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A missionary blessing after 45 years via Facebook

By Roger Rice

For the Deseret News

Published: Sunday, March 11 2012 5:00 a.m. MDT

The Baldi family standing in front of the baptismal font. Roger Rice was a missionary serving in Alajuela, Costa Rica, when the Baldi family joined the LDS Church and at the time 1-year-old Jorge, front right, was the youngest in his family. Jorge Baldi recently reconnected with Rice via Facebook.

Roger Rice

I never expected Facebook to bless my life, but it did.

In June of 2010, I received a Facebook message from someone with a familiar last name, Baldi.

This was the text of the message:

"My name is Jorge Luis Baldi from Alajuela, (Costa Rica) and you baptized my parents on April 4, 1965, my father Ricardo and my mother Deyanira.

"I know that my father will like to know about you, he’s is going to be 80 this year and he is a sealer in the Costa Rica temple. Thanks for everything you did back in 1965.

"I was the baby at that time, 1 year old."

I was called on a 30-month mission for The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints to Central America. While there I served in four of the six countries. While serving in San Jose, Costa Rica, my mother passed away in California. I felt I should remain on my mission. A few months later, March 1965, I was transferred to a small town in Costa Rica, named Alajuela.

I was in Alajuela only a couple of weeks when my companion and I tracted out a wonderful couple, Ricardo and Deyanira Baldi, and their five sons, who were all under the age of 8.

I wrote home to my dad several weeks in a row about this wonderful family. They accepted the gospel, and the dad and mom were baptized on April 4, 1965. Shortly after their baptism, I was transferred from Costa Rica to El Salvador. I worried about that family because they were so new in the LDS Church and there weren't many members in the small Alajuela Branch.

I ended my Mormon mission that September, returned home and lost track of the Baldi family.

After receiving that first Facebook message, I immediately responded and asked about his parents and the other members of his family.

I soon received a second message. Here is what it said:

"Thanks for answering my note, my mother is a worker in the temple with my father.

"After you left in 1965, my father became a branch president, later a district president, in 1976 he became a bishop and in 1980-1988 he served as stake president.

"He and my mother served a mission in 1998-2000 at the (Guatelmala City) Guatemala Temple, and in 2000 he became the first first counselor of the (San Jose) Costa Rica Temple.

"In 1974 he took our family for a 22-day round trip to the nearest temple at that time, the (Mesa) Arizona Temple, with six kids and my mother pregnant. We did the trip of our lives to be sealed as a family. We also received our patriarchal blessings, even me at age 10.

"In 1965 there were five children. In 1976 we now numbered eight, six boys and two girls. All six boys served missions.

"Ricardo, the oldest, and I live in Arlington, Texas. Marco, Alvaro and Silvia live in Salt Lake City. The others live in Costa Rica.

"My brothers Marco, Rodolfo and myself have served as bishops, and I served here as a branch president for the old Spanish branch, now a ward. My parents have eight children, 32 grandchildren and 11 great grandchildren.

"I remember your picture as a missionary and your (wedding) picture with your wife.

"I'm holding right now my blessing certificate, dated April 4, 1965, by Elder Allen Hardy Black, that was the day of my parents' baptisms.

"In 1972, my father's mother was baptized and she died the same year. We already have many generations back sealed in the temple, and all of this thanks to you for following the spirit and becoming part of our lives.

"Thank you again, Brother Rice, for sharing the gospel of Jesus Christ with our family.

"Jorge Luis Baldi"

I feel so blessed to have been able to play a small part in the lives of this wonderful family. Had I returned home after my mother's death, I would probably never have met them.

The Lord truly blesses his missionaries, not only during their missions, but for the rest of their lives.

Roger Rice has an MBA from Brigham Young University and is currently working at Mountainland Applied Technology College. He is the father of seven children and has 29 grandchildren. His email is r2@byu.net.

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