Monday, October 28, 2013

Saying Goodbye to Friends/A Day of Miracles

Here are the Brinton's (Diana & Ron) who came from Canada and will be going home this Saturday (Nov. 2nd) after serving here for 18 months. She is from Peru originally, but her parents moved to Canada so their family could have a better life. They have eight children and he was a printer. We took a little taxi trip with them to see the house her parents lived in when they also served in the Guatemala Temple 21 years ago... It is on the property of one of our women coordinators who volunteers in the temple one day a week... She knew the parents and leased this little cottage to them for a time. When the CCM was built, they were the first senior couple to live at the CCM and were in room 304 on the 3rd floor. Diana wanted to wait a year, but her husband insisted that they were supposed to come when they did. The week before they left, her dad died and in settling his affairs, they found a diary of their parents' mission they didn't know about! She tucked it in her suitcase at the last minute! When they arrived, they were put in... Guess what room...? #304!
She read her dad's journal and realized they were in the same apartment her parents were in! She got to read all about their mission and how much they loved it here. She told me that she could often feel their presence in the temple while she was working. In September, when they moved all the senior couple out of the CCM, the Brinton's were the last couple to leave, bringing these events full circle! They are wonderful people who helped us so much when we first came with our Spanish and we will miss them a lot, but they are excited to get home and be parents and grandparents again. She is barely 5 feet tall and he didn't know Spanish when he came here! We will miss them!
Here is a little video from "Miracle Thursday" (Oct. 17th)  My good friend and boss, Grace Larsen sent me an email at the end of September to let me know she would be on a Book of Mormon tour of Mexico/Guatemala in October. She gave me the phone number of her hotel and said to call her when she was here. They would only have one day in Guatemala City. The hotel wasn't close enough to walk to, but I hoped we could contact each other. We gave her the temple phone number, telling her to ask for me. I told the secretaries that she didn't speak Spanish, but would be calling and to come get me if she called. I didn't think we would see each other, but prayed that we could at least contact each other by phone.

I called the hotel on the morning of the 17th (we were on afternoons that day) but she wasn't there, so I thought I had missed her. There was a singing group from Draper, Utah coming to the temple in the morning that day, (Pitchers' were on A.M. shift) and singing at the CCM at noon. Pitchers' asked us to go listen and film them. We had planned to go about noon, but left at 11:30 to take care of some business at the CCM. When we walked by the temple we saw two nice buses parked in front and a lot of people milling around the grounds, so we thought it was the Draper singers and decided to go mingle with them... Hey, anyone from Utah/US is a big event! 
While walking I hear someone call my name 2-3 times... I turn around and there is Grace Larsen sitting on a bench at the temple! The Draper singers were there, but so were the two tour buses with Grace's group... Had we walked by later, we would have missed them! We couldn't stop hugging each other, and of course crying. I prayed for a telephone contact, but what I really wanted was to SEE her in person and Heavenly Father knew that! They went on a tour of the CCM, so I walked around with her and we talked for about an hour. Then they left, so we stayed for the concert at the CCM.

It is a singing group made up of people all across the Wasatch Front and they travel and do missionary work through music. Three people looked familiar, and I recognized one man named Heninger who used to come in the office from Layton. His wife is the leader and music arranger for the group, she looked familiar, too. We went up to talk to them afterwards and told them we were from Layton. He recognized us and hugged us. She said, "Do you know Don Evans?" We of course said yes, he was a dear friend of ours. She took a little note out of her purse and said it was from Don. He added a PS to the letter that said, if you happen to see our friends, the Barlow's, give them our love! OK... Miracle #2. What are the chances we would run into them?! Another lady who sang with the group saw our name tags and said, "My maiden name is Barlow." She looked familiar, too. She was a teacher in Davis Schools who used to come in the Layton office! Wow!... Miracle #3!  So we went to work our shift at the temple and when we came out at 9:30 pm, there were 3-4 missionaries walking around the grounds. We started talking to a native girl:
She asked us, "Where we were from?"
We said, "Near Salt Lake City."
She said, "I served part of my mission at Temple Square."
Then she said, "What city?"
We said, "Layton."
She said "No way, I served in the Spanish Branch in Layton Stake! Do you know President Bitton?" We said, "Yes, he is our neighbor!"
She had just come home from her mission and was doing some training... We think she is going to teach at the CCM. Her name was Sister Arias. Wow! The timing was all PERFECT for this day of miracles and it was a little divine signature for us that Heavenly Father knows us, knows our hearts, and knows where we are!

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