Hola to all! And Happy Friendship day! Haha I love Latin holidays.. Everybody here is buying stuffed animals and mugs and little cards and wishing everybody a feliz día. Haha what a lovely day.
Man, I tell you what… It´s been quite a week! We had changes last week… And I´m training! If that wasn´t a super huge suprise, I don´t know what would be. Haha it was funny- Monday night, the elders called to let us know about changes and when Hna. Van Dusen told me, I pretty much just left the room to go pray. ¨Heavenly Father…… I can´t train…….¨ I was sad to see Hna. Van Dusen go this last week, she finishes up in a few weeks and I was looking forward to killing her off… 😉 She´s super cool. I´ve learned a TON from her over the last three months. I look forward to seeing her again in Rexburg after the mission.
My hija´s name is Hermana Navas and she´s from Honduras. And…. I understand about 60 percent of what she says…. Dang. I´m still not super great with the language yet, and she speaks a lot differently than Paraguayos do. But she´s super buena and is really excited to work. Which is good because that´s all I know how to do. I´m excited to be working with her and learning together.
I´m learning a lot this week.
The first few days after my hija came were kinda tough. I just kept worrying about how I just feel super inadequate and unqualified to train. With a snap of the fingers, I went from being with my second companion in my 4th change to suddenly being trained and having the weight of all of Villa Hayes on my shoulders. Basically, I was just feeling pretty lost and alone. But in my personal study, I read a talk that President Madariaga gave us that is super awesome. It´s called The Fourth Missionary. It talks about the four different types of missionaries and how we can become the fourth missionary, or the missionary that consecrates himself completely to the Lord. It talks a lot about surrendering our will to the Lord so that He can change us. Change is the ultimate purpose of the Gospel and of this life. And the Lord is the only one that can change us. BUT He´s never going to do that against our will. So we have to give ourselves completely to Him so that change can take place.
I also read a scripture that Hna. Van Dusen recently shared with me- Alma 29:6, which says, ¨Now, seeing that I know these things, why should Idesire more than to perform the work to which I have been called?¨ And I would add, ¨why should I desire less?¨ I´ve done a lot of pondering about what it means to put the will of the Lord first. And I´m learning a lot about putting my trust in Him. That´s the only intelligent thing to do. Granted, I have no idea why the Lord wants me to train. But I know that He does. I know that He has a plan for each and every one of us. And through His grace, we can be changed to become who He wants us to become. We just have to seek that grace and do our part. I´m seeing that as we do, we can see and feel that divine help and strength in every day of our lives.
I read a quote by President Henry B. Eyring that basically sums up what I learned this week. He said, ¨I am part of the fellowship of the unashamed. The dye has been cast. I have stepped over the line. The decision has been made. I am a disciple of Jesus Christ. I won´t look back, let up, slow down or be still. My past is redeemed, my present makes sense, and my future is secure. I´m finished and done with low-living, small planning, smooth knees, color-less dreams, tamed visions, worldly talking, cheap giving, and dwarfed goals. I no longer need pre-eminence, positions, promotions, plaudits, or popularity. I don´t have to be right, first, recognized, praised regarded, or rewarded. I now live by faith, lean on His presence, walk with patience, am uplifted by prayer and labor with power. My road is narrow, my way is rough, my companions are few, my guide is reliable, my mission is clear. I cannot be bought, compromised, detoured, lured away, divided, or delayed. I will not flinch in the face of sacrifice, hesitate in the presence of adversity, negotiate at the table of the enemy, ponder at the pool of popularity, or meander in the maze of mediacy. I won´t give up, shut up, or let up until I have stayed up, stored up and paid up for the cause of Christ. I must go till He comes, give till I drop, preach till all know and work till He stops me. And when He returns for His own, He will have no problem recognizing me. My banner will be clear.¨ And so begins a new chapter for me in the streets of Villa Hayes. I´m ready to give it all so I can become who the Lord would have me be. What an incredible blessing that we have been given to be able to have that divine assistance in every step of our lives, if we allow ourselves to receive it, that is.
I hope that you all have a wonderful week and know that someone in Paraguay loves you a lot. 🙂
Hola, familia mia!
It´s been a crazy week! We´ve been working really hard to find lots of new people to teach. When our family moved away, we realized that we didn´t really have hardly any other investigators. We were just super swallowed up in helping them figure out the gospel. Which isn´t necessarily bad, but we weren´t taking advantage of other opportunities to find people and help them really progress. So although our hearts hurt a bit, we tried to really kick it into gear and work harder, and Heavenly Father showered us with tender mercies throughout the week.
We´ve started teaching some really cool people that have baptismal dates and are already progressing pretty well. One girl, Genesis, came to church yesterday and loved it (another tender mercy that she could look past the fact that there wasn´t anybody in church). She said that she´s going to come every Sunday because she loved it so much. It was awesome. 🙂 Another tender mercy- we´ve been working with a family with some little boys that were recently baptized. Their older sister is twelve and isn´t a member, but she always comes to church and loves to share with us. But her grandma and her mom hate the church and have hardened her up about baptism. Every time we mentioned it, she would just say, ¨I´ve already been baptized.¨ So we hadn´t really made any progress with her at all. But on Monday, we went to share with them and the dad told us that Monica wanted to be baptized! We asked her about it and she said she was thinking about it. Super tender mercy. We´re working with her now and she has a tentative baptismal date scheduled. Super cool!
We´ve also started teaching some other girls that are really smart and really receptive to the things we´ve shared. And ironically enough, they´re both teenage moms… But I´m really excited to keep teaching them. They love it so far.
