Guess who?

Hola mi querida familia!

First of all, CONGRATS to Adam and Darcy!! EmmaLou is beautiful! I hope and pray that all is going well and that Darcy is recovering well and that Jack doesn´t try to sword fight with the baby.
Second of all, we had a visitor this last weekend… Elder Bednar came! Lady Gaga came too, but that´s of no eternal consequence (actually, it is. She totally ruined the baptism we had planned for Friday. Someday I´ll give you more details on that…)
We had a conference on Saturday with all the missionaries from the South mission and it was super awesome. It went for three hours, but it wasn´t just listening to Elder Bednar speak for three hours straight (which would have also been awesome). A couple weeks ago, we were all given a couple of talks by Elder Bednar to study and prepare to learn in the conference. They both talked about asking in faith and seeking learning by faith. Super awesome talks by the way. Someday, I´ll share them with you. So for about an hour and a half, Elder Bednar asked for comments about the things that we learned and felt while we studied the talks and how we want to apply them in our daily lives. He then expounded on the comments, asked questions, taught, and asked for more comments. It was a super cool set-up. Then for the next hour, he let us ask questions. He answered some, and gave directions on how to find the answers for others. I think my favorite part was when an Elder asked him to tell us about his own conversion and his own efforts to become consecrated. It was super awesome and the Spirit was so powerful as we were able to listen to an Apostle of the Lord explain about how he works to consecrate himself more in the work of God. Anyway, he talked a lot about the difference between treating our investigators (or students, children, etc.) as objects as we teach vs treating them as agents. To really learn something, we must act in faith. If we are merely giving somebody answers and information, we don´t help them at all. I loved how he did the conference. It was all completely led by the Spirit, and it´s left me thinking a whole lot about how I can change and improve in all of the teaching opportunities that I´m given.
Anywho, time´s short. Elder Bednar did an interview that´s gonna be on tv tonight and we´ve been given permission to watch it with our investigators. So we´ve gotta fly. But I hope you all know that I love you all and I love this work. Coming here is really the best decision I´ve ever made. Not to get to know a new country or learn spanish or even to accomplish anything great on my part. But to see lives change. To watch faces change as the Spirit enters the room. To testify daily of my Savior. To look back in time and find that now I´m a different person. It´s not easy. The Lord is definitely using this time to try me and to humble me, and it´s hard. But I wouldn´t trade it for anything. Because I´m seeing the Gospel in a different light. I´m seeing the Gospel as something real. I love it. 🙂
I hope this week is the best yet! Go bless a life today!
Con amor,
Hermana Pingel
P.s. Halloween? Not a lot. But I´ve gone into Asuncion a few times this week… And they´ve got some massive Christmas trees up and lit! Yoo-hoo!
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Oct 22, 2012

It´s been another great week. It´s a little difficult changing areas, but I´m getting to know my way around and meeting lots of the members and lots more non members. 🙂 It was pretty crazy- a pretty huge storm came in yesterday and it rained ALL morning. There were some hardcore rivers going on in the streets and it was thundering and… like crazy. I was a little giddy. Except for the fact that almost nobody showed up to church. 🙁 We had 35 people there. Granted, I´m used to a little number after Villa Hayes, but my companion was rocked. It was pretty intense.
We´re seeing miracles every day here. We have a man that we´re teaching that has problems with the word of wisdom. There´s  a program put out by the church to help people quit smoking in 8 days. It´s really awesome actually. If the person is diligent, it takes all the nicotine out of the system in a week and the people can quit forever. So we initiated it with our investigator, and guess what? He stopped smoking! So cool! We have another lady that we´re teaching, Delia, who really likes the message. She has wanted to go to church for a while, but her husband wouldn’t let her. Super catholic. But we’ve been praying a lot with her, and we had the opportunity to get to know him a little last week. And he wants to go to church with her to see what it´s like! Oh man, the Lord never ceases to amaze me with how involved He is in our lives. He truly does answer prayers.
One of the speakers in the ward talked yesterday about how the ward is like a hospital. We all have our callings and assignments to help those around us to be spritually stronger. So I thought about that and I tried to think about what we would be in our little ´spiritual hospital´. I decided that we´re spiritual EMT´s. I like my job. 🙂
Sorry it´s so short. Time just flies. But I love you all lots and lots. Have the best week ever! Go bless a life today!
Hermana Pingel

ps. Does Taylor have an email address?
ps again. I don´t know what the full address is for the office… it´s the one on Trinidad? Haha could you maybe send some chapstick too? The blue Chapstick brand. I´m running dangerously low… Thanks! I love you!

