Monday, December 1, 2014

Thank You! Hallelulujah! and Amen!

December 1, 2014

"THANK YOU, THANK YOU, THANK YOU!!!!" and a few "HALLELUJAHS!!!" and "AMENS!" were repeated many times throughout my prayers this week.  THANK YOU, THANK YOU, THANK YOU, because there are so many things to be thankful for.  HALLELUJAHS, well you will see why in the story with Liliam that follows, and AMENS because, of course, that is how you end a prayer. 

For starters, HAPPY HAPPY (belated) THANKSGIVING!!!  Thank you for all of the cute photos of you all blowing kisses to me.  Just know I caught them all the way from here. ;)  Since, of course, we HAD to celebrate Thanksgiving, eating and all, we had the most delicious dinner with la familia Bustamante.  Liliam made a RICISIMO [DELICIOUS] turkey and mashed potatoes on the side.  Enrique made the salad, and we brought the Sprite.  But what is a Thanksgiving meal without an APPLE PIE?!?!  Right... it just isn’t right.  So the day before, we swung by their house to whip up a graham cracker crust apple pie, which turned out DIVINE by the way. 

OK so back up a little to 2 days before Thanksgiving.  We had asked yet another time if Liliam and Enrique would prepare to be baptized this December 13th...and again, our inquiry was followed by, "I still don’t know!"  But Enrique did say that he would talk with Liliam and see what they wanted to do. 

So now back to pie making day.  As we were welcomed by BIG bear hugs from mis ñañas, Liliam slyly asked, " Hermanas when is my baptismal date?"  We just froze.  And then I said, "December 13th, why?"  She just smiled and said, "Because it IS my baptism day!  AHHHHHHHH!!!  My companion and I literally leaped and squealed for JOY!!  This is where the "HALLELUJAH!" comes in to play.  She is SO excited to be baptized on the 13th, which is the day before my comp leaves to go home.  I am still smiling....SHE SAID YES!!!  Best day ever.  This year I am SO grateful for the overwhelming joy that we experience when we witness ONE SOUL come unto our Savior.  

Oh, just wait, this week gets even better...so on Wednesday, after the hallelujah moment with Liliam, we receive a call from Gregorio Jara.  Still smiling, I answered the phone and he excitedly explained that his best friend that he had while he was in jail, just got out and was coming to their house.  "Hermanas you need to come and teach him about God.  I have been talking to him all day, and it is amazing with the gift of the Holy Ghost and my priesthood, when he asks me a question the words just come."  SO cool right? #convertforlife.  

So on Wednesday night we entered into la Familia Jara’s home, to find Gregorio with all of the pamphlets that we had ever given him and his family, and of course his hymn book and his Book of Mormon sharing with his dear friend Enrique.  Enrique, like Gregorio, was wrongfully accused of a crime and had been in jail for 6 long years.  Enrique is the most amazing 63 year old you will ever meet in your life.  Although being locked in jail for 6 years is long and lonely, he was a beacon of HOPE to all those who lived with him in the extremely crammed room full of those slowly losing hope.  He was especially that HOPE for Gregorio Jara. 

Enrique has 2 children who are both married, but he has minimal contact with them, and sadly his wife passed away about 5 years ago, so it would appear like he has NO ONE.  But he has never felt that way.  For one, Familia Jara have taken him in like one of their own.  They have even made a small room for him with a bed and all, in their cleaning room on the side of their house.  And two, because he is filled with SO MUCH FAITH.  He LOVED what his dear friend Gregorio shared with him so much that he wanted to learn even more.  

During our first lesson with Enrique, there was a moment of silence, and as I was about to break it, Wendy started bearing her testimony.  She recounted that during the day she was having a hard time with patience with her kids and with her husband.  She recounted how she had humbly knelt down and asked her Heavenly Father if she really was following his plan for her.  Wendy testified with SO much power as she declared that our prayers can be answered, and that Enrique had said something that was an answer to her prayer. 

