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March 24, 2024 65 mins

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Feeling the weight of her Venezuelan roots and the echoes of her family's journey, Andrea opens her heart to us, recounting the profound ways her personal history has been sculpted by her relationship with Jesus Christ.  

Andrea bears a powerful witness of the ties that bind us all - those to our ancestors, to our faith, and to the enduring hope for a better tomorrow. The harrowing account of her grandmother's struggle to join her family in the United States amidst Venezuela's turmoil and the sobering reality of COVID-19's grip on the world, remind us that we are all part of a larger story. As Andrea shares the solace she finds in connecting with her lineage and the personal revelations that guide her life, it's clear that the memories of Jesus Christ are not just historical footnotes but living, breathing anchors in our ever-changing world.

Please reach out to me if you are interested in sharing your story! I would LOVE to hear from you. :)

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Episode Transcript

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Lily (00:06):
Hello everyone and welcome to.
More Than Coincidence,Remembering Jesus Christ in your
Story as the author andfinisher of our faith, our
Savior writes personalexperiences into each of our
lives which can later strengthen, empower and bring us peace
upon reflection.
This podcast is dedicated tosharing these anchoring memories

from everyone's unique storiesin order to collectively
remember and testify of thereality of Jesus Christ and His
presence in our lives.
I'm your host, Lily, and I'mvery excited to share these
experiences together.
Hey, good evening everybody.
Tonight we have Andrea.
Welcome to the podcast.
Thank you, Happy to be here.

Andrea (00:47):
Will you just introduce yourself a little bit.
Yeah, I'm Andrea.
I am let's see a stay-at-homemom.
I have four kids, fourwonderful kids, all beautiful.
My husband and I have beenmarried for like 12 years no,
he's going to make fun of meAlmost 14 years.

Next month it'll be 14 years,so it feels like it's been
forever, but also just a day.
So, yeah, and I don't know, Iguess, a lot of my background
I'm actually going to talk about, but born and raised here in
Utah, so yeah, I guess.

Lily (01:29):
I should.
Any hobbies, yes, any funhobbies.

Andrea (01:31):
I am okay.
I'm actually going to talkabout it today a little bit.

Lily (01:35):
We're going to get to know all of you.
Yeah, really, though, it'sgoing to be all of it ties

Andrea (01:40):
I guess I'm kind of boring, but my husband makes fun
of me because I have grannyhobbies and so one of them is
family history.
I will literally go for hoursand just.

Lily (01:53):

Andrea (01:56):
Yeah, it's funny, it has to do with my story, but yeah,
that is my biggest hobby andthen I do gardening.
I started that last year and itwas so fun and I loved being
outside and anyway.

Lily (02:08):
So those are like my two things that I just love Awesome
and yeah, so that's when yousaid granny hobbies, I thought
you were going to say crocheting, and I was like me too, I loved
I wish.

Andrea (02:18):
I wish my mom crochets, but I never.
Yeah, I don't know, I'm notcoordinated enough to do it.
I'm not, it's tricky.

Lily (02:27):
I go through like phases where I'm like I love to crochet
and it's usually around theholidays.
I'm like everybody's gettingyou a crochet gift, and then I
like kind of poop out at the endand I'm like, okay, I can't
crochet anymore.
My wrist I'm getting carpaltunnel.
I can't do this anymore.

Andrea (02:37):
Oh yeah, no, I love it, Like it's just it's so funny
because I'm like, do your familyhistory and my husband's, just
like you're such a grandma andI'm like it's not even like that
much of a grandma hobby.
What are you talking about?

Lily (02:48):
You're like well, when I get to heaven, there's going to
be a lot more people happy tosee me than you.
Yeah, Because I did that work.

Andrea (02:55):
He's going to die when he hears that he's made that
joke too.
So it's great, it's fine,that's awesome.
Yeah, Like I, um, it's funnybecause it's just like that that
ties in a lot with my story.
So I guess, like um, let's justget to your story.

Lily (03:11):
So, andrea, let me ask you the question then.
So what memories do you have inyour life that you reflect on,
that remind you of our SaviorJesus Christ and anger you to

Andrea (03:21):
Oh my gosh, there's so many and like so, oh, and you
asked me to do a trigger warningreally quick.

Lily (03:28):
So I just want to give a trigger warning to anybody
listening that we do mentionsexual abuse.
We're not going to, you know,talk about it in detail, but it
does play a part in the storyand so we just want to let
anybody know in case you want toskip forward a little bit, but
most of the story is not goingto be that, so we want you to
tune in so so keep listening, sosorry.

Andrea (03:51):
You're good, so go ahead .
Um, so, yeah, so there's,there's a lot of it's.
It's funny, um, a lot of thesethings like didn't have anything
to do with each other until thelast few months actually, that
I've been looking back and I seehow connected they are and it's
just, it's so beautiful becauseit's just like I don't know

like it's my story.

Lily (04:15):

Andrea (04:15):
This is just it's crazy how connected it is and so, um.
So I guess I'll start.
Um, my parents are fromVenezuela and uh, um, one of the
things that like is a huge corepart of me is just my family
and my heritage.
Like, I just like I'm gonna,I'm gonna tell a story because

my husband requested it.
He loves this story and it's socute because, like I love this
story, but like he just he waslike are you going to talk about
And I'm like, yeah, okay, butyeah, to give context, cause I'm
obviously Latina and then, um,lds too, and so there's like
this huge focus on family, right, like just family is everything

from both directions.

Lily (05:01):
You've got it From both directions, yeah.

Andrea (05:04):
So so, um, so I guess I'll start there.
Obviously, this was before Iwas born um that my parents, you
know, like they I'm going totalk about their love story
actually um, so, uh, my dad, hisfamily, um, they found the
church, let's see, when my dadwas, I think, 12, I might be
getting that wrong, but I think12 and um, they're pioneers

Like they, you know, like mygrandparents, they were devout
Catholics and then, all of asudden, they were introduced to
the church and they just hit theground running.

Lily (05:38):
Yeah, beautiful.