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Hello from Loma Pyta! We had cambios this last week and I got changed. And I FINALLY left the zone I started in. Haha and I´m RIGHT nextdoor to Mariano Roque Alonso. Haha Maybe someday I´ll get to know more of Paraguay… But things are great. It´s a little different here from Villa Hayes… Okay it´s way different from Villa Hayes. For example: 1. We have a hot water heater in our house, which means that our shower isn´t dangerously electric. Kinda nice to not feel a little bit of an electric current while adjusting the water. 2. We have a couch. Enough said there. 3. The ward is ginormous. 4. The pastry section of the supermarket in front of our house has chocolate covered doughnuts. Yup. I´m happy.

I do miss Villa Hayes though. You know the scripture in Mosiah 18:30 where it´s talking about Alma and his little group of believers?It talks about how the waters of Mormon were really special to them because that was where they came to a knowledge of their Redeemer. That´s how I feel about Villa Hayes. It was a tough 6 months, and my faith was tried a lot. And I feel like I really grew while I was there. I feel like a different, better missionary and person because of my time there. Rohayhu, Villa Hayes. 🙂 (There´s your Guarani lesson for the day. 1 thousand Guaranis to whoever can guess what it means…;)
My companion is Hermana Cortes from Columbia. She´s super sweet and is a great missionary. I´m her first companion after her trainer, but it doesn´t seem like it. She already has everything all figured out and it´s like she´s been here for a year. We´re working hard and it´s going great.
We had a great P-day today. We got to go to the temple to clean (it´s totally in our zone- sweet!). That´s definitely happening every Monday. It was awesome. We got to clean the baptismal font and polish the oxen. As I polished glass, I thought a lot about the talk in conference about the ´temple standard´. I´ve never been so picky about polishing in my life. 🙂 I love the temple so much. It was great to go and feel the Spirit there. Especially because we just found out that they changed the rule about going to the temple… we can only go once a year.. 🙁 So I´m gonna take advantage of the cleaning days on Mondays.
Anywho, I´ve gotta go- time is short. I love you all lots and hope that you have the best week of your life! Go bless a life today!
Con más amor que puedo expresar,
Hermana Pingel
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Happy Anniversary! Felicidades!

Hola, hola!

Happy Anniversary! Wow, 30 years? That´s a long time…. 🙂 I hope you have a wonderful, happy day.
Hey! Conference was AWESOME! I loved every minute of it. If fact, I was a little trunky for conference this last week and had a hard time focusing. It´s horrible, I know, but I just wanted it to be Saturday! It was just a wonderful spiritual feast. They rebroadcasted the Relief Society meeting before the general sessions on Saturday, and it was super good. I´m pretty sure I just loved every single talk that was given. Well, Elder Oaks totally broke my heart, but it was really moving too. I also really liked what President Eyring said about the pavillions. It affected me a lot too. I spent a looot of time thinking about that last night. Elder Holland´s talk was awesome. It was like the MTC talk the President Nicholes gave me, but on steroids. It was super powerful. I also really liked President Uchtdorf´s message about learning to live. Sometimes we forget how. Sometimes I do, at least. All in all, Conference was wonderful. I feel like the things that we shared can be applied in everything that I´m doing right now, and I´m excited to look for ways to do just that. The music was incredible as well- that hymn ¨Does the Journey Seem Long?¨ has been stuck in my head ever since they sang it. Why have I not heard of it before?? It´s great!
I´m glad to hear that Dad is doing better. I´m grateful for the comfort of knowing that our Heavenly Father is always watching out for each one of you.
As for the Christmas box…. I don´t need anything. For Christmas, I would like you to get something for the Sisters in the ward instead of sending me anything. Honestly I´ll be happier if you do that instead. And maybe a little bit of money in my account to buy you all some cool Paraguayan stuff. Y éso no más. 🙂
Sorry my time is so short. I made it in my own image. (That ridiculously corny joke was for you, Mom) We´re gonna go down to the river to go fishing with the branch president. Woo-hoo! I hope you all have a great week! Go bless a life today!
Con muchísimo amor,
Hermana Pingel
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From Last week…

Here´s the letter from last week that apparently didn´t send….. Sorry!

Hey all!

