Friday, October 31, 2014

GREATEST WEEK EVER - The Heavens are NOT Sealed!

October 30, 2014


The Heavens are not sealed!

The famous saying, “Things are not always what they seem…” describes the perception of the missionaries of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints by others who may not be members of the church – and in this case the perceptions in the wonderful country of Ecuador.  Looking at Mormons from afar there are a few crazy ideas.  Many believe there are restrictions in our church on dancing and singing.  (Maybe they went to a one of our church dances one time…you know, the ones where everyone just awkwardly stands there because no one wants to ask you to dance?  But don’t let the church dances fool you - we are allowed to dance and also sing - have you heard of Alex Boye?!)

Then comes the belief that we send “spies” (the missionaries) all around the world to see how others live and send a report to Barak Obama.  Huh?  And the best one of all, that Familia Jara heard, is that for every baptism, as missionaries we get paid $4 million dollars!!!  Haha if only… the life as a missionary is poor. :)  Gregorio has joked with us ALL week asking when our money will be sent to us…Oh Gregorio what a funny guy!  Sadly the 4 million dollars is not true… because then the “Family of Gold” could be true in every sense. :) 

But really, it isn’t sad because truly we are EXTREMELY FELIZ [HAPPY]!!!!  Por Que [Why]?!  Gregorio, Wendy, Leslie, Luis Gonzalo y Gregory were BAPTIZED on Saturday October 25th!!!!!! :)  Que Felicidad, no?! [What happiness, no?!]  The day of their baptism was truly a day that I will never forget and a beautiful witness that the heavens are indeed open.  I testify that the heavens are NOT sealed.

Well to start off, the Jara Family has not fallen into "Mormon time" yet so they were all pressed, dressed, and ready to impress a whole hour and a half before the baptism service. 

La Familia Jara
From L to R; Maria Jose, Luis Gonzalo, Wendy, Gregory (with glasses), Gregorio, and Leslie
Maria Jose did not get baptized with the family, but will join them soon!
They are already counting down the days until their temple sealing! #FamiliesAreForever

They were just so excited! Also, they each invited ALL of their close friends and family members. Even young Gregory invited his 10 year-old neighborhood friend who was told by his parents that we are not a church, but now loves church and wants to get baptized as well. Basically everyone and their dog came to the baptismal service. There were about 70 people there, FULL of PERSONAS [PEOPLE]!

Front: Hermana Perez, Hermana B, Leslie, Gregory
Back: Maria Jose, Luis Gonzalo, Wendy, Gregorio, Adela (Gregorio's mom)

While Wendy greeted all the ladies from the ward, who have passed through her home over the years lovingly inviting her to come to church, they all shared tears of joy that she had come to know the church is true.  Every single person in attendance was touched as we witnessed each one of the family enter the waters of baptism.  The best was when Leslie came up out of the water.  Her face wrinkled from smiling so big, and not knowing what to do, she did a little dance on her toes, just like I did when I received my mission call to come and find her and her beautiful family.

They were just GLOWING!  Gregory told me he wants to get baptized every day so that he can feel the indescribable joy everyday!  He was a little sad when we responded that he couldn’t – but he now looks forward to taking the sacrament each week so he can remember this incredible day.  Wendy bore her solemn testimony that she knows the church is true and can’t wait to get sealed in the temple to her family.  She also gave the closing prayer perfectly!  This indescribable day of joy and change of taking upon the countenance of Christ will always be one of my favorite days in my mission. 

The next day in Sacrament Meeting, as a newly united family, they walked up in their beautiful new church clothes to be confirmed members of the Church and receive the gift of the Holy Ghost.  Gregory’s wish was granted, as he was promised in his confirmation blessing that he would serve a full time mission and…will one day become a BISHOP!  We knew he was a special kid. :)  As new members of the church they are SO excited to become member missionaries.  This family… Les Amo [I Love Them]!