Andrea (05:41):
And anyway, it was, uh, a few years into it.
There was some ward drama, Iguess I should say like there
There was someone that was kindof being inappropriate with my
aunt, yeah, and kind of proposedto her when she was 16.
Whoa, I know like this is goingto be again, since I'm Latina,
this is going to be like a filmof that.
I was going to say so, um, so,yeah, so he, like he was being

inappropriate with her and mygrandpa, um, oh, my gosh, I love
talking about him.
He is just the coolest personto me.
He, he like was out in thejungles of Venezuela when he was
in the military, like he's,he's a rough guy, he's a rough
guy, okay.
And so, um, and he had a temper, and so, um, my aunt let him

know about what was going on.
And this person came over tothe house to basically like, try
to talk to my grandpa about youknow whether that could happen
or not?
And my grandma opened the doorand she was just like, oh, you
really really got to go.
Like you need to leave, you know.

And uh, he was just like no,like I, I'm here, I have like a
serious inquiry to make, and youknow, and she's like we know
and you need to leave, andthat's when my grandpa rounded
the corner with the machete, yep, so he got out of there really
quick after that, right, and so,um, so, yeah, so that's like a

little glimpse into my, mygrandpa.
He's a family man.
He will, you know, like defendhis family and so.
So anyway, and this person kindof like had a like uh, um, he
was well known in the ward andlike had, you know, a position
of power.
I guess I should say so.
So it kind of like tore peopleapart.
Like they were just like hewould never do that.

But Dia's family is just, youknow right.

Lily (07:36):
Full of it.

Andrea (07:38):
Right, you know, like uh , so, so it kind of like split
people and a lot of people didnot like my grandpa.
After that Fast forward a fewmore years and, um, president,
then elder Hinkley, um, backthen at this time he came to
Venezuela to visit and it wasbecause he was organizing a

second stake.
Um, venezuela was just onestake at that time, and so he,
it was growing, and so he, hecame down to you know, to
reorganize things.

Lily (08:10):
To reorganize things.

Andrea (08:11):
And so, with that, he needed a new patriarch in the
Yeah, Um, in this new state.
And uh, so he showed up and hesaid, um, I think that Baltazar
should be the patriarch, mygrandpa.
And um, oh, that caused it.

Lily (08:31):
I was going to say Uproar yeah.

Andrea (08:33):
It was.
It was pretty bad.
And so, um, elder Hinkley waslike you know what?
Um, obviously we're not goingto get anywhere in this
Let's, let's end the meetinghere and we'll, you know, we'll
talk tomorrow morning.
And, um, we know these detailsbecause of his assistant.
Actually, uh-huh, and he, um,he and um, he did, uh, yeah,
yeah, there he is.

Or, elder Hinckley pulled himover and he was like hey, just
so, you know, like I want theDiaz family here tomorrow
morning, so just make sure thatthey're here tomorrow morning.
And so the next day this is thestory that my husband wanted me
to tell, by the way, becauseit's pretty crazy.

But Elder Hinckley was justlike, yeah, so we're gonna call
the patriarch assistant I don'tknow his name, sorry, I hope you
ever hear this but, I, don'tknow your name, but his
assistant came over to help andhe's like can you pull a file
out of this folder?

you know, like of this box andwhoever we pull it's who it's
gonna be, is gonna be thepatriarch.
And he's like, yeah, sure, sohe pulls it without looking or
And it was my grandpa, and soit was so funny because he's
just like any questions and ofcourse the room was silent,

right, like seems fair enough tome, right?
Yeah, so it's great.
So that's the fun story.
I guess he was sustained, right.
He was called to be thepatriarch.
He served for many years and mydad has like some of the
coolest stories about it.
And anyway, that was actuallythe reason why my parents met.

So my mom was in the otherstake and for some reason she
just was not getting a hold ofthe patriarch, like they just
kept on missing each other, andso it was just like, okay, well,
maybe I can just go to the next, the other patriarch.
And so she called, and my dadwas the one who was running
things for him.
He would take the phone callsand stuff, and so that's when

they first talked, and so hescheduled her patriarchal
blessing and my mom got herpatriarchal blessing From my
That's really special.
Yeah and that actually and Ishould kind of like back up too
just to explain my mom's side ofthe family too.
So that's my dad's side of thefamily, my mom's side of the

She met the missionaries whenshe was a little bit older, I
think, or no, I think my dad was10 and my mom was 12.
Maybe that's what, like I waslike ah, that doesn't sound
exactly right, but anyway, Ihope those are real.
But, yeah, younger, so, anyway.
So she started taking thelessons with a few of her

siblings, and she got baptized.
And my grandparents didn't,though, but they didn't have any
like hard feelings or anythingLike they weren't against the
church and they allowed them toget baptized and everything, but
they just they didn't feel likethey should get baptized for
whatever reason, and so and mygrandma, she was a character and

she's like oh, I love themissionaries, I love the church.
I just I cannot give up mycoffee right now.
Like she's, you know, likeshe's a Venezuelan woman, like
they, they drink a lot of coffeeand so anyway.
So she was like, so you know,like, baptize me when I'm dead
you know, like that was the joke.
And so she told my mom thatseveral times and so so, anyway,

so I had like this spiritualgiant on my dad's side, and then
I also, I also think that mygrandma was this spiritual giant
, but we, you know, like sheobviously didn't get baptized.

Lily (12:18):
And so, but you can still have a relationship with God.

Andrea (12:21):
Exactly she she still had that connection and but it
was just not her time to getbaptized.
So you know it's fine, but sofast, you know, back back
forward to my mom.
She got her patriarchalblessing and it was beautiful.
And then, of course, if youlike, I think it was a few years

later- I can't remember theexact timeline, but my parents
got married.
She had a really closerelationship with my grandpa,
and my dad did too.
He was the youngest boy, and sothey were just real tight,
really tight, and so I grew uphearing about, you know, this
amazing man, and what happenedwas after they got married and

after my older brother was born.
I have one aunt that lives herein the United States and she
was like you should come here,you should go to BYU, you should
, you know.
So my dad was like okay, we'remaking the move right.
So he moved up here to theStates and and my mom stayed

back for a little bit, butanyway, he moved up here,
started going to school and thenmy mom came and she was
pregnant with me Uh-huh, verypregnant with me.

Lily (13:42):
I feel so bad.