It´s a great day because it´s CONFERENCE WEEK!!! I´m a little excited. Scratch that. Let´s not be ridiculous. I´m REALLY excited. 🙂 Oh man, I liked conference before, but I love it so much more now. How blessed are we to be able to listen to a living prophet of God? I really am excited to be able to learn and feast from the Spirit for a few days straight. AND we have an investigator- I don´t remember if I told you about him last week or not- who´s preparing for his baptism en between sessions of conference on Sunday. His name is Joel, he´s 21, and he´s on fire. We taught him once and then he came to church a few days after, and understands everything really well. He is really excited to be able to be baptized and receive the Holy Ghost so that he can be purified and become a new person in Christ. And he´s been asking questions about serving a mission as well! We´re super excited for him. And we didn´t even do anything! He´s already there! It´s incredible to me how the Lord is always preparing His children to be able to hear, accept, and act on the message of the Restored Gospel of Jesus Christ. In fact, he and Ariel are planning an activity in the church for this Saturday… They want to lift up the branch and bring more young adults into the Church. How cool is that?? Life just rocks. 🙂
This morning we went and saw the sunrise on the river. I made a goal to go do that at least once a change. It was beautiful. Made me think of the Lion King. I´ll be sure to attach some pictures. Life rocks. 🙂
Sharing time- In my personal study this week, I´ve been studying a lot about the Plan of Salvation. I read a talk by Elder McConkie, The Purifying Power of Gethsemane (incredible), and he talked about how we should come to see the three gardens of God- the Garden of Eden, the Garden of Gethsemane, and the Garden of the Empty Tomb. So I started at the top with the Garden of Eden, o sea, the pre-mortal life, the creation, the fall, etc. And it´s been super awesome. But throughout my study I had the question in the back of my mind ¨Why was the fall necessary in the first place? Why didn´t God just put man on the earth as mortals?¨ It´d save a big step, right? Save Him and Adam and Eve a lot of trouble, right? Wrong. Haha I couldn´t quite work it out in my mind and I was thinking about it a lot. The other day, I totally had a dream about the Plan of Salvation (I know. Totally a missionary thing to dream) and I woke up thinking about how we were created in the image of God. I continued thinking about it as I did my exercise(I now have a testimony of exercise) when it finally dawned on me. Rather, the Spirit decided to give me the answer. Man was created in the image of God, who has a glorified, perfect, immortal body. So… If He were to create Adam in His image, clearly He would have the same thing. So I asked, ¨well why didn´t God give him an imperfect, mortal body to start with?¨ And the answer came before I even finished the question. Obviously, God is perfect. Why would it make any sense for Him to create anything in an imperfect and fallen state? He´s God. What He creates is going to be created perfectly. So it was necessary for Him to start with Adam and Eve in a perfect state. It was necessary for them to fall so they could change from immortality to mortality. It was necessary for them to be able to have children so we could all come to earth as well. And as their offspring, we too are mortal and subject to sin. So it was necessary for our Heavenly Father to send His Son, Jesus Christ to atone for the sins that we commit. Really, it all just makes perfect sense. Probably something that you already knew and understood, but for me, it was a big lightbulb moment. And I´m starting to better understand the love of our Heavenly Father and the need for my Savior, Jesus Christ in my own life as well as in the lives of all the people I talk to each and every day. And I´m much more aware of how the Spirit can guide and teach us if we are seeking it. Anywho, cool experience.
Other cool experience- Last night we were walking to an appointment when a less active sister asked us to come and visit with her niece that was really sick. We went and saw her and she was in bad shape. Apparently, she had basically been in a coma for 4 days and just woke up Saturday and went home. They said that the doctors had no idea what was going on with her because they couldn´t find anything wrong. She said she had some hardcore pain in her head and that she almost died and they had to do the ´jumpstart her heart´ thing (Forgive me. I have no idea what the technical term for that would be… Nick?) Anywho, we explained about the Priesthood and faith, and we called the branch president to have him come and give her a blessing and while we waited for him, she seemed to just feel worse and worse. She just laid there and cried. When they finally got there to give the blessing, the whole atmosphere just changed. And after the blessing, the results were instantaneous. She was honestly a completely different person. It was incredible. She was able to get up just fine, the tears stopped, and she smiled. It was nothing short of a miracle. It was nothing short of the power of God being worked through ordinary men for ordinary people. I left so grateful for the restored Priesthood power. I left with a greater appreciation for the message that we share and a better understanding of what it means when I tell people that the power of God is on the earth again. And it hurt that much more when the people didn´t want to accept it. But it really was something incredible.
Mi compañera y yo hemos visto que el Libro de Mormón obra milagros y cambios en las personas. Así extendamos un desafío con los miembros de la rama para leer el Libro de Mormón cada día. Les entregamos horarios que tienen la fecha y el capitulo que tienen que leer en esté día. Empieza hoy con 1 Nefi 1 y termina el 1 de Mayo. Tengo mucha esperanza por el cambio y el animo que los miembros pueden recibir si siguen con su lectura. Mi testimonio de este libro cómo un testamento real de nuestro Señor Jesucristo aumenta cada día al leer en ello cada día. Sé que es de Díos y que realmente es la herramienta más poderosa en la gran obra del Señor.
Okay, I´m short on time- that´s why I just copied and pasted a blip from my letter to President Madariaga. Have fun with Google Translate. 🙂
I love you all tons! Have a great Christm– conference! I hope all your questions and concerns are answered and that your testimonies are strengthened as you feast on the Spirit. I´m-a gonna be feastin´. Love you!
Con más amor que puedo expresar con mi vocabulario chiquitito,
Hermana Pingel
P.s.- How´s Darcy doing? I´m super excited for them! How fun!
P.s.- Could you scan and send me my call letter and my acceptance letter? I´d like to review what I said and see how I´m doing. Thanks!
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And then it hit…the storm of storms!