Before I go any further, I don’t know if I’ve explained who is related to who in their family.  Gregorio’s mother is Adela de la Paz and she has two children – Gregorio and Esdrina.  Adela is a very active member of the church.  She has served in the church as a temple missionary, is now a temple worker, and has faithfully attended church for 20 years.  Adela’s husband never attended or joined the church.  He always said, “I was born a Catholic and will die Catholic.”  He tragically was murdered about 15 years ago.  A year after his death, Adela had all of his ordinance work, including baptism, completed for him in the temple.  Adela had always hoped that he had accepted the gospel, and that hope was changed into a full testimony and knowledge on the 25th of October.    

So on Sunday night, Esdrina sent us the greatest text message you can receive as a missionary… “Hola Hermanas.  I know it is late but I just wanted to tell you that I want you to prepare me to get Baptized!!!”  Ahhh, is this real life?!?!  She didn’t ever want to get baptized – ever, ever, ever! 

The next day we went to their house, so curious as to what changed Esdrina’s mind.  She began by explaining the change she has seen in her brother’s family.  As she saw this, she started listening to the hymns throughout the day and always felt something special.  She stayed up the night before (Sunday) watching the church video on the Restoration and told us how she received a confirmation that the church is true.  She also watched all of the Joseph Smith movie and in detail gave us a re-cap (haha she is so cute) and then tearfully shared the following story…

Esdrina noticed that her daughter Karen was silently crying in her room after the baptism.  As a loving mother, she entered into the room to see what was wrong.  Karen recounted to her mom how during her uncle’s baptism she saw her Grandpa.  Esdrina was confused…“but he passed away many years ago, how could you have seen him?”  Karen explained, “No, Mom.  I saw him.  He was standing in the font with Gregorio.  He was happy Mom, he couldn’t stop smiling.” 

The spirit flooded the room and prompted me to tell them that indeed the Heavens are open and that their husband, father and grandpa HAD accepted the baptism and other ordinance work done for him in the temple and he was just as proud of his son and his family.  I am a firm believer that there was a party up in Heaven in honor of this incredible family. 

My dear family, I know, I know, I KNOW that our loved ones who have passed on are ever close to us.  They love us and rejoice with us when we are keeping the commandments and striving to become like our older Brother, even Jesus Christ.  Ahh! The Church is true.

And if this week couldn’t get any better - Wendy, Leslie, and Karen were able to go to the temple in Guayaquil and perform baptisms for the dead.  They were SO happy when they entered the doors of the temple.  The boys weren’t able to participate yet because they need to be ordained to the priesthood first.  So they walked around the temple and wanted to buy everything in the church distribution store next to the temple - well mainly Gregorio who now has a new Bible, hymn book, primary song book, and much more!! :) 

Temple Day!

I love the temple!  We also did an endowment session together as the 4 missionaries in this sector – me, Hermana Perez, Hermana Rodriguez, and Hermana Yurt.  Hermana Rodriquez will be finishing her mission soon and she shared with me her testimony and many special experiences from her mission.  The mission goes by so quickly - I can’t believe that I have completed 8 months already.  What?!?!

Now onto why I wasn’t able to write to all you lovely people on Monday.  Our Mission President called us on Monday morning with the assignment to translate for a humanitarian group from the States.  As a bit of background, the humanitarian arm of the church, called LDS Charities, has a wheelchair program where they strive to improve mobility, health, and educational opportunities for people with physical disabilities.  They have given wheelchairs to those in need throughout all the world.  Ecuador specifically has received many of these wheelchairs, but they break, no one is trained in how to fix them.  So a group from the States came down to train someone from each province of Ecuador how to fix wheel chairs and to start their own companies. 

My companion and I went to the main church building on Kennedy Street in Guayaquil, Monday through Wednesday from 8 am to 3 pm each day, to translate for the humanitarian team.  So guess what?   I now know how to fix a wheel chair and explain it to someone in Spanish! 

One man, that was chosen to represent the area of Guayaquil, lost his oldest son to MS in January.  Translating his story into English for the humanitarian team almost brought me to tears as he expressed his sorrows of losing his child.  Oh, and when he showed us pictures…I lost it.  He is such a loving father and is dedicated in helping those fathers who have disabled children understand how they are just like us, and the disability is only in your head.  He is making a bicycle that will hook up to his wheel chair so he can ride his bike with his son.  It’s so cool! 

