Wednesday, July 22, 2015

July 20, 2015

hola que tal

this week was pretty swell. on monday we went to do a family home evening with a family of recent converts. it was getting pretty cloudy, and right when we got there, it started to rain. they dont have walls on the majority of their house, so we started to get wet and all had to squeeze into the small walled part of their house. the hermana suggested that we say a prayer, so we did. we started the prayer to ask that the weather could calm down (it was raining really hard) and before we even stopped praying, the weather already calmed down a bit. it was pretty cool.

on tuesday i went on divisions to paraguari. we realized at the beginning of this transfer that some of our investigators actually lived in the limits of paraguari, so on tuesday i went with one of the Elders of that area to show him where they lived. we went to one, and her friend was also there. we taught them and gave a Book of Mormon to her friend, who accepted a baptismal date. Elder Quispe later told me that when they went to her house, the girls mom told them that that day, the girl had gone home with her Book of Mormon, entered her house, and declared ''I'm evangelical now!'' (general term for non catholic christian churches). it was pretty funny.

also cool story from last week that i forgot to tell. on thursday we went to our limit with paraguari (which is km 56) to explore a bit and do some contacting. we worked around there, and then at 5 we had an appointment with the Aguayo family. we asked a bunch of people how to get to 54 and everyone said that we had to go back out to the route and then enter again (we were in back roads (more correctly deemed paths)). my companion thought that that would be a good idea, but i was pretty sure that there had to be a path that could take us. so we started walking, and going around twists and turns in what we thought would be the general direction towards the Aguayo family. my companion started to lose hope, and told me (jokingly) to call the zone leaders to let them know that we would get home late (implying that we were hopelessly lost and that it would take us at least four hours to find ourselves and get home). i told him that we would make it just fine, and then a few minutes later the path that we were following came out on the street where they live, just like 50 meters from their house! it was great.

on thursday i did divisions in Acahay, and we went again to the place where i had previously done an interview in pure guarani. i went with the Elder who has less time there, and we took a less defined path. we basically just went straight through a jungle, without following any path, and then through a swamp (it had rained that morning), where my companions shoe was violently ripped off by the mud twice. it was pretty exciting.

also on thursday i had my final interview with President Wilson. i didnt really talk much, he just told me that when i get home my top priority should be to start looking for my next companion, and that it doesnt matter if we fall, as long as we get back up and learn from our mistakes.

my companion taught Adilson and Sara twice on divisions, and then we taught them on saturday. they couldnt go to church on sunday cus Adilson had to work, but we're trying to focus on Sara getting a testimony so that she can have the surety to be able to get baptized.

on saturday we went to 43, where i had never gone with my current companion, and went to visit some members and old investigators. we went to a house where i had previously contacted, and a lady who i had never talked to before came out and started confessing that she hadnt read what we had left her. we were pretty confused, but we after realized that Jehovahs witnesses had visited her. but anyways we taught her and her nephew and niece and theyre pretty cool. we dont know why they didnt go to church on sunday and theyre only home weekends. we also went to visit a lady who i had contacted once with my other companion, who actually gave us lunch one sunday, and we set another lunch with her for yesterday. she gave us like a 5 course meal. locro with meat, poroto, pasta with chicken, milanesa with mashed potatoes, tortillas, and fried mandioca on the side. it was amazing. we then taught her and her family about baptism. she's catholic and she doesnt want to change, but she considers herself our paraguayan grandma and does want to give us lunch.

on sunday nobody went to church, and we went and visited most of our investigators again after church, and many werent home, and the rest didnt want to accept baptismal dates. we found Emelia again, who we hadnt found for three weeks, but she has developed a lot of doubts and has lost a lot of the understanding that she had achieved when we were teaching her regularly.

so in the end things were pretty tough, but that helped me to meditate more on the consequences of my actions, and i actually learned quite a lot yesterday about the importance of constantly nurturing our faith if we want to help in the Lord's work. if we work, but we dont constantly try to increase our faith to allow the Lord to work miracles, all our efforts will be fruitless. all success in the work of the Lord is truly a miracle, and there can be no miracles if there is not faith. and in reality there's really no endings, we're always in the middle (talk by President Uchtdorf). and since we're always in the middle, and thanks to the Atonement of Jesus Christ, no failure is final, and there are always second chances. I know without a doubt that Jesus Christ lives. I know that He is our Savior. And i am eternally indebted to Him, as are we all, yet He is willing to forgive. and I love Him for it.