¡Hey there!

What a cool story!! Isn´t it so cool how the Lord works? It´s an incredible thing that He can use us to bless somebody without us even knowing it. All that we have to do is live worthily to have the Spirit with us to guide us in our daily lives, and we can be part of the Lord´s marvelous work every day.
It´s been a pretty good week. We didn´t work super effectively this week, but it´s motivated us to do better from know on. So I suppose it´s alright. I´m just gonna start from the top of the week and make my way down.
Monday- We visited with our recent convert Ariel, and he told us that he wants to serve a mission! So cool! He told us that it really impacted him to listen to President Monson in the conference and just knew that he needs to go. And he had already talked to his boss about leaving to serve a mission before he even told us! Gah! So awesome!
Tuesday- Biggest. Storm. Of my life. We were walking home from the other end of town when some HUGE winds started coming in. Seriously, it was intense. We were walking down the street and had to stop for a minute becasue the wind was picking up all the dust from the roads and was blowing it every which way. It felt like we were in the middle of a dirt tornado/hurricane. And I could hear in my mind the music from the Wizard of Oz when the witch is flying past.. Haha but we got onto the main road and one of the streetlamps ahead of us exploded- yikes! For a second, I thought lightning hit it because it was lighting up the whole sky, but it was just the wind and such. We stopped to talk to an investigator when, seriously out of NOWHERE, it started to POUR. No joke. One second, we were dealing with a bunch of wind no más, and the next, we were suddenly underneath a waterfall. It was incredible. And then… the light went out everywhere. But we had to be home by 9:30, so… we put our books in a plastic bag, pulled out the cellphone with its flashlight, and started booking it throught the wall of water. Within 3 minutes of starting, there were already ankle deep rivers along the sides of the roads. Haha if there had been any people out, they would have thought we were crazy- a couple of sister missionaries just running and laughing through the rain, one with a big plastic bag and the other with a little cellphone flashlight. And it wasn´t complete until we stopped to buy some lomitos. Haha ay what a night!
Wednesday- We learned that the storm hit a lot harder in Mariano the night before. There were buildings that collapsed including a shopping center and a military training camp, trees all over the place, and the mall was left without a roof. Five people were killed. But it was an incredibly beautiful day. We took it as a sign of the mercy and the love of God. It was like he was telling us all, ¨I know you suffered. I know it was hard. But know that I love you.¨ Isn´t that just how God works? I feel like every time something difficult happens, he always blesses us. Many times, we just don´t see it. I also managed to break the cellphone that day… The blessing afterward? That this week, my hija has to be senior companion so we don´t have to run the risk of me breaking it again… Que suerte. 🙂
Jueves- A liiiiittle bit of a rough day. Let´s just say it was the first time I´ve had a real companionship inventory. But we got things worked out and all is well. And the same thing happened that day- things were rough, but the Lord blessed me with some tender mercies. One was a lesson that we had with an investigator that night. My companion shared the story of the First Vision, and as I was testifying of it, the Spirit just filled me up. I knew it was true. I know it´s true. It´s why I´m here. Because the Heavens are open again. Because God loves us. Because He wante us to have all we need to finish the run successfully. I just turned to our investigator and asked if she could feel what I was feeling. And I knew that she could. I could see it in her eyes. It was just a cool moment. I find it incredible that our testimonies can grow as we share them. What a blessing. 🙂
Friday- Not much happened. We had a pretty intense weekly planning, analizing the week and why we weren´t working very effectively. We made some very specific goals to improve, so I´m excited for this next week.
Saturday- Worldwide service day! We went into Asuncion to clean up. It was kinda fun- we all met in the plaza to find out where our groups had to go for the cleanup. There were tons of missionaries there- from our mission and from the south mission. We got to work a couple blocks away cleaning up along a stream and a bridge. It was naaasty, but it was a good time. 🙂
Sunday- Awesome day at church! We had a whopping 44 people in Sacrament meeting(granted, 5 were visitors, but hey, it still counts). Also, one of our recent converts, Lucía, got a calling in Young Womens. Also, Ariel received the Aaronic Priesthood. Also, one of the counselors in the branch presidency that´s been less active for a while conductedthe meeting. Also, we passed around a list during sunday school for the members to sign up for times to go to lessons with us- and the results were phenomenal. I´m excited to be able to work with the members more this week. We´re gonna be passing around the list a lot more often. 🙂 So it was a super great day! Hermana Pingel was definitely happy. 🙂
Which brings us to today, which has also been a good day. I took my shoes in to a zapatero to get them fixed, which was sorely needed… Also, I learned that instead of scrubbing each individual item of clothing, I can sort of simulate a washing machine in the sink. Rock on. It´s proving to be much more effective.
Aaand funny story of the day: We were walking home when we saw an old lady walking along the side of the road with a walking stick and a couple of bags. So we went over to help her with her bags, and she started right up in telling us all about her whole life story. It took us about twenty minutes to walk two blocks to her house, and then another twenty to leave the house… Haha when old ladies want to talk.. It´s practically impossible to end a conversation. Haha she wanted to show us her house so we went in and she showed us around. After a while, my hija told me to go over and look at the birdcage that was next to her. So I looked and there was totally a bird skeleton inside. Haha the lady came over and told us that it was just a rag and that she didn´t have the heart to let an animal die. She told us that the bird flew away and that´s why there wasn´t a bird in there anymore. Haha fun fact: They use the ¨It ran away¨ excuse in Paraguay too. We almost died laughing. I love love love the people here. With all that I am. 🙂
Well, I best be going. Lesson of the week? Heavenly Father loves us. And we can always recognize His love is we look for it each day. It´s always there. Challenge of the week? To look for it in every moment. It´ll work miracles. I know it because I´m seeing them every day. I love you all lots and hope that you have the best week ever! Know that there´s somebody in Paraguay that loves you!
Con mucho amor,
Hermana Pingel
P.s. Did McKay already apply for college?? And at BYU-I? Sweet! It´s gonna be a party!
P.s.s Sister Schoppmann seems like she´s a super awesome missionary. You should give her a hug and tell her hi from me. 🙂
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And so it begins…

