October 21, 2013 – Paraguay
What a week!
There were a lot of ups and downs: from testifying by the Spirit to showering in the dark. (Have you ever showered without electricity? It´s very dark and cold, because our shower is heated by electricity.)
This week was my greatest week working by the Spirit. The only thing holding me and Hna. Chavez back was ourselves. For the past 7 weeks we just haven´t been able to do things together real well. Something I realized is that talking is important. You have to talk. I´m not really one to share my feelings. I don´t really tell people about my problems and my struggles. I´ve just never been that way. I´d rather figure it out myself and ask for help from the Lord. But when it comes to a companionship, and really any relationship, you have to talk!! Hna. Chavez and I talked it out. It was tough, but I really felt the Spirit guiding my words with her and for the first time we started working together. The Spirit really does reveal half to me and half to her. When we´re working together everything goes so well, the Spirit is so strong. The Spirit is the converting power. In the lessons we taught the people had desires to change and to learn. It was an amazing experience for me!
My advice is, if you´re having a tough time with your companion, talk about it and work it out. Don´t hold it in.
Hna. Chavez says that I´m one of her good friends. I feel so special! I feel really honored to be her companion on the mission! She´s so obedient and a wonderful person. I´ve had a great time working with her. I love her so much! Really you just need to find what the people around you need and fulfill that need. Hna. Chavez needs someone to listen to her and I´ve become really good at listening! That´s really carried over to my investigators as well.
Also we had an investigator come to church in his horse and carriage! I have the coolest investigator ever. He´s 90 years old and super purete [cool]. Haha
Send me a picture of Reece in his cowboy boots!
On the way back from Asuncion (I have my Paraguayan residency now!) I called my companion to tell her that we were coming to pick her up. She asked who was talking and I said your companion. And she got all sad! She thought I was a latina on the phone! Now the latino missionaries are making fun of me because I´m too latina. I´m picking up all their phrases and facial expressions. It´s super fun 🙂
But some of my investigators still pretend like they can´t understand me. Really they just don´t understand things in general. I feel so bad. There s a great lack of education here. You really just have to love them, help them understand, and help them learn how to receive answers through prayer. I really love the people. It doesn´t matter that they are uneducated. They can understand if you have patience and allow the Spirit to speak to their hearts. The Spirit can create the desire to fulfill His commandments.
I know the Paraguayans lack a lot of our comforts, but would you say they’re a happy people? I’ve heard from missionaries that islanders are often happy and Russians are often not – having more to do with their general attitudes than their circumstances. How would you classify the Paraguayans? What’s the biggest contributer to their general state of well-being?
Yeah they´re happy! Always if you have family and the gospel,you can be happy. Many times it´s tough family situations that make them very unhappy.
How large is your area? How many miles do you walk a day?
Yesterday night we had to run home from one end to the other. It took about 15 minutes running.
How do Paraguayans celebrate birthdays?
With cake and a song I haven´t quite learned yet! It´s fun! 🙂 I´ve been to a ton of FHE birthday parties.
Do you ever do service for members/investigators/community? If so, what have you done?
Not really. We´ve tried to paint a house in the ward but it keeps raining! We tried to rake the presidents yard but he wouldn´t let us. We clean the chapel if that counts.
What are the biggest challenges facing the youth there? What are their strengths? Do most attend school, work?
It´s tough here. There´s not a lot of them and there´s a ton of inactives. There´s not the same expectation of modesty and getting married in the temple or even getting married so that´s super tough. No one gets married here, they just start families and that isn´t a good way to go. Most people don´t have dads.
You mentioned filling the baptismal font is a chore. How do you do it?
You suck the dirty water out first with this internal vacuum thingy but it doesn´t work. So you end up getting in there (or we make the elders get in there) with buckets and a squeegee. Then you fill it up and it takes 2 to 3 hours depending on water flow.
What experiences strengthened your testimony this week?
This week my companion and I finally started really teaching by the Spirit and what a difference it made! Sure we were guided before, but not like this. We started working together and I finally realized how the Spirit can work with us to testify of the Savor and His plan. Every lesson this week was amazing! I felt the Spirit so strongly. It took a LOT of work to get to this point. A lot of sacrifice, but we´re here now and it´s great! I´m loving teaching more than ever!
Congrats Dad on your calling! I know you´ll do great! Super excited for you and all the family!
Hope you guys watch Mad, Mad, Mad Monster Party and think of me! “Just remember, nobody´s perfect Franchesca, (click). Franchesca, (click). Franchesca, (click).”
I love you all!
Love, Hna. Cami Anderson