Elder Woodfield

Saturday, July 18, 2015

July 13, 2015

hola que tal

this week was pretty swell. we had one investigator in church, Rosana, who is the sister in law of a recent convert, but probably wont be getting baptized in the near future, because her boyfriend needs to get a divorce before they can get baptized. 

we've continued working with Sara and Adilson. they started to read the Book of Mormon this week, but didnt end up going to church again. Sara talked to her mom and she doesnt want Sara to get baptized, so now we're going to focus on her getting a testimony so that she'll get baptized igual. we also watched the video of the Restoration this week and she liked it.

we've been teaching the Aguayo family, and this week were focused on Jasmin and Pamela, the two girls (8 and 9) who went to church with Emelia. we taught them the Law of Chastity, the Sabbath Day, the Word of Wisdom, and Tithing. when we taught the law of chastity we simply told them that before having kids they have to get married, and they responded saying that they never want to have kids. it was pretty funny. but when we went on saturday to visit them, Emelia hadnt gotten there still and they didnt end up going to church on sunday, and on sunday we went and Emelia had gone to visit a friend, so hopefully we'll be able to find her the coming weekend.

on sunday we visited everyone that we had planned and didnt have anything else to do so we went and visited a former investigator. first they asked us to come back a bit later, so we agreed. they normally hide from us so i assumed that when we got there again, that they would hide and that we would continue on our way. but when we got there they didnt hide! the dad didnt want to share, so we couldnt teach them, but we talked a bit with two of his daughters who went to church twice before and they want to get baptized! we set their date for the 25th.

also funny story. on saturday, after the Aguayo family, we had an appointment with Adilson and Sara, and had coordinated with a member to meet us near their house at 7 30. he called us at 7 20 and said that he was already there, and we were still quite a ways away, so we decided to run. we ran about 3 kilometers, and on the way my companion lost his agenda and almost lost his plaque. then the following day we were in the same place, walking towards Adilson and Sara, when a bus came, so we ran across the street to get it and my agenda fell out in the middle of the street, so i had to run back into the street to grab it.

also yesterday i gave a talk. i was originally planning to talk on one thing but then in sacrament meeting i felt i shouldnt, so i ended up talking about service, and how we can serve and help those who are spiritually hungry, sick, and naked.

I know that this is Gods work and that He loves all his children. He is merciful and desires the salvation of all of us.

Elder Woodfield

July 6, 2015

Monday, June 29, 2015

June 29, 2015

hola que tal

this week was awesome! as those of you who regularly read my emails will know, my previous companion and i had put a shark in our tank (see email from June 8th) to help us be better and have more faith. but as we like nutella (a lot) we killed that shark within a matter of a week or two. and we started once again to go back to being what we once were (which is no good). this week i decided that needed to change, and i bought 7 alfajores, one for each day of the week, that i could only eat if i contacted somebody on every bus we got on that day. on monday i didnt get to eat one, but every other day i did, and we began to see miracles once again.

