Monday, November 23, 2009

Anthony's Baptism and Confirmation!

Before I talk about Anthony's baptism, I want to give a shout out to my dad today and wish him a very Happy Birthday!

Happy Birthday Dad!!

With that said, I am so excited to tell you the story of Anthony's baptism. Anthony is the young man that has been taking the missionary discussions at our home. Anthony decided that his 19th birthday was the day that he was going to get baptized!

We met Anthony, as he is the boyfriend/friend (depends on the hour) of one of my young women. She has been dating him over a year and I remember the first time I met him. He had come over to the Stake Center to watch Cassi and her sisters play volleyball. I had seen him around before, but he was always at a distance. So as we were leaving the game, Kristen and I walked past him and I turned and said "Hi Anthony, I'm Rentmeister! It is a pleasure to meet you!" Completely threw the kid off guard. He was very polite and talked with us a bit and then Kristen and I headed home.

I did not see him again, until the night we went to pick up Cassi to go clean the new Oquirrh Mountain temple. She was getting in my car and he was getting in his car to go home and it became very clear that we needed to invite him to clean the temple with us. So she rolled down the window and invited him to come, in which he accepted.

I had only met him twice and was quite surprised when the missionaries said that he wanted to have the discussions in our home. Now as I look back, I am so very grateful that he did.

Anthony comes from a Roman Catholic background. As a child he went to Catholic school, and part of his High School years, he lived in Nebraska for a year and milked cows. Most of his life it was him and his mother. He was a very good kid. However, Anthony was basically homeless this last spring.

When you meet Anthony, it becomes very clear that he is a unique spirit. There is something very special about the kid. As he was taking the discussions and trying to sort out in his mind the things that was being taught to him and what had been engrained in his mind from a lifetime of being catholic. However, he listened to the spirit and found the truthfulness for himself.

Anthony chose November 20, 2009 for his baptism. He was so excited to share his news with friends and some family. As he broke the news to his mother's side of the family who is all Catholic, their response was not good. From the time that he broke the news about his decision to minutes before his baptism, the family was sending anti-mormon literature or hateful messages to him. Talk about opposition. We would always try to calmly remind him that they loved him very much, and they thought that they were doing things to help him. One Sunday, he got up and bore his testimony to only walk off the stand to head to a family brunch that turned into a family council to talk him out of joining the church. They even had a priest there.

I am proud of Anthony for how he respected all of the perspectives and listened to their concerns. He had made up his mind and no one was going to change it for him. He thought he had calmed the waters to the best of his ability.

Anthony came over to our home at 5:00 as his baptism was scheduled for 6:00. As we were getting ready to go, none of us had had dinner. So, we ran over to Little Ceasars and grabbed a couple of pizzas to eat in the kitchen at the church before the baptism. As we are eating pizza and the missionaries are sizing Anthony up for his white jumpsuit, Brian notices a man peering through the crack of the door. Brian asks "Can I help you?" A large man came around the door, turned right to Anthony and angrily pointed at him and said "I need to talk to you!" And Anthony followed him outside.

I stood there panicking as Anthony has stepped out into the darkness with a man we have no idea who he is. I turned to the missionaries and Brian and said "Somebody needs to follow him, so he doesn't get stabbed, or beat up, or whatever." Elder Beldin starts opening up drawers and grabs a fork and tucks it in his pocket. I ask him "what are you going to do with a fork?" To which he replies "I don't know, protection?" To which he pulls the fork out and places back in the drawer.

We are now 10 minutes before 6:00 and myself, Brian, the Bishop, Brother Moore (the ward mission leader) are standing in the hall just outside of the foyer wondering what we could do. We didn't want to intrude if it was family, but we were also concerned for Anthony's safety. This should have been the time that Anthony had changed into white, I would be taking his picture with friends and family and so we could have started at 6:00 pm SHARP! Instead, we are standing in a hall, on nerves worrying about the safety of this boy. Brian and the Bishop finally went out to check on him, as they immediately came back in and said that Anthony had told them that everything was fine and to go back inside. So we waited a little longer until Anthony finally came in, very distraught and said "I don't want to talk about it, let's just get this done."

We rush Anthony into the bathroom to change and I ask "Where is Andrew?" Andrew was his best friend who was going to baptize him that night. As we were distracted with Anthony's crisis, we forgot about making sure that Andrew was here and ready to go. What Brian, myself and Anthony knew was that Andrew had nose surgery earlier that day and vowed that he would make the baptism to baptize his friend, no matter what. Nose surgery as in a deviated septum and they had to completely knock him out to chisel away bone. Yeah, sounds fun!

Anthony called Andrew and he said that they were moments away and that they would be there in a few. 10 minutes pass....20 minutes pass.....25 minutes later, Andrew comes walking in with his family, pale white with a white shirt and tie on, while carrying his pants. He still had a hospital bracelet on and his nose was dripping blood. I turn to Andrew and ask "Are you sure you can do this?" In which he assured me that he could and that he would. His father who was suppose to be the second witness of the baptism had had the same surgery that day, was not able to make it. So we hurried Andrew in to change his clothes and try to start a half an hour later.