Some other pictures of the AMAZING people I met and worked with this week:

Sergio and Kevin
Kevin is from the States and reminds me so much of Uncle KEVIN.  Humor and all!  Sergio is from Guayquil and is PILISIMA [Handy or hard working?] in the work shop! 

Greg and Juan Pablo
Greg, he was super sarcastic and we needed to sensor some of the translations sometimes...haha good times!  Juan Pablo works for a group that helps teach families with children that have disabilities how to have a better experience.  I wrote down all of his info so that I can come and visit and maybe work with special needs kids down here after the mission!!!! AHH that would be the greatest right?!

Hna Perez, Hna B, and Kathy
Kathy is from Utah, is allergic to gluten like me, :) and served a mission in Thailand!  SHE IS AMAZING!!!!  It was so hard saying goodbye to someone you got so close to in 3 days...I am really going to struggle saying goodbye to people I have know for almost 2 years. 

Ignacio with his youngest son, David, who reminds me so much of CHASE from high school!   

Each one of those who entered the program realized, hey Mormons aren't spies, they can dance and sing, they aren't paid $4 million dollars for each baptism.  We are just here to serve!  I realized why the prophet is always talks about serving others.  Because truly that is what the gospel is about - service.  We are here to serve others and help them come back to the presence of our Heavenly Father.  We are not alone.  There are angels that will be on our right and left guiding us by each prayer of faith. 

The heavens are not sealed.  May we each become the angels in others’ lives and be quick to follow the Spirit and to listen to our own guardian angels.  And of course #rejoiceevermore!!

Love you all,

Hermana Bartholomew

Monday, October 27, 2014

Waiting until Thursday

The first e-mail is from her Mission President's wife, the second is from an Hermana Rodriguez, who I suppose must be another missionary working in her area.

Thursday just officially became the best day of this week!


.. Dear Bro and Sis Bartholomew:

This is just a short email to advise you that your daughter has an assignment from today through Wednesday helping in a service project so her preparation day is being changed to Thursday this week. This is why you did not receive a letter from her today. She will be writing you Thursday. She is doing great.

Hna. Bartholomew is a wonderfu missionary. I have had the great opportunity to get to know her as I have interviewed her on several occassions and chatted with her on many other occassions. Thank you for raising such a wonderful young woman. It is a pleasure to be able to get to know her and to feel of her love for the Savior, our Heavenly Father and their children here in Ecuador.

May the Lord bless you and your family.

Hna. Riggins
Mission President's wife

I'm Hermana Rodriguez, your daughters best friend on the mission (or that's what she says to me) 
Actually she IS in Guayaquil with her ​​Companion serving with some USA  guys Helping wheel chair People! Hermana Perez IS the Traductor so They Will BE Working 3 days from 8 am. to 3 pm. So she Will not write until Thursday. She says she loves you and just for the record FAMILIA JARA GET BAPTIZE! she is going to write the full story, but let me tell you, your daughter is my favorite. She is just A SWEETHEART! I will miss her so much! 
She always talk about how great you are! She loves you and I think I love you both too ♥
Thanks for raising an amazing girl! 
con amor
Hermana Rodriguez

Ps I hope my english is understandable  

Monday, October 20, 2014


October 20, 2014

Big greetings from Hermana B to all those I love!!  I hope this letter finds you all well and happy - because truly, what reason do we have to be sad?!

Well this week I became dehydrated.  One, because THE SUN, phew, is REALLY STRONG which scientifically means evaporation, which leads to condensation, which means clouds - which means more humidity. :/  How lovely right?!  I am told we are just ending winter (yeah, winter in my mind means cold…but nope not here!) and it gets even worse from December through February!  And two, from pouring all my heart and energy into testifying of the love and divinity of our Heavenly Father and Savior Jesus Christ I forgot to drink enough.  It truly is incredible to think about the capacity I have as a simple missionary - that a Heavenly Being can speak through me - so humbling.

