Monday, June 29, 2015

For the Family is of God!

June 29, 2015

Hola familia!  I am dumbfounded at how fast this week has gone.  I just can’t believe it. 16 months in the mission...sniffle sniffle!  But let’s not think about that or I will cry. ;)

To begin this week, I’ll take you on a walk with me and Hermana Rebolledo, you know, just a normal day walking in el CAMPO [the countryside]...when we see an extremely skinny man with an immensely TALL and skinny bamboo stick.  HAHA that’s normal here. ;)  Our curiosity prompted us to ask what he was doing... “Well I am cutting down GUAVAS of course!!”  They looked like oversized pea shells to me, but they are called GUAVA.  

Ecuadorian Guava
(Here in Ecuador, what we call guava in the U.S. is called guayaba.  Ecuadorian Guava is this pea pod looking thing with a cotton-like fruit covering a black seed on the inside.)   

So at the end of the ginormous stick the extremely skinny man was carrying, is a little blade...and AHH I wish you could see the video right now because it is a little hard to explain...but basically you need to balance the long stick, which is awfully hard, and in a spearing motion cut down the guava.  

Hermana Rebolledo trying her hand at the guava harvest

My companion and I tried AND couldn’t do it.  So the extremely skinny man proceeded to cut down as many as he could find and told us to take them home with us.  :D   I just love Buena Fe! 

The Guava Tree

Before I forget, Happy Independence Day to everyone back home.  The 4th of July in America, will be EXPLODING with fireworks...but here in the mish it will be EXPLODING with THE SPIRIT ;)  Why?  Because Manuel Santana is SOO pero [but] SOO excited for his baptism this weekend.  Who am I kidding?  We are ALL so excited for his baptism. 

Manuel is the sweetest old man there is.  The other day he was beyond excited to see us, because we hadn’t been there for 2 days.  Well, in his excitement he forgot all about the rules that he can’t hug the Hermana missionaries, and he just THREW his arms up in the air, exclaiming “Hermanaitas!” [an endearing term meaning “little Hermanas”]...and then it turned into the awkward situation where you can’t accept the hug from the cute old man.  But I was tempted because it was adorable. 

The other day Manuel said, “I am ready to be baptized into the true church, and to be baptized for my dear son.”  I’m not sure if I told you all, but his son died 5 months ago.  Manuel gets his drive from his desires to be reunited with his family one day.  His greatest desire is to be baptized, and then to have the chance to enter into the temple and be baptized as a proxy for his son.  Manuel feels that his son has accepted the gospel in the spirit world and is also ready to enter into this covenant as well.  Let’s just say that this will be the BEST 4th of July yet!!! :D 

Familia Bone are PERFECT...PERO [BUT] they just won’t come to church. :(  Why?  There is a different reason every time…this week it was because some friends of their family came to visit from Quito and they hadn’t seen them in years, which is awesome we know, BUT we just want them to go to church! ;)   SO the game plan this week is to bombard them with visits from all of the ward leaders - the Primary President, Relief Society President, Elders Quorum President, Young Mens President, Young Womens President...everyone!  We are hoping with enough invitations to attend church that the WHOLE family will finally come.  Cross your fingers and your arms in fervent prayer that it works!  But happy are we because they are planning to be baptized the 1st of August.

Fernando committed to pay tithing once he is a member and to fast with us this week to truly know that this is the true church.  But of course Satan messed with his plans to go to church yesterday.  His girlfriend’s birthday was on Saturday and she decided to have a sleepover....GRRREAT. :\  But the good news is he came to a family home evening that we had on Sunday night, and we talked about how we have AGENCY to choose to follow our Heavenly Father or Satan, and how we can’t serve more than one master.  We are planning for him to be baptized July 11th. 

The best news of the week - WE FOUND ANOTHER FAMILY!  Familia Solorzano are amazing.  Just over a year ago they were meeting with the missionaries and were planning to be baptized BUT there were too many problems with the papers for getting married and so their baptism never happened. :(  (However, their 2 sons and a sobrino [cousin] were baptized.)  Marriage problems?  Good thing I happen to know someone who has gone through it all to help people get married here on the mission. haha ;) 

Gabriel, the dad, actually started paying tithing while he was listening to the missionaries and received MANY blessing by doing so. The mom’s name is Glaydis. They have two 5 year old twins, Isabel and Nicole, who are the most ADORABLE and SASSY little girls ever.  They also have two sons, Jesus and Antony who were baptized last year along with their cousin Mauricio, but the three of them stopped attending church. 

In our first visit with Familia Solorzano, Gabriel expressed to us his concerns as a father and provider, especially for the lack of money in their family. Gabriel sells snow cones (of course the Ecuador version...let’s just say they are a tad bit different) outside of the elementary schools and at the bus stops ALL day long, and EVERY single day of the week.  He started to list off all the things that he had to pay for, and a bunch of things he should be able to provide as a father, but he just can’t make enough money.  We listened and then promised him as representatives of the Lord Jesus Christ that if he would keep the Sabbath day holy and NOT work on Sunday that the Lord would guide his portable snow shack to people who would be customers and he would have enough money to pay for his needs.  

“Mas busqad primeramente el reino de dios y TODAS LAS COSAS SERAN A√ĎADIDAS!”  [“But seek ye first the kingdom of God, and his righteousness, and all these things shall be added unto you.”]  As Elder Russell M. Nelson would say, the Sabbath day became a DELIGHT for the Solorzano family as they all attended church on Sunday.  I will send the list of blessings they received next week! 

I just LOVE to see families come to church…and when they get married…and of course when they are BAPTIZED.  As the primary song says -

Our Father has a family.  It’s me!  It’s you, all others too: we are His children.
He sent each one of us to earth, through birth, to live and learn here in families.
God gave us families to help us become what He wants us to be.
This is how He shares His love, for the family is of God!

Hope you all have a REJOICING EVERMORE week! 

Hermana Bartholomew 

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