on tuesday we did divisions with the zone leaders. i stayed in Yaguaron with Elder Coombs (from Idaho) and we went out to look for former investigators that had previously attended church and that could get baptized in any moment, when they decided to repent and make that covenant. and we didnt have much success. but then on wednesday my companion and i went to a guy called Esteban, who first started to investigate the church 15 years ago. he had attended church in various occasions, but didnt get baptized. then the missionaries recently started visiting him again, and he went to general conference in april, but still didnt want to get baptized. i had taught him a few times before, but he always said that he was going to think about it. then we went on wednesday and taught a bit about spiritual death and agency and the atonement and baptism. we explained that he could only be free from the spiritual death by accepting Jesus Christ as his Savior by repenting and being baptized, and we invited him to do so. he said he would, in the course of the week. i wasnt sure if he had committed to repenting or being baptized in the course of the week, so we invited him to be baptized that saturday and he accepted! he ended up having a few emergencies in his work though, and we werent able to do his interview, but we passed by again on sunday and he has committed to getting baptized this week! he has been reading the Book of Mormon, and has stopped drinking coffee (even when he had to work for 24 hours straight on saturday)

also on wednesday, we found a less active youth walking around, and talked to him. he had accompanied the missionaries a lot before. he told us that he was currently on vacations, and we asked if he wanted to accompany us the following day. he accepted. the first time i met this youth, he didnt believe much in God, and he had committed to not praying until he went back to church. as we walked on thursday with him, we conversed, and he said that he wasnt going to go on the mission cus he had to study. but anyways we went to visit the Aguayo family (the family of Emelia, see last big paragraph of June 22nd) and we taught them the restoration. we had taught it before, but this time we taught it with the youth translating to guarani (Emelia wasnt there). the mom (Mercedes) really liked it, and said that if her daughter gets baptized, that she wants to go to our church as well and get baptized, along with all her family. her sister (Miguela) is reading the Book of Mormon and taking notes, and has recieved a testimony, but she wants to think a bit more before she gets baptized. but after that lesson the youth gave the last prayer, and then he said that he wanted to go on the mission! he also came to church on sunday. it was pretty incredible how the Spirit worked through him to help him to speak fluently (he said that normally when he tries to speak guarani a lot he starts having difficulties) and to help him remember and teach the doctrine and testify (in other lessons, where the people understood spanish, he wasnt quite as talkative when we asked him to participate). but anyways we went to the Aguayo family again on saturday to teach the plan of salvation, and they all committed to going to church except Miguela, who had homework (two grandchildren who live in another part of our area and one neighbor also committed to going to church). and on sunday they went to church! Emelia went, accompanied by four small children (Jasmin, Pamela, Javier, and Maria), two of which are at least 8 years old, and after going to church accepted preparing to be baptized with Emelia July 18th!

on thursday, on the way back from the Aguayo family, we decided to go visit a part member family, where the parents and their grown children are members, but there is at least one girlfriend (Sara) living there who isnt member, who my other companion had taught twice, when i was on divisions in other places (her boyfriend, Adilson, who is member, had never been present). but anyways we went, and we found Adilson and Sara together! we taught them a bit and they accepted getting married and Sara getting baptized on July 11th! they ended up not going to church on sunday, but they did read a bit in the Book of Mormon, so they now have a date for July 18th.

we also went back to Jorge, who we found last week, and discovered that his wife (theyre actually married, which is a small miracle) went to church before in Ita. we werent able to teach them again until sunday, but after resolving a few doubts, they also accepted a baptismal date for July 18th.

President Agazzani finishes his mission on wednesday. and its been a bit cold.

in the course of the week, a lot of things have happened to make me realize the importance of having our faith firmly centered on Jesus Christ himself. if we have faith in the church, or in members of the church, we may be able to repent and be baptized, but when the storm comes (see Helaman 5 12) we will likely fall, as those things are not sure foundations. thats also why its so important that there's somebody watching out for every member of the church, because if they dont realize that theyve put their faith in something other than our Savior, when their foundation crumbles they need somebody to help keep them up, and build themselves upon the Rock of our Redeemer, or they will fall, and great will be their fall. i know that Jesus Christ lives, that he is my and our Savior, and that He loves us more than we can comprehend. i know that He truly does want to provide us with miracles in our lives, but that we first must have faith. and not just a passive belief, but a living active faith, that drives us in every waking moment to be better.

