This last Saturday my friend Jorge Gomez was baptized.
Saturday morning I woke up and was itching with excitement...and nerves. Nerves? Why was I nervous? I've already been baptized. haha
We started off the morning with a couple hours of service in the community which gradually made their way into the early hours of the baptism. We arrived at the church, turned on the water in the font, and made the program. We set up the chairs, the food, and the newly printed programs on the table. Jorge had arrived an hour early to prepare himself for the baptism. It was a good thing too! We couldn't' find a baptismal suit that fit him! The only one large enough was being cleaned by the other set of missionaries who had a baptism last week. We made a few quick calls and just before the baptism started the suit arrived.
The hour before the baptism Jorge had picked up one of the programs; sat down in the foyer; and looked at the picture on the front cover, the picture of John the Baptist baptizing Jesus Christ.
The service flowed very nicely. Many people came, even though it was a Saturday, to support him in his decision. Everyone was smiles and the spirit was felt as Hermano Roberto Diaz said the baptismal prayer. As Jorge came out of the water he wiped the streams of water off and then turned to his friends and said, "in the name of Jesus Christ, Amen." haha It seems to be his favorite phrase when he agrees with something. It comes with his personality. haha What a character! We had a special musical number by one of the missionaries who is a wonderful pianist while Jorge was changing. The spirit was felt all through the service. It was truly incredible.
Although the service was lovely and the spirit was felt, my favorite part came later in the day. We had set an appointment to meet with him at 8:00pm to talk about the baptism. When we arrived, we asked about his feelings during the baptism. He said, "as I was standing in the pool of water (the font), and I had one of my hands on Roberto's arm, and the other was holding my nose, I was thinking 'this is what Jesus Christ did'. I know I followed Jesus Christ." It was the most profound thing he had ever said to us. We knew he understood baptism, and he understood all of the doctrines that we taught him, but we had never felt like he had a personal connection with them. He now had that personal connection. We saw a few tears escape his eyes and my heart was touched. It was really something celestial.
The next day was just as grand. Jorge Gomez was confirmed a member of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints. Just after the confirmation the bishop asked him to share a few thoughts. With his quirky personality he expressed that he was 'Jorge Gomez from Cuba', stated his age, his address, and then talked about how happy he was to be here among his brothers and sisters.
He was changed. He was not the Jorge I knew before Saturday. He had been transformed into a spiritual giant!
We have visited with him every day since his baptism and he continues to glow. He really glows. I love him on a deeper level. I love to visit him and hear about him still talk about his baptism.
Jorge Gomez, "the 60 year old from Cuba" and my friend, has entered into the kingdom of God. I couldn't be happier.