Monday, September 1, 2014

The Blind Man who SEES!

September 1, 2014

Buenas tardes mi querida familia!!!!!  [Good afternoon my dear family]

Well, to start off this week - going along with my letter last week (or the week before....haha one of my letters), I take back what I said about loving everyone with all your heart.  Advice for future missionaries....don’t love the people too much.  It is going to be SO HARD to leave them.  It is going to be a real struggle when I have to leave this area, let alone in a year from now when I leave my mission.  

I LOVE my area in Babahoyo.  I don’t want to leave ever (I’m saying that knowing that cambios [changes/transfers] are next week....so cross your fingers!)  I love the ward, the bishop, the members, my investigators, and even the groups of creepy men on the side of the road (which, by the way, I have told a few of them that I am a missionary and they can’t call me “their queen” or “princess” or “beautiful dream”, etc.  So now they call me "Amiga" [Friend].  They say, "Hola AMIGA!" and I reply with "Hola amigos!" Haha, it’s great!).  A member told me she is going to talk with the Mission President and have my mission be changed to "Misión Babahoyo."  Yup, I would be ok with that! 

Anyway onto this week....Alberto was BAPTIZED!!!  ¡Eso! [“Eso” literally means “that”, but I assume in Ecuador when used like this, and how Jess intends it here is to say, “That is what I’m talking about!”]  Leading up to Saturday, Alberto was SO anxious for his baptism, he had a countdown going of how many days until his baptism, "Hoy 4 dias Hermana Bartholomè!" [Today there are 4 days Sister B.]  The day of his baptism, if it was possible, Alberto was even MORE anxious to get baptized.  Before the baptism, as is customary, we were taking a bunch of pictures when he finally said, "Alright you’ve taken like 50 pictures, let’s go!”  For not being able to see, he was somehow in tune with how many cameras there were snapping pictures of him. 

Alberto before his baptism
Hermanas B and Latorre with Alberto

Alberto asked our dear Obispo [Bishop] to baptize him, and when it came time for the service he did SO well for being blind.  My companion and I had such a special experience with Alberto as we had to explain to him what the baptismal font looked like, how many people were there, etc.  In turn, we listened intently to his description of how he felt after his baptism.  

Alberto is blind, but oh can he SEE!  For Alberto he was not born blind, but traumatically he lost his sight and his world could be described as "dark".  But, as he explained after his baptism, he now has a new LIGHT with him.  Although he cannot see, Alberto knows that by following Jesus Christ and in the church there is always a GREATER LIGHT.  Following our Savior and His example will always bring a greater light into our lives. 

Like Elder Jeffrey Holland said when describing the events recorded in the Book of Mormon that occurred when Jesus appeared to the people in the Americas – ‘the Savior of the World had come, who turns the darkest night into the light of day.’  (I don’t remember the exact quote but you get the gist.)  

One thing that I adore about Alberto is his complete trust and faith in others to lead and guide him - to his house, down the street, to find the hands of those wanting to greet him.  But even more than that is Alberto’s complete trust and faith in the Lord.  Spiritually, he can see and is willing to be led by messengers that can help him back to his Heavenly Father.  Alberto knows that our Heavenly Father hears and answers our prayers and that He guides and directs us.  Alberto also knows that we can and will find the happiness here that God desires for us.  

The moment Alberto learned of the saving ordinances in the temple, he started naming off the people that he wanted to perform proxy baptisms for, and he said let’s go as soon as possible after my baptism because this is something that the prophet told us we need to do!  We are so excited to help him prepare to go to the temple in a few weeks to perform the baptisms for his parents, aunts, uncles, abuelos [grandparents], TODOS [EVERYONE]!  And to top it off, Alberto continually listens to the Book of Mormon…in the morning, afternoon AND evening.  (At this point, I’m pretty sure he knows more of the Book of Mormon than I do!)  

Oh and good news Katy is preparing to go to the temple soon as well! YAY!!  

So sadly, Marcos was not baptized on Saturday, but he is getting closer.  His only challenge is leaving his other church (which he was a pastor in, and their church meetings are basically held in his house, so we are understanding that it is hard).  But like our Mission President told me, Marcos has the greatest message of happiness right in his hand that he cannot neglect.  Oh, and yes, Marcos tells me everyday about his Facebook conversations with you all.  BEAR YOUR TESTIMONY to him or send him a Mormon Message (in Spanish of course) he would love it!
We have found so many new families that we just don’t have enough time to visit them all, and as I keep saying, I just don’t have enough time to tell you about everyone.  But this is a quick recap of how our week went... Monday - walking under the blazing sun, walking to Salto, shoot they aren’t home, back to Babahoyo, well they aren’t home either, and back to Salto again, this time the furthest point of Salto and they were hiding from us.  Tuesday was the same as Monday but the sun was even stronger.  

On Wednesday - Carlos Pacheco (“the man in the red chair” who is now active and preparing to go to the temple to be sealed to his wife and children) introduced us to his daughter who has been a less-active member of the church for pretty much her whole life, or at least since the time when her father became inactive 20 years ago.  She has two beautiful little girls and her husband is named Wilson and is not a member of the church.  They are an incredible family and we are so grateful that we were able to meet them. 

And guess what?  They are MARRIED.  LEGALLY MARRIED.  Say what?!  That is a MIRACLE here in Ecuador :).  PERO [BUT], Wilson can’t attend church because he is a Professor and for some reason, the school he teaches at holds classes on Sundays.  He actually has Mondays off.  So we are praying that the Prophet will change the Sabbath Day to Monday, at least until Wilson can get baptized :).  We are praying for a miracle or he will have to wait until their summer break to finally go to church.

Friday, we had an activity with the Stake and they asked me to play the violin...so I had to try and remember a complete song and play in front of TONS of people, que verguenza [how embarrassing].  (I forgot what we did on Thursday - oh yeah, I met a guy named Bartolò, and that is pretty much our last name so we became immediate friends.  Saturday was ALBETOS BAPTISM and Sunday- we had many, many meetings.  We just LOVE our ward! 

TODAY we got permission from our awesome mission president to go to a tiny amusement park in the area with bumper cars and a carousel, so we are super excited.  

P-Day Carousel Ride - Hermanas B and Latorre

Well family, I love you all so much and I have one challenge for you all this week:  Put your trust in the Savior and he will help you SEE the pathway home to our loving Heavenly Father. 

Until next week con mucho amor,

Hermana B

P.S.  My cute companion is OBSESSED with ducks!!!  So when a menos activo [less active] had a bunch, of course we had to take a picture.  HAHA she looks like she is choking it to death, but she was just so excited.  

Hermana Latorre "holding" a duck

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