Andrea (13:43):
I'm like oh, flying that pregnant, that's crazy, but
So they came over to the Statesand the plan was always to
return back to Venezuela, butwe'll talk about it later.
But things just didn't work outand so it was a long distance
relationship for the family,right, that was back in 1990

that they moved here, and so afew years later my grandpa
actually passed away.
He it was 96.
So I never really got to meethim.
It was kind of it's just one ofthose things where it was like
it was difficult because Ididn't understand what was going

And then there were othercircumstances because my dad
wasn't a citizen, he was here ona student visa.
He wasn't supposed to go back,but he went back because of,
obviously, he had to go to hisdad's funeral and so, and it was
very unexpected and so, anyway,so he went.
he was gone for two months and Iwas just like what is going on,

you know, at six years old.
So it was hard, but he was ableto come back and then, a few
years after that, to get into alittle bit of history and
The president Chavis he waselected right and he was the one

who was promising a lot ofthings.
And my dad was just like Idon't feel right about this guy.
And my mom too she was actuallylike very, you know, like I
don't like where this is going.
And so my parents, unknowingly,kind of like my dad, got to see
my grandma one more time toobecause of the funeral and like

she actually lived with us for alittle bit too.
But that's a whole other storyand I don't remember it because
I was like two and three yearsold so I never met my grandma on
you know, like on my mom's sideand my dad's side it was, you
know, she was very young,growing up and so, and then I

never met either of my grandpaseither.
My father's dad passed in 96,my other grandpa, he's still
around, but he's got severedementia and so because of the
political situation it's justreally hard and we don't want
him traveling either, so it'sreally hard, but anyway, so it

was back then they didn'trealize that this was, you know,
like one of the last times thatthey were gonna see their
And so it was 98.
And my dad was just like youknow what, we're gonna stay and
we're gonna make it work here,right In Utah, in Utah.
And so, and again, I was bornand raised here, and so I grew

up without my extended familyyou know, I only had that one
aunt, which not that she isn'tgreat and wonderful, it's
actually her birthday, so shehears this yeah happy birthday.

Lily (16:46):
Shout out to my aunt happy birthday.

Andrea (16:49):
But she, you know it was her husband and her son at the
time and so, but I had thisentire family in Venezuela that
I didn't get to know right now.

Lily (17:02):
Well, and that's big family's huge.
I'm sure that your parents wereboth feeling that heartache of
not being with their family.

Andrea (17:07):
Oh yeah, and I remember when I was younger it was so,
you know, like this was againlike late 90s.
It was hard to call longdistance and that's the thing
all growing up.
There was always somethingthere was something that was
making it hard to communicatewith family, and now we have
social media, right, but it wasstill like my grandma didn't

know how to use it.
Social media right, so like so.
Yeah, so it was always reallyhard to communicate with family,
so I grew up not knowing myextended family, and both my
parents had big families likeseveral, several siblings, and
so I just I grew up in adifferent culture than you know

like, cause there's theVenezuelan culture and then the
Utah culture, and you know like,even though I was raised in
Utah, I was still raised byVenezuelan culture Right.
Yeah, so it was just like.
So it was kind of weird and Inever felt like I really fit in
anywhere, yeah and so anyway.
So it was hard because familywas everything to me, even when

I was small.
Like I remember in the fourthgrade I was sitting there after
winter break and the teacher wasjust asking, like what you know
Like what did everyone do?
And yeah, all of my classmatesare like, oh, I went to
grandma's house, went and saw mycousins, and I was just sitting
there like devastated becauseit's like I never get to see my


Lily (18:36):
You know like.

Andrea (18:37):
I never get to see my cousins, right?
They're so out of reach for me,right?
Yeah, like it was a majorheartache for me growing up.
And it was, yeah, it was just,it was difficult.
And so you know, to get on tolike the next part of the story,

that's kind of like the context, the background of you know,
like family is everything.
My culture, you know, myheritage, my culture, my church,
all of those things cometogether and family is just
everything, right, and I didn'tget to grow up with my family.
Yeah, or not a lot, or maybe Ishould say in a way that I

wanted, like in a way Ienvisioned, right.
However, with that being said,I grew up hearing stories
constantly, just constantlyAgain, about my grandpa.
My grandma too I don't wannaleave her out, I haven't talked
about her very much, but, likehis wife, grew up with stories

and so I just you felt like youknew them but you didn't like
know them.
Yes, I had a relationship withmy grandpa, even though he had
already passed away, so it waslike so there was that.
And then I knew the stories ofmy grandmas and I loved them.
Like, oh my gosh, my mom's momwas hilarious and just had all

of these like she cussed like asailor.
She had like all of thesecharacteristics that just made
her so funny, you know.
And so, anyway, she's like thistiny woman and just Just a
fiery Latina like just-.
Yeah, just fiery, like she wouldput you in your place.
Right, sounds about right, butshe was also like so, so giving

and so loving and one of myfavorite stories about her is
actually before my parents gotmarried.
She talked to my mom.
She was just like so you'regonna get married.
And she was just like yeah, andit was.
You know, they had a shortengagement but she was like or
no, this wasn't even before, orthis was before the engagement.
But she was just like you knowwhat, if you make it to marriage

now that you're Mormon, right?

Lily (20:53):
If it's back, then it was fine.

Andrea (20:54):
Now that you're Mormon, that means that you guys
shouldn't be doing anythingbefore marriage.

Lily (20:59):
And she's like, yeah, that's right.

Andrea (21:00):
And she's like, okay, if you make it to marriage and you
are able to make it to thetemple, because you know that
was, they didn't have a templeclose to them, but that was the
The goal, yeah, she's like Iwill quit smoking.
And this woman had smoked apack a day, like a lot, wow,
since she was 13 years old, likeyoung, oh my gosh, yeah, and so

that's a big promise, right.
And my mom she was like, yeah,like we, I made it to marriage,
so you gotta quit smoking.
And she was like done, coldturkey, never smoked again,
right, so like she was just.
There are so many stories aboutthis woman that I'm just like
she's so endearing and so anyway, yeah, so there's just like.

Lily (21:49):
I know your grandma and your grandma.

Andrea (21:52):
So it's like it's funny, because I look back and I'm
like, oh my gosh, even though,like I didn't know them, I had a
relationship with them.
So that's the context, that'sthe background, and then to move
on, this is where it, you know,kind of gets dicey in my
teenage years.
So we got along with thisfamily.
They were also Venezuelan.

