Sunday, February 2, 2014

January 27, 2014

this week was cool. we had 2 baptisms on saturday (diana y yohana) and the other elders in the ward had a baptism too, jose maría. there were more people at the baptism on saturday than in church on sunday. their mom and two of their cousins went to their baptism and enjoyed it but weren't able to make it to church on sunday. we also had another family of investigators that went to the baptism (ana, the daughter of juana, and her kids). jose maría's story is pretty cool, one sunday he just showed up to sacrament meeting, and after talking to him a bit we learned that his girlfriend and her family are all members, and he had attended church a bunch before, and felt that he needed to come to church. he waited a while in being baptized, cus he wanted to be sure he was doing the right thing first, but he bore an awesome testimony on sunday and now wants to go on a mission.
we only had one investigator in church this week, which is unfortunate after having a few weeks with 4 or 5 regularly, but it's better than nothing. jorge came, and it seems like he'll be able to progress smoothly towards baptism, he just needs to stop smoking. when the classes separated for priesthood, the branch president went to send him with the young men before being told he's 20, cus he looks a bit younger due to his size due to his former drug use. he had an earphone in for parts of church, but stayed for all three hours and said he enjoyed it. we weren't able to teach him at all this week, but were in fairly regular contact trying to schedule and reschedule appointments, and when we passed by on sunday he came out and came with us.
we're also gonna have a baptism this saturday too, but until now we haven't met him yet. his name is daniel, and he was a reference from other missionaries. they taught him and he went to church there, but moved into our area. he moved into the furthest part of our area, where we almost never go just cus it's so far and most people arent familiar with the location of the church so it's not particularly fruitful. but anyways he moved and we received the reference a couple weeks ago, but our phone has some issues and we cant call him successfully, and the two times we went to look for him we werent able to find him, as all we know is the road that he lives on. he's kept going to church in the other ward where he went before though and is ready for his baptism, we just need to find and meet him.
we've also been teaching a woman, lujan, who's progressing well. we contacted her house months ago when elder muñoz was still here and met her brother and her sister, and a couple weeks ago we were in that area and had nothing to do so we went and clapped there. we set an appointment and went the next day, but couldnt enter cus there werent any men present, but we stood outside talking for a few minutes. right as we were about to leave her brother walked up and we were able to go in and have a lesson. the first twenty minutes or so was just us pulling out scriptures and her saying that she doesnt want to stop worshipping the virgin, so i just said to myself ''we're not getting anywhere with this, i'm just gonna end the lesson'' so i started to close. i dont remember exactly what happened next, but she started to tell us about how she's a sinner and how she wishes reincarnation was real so that she could have another chance and started to cry. we read a little bit in alma 7 and invited her to be baptized and she accepted. she was asleep that sunday when we called her but said she's gonna come this sunday. she always has a ton of questions for us about the stories in the book of mormon and stuff (like why is alma named alma (alma means soul in spanish) and what does alma mean in hebrew and why was alma trying to destroy the church if his dad was a prophet), frank questions that i never really thought i would need to answer, but it's cool cus it shows she really wants to learn all she can from us. she accepts everything we teach as truth, except that she needs to stop praying to the virgin mary. that comes up usually at least once per lesson, but for now we just say basically that we're just going to continue visiting her and see what happens in the future.
the weather's pretty incredibly hot, but i'm used to it now. i dont really feel that hot, but i have to constantly wipe the sweat from my face on sunny days, and my nose is often burnt.
also something funny happened a few weeks ago and i dont think i ever sent it. we found a part member inactive family and started sharing with them. the dad is member but his kids arent. we passed by one sunday to bring them to church, and as we entered the street the dad (the only one who came with us) saw a bunch of beer cans (he collects and sells cans for a living) and we grabbed them to bring them to his house. after we had all made one trip, there were still a few cans and we mentioned it to him, but he said ''no we're gonna leave them for another poor person.''
i cant think of anything else and the usb port in this computer doesnt work so i'll send pictures next week

January 20, 2014

this week was kind of lame, cus elder chale was sick saturday and sunday so we didnt do anything, he laid in bed and i studied the old testament.

only diana and joana came to church yesterday, and even they almost didnt come. we hadnt planned to pass by their house (cus hermana francisca always brings them to church) but their house is on the way to the rest of the places we were going so when we passed by we stopped to say hi. Diana was seated outside with a damp cloth over her head and said she didnt feel good, and that they werent going to be able to go to church. we offered to give her a blessing, and after giving it asked her how she felt. she said that the pain had gone away, and i asked if she was ready to go to church, and she said yes and jumped up to get ready. it was an incredible experience and strengthened my testimony a ton, that this is truly the Lord's work and he's going to do what it takes to help us, even miracles. they're gonna get baptized this saturday, and they're inviting all their friends and family to go. Joana also commented to us that she wants to go on a mission, but her mom said she doesnt want her to go, so we suggested that for now she just accompany the sister missionaries that are in our district, and she's super excited to do it. their mom wants to go to church too and is reading the book of mormon but always seems to have something come up sunday morning.