¡Buenas tardes!

Fun fact: Paraguay is really hot. There we go, that about sums it up. Holey smokes, it´s incredible to me how fast it got so hot in this last week. But I suppose it could be counted as a blessing- I washed my sheets this morning and they were all dry in 20 minutes. Which is really good because I needed the space on the line… I had to wash lots and lots of clothes…
We had a pretty good week. Not a whole lot to report- we´re working a whole lot and finding a lot of people- some super awesome and some.. awesome in other ways. (I can´t say that they´re not awesome altogether. That wouldn´t be fair.) We started teaching a lady, Alba last week, and we got to meet with her husband yesterday. They´re super cool and are super interested. I´m really excited to meet with them again.
I´m sorry to hear about your investigator! That´s definitely not fun. I haven´t taught too many people like that. But it really is a bummer when the people let one little thing get in the way of them listening and really trying out for themselves. Because that´s the thing- we can talk and answer questions and doubts, but if they don´t have the desires to really know and for the right reasons, they don´t progress. We actually have an investigator like that right now. We sat down for a lesson and he brought out a big long list of questions- ¨Where does it say in the Bible that tithing is 10%?¨ ¨Why don´t the Hermanas ever say their names?¨ ¨If the Bible says that we shouldn´t worship idols, does that mean that we shouldn´t have a favorite team, thereby honoring or worshipping a specific color?¨ Lots of just bizarre questions. We just straight-up told him that we weren´t going to answer his questions. That those questions weren´t the important ones and that he needed to focus on the real question- if what we teach is really from God or not. It´s interesting and a little sad- you do all you can to teach and testify and put the opportunity out there, but many times, they don´t catch hold of it. But it makes it that much sweeter when you can see somebody reach out with both hands and watch it change them. Yeah, sometimes it´s hard, but I love, love, love this work.
Yesterday was super awesome. There was a multi-stake conference for all of Paraguay and Uruguay broadcasted from the Conference Center. We rented a colectivo and went into Mariano for the broadcast. It was great to see all the Mariano members- it made me realize that I miss them! We got the meeting started and they said they didn´t know who was gonna speak, but when it started, we found out that President Monson was presiding! 🙂 I got excited. 🙂 And he was wearing a gray suit. I think that´s the first time that I´ve ever seen that. Anywho, Elder Walter F. Gonzalez from the Presidency of the Seventy conducted the meeting and gave the welcome in Guarani. He spoke about how we can be more converted every day if we pay attention to our feelings- because that´s how the Spirit speaks. After he spoke, Linda S. Reeves from the Relief Society spoke. She talked about how we need to live in love in our families and that the greatest thing a man can do for his family is be a worthy, righteous Priesthood holder. And she said something else that I found pretty cool- She said that she had theprivilege of attending the dedication of a temple in Bolivia and that President Hinckley dedicated it. He testified that Father Lehi and his wife Sariah were very content to see another temple in South America to bless their posterity. Cool stuff! Afterward, Elder Neil L. Anderson of the Quorum of the Twelve Apostles spoke. He talked a lot about missionary work and the importance of helping the youth prepar to serve missions, and he used some examples of youth in Paraguay and Uruguay. One of the examples was one of the young men in Mariano that just left for his mission in Argentina. So that was kinda fun. He also talked about tithing and how we can do so much more with the 90% and the Lord´s help than we can with the 100% without the Lord´s help. It was a super awesome talk. He and Sister Reeves both spoke in Spanish, which was pretty cool. I was hoping that President Monson would speak in Spanish too, but he spoke in English and they translated over. They probably wanted to make sure that any American accents wouldn´t impede understanding while the prophet spoke… Anywho, he talked about our responsibility to find and rescue the lost batallions. He gave three things that we need to do to be able to go out and rescue our lost brothers and sisters. Number one is to change ourselves, specifically our attitudes, thoughts, and actions. Two: help others reach their goals. Three: Remember that people can change. I loved his talk. It´s something that I want to put into practice this week. I want to pay more attention to how I am- my attitude, thoughts, and actions, and how I can become better in each aspect. I want to focus more on those around me and the people that they can become. And I want to help them grasp the Gospel so that they can become those people. That´s what the gospel is all about- change. And we have to change ourselves first to be able to really understand that. Love it. It made me really excited for General Conference. Counting the days!
I love you all and hope that you have a wonderful week! Go bless a life!
Abrazos para todos,
Hermana Pingel
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Happy Bizarre animal week!

Hey, all!