My dad knew them back inVenezuela and they moved here to
Utah as well, and so we werereally close, like his best
friend was one of the brothersin this family and we hung out
with that family all the timeand they became a sort of
extended family for me.
They weren't, you know, bloodfamily, but like I just adored

them as much as I would a familylike blood family, and so we
were doing everything together.
Christmas, new Year's forVenezuelans, we do like huge New
Year's parties.
And so like every year, dancingwith this family, really close
to this family.
I saw, you know, all of thecousins like cousins, right,

You know, like all of the kidsin this family like cousins.
And so, anyway, when I was 13,though, the brother, the oldest
brother, he molested me, and it,you know it was this was
actually the second time in mylife that that had happened, and

but this one, you know, I was13 and I was very, you know,
cognizant of what was happeningespecially with my history and
so to we'll call back the storyof my grandpa and the machete.
My dad is a lot like my grandpaand so, because I had already

gone through it, I was just likeyou know what this is going to
destroy so much if I talk aboutthis, so I'm just gonna keep it
to myself.
My family's gonna be gone.
Yep, like yeah, it was roughbecause it was just like.

Lily (24:04):
I was like.

Andrea (24:04):
I'm gonna be gone.
I'm gonna be gone.
Yeah, it was rough because itwas just like I had this entire
family, that, or you know, likesecond family, and I didn't have
my other family.

Lily (24:18):
And so and you didn't want to be the one to like break it

Andrea (24:22):
Yeah, and it was just and I knew it would break.
I knew it would break.
And so, and so I.
It's funny because I was 13.
Like this was, I grew up reallyquick, unfortunately, and so
one of the things that kind oflike kept me afloat, I guess

cause I, you know, I numbed itout, but I was just like I need
I know I can't live with thisby myself, right, like this is
pretty heavy.
However, you know, like I can'tall, I can't break my family up
, so what can I do?
And I just, you know, I wasjust like you know, like I've

been taught forgiveness.
You know like you have toforgive people and it'll bring
me peace, right, like that'swhat I've always been told.
And so.
I prayed my little heart outconstantly to be able to move
past this Fast forward a fewyears.
I'm 15, I'm about to startdating.
I'm, you know, like.

I'm on the verge of turning 16.

Lily (25:28):
And there was Kim.

Andrea (25:29):
Sinieras yes, yes, exactly, I had one of those and
the boy I really liked was there, you know, like my first
boyfriend, and so that actuallywas the catalyst of holy crap.
Like you know, I am going tohave to learn how to be
connected to someone when I'vebeen keeping people at arm's

length right and.
I couldn't verbalize this backthen, but that's basically what
it was.
And so I started having just somuch anxiety and leading up to
because I knew as soon as Iturned 16, I was going to date
this boy right, like we werejust waiting until then, and so
so I got.

I can't even remember what itwas about, but I got into this
huge argument with my parentsone night and I just screamed
like you have no idea what I'vebeen through.
And I guess my mom was just sointuitive and she was just like
what happened to you, likestraight face dead cold, you

know she was like what happenedto you?
And I was just like oh, nothingLike you know like oh no, no,
no, no, gotta walk it back,gotta walk this back.
And she was like no, whathappened?
And I was just like you know,like trying to make excuses for
what I said, and you know likeI'm just a dumb teenager.
Don't listen to me and shelooked at me and she was just

like, was it this person?
And at this point my dad's justsitting there quietly, right.

Lily (27:04):

Andrea (27:07):
And that's when I broke down and I started crying and I
was like yeah, and explainedwhat happened.
Well, not even everything, Ijust explained that something
happened and my dad just quietlystood up to find the machete
yeah, it was one o'clock in themorning at this point, I think
because we had just been arguingfor so long and so he just like

got up and I saw him walk intohis closet and he was getting
dressed, you know, to go killthis man.
And so I just got dressed, youknow, to go kill this man.
And I just screamed at him andI was just like this is why I
didn't tell you, because I knewyou were gonna go to jail, my
family was gonna be broken upand then I would lose everyone

And that calmed him down and hewas just like, oh, sat down and
he was just like, okay, yeah,you know like, okay, hear you
loud and clear.
This was, you know like rightbefore I was 16 and my parents
were phenomenal.
They were like what do you need?
What should we do, right?
And so we went and reported theguy and started the prosecution

and everything.
And we didn't know this at thetime because we, I kind of like
started distancing myself fromhim too, but I couldn't let them
know, right.

Lily (28:28):
So it was just like this awkward thing where you still
see him but you don't wanna bearound him, Exactly.

Andrea (28:34):
And I think that they caught onto it because we saw
him less over the years.
But he was actually diagnosedwith some disease I can't
remember exactly what it was,but it was just, you know like
it was pretty severe, it wasserious, and so we started going
to court and it was dragged outfor an entire year.

Every single month I would haveto go and I would have to sit
there and face him right, and itwas exhausting because there
was so much turmoil in my familyabout this too.
And so again, like it was justlike oh my gosh, my family is
having issues because of thisand I blamed myself for a lot of

it and so and it's funnybecause my mom was so clear Like
, and now, being a mother, I'mjust like it makes sense now,
yeah she was so clear.
She was just like.
You did not do anything todeserve this.
Do not put this on yourself.

Lily (29:39):
She was constantly telling me that, as every victim like,
that's really cool, becauseevery victim needs to know that
it is not your fault.

Andrea (29:46):
They were so like my parents were stellar during this
and but it was still reallyhard and my mom had a really
hard time with it and she hadissues that she was facing
mental health issues and stufflike that, and so lots of stuff
just happened all throughoutthis time and it was just all

compact and it was high schooland high school is already a
hard enough time, and so I justlost hope, like I just lost hope
of things working out.
It was just, I was just tryingto get through the week.
I you know I it was just such adifferent time.

Lily (30:28):
It was ready for the end to be there.
Like can this just be over.

Andrea (30:32):
I didn't even make like, it's hard to even admit because
it's one of my majorinsecurities.
But I didn't graduate highschool because I was just not
present in high school.
I was constantly just at hometrying to just survive, right
and so, which is okay by the way, thanks.

