Monday, June 30, 2014

Joyful Jessica Jo - The Happiest I've Ever Been!

June 30, 2014

Wow its Monday again?!  Hello my beautiful family, I hope you all had a great week and spoiled Mom for her birthday! 

Good news, Spanish is getting better every single day.  The gift of tongues is real folks!  The other day I was asked to say the prayer in our district meeting and they wanted to hear me say it in English.  I thought, YAY! I can pray in English!  But then...shoot I don’t remember how to say, let alone start a prayer in English anymore.  It was a struggle, but I do still remember some English! 

Oh, an embarrassing but hilarious story...we were getting to know a less active member in our area named Lorena, when her husband came out of the house.  So I asked her, “El es su esposo?  (Oh, is this your husband?)  She replied, “Si, el es mi esposo.”  (Yes, he is my husband.)  So I said, "Hola. esposo de Lorena..." [Hi, Lorena’s husband]  But neither my companion nor Lorena heard "de Lorena".  Entonces [So] they thought I just said, "Hola esposo!" [Hello husband!] Hermana Toledo looked at me like I was crazy and we all had a good laugh for a good 5 minutes.  Every day this week we just happen to always see her husband, which has become the running joke that he is my husband.  Oh good times. 

Today we got some cool Ecuador t-shirts that have our names on the back, along with the name of our zone and our mission.  I will send the picture of all the zone wearing the t-shirts next week.

Go Ecuador!

This past week we had our last reunion [meeting] with Presidente Amaya.  Our zone put together a musical number with a mix of songs (which I have no clue what they are in English).  We ended with “God be with You ‘Till We Meet Again” and “Nearer My God to Thee”, with yours truly on the violin.  WOW!  The power and spirit of a missionary choir is incredibly amazing!  No one wanted to move afterwards because the spirit was so thick.  Presidente y Hermana Amaya gave us wonderful advice and they will be missed dearly here in Ecuador.  After the meeting ended we all had the chance to take one last photo with them.  When it came my opportunity, the President told me to treasure my time with Hermana Toledo because we would have a big group of new missionaries coming this next week! 

Usually in this mission you are with your trainer for 12 weeks and then switched.  Tomorrow, July 1 will be exactly 12 weeks since I arrived in Ecuador.  Needless to say it was a stressful and anxious time in the days following to see if we would have cambios [transfers/changes] tomorrow.  But I am the happiest missionary in the world today because I am still with my best friend and amazing example Hermana Toledo!  

Together for another transfer - YAY!

As I’ve mentioned before, my prayers for my trainer prior to arriving here were fully answered with my dear trainer.  Oh, I am so grateful for her and hopefully my dad (wink, wink) will let me visit Chile often to see her lovely face.
Anywho, so we decided to tell Katy that there was a possibility that one of us would be leaving and she began BAWLING!!  She didn’t want us to leave and just poured out her gratitude for the role we played in her life as missionaries and her friends.  We counseled her that she needs to put all of her trust in our Heavenly Father and although one day we will not be here in Babahoyo, she will never be alone.  We are so proud of Katy and how much she has changed through this wonderful gospel.  She was smiling from ear to ear when she saw us the next day.  I am truly making friends here for a lifetime!  Also, when the Bishop of our ward here found out, he said, "YAY! Soy el mas feliz Obispo!  WAHOO!"  [“I am the happiest Bishop!”]  We truly have the best ward family here, it is going to be hard when it really is time to leave.
A quick update on Darien – he has SO many questions my head hurts some days.  He left to the beach this last week so we are meeting with him when he returns tomorrow!  His baptism date has moved to July 12th!

Recently we have been lacking in investigators, so we began contacting literally EVERYONE!!! One contact we made this week was an incredibly humbling experience as we were an answer to someone’s prayer.  We were walking quite swiftly to our next appointment with the family of Yuri (the cute girl that got baptized last week), and Hermana Toledo pointed out the cutest little dog (which is rare here, all the others have some kind of disease).  This led us to notice a cute mom sitting outside their house with her daughter.  We decided to contact her and as we approached her we noticed tears in her eyes.  We asked her if she needed any help and that we were there to serve her.  She began crying, so we gave her a big hug and shared our knowledge that Heavenly Father loves her so much.  She expressed her gratitude for being an answer to her prayers.  Her son is a part of a group of friends that haven’t made the wisest decisions lately and she hasn’t heard from him in weeks!  She had prayed that morning that someone would help her know what to do.  She said, “Every time our heavenly father sends someone to help me!"  We were so humbled that we were sent to answer her prayer that day!

We also had another neat experience contacting this week.  We were walking down the street Olmedo (which we walk at least twice a day) and I was telling Hna Toledo a story.  Then all of a sudden my companion starts walking across the street in the opposite direction. "AHH, Hermana!"  She felt inspired to walk across the street to contact a cute little old lady who was embracing her granddaughter.  We shared a quick 5 minute lesson on the restoration of Christ’s Church to the Earth.  We learned that she lived with her son's family and they have always watched us walk down the street and always wondered who we were!  She is the cutest thing ever and it is a FAMILY!!!!! AHH :)  We are already picturing them being sealed together in the temple.  Cross your fingers! ;)
View of the Babahoyo River from a church member's home.
My thought for you all this week comes from a letter that my dear aunt Karen sent me: 
"When I think of words that describe God I would have to say love, peace and joy (just to say a few).  If we really are sons and daughters of God then we have these same characteristics inside each one of us.  I think that many times we are looking for joy in things outside of ourselves...we are wanting physical things to fulfill us and bring us joy.  Those things can bring us pleasure but those outside things are not lasting.  It is not joy.  Joy comes from recognizing who we are.  Joy comes from knowing our Heavenly Father and Jesus Christ.  When we feel that connection and joy within it is contagious and we want to share it with all those we come in contact with.  We are happiest when our lives are connected to others through unselfish love and service."

I loved what she related to me about JOY.  Joy comes from knowing our Heavenly Father and Jesus Christ.  I am the happiest I have ever been because I have come to know my Heavenly Father and brother Jesus Christ, and I know that I am a daughter of God.  I am loving sharing this joy with the people in Babahoyo.  I am Joyful Jessica Jo over here in Ecuador. 

Family, I love you all so much and hope you have a wonderful week!! 

Con mucho gozo [joy],
Hermana Bartholomew

Some crazy pictures my sweet companion and I took today in our new Ecuador shirts.

No comments:

Post a Comment