Monday, February 22, 2016

Humility and Conversion

He's a humble single father who lives a little past the outskirts of town. We walk down a long dirt road to get to his house, passing by strange old women and try to speak with them before we see the cocoa leaves (an abused mild narcotic) tumbling heedlessly from their mouths. We pass by cornfields and pigs until we reach his house, neighbored by his huge factory of kitchen appliances. He's probably one of the richest men in Huancayo...I've never seen so many ovens in one place before. I'm reminded of Alma's discourse to the poor Zoramites, explaining to them their impoverished state was a blessing because they would be humble- a far more precious attribute than riches. But, he says, "He that truly humbleth himself, and repenteth of his sins, and endureth to the end, the same shall be blessed-yea, much more blessed than they who are compelled to be humble because of their exceeding poverty." (Alma 32:15) As we taught him each principle and asked him if he had any questions, he would pause thoughtfully, then rephrase what we said, expounding on it powerfully, and nod his head submissively saying, "Yes, I believe I understand that." As we prepared him for his baptism, he explained his chief desire was to serve others- his workers, his family, his friends- with the strength the gospel could give him. With his considerable sphere of influence, he will have ample opportunity.

So on Saturday, he was baptized. He had expressed some passing hope the water wouldn't be cold, so before the service we set to work on figuring out the impossible machine outside in a shed. Literally no one in the ward can get it working except the Bishop, who was travelling. I thought I left inconvenience behind in Paucarbamba- that was very silly of me. We finally got the Bishop on the phone with the Ward Mission Leader. We urgently emptied the cupboards of teacups to fill the water pump bit by bit at the same time our Mission Leader was looking in a hand mirror underneath the heater to find where we needed to light some paper towels on fire while pressing several buttons at once in order to start it up. Finally, to our victory, we saw... a little Bunson Burner pop on, making the pipe through which the water was tearing through nice and luke warm in one place. A little later, Elder Cornilles and I returned for one last chance. Elder Cornilles had a stroke of inspiration. "Turn the switch from 'Pilot' light to On!" We were greeted by a fiery blast from the furnace. Half an hour later, as the service began, the water temperature successfully had risen a couple degrees. 

As difficult as it was, the impact of the baptism infinitely outweighed whatever effort we put forth. This is a good man, and in the community he is now in, with the gospel in his life, he will do a world of good. I was very thankful to take a part in his conversion process to Christ. 

In the name of Jesus Christ, amen.