Sunday, June 18, 2017

Faithful People

[18 June 2017]

We have come to love so many dear people here. One family is the Rivas family. They are, mother Anabel, Nicole 15, Natalie 11 and twin 8 year old boys, Benjamin and Lucas. There is no dad in the home. The only family they have here close is their aunt, so the Branch has become their family. They attend every activity that is held at the church. Anabel is the Young Women’s president and Nicole is her secretary. The three younger children are happy to play with each other while mom and Nicole are at their meetings.

Anabel Rivas and family
I am often waiting for a meeting to start or for Charlie to be done with a meeting. The 3 younger Rivas children and I have shared many times together playing tag games, singing at the piano in the chapel, reading Aesop’s fables from little books that Charlie bought me. Telling each other stories. My (Spanish) ears get a real work out when these little boys tell me stories. I have heard “Little Red Riding Hood”, “Hansel and Gretel”, as well as Book of Mormon stories of Captain Moroni, Nephi, when Jesus came to the Nephites, to name a few.  These children are so respectful and loving. They remind me of my own grandchildren.

One Monday night we had them over to share a meal and to have Family Home Evening with us. They all helped me in the kitchen serving and cleaning up. They were a delight to have in our home.
On another occasion, I asked Anabel how she raised such kind, happy, loving children. She told me a story that is just one of many faith-promoting experiences their family has had together.

A couple of years ago before Anabel got her current job, she would make food items and Nicole would sell them in front of their house. There was a time when they had no money and no food in the house at all. Anabel told her children maybe they should use their tithing money. Nicole, very adamantly, told her mother that that money didn’t belong to them, it was the Lord’s, and they couldn’t use it to buy food. So, they all decided to kneel and ask Heavenly Father what they should do. Each one in turn said a prayer. 10 minutes later there was a knock on the door. Two women from the neighborhood had been discussing Anabel and her family and how they could help them. They both had jobs in offices with lots of people. They asked at their work if anyone would like to donate money to help by food for a family. They collected enough money to buy the family 3 months’ worth of food.

They have had many miracles like this happen and the children have faith in God and in His children. They appreciate what they have and they are grateful for the help others have given them. Their mother is teaching them good things.

Another dear sister is Mirtha Reina. She lives in a little pueblito halfway between here and Quiriza. She walks three hours to come to church on Sundays. Church starts at 9:00 am, so she leaves when it is still dark and quite cold. She is always smiling and doesn’t seem to mind the long walk at all. She is a real inspiration to us. I told her we wanted to take her picture after church. She seemed quite happy about that. When I showed her the picture I had just taken of her she got very excited. I told her I would bring her a copy. She was so happy to be able to give the picture to her mother.

Mirtha Reina
There is so much we take for granted, like having pictures of family members, and enough food to eat, and cars that get us to church.

These people are happy and appreciative of what they do have, and don’t complain about what they don’t have.

Charlie is making progress with the records. He is also making some progress in training the clerk and the counselor in the Branch Presidency how to clean up and maintain the records. We have been able to make visits to people to verify their records, which I really enjoy. I have said before, and I will continue to say it, I love watching Charlie interact with the people here. He loves them and they feel it. He makes them feel comfortable and he testifies of truth.

We finished our classes for preparing for the temple. The District is planning a temple trip the first week of July. They will go by bus. We are planning on leaving a few days earlier so we can get some things done in Cochabamba. We will go by train and then bus. We are looking forward to attending the temple with some of the members we have taught.

I am so grateful to be here with Charlie, serving these dear, humble, appreciative people. I am also grateful for the opportunities I have to invite others to come to Christ through my words and actions. I'm thankful that He is always there to help me with the words.

[Elder Lyon]
One additional picture. We went down to Villaz├│n to visit the branch there. In the courtyard of the chapel they had this big cactus, so I took a picture of Molly to remember it.

Molly next to the cactus in the courtyard at the chapel in Villaz├│n.


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