I LOVE seeing Gregorio and Wendy testifying and sharing the gospel with all of their hearts.  Just as Enrique was a response to Wendy’s prayer, in turn the Familia Jara is an answer to Enrique’s prayers.  When we extended an invitation to Enrique to be baptized on the 20th of December, we started to qualify things telling him that he could PREPARE and when he knows that it is true, da da da....when he interrupted us and said, "Hermanas, I am CONVINCED that this is true."  WOW! 

We left the little pamphlet with Enrique about the Plan of Salvation, and he carried it around with him ALL day long…and he and Gregorio were continually reading it ALL day long.  He absolutely loved church on Sunday.  He repeated everything that was said, not in an Evanglica [Evangelist] way, but just to internalize everything that was said.  "THANK YOU, THANK YOU, THANK YOU" Heavenly Father for allowing us to be the instruments in your hands to help Enrique remember who he truly is.  

Prior to our life here on earth, as spirit children of our Heavenly Father, ALL OF US, chose the plan of our Savior Jesus Christ and we were ALL, ALL OF US taught about His gospel.  We were all born with the LIGHT OF CHRIST in us.  How we act and what we choose to do, either amplifies that light or diminishes it.  As a missionary, I truly know the power of amplifying this light.  During one of our lessons, Enrique said, "The things you are teaching me are something I have known for a long time, aren’t they?"  YES!  The Light of Christ that is found in each of us, helps us to remember who we are (what we learned in the preexistence) and why we are here and where we are going.  The LIGHT OF CHRIST is real. 

This Christmas season, I challenge you to AMPLIFY THE LIGHT of CHRIST.  This LIGHT is something that can’t be found on Pinterest or won’t be captured in a cute vintage photo on Instagram.  The Light of Christ and THE GIFT to REMEMBER is something you can only feel with your heart.  This Christmas season help that one family AMPLIFY their vision of an eternal family.  Help that one friend REMEMBER who they truly are.  It is the greatest gift that we can give HIM this Christmas.  It doesn’t matter what religion they belong to, they were all very familiar with Jesus Christ, the Plan of Salvation and His gospel at one point before they came to earth - they just don’t remember it! 

When you pass light from one candle to the next, the wick will ALWAYS burn.  Share your LIGHT with others and I promise you their LIGHT will burn as well.  There is no greater feeling than helping people like Enrique, Liliam and many others AMPLIFY their LIGHT and REMEMBER who they are.  Family and friends, I am talking to you. ;)  This is a call from a representative of Jesus Christ.  This is serious.  I promise this will be the greatest Christmas ever if you will use your light to help amplify the light of others.  It will be a blinding Christmas! (haha get it?  Light...is blinding!)

I adore this work.  THANK YOU, THANK YOU, THANK YOU ALL for all of the love and support.  Your love for me is truly felt every day. 


Hermana Bartholomew 

Funny Story of the Week

Hahaha.  So a funny, laughing moment for this week was when my companion and I were invited to join the other Hermanas in our area at a FHE lesson with the guy named “Elder” and his family, who all are named Elder, remember him?  Yeah, so we were watching the new video that the church just released "El es la Dadiva" or "He is the Gift", when Hermana Velasquez asked a super inspired question, "So what will you give “The Gift”, Jesus Christ this Christmas?  After she asked the question, silence filled the room and the Spirit was testifying to each one of us what we should give.  Just then, our dear fellow miembro [member], Alan Caludett (who was talking earlier about how he hates turkey) sticks his hand up and says...."I will not kill the turkey."  All four of us missionaries, and Elder´s family just looked at him with the strangest looks - like why in the world did that come to your mind in this spiritual moment?  He quickly realized that he hadn’t received the response he wanted, and awkwardly laughed and said "BROMA (Joke)" and then tried to recover with a more "spiritual” answer.  HAHA.  Now every time we see Alan (almost daily), we remind him of his wonderful, inspiring answer. :) Oh good times! 

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