Surrounded by Water
July 2011

“Surrounded by Water,” Friend, July 2011, 18–19

Surrounded by Water

Joseph of Apu Inti Island, Lake Titicaca, Peru

Seven-year-old Joseph has grown up around water. Or rather he has grown up with water all around him—surrounded by the cold waters of Lake Titicaca in Peru. That’s what happens when you live on a small island made of floating reeds.

Joseph and his family are part of the Uros people, who have built and lived on floating islands on Lake Titicaca for hundreds of years. They fish in the lake. They bathe in the lake. They row across the lake to get from island to island.

You might think that Joseph, being so used to the water, wouldn’t be nervous about standing in a baptismal font in a few months to be baptized. But he feels the same way many other children feel.

“I’m excited,” he says. “But I’m worried about going under the water.”

With water all around them, Uros children are taught to be careful with water. So after Joseph told his parents about his worries, the family talked about baptism during family home evening, and Joseph and his father practiced what to do.

“My father will baptize me,” Joseph says. “He helped me to not be so afraid.”

Now Joseph is diligently preparing for his baptism. He is trying especially hard to pay attention during Primary and to learn the Articles of Faith. He knows that will help him now and in the future.

“I’m going on a mission,” he says. “Like Nephi said, I will go and do the things the Lord commands” (see 1 Nephi 3:7).

Photographs by Adam C. Olson