First, the culture focus of this week is..... guess that fruit or vegetable! I must do this periodically because we have some very strange looking things we eat and they taste the same, but look dramatically different!
Whadya think this is? You'd probably think these are for the trash at home, huh?
Now can you tell? Looks grungy, but tastes the same....in fact a tiny bit sweeter.
This is a primary school we passed. I wanted my granddaughters to see the little girls playing that smack-hands-while-singing-those-rhyming-songs, game! (I asked Elder Monson what those things are called...his answer, "I don't know. I'm a guy! We didn't play those! We were busy kicking and throwing things"
To fully appreciate how we take our lives in our hands every time we drive on these bitsy, skinny roads, where whole bunches of cars just park in the lane you are DRIVING DOWN....Remember in this exercise we are in the car driving on the left hand side.
The picture is taken through our windshield by Elder Monson while I am in the hot seat driving! We switch off every day.
This is the size of many many streets. Here we are getting closer and closer to a car that is NOT MOVING, just sitting there in the middle of the road.
Yeah, we are in a giant van! Look how much space we have in the middle to navigate getting around this parked car!
Oh, and this is typically coming down the road toward us or something of similar size!
Our Saturday this week was amazing as Kerri was baptized. Remember her story a few posts back? She is the young woman whose story I shared about always knowing God. As a young child she prayed to her "Daddy," even though her stepfather told her he wasn't there and she was talking to no one!
Our YSA secretary, a young woman who has an amazing story herself, came to the baptism from another town to support Keri. We met at the church first. A few members from the branch attended, Elder Monson and me, the two missionaries and a few YSA's. The program was baptism and Holy Ghost talks with a very sweet testimony meeting at the end Both of these impressive young women bore powerful testimonies. We then loaded up the giant 15-passenger, white mission transport van to drive to the beach for the baptism. We were told many more members were needing a ride to the baptism which was why we brought the troup transporter! It is so huge; it is scary on these roads! The meeting was beautiful, but forces were at work to try to defeat her baptism! First of all, we had to start the meeting late because her stepfather barred the door refusing to let her go. She had to wait until he was busy with something and sneak out!
There were eight of us in the huge van and we had just started driving the long distance to the beach when we got a call to go back a few blocks. There was a less active young woman who wanted to join us for the baptism. Right after we picked her up, yup, you guessed it! Elder Monson was maneuvering around one of those right-in-the-middle-of-the-road cars and scrapped the side and back of the car. Soooooooo we were foiled again!
Little miracles happened along the ways though! We have heard nightmare stories about how some people in Trinidad behave if they are in an accident. This was a government vehicle!!!! Great luck! It was being driven by a very kind man who knew all about missionaries, was very friendly, and basically was just like, "don't worry about it, accidents happen. We just have to go report it at the police station and we can be on our way."
Remember the previous three police station visits! I had everybody in our car hold up four fingers since we were on our way to police station number four!
Here's another view of the damage. No one was hurt and we refused to give up!
While all the information was being exchanged, those waiting in the van pointed out this tree right by our location that produces a very good fruit....apparently!
It also paints cars pink! Here's the evidence!
Seriously!! Police station number four and we have been in Trinidad for almost three and a half months!
The miracle at the police station was Elder Monson and I walked in to give the report to the officer and sat down at a desk. It turned out that the woman we spoke to had taken all the missionary discussions two years before while she was in officers training. Then when she completed her program, the branch had closed in one town and been incorporated into another. We ended up telling her where the church was, how she could contact the missionaries etc. Pretty amazing!
Before we found this secluded path that led to a perfect spot for the baptism, we tried another beach that was swarming with bathers. Missionary work still went on, as we visited with locals to find a place we could find some privacy. The Elders gave pass along cards and a message.
Dinah, Kelli and Keri before walking down the path to the beach.
Sister Ray is the new travel office missionary who joined us for the baptism.
She has waited for this day for a long long time. She told me her daughter in Heaven was celebrating, too!
At the bottom of the path is this little cave with a sandy secluded beach.
Getting down to the water level
Braving the waves to get to a spot deep enough.
Arm raised to the square for the awaited ordinance. Just as she was lowered to the sand a wave came and completely covered her. It was perfect.
Coming back to the path
Elder Dahl and Keri after her baptism
After the baptism journey which began at 8:00 am, we were really hungry. At 3:00 pm we stopped at Richards for a celebratory, famous bake-n-shark. This one was even better than the first as we added some local magic - shadow benny ( a savory herb grown here then pureed) and another local sauce on top! Wow!
Here's a papa who misses his grand babies! On Sunday during Sacrament meeting he got to help an investigator with her baby while her older child needed some attention.