I know it's like.
It's one of those things whereI'm Honestly, that's okay.
I've come to accept, becauseit's not like I was, you know,
like a bad student or anything.
I immediately went over and gotmy, you know, like my diploma
afterwards, right, but it wasjust, I was just, I had no idea
what life had for me, Right, andso I just had, like this

hopelessness, yeah.
And so, yeah, he, finally they,you know, prosecuted him and
the crazy thing was, so he wentto jail or prison and he, he
served his term there, but thenhe was deported because he
wasn't here legally, right, andso he was sent back to Venezuela

Now, you know, we can fastforward a little bit and I can
kind of shift gears, but myhusband, like this is our story
now and this is probably one ofthe things like it's so funny
cause I'm like this is so long,but I promise it all you know

comes together.
It all comes together.
So I met my husband right outof high school, right out of
high school, and I was one ofthose young women that I was
like I'm going to date for atleast a year before I commit to
I'm not going to be one ofthose girls, that was me too.
So I was just like nope, likegotta, you know, gotta make sure

that I date someone for longenough and I'm going to wait
until I'm 21.
Cause, you know, like that wasthe only thing, like I was just
like I just want to have sometime to just and honestly you
deserve that, let's just be real.

Lily (32:35):
You need a break, yeah.

Andrea (32:37):
So it was just like I just did not want to like
obviously I liked boys, but youknow and I wanted to like date
around, but I didn't want to doanything serious, you know.
And so so it was just funny,because then I go hang out with
my friends and we go to a hottub, and then there's this guy
that's just super cute, has themost beautiful eyes and anyway.

So we just started talking andit was.
It was so funny because we werelike he was kind of following
me around for the night and likeI would follow him back and you
But like we were, we were kindof talking the entire night but
there was one point that I wasjust like.
I know you from somewhere.

Where do I know you from Like?
And he's just like I don't knowLike and he's like.
I mean you seem familiar but Idon't know who you are Like.

Lily (33:27):
I don't think so.

Andrea (33:28):
I interrogated this poor boy for 20 minutes and I was
just like, are you sure, Like mydad worked, you know, like at
this building that was adjacentto the building that you worked
Maybe like anyway maybe therewas something, but I could not
connect it and I was just likethat was just so weird.
But then, yeah, we starteddating and you know, time went

Now this comes to mypatriarchal blessing Again.
I had a really tough time whenI was a teenager and so I wasn't
even thinking about that, andwhen my husband and I were
dating I was like I should goget that you know, like I should
go get that because things arekind of getting serious and you

know, patriarchal blessings arealways, like they always mention
You know like, anyway, from mylimited knowledge of patriarchal
blessings, and so, anyway, so Ischeduled my patriarchal
blessing and oh, and I shouldadd my mom actually.
So she had her patriarchalblessing by my grandpa right,
and she read it to us and it wasbeautiful and it was tailored

perfectly to her, and anyway itgot lost.
We don't know what happened.
She lost her copy and then whenshe wrote you know headquarters
, they're like we can't find it,we can't find it, which was
devastating for my mom I wouldbe crying my eyes out.

Yeah, especially, you know, likebecause my grandpa had passed.

Lily (34:58):
Yeah, keeping her connected in her parents.

Andrea (34:59):
Yeah, so it was just like it was so bad.
So she was like, oh my gosh, Ihad such a good relationship
with him and I had all of theselike beautiful things that even
before like he knew her.
Yeah, that he told me andanyway.
So I grew up with first of all,my crazy amazing grandpa, and

he's a patriarch which is justso cool in and of itself, right.
So I just like, when I madethat appointment, I was just
like, oh, I kind of had likethis dread.

Lily (35:32):

Andrea (35:32):
I was just like what if I don't have an amazing
patriarchal blessing, right, andI had scheduled my mom, they
actually okayed it for my mom toget a second one, and so we
went and got our patriarchalblessings the same day.
Now this was on my birthdaywhen I turned 19,.

Also the day after I gotengaged.

Lily (35:57):
Little late for the guidance ahead of time, but you

Andrea (36:00):
Yeah, and so I was just like OK, well, I just need some
kind of confirmation.
I need to know that it's goingto be for me.
You know, like I need it to bepersonalized and obviously, like
, obviously it comes fromHeavenly Father.
But I was just like how is thispatriarch that's never met me

before, Right?
Going to know, and so anyway.
So it was an incredibleexperience.
My mom went first.
Oh my gosh, hers was beautifuland she was bawling her eyes out
, and afterwards she was likethose were your grandpa's words,
like the phrases that he usedwere your grandpa's words, and

it was different.
You know, like it was adifferent blessing, but it was
like it was there.
He was there in the room and soobviously I didn't hear this at
this point, you know, and it wasmy turn, and I was just like,
oh my gosh, what if I was justpraying and I'm like, please,
please, let this be personalizedfor me, that I know that I'm

being spoken to and the firstthing that the patriarch talks
about is that I have a gift.
And I was just like my earsperked up and I'm like what?
I'm not gifted, but I'mparaphrasing, of course, but it
You had so many friends in thepremortal existence and, sorry,

you're good and you willrecognize them in this life, and
you promised that you would doeverything you could to help
them get back to Heavenly Father.
And they made that same promiseto you and you will recognize
them on the side of the veil.
And I was just like what, howcould he have known that?

And so I opened my eyes andthat was the first time I saw my
husband crying.
He was my fiance at that point,right, but he was just bawling
like a baby.
It was adorable and so, anyway.
So it was just like it was thisbeautiful and immediate
confirmation that it wasn'tabout my grandpa, right.

Like as much as I love him andas much as it would have been
special to have something fromhim.
Right, it was about my HeavenlyFather, and so that's the
moment in life where I learnedthat I could rely on my
patriarchal blessing.
It was amazing.
And so again, well, fastforward.

That was like.
My patriarchal blessing meansso much to me.
It's just crazy.
I read it all the time.
And so a few years go by andit's the Pason Temple Open House
and we went.
It was my husband and I and Ithink my mother-in-law I know my

mother-in-law was there and Ithink my sister-in-law and her
But we were all there and wewere outside waiting to go into
the temple and I was justlooking around at the grounds
and I saw a familiar face and itwas one of the family members

of the guy who had abused me,his wife and I was just like, oh
, you know, I kind of shocked tosee her there because I wasn't
expecting to see her.
And then I saw her kids, one byone.
I recognized all the kids andI'm like, oh my gosh, they're
all here.
And again, her husband had beendeported, so I wasn't expecting

to see him.
But I did, and it was at thetemple of all places.
And so it kind of hit me withlike a brick wall.
When I saw him, I just kind oflike I actually audibly kind of
like gasped and my husband justlike turned to me and he's just
like you, ok, and I'm likethat's him, you know like I

pointed over to him and he knewimmediately and he was just like
do you want me to go?
Say something?
Like what do you need?
Like immediately jumped in andI was so grateful but I was
shocked because my prayers hadbeen answered and it was in that
moment that I realized I wasjust like, oh my gosh, I've
forgiven this man.

