Monday, March 16, 2015

The Promised Land

March 16, 2015

Hello, hello FAMILIA!!!  

Can I just tell you all how much I LOVE Buena FE?!?!  Well I love it a lot.  The other missionaries would always tell me...just wait until you go to Quevedo or Buena Fe, it’s literally the PROMISED LAND!  It’s SO true.  Buena FE is the Promised Land...and the field here IS white, and all ready to harvest my friends! ;)

Hna Blacutt y Hna Bartholom√® 
Went up the hill
 To teach the people the gospel... 
and THEY haven't "fell" down...yet! 

So going from Primavera in Duran to here is SOOO different…

1. It is COLDER here as we are closer to Quito and the mountains.  I was freezing in the church building on Sunday and they don’t even have air conditioning, just good old fashioned ceiling fans.  But I was still cold.  But don't worry, I still sweat every second of my life...it is just a little less sweat! [The temperature in Quevedo is about 5-10 degrees cooler than Guayaquil, so the low to mid- 80's instead of high 80's to 90.]
Heading off for lunch to eat RICE!  Lunch without rice just wouldn't be lunch here in Ecuador.
Using my jacket for the first time on my mission :)

2. In the gated communities of Primavera it was prohibited to talk with people randomly in the streets, but now it is ALL free game.  I have never talked so much in my mission (at least not since Babahoyo).  We had a goal as a zone for everyone to contact and schedule another visit with 10 people per day and....drum roll please we contacted SEVENTY- ONE people.  Overachievers, right?! ;)  Also, we now have 15 families that we are teaching and almost ALL of them need to get married first...la moda es "unidos no mas" aqui jaja.  After my experience with Familia Leon, I am pretty sure I can recite all the requirements for a couple getting married now!  Wedding bells are in the AIR! 

3. I went from a ward with anywhere from 300 to 400 members attending church to only 97!!!  HUGE difference, but from all the loving, strong hugs I received on Sunday, I am excited to work with the beautiful people here!

4. I went from training Hna Vilchez to being with my adorable companion Hermana Blacutt...it sounds a lot different in English but I like to call her "BLAH-CUT!"  She is from Bolivia…sorry last week I had no idea that La Paz was the capital of Bolivia (obviously I have been out of school for a while). ;)  Let me just say that Bolivianos are TINY TINY TINY people, and so are the people here in Buena Fe.  So I know it may sound strange, but Hna Bartholomew is TALL here.  Anyways my compi has 16 months in the mission and we are thinking that I will be her last companion.  

My adorable new companion, Hermana Blacutt

OK, I have SO many amazing stories this week but I will stick with just one for now...

There once was a girl named Andreina.  She lived in front of the Mormon Church for basically all of her life.  She loved listening to the missionaries and wanted to be baptized, but sadly her mother would not allow it.  Her mother didn’t even allow for Andreina to attend church.  But the intelligent little girl that she was, she KNEW that the church was true and so every Sunday at 9 am, she would sneak out of the house while her mom was making breakfast to stand in the doorway and at least listen to the talks being given.  But sadly she knew she could never be baptized and become a member of the church without her mother’s permission.  As she grew older she slowly found other things to do at 9 in the morning on Sunday.  But she always knew whenever she saw the missionaries that their church was true. 

And, once there was a boy named Jairo who was walking down the street one day and found a book on the sidewalk that just happened to be blue with an invitation inside that said, “Do you want to be a Mormon too?!”  Well, he stole the book (the missionaries hadn’t taught him yet about the commandment that says, “thou shalt not steal”), and he loved what it said about Christ, so he kept it for a really long time. 

Andreina was married and had 2 kids.  So too, Jairo was married and had 2 kids.  But neither one of them was meant to have their love last forever, so Andreina was divorced and so was Jairo.  One day Andreina and Jairo met and it was love at first sight…and now they are waiting to save enough money so they can be MARRIED!

The Sunday before Hna Bartholomew came to Buena Fe, Andreina and Jairo, along with Andreina’s sisters found the Mormon Church, and they remembered that they had felt it was true long ago.  So they entered the building.  After all 3 hours of meetings were over, they left having accepted a baptismal date for the 11th of April.  After Andreina and Jairo get married, go to church a few more times, and are baptized...they will endure to the end and live happily ever after! 

I absolutely LOVE this family.  They are FULL of the light of Christ and have always wanted to find HIS church.  

“Behold, God is my salvation; I will trust, and not be afraid; for the Lord Jehovah is my strength and my song; he also has become my salvation.”

I love my Savior and I trust in HIM!  I am loving my experiences here in Ecuador that are shaping me to become more like Him.  I’ve got a long way to go...pero [but] HERE WE GO!!! 

I Love you all SO much! Have a happy week! 

Hermana Bartholomew 

P.S.  The world keeps getting smaller.  One of the new sister missionaries is from Springville (Hermana Bowles), and she is good friends with the White family!!!  She is best friends with Addie’s sister, and we are now planning to room together at Utah State when she gets back!  

Hermana Bowles from Springville

And finally...some pictures!

My two favorite ladies in the Leadership Council
L - Hermana McKee; R Hermana Te'o

P-day with my old Zone in Duran

Hermana Green (Verde)
Everyone says we look like twins.
Hoping to be companions one day!

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