Thursday, December 31, 2015

My Evil Stepmother

December 31, 2015

Hola Familia y Amigos!!

As you have all figured out by now, my P-day has been changed to Thursdays - SURPRISE!!  I feel like I haven't written to you all in forever!  I hope everyone is doing well and had a very merry Christmas!

First of all some sad news, Juan Cruz wasn't baptized last weekend. :(  He wasn't able to attend church and has been at his grandma's house all week so we haven't actually been able to see him for a while.  Hopefully after all the holiday celebrations we can start teaching him again and set a new date for his baptism. :)

So last week on December 23rd, we had Navidad con toda la misión [Christmas with the entire mission]!  Oh my, it was so much fun!!  All 189 of us missionaries got together in the main plaza in the center of Bahia Blanca and just had a fantastic day!  

Christmas Party in the main plaza de Bahia Blanca
Now that's A LOT of missionaries...
We had a photo scavenger hunt, sang Christmas carols, ate lots of good food, watched The Emperor’s New Groove, decorated Christmas cookies, got a special video Christmas wish from our stake presidents (thanks Pres. Taylor!!:) ), ate more food, had a testimony meeting, and ate food one more time!

The best part though, was that I got to see my long lost amigos Elder Bakker and Elder Lee!!! 

Hey!  I know you...(Elder Lee)

Hey!  I know you too...(Elder Bakker)

When you run into two of your best friends in another country :)
Megan, Elder Lee, Elder Bakker

Oh my!  I can't tell you how great it was to see people from home.  We had a super fun reunion and were able to talk to each other lots - it really was the best!  Crazy to think just a couple months ago we were all back home in good old Draper, Utah and now we're in Argentina...No puedo creer lo.  [I can’t believe it.]

Feliz Navidad from all of your favorite Draper missionaries

Christmas Eve we spent visiting lots of members and finished off the day with a super yummy dinner at the bishop's house.  

Obisbo Correa's delicious chicken barbeque
Christmas Eve with the Bishop's Family

Christmas day...let’s just say it was by far the hottest day of my mission so far (over 100 degrees).  But it’s all good because we did get to visit with Santa...

SANTA!!! (aka our Zone Leader)

and I GOT TO SEE MY FAMILY!!!  Oh my heavens, best thing ever!! The time flew by and I really feel like we only talked for like 5 minutes; but it was the best 5 mins ever. ;)

The 2015 version of the Bartholomew Family Christmas picture :)

[To watch a short 2 minute video of our Skype with Megan on Christmas Day, click on the link below.  Warning - this segment is all in Spanish!]

So during our Skype call there was something I forgot to tell you all because I really wasn't worried about it then, but now it’s kind of a big deal.  The day after Christmas (Saturday) we had transfers! (First of all, can I get a “Whoot! Whoot!” for making it through my first transfer in the mission!!!)  But yeah, I wasn't worried at all because I didn't think anything was going to change for us.  Everyone stays with their trainer for at least their first 12 weeks to finish their training, right?  WRONG!  Yup, Hermana Palma got transferred to another area and was called to be a new sister training leader.  

Late night GOODBYE to my mom in the bus terminal :(
What?!  Yeah, so we found out this news on Saturday after I talked to you.  Sunday at 9pm we headed to the bus terminal to send her off and wait for my maldrasta (step mom) to arrive.  Haha in the mission your trainer is your mom and if you get a second trainer they are, in turn, your step mom.  :)  But don't worry, despite the title to this email, my new stepmom is not evil. 

Introducing.... HERMANA BAIRD!!  Another Yankee!!! Wahoo! :)  Hna Baird is from Rexburg, Idaho, has been in the mission for 1 year.  We are basically the same person :)  

Mi Maldrasta (Hermana Baird) :)

We've only been together for less than a week but I have already learned so much from her!  I was super worried at first when Hermana Palma left me because I felt like I didn't know the area well enough.  But Hermana Baird has helped me so much and we are really starting to get more organized and figure this whole Villa Floresta thing out together.  We get along great, love the same food, music, clothes…you name it - and to top it all off, we look pretty similar too. :) AND the best part - I CAN UNDERSTAND HER, and she can understand me!!!!

As crazy and unexpected as this change has been, I'm happier than ever! We both have lots of drive and enthusiasm for the work right now, and I'm very grateful to have her here to finish my training.  As stressed as I was at the beginning, I have really been able to see the Lord help me with my confidence in the knowledge of the area, the gift of tongues to speak the language, and all around I just feel better. Life is all good folks, don't you worry!

With tomorrow being the start of a new year, and a time when we are all setting new goals for 2016 (seriously can't believe it) I want to share with you all a quick thought I had during my personal study this week. 

In Alma 5:14-16 we read:

14 And now behold, I ask of you…have ye spiritually been born of God? Have ye received his image in your countenances? Have ye experienced this mighty change in your hearts?

15 Do ye exercise faith in the redemption of him who created you? Do you look forward with an eye of faith, and view this mortal body raised in immortality, and this corruption raised in incorruption, to stand before God to be judged according to the deeds which have been done in the mortal body?

16 I say unto you, can you imagine to yourselves that ye hear the voice of the Lord, saying unto you, in that day: Come unto me ye blessed, for behold, your works have been the works of righteousness upon the face of the earth?

I really love the question at the end of verse 16.  It's my personal goal at the end of this life to be able to hear those words from my Savior.  I want to do all that I can everyday to live worthy and to make him proud.  I want to encourage you all, as you reflect on this past year and set goals for the next, to keep the end goal of returning to the presence of God and living with Him forever in mind, and make sure that everything you do everyday will help you reach it. 

I love and miss you all lots and want to wish you a very HAPPY NEW YEAR!!!  Don't stay up too late tonight okay? ;)  


Hermana Bartholomew 

P.S.  Funny story of the week - So since Hermana Baird has arrived, we've been using the map of our area every second of everyday so we won't get lost, right?  Well, we were looking at it in the park one day when a huge gust of wind took our map away...shoot, NOOOO!!!  :)  We ran after it like our lives depended on it (because they kind of do, haha).  Let’s just say that we really are great entertainment for the people here. :)

P.P.S.  When I was at the bus terminal on Sunday night, waiting for my new companion to arrive, I met an Elder Roberts.  We discovered that we live like 5 minutes away from each other!  His family lives in the 6th ward, over by Boondocks.   

Another Draperite and fellow citizen of the Mountain Point Stake
Elder Roberts
He will be finishing his mission soon and I’m sure will meet you Dad when he reports to the Stake Presidency. :)  His little sister played on the CCHS Charger bball team with me too.  Super funny and super small world!!!

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