Great to hear that all´s going well way up there. I loved the poem that you sent. It explained why I felt so at home in the MTC too. 🙂
I´m doin´ well. I was touched to hear about the fast- thank you. 🙂 The eyes are fine- they were bugging me a few weeks back, so I just wanted to see if you knew anything about how I can prevent them from exploding on me. It´s becoming a ´once every transfer´ thing. I think it´s just the missionary routine. But as much as I don´t like it while I´m in it, I feel like I always learn something when it comes. What do we do? We swim, swim. 🙂
It´s been a crazy week- we´ve been working hard. A while back, President Madariaga started making a push for us to contact 75 people each week. He promised us that if we did, we´d find a golden investigator each week. This week, we decided to kick it up and do it. So we talked with anybody and everybody and we saw miracles every day. It´s incredible. Before now, I haven´t ever met that goal. It turns out I just didn´t get it. I thought that if we stopped to talk to all the people in the calle, we´d never have time for all the appointments we had lined up. But I found that as we talked to more people every day and really made an effort to talk with everybody, we somehow had more time. We had more lessons, and we found more people to teach. Funny how that works, huh? Obedience with exactness. It works wonders. You´d think we´d do it more often, right? After seeing the Lord help us so much this week, I´m going to be making more of an effort to talk with everybody to share the most important message they´ll ever hear.
For p-day today, we went into Mariano to play volleyball with the Elders in our district. Oh, that reminds me- my zone leader, Elder Jenson played for BYU before the mission. He played tight end. So he brought a couple footballs today and we tossed ´em around. It was great fun. Anywho, one of the elders fell bad on his knee and knocked his knee cap out of place. Super nasty. It was kind of a tense couple of hours for all of us waiting to hear back from his companion to see how he´s doing, but it sounds like they got him all fixed up without any problems. Huge blessing.
So, I don´t know what happened this week, but it was just a week full of bizarre moments with animals. Let´s see if I can recap a few of them for you…
1. We were walking down the street and looked in a yard to see a monkey on a leash playing on a swingset. (Taylor, that one´s for you.)
2. At the beginning of a lesson with some less active members, a parrot tried singing ´How Great Thou Art´ with us.
3. I almost stepped on a possum pancake in the street. Completely pancake-ified. And all I could think was, ¨Who´s  your favorite possum??¨ ¨LESTER!!¨ Poor Lester…..
4. We passed a despensa where there was a pig´s head hanging by its ear from the roof. Fascinatingly disgusting.
5. The best one of all- we were walking down the street the other day when we looked into a yard and saw a cage with a massive owl inside. Naturally, we stopped to stare at it for a little while. We looked around and saw that the yard was full of all sorts of trees and plants, bizarre sounds, and lots and lots of animals. A couple of monkeys included. So naturally… we contacted the house. The lady let us in and we sat down for a lesson. While we were in the lesson, I watched the dogs chase around the chickens, finally catch one, and carry it away, each one with one of the chicken´s wings in its mouth. Haha like it was being carried away by the mafia or something. But the best part was when out of nowhere came this massive bird that started squawking super loud right next to my hija. Haha she totally screamed and ran behind me. In the middle of the lesson. Haha the lady shooed it away and then it came back later and just stood there in between my hija and I, making this weird clicking sound. The lady we were teaching told us that it wanted us to pet it. Okay. So I sat there, listening to my companion talk as I pet some kind of exotic bird. Two things ran through my head: one, that I had found one more for exotic bird bingo and two, that I had found the snipe and I wanted to name it Kevin.
