Monday, June 16, 2014

Happy Father's Day - The Unspeakable Gift from God

June 16, 2014
¡Hola mi familia y amigos! ¿Como le va? [How’s it going?]
Good news!  The world cup started!!!!:)  However this makes our job a little more difficult.  People here live and breathe soccer.  To say that soccer is a big deal is an understatement here in America Sur.  Yesterday, Father’s Day (Happy Father’s Day all you dads out there - we will get to that in a minute)  was the first game for team Ecuador!!!  The streets were full of the Bright Yellow jerseys, grand flags waving out the windows and these fancy soccer hats that actually almost look like the hats the people have at hot dog on a stick!  HAHA, wahoo ECUADOR!!! 

But the game started at 10 AM sharp and just our luck, 10 AM is the same time of our sacrament meeting.  So of course everyone’s response to the invitation to church was either nope we are watching the game or we are going to Guayaquil for Father’s Day...to watch the game!  Needless to say not too many people came to church and the talks during sacrament meeting were accompanied by GGGGGOOOOOOAAAAALLLLLLLLLL!!!!!!! 

We actually had more people come the night before to our Ward Talent Show, and gladly it was a SUCCESS!  Both we and the Elders serving here in our ward had investigators and menos activos [less actives] come and they loved it!  Everyone went all out for the show...wearing their nicest clothes, memorizing dances and singing their hearts out...they even found me a violin so I could play too.  I love our ward, we are all so close it is going to be hard to leave them...ya let’s not even think about that. 

Now for the sad news, Elder Juanes and Elder Camargo had cambios [transfers] today and the Mission President closed their sector so it is only Hermana Toledo and I in our ward now.  They will be missed.  Along with the Elders leaving we gained all of their investigators, so I will update you on all the new people next week!

AHH!!!  Now for the happiest news of all...Yuri definitely wants to be baptized and we cleared up everything wither her family, so if no other surprises come up she is planning to be baptized this Sat. the 21st.  So please pray for Yuri and her sweet family (thank you for your prayers, I feel them daily)  

Coming back to Sunday...HAPPY HAPPY FATHERS DAY!!  Shout out to the greatest dad in the world, my dear father (and those who know him agree with me ;) )  The most important thing my dad had taught me is that I am a daughter of a loving Heavenly Father!  As Jeffery R. Holland, of the Quorum of 12 Apostles said, the most important doctrine we teach as missionaries is that we have a loving Heavenly Father.  He loves you and me. 

This week we had the experience of explaining the great plan of happiness and specifically our premortal life with our loving Heavenly Father.  We made a great impression on a less active member, Viki (Aldo’s sister).  Viki is 18 yrs old and expecting a baby boy here in a few months.  While teaching her this week, we focused on her role as a mother and that Heavenly Father trusted her with one of his precious children.  We told her that her child is so excited to come to earth and receive a body and that she is going to be his or her mother.  We explained that our Heavenly Father loves her so much and is rejoicing in the life she is living.  Also her son was specifically chosen to come to her humble home.  In unbelief she asked us if we were joking, but then being touched by the spirit, she asked if she really knew her child before she came to earth.   Yes, Viki, Heavenly Father is sending you a bundle of joy and entrusts you with the important role of being a mother in these the latter days.  All three of us then realized that all of our future children are watching over us and are anxiously waiting for their time to come to Earth. 

As I was thinking about this, at first I was like AHH that’s so weird to think about.  I’m on a mission.  I’m not thinking of getting married right now, but there was a sweet spirit in the room and we are all so excited and humbled to know that one day Heavenly Father will entrust us with his precious children. 

Oh what love Heavenly Father has for us to provide us with families.  I just adore my family and miss you lots, but I know that Heavenly Father is blessing you MUCHISIMO while I am away.

I reflected much on the famous scripture, "For God so loved the world that He gave His only begotten Son, that whosoever believeth in him should not perish, but have everlasting life." (John 3:16)

Our Bishop from the ward here in Babahoyo, has a granddaughter, Emily, who is 3 years old.  She explained the atonement to me and truly understands the ultimate sign of love from our Heavenly Father.  Emily was asked one day after lunch, “Who is Jesus Christ?”  She began drawing a simple stick figure on a cross, and simply said, "He died on the cross."  Why did he have to die?  "So we can be good again."  Is he still dead? "Noo, he is living with Heavenly Father right now."  And pointed to the frame on the wall of the portrayal of the 2nd coming.  Do we get to see him again? "Of course!" It was probably the sweetest way to describe what happened.  Emily truly understands that "He died" so that she can "be good again" and "of course" we will all see him again.  Our Heavenly Father loves us SO much that He gave his only perfect Son so we can all live again.
I don’t know if everyone remembers the Church produced video many years ago called THE BRIDGE.  I think this video is a perfect way to understand a Father’s love for his son.  I imagine that the movie is on the Church website or on YouTube.  I invite you to go and watch it.

This week during my personal study I read a General Conference talk given in 2012 by Elder Craig C. Christensen of the Quorum of 70 about the Unspeakable Gift from God.  This gift is the Holy Ghost.  Many times as members of the church we only think of our Heavenly Father giving his Son to us.  And not in any way diminishing the Atonement, he has also given us the gift of the Holy Ghost.  In his talk Elder Christensen said, “The Holy Ghost loves us and wants us to be happy.  He is known as the comforter helping us feel the peace of God which passes all understanding.  I testify that the gift of the Holy Ghost is Heavenly Father’s precious and unspeakable gift to all who will come unto His Son be baptized in His name and receive the Holy Ghost." 

I had never thought of that concept before, that the Holy Ghost loves me.  The Holy Ghost truly is an unspeakable gift from God and has comforted me many times in my life when it passed my understanding.  How great the love of our Heavenly Father that He gave us the Holy Ghost to literally FEEL of His love for us. 

I love my Heavenly Father so much.  I know that I lived with Him before I came to this earth and he wants me to return home to Him.  I am so grateful for the unspeakable gift of the Holy Ghost and the ultimate gift of love His Son Jesus Christ.  I know that we can all feel of our Heavenly Fathers love for us, because I sure do, every single day! 

Have a wonderful week family and friends, talk to you soon!

Con mucho amor,

Hermana Bartholomew 

P.S.  This is my favorite little girl in the whole wide world!!!  Her name is Kimberly and everytime she sees us coming down the street she yells HERMANAS!!!!! And runs to us to give us a big hug! And she is in love with my Ecuador ring so of course I had to take a picture!  

Kimberly and my Ecuador Ring

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