Like I had no, nothing in myheart.
But you know, like almost youknow love, but not not.
You know, people are like whatwhen they hear my you know, but
forgiveness, like trueforgiveness, yeah, it was just
like you know what, like you didsomething horrible, but I don't

hold it against you and it's Ihave let go of that, it has no
power over me.
And it was so incredible becauseit was at the temple that I got
this confirmation that I, youknow, like that I had forgiven
someone who had done somethingso terrible to me, right, and so

so to kind of tie it in at thispoint.
I've learned I can rely on mypatriarchal blessing, I can rely
on, you know, like these, thesepromptings when I get or when I
go to the temple, so.
So those are, you know, likekind of the messages of these

things that had happened when I,while I was growing up, so fast
forward now to 2020, to, yeah,2022.
So at this point I had kind ofgiven up hope of like ever
meeting the majority of myextended family.

I have one cousin that's cometo live here and she lives up by
my aunt, and so I've gotten tosee her.
But again, you know, like it'sjust like I wish I could see all
of my family, right, andespecially my grandma because
and this is your grandma on yourmom's side, or your dad's side,
my mom's side, your mom's side.

Lily (42:15):
So my, the feisty one, the feisty one.

Andrea (42:17):
Exactly Got it.
I mean, they were both feisty,but you know, like this one is a
little bit more feisty.
The cold turkey with smoking,yes, yes, and so my, my, my
dad's mom had passed away in2012.
And so so, at this point, I'velost my, my dad's parents, right
, and I didn't really get toexperience them here in this

Right, I haven't met most of myfamily, right, and in 2022,
there was some legislation thatwas approved because a lot of
the, a lot of the people thatare crossing the border right
now are Venezuelan, yep, and andso, in order to kind of like
curb that, they made it so thatyou could sponsor your family or

petition for your family tocome over way easier for

Lily (43:06):

Andrea (43:07):
And so when this happened, my mom was like, oh my
gosh, we might have a chance toactually bring your grandma
over Right At this point.
My grandma has been eating justyou know what they can get for
years and she had been, you know, like there was a definite case

for persecution, like politicalpersecution, right.
She had gotten beaten upoutside of her home, you know,
and again she was her grandma.

Lily (43:41):
Yeah, Venezuela is not a safe place it is not a safe

Andrea (43:43):
I've never been back because of that, Like my dad
actually specifically was likeyou are not allowed to go back
and you know we're Latin, so westill listen to our parents when
we're adults.
Like that is, you're notallowed to go to Venezuela.
Okay, see puppy.
Yes, exactly.
So I've never been back to meetmy family, and you know I'm

friends with them on socialmedia.
But again, my grandma was an onsocial media.
Right, it's not the same, yeah,so, but at that same around the
same time, one of my mom's bestfriends from childhood got a
She was able to get a phone andso she had access to social
She had Facebook Messenger.
Because of that, my mom wasable to talk to my Nona.

Oh sorry, I call her Nona.
She's my grandma, so Nona is mymom's mom.
She was able to talk to her momall the time my Nona all the
time, and one time I finally gotto talk to her.
Like this was the first time inover a decade that I was able
to talk to my Nona.
And it was amazing, like it wasjust oh my gosh, and she's so

funny, she is so sweet and sofunny, and so so, when this
legislation went through, my momwas like I have a chance right,
and because of everything thathad happened when I was a
teenager and like just life ingeneral, I developed this
narrative that things just don'twork out.

So when my mom said that, Iactually immediately went to my
husband and I was just like, ifthis doesn't work out, like I
don't wanna hope, I don't wannahope, right, right.
But you know, like how do younot hope?
And so so my parents startedthe paperwork and at that point

I just I let it creep in, and itwas my mom and I my mom lives
with me right now- my parents do, and we were, you know, like
that Christmas.
I just turned to my mom and Iwas just like next year, next
year, this is gonna be different.

Lily (45:54):
You know like just getting so excited.

Andrea (45:57):
So excited, so so excited and we were planning
like the Disney trip that wewere gonna take her on.

Lily (46:04):
She will know America.

Andrea (46:06):
Right, yeah, I was just like you know we were.
She has had such a tough timein Venezuela that I was like I
just want her twilight years tojust be Joy.

Lily (46:16):
Joy, like pure joy, where she can just Great grandkids
Exactly, fun laughter Exactly.

Andrea (46:22):
And so we, you know, we were making plans.
And then I don't know if you'veever gone through a sponsorship
process and stuff.
It takes a while and it's apain in the butt and anyway.
So we had just gotteneverything in and we were
waiting and we had heard fromanother Venezuelan that things

were happening for them and theyhad gotten everything approved.
So you're hoping that you're inthe pipeline.

Lily (46:48):

Andrea (46:49):
So we were like, oh my gosh, we're weeks away from this
, yeah, waiting by your phone orby your email like refreshing
it every hour, just constantly.
And you know, I was just like,I was prepping the kids, my kids
, to meet their great grandmaRight.
And then February hit and shecaught COVID and again she was a

smoker for decades.

Lily (47:13):

Andrea (47:14):
And so I just I spiraled so hard and I was just like I
know this isn't gonna work outand I was so angry because I was
just like keep in mind, thelast time my mom saw her mom was
32 years before, at the airport, giving her a hug, saying bye

to her, and so this was a bigdeal for you and for her it was
a big deal and like I kind oftried to because I didn't have a
relationship with my grandma,Right.
Like I had talked to her onceand I just rationalized and I
was just like, how is thishappening?
And so it was funny, because Iwas like, what am I doing?

Okay, I'm gonna go pray and Iam feisty, just like my Nona,
So so I went and I prayed, butit was not.
It was not a good prayer, itwas not a prayer, it was
accusation and anger.
And I was just, heavenly father, why would you do this, not to

me, to my mom, like how, whywould you give us hope and then
just take her, you know, andkeep in mind she's sick, she
hasn't died.
But I am just, yeah, I know, Iknow what's coming, I am right,
you know, in the depth of sorrowand despair and I just, you
know, I was just like you arecruel, like why would you do

And yeah, so anyway, I, youknow, huffed and I ended my
prayer and like, for a bit, likethis was over hours, I just ran
to my room, closed the door,locked it and didn't let anyone
in and just cried and all ofthis, and this went on for a
while right, so that's what I'mgetting at.