As our mission President always asks, “Why are you looking down at the pavement?!  Your future investigators are not cemented into the ground….LOOK UP!”  My companion and I were a little frustrated with ourselves on Wednesday because we forgot to pay the water bill on Monday and they were going to cut off our water the next day (jaja, real grown-up stuff!).  So we had to go to the bank to pay the bill.  When we got there the line was a little long to say the least, and there was just one attendant ready to help. 

We got in line and stood there in silence, both of us thinking of how we were going to be late for lunch and then be late for our appointments that afternoon, you know - the domino effect.  When my companion, following the flow of the line, was really excited that we were finally moving, accidentally bumped into the man in front of us.  She apologized, but as missionaries we don’t always know what to do when you accidentally touch a man - so she awkwardly complemented him on his neon green wife-beater shirt he was wearing.  Jaja!  We have come to accept that we are just awkward people sometimes.  :)

Well, the man began asking us the common questions - where we are from, why we were there and where we were going.  We first answered his questions literally, and later on gave him the spiritual side of things.  We came to know him as Carlos Ortiz, the taxi driver (who ended up giving us a free ride to our lunch appointment, saving us the 25 cent bus fare that we didn’t have - life as a missionary is poor.)

It was probably the great charismatic skills of my companion and her wonderfully awkward comment on his wife-beater shirt that helped him accept a visit from us the following day, but more likely than not, it was because our Heavenly Fathers plan is PERFECT.    The following morning we learned that Carlos Ortiz, recently had a heart attack, is going blind in his left eye, his wife left him with their 2 sons about 4 years ago for his best friend (uhh...rough stuff right), and sadly does not believe that the windows of heaven are indeed open and miracles never cease. 
We felt impressed to ask Carlos if he truly felt like our Heavenly Father was aware of his circumstances and that He truly wanted him to be happy.  It broke my heart when Carlos sincerely responded, “No, I feel like there are so many people in the world that have bigger problems so he has forgotten about me.”  AHHH, que triste [how sad]. 
Our Heavenly Father is aware of each one of us.  He knew that the missionaries of Primavera would forget to pay their water bill and Carlos would as well.  We were an answer to HIS prayer.  Carlos is beginning to see the tender mercies of the Lord, and that although we may feel like God is quiet, He is profoundly showing his love in unexpected ways.  Carlos is SUPER receptiva [receptive] and is now humbly willing to learn the truths of who he is and that miracles never cease to exist. 
Now for an update on one of our Mormones Secos, Liliam and her CHEVERISIMO (super cool) husband Enrique.  Well, first off Liliam’s sister lives in the United States and is a member of the church, so they have always been attending church with them when they go to visit.  Their daughter Alexandra, who is 12 (but is WAY taller than I am, haha I didn’t think that would ever happen in Ecuador, but ya), was baptized a few months ago because she saw how happy her aunt and cousins were.  As for Liliam, we truly don’t know why she doesn’t want to get baptized.  She LOVES to attend church, LOVES reading the Book of Mormon, LOVES having family home evening, and LOVES the idea that her family can be eternal... she loves everything. 
However, Enrique is super Catolica [Catholic] (well, he says he is, but he never goes to church).  Enrique worked in the U.S. for YEARS so he knows A TON of English.  Their family even watches movies in English and their other daughter is always running around singing songs from Frozen.  The best thing he told us was, "I love talking with you guys, it reminds me of my time in America...FLASHBACK!"- That was all in English too!  HAHA I died laughing. 
Enrique’s mentality changed this week when we shared the message with him that his family could be together forever.  We taught a quick overview of basically ALL of our missionary lessons (something like a fruit basket so he could get a taste for everything), and he is SUPER excited to keep listening to the lessons.  He also said the prayer at the conclusion of our visit. The Spirit was SO strong, SO strong, that tears came to his eyes and honestly I couldn’t hear the end of the prayer because he didn’t want to burst out crying, so he ended the prayer super-fast and just jumped off the couch and ran to the kitchen to "get a drink of water" (aka hiding the fact that he was crying).  We are preparing Liliam and Enrique to get baptized on the 8th of November, so we are super excited to start teaching them more these next few weeks!
NOW to the GREATEST FAMILY IN ALL THE WORLD (next to my own) LA FAMILIA JARA!!!!! Have I told you all how much I adore this family?!?!?!  Maybe it hasn’t come across in the letters, but just imagine me smiling from ear to ear every time I think of their wonderful family.  This week the members just EMBRACED them at Church on Sunday in all of the classes.  The best was Leslie surrounded by ALL of the young women listening intently to her crazy stories. 

