September 23, 2013 – Paraguay
One blessing the Lord has given me is that I´ve never been tired! Even when we didn´t get to sleep for two days because of the conference. I know it´s because I wake up at 6:30 on the dot every day.
The chickens here look like the hippogriff from Harry Potter. They’re not so cute. I never want a pet. Ever. Ever. I never want a pet. There are animals everywhere here.
What is the definition of circumspect? I´m starting to forget words.
We had some awesome lessons this week. One was with this golden family. They are so great! They are just absolutely ready to receive the gospel. I really love them. I love all the people here, but they are especially great. The three kids set their baptismal date last night and the parents are working on getting married and not working on Sundays.
Also J´s little sister had a birthday party! We didn’t know and stopped by to share a message as usual and the whole family was there. The grandpa who is soooo catholic and told the Elders before to leave him alone was super receptive and thanked us for sharing with the whole family! I hope he will allow his daughter (the mother of J) to get baptized. I really want J to have the support of his family!
Can you describe your apartment?
It´s really chuchis [nice] for the area. Shop turned house. One room to sleep in and the other where the shop used to be. We have two doors. One is those giant metal garage doors. We always have dust blowing in! And spiders. I am queen of smashing bugs. And flicking them off of me during personal study.
How is the mission organized?
Our district has us and 2 Elders. They´re great! Super young, they only have 3 months on the mission. There are 2 districts in our zone. 10 missionaries in total. It´s the smallest of all. We have STL´s but they’re on the Argentina side and can´t cross over. I think we´re getting some on this side too though. They´re a ton of problems with the whole two country thing: two currencies, three languages, stubborn governments. But they´re working it out and it´s been super fun! We have district meeting every other week, and zone meeting the other weeks. But I see the missionaries in our district almost every day at lunch.
What was your happiest moment of the week?
A tie between when Pres. LaPierre gave me advice, when Hna. Chavez and I really came together, and when we committed a family to baptism.
What did you learn from Hna Chavez this week?
That´s tough. I learn so many little things every day! What was really significant was that we haven´t had a perfect relationship this whole time. We are very, very different and they´re are a lot of barriers: personality, language, culture, etc. This week I finally feel like I really love my companion! I don´t know what it was, but one day this week we finally just started working as one, teaching as one, all of that. I was really frustrated before and that was a hindrance with me in the language. As soon as we really started loving one another I started being able to understand Spanish! Before I could teach in Spanish by the spirit and I could communicate and all that, but I was having a hard time understanding everything that the people say. But as soon as we were able to have such a strong spirit of love in our home and in our companionship all the time, I can finally understand Spanish! We got a new Elder this week in our district and I asked him how long he thinks I´ve been out. His guess, 6 months.
How are your investigators (L, J, etc)?
Always probems. Especially getting novios [boyfriends] to want to be married to the women they´ve been living with for 20+ years. I don´t undertand it! But we´ve seen so many miracles! We are teaching L´s niece and that´s exciting. It´s like teaching with a member because after we teach something L just testifies that it´s true. J is great! He´s soo stinking cute. We´re going to wait on his baptism and try to get him baptized with his mom. We feel better about waiting. We don´t want him to go inactive because he has no support. But he wants to be baptized sooooooo bad.
How is church attendance?
So here´s what happened. We missed church this week. Because we slept in. Just kidding! I´ve never slept in on my mission!
We had a big missionary conference with all the missionaries from the Paraguay side. Pres. LaPierre and an area 70. It was super cool! Left on Friday night at 7 pm, arrived at 6 am in Encarnacion. Conference all day. Left at 4 pm for L. Due to rain, cancelled busses, stubborn attitudes, and just about everything else you can think of, we arrived at 10:30 am Sunday in L to sit in the last half hour of church. Church had no pianist, all but one of our investigators didn´t come, and everything was a mess. In some of the smaller branches in our zone they had to cancel church because the elders were the only ones with the keys. It was super, super sad.
A mission in Paraguay really isn´t like most other missions. There aren´t many other places you´ll find 10 missionaries prancing about town at 3 am dressed in trash bags. It was raining, raining, raining. I didn´t have to wear a trash bag because I brought my rain coat 🙂 We hadn´t slept for two days and we waited hours and hours for our bus that never came. At 4 we arranged for a van to take all 10 of our zone back home. They squished us all in, adding a lawn chair for one elder. THAT was funny. We were just about to go when one of the sisters refused to travel like that. She was the only one that had a seat to herself! The rest of us were sharing (minus the elder in the lawn chair 🙂 ). A mission is about sacrifice. I decided that night that I want to be willing to make any sacrifices necessary to do the work. It doesn´t matter how comfortable or uncomfortable I am. What´s important is the work. We would have had our first week with more than one investigator if we had been there to go with them. They´re just scared to go their first time. We´re working with members more and more as we get to the know the rama [branch]. They trust us a ton because we´re sisters and they love us. So much. It´s crazy! They could care less about the elders. hahaha
I love you all! I´m sending written letters for the past month today! I´m printing off your emails and I´m going to read them later today. Sorry about the keyboard!