Monday, February 16, 2015

The Lord's Hand is in Our Lives

February 16, 2015

Hola Familia,

Do you remember the moment from the movie, The Best Two Years, cuando [when] the new missionary, Elder Calhoun answers the phone and it is the investigator that they were all waiting for his call…and at that moment all four missionaries together give a triumphant look up to the heavens with the background music of HALLELUJAH!!!!!  Now take that image and just insert mine and Hna Vilchez’s faces, and that was our reaction when FINALLY Brayan was baptized on el dia de amor, amistad, y BAUTISMO [the day of love, friendship and BAPTISM].

I have come to truly love and appreciate Brayan and his childlike desire to learn, along with his sensitivity to the Spirit.  When asked on the day of his baptism how he was feeling, he kept saying GOZOSO (joyful).  We had the Elders fill up the baptismal font in the morning, only as precaution so that I would not flood the building again - haha I still can’t believe that I did that...but hey you live and you learn! ;)  Because it was a holiday, not all the members who wanted to be there could attend, but what was most important is that Brayan AND his family were there...even though Satan worked up until minutes before his baptism to try to stop it. 

Brayan on his Dia de amor, amistad y BAUTISMO - February 14, 2015

Bryan with his Uncle and Aunt Nunez who introduced him to the gospel

Family and friends of Brayan who attended his baptism

ALL were able to participate in the sweet spirit that filled the room as we sang the words to the song, "Come follow me, the Savior said.  Then let us in his footsteps tread..."  Brayan followed the footsteps of our Savior that day.  Dad sent me a couple of quotes this week that are so appropriate.  “The Lord’s hand is in our lives. If we will but feel for it, in the darkness, we can grasp it and be lifted thereby...all that we suffer and all that we endure....purifies our hearts, expands our souls and makes us more like HIM.”  In the end, we ALL were rejoicing evermore.

So a quick update on another investigator…Kleber is a stubborn little fella and insists on SEEING a baptism before it can be HIS baptism.  But do not fear his baptism is near. ;)

Now, STORY TIME!!!!!!!!!  “Ye have not as yet understood how great blessings the Father hath prepared for you” (D&C 78:10)   Well, being in this sector for almost 6 months I pretty much know EVERYONE that works in this area....the little old lady that sells the best ice cream, the guards of Esmeralda, (the gated community where about every family that I have taught here lives.  In fact, whenever we contact someone new and ask, “where do you live?” the answer seems to always be, “Oh Esmeralda....do you know where that is?”  ALL too well my friend, all too well!) And to top it off, we know pretty much ALL of the taxistas [taxi drivers] that work within the gated community area. 

In particular, one taxista just happens to live in Esmeralda and also loves the ice cream from the little old lady down the street....his name is SARGENTO.  Sargento, what a cool name right?  Well, actually it just means Sargent in English and he loves for people to call him that because he served in the army.  He is SO crazy and HILARIOUS and LOVES the Mormons.  He met a friend about a 30 years ago that was a Mormon and still remembers him and the BLUE BOOK.  To make a long story short, we became good friends and I went to visit him several times with Hermana Perez and more recently with Hermana Vilchez. 

For about 2 weeks now, we hadn’t seen him, and I began to miss my bud Sargento driving us when we were late for church or a visit...Where did Sargento go?  On Sunday, a lady in our ward named Veronica approached us and said that she had a reference for us...WAHOO!  Someone to teach. YES!  She began to explain that her neighbor, who lives in Esmeralda (of course ;)), had her husband recently pass away from a brain tumor and she wanted for the missionaries to come and visit her.  Well, after she gave us the lady’s address, the light bulb clicked and I couldn’t believe it.  After standing there in awe for a few moments with my jaw wide open, I realized that Sargento, our dear taxista and friend had passed away. :(  He will be missed, but I truly feel that he has already accepted the gospel and is just beginning the wait for his family to become members so that his baptism can be performed in the temple of the Lord.

As I was Planning with mi compi [my companion] on what we could teach Sargento’s grieving wife, and in what manner we could teach someone who had just lost a loved one, Hna Vilchez shared how SHE felt after she lost her incredible mom.  I absolutely admire and adore ALL those who have lost a loved one while here on their mortal journey.  QUE DIFICIL! [HOW DIFFICULT!]  Hna Vilchez said, "I don’t know if I am the person to bring encouragement, hope, and happiness in a time when you just don’t think about anything but grief and pain....but what I DO know is that THIS PLAN of happiness is real and even when I didn’t want to pray to my Heavenly Father he STILL loved me..."  Isn’t she the greatest?!  YUP I know, claro que si, ella es mi hijita! ;) [of course she is, she is my daughter

We are beyond happy and feel blessed for the opportunity to help Sargento’s wife understand even more of this wonderful plan of happiness and to experience the power of the atonement.  Because of Him all is well in this life, and in our life to come.  

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

Con mucho amor,

Hermana Bartholomew 

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