Gregory (the son) asked me if after their baptism we can continue to come to their house everyday, QUE LINDO!!!!!!!!!! [HOW CUTE!]  Also, he is super anxious about how he is going to communicate with you all when they come to visit if you don’t know Spanish. :)  He is looking forward to talking with Dad and he wants you all to learn Spanish, entonces pongense PILAS! [Literal translation would be “well then, insert your batteries.”  I think her meaning here is “well then, get going or get your act together in learning Spanish!”]

WE shared the law of tithing and fasting with the family on Sunday and they already have a testimony of both of these principles.  While Gregorio (the dad) was in jail they had to pay A BUNCH of money to speed up the process to find the bad guy, but with the incredible example of their grandma and putting her faith in the Lord and ALWAYS paying her tithing, Wendy expressed, "I don’t know how, but we always had sufficient money for our needs, and we were able to fulfill the payment.”  Also this last Sunday they were fasting again so they can continue to prepare for their baptism this coming week. 

In church on Sunday a missionary was giving his farewell and talked about how much love he already has for the people of his mission...which reminded me of myself before I came to the greatest place on earth.  I THOUGHT I loved the Ecuadorian people....but that was nothing compared to what I feel now for each one of my brothers and sisters here, and in this case the Familia Jara. 
Working with all my heart this week in diligently searching for my brothers and sisters, I have shed many tears of happiness and gratitude that I am here being taught BY THEM of how to magnify my faith in the Savior and FOLLOW HIM. 

You all already know this, but I LOVE LOVE LOVE LOVE LOVE Ecuador and everything in it.  Hope all is well in good old Draper, UTAH! 

Thank you for all of the prayers and love being sent on my behalf.


Hermana B

#rejoiceevermore (haha dad I love the hashtag, super catchy and has now become my motto)  

Tuesday, October 14, 2014

Something GREAT to Something BETTER!!!

October 13, 2014

Hola Familia Bartholomew (I was told many times this week how BEAUTIFUL our last name is),  

This week was full of examples of changing from something GREAT - to something BETTER!!!  (Even though the best decisions are hardly ever the easiest.)  I have some news that will bring joy to your hearts…Joao (JO) was Baptized!!!!!!!!  On Friday the 10th of Oct he became an even BETTER son of God and example to his children.  Joao was just glowing with the Spirit and with happiness after he was baptized. 

We were so blessed with the privilege to witness the changes he made in his life to become a Better Husband, Better Father, Better Friend, Better Doctor, and obtained a Better relationship with our Heavenly Father and Jesus Christ.  He came to church on Sunday just exhausted from a 24 hour shift at the hospital - with his puffy, tired eyes, rockin’ his SCRUBS as he received the gift of the Holy Ghost.  Joao is the perfect example of setting aside worldly pleasures and keeping his eyes single to the glory of God – with his beautiful family. 

Joao and family on his baptism day

At Joao’s baptism service, I had the opportunity to play the powerfully simple hymn, “Nearer my God to Thee” on the violin.  (I used the ward mission leader’s wife’s violin which did not want to tune on the D & G string so we took it up an octave. :))  The Spirit there was undeniably strong.  Sister Perez and I were so humbled to be one of the missionaries (he had about 5 different sets) that helped him become nearer to our Heavenly Father.  The new found glow and smile on Joao’s face, and that all new converts seem to have, will always help me fulfill one of my favorite scriptures, “Rejoice Evermore!” 

Now, before I tell you about the rest of my rejoicing from this last week – I have to tell you a funny story about Joao.  Unfortunately there were some occasions when we first began teaching Joao, where his face showed that he was very familiar with the lessons we teach as missionaries.  (As I told you before - many missionaries have passed through his door.)  Well his unfocused/blanking out face – with his eyes SUPER BIG, es igualito de [is the same as] the character Sid from the movie “Ice Age”, like igualito [the same].  And the best part is Joao knows it, and quickly recites a quote from the movie and he even SOUNDS like Sid.  Oh we had a good laugh.

