Monday, March 30, 2015


March 30, 2015

Let’s just say I am still in love with BUENA FE!!!  

Can you all believe that I have been gone for 13 months now?!?!  WHAT?!  I sure can’t.  On the day of my 13 month anniversary we had a "ROMANTIC" daily planning session because ALL the lights went out in the city of BUENA FE.  The best part was that I was finally able to use the flashlight that was on the list of things to bring on the mish!  The room was also enlightened by a few candles that we found in the house.  HAHA it was great!  

So a quick recap on Mabel and Familia Romero before we get to all the spiritual stuff. ;)  Even with all of the miracles that happened last week, they do not cease.  Unfortunately, Mabel is now separated from what was going to be her “soon-to-be husband”.  Turns out that there were many problems in their relationship, including that he has always worked so far away, and he began drinking, and he is now involved in drugs, and he said MANY, MANY rude things to Mabel that made her realize that he wasn’t her happily ever after. 

The bright side is that now we don’t have to worry about Mabel getting married before her baptism on April 11th!  She is SO excited for her baptism and is always sad when the time comes for us to leave for another appointment, because she is SO anxious to learn.
Familia Romero on the other hand are happy as ever, and still need to get married.  So we went exploring on Friday and found a Notary Office and a Dr. Lara who happens to be an ex-mission president from the Quito Mission about 5 years ago.  Let’s just say he saved us SO much time and money.  When we arrived at the office, it was like in the movies when they show a newspaper or magazine office.  You know, when there are lots of people running around, papers are flying all over the place, and everyone wants to be attended to because they have people to see and places to be.  That is exactly what it was like. 

But since we are missionaries, and Dr Lara (aka Presidente Lara) has a soft spot for the missionaries, we were attended to right away (we were still there for three hours, but that is half the time that it would have taken).  Andreina and Jairo had to give a declaration that they both have children from another conpromiso.  AND it was half the cost!!!   Save money, live the law of chastity - this is not something you can buy at Walmart folks (hopefully you all got that - it is my updated missionary version to the catchy phrase “Save money, Live better, Walmart” haha :))  Andreina and Jairo are going to the Rejistro Civil [Civil Register] on Wednesday to pick their wedding day for next week!  Stay tuned for more details. :) 

I almost forgot, HAPPY (late) Palm Sunday everyone!!  I was super confused when we left church on Sunday and everyone in the streets had a bundle of flowers and palm leaves cradled in their arms.   Then it hit me…“And many spread their garments in the way, and others cut down branches off the trees, and strawed them in the way.  And they that went before, and they that followed, cried, saying, Hosanna; Blessed is He that cometh in the name of the Lord:  Blessed be the kingdom of our father David, that cometh in the name of the Lord: Hosanna in the highest.

I imagine that some of those who welcomed and received the Savior on that day long ago may not have had much money or worldly status but gave a sacrifice of what they did have.  Whether it was garments or tree branches, it all was for HIM.  Sacrificing everything for HIM and celebrating the LIFE of Jesus Christ was manifest in the perfect way this past Saturday as the members of the Quevedo North Stake all woke up at 2 in the morning to travel 4 hours by bus to Guayaquil to the beautiful temple to perform ordinances for the dead in the House of the Lord. 

As I was struggling to stay awake in the bus ride (because I was just a little tired) I thought...I have lived in Utah my entire life.  One of my great blessings back home is that there are SO many temples near my house.  In fact, my problem wasn’t getting to the temple, it was in choosing which of the many temples I would like to attend that day.  And back home, when I did enter, sadly sometimes I was one of the few who had come to feel of the Spirit and worship in the House of the Lord that day.
Santidad al Señor, La Casa del Señor

On Saturday morning I saw HUNDREDS of people, literally HUNDREDS of people, who were crowded inside the entrance of the temple waiting to show their temple recommends to enter into that holy House of the Lord, indeed into His presence.  Some came from Quito, others from Quevedo and others all the way from Peru.  (Even the Hermanas from my old sector in Primavera were there and the quiet reverence may have been broken a bit in the temple as they all came up to me and we exchanged big hugs.)

All of these people sacrificed in one way or another the time and money to COME to the temple.  Reflecting on this Easter season, because Jesus Christ lives, all of these wonderful people could help others who do not have a body receive saving ordinances.  They were literally giving their ancestors the opportunity to one day have the chance to enter into the presence of God and live with Him and their families forever.  As I participated in the temple work that day I truly felt that there was a celebration in the Heavens as many came into the fold. 

We left the temple at 3 pm and the buses arrived back at the stake center in Quevedo at 7 pm - just in time to watch the General Women’s Conference that was broadcast from Salt Lake City.  The meeting was the greatest, and I may or may not have cried during President Eyring’s talk.  I felt the infinite love and compassion of my Savior as I listened to his talk, and realized again the important role that I have been given in serving as a representative of Jesus Christ. 

While serving these past 13 months as HIS representative, I have come to KNOW him.  I have come to LOVE everyone I meet here in Ecuador as HE would, to comfort them as HE would, and strengthen them as HE would.  Before I came here to Buena Fe, I promised Heavenly Father that I would LISTEN to those I was teaching during the lessons more than I would speak, that I may know how to truly help them.  The Comforter ALWAYS comes as I invite people to let not their hearts be troubled, neither be afraid.  Our message is essentially this… 

“If you reach out, call out, cry out – HE IS HERE.  Then, now, always – HE IS HERE.  During the good, the bad, and the in-between – HE IS HERE.  No matter who you are, or who you were, if you seek him, HE IS HERE.  No exceptions, no lost causes.  At all times and in all places – HE IS HERE.”  I know that He lives and that he came to the world to do the will of the Father.  I am here to become like HIM, so I too, came to do the will of MY Heavenly Father.  I love my Savior and my Heavenly Father so much.  

I love you all too, and hope that you have a Rejoicing Evermore week as you get ready to listen to the testimonies of HIS apostles and prophet this coming weekend in General Conference.


Hermana Bartholomew 

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