Saturday night we went to a baptism in our new ward. It is all Spanish. President wants no more than 2 sets of missionaries in any ward, but I think maybe the senior couples are not under that injunction. There were 4 elders and 2 sisters there, and the two elders who work in the office were out in the country delivering some furniture. It turns out that there are two wards meeting in that building, so all the missionaries attending were from those two wards. Anyway, it was a great experience to be there.
As we entered the building we were warmly greeted by the sisters and by some of the ward members. Gaye asked if they needed any help with the music. When they learned that she plays the piano there were happy smiles by many, not the least of whom was the brother who was playing the keyboard with one finger. So Gaye was invited to play the music. It turned out that the keyboard was identical to the old one she had been playing in St Kitts Branch, with the same theater organ setting. It did give everybody a pitch to hang onto, though.
The sweet sister being baptized was led into the water by the young man baptizing her. She let out a little gasp as her foot hit the cold. With each step the gasps grew louder. When she stepped onto the bottom of the font she actually squealed from the cold water. They stood there for several long seconds as they reviewed the coming ordinance, how to hold the hands, hold your nose, etc. Then finally the prayer was said and he lowered her into the water. As he did, she gasped out loud and almost cried out. He tried to push her down, she turned stiff as a board, her feet flew up out of the water, and of course, it had to be done again because it was not right. Then one of the sisters in the room stepped up to the font, gave her some specific instructions, all in Spanish, and it was attempted again, which I happily report was successful. She had to be physically helped out of the font.
She was a good sport about it all. While she dressed we sat in the room conversing, which was growing louder by the second. So the sister who led the music stood up by the keyboard and began singing Christmas songs, which Gaye then began to play along with her. A few voices in the congregation joined in, and soon everybody was singing, which quickly brought the reverent spirit back into the room. The last song was Noche de Luz, the most perfect Christmas song that has ever been written. People were singing parts with enthusiasm and accurate harmony. It was sweet.
So Sunday morning we drove straight to the building, not like the night before when we got lost trying to find our way. We were there in plenty of time, walked into the chapel greeting everyone we saw, and noticed the CD player pouring forth the recorded hymns as prelude music. When Br Berrios saw us come in his face lit up, he introduced Gaye to the chorister, a beautiful young woman on the stand, and Gaye became the ward organist again. We sang Christmas carols in Spanish. I know how to pronounce the Spanish letters, so I sang out like I was in our ward choir at home. It was a special experience, for many in the ward congregation also sang out with gusto.
The Puerto Rico experience will be vastly different from the island experience. We are enjoying having other people around to talk to. The office work will be new challenges. The apartment is fine, even without AC in the living room/kitchen part. Sally is good to have along. We have found that when I drive, we get lost more. Gaye is a better driver, and I am a much better map reader. So I will navigate and she will drive. That way we can stay happily married.