Elder Woodfield

June 22, 2015

hola que tal

this week was pretty swell. on wednesday we got up at two in the morning to take Elder Norton to the office, then i went to the bus terminal to get my new companion. his name is Elder Jara, he's from Chile, and he has been in the mission for a bit more than four months (i'm his third companion, and this is his second area. he's a bit short and a bit quiet, but he's a pretty good missionary from what i've seen, and a pretty chill guy. but this week we walked a ton! also two elders in my district are training new missionaries. both the missionaries who are training are from Peru, and both of their trainees are from the US and dont speak much English. on thursday i did divisions with Elder Bennington, who's from Chicago. that was pretty fun. we actually found a part member family (the Gomez family) where there's a lot of people who arent members of the church still. they dont speak much spanish, but they gave us some mbeju to eat and they all committed to going to church. due to a bit of bad planning and the fact that they live a bit far (in a place called Curupayty) we werent able to visit them again and they didnt go, but were going to go again today to see if we can visit them again.

we also went to another place that i had never been to before thats called Karangua. we found the house of a member but he wasnt home, but we taught his neighbor (who is also related to him) Jorge Avalos and he accepted a baptismal date! he's really humble and wants to learn about God, but couldnt go to church on sunday due to Fathers day festivities. but we passed by yesterday in the afternoon and after clearing up a few doubts we helped him commit to prepare himself to be baptized July 18th. hopefully we'll be able to teach his girlfriend this week too and help them become an eternal family!

on saturday we went to visit Andrea cus we werent able to visit her all week, and when we got there she was just about to leave. we invited her to go to church and she said that she was gonna go sí o sí, without fail. we called her sunday morning and she said she was on her way, but then she never showed up. we called her again in the afternoon and she said that while she was on her way to church, one of her family members had a baby, and called her to go to the hospital, so she went to the hospital. it's pretty ridiculous the things that happen so that people dont go to church. but we're going to visit her on thursday and i'm pretty sure she'll go to church this sunday

but anyways on saturday we started to walk back from Andreas house (about a two hour walk (we went in bus, but to come back at night there arent any more busses)) and we didnt have a whole lot of time (less than two hours) so we were already just ready to go straight back home. but while we were walking, we passed a place where a less active member lives, about a kilometer from the main route, and i felt that we should go visit her. i knew where she lived, but had never met her (my companion went once in divisions). we went, and she said that she wasnt really interested in meeting with us, so we started to walk back to the main route (but taking a different path). we passed a house where we had contacted once, where my companion had taught once in divisions, and decided to see if we could teach. my companion had taught them about baptism, and they didnt want to get baptized because they already got baptized by inmersion, and the pastor of their church speaks badly about mormons. so we were gonna teach about the restoration. the mom doesnt understand much spanish, and a lot of the kids are pretty shy, but there was a girl (Emelia) who's only home on weekends that was there that my companion hadnt taught, and she did want to get baptized. they committed to going to church but then didnt go cus they woke up late (there are a lot of small children that they have to get ready and feed, and then they have to walk a lot, and then take a bus. its a long process). but anyways when we left their house on saturday it was already 8 30, so we had to walk and jog 6 kilometers in less than one hour. we got home sweaty and tired. but anyways on sunday we went back and put a new baptismal date with Emelia, cus her other date fell cus she didnt go to church.

we werent able to talk to Angel at all this week, but we have a Family Home Evening planned with the branch president on tuesday and he said he's gonna invite Angel.

this week it started getting pretty cold. on thursday it was 6 degrees celsius.

i know that this church is true, and that this truly is the work of God. i know that He loves all his children, and that He wants us to love them all too, and follow his example in doing everything that we can to help them all be saved.

