November 11, 2013 – Paraguay
Hola! Oi! Byshapa! (Spanish, Portugese, and Guarani – the three languages of S)
Is it possible to get a copy of your line of authority Dad? I need visuals to help people understand!
Package!!!!!! I got the package from the family! The music, food, letters, pictures, drawings, bobby pins were so appreciated! Thanks for the letters from Strawberry! [camping with cousins] Means a lot to hear from everyone. It all came in intact. Hna. Chavez felt so loved for the things you sent her. Thank you so much! She says thank you! I am the most loved missionary ever!!
This week was really good, but oh so hot. I feel like I’m in the bottom of the Grand Canyon again.
Paraguay is crazy. For one thing, absolutely everything grows here. There’s a cactus plant right next to a banana tree right next to a pine tree. Looking at the dirt you wouldn’t think anything grows here.
We’re really focused on lifting the branch right now. It’s in a tough situation. The members all “want” to help activate the 200 or so inactives, but believe that no one else wants to help. It’s a vicious cycle. We feel a little helpless sometimes. Hna Chavez and I want to help so badly, but we’re just 2 missionaries! We are praying for miracles in S. Sometimes we wonder, what are we even doing? Are we even making a difference? We’re trying to stop up the holes in the bottom of the bucket, but it’s hard. And when one is patched up, another hole opens up. I read and study Preach My Gospel, but I’m thinking, “Where’s the PMG – Paraguay Edition?” That’s why we have the scriptures and the inspiration of the Spirit. Those apply to everyone and every situation. Regardless of how tough or impossible the work is, it’s going. I come home every night really happy, knowing that I worked as hard as I could and that I know the Lord is pleased with the work I’m doing. We’re doing our best! That’s what matters.
Thank you for the quote you sent in my package Sara! “Know who you are and know it’s enough.” I’m not going to lie, I cried. It was just what I needed and I felt so good. I know it was a tender mercy of the Lord! I feel so much of the Lord’s love everyday and an abundance of the Spirit! I know I am so blessed. I don’t know how to express my gratitude for all that I have!
One thing that’s pretty funny (but also morbid and horrible) is that the ninos [children] LOVE fireworks. The best is when they chase each other with roman candles! Horrible, but looks super fun. They blow stuff up all the time. I think the boys would fit in really well here. Sometimes teaching can be dangerous too! There are lots of mango trees and the mangos fall down and if it hits you in the head – not the best day ever. So when we’re teaching under a mango tree and we start to hear crashing up over head, everyone uses their Book of Mormon as head protection! Walking around town can also be very difficult. There’s lots of construction and they use lots of sand. We had to walk around this big mountain of sand and right when we were behind it the wind picked up and covered us in sand. Worst decision I’ve ever made – to walk behind a giant pile of sand.
Pop culture here: Ben 10, Disney Fairies and Princesses, some Bieber Fever (C has Bieber Fever), futbol, Aristocats (mostly my companion). There aren’t really any books, just stuff from TV and I can sing you every single Paraguayan song because I hear it blasted every day – the same 6 songs over and over and over again.
One cool experience I had with music was when we were teaching an investigator who lives right next to a disco. Right as we said the opening prayer, the neighbor cranks up the party. Usually it’s not a big deal and I just ignore it, but it was English music, and music I know, and totally my jam! (Before the mission.) I was trying so hard not to dance and to pay attention to the lesson and I prayed for strength and I didn’t dance!
Another cool experience this week was with this couple we pass almost every day. They sell asado on the corner close to where we live, but we´re always running home at the end of the day. We always wave at them and say hola though. We kept saying one day we have to make time for them and stop by. So we planned for it this one night and as we were pulling out a restoration pamphlet to give them, the wife stopped us and asked us if we would like some juice. They were curious as to who the two nice senoritas were. They are two awesome new investigators. They had lots of questions about where they go after this life and what happens. I love it when people ask questions because then I know they´re actually comprehending and doing some soul searching. And they give us juice when we teach them 🙂 Nothing better than that.
We also had three investigators come to church! One of them, C is reading the Book of Mormon. We gave her one and marked a passage for her to read and came to the next lesson prepared to teach her where it comes from and all that. We started in with Joseph Smith and she was like, Oh I already know that. I read the whole introduction and testimonies and everything. Purete! [cool!] She´s super excited! We brought her to church and introduced her to the Elders. She’ll be moving into their area next week.
Now, any other family words? I had lots of “ralph” moments this week: like dead frogs and dead flies in my rice. “Awesome. I love it.” (Nacho)
Also, never be afraid to ask the missionaries for help. They are there to serve! With less actives, recent converts, investigators and everything else! There are so many little opportunities to share! One thing I’ve learned is that the Lord really blesses every effort we put forth.
I had a wonderful spiritual impression this week: We have the example of Jesus Christ to help us change. By emulating His example, we change. In turn, the people around us see the change we make and want to change. It’s a beautiful chain.
Always has been and always will be chocolate. But I am also really enjoying bananas de oro lately and empanadas. There´s this place we found that sells empanadas and hotdogs for 1 mil. (25cents) Best ever.
Favorite thing to do on P-day?
Write you guys! I´m not going to lie. I spend every second I can writing you all!
Favorite thing about S?
The people. Who cares about places? It doesn´t matter where you are as long as you´re with people you love.
Favorite thing about the branch?
Hna. R. She´s the missionaries´ mom away from home.
Favorite thing about mission president?
He always knows just what to say! I don´t know how he does it!
Favorite thing about being a missionary?
Being awesome because I´m a missionary. Really, missionaries have a unique opportunity to be representatives of Christ and bring people to Christ like no other calling in the church. It is such a blessing and I am so grateful!
Yeah, that’s pretty much my life. Missions are super great. We are working so hard! I´m working on being able to chug a liter right now. First thing I do when I get home at the end of the day. 🙂 I can’t believe how fast I’ve learned Spanish. I’m grateful for the gift of tongues. (Now if I can get the gift of spelling that would be nice.) Love you bunches! Pray! Read your scriptures!
Hna. Cami Anderson