Thirty (!) years ago these two young men were serving LDS missions in the California, Sacramento Spanish mission. They become good friends. You may recognize one of them as Cooper's dad- Scott. The other is Alan (AJ) Tantillo.
|Elders Tantillo and Siebers 1985|
After their missions they were roommates at BYU. In the Fall of their Junior year they moved in to apartment 462 in a complex known for its fun people and activities (The Colony, of course.) Not long in to the semester they met two girls from apartment 394, myself and Linda Smith. Linda and AJ were married the same summer we were.
Five years later we found ourselves living in CT and the Tantillos were in NY. Each of us had two little kids, and our youngest were just weeks apart in age. We spent Thanksgiving together that year along with some other great friends from Scott's mission and childhood- Jeff and Cami Smith- who also had a little girl the same age as Cooper.
|Cooper, Samantha and Bonnie. November 1994|
Last year these three cute little babies all left to serve full time missions. Cooper and Bonnie Tantillo were called to Brazil and Samantha was called to Mexico.
Cooper visa waited for a while in Arizona, and Jeff and Cami Smith were able to take him to dinner one night while he was there.
Bonnie also visa waited and was assigned to the Boston Mission! Just a few weeks after Jeff and Cami took Cooper to dinner, we were able to go to Boston and take Sister Tantillo and her companions to dinner. It all had a very symbiotic feel to it, and would be a great story if it ended there, but it doesn't.
Bonnie's visa never came, but she was okay with that and when given the option, chose to be assigned to the Boston Mission permanently. She has served mostly in the Boston area with Portuguese speaking people. However, two weeks ago she was transferred to Bridgeport, CT. Last week Sister Tantillo's dad called his old mission companion Elder (Scott) Siebers, and asked if we could help Sister Tantillo with a task. She had been teaching a young girl in her last area of Marlborough, MA and this young woman was being baptized on Sunday. Sister Tantillo had grown very close to this young girl and really wanted to be there for the occasion. She was given permission to attend, IF she could find a ride.
Of course we jumped at the opportunity.
Not long in to our journey, Sister Tantillo mentions that she is looking forward to seeing her companion (and friend) that she was with when she was in Marlborough - her name is Sister Lima and she is from Brazil. She also mentions that her dad is a Mission President in Brazil. It took like three seconds for Scott and me to put this together... yes- Brother and Sister Lima were Cooper's Mission President and wife when Cooper arrived in Rio.
|Elder Siebers with President and Sister Lima|
When we arrived at the baptism we were able to meet Sister Lima and show her ^this^ photo of our son with her parents. That really surprised her! She was so excited to see a photo of her parents. We got to sit down and chat for a while. She was able to tell us a lot about the area, she even translated some messages I have received from ward members there. (She grew up in Manaus, Brazil and had moved to Rio when she was 16 and her dad was called to be a Mission President.)
We then took the photo below and she sent it to her parents today.
The world truly feels smaller to me today.
|Sisters Tantillo and Lima|