Elder Woodfield

June 15, 2015

this week was pretty swell. it was my last full week with Elder Norton (he goes home on wednesday). but anyways i dont have my agenda from last week (i have a new agenda for the new transfer) so i probably wont remember a lot of the details from what happened, but here's what i remember.

on tuesday we started a fast as a zone to be able to have miracles and achieve our goal, which is baptize 25 people as a zone in the month of June. after the district meeting i did divisions with Elder Liddell (from Utah) in Paraguari, who is also going home this week. but anyways we were sitting waiting for a bus to go to a far away part of his area, and a young guy came up to us and asked us if we knew Elder Cox (an Elder in the other half of Paraguari). we started talking to him and learned that he was an old investigator, who had gone to church a couple times. we invited him to be baptized for the following tuesday (tomorrow) and he accepted! it was a small little miracle that showed the power of fasting.

also on tuesday, my companion found Rosalino and Santiago again, after we hadnt been able to find them for a while. we actually ate lunch with Rosalino on thursday, we ate fish, and it was really good. but his old church gave him a job to go and preach in jails (he just got out of jail a few months ago) so even though he believes that the Book of Mormon is true, he doesnt want to leave his old church. Santiago, it seems, was just interested in getting a Bible, and now isnt showing much interest. but we'll see what we can do.

on friday i went and did an interview in Acahay, for an investigator that almost exclusively speaks guarani. in broken jopara (mixed, referring to a mix between guarani and spanish) i managed to ask most of the questions (the ones he didnt understand, his sister, who speaks spanish, translated) and understand more or less the things he was saying, but it was still pretty tough. we also ate lunch with him. after we finished we asked to be able to wash our hands, and he started to lead us behind his house (where most people here have spigots). but then we went to a stream and washed our hands in a stream! it was pretty legit. he actually got baptized in that stream (but a bit further from his house, where it's a bit deeper. getting to his house was quite an adventure as well. we crossed fields where oxen were eating grass, jungles, and streams, on paths covered with cow poop. it was pretty fun.

on saturday we went to teach a girl, Andrea, that had contacted my companion on a bus. she lives in 56, 8 km from yaguaron. we went with a member cus there's no men in her house, and started to teach her. we asked who Jesus Christ is for her, and she started to explain us her story. she said that she doesnt know much of him, because for the majority of her life she didnt believe in anything. then recently she had a major sickness, and was going to a psychologist. she didnt want to live anymore, and her psychologist told her that she needed to start praying twice a day. she started praying, and saw that her life began to change. she had more desires to keep living, she decided to try to get closer to her family again, and, after talking a bit with my comp on the bus, and discovering that we teach people about Christ, she was eager to learn and have us visit her. she happily accepted a baptismal date and committed to going to church (but couldnt go, we dont know why cus she wasnt home in the evening either, but probably cus it was raining). also she's only home in the evening, and in the evening there arent any more buses to come back, so on thursday and on sunday we had to walk 8 kilometers back to yaguaron. on saturday, luckily, a bus passed by and stopped for us, but on thursday it took us two hours to walk back (but we did buy ice cream and hot dogs on the way) and on sunday we made it in an hour and twenty minutes. but anyways, the moral of the story, psychologists in Paraguay are pretty wise people, and the Light of Christ is real, and truly can guide all those who sincerely try to find God in their lives directly to the restored gospel.

Angel couldnt go to church yesterday either, but we went and taught him after church, and he had read in the Book of Mormon and prayed and got a testimony! we set a new goal with him to be baptized the 4th of July (didnt even realize that was gonna be a holiday until i wrote it, just now) we taught him the restoration in the branch presidents house and then he and the branch president saw a movie about Joseph Smith together.

today we went to Asuncion for my comps final interview. and while he was in the interview one of the office missionaries got back from the bank and had done a bit of shopping too, and had pop tarts! they gave me one, and i ate it. it was pretty awesome.

its getting a bit colder now.

I know that this church is true, and that God truly loves all his children. he desires that we can all be saved, but the problem is that most of us dont want to. so our job is help people to desire salvation, and to recognize and follow the light of Christ in their lives.

