Monday, January 5, 2015

It's a Small, Small World

January 5, 2015

Hola Familia!

IT’S a SMALL world after all...it’s a SMALL world after all...IT’S a SMALL world after all...IT’S a small SMALL WORLD!!!!!  No wonder that this catchy song, that EVERYONE knows, is so loved and endured at the Disneyland ride, because it is SO true.  This world is SO small and I love it! 

This edition of The Small World story goes back to 25 years ago when Hermana Bartholomew (not me, but the famous Lorena Bartholomew, my dear aunt) was exiting a bus here in Duran, and for an unknown reason, the long skirt she was wearing, which was the missionary fashion back then, ripped. 

Hermana Lorena Bartholomew (right) and Hermana Storey in Ecuador - 1990

Now missionaries can’t preach with ripped skirts :), so she met Gladys Riofrio (yes her last name is “Cold River”) who loves to sew.  Because of the great missionary she was, Hna B made the most out of her ripped skirt situation and began to share the happy message of THE gospel of Jesus Christ. 

Later, Hermana B and her companion returned to Gladys’ home for another visit, this time with Another Testament of Jesus Christ (El Libro de Mormon).  Hermana B had even written a special message on the inside cover of the book, teaching Gladys how to pray and how to come to know if the BOOK was another testament from God that his Only Begotten Son truly did come to this earth. 

Message written by Aunt Lorena on inside cover of Gladys Riofrio's Book of Mormon

Now fast-forward to 2015, when another Hna Bartholomew was greeted by the one and only Gladys Riofrio, with a slightly worn down copy of the Book of Mormon.  Gladys gave this new Hna Bartholomew a BIG hug and opened her treasured book...she read the words, “Hna Lorena Bartholomew” followed by an address in Springville Utah where the other Hna B’s grandparents STILL live. ;)  

AHHH!!!! #rejoice evermore moment, take a picture, another hug, singing "It’s a small world" with the literal meaning of the song, and sharing HOW great is this plan of our Heavenly Father.  Gladys Riofrio and her son are SO grateful for the original Hermana Bartholomew and the happiness that she brought to their life.
Glaydis Riofrio and her treasured Testament of Christ, that is older than I am!  

Cutest thing ever right?!  I just love being a missionary, did you all know that?! ;) 

So good news, we went wedding dress shopping today downtown in Guayaquil with Jessica Leon, which means THEY ARE GETTING MARRIED!!!  January 8th - SAVE the date, in your hearts with a small prayer that everything will go smoothly.  We are beyond excited to finally have all the paperwork and money we needed.  The Heavenly blessings ARE coming. 

But I will add that Satan sure doesn’t want for them to get married, and we have seen plenty of opposition.  We spent our entire P-day today from 11 am to 7 pm trying to figure out all of the laws here and then driving around to every marriage center possible in Guayaquil trying to get a date for this Thursday.  While leaving this morning, the guard at our gated community lost Victor’s license card when it fell down a gutter (let’s just say we got creative with gum), and then the price for a marriage license was raised this year, and then I got yelled at a couple of times, and I could go on and on.  All of this adversity goes to show how truly GREAT this family is.  Satan is working hard, but we will work HARDER!   

Jessica also made me promise, because mi hijita [my companion] will still be on her mission in a year, that I will come back for the happiest day of their lives when they are SEALED for time and ALL eternity in the temple.  Jessica has ALWAYS passed by the HERMOSA Templo [BEAUTIFUL Temple] in Guayaquil with the longing to desire to enter in someday.  She and her husband and daughter are just a "little" excited for this week and the first saving ordinance of baptism; and then the coming weeks this year as they prepare to enter into that last saving ordinance of being sealed as a family in the temple.  So their baptism is planned for this Saturday at 7 pm along with DANIELA Claro.  Then Enrique Gonzales will be the following week!!

The challenges we have faced with Familia Leon have been hard.  The mission is hard.  BUT I know the promises that I have been made are real.  I know why I am here, and what I am a part of, and what we do DOES matter.  If I have learned one thing on the mission, it is that GOD IS REAL.  And I couldn’t say it any better than Al Fox:

“I know now that God is real.  I know that, because I asked Him and my life has been different ever since.  Things have not gone the way that I had in mind.  Because of Him, they have been profoundly better. 

I know now that, happiness is real, a lasting happiness.  I know that I'm being taken care of.  That I'll never be comfortless. That I'll always be guided and directed to greater things.  I know that I am never alone, not even a second. God is always there. Listening. Helping.  I know that.  I know.  I can see the difference.

I am happy. I am happy because of God! Because He is there. Because He is real.  And He loves me, exactly how I am.  I know that. I know that because I can feel it.  How grateful I am I asked.  I don't know what I'd do without knowing that. I don't know what I'd do without Him.  I can’t do this without Him, I don't want to! Because all things are greater with God.

Turn to Him. Ask for yourself. Know, know it for yourself, and receive the greater things God has for you."

I love you all dearly and hope you have a wonderful week!

Hermana Bartholomew

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