On Tuesday we went to Mariano for our district meeting, and some of the youth from the ward there threw a surprise birthday party afterward. 🙂 Haha it was super awesome. The girl who orchestrated the whole thing is 20 and just sent in her mission papers. She goes with me on splits all the time and she´s super awesome. They made some pizza and cake, which made all the Elders pretty happy. Haha it was pretty awesome. Haha it was funny- they got a Tinkerbell party hat for me because they said that I look like her. Haha what..? I love that they think anybody from the states looks blonde…
On Thursday, we had our lunch appointment with the branch president´s family like always, and they were super funny. Their 18 year old girl(who is also the Young Womens president) made a little cake, and after she brought it out, they kicked the party up a few notches. You know how on keyboards, they have demo music? Songs like Silent Night, Yankee Doodle, and Twinkle, Twinkle Little Star? Bueno, they busted out their keyboard and played the demo songs while we ate the cake. Hahaha I love Paraguay more and more every single day. 🙂
Speaking of the branch president´s family- we went over to their house on Saturday to do a little service. They´re adding another room to their house, and we offered our help, so we got to build a house this weekend! I´m almost as cool as Ben and Michelle. 😉 It was funny- President taught us how to do it and then just gave us full reins and went off to do some other stuff. So we learned how to make the cement mixture and laid a few rows of bricks. It was pretty fun. 🙂
I really liked the paragragh you started your letter with. Haha I just read it and laughed as I thought about church yesterday… We did have two investigators in church yesterday, which was awesome. Haha there were more nonmembers than members in Young womens. We actually only had 27 people in church yesterday, which is the lowest I´ve ever seen. Villa Hayes is struggling a bit. We´re not entirely sure how to really help the rama here, but we´re definitely trying. I´m pretty sure the speakers all spoke true doctrine.. I spoke for twenty minutes and then the next speaker just read straight from the gospel doctrine manual, so yeah, everything she said was approved by the church. The pianist/primary president actually didn´t show up to church (she had to do her laundry), so we sang a capella (did I spell that right? I honestly have no idea. Any way I try to spell it, it looks weird, especially while thinking spanish). I made Hna Van Dusen lead because my eyes are bugging me again and I didn´t want to, but I did sing at the top of my lungs to help keep everybody kind of on track. As for singing at a lively tempo…. Haha all hope was lost. I love the church experience here. 🙂
I spoke about Jesus Christ and basically just shared story time. I shared some stories of Christ and the things we can learn about Him and His involvement in our daily lives. First I shared the story about feeding the 5,000 and how when we comje to Christ we´re filled. Also that, like the 5 loaves and 2 fishes, Christ can make us more than we are. Although we may feel inadequate or lack the strength we need, through Jesus Christ, we can become who we need to become. The second story was of the woman with the blood disease that touched His robe and was healed. I talked about how the Lord is aware of us although we may feel like one person among a crowd of thousands of others. Also that through the Atonement of Jesus Christ, we can be healed of any weakness, pain, sin, anything. Through Him, we are made whole. The last story was of Christ appearing to the Nephites and the invitation that He makes to all of us today. Still today, He invites us to arise and come forth to Him, to arise from the standards and norms of the world, to stand a little taller and come to Christ that we may receive the fulness of the blessings that He has to give us. I felt the Spirit so strongly as I was able to stand there and just testify of my Savior and Redeemer. And once again, that Spirit testified to me of Jesus Christ- of who He is, of what He has done for me, and of what I can become because of Him. I know that He lives. I know that He loves us. And like you said in your letter, that is the best knowledge that we can have. And that´s why I´m here. 🙂
I love you all more than fresh, warm chipa!
P.s. I hope that everybody at home appreciates your seminary jokes like I do. They´re too fantastic.
P.p.s. Knock knock….
P.p.p.s. Could you tell Gramma I say thanks a million for the birthday money? And that I love her lots? Thanks! 🙂
Hey there, hi there, ho there!
It´s been a pretty good week. We´re struggling a little bit wtih the area, but it´s good. We´re working hard and trying to do all that we can to get the Gospel of Jesus Christ in the hearts of the people here. We´re teaching this girl, Sol, who has been meeting with the missionaries for a long time. She really wants to get baptized, but still hasn´t gotten permission from her mom. We set a date with her to be baptized on the 23rd of this month, and have been offering up a whole lot of prayers and fasted with her to be able to receive permission to be baptized. Her mom doesn´t really like the church and isn´t very open to the idea. Last night she asked her mom again, and she said no. I´m a little sad about it, because she really wants to get baptized. But I´m also super grateful becasue the Lord still answered our prayers. The answer wasn´t exactly what we wanted, but God softened her heart. She said that she wants some more time to think about it and that she wants her to mature more i n the church first. That´s definitely progress, so I´m grateful. She´ll get baptized soon, and I just hope that I´ll be able to see the day that she enters the waters of baptism.
Hermana Van Dusen is making me act as senior companion this week to get a different feel for the work, and although I complained a little bit… it´s turning out to be a good experience. I´m learning a lot about the work that goes into missionary work- planning, coordinating, leading, etc. So it´s good. We´ll just see how it goes… Haha we´re just hoping I don´t lose the phone this week! 😉
No need to worry about the eyes- we´re back on track! It´s pretty much just a week long thing every time and then we´re good to go. It´s just weird that it´s happening more frequently over the last year or two. Bizarre.
Anywho, sorry about the short little baby letter. I hope that you all have a super great week and know that there´s a girl down in Paraguay that loves you lots!
Paz y bendiciones,
Hey family! And Happy Birthday, Katie! I would write it to you in Guarani, but it’s the hardest language ever to write. So I will just leave it up to your imagination. I hope you had a fabulous day! 19…? How bizarre… Felicidades!