This went on for a while andfinally I was just so exhausted
and I was just like this isn't,this isn't working.
Yeah, right, yeah, I feel worse, I feel angrier, I am, I am
I don't know.
I don't know what to do.
I can't live with this rightLike this is too much to bear.

Yeah, and it was in that momentthat I just had the thought,
like, just like Andrea, you knowyou can trust him, you know
you've had that this happened, asoul crushing experience, and

you gave it to him.
Yes, you know right, and so itwas just like duh.
So, so I get back on my kneesand I was just like you know
I don't know, I don't know, Idon't know how I'm going to do
this, but I will be done youknow, like you know, very snotty

, but I will be done.
Yep, just just give me what Ineed to get through this,
because I don't know what I'mgoing to do, like I don't know
how I'm going to.

Lily (50:21):
I literally have no hope right now.
I don't right.

Andrea (50:23):
And again, I'm very feisty, so anger is usually what
I jump to, right Me too, and Idid.
I did right, yeah, but thisoverwhelming peace just
otherworldly came over me and itwas just, you know, like, I

know, like I know I'm gonna takethis.
I know Um, and so after that,it was just you know, like okay,
one hour at a time, and uh, shewas in and out, she, you know
like, she was actuallydischarged from the hospital for
a minute, but I knew, I knew Um, and so she went back because

she had pneumonia and uh, sothat's actually what ended up
taking her and um, it was.
It was traumatic too, becausein Venezuela the healthcare
system is so bad my familycouldn't get in to see her.
They weren't allowing herfamily to see her because she
had COVID and, um, she could becontagious, and so she, she

passed and she was alone in thehospital and um, it was just,
yeah, it was a terribleexperience and um, the way they
treated, you know, her body andthe burial and stuff, it was
And, thinking about it, like Italked to my friends about it

and they were just like howterrible, like they were angry,
and I was just like I'm angry,but like not as much as I would
normally be, and so I was justlike I was aware that this piece
was still at play and lingeringand so, um so she passed and I

just spent the day with my momand you know was just like I am
a doer.
You know I am, I have to say butas the so I was just like mom.
When she was younger, she toldyou that she wasn't getting
baptized until she died.
She just would so um, why don'twe?
This was in the end of February.

Lily (52:36):
Yeah Of 2022.
This was 2023.

Andrea (52:40):
Yeah, so 2022 was when we heard about you know the
legislation and stuff, okay, soit's been a whole year.
So, yeah, yeah, a little bitless, but you know, um, but I
was just like her birthday is inMay.
Why don't we?
Why don't we do you know, likesome family history?
Oh, I should mention, sorry,backing up my patriarchal

So that was the first thing,that story.
The rest of it was so muchabout family history, so much
and I had not really done familyhistory at this point, like I
had dabbled in it, but, and iteven said work with your mother
on this, um, and again, we gotour patriarchal blessings the
same day, right, yeah, and so,um, so anyway, so I had not

actually dived into it, right,Um?
And then I was just like youknow what, Um, my patriarchal
blessing says to do familyhistory?
It says that there is a longline of ancestors, that are
waiting Right.
So let's do it.
Let's do it, yep.
So I told my mom we're going todo family history, we're going

to set a baptism date at thetemple for grandma and we're
going to make it a party.
Okay, we're going to make it aparty and so, um so, yeah, so we
made a party, we went on May27th to the temple and, uh, the
majority of my family was thereand we did a few baptisms for a

whole bunch of family members.
Yeah, now, um again, I had notdabbled, and one of the main
reasons was because there wereso many brick walls in my family
history, so many Right.

Lily (54:21):
So once like, you can just go access the records.

Andrea (54:23):
No, every time that there's drama in Latin America,
they burn the records, and soit's like this is impossible.
This is an impossible task,right, and it was just so hard,
like I watched my mom doingfamily history growing up.
But like it was brick wallafter brick wall yeah.
Yeah, well, and this is one ofthose other duh moments.

Lily (54:48):

Andrea (54:49):
So I was in my Nona past and I started working on family
All of these brick walls Justlifted, lifted, lifted.
I have literally over 2000names in just the last year of
people that I found.
Really the majority of them areon her side specifically.

Lily (55:08):
She's like in heaven, like hey, you're right here, hey,
you're right here.

Andrea (55:14):
And it was so crazy, and I was just like oh my gosh,
this is not a coincidence, morethan a coincidence.

Lily (55:23):

Andrea (55:24):
And so all of these, all of these names, like I would
think of a last name, like thatI was just working on, and then
there would be new hints.
I could not keep up with thehints and anyway it's so like
all the record hints and stuffand so anyway.
So since then I've I've gotten2000 names, I you know like on
mostly her side, and I'm stillgoing.

Like it's crazy how much, howmany sources.
I got like 16,000 sourcesalmost last year.

Lily (55:55):
Just from February, the end of February to December, and
is this because people havebeen indexing and stuff out
Yeah, where are these comingfrom?

Andrea (56:04):
So there's tons of indexing going on in Venezuela
and Colombia because she's she'sfrom both and so, yeah, so just
all of these indexingopportunities and like, and not
only that, but I would also.
I do crazy, I just go fullcrazy when I'm doing it and I
will look for every variation ofspelling.

I go through the records, likeI am going to find at least one
master at reading handwriting.
Oh my gosh, I try to be my momis way better, but yeah, it's,
it's really hard because it'salso in Spanish and like,
although I speak Spanish, it'snot, it's not my forte, and so
it's it's hard and so, yeah, soI see all of these miracles, and

not only that, but at thetemple I just got, we were in
the celestial room, my entirefamily, and it was just you were
supposed to be here today.
You were supposed to find thesenames, these names have been
waiting, right, and so, likethat, just you know that just
rested on me and it was just sopeaceful and it was just like

you know what.
I didn't realize this before.

