Sunday, October 20, 2013

First Week in Paraguay

this week has been crazy. we met our companions on wednesday. my companion, elder muñoz, is from ecuador, and it's his third time training. he speaks a bit of english, and i think he can understand it pretty well. another one of the elders training was brandon's last companion, and he took a picture with me and said he was gonna send it to brandon, so brandon should have a picture of me. there's two other elders that we live with as well, one is from peru, and the other is from north carolina, and has only been out six weeks longer than me. they're pretty cool dudes. our area is called san isidro i think

right when we got to our area, we just went out and started proselyting. most of the roads here are just rocks and dirt, which is kind of a pain to walk on. we have a few investigators, but time does not mean the same thing here as it does in the US. we can make appointments, but then we go and the people aren't home, so we just drop by whenever we have time, and see if they're available for a lesson. sometimes they are, and sometimes they aren't. it ends up being a heck of a lot of walking every day. there's one investigator who we had visited a few times, but had never been able to meet with us until saturday cus he was always busy or something. elder muñoz had taught him once before i came, and when we got there on saturday and he let us in, we saw that he had been reading a Jehovah´s witness magazine, which right away worried me a bit. he said he was confused about why the book of mormon was necessary if we had the bible, and how the whole thing just doesn't make sense. he asked why wouldn't the bible talk about the book of mormon at all if they really are both books of God, and we showed him ezekiel 37 and john 10, and explained how the bible does talk about the book of mormon.  i bore testimony of the book of mormon and it was just an awesome lesson. until then i had been questioning the mission and what i'm doing here, but that helped me realize that sometimes it's gonna seem hard, but all the walking, and clapping, and uninterested people are a necessary part of the process of finding the people who really want to learn and change; it's a package deal.

the other elders that live with us had a baptism this week, and the couple got married before the baptism. one of the people who was supposed to be a witness at the wedding didn't show up, so they asked me to do it, so i've been a witness at a wedding. i suppose that's pretty notable.

the paraguayan accent can be super hard to understand, especially the older people. some people i can understand just fine, but others talk super fast, or mumble all the time, or throw in a ton of guarani, and i get absolutely nothing of what they're saying. most of the time i can just let my companion answer, but when they're talking directly to me, that doesn't work.

for the most part, the food has been pretty good. they have awesome empanadas here. the fruit is awesome too, as well as the juice. their apple juice is thick and white, and tastes like it was just taken straight from the fruit, it's amazing. someone feeds us lunch every day, but we almost never eat dinner until we've gotten home at 9:30 and make something for ourselves. i haven't eaten anything super weird, but the first day for lunch, we had tortillas (the paraguayan kind, not the mexican kind) with just straight beans and some weird fruit or vegetable. the tortillas were good, but the bean salad thing tasted really earthy, and wasn't that great. i haven't had any taquitos, as far as i can tell they don't use mexican style tortillas at all.

the first night here, our power was out (it had been out for a few days at that point) so i had to unpack by candlelight, and take a cold shower the next morning. it was quite the experience. they don't have water heaters here, they just use shower heads that have wires and heat up the water as it passes through, which is interesting. also, the drain in our kitchen sink doesn't work, so one half is always just full of gross water and the other half, we disconnected the drain and we have a bucket under it to catch the water. nobody ever wants to empty the bucket, so there's almost always water on our kitchen floor, which is kind of a pain.

my 20s worked fine at the airport, and while we were waiting for our visas, i was holding all the money (3000 something dollars). president Agazzani saw that and joked that I may be the next finance person in the office.

the branch here only has about 30 people, and the majority of them are woman. there's no pianist, so after general conference, i'm going to be the branch pianist. the branch president doesn't live in the branch, cus there's so few males in the branch. all the people seem friendly. both us and the other companionship that lives with us are in the same branch. all the people in paraguay in general are way nice and friendly. something weird though is that they use adios for both hello and goodbye, so people will just say adios to us on the street, and i still haven't gotten used to it,

this computer doesn't have a usb port, so i'll send some pictures in another email.

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