From Frank Cortese: In our 4-part history of the Church in Puerto Rico, we mentioned the conversion of the Cortese family. With more than 14,177 subscribers on LDS-Gems, we sometimes receive notes from people mentioned in these histories. It is fun to receive them, so we can hear the "rest of the story." We were delighted to hear from Frank and Carmen Cortese who are working in the Orlando Temple.
In our history, we said:
The Cortese family were the first full family to be baptized in the Caguas branch. Orson Scott Card related:
Sister Cortese, afraid that her husband might be furious if he discovered she was investigating the Mormon Church, hid her "Meet the Mormons" book. All in vain -- Brother Cortese found it anyway, and read it through. But instead of getting angry, he got interested, and they began the spiritual journey to conversion -- which included a mad search for white clothing that would fit Brother Cortese, a very large man, for his baptism at the beach near Humacao. ("The Saints in Puerto Rico," Ensign, March 1978We received the following from Frank Cortese
I was delighted to read about the Saints in Puerto Rico and about our baptism. Actually I'm not a very tall person but at that time my waist was out of proportion and none of the white baptism clothing the missionaries had would fit me. They went to Brother Frank Talley's factory in Humacao and brought me a plastic suit that made me look like the Pillsbury dough boy.
My family and I finally were baptized at 6:00 a.m. in the Humacao beach which is in the Caribbean Sea. Sisters Pam Pellegrino and Pamela Villarini were present. Elder Donald Wood and his companion Elder Sanchez where the first missionaries to open the Caguas area. (Elder) Donald Wood passed away December 20, 1997. How grateful we are for all that he did for us. To have the patience to look up every passage in the Bible that referred to the discussions he was teaching us. His mission really never ended.
When Elder Wood was transferred to Miami he went to say good-bye to Sister Pam Pellegrino. Jim Pellegrino hated the missionaries and would throw them out of his house every time he found them there. With a parting word, Elder Wood said to Jim that if he ever wanted to get baptized to give him a call.
Twenty-one years later, Jim called up Donald Wood (who was living in Orem Utah) reminding him about his statement and the reason for his call. Elder Wood flew to Fort Lauderdale and baptized Jim in the Pompano, Florida chapel. I was able to attend this special event of which I will never forget.
I now serve as Patriarch in the Orlando, Florida Stake and work together with my wife in the Orlando Temple.
We are grateful for the missionaries that knocked on our door two times and brought us true happiness!