Anywho – have I expressed how much I LOVE the Jara Family?!?  They don’t even need to change something good to something better because they truly are the BEST!  HAHA  But really, they are the greatest family there is.  Here is their story…..

Gregorio Jara is the father and head of the household.  His mother, Adela, is a member of the church and has been praying for years that her son’s family would allow missionaries to teach them or even just allow them to participate in a Family Home Evening.  Six months ago the Jara family politely turned down the request from Adela and the missionaries to teach them.
Then 5 months ago, Gregorio was placed in jail.  It’s a complicated story, but basically, Gregorio and his family own and rent out a bunch of houses.  One home in particular was being rented out to a man who was doing some very illegal things.  When the government (police) came to arrest this man, they couldn’t find him.  Because they couldn’t find the renter, they arrested the owner Papa Gregorio instead.

One day as Gregorio was sitting on the bottom bunk in his jail cell, hunched over eating a banana and a stale piece of bread, he opened the Bible his mother had given to him and read one particular verse over and over.  Psalms 37:5 says, “Commit thy way unto the Lord; trust also in him; and he shall bring it to pass.”

Having been humbled by his circumstances, Gregorio began to put his trust in God and prayed for the day he would be united with his family again.  During the time he was in jail, the family sold many of their worldly possessions in order to have the money needed to speed up the process of finding the guilty man.  Gregorio always expresses to us how grateful he is that he did not lose his family while he was in jail – nor does he ever want to lose them.  As a result, he is more than thrilled to now listen to our message and work towards having an eternal family. 

So we had another incredible Family Home Evening with the Jara Family this last week.  We discussed the true nature of God and helped them understand the through making and keeping covenants with Him (like we do at baptism), we can come to know our Heavenly Father and Savior Jesus Christ.  To close our discussion, Esdrina (Adela’s daughter/sister of Gregorio who is also listening to the lessons) prayed with all her heart to Heavenly Father that she could come to know the truthfulness of our message.  She begged Him to help their family progress and come to know that this was the true church. 

The Spirit there was SO strong!!!!  After the prayer was over, it was so powerful to open my eyes and see the tears in her eyes and in the eyes of every member of the family.   No one wanted to break the silence in the room.  Sadly, they had a family emergency on Sunday so they couldn’t attend church – but we are so excited for their baptism which is scheduled for November 1st.   

We are also continuing to teach many other “Mormones Secos”.  Hopefully we can teach them with power and the Spirit, and they can become “Mormones Mojados” or Wet Mormons.  In other words, baptized members of our church!

Funny story of this week:  So have you seen the speed limit signs on the side of the road that are hooked up to a radar and will flash how fast you are going?!  Well my companion decided to run as fast as she could so she could see how fast she is!!!  Hahaha – yeah that’s my companion.  As Sister missionaries the worst thing ever is when your backpack or bag makes your skirt hike up....in her case the back of her skirt was slowly going higher and higher.  Good thing we have white shorts on underneath ;) Plus, no one was around so it was just a funny moment we shared between the two of us!  HAHA love my comp!
Con Mucho Amor,

Hermana Bartholomew

Celebrating 1 Year Mark for Hermana Yurt

Monday, October 6, 2014


October 6, 2014

BON JOUR!!!!! (Joke, I only know Spanish. Haha, pulling an Elder Christofferson from General Conference this last weekend.  When he started his talk by saying, “Buenas Dias”, it was so funny because one of the missionaries I was with, Hermana Rodriguez, didn’t get why he said, “Buenas Dias” until like halfway through the next person’s talk...it was pretty funny!)  Isn’t that the coolest thing ever that the General Authorities are speaking at General Conference in their native languages now?!  The spirit was SOO powerful with the few Seventies who gave their talks in Spanish. 

