January 20, 2014 – Paraguay
Reading your letters makes me so happy! The Lord has promised me so many times that He would bless you all and He has so much! I feel so blessed here as well. Every day I’m so happy!
I have 6 months in the mission!!!!! Can you believe that? How crazy! I have less than a year here. Time goes by so fast!
Yesterday we taught this recent convert family (they’re super funny) about food storage and saving money. They found out if they controlled their spending, they could buy a house (in full). They were super excited! Things like that make me so happy.
This P-Day we went to 3 Fronteras, which has the 3 borders of Brazil, Paraguay & Argentina. The river Parana separates them. It was so beautiful! Then we went to the waterfalls! Salto del Monday. It was so beautiful! I felt like I was in Vancouver again, super tranquil, except that it’s jungle. It was super fun! It also rained like crazy.
This week we met a super cool new investigator, V. A great way to find people to teach is looking for referrals.
Someone gave us a referral and said, “lives close to the school, about three blocks, but I don`t really remember well. Her name is Karina.”
So we go to the school and start asking people if they know a Karina.
“Excuse me, do you know a Karina? She lives close by here? No? Well that`s ok. The reason we are looking for her is because we`re missionaries and we are teaching her about Jesus Christ….. (testify of the restored gospel)….. Can we share more with you?” I also try to use Guarani (what little I know) because it makes them laugh. I so obviously am not Paraguayan.
And how can they say no to two lost foreigners?
Anyways, we did this with V. “Do you know Karina?”
We taught her a little bit and then she asked,
“Are you Jehovah`s Witnesses?”
“No, we`re from the Church of-”
“Oh, ok good. I hate Jehovah`s Witnesses. Come in!!”
It was super funny 🙂
We have this other investigator, N, and the second time we came to her house, her daughter was there, but she is super shy and ran away. When we sat down, N said, addressing me, “I just wanted to say what an example you are for my daughter. You are so beautiful and you could have been a professional model, but you left behind everything material to serve the Lord.”
Hna. Trillo was laughing SO hard. She almost fell out of her chair. I was just like, are you for real? Have you looked at my face? Do you see this layer of sweat and dirt?
When they see blondes they are just like, wow! haha. It has nothing to do with how I look.
We have this one family, our golden family. They`re super great but it is soooo hard to help them leave behind their Catholic traditions. The Dad has been to church twice and LOVES it, but the Mom can never seem to come. Super frustrating. Yesterday when we went to pick her up for church we intercepted her on the way to the Church of Fatima. Then after her service at Fatima ended, we went by in a van to go find her. Couldn`t come again! Then when we went after church to go talk to her, she ran and hid inside her house. It`s super frustrating because Saturday she was like “I am soooo going to church with you! I`m so psyched to feel the Spirit!” She received dreams, felt the Spirit, everything! But she can`t leave behind her traditions.
Anyway, the husband asked us the other day why their preacher in church talks in tongues. He imitated his preacher and it was like “papaghghpaatattta” and the preacher told his congregation that he was talking to God in a language only he could understand.
How do I tell them that it`s a fib nicely?
I told them about how Grandpa Anderson used to talk in made-up Chinese to us and I imitated it for them and they laughed so hard 🙂 the best! I love when I can use some of my favorite memories to help them understand things better. I`ve also told the story about Dad and scripture time and Colossians a few times. 🙂
Yesterday it was BLISTERING hot. Absolutely the pits. We were walking and I literally felt like the sun was sitting on top of my head. And I just said to myself, I have to sit down. Just for like 2 minutes!
I have NEVER not once, sat down, rested, stopped moving or working, even for 2 minutes in my mission.
I fought with myself. I can`t sit down, I can`t sit down! But something inside was just like SIT DOWN YOU`RE GOING TO DIE OF SUN EXPOSURE.
With much shame, I told Hna. Trillo, I have to sit down in the shade. I can’t move anymore.
We sat down on a curb and pulled out our waters (which were hot) and the family in front of whom we were sitting asked us “Do you want some cold water and cake?”
We set 3 baptismal dates 🙂 and ate cake.
I have never sat down in my mission. I think I should do it more often 🙂 the Lord works in mysterious ways.
This other family we found, we walked past them on the street. We kept walking. Walking slower, and slower, and slooooower. Hna Trillo and I looked at one another and we said, We have to talk to them!
They`re super cool! I hope they come to church. Some of the very first missionaries from this area taught them 20ish years ago, but they didn`t get baptized. Maybe this time around! The Dad still had his BofM from 20 years ago. Also they have a pet owl that they found in their house one day.
I would like one day, Just One Day!!, where I don’t have to walk mile and miles! Asi es la musion. [It’s the mission.] I seriously love my mission!! Thanks for all the good you do. Keep looking for people ready to hear the gospel. We are teachers – the members are the lookers.
Are there many members in your area that were raised with the blessings of the church?
One family. The son is RM and the best help we have in the ward. We need like 6 more of him! He was born into the church, but parents are converts. The church has only been here for 20 years or so. The very, very first members are also called pioneers. 🙂
Now that there are other sisters in your district, do you ever do splits? If so, what do you like best about them?
I had my first split a couple weeks ago because me and Hna Craven (who is from the MTC with me) our comps went to Asuncion to do paper work. It was super great! I learned a lot about myself, how I teach, and I learned to really appreciate all that I have learned from my companion. I also learned new things from Hna Craven. It helps you to figure out what works, what doesn`t, and you can mesh the best of everyone’s ideas. Hna Craven is also super fun so that helps and I already know her super well 🙂
Does there seem to be a routine amount of time that someone investigates the church before being baptized, or is it different with every person?
Always different. The ideal would be in 4 weeks. They go to church 3 times and get baptized the 4th Saturday and confirmed the 4th Sunday. We set baptismal dates with our investigators the first visit and always with this plan in mind. If they don`t reach this goal but are still progressing, we can set a new date. If they don`t reach this goal and aren`t progressing, then we don`t teach them anymore.
What can we do here that would bless your life?
Keep writing me and telling me all about the blessings you see in your life! Nothing makes me happier! I feel so blessed! Do service in the church and find referrals for the missionaries back home. That`s the best that can be done! 🙂