|These were my companions at the time. I am the one in glasses. Go figure.|
Today was incredible.
There are not words to express my joy.
My mom called me this morning and told me my dad was having a barbecue for lunch and invited me to go along. I knew the kids would love it, and so decided to take them, and some friends of ours.
Faye was acting really tired, but I figured since she had slept so poorly the night before, she was just tired.
And we were off.
It was delicious. The weather was perfect, the food was great, and having friends there made it that much more enjoyable because my dad was manning the grill and couldn't talk to us anyway.
While we were eating, I happened to glance at the table right next to us, and I recognized the man sitting there. He was speaking in Spanish, so I began to narrow down the possibilities as to how I knew him. I subtly got up and asked my dad who he was, and he said he was a friend of the people who were sitting at that table, but he didn't really know him.
And so, after wracking my brain, I just went over to their table, sat down at the empty chair and asked him who he was. Salvador Marquez, he told me. I asked him if he had ever gone to the Spanish branch in my town. He hadn't. He said he worked construction, so I asked him if he had ever gone into the store where I had worked before Keith was born. He said he hadn't. And then I was asked how I knew Spanish. I said I had learned it on my mission. Which is always followed up with "where did you serve?"
"California, San Fernando Mission," I responded proudly.
And his face lit up.
That is how I knew him. He was the mission leader in my last area.
Small world, right?
But it gets better.
After reminiscing for a little while, I asked him about a man that I had come to truly love, although neither he nor I were able to remember the man's name at the time (as he was driving away, I remembered the name. Andres.). I had worked for so long with him, and Andres had such a good heart, and he really understood the gospel, he just smoked. He had a problem with smoking, and so we continued to work with him. And then I went home. I kept in touch with him for a little while, but between all the moves and babies, I lost his number, but I still thought about him often. He reminded me so much of one of my best friends from home. If my best friend had been a 45 year old veteran from El Salvador, they could have been twins. While talking with Salvador about Andres, he told me that Andres had been baptized nearly 4 years ago.
Just typing that sent chills through my body. And a smile the size of Europe has set up permanent residence on my face. All day long I have been thinking of the scripture found in D&C 18:
"Remember the worth of souls is great in the sight of God;
My joy to hear that this man was able to finally overcome his trials and to be baptized has filled me with so much joy so as to overshadow every other thing this day. And then Salvador told me that Andres' sister who had wanted nothing to do with the missionaries or even the church had also been baptized. My heart is overflowing right now with joy and happiness. I anxiously await the day when I can see them and embrace them and learn about their journey in life. Seriously, the scripture says "how great shall be your joy..." and I really cannot imagine more joy than this right now. To have it more amplified seems nearly impossible. I do feel bad that I didn't know about it. I promised him I would go out for his baptism no matter what. And I would have, too, had I known about it.
Needless to say, I have been floating around today.
We floated home, our friends went home, and as I helped Faye out of the van, she seemed rather warm to me. Which brought me back to earth a little. Enough that I could attend to my daughter's needs, anyway.
But really, that wasn't enough to burst my bubble. Because this is the best and greatest news I have had in a very long time. I wish I knew how to get a hold of him so I could send him a card. Sigh.