Oh and speaking of Spanish - great news...I UNDERSTOOD practically EVERYTHING they said....and it was all in Spanish!!!  OH I am so happy :)  My only complaint is that the translators at times don’t express the intensity that are in the voices of the prophet and apostles.  (Better said, they did a poor job with expressing emotion for Elder Holland’s talk, but I could see the urgency in his face and hand movements.)
In my General Conference notes, I did my best to sum up my thoughts from the conference and this is all that I wrote...."Conclusión es la Iglesia es verdadera!!!!" [Conclusion is the Church is true!]  I loved the talk given by Elder Eduardo Gavarret of the Seventy.  For one, it was in Spanish; and two, he truly expressed the simplicity of the invitation from Jesus Christ to FOLLOW HIM.  May we all be able to say, "Yo te seguiré!"  or "I will follow Thee."  I also LOVED Elder Bednar’s talk, no surprise there, with his story he told about his little boys. 

I can truly testify that am here on a mission, and that I truly have the desire to serve, because I have experienced the blessings from being a member of this church.  I also personally prayed in my heart to my Heavenly Father that if it would be possible to receive a confirmation that President Thomas S. Monson truly is a prophet of God.  Family, I cannot deny the strong spirit I felt after my fervent prayer to my Heavenly Father.  President Monson is a prophet of God, what he says is what our Savior and Heavenly Father WANT us to hear. 

In his letter this week, Dad shared with me a tweet President Uchtdorf sent out on Twitter after conference was over.  President Uchtdorf said, “I learned so much from the many different messages at conference.  It is now up to me to act upon what I learned.”  I invite all of you to think about what you learned from listening to conference and then do something about it! 

This week, we also had a meeting with our Mission President, and we talked about so many things my mind was blown...so let’s just say that with General Conference and then with the reunion con el presidente [meeting with the president], I had a spiritually filled week. 

Super blurry picture, but here are all of the amazing ladies I live with after our meeting with President Riggins
L to R: Hermana Rodriguez, Hermana B, Hermana Yurt, Hermana Perez

I’m super short on time today, so just a quick update on our investigators:

This week we got creative with reaching out to one of our investigators.  We are teaching a single mother named Esdrina, who is not a member of the church, and her daughter Karen who is 15 years old and menos activo [less active].  They have been away on vacation and came back to a surprise on their doorstep.

Doorstep gift for Karen and Esdrina
[Brent’s translation of the message on the Star: Karen and Esdrina, If you will allow Jesus Christ to guide your life, His light will illuminate your life for a better future!!!  We feel happy to be your friends.  Thanks for the opportunity to teach you how to come even closer to Christ and have more joy!  We love you very much!!!  With love, Hermana Bartholomew & Hermana Perez]

Familia Jara: They are still the great family of GOLD that we have the privilege to teach.  This week the parents were having a fight over a misunderstanding and poor communication so they decided to consult us for help.  HAHA!  As you know, I have never been married, but I was able to give the best advice because of the greatest examples in my life....my parents!  THANKS FOR EVERYTHING Mom and Dad!

Joao (I now call him JO): He is continuing to amaze us with his desire to change daily and his excitement for his baptism this coming weekend.

Well family, conclusions from this week - I LOVE being a missionary, the church is true, and we truly have prophets on the earth today!


Hermana Bartholomew 

P.S. A family that we eat with have the CUTEST three little girls.  They call me “naña”, which is short for sister (like “sis”).  One afternoon we were practicing being missionaries with them so they will be prepared for one day when they become missionaries themselves.  The best was when they pretended to contact a family and they said, “Hi, I am a missionary from the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, and we want to sing you a song..."  Then, they burst out into singing “I Am a Child of God.”  There was such a sweet spirit there that afternoon.

I would like to introduce you to the new Hermana Bartholomew (with her sweater and Ecuador ring) and Hermana Rodriguez (with her belt (which is actually mine- but we share clothes so we have double the wardrobe) and her glasses and watch).  

Lady and Daniela pretending to be missionaries!
Lady and I traded shoes.  The cutest picture ever, RIGHT?
They also got a hold of my lip gloss!
With the real Hermana B and Rodriguez
It is the cutest thing when a little girl tells you she wants to grow up and become like you!!!  AWW it melted my heart.