We started the program in which the first speaker was not there. So we continued on with Cassi speaking about Adversity. She cried and shaked while she talked about how trials make us stronger. Then Anthony and Andrew entered the baptismal font. Andrew had blood dripping from his nose, in which he stepped out of the font to clean up. He came back and he was fine. He baptized Anthony and they both smiled as Anthony came out of the water.

Both boys are over 6 feet tall. Andrew is 6'5" and Anthony is 6'2". These boys are tall. As they were getting cleaned up, the missionaries gave the first discussion to the audience. It was really great except that Elder Beldin said "SOL", in which I turned to my friend Becky and we busted out laughing.

The missing speaker had shown up also and gave a beautiful talk on baptism. Then I got up and gave a few remarks and bore my testimony and then another one of Anthony's girl friends got up and gave a talk on the Holy Ghost. After all the speakers, Anthony got up and gave personal remarks which was so strong with the spirit and very emotional. He told his story and thanked everyone that had come to support him. The Bishop then gave closing remarks and we busted a move over to our church to slice up desserts for an open house.

There was almost a 100 people crammed in the Relief Society room and about 40 showed up for refreshements. Needless to say, I invited friends over yesterday to HELP EAT PIE and cake!

The night turned out to be a great success. Anthony did it and was so happy with his decision that he had made. BTW the man that had showed up at the church was a family relative. It was his Godfather. He came to give Anthony a verbal whiplashing and then try and take him home with him. Anthony said that at one point, his Godfather slapped him in the face. Wow!

I was able to get a couple of shots of Anthony in white before the baptism.

Elder Holgrem, Andrew and Anthony.

Elder Holgrem was one of the original missionaries that taught Anthony. He was transferred about a week and a half before Anthony's baptism but he was able to come to the baptism and he was asked to be a witness with Brian. We loved Elder Holgrem because he was from Sweden and he was very buff. He loved the cold and was always wearing short sleeve shirts in which we could see he bulging muscles. Anthony and I would always tease him to flex. Haha! Great guy!

Andrew and Anthony right before the baptism.

At the end of the night, I was able to get a shot of Anthony and his eyes are closed. We were all so tired!

Cassi and Anthony!

Cassi is a great example for standing up for what you believe in can affect the decisions in others. Cassi was one of many great friends that influenced Anthony and his decision to join the church.

Sunday, Brian confirmed Anthony and blessed him with the gift of the Holy Ghost. He was also ordained a Priest and received the Aaronic Priesthood. He asked the Bishop to meet with him after church to get a temple recommend to do Baptisms for the Dead and also a recommend for his Patriarchal Blessing. Yes, he is going fast and furious, but like I said, he is a very special spirit and he is SSSOOOO ready for all of this. The Bishop also asked him to bless the sacrament next week and have Anthony and Brian talk about this missionary experience. I am so excited to hear them speak!!
We now consider Anthony part of the family!! Congrats to Brian and I, we now have a boy! haha! No, we truly love Anthony and we will do whatever we have to to help him on his life path. His journey has just begun with baptism and we now have the goal to get him to the temple for his endowments and hopefully a mission. We will see! I am so grateful for this opportunity and that Anthony is a part of our lives. This is God's work and I am happy as a lark!


Lisa said...

What an awesome baptism story. I'm going to share it with my family tonight for FHE. Thanks for a great lesson.

Best of luck to Anthony as he progresses in the gospel. Hoorah for Israel.

Ann Marie said...

As I was reading your story and heard that a man came to your house.. that scared me... I know things like this can have road blocks along the way.. but I was even worried!

So HAPPY that all was well.. and you have a "new addition" to the family. The Gospel is Good.. The Gospel is great!!

So grateful that you were a part of such a HAPPY and momentous day!
Good job girl!

Atherley Crack Ups said...

i am so glad that things turned out well for anthony. he is so lucky to have such great "parents" to guide him on the rest of his journey.
i shall bring you over something blue in congratulations!

Cherie said...

What an amazing testimony this young man must have.
Those are some big hurdles - a family who is opposed and being slapped in the face...Horrible!
I can see why you would want to adopt such a wonderful young man and he is lucky to have your family too.
I am happy it all worked out. It sounds like the baptism had such a strong spirit there.
I am so happy for Anthony!

JENNIFRO said...

That was a great story Suzanne--I loved it. Talk about an emotional ride...I'm so glad it worked out. It reminds me of our good friend with a similar story who also ended up getting baptized and having discussions in our home. He is now super strong and married a wonderful girl, just had their first baby. It's such a blessing and so cool to witness--good job pulling through for him.

haylie said...

oh, that story just made me cry--thanks a lot!

congratulations to everyone!

Joy For Your Journey said...

What a wonderful baptism story. All the drama had me on the edge of my seat and my stomach in knots. Good for him for standing up for what he knew was right even though it was hard on his family. Perhaps in the future they will be influenced to join the Church also because of his example.

{Mo} said...

Suzanne! Thank you for sharing! It's so amazing to me that when the time is right, IT'S RIGHT! I love to hear others conversion stories.....they give me hope that someday we can have one in our home! (sooner rather than later, I hope)Thanks again for sharing! Wish I could have seen you when I was up your way :(

Kristen said...

Yowzers - I didn't hear all the details about his "meeting" with his uncle. Nice. LOVE THIS KID. So excited for him! And his baptism was amazing.


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