Monday, September 14, 2009

Baptism in the Baltic Sea

Saturday morning we boarded a train to Jurmala where we met up with 4 Elders. The baptismal candidate took 4 of us in his van and Elder Senkans (the Area Seventy in our area) took the other 2, to the beach.

The candidate is 43 years old, a Jewish man. We were told his name is Lazarus, but it's actually Lazar (like Lazar wolf in Fiddler on the Roof). He's a very friendly, outgoing man who had studied the Koran and rejected Judaism because Christ is not in their scriptures. He had a dream one night that the Mormons are his family. He somehow found Elder Senkans' name, contacted him, and was referred to the missionaries who taught him.
The weather that morning was the coldest it's been in months--I had worn my coat, expecting that the wind would be blowing and it would be cold on the beach. But, it wasn't. The wind didn't blow and the sun was shining bright. The water was still cold, but didn't deter Lazar, Elder Senkans, or the Elders who also had to go out so they could witness the baptism.
The baptism took place and Lazar was exuberant. They came back to shore, changed clothes, and we gathered in a circle on the sand and the elders and Lazar each shared their testimony (in Russian--so we didn't share ours). It was a very touching experience.

We walked out onto the beach and Lazar walked over to a picnic table and we realized he was going to change his clothes there, so Sister Humphrey and I discreetly had our backs to him. There are changing "rooms" available all over, and that's where Elder Senkans and the Elders changed. The white object is the changing room--there are 3 separate "rooms."

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