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Monday, November 7, 2011

17. TWO CONVERT FAMILIES:

The Story of Two Convert Families.

A few weeks ago, two families were baptized in our stake. I have felt prompted to share their stories, but have changed their names to keep their privacy.

The first is the Jose and Maria Ramos family. They have two twin daughters. They live in the poorest area of our stake. The apartments where they live are considered some of the worst in the city.  Earlier this year, some of the apartments were badly damaged due to a fire. Jose  lost his job and has been in need of welfare assistance. Not yet a member of the church, Jose came to see the Bishop for some help. The Bishop offered assistance, but asked him to attend Church. Jose attended church that following Sunday and has attended ever since. In addition, Jose has been diligent in fulfilling the other requirements to receive the welfare needed for his family. The Ramos family were invited to take the missionary discussions. They had taken the discussions previously, but were not baptized. Jose and Maria’s twin daughters have been against their parents joining the church, which was a probable factor that the parents were not baptized earlier. The Ramos family are poor, yet humble and sweet people.. salt of the earth. After overcoming a few things needed to qualify for baptism, they were baptized two weeks ago,  the night before our Regional Conference. It was a simple baptism with a few ward members present.  Those who attended felt an outpouring of the Spirit.

The second family is Ricardo and Anna Castillo family.  Ricardo is a wealthy successful business man who has experienced both successes and failures in the corporate world. Currently his business is doing extremely well. He and his wife recently moved into our stake and bought one of the more expensive homes in the area.  He has been taking  the missionary discussions and attending one of the more affluent wards in our stake even though he lives in a different ward boundary. Ricardo is an intelligent and charismatic man.  The Castillos were also baptized two weeks ago on the morning of Regional Conference. The Stake Center was packed with cars. The entire Stake Presidency was in attendance as well as many of the High Council. I had run by the Stake Center that morning and thought maybe there was an morning leadership meeting since there were so many cars in the parking lot. I am sure those that attended also felt and outpouring of the Spirit.

The number of baptisms were mentioned in both the Leadership Session and the Adult Session of Stake Conference that day.  However, Richardo and Anna Castillo were mentioned by name and  highlighted in one of the Stake Presidencies talks.  Furthermore, in the Adult evening session during his talk, our Stake President actually turned over a block of time to Ricardo Castillo to bear his testimony (via an interpreter since he preferred to speak in Spanish instead of English) Instead of bearing testimony, Ricardo said he would like to share something else.. which turned out to be his story of his business ventures.. his successes and his failures.  

Now, I am grateful that two families have joined the church. However, when I read the Book of Mormon, I find that we don’t realize that could easily fall into having our church being separated into classes. We tend to lift up those with financial wealth and discard those who are the poor among us. We usually recognize and cater to the successful, and despise those who are poor because of their poverty as to the things of the world.  My purpose in sharing this is to show how sometimes we tend to apply different rules to the affluent. Give more attention to those who have wealthy and overlook those who are the few humble followers of Christ.  2 Nephi 28: 14

Sidenotes:
  • No one from the Ramos family was asked to bear testimony. Even their names were not mentioned in the meeting even though they were in attendance.
  • Despite the strict directive from our Stake President that each member should attend the ward where they reside.. currently the Castillo’s are still attending another ward. Apparently the rules do not apply to them.