Monday, February 2, 2015

Highly Favored of the Lord

February 2, 2015

Grasshopper fans?!  Grasshopper fans?!  Where are you?!  *insert grasshopper/cricket noise here*  Why?   Because of course there aren’t too many grasshopper fans.  Have you ever had a cricket in the house that prevents you from sleeping because you just want to jolt out of bed and kill it?  Now imagine that sensation with HUNDREDS of grasshoppers that find the TINIEST little crack to enter into your home where you are attempting to sleep peacefully after a long day....let’s just say it is hard to sleep. 

SO, I think you can tell that I am NOT their biggest fan.  Every day after it rains...it brings all the GRILLOS out to the parking lot of the church.  I am not joking when I say that there are MILLIONS jumping and flying...one jumped in between my skirt...haha it was a great day ;)  I don’t have the greatest picture yet, but I do have videos.  And as you know NIGUN computadora [not a single computer] likes me, so we will just have to have a mission movie night when I return home, which I’m sure could easily be compared to Fear Factor, with all the creeping things that crawl upon the earth I’ve seen here in Ecuador.  

BRAYAN (do you guys remember him?  He was one of the first investigadores we had when I came to Primavera?  22 years old, cousin to Familia Nuñez?!)  Well Brayan is getting baptized THIS Saturday.  Miracles truly happen!  We went to pick him up at his home Sunday morning and he answered the door with his best clothes on and hair all slicked back AND his Book of Mormon in hand.  YAY!!!!  He has attended church 3 times now for ALL 3 hours.  Just a few months ago it seemed like it was IMPOSSIBLE to get him to come.  And of course he immediately made friends with all the HAZ (young single adults). 

Brayan, although 22 years old, is becoming more and more like a little child every day.  BECOME as little children...for theirs is the Kingdom of Heaven.  Little kids always love the question game...Why is the sky blue?  But why? But why?  But why?  No matter what clever response you come up with...they still want to know MORE!  That is Brayan.  He is SO eager to LEARN....which we LOVE.  To contrast that, some people just sit there and don’t interact at all.  I feel like we just talk their ears off.  

One day we felt impressed to share a scripture from the Doctrine and Covenants 39 with Brayan.  We told him, “READ it and insert your name everywhere it says James.”

 Hearken and listen to the voice of him who is from all eternity to all eternity, the Great I Am, even Jesus Christ—
 The light and the life of the world; a light which shineth in darkness and the darkness comprehendeth it not;
 The same which came in the meridian of time unto mine own, and mine own received me not;
 But to as many as received me, gave I power to become my sons; and even so will I give unto as many as will receive me, power to become my sons.
 And verily, verily, I say unto you, he that receiveth my gospel receiveth me; and he that receiveth not my gospel receiveth not me.
 And this is my gospel—repentance and baptism by water, and then cometh the baptism of fire and the Holy Ghost, even the Comforter, which showeth all things, and teacheth the peaceable things of the kingdom.
 And now, behold, I say unto you, my servant James, I have looked upon thy works and I know thee.
 And verily I say unto thee, thine heart is now right before me at this time; and, behold, I have bestowed great blessings upon thy head;
 Nevertheless, thou hast seen great sorrow, for thou hast rejected me many times because of pride and the cares of the world.
 10 But, behold, the days of thy deliverance are come, if thou wilt hearken to my voice, which saith unto thee: Arise and be baptized, and wash away your sins, calling on my name, and you shall receive my Spirit, and a blessing so great as you never have known.
 11 And if thou do this, I have prepared thee for a greater work. Thou shalt preach the fullness of my gospel, which I have sent forth in these last days, the covenant which I have sent forth to recover my people, which are of the house of Israel.
 12 And it shall come to pass that power shall rest upon thee; thou shalt have great faith, and I will be with thee and go before thy face.

 19 Wherefore, go forth, crying with a loud voice, saying: The kingdom of heaven is at hand; crying: Hosanna! Blessed be the name of the Most High God.
 20 Go forth baptizing with water, preparing the way before my face for the time of my coming;
 21 For the time is at hand; the day or the hour no man knoweth; but it surely shall come.
 22 And he that receiveth these things receiveth me; and they shall be gathered unto me in time and in eternity.
 23 And again, it shall come to pass that on as many as ye shall baptize with water, ye shall lay your hands, and they shall receive the gift of the Holy Ghost, and shall be looking forth for the signs of my coming, and shall know me.
 24 Behold, I come quickly. Even so. Amen.

Brayan’s face LIT up when he read those promised blessings.  Let’s just say he will serve a mission one day! (Oh, did I tell you that Domenica Leon wants to serve a mission as well?!  AHH we are so excited for her.) 

This Saturday, during the day, we are having an Invasion where we are having a MISSIONARY FOR A DAY.  This is where all the youth in our ward, who are preparing to serve missions, are going to go out and teach with us all day.  The day will end with the baptism of Brayan.  Daniela and Domenica have both been “called” to the mission for a day as well.  I will send you pictures next week. 

Now I want to introduce you to a new investigator we have - Kleber....CLEVER how his parents spelled his name in Spanish – “KLEBER"!  HAHA!  So it turns out he knew Victor Leon a few years ago when they both were working at a phone company...it’s so crazy how small this world is.  Kleber is divorced and has a 10 year old son who is only with him on the weekends.  KLEBER is the golden investigator who LOVES the church, KNOWS that the Book of Mormon is true....you think what would follow is he WANTS to be baptized...but no. :(  He knows he NEEDS to be baptized, but he is scared of falling into the traps of Satan after his baptism and says he doesn’t have enough faith.  BUT luckily we have faith that he will be baptized this week!  

We also had an INCREDIBLE lesson with Maria Jose, the oldest daughter of Familia Jara, (that wasn’t baptized with the rest of her family) but she didn’t come to church so we will see what happens.  The Jara’s aunt (Gregorio’s sister) Esdrina does NOT want to get married so she still can’t be baptized.  We also have a few other familias we are teaching but I’m out of time and will have to update you on them next week…hopefully they won’t be going anywhere. ;) 

My invitacion this week is to BECOME as little children, in the aspect of asking inspired QUESTIONS.  Inspired questions help us LEARN and open our heart to the truth.  President Riggins asked us on one occasion, “Does our Heavenly Father have favorites?”  In my head, I thought...of course not!  He LOVES us all. 

President Riggins then referred us to the most read scripture in the Book of Mormon...1 Nephi, Chapter 1, verse 1 – “I Nephi, having been born of goodly parents…” and he drew our attention to the following phrase, “having been highly favored of the Lord all of my days”.  Our Heavenly Father may not have “favorites” per say...but he does FAVOR those who are obedient to his word.  So next to this oh so common verse, I have written in my scriptures – “Am I favored of the Lord?  Am I obedient to his word?”

I will leave you all to reflect on this, and exhort you ALL to BECOME favored of the Lord.  I promise that the blessing of obeying the word of our Savior bring happiness beyond expression, and the assurance and rewarding feeling of being favored of our Heavenly Father.  

I love you all!  I cannot believe that another month came and left....AH!  I just love Ecuador.  
Have a happy week! 

Con mucho amor,

Hermana Bartholomew 

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