had to use hand sanitizer, put on face masks, hospital gowns, and rubber gloves, and then we were finally able to go in and give him a blessing. It was a special experience. Since then, we have heard that the doctors were able to diagnose the baby's problem.

March 13, 2012

Elder Chavez and I with Maria before her (long-awaited) baptism.

March 13, 2012

Everything is going amazing in the fertile and luscious land of Mission Viejo (including, but not limited to, Mission Viejo, Lake Forest, Ladera Ranch, Las Flores, and Wagon Wheel). I suppose a great place to start would be our baptism on Saturday night, for María (from Peru). It was definitely a great baptismal service. María's son was baptized several years ago and is now a missionary in the Ventura mission, so I am sure that he will be happy to see the baptism pictures.

For you to appreciate the irony involved in the baptism, I must point out that our baptismal services usually take place in our ward's building in northern MV, but the night of the baptism, the stake's Pinewood Derby was scheduled from 5pm-9pm in our building. After discussing it in ward council, we decided that the Pinewood Derby would likely prove a distraction to the baptismal service, and so we reserved the font in the stake center instead. Stay tuned. So, on the night of the baptism, Elder Chavez and I showed up early to fill up the font, and we discovered a multitude of people in the stake center. We quickly discovered that one of the wards that meets in the stake center was going to be holding a dinner/silent auction/variety show, put on by the youth program. P.S. They were going to have a live rock band. As we were filling up the font in the midst of the swirl of hustle and bustle of their activity preparation, it seemed like almost every person in the building stopped and asked us, "Wait, are you having a baptism tonight?" (to which I felt tempted to respond, "No, we just like filling up the font when we have extra time on our hands.") When we answered in the affirmative, they would always look at us nervously and say, "Um, we're going to be super loud! We have a live band coming! Maybe you should move the baptism." Haha, too late. We were just going to have see how it worked out.

Part two of the pre-game show: the faucet in the baptismal font doesn't work correctly. According to the hand-written signs posted next to it, it (for some inexplicable reason) takes four hours to fill the font. Since we didn't have four hours, we got creative and rigged up two hoses into the font, one from the member custodial closet and one from the outside tap. We also got buckets and filled them up in the bathroom sinks to dump into the font. It was quite a struggle. How is the gospel supposed to go forth boldly, nobly, and independent if the font's faucet has the water pressure of a squirt gun? All in all, we got it done, and the baptism was great. We were able to close off all the doors and muffle out most of the sound from the rock concert occurring in the adjacent gymnasium (although, at the beginning of the service you could faintly hear a particularly loud rendition of "Hungry Like a Wolf"...and at random times during the service we would hear loud applause and cheering).

On a more spiritual note, the mother of the young man that we set a baptismal date with came to the baptismal service and loved it! She is so excited to get baptized, and actually wants to get baptized sooner than the original date that we set with her (April 14th). I have never had that happen before! She and her children came to Church on Sunday and loved it.

March 6, 2012

The baptism of Daisy and Marlen!