September 16, 2013 – Paraguay
There have been so many miracles this week! I can`t believe it!
The first was L:
We met her on Tuesday night. So many of the women here won`t accept Elders into their yards because their husbands or boyfriends (no one is married) won`t like it. The Lord has prepared so many women to receive us sisters though! The Elders before left L with two pamphlets. She had read and studied them and already had a testimony of the church when we found her Monday night. She is amazing! Also she cooks amazing Paraguayan fry bread. I can`t believe I`m saying this, but it`s better than Navajo fry bread. I`m bringing that recipe home! She has a strong testimony and asked US when she could get baptized.
I have a lot of hope for her!
This 8 year is awesome! Makes me miss Reece. I love all the ninos here! They are so purete (cool)! J has been attending church and for some reason none of the missionaries ever noticed that he`s not a member. He`s a super purete kid with an awesome testimony. I don`t know how kids know, but they just know the truth. They know that the church is true when they find it.
We asked him Do you want to get baptized?
He said SI!!!
We asked why
He said, Because I want to choose the right path!
So cute. Love him.
We were walking down the street one day (which by the way is COVERED in trash). These kids were playing with the trash and a 2 year old threw a glass beer bottle and it landed right at Hna. Chavez and my feet. Glass flew everywhere! But not a single shard hit us. We just walked on our way. It was crazy!
I would be so freaked out about everything if I wasn`t a missionary. I know that there are angels walking with Hna. Chavez and I protecting us. I have felt that several times already.
We were picking up D to go teach a lesson and we`ve been to her house about a dozen times, but for some reason we got lost! It was crazy! Hna. Chavez and I were trying to figure out what to do when Hna. Chavez saw this lady. This lady was another that hadn`t accepted the Elders because they`re men, but they had left her with a pass along card with the picture of Jesus. We gave her the first lesson and she said that she knew it was true! It was an amazing experience! We met her yesterday after church and we are excited to teach her this week!
We`ve been looking for less active families and it`s super hard because there are no addresses here. Unbelievably difficult. Someone`s address can be Neighborhood I by the mango tree. There are about 500 mango trees in the neighborhood! We were walking along one day looking for a family and this man stopped us and asked if we were missionaries. He was curious because he had only ever seen Elders before. Turns out his family is one of the less actives we were looking for and we would have never even had found his family if he hadn`t stopped us. The reason they stopped coming to church is that they thought baptism was just a one-time deal and then you`re good. jajaja. The look of incredulity on his face. Wait, you`re a member for life?
The piano class was really good! It`s really hard to play piano for the branch. They have no concept of rhythm or pitch. I played a song with a couple half notes in it and they just sang straight through them like quarter notes. I think they just shout the words in succession really. They left me behind in the dust.
Teaching them rhythm and pitch is nigh unto impossible. I`ve decided to forego the rhythm thing because really all they want to do is play on the piano. I`ve put sticky notes on the keys with do re mi etc. etc. They can play one song, Venid a mi [Come to Me]. You can tell what it is, sort of when they play it. jaja I love it though. I love getting to share my music. I also saw my first Paraguayan harp! I`m going to play one first chance I get!
We worked super hard this week. Every day I can`t wait to get out the door and go to work! We`ve really been opening doors. No one turns us away, they`re always interested to find out what two crazy girls walking around in the sun have to say. We went from 3 interested investigators to 32 this week! I love the work! I love it so much!
We`ve also been super blessed this week. We have desks to study on now! 🙂 jajaja
Tell us more about your branch. How big, how many attend? Does it cover the whole city? Do you also cover some rural areas? Is this a new location for missionaries?
We are the first sister missionaries here and the Rama [branch] loooooves us. They were so excited to have sisters. We were also white washing so that`s why it was like new. Like new to us. There are two areas in S. It is like the suburb of the city. Not super rural. We had great attendance, the most in a long time at church yesterday, probably 50! Only 1 of the 20 investigators we got FOR SURE I WILL BE AT CHURCH TOMORROM actually came. I wasn`t surprised though. That`s the culture. I`m just sad for the investigators because they are missing out on so many blessings!
Do you want weekly letters from the family through email or dearelder?
Short emails from Mom and Dad are perfect! The rest through dearelder.com. I wish I had more time always!
How is S?
What’s the ratio of your time between working with nonmembers and members?
We try to work with members as much as we can. We have one girl, D, who teaches with us on Saturday. She`s awesome and she`s preparing to go on a mission too. We also work with a lot of nonmember families doing reactivation. I would say about 30 % member work.
Are you finding that most speak Spanish? Guarani? Portuguese?
EVERYONE speaks Guarani, about 90% speak Castellano (Spanish), and about 65% understand and or can speak Portuegese. And no one speaks English. On that note, people always ask where I`m from. I`m either French or German. I`ve decided that I`m German officially, because it`s not worth explaining what Denmark or Europe is for that matter. Also lots of people don`t even know what the United States are. So I`ve become officially Aleman [German].
How is Hna Chavez? What is your favorite thing about her?
She`s a wonderful woman. My favorite thing about her is her testimony and how she can connect with people because 2 years ago she was in their shoes, on the other side of the missionaries.
When did you feel the Spirit strongest this week?
Personal study. I love personal study. It`s the only thing that gets me through companionship study and training. We also had a great lesson teaching Y, a 17 year old girl. I think she agreed to talk to us just to find out why some random rubia [blond] was walking around S. We connected really well. I think a lot of people just need someone to smile at them and listen to them. I think smiles are a lot of what people need and that makes them interested in our message because we Mormons are a happy people! 🙂 I love giving the first vision. When I told her the story about Jose Smith through his own words, watching her facial expressions was so fun. At first it was What? Then as the Spirit worked on her heart she felt the truth of it. It was so neat!
What gave you your biggest smile of the week?
We had one investigator, J, who we were thinking of dropping. She hadn`t been reading and she didn`t go to church and we didn`t think she had any interest. We passed by her house and she said, yàll are coming over tomorrow right? We sure are! We asked her if she had prayed about Jose Smith and she said she had and that she had gotten an answer that it was all true!. I love seeing the Spirit change people`s heart. That`s my favorite thing ever.
I love you all so much! Pray! Read your scriptures! Don`t be dumb! 🙂