I have officially entered into my triple digits as a missionary. 100 days in and one transfer down. Elder Van Moos and I have been hard at work preparing our investigators for their baptismal dates and finding new people who are interested to hear our message. Despite my limited knowledge of the Spanish language, we have managed to find a good deal of new investigators and there is never a shortage of people to teach.
We work hard but we also make sure to keep things interesting so we can break the monotony and stay sane. It gets hot here in the DR so you have to memorize the locations of every ice cream store in the area if you want to survive contacting in the sun all day. Getting friendly with the local fruit vendors is always helpful. We are typically contacting in tall buildings so we usually take a short break on the roofs where the breeze is strong to rejuvenate our energy before we hit the street again. If we contact at the right time we can see some amazing views and the sunsets here are spectacular.
In our efforts to keep things interesting this week, we decided to put a spin on the empanadas made here that seem to be the only breakfast item Dominicans will eat. Typically they will make them with eggs, chicken, or cheese, but that gets boring so we decided to have them make us empanadas filled with a Snickers bar. Yes, Snickers. That was possibly t
This week we had three investigators who we needed to prepare for their baptisms on Saturday: Yudelka, Emily, and Peterson. Peterson is a reference we received from a member and is absolutely golden. He comes from Haiti and only knows English, French, and a little bit of Spanish, so we teach him in Spanglish. Emily is also a golden reference who is a little over 11 years old and has a less-active family. Yudelka (pronounced Judelka) was found by Elder Van Moos and his previous companion before I arrived here. She reads what we leave with her and she expresses a desire to be baptized, but she is lacking enthusiasm and we fear that she may just be going through the motions. Some people here are very difficult to understand, especially for someone who can't speak their language.
Before each baptism we always have to make sure that every investigator is interviewed by our zone leaders to ensure that they are ready to be baptized. Emily and Peterson passed easily, but Yudelka...well, she drank coffee on the morning of her interview. We were pretty disappointed and we had to postpone her baptism.
On Saturday we finally got to have our baptismal service. We had a bit of a stressful moment when the font started draining and a counselor didn't show up on time, but we sorted it all out with a little missionary magic (making frantic calls and running around the city). I was able to baptize Peterson first and then baptized Emily right afterward without a hitch. I was a little nervous that I would screw up the wording or mess up the baptism somehow but it all went smoothly. Emily's name was especially difficult to pronounce even after I had her write it down for me. It was really a fantastic experience though despite the stress involved with getting all of their papers filled out, visiting with all of them every day, and setting up the baptismal service. If I've learned anything during my last six weeks being a missionary it´s that the work is always worth it.
Next week we will hopefully be baptizing Yudelka along with Santa, an investigator we found contacting on my first week here. Santa is very enthusiastic about being baptized, but unfortunately she still lives with her "husband" who she is trying to kick out of the house. We are also working with another 4 investigators who we found while contacting and who we are hoping will progress towards baptism. We find, we teach, we baptize, we eat ice cream. Y asi se derrabata la galleta.