Tuesday, March 8, 2016

Aladdin and Eli's Baptism

Raef participated in his school's play this year. It was four months of practice and finally last week we could enjoy the fruits of his labor. He was cast as a guard in Aladdin, Jr. It was an adorable play. And Raef had one line. 

"Why did we bring him all the way down to this cave?"

After a little bit of coaching from me and his viola teacher Aisha, we improved the delivery by about a thousand. "WHY?" (long, dramatic, cliff-hanging pause) "did we bring all the way down to this cave (cave, cave, cave)?" It was delivered as an echo with a sweeping hand gesture. I saw it on Tuesday and it was hilarious. We brought the whole family and they just loved it! All the siblings went nuts over his adorable performance. 

My only critique of his one line was that his face got partially covered by the staff that he was holding. Apparently he took care of that problem on Thursday. After he said why in the same manner as before, he threw down his weapon and also made sure the echo was even louder. That seemed to do the trick.

By Saturday, the entire scene was greatly improved. Raef did his line the same over-the-top dramatic way, and then the next two guards also added an echo to their final words. It was hilarious. At least that is what I was told. I was helping backstage trying to keep those recalcitrant kids quiet. My friend Yvette filled me in on all the details and she said that it was completely hilarious. I was one proud mama.

That is how I ended my Saturday, but the beginning of my Saturday was even better. Eli was baptized.

It was a very special day and it turned out better than I could have ever hoped for. 

He shared his day with his friends Bryson and Landon. We did ours at a special time of 9am with Landon because Landon's grandfather is a general authority and it was the only time he could come. It worked out well for us to do it earlier because that enabled Lyf, Angie, and their three youngest to make a quick trip up for the baptism. They also brought grandma with them. We were so happy to have them there. It seems to have become a tradition for people to get professional photos taken and to also make fancy invitations and give them to everyone in the ward. I knew that Katie was going to do that and I didn't want to complicate my life or the day so I didn't do anything. I just figured that people in the ward would get invited and that was just fine. For our part, we had a very small crowd.

But I really did want the invite the spirit to the meeting and I know that he was there. 

I spoke on baptism and I was so grateful that I could do that. I talked about the courage of Abinadi bearing his testimony to a hostile, blood-thirsty crowd and because of him, Alma was converted and led hundreds, even thousands to the waters of baptism. I told the boys that the only way to heaven is through the strait gate and that strait gate is Jesus Christ. We have to follow Him and do what He did. I talked about the symbolism of baptism and that we are buried in our sins and emerge clean and pure, just like we will in the resurrection, just like Jesus did when He was resurrected. I also reminisced about my own baptism and also about the time that I went to a baptism in Puerto Rico and felt prompted to sing a song. And with that, I ended my talk by singing "I Like to Look for Rainbows". 

After I finished, Eli was baptized by Rinar. I really couldn't see a darn thing because there was a wall of children blocking any chance of seeing anything. But that is okay. He was baptized. When they came back from the dressing room, Landon grandparents both talked about the Holy Ghost. Landon was confirmed first and there were a ton of priesthood holders in the circle. We only had Lyf and Mike there. So, Rinar asked all of the men from our ward to join our circle: Christian N., David Manz., Bubba P., Martin H., and Shawn C. It worked out really well. 

For a closing song, Raef, Zach, Eli, and Harry did a viola/violin medley, a mash up of Army of Helaman and I Will Follow God's Plan For Me. Most of it was improvised and it was a powerful ending to a spiritual baptismal ceremony.

Yes, the most important visitor was there for it, the Holy Ghost.

Afterward, we met at our house and did a brunch and visited. Melanie S. and her kids were able to come and that was special as well. 

When everyone left, I put on my biking gear and did an 11 mile mountain bike excursion with Haley. It sure was a lot of fun, but holy moly, my legs were trashed after that.

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