So, it´s been a good week. We´re working a lot, messing up a lot, learning a lot, and feeling a whole lot of the Lord´s love in every day. I love Paraguay. I love the people here. I love being a missionary. I love this work. It really is the most important thing we could ever do. I don´t know why I didn´t get that before. I missed so many opportunities to testify and to share what I know with so many people. But I´m starting to understand it more, and I am doing all I can to make it a part of me so that sharing the Gospel of Jesus Christ is just what I do- with or without the tag. Therein lies true happiness. 🙂 I hope you all have a wonderful week full of lots of opportunities to share your testimonies. And I hope that you learn from my mistakes and take advantage of every one of those opportunies. Go bless a life today. 🙂
¡Los quiero muchísimo!
Hermana Pingel
Categories: Uncategorized

It’s a bittersweet symphony…

Hello all!

Sounds like things have been super crazy up there… As it should be! Without a little craziness, we´d be completely sane. And we can´t have that. 🙂 Hey- I made fried chicken yesterday too! This time without the head and talons. Fantastic. Also, I bought some strawberries and ate them with chocolate frosting today. Yup. I´m a happy camper. 🙂
¿Sabes que? I actually think about that experience with the bird a lot. It was one of those moments where my testimony was really strengthened. It really is something incredible to think- that our Heavenly Father knows each and every one of us so perfectly and so completely. Sometimes I find myself watching people and thinking about the love that He has for them. He knows their thoughts, worries, dreams, everything. He is so personal to me, and yet He is incredibly personal to the stranger that drives past us in the street or the lady in the despensa. They´re all His. All of us are. Cool stuff. Anywho, there´s my ranting for the day.
Hey, quick question/favor- could you do a little research on my eye disease? To see if in the last few years they´ve come up with anything? How to prevent episodes, anything that helps keep it at bay, that kinda thing. Thanks a million.
It´s been a super crazy week of opposites. Number one, winter´s gone. Last Sunday, it was SUPER cold. Pretty sure my hija´s hands were purple while we were out working. And then it was seriously like someone flipped a switch and yesterday, I remembered again that I never knew what hot was before coming here. Haha and it´s not even summer yet! Buckle up, it´s gonna be a hot one…. Or better yet, don´t buckle up. Because then you´ll have a nasty sweat line.
We have an investigator that we´ve been teaching for a while that was super super awesome. She came to church last Sunday, and things were awesome and now….. she doesn´t really want to visit with us anymore. Super big bummer. It hurts when that happens. Not because it´s anything personal, but because you come to really care about them and want so badly for them to have the blessings of the Gospel. We´re gonna keep trying this week to see if we can get a moment to talk to her at least. But, I have seen that with every disappointment, there´s just about always a tender mercy following right behind it.
Yesterday, Ariel got baptized before church, and it was awesome. Presidente Madariaga came to the baptism and then the church meetings, so that was cool too, although I´d be lying if I said it didn´t make me a little bit nervous teaching Gospel Principles… But it was cool. Ariel is so awesome. He´s gonna be a huge strength to the branch here. He´s on fire and loves it all. I´m excited to watch him continue to progress.
I´m learning a lot this week about Ether 12:27- I feel like I´m living it! Every day I´m finding weaknesses and things I need to change, and I´m fighting a lot with the pride thing. I´ve been studying muchísimo about the natural man and putting it off to become children of God. It really is incredible. The whole point of the Gospel is to change. It´s to help us take control over our natural selves and become stronger in spirit. And although it´s not easy to have the Lord show you your weaknesses, I also take comfort in the promise that He made that He will make them strong. If we give ourselves to Him, He can change us. He can make us into children of God in every way. But He doesn´t do that against our will. He only will if we give ourselves to Him. So that´s our challenge every day- to wake up, kneel down, offer it all to Him, and then get up and go about His work. And that´s when the strength comes. That´s when the purification comes.
Well, I love you all more than I love cold 5 minute showers (I know, I know, it sounds like I´m trying to say I hate you, but ´tis not so. I´m a big, big fan of those these days.) Have a great week- go serve somebody! It makes it even better. 🙂
Hasta la proxima,
Hermana Pingel
P.s. I forgot… The poem that you wrote- I haven´t read it yet. Could you send it to me? Thanks!
Categories: Uncategorized

