Monday, July 13, 2015

I Have Found My Eternal Friends

July 13, 2015

So it’s official, I’m an oldie!!!  Why?  Because I’m going to be a GRANDMA!!!  That’s right, mi hijita [my daughter – meaning her trainee Hna. Vilchez] is going to train this week, she called me in a panic when she found out, asking for advice...but she will be SUCH an amazing trainer – much, much better I’m sure than her mother was. ;)  Also, almost every sister missionary here in Quevedo will be training, so hopefully Melissa will come to Quevedo so I can finally meet her. ;) CROSS YOUR FINGERS! 

Manuel is seriously going to be the next prophet. ;)  He now has the priesthood and is starting to share the gospel WITH EVERYONE!  

The Bone family still has not fetched our MANY BONES that we have thrown for them to go to church.  BUT we still have faith that they will come! 

Everyone was asking about Fernando, but sadly he was not baptized this week.  The assistants to the President came to have his baptismal interview, but he wasn’t home, so I called him and he told me that, “The church wasn’t for him.”  Devastated, I pleaded for ONE last meeting with him the next day.  Turns out that he was just scared to not live up to all the expectations of being a member of the church.  Needless to say he realized he can do anything with Christ, and came to church on Sunday.  He is still a little hesitant to get baptized this week but we are hoping for the 25th. 

Robinson, is Jairon Romero’s younger brother, and LOVES the church.  His earthly temptation has been drugs for quite a few years, but since going to church he has now gone 3 weeks without drinking, smoking or whatever else you can do with drugs.  He told us that he had to quit before, but when he entered into the church building and sang “Nearer My God to Thee”, he just decided that he would never partake of those things again.  He is planning to get baptized the 25th as well. 

Jose Quinteros finally came back from the mountain!  HALLELUJAH!  He shared with us ANOTHER incredible spiritually prompted moment which went something like this...He was offered a job on the OTHER side of the country and would receive MUCH more money that he is currently making.  He told us that as he was about to get onto the bus to travel the long 8 hours to his destination, but he felt a strong prompting that he should NOT get on the bus.  However, ignoring the prompting, he started once more to get on the bus when AGAIN he was prompted not to do so.  While holding up 3 fingers he said, “The spirit told me 3 times not to get on the bus...so I didn’t.”  About a week later, Jose was offered another job closer to Buena Fe and will be making about the same amount of money he was offered with the other job. 

Jose always says that we are “the white angels with long dresses” that have come to help him find the truth. As we shared the plan of salvation with him after church on Sunday, the sprit TESTIFIED to each of us that before we came to this earth, Hna Rebolledo and I PROMISED him that we would help him find the truth.  This spiritual prompting reminded me of a story I heard in one of the many missionary farewells that I attended before the mission.  It’s called, I FOUND MY FRIEND.  The story quoted below is from the farewell talk of an Elder before leaving for his mission…

“During the time I was waiting for my mission call I had a dream.  I knew it was not an ordinary dream. I dreamed I was in the pre-existence and awaiting my time to come to earth.  I was filled with the same anticipation and excitement that I had before I received my mission call.  In my dream I was talking to a friend, and I felt a special closeness to him, even though I've never met him in this life.  As we talked, a messenger came and gave me a letter.  I knew it was my call to go to earth.  In great excitement my friend and I opened the letter.  I gave it to him and asked him to read it aloud.  He read, "You've been called to earth in a special time and to a special land. You will be born into the true church of Christ and you will have the priesthood of God in your home. You will born into a land of plenty, in a land of freedom. You will be born in the United States of America."

My friend and I rejoiced as we read my call, and while we were rejoicing the messenger returned.  This time he had a letter for my friend.  We knew it was his call to earth.  Now my friend gave me the letter to read aloud.  His letter said, "You've been called to go to the earth in circumstances of poverty and strife.  You will not be raised in the true church.  Many hardships will attend your life.  Your land will be fraught with political and social difficulties - which will hinder the work of the Lord.  You will be born in Costa Rica."

As the realization of our different assignments settled in, my friend and I wept.  With tears in his eyes, my friend looked at me and said, "When we are down on earth, you in your choice land, and me in Costa Rica, please come and find me."

Then this young missionary, with tears in his eyes, said, "Brothers and Sisters, I have received my mission call. I am going to Costa Rica."

There is a sequel to the story. About a year after the sacrament meeting, the bishop received a letter from the missionary in Costa Rica. The letter had one sheet of paper in it and on that sheet written in capital letters were four words:

Although, I did not have a dream before coming to Ecuador, the sweet assurance of the spirit has confirmed to me MULTIPLE times here in the mission that I promised these people that I would come and help them remember the choice they made to follow our Savior before coming to this earth.  I know that Jose Quinteros is one of them, along with many others from Babahoyo, Duran and here in Buena Fe.  I HAVE FOUND MY FRIENDS, and I will keep finding them until it is my time to leave.  I have found these ETERNAL friends and through meeting them, can I just say how much I LOVE THEM and the perfect plan of JOY that our Heavenly Father has blessed me with.  HE truly loves me and each one of us.  

We found OTHER eternal friends this week including Familia Sanchez Macias.  Their names are Marjorie and Roberto and their 2 sons.  And, yup you guessed it....“Here Comes the Bride”, will be played once more!  Marjorie’s smile could light up ANYONES day and she has become our dear friend.  They own a bakery and have a talent for making sugar cookies.  They were not able to come to church on Sunday, but we are hoping they can make it this week! 

There are many more families that we are teaching, but I don’t have time to write about all of them.  Cross your fingers for next week!  

In closing I’ll tell you that Genesis and Milton shared their testimonies last week in Fast and Testimony meeting.  Milton was wearing the tie we gave him and they have SUCH strong testimonies of this church.  Ya mismo [already] they are going to receive callings in the ward.  We are also planning on going to the temple on August 8th with them, Andreaina y Jairon, Manuel, Fernanado, Robinson and anyone else who wants to come. ;)  

My companion’s sprained ankle is as GOOD AS NEW and we are back to our full walking speed. ;)  We love teaching together and are making the most of each and every day! 

I love you ALL and hope you have a great week! 

Hermana Bartholomew

Here is a picture complements of Jessica's former companion, Andrea Perez.  It was posted on facebook by Hna. Blacutt.

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