we visited a less active family this week too, who we found a few weeks ago. i'm not sure if i've written about them or not yet, so i'm gonna write now. we were walking down the street after an appointment fell through, and we contacted a guy standing in the street drinking tereré. he told us about how he had been in prison and used to drink and do drugs and stuff but how he wants to change his life, and that as he saw as walking up, he started to go inside twice but felt he should stay outside. we set an appointment with him for the next day. we went to the appointment and a teenager came out, and we asked for raul. he told us raul lived on the corner, and we found the house where he supposedly lived but could never find him there. the teenager also told us that he and a few other people in his family are members but havent gone in forever. this week we were in that area and i thought to myself 'raul doesnt live there but we can share with the less actives' so we went and they invited us in and raul came out. we cleared up that raul did in fact live there, but the teenager who had talked to us called raul by a nickname and didnt realize that he was who we were looking for. we started to share with one of the girls who is a member and was the only person who wasnt distracted (it was their grandmas birthday and everyone was blowing up balloons) and she said that for now she goes to another church and she feels confused like Joseph Smith. we asked her if she had prayed and received an answer before being baptized and she said yes, so we read from d and c 8 where Joseph Smith is receiving revelation for oliver cowdery and says something like this ''if you have doubts think back on that night when i spoke peace to your mind, what greater testimony can you have than from God'' and she said okay i realize now i'm gonna start going back to church. it was super cool. afterwards raul passed by and i asked him if he wanted to be baptized and when, and he said i want to get baptized when she gets baptized and we said she already got baptized, when you were in prison and he said how professional. it was super funny. but anyways we went by sunday morning and raul had been out drinking and had gotten stabbed (he already us like a hundred scars, across his chest and back and arms) and everyone was in the hospital except the girl who had to take care of her grandpa. it was pretty lame but next sunday will be better.

the weather's been pretty swell this week too, it wasnt super hot except for the days when elder chale was sick.

odds are i'll get transferred the 29th, but i'm not gonna be financiero, or at least not for now, cus there's already a new financiero. could be that i stay here too, i wont know til the 28th

i cant think of anything else so here you go

January 13, 2014

this week was a week of miracles! i'm gonna start with saturday cus that was the coolest day. we started out going to visit an investigator, but he was busy, so we just contacted while walking towards lunch (every saturday we have lunch with the coronel family, who have been members for quite a while. brother coronel is blind but also super funny and super chill). they always give us pasta with chicken, cus saturday is their pasta with chicken day, and it always fills me up completely. after lunch we went to an appointment that we had set with a contact that we had done. we had talked to the daughter and the mother, but when we got there only the dad was outside (in paraguay all the houses have fences and gates and patios out front and people often just hang out on their patios, and if the person outside doesnt want to talk to you youre not going to be able to get anywhere). i said hi how are you and he said bad; i asked why and he said he needed money. i thought to myself dang it this appointments gonna fall through too but then the mom came outside and invited us in. we sat down and started talking and eventually taught baptism, and they said that they think thats exactly what they need right now. after the lesson we got up to leave and they said ''you're already leaving? arent you going to stay for lunch?'' i was already completely stuffed but said okay and sat back down, and they had prepared asado which is basically just throw a bunch of big cuts of meat on the barbecue, and they put the biggest piece in front of me. it was super good but i could barely eat any because i was already so full. we committed them to go to church and passed by on sunday morning to bring them but they said they were still getting ready. the mom and the daughter showed up 10 or 20 minutes late, and loved everything. the dad couldnt go because of work but should be able to next week. there's a relief society activity on wednesday, and raquel (the 1st counselor in the relief society and the sister of the branch president) told me that graciela(the mom) was more excited for the activity than anybody else. also the young womens program is thriving here (thanks in part to diana and joana) and leticia seemed to enjoy herself too.

The Fonce family (javier, nilda, diana, joana and angelica) is doing well for the most part. we werent able to talk with the whole family at any point this week, as nilda wasnt feeling very well and had to go to the hospital a couple times, but diana and joana are going to all the youth activities and everything. on saturday we tried visiting them and nilda (their mom) asked ''are you going to francisca's house too?'' (francisca's the first counselor in the young womens, got baptized last june i think, and has a super strong testimony) and told us that her daughters were currently there. we went and they were all doing their nails and their hair for church the next day but we didnt realize until we had gone in and sat down. we ended up watching 'how rare a posession', a movie about the book of mormon, and it was cool because in the movie it relates the story of a man who had found the book, read it, and acted on the invitation in moroni 10:3-5, and it described how he received his answer. after diana recounted that she had prayed and felt exactly the same thing, so the movie was like a reaffirmation, and francisca told her testimony and committed joana to pray and ask too (which she did, and also got an answer) they're both gonna get baptized the 25th (likely my last saturday here).

also a part member formerly inactive family came, and said they're going to keep coming which is cool but doesnt really do much for us, cus the dad is a member and all the kids are members but to baptize the mom we would have to marry them, and the dad has a drinking problem so we dont want to marry them for the sake of the kids in case something happens in the future, cus the other area has a situation a bit similar, where a woman got married to get baptized but is now working on getting a divorce and getting her husband kicked out of her house.

we also started teaching a couple teenagers this week who are cool. we had known jorge for a long time but just started teaching him this week, and it turns out he just stopped doing drugs like 6 months ago, and now is working on stopping cigarettes. in the middle of the lesson he brought us his special pipe and taught us how to smoke the drug that he did (not sure exactly what it's called) and then he broke his pipe to show us that he was done with drugs.

we also met axel, who stutters pretty badly and is super catholic. his first question was ''why dont you believe in the virgin mary'' and we explained that we do, we just center our worship in God and Jesus because that's what God commanded us to do, and he said ''i always put the virgin first and then God.'' we explained a lot of things including the correct  manner of baptism, and at the end he said he was really confused because he felt we were telling him the truth, but it went completely against his beliefs which he holds dearly. they both said they were gonna go to church but neither one did, but i think they both just need a bit more help to be able to progress well.

also i have red itchy spots on my feet which is kind of lame but i'm using the foot powder i have and i think they're getting better.

cant think of anything else so pictures:

a lizard jumped on our desk when we were studying, we threw him out the window (he survived)

homemade super panchos (hot dogs)