Lily (57:14):

Andrea (57:14):
Right, but I, what I wanted the most was a
relationship with my Nona.
Yeah, and when I prayed I askedfor what I needed to survive
Yeah, and looking back, I wasjust like, oh my gosh, I have my
relationship with my Nona, eventhough I can't see her, I can't

talk to her, right, and she isconstantly there helping me.
It's incredible and so, anyway.
So all of these like littlemiracles have happened in the
temple, right.

Lily (57:48):
Sorry, do you mind if I just say something.

Andrea (57:49):
Oh yeah, of course, go on.

Lily (57:52):
I just think it's cool because when you were telling
the story in the beginning, youspecifically mentioned how she
felt like it wasn't time to getbaptized, like what.
Like seeing this now like noneof this would have happened.

Andrea (58:04):
Exactly had she been baptized.

Lily (58:06):
you literally.
None of this would havehappened Exactly, and so it was
just like that's blowing my mind.
This was all planned.

Andrea (58:13):
All planned, like it was all the Lord's timing, and and
it's just so funny because Ilook back with 2020 vision,
right, and I'm just like, oh mygosh, yeah, I lost total hope,
but it's like this is so muchbetter.
Yeah, you know, I could havetaken to my Nona to Disneyland
that and it would have beengreat, you know like I would
have loved to have that timewith her, but like I knew that I

had a relationship with mydad's dad right, Even though he
had passed Right, and I didn'teven see that as an option, and
it's like I feel just as closeto my Nona as I do with my dad's
dad which is pretty dang close,like I, you know, and so, yeah,
so it, you know, all of thesethings have happened.
Every time that I go to thetemple, I take family names,

like I have not been to thetemple.
Wow, I have never been to thetemple without a family name,
and every single time there issomething, there is something
that I needed to hear, there's afeeling, there's a confirmation
that I'm doing the right thingevery time, and it's just, it's
crazy and so so, anyway, so,yeah, so that is my story.
Is all of these things, all ofthese coincidences, right, right

, happen?
And I was able to learn how tohear and, like you know, hear
from him, hear from my heavenlyfather, and again, they were
more than coincidences.
It's looking back, perfectlyaligned, perfectly aligned,

perfectly written, because he'sthe author of our lives.
Right, yeah, it was perfectlywritten, yeah best tele novella
ever right it's mine sobeautiful.

Lily (59:57):
Well, wow, I wish I had follow-up questions, but I feel
like you are so thorough, likethat was just.
It is incredible and I think,yeah, just seeing everything
when you reflect back of justhow you're, how your family
played such a big role eventhese horrible things that
happen to you in your life endsup playing a big role, with your

patriarchal blessinginfluencing all of that, being
able to reflect back on to thatand I love how you refer back to
your patriarchal blessing,because I feel like that's
something that I need to bebetter at, because I feel like I
read it and I'm like, okay, Iget it, read the scriptures,
okay, I get it, choose the right, but but there is power.
Yeah, there truly is power, andmaybe there's that's something

that I'm missing and I need togo back and I need to try and
really say, okay, how can I?
this is God's literal directiontoward for me yeah like how can
I take this more personally,just like you have?
I think it's incredible thanks,yeah, it was.

Andrea (01:00:51):
And I should mention, like I specifically when, when
my Nona died, I was like okay,we're gonna do.
What can I do?
I can pray, I can do familyhistory.
I read my patriarchal blessingand it was like and that's when
I realized, because I hadn'treally noticed it before the the
line where it said you haveancestors waiting on the other
side for you.

Yeah, and it was just like thathit me so hard in that moment
and I was just like this is whatwe're supposed to be doing,
this is why this happened, youknow, like this is why it
happened the way it did anyway.
And so so, yeah, it was just.
I have a huge, huge testimonyabout patriarchal blessings and

how you can just you hearpersonalized messages for you at
any given time in your life.
You can just go look at it, andnot only that, but when you go
to the temple, you are puttingyourself in a situation where
you can actually hear fromHeavenly Father too and get
these, you know, not that youcan't outside, but just
especially at the temple.

And so all of these things, Iguess, prepped me for where to
look when I needed yeah, neededa reminder of where to look, you
know right?

Lily (01:02:02):
so yeah, thank you so much , and do you?
Are there any other finalthoughts that you have, or?
I'm just floating around justadvice you or one start family
history because I feel likepeople think it's an old lady
thing or people think it's tooit's like really hard, like I do
think that there's.
We put these barriers in ourbrains yeah, clearly been told

that we need to do it.
So, and we have family searchcenters everywhere.
Yeah, what, what would you sayfor someone to get started?

Andrea (01:02:31):
just do it, well, okay the advice is so simple just do
Because I was.
I had such a hard time withfamily search.
I, I did not like okay, now I'mlike, oh my gosh, this is a
breeze it's fine, I'm gonna helpthem, but honestly, like it is

just just set a time, okay, todo it, and go and do it and it
will bring you, like and it's.
It's kind of funny because Italked about specifically my
Nona and my grandpa and how Ihave close relationships with
them, even though I didn't getto meet them in this life.
Yeah, I feel like I have somany relationships that I just
I've never met them, but I knowthem right and it's just it'll.

It's so helpful, like it's.
So it's so amazing knowing thatyou have so many people rooting
for you on the other side youknow.
So yeah, my advice is just do itokay, read your patriarchal
blessing and just do your familyhistory.
So dang.

Lily (01:03:33):
I feel like I need to get better.
I'm totally willing to helpawesome, would you mind, then,
just leaving us with a testimony?

Andrea (01:03:43):
I, I have such a testimony that Heavenly Father
is super aware of us at everysingle moment, that, especially
in the moments that we don'tfeel like he's aware of us, he
is so aware and he loves us somuch and he has given us so much

to be able to hear from him.
Like he, he wants us to be ableto hear him and so, yeah, my
testimony is just he, he knowsyou, he loves you and he is the
author of your life.
He is putting things in placefor you.
You just got to be able to notbe as stubborn as I was, and you

know, look for it, seek it.
So awesome.

Lily (01:04:32):
Well, thank you, andrea, for your time tonight and I
really appreciate it.
You're the best.
Thank you, thanks again fortuning into more than
coincidence, remembering JesusChrist in your story.
Please follow us on socialmedia or share us with a friend.
If you have an experience you'dlike to share, feel free to
reach out to more thancoincidence.

Dot remember him at gmailcom.
I can't wait to hear all of theamazing memories you all have
of our Savior.
See you next time.
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