Elder Woodfield

June 8, 2015

this week was great. we really saw miracles. everything was going pretty normally. then on wednesday i did divisions in Paraguari cus i had to do some interviews. then on thursday we had a zone training, and without going back to my area we changed and i did divisions in Acahay to do another interview. then on friday i was back in my area again and we did weekly planning. 

the zone training on thursday was pretty cool. for me it was mostly just review, cus this is President Agazzani's last month, and he wanted the new missionaries to be able to learn a lot of the things that he had taught us in the last couple years. but igual it was pretty great. we talked about how we often have a lot of paradigms in the mission and about how we should get rid of them (paradigms are things you do without knowing why you do it, just cus that's how it's always been done, and are often done in a less than optimal manner). we talked about a story of Japanese fishermen, who, due to the lack of sufficient fish in the waters immediately surrounding Japan, had to make bigger boats to fish further out. but the people didnt like it cus the fish didnt get to the market fresh. so the fishermen put freezers in the boats to freeze the fish but the people could still tell the difference. so then the fishermen put fishtanks to keep the fish alive until they got to shore, but the fish, once put in the fishtanks, stopped swimming, and the people could tell the difference. so the fishermen put sharks in the fishtanks to keep the fish moving until they got to shore. that story was related to us in our eternal progress. often we get lazy or comfortable with how we are, and stop moving. but to be saved (and to be good missionaries) we have to be progressing continually, and always pushing ourselves a bit more. so what we need to do is put a shark in our lives. put goals, or prizes or something that motivates us to keep progressing. so my companion and i decided to put a shark in our tank. we recently obtained a jar of nutella, and we had before decided that it would be good to contact on buses to not just lose time, but we never put it in practice. so we decided that everytime we got on a bus, we have to talk to someone, or we cant eat nutella until we get on another bus and do contact someone. and it worked. we started to do it, and started to progress more, and miracles came.

on sunday we got to church, and there were no investigators. then an inactive family that we had been teaching got there a few minutes after the meetings started, and a few minutes later, the branch president led a young man into elders quorum and pointed us out to him. he came and sat down, and afterwards we started to talk. his name is Angel, and he lives close to the branch president (which is really far, half an hour walking to get there from the route, and 5 kilometers in the route from Yaguaron itself) but anyways we started teaching him yesterday and he now has a baptismal date set for june 27. then when we walked out of the priesthood class we saw a member with another investigator! turned out that the investigator lives in Ita (a different city and area) but it was still pretty cool.

we werent able to teach Rosalino or Leticia and her family again this week. but we went to where Leticia lives to look for another less active family that lives in the same company, and we found them, but we had to walk 40 minutes first. we literally went over a river and through the woods (jungle and sugar cane fields) to find this family. but they dont want us to visit them. but we found another cool family over there too. but they live super far away from everything. so we'll see what happens.

also on saturday night we were walking around and all our plans fell. we went to look for a reference who has never been home every time that we look for him, and he wasnt home again. his name is Eriberto. in the plot of land where he lives, there are two houses. we always went to the gate and asked in the main house, and they always said no. then when we were walking away we saw that in the other house there was a guy and some other people sitting outside. we walked a bit more and sat down to think about where we should go. we prayed, and i felt 'go back to Eriberto'. so we went back and clapped in front of the second house, and someone came and talked to us and let us in and we taught them. we taught 5 daughters of Eriberto and his friend, and they all accepted baptismal dates! but they werent able to go to church on sunday. but we went again and they had a reasonable excuse and accepted baptismal dates again! it strengthened my testimony of prayer. and of faith. if we want God to guide our steps we have to be willing to move our feet, and do whatever he asks.

but yeah. this week will be the last full week of my companion in Paraguay. pretty crazy. time really flies.

I know that this church is true. I know that God truly does have all power, in heaven and in earth, and that he loves us and wants to use that power for our good. I know that through active faith we can truly see miracles in our lives, and that without active faith in Christ, it doesnt matter what we do, all our efforts will be in vain.

Elder Woodfield