Ummmm…..9 months can’t be right…..

Che familia!

Hello to way up there from way down here! I hope all´s going well in your part of the world. Sounds like you´re living the ¨craziness in the Pingel home¨ dream.
We´re just living the missinary dream down here- unpredictable Paraguayan weather, nasty bugs (I had two jumping spiders attack me this week- as much as I hate having to wear my glasses, I´m grateful that I had them on the other day… Feel free to use your imagination as to what happened there…), sitting down for a lesson to find that the people either don´t understand your American accent or prefer to speak Guarani altogether, and seeing miracles every day. Life is good. 🙂
On Tuesday, we had Zone Conference, and it was incredible. I´ve been struggling a little lately, and it was just what I needed. I honestly feel like it has changed me. Presidente Madariaga spoke about the differences between doing, being, and becoming. It was super awesome. To finish the conference, we sang I´ll Go Where You Want Me to Go. As we sang, the words just cut deep into my heart. And then something cool happened- Elders started to stand up while singing, one by one. I felt the Spirit working in me and I was also just so full of the disire to stand up and promise the Lord that I would do what He would have me do. By the time we started the chorus for the last time, every missionary was on his (or her) feet, singing and promising the Lord to give everything to Him. It was a super powerful moment for me. It left me just so full of love for my Heavenly Father and Jesus Christ, my Savior and Redeemer. Why should I not stand up and sing praises to Him that made everything possible? It was definitely a ¨Spirit punch to the heart¨ moment. It´s made a big difference for me this last week.
I was super excited to hear about all your missionary efforts! How cool! Be sure to give McKay a high five for me. Is his friend taking the discussions? Is McKay participating in them? That´s the best way to go. Hey, you should give the Sisters a hug for me.
I loved the quote by Elder Holland. Isn´t it interesting? We know that those that give themselves to the Lord will ultimately win. So why do we fight it so much? I´m studying a lot about the natural man lately, and it really doesn´t make sense. The easier way is to just put it off and focus in on our spiritual potential. Because otherwise, we´re just fighting against the will of the Lord in our ´natural´, weak state. It just makes so much more sense to submit ourselves to Him, become children of God, and let Him work in us every day so that we can win with Him.
We have a SUPER awesome investigator that we´re teaching. His name is Ariel and he´s very much golden. We started teaching him a few weeks ago, and he came to church after visiting with him only once. He had told us that he believes the Book of Mormon is true and  that he feels like he´s in the right path here. He´s only had one little doubt about baptism- he wants to be able to understand everything before taking the step of baptism. This last week, we left him the homework of reading Alma 32 at the end of one of our lessons with him. The next time we visited with him, we asked him how it went and he said he loved it. He said he learned a lot about how a person should feel while prepearing for baptism/ having desires to be baptized, etc. And then he told us that he 100% wants to get baptized! I´m so excited for him. It´s the coolest thing every to see people receive answers and change. He´s already talked a little about maybe serving a mission, is saving up to get his tattoos removed, and is always inviting his friends to church so they can feel what he feels. So cool.
I think of him and all the people I´ve met so far in the mission, and I´m just so grateful to the Lord for allowing me the opportunity of watching firsthand as the gospel transforms people, and to know that it´s changing me as well.
Anywho, I best be off. I love you all tons and tons and am super grateful for all your examples. Keep it up!
Con muchísimo amor,
Hermana Pingel
Categories: Uncategorized

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