Sunday, April 27, 2014

April 14, 2014

angel got baptized on saturday! and christian (who got baptized in march) and tamara got married! there was a ton of food and cake and ... i was fasting. but anyways we got to take the leftover cake from the baptism home so i had cake for dinner last night. angel is a capo ité, we gave him one of those books of mormon with pictures and he's been reading it a ton, and reading to his mom and explaining the stories to her and with his sister. we had to teach a ton this week to get him ready for his baptism but he understands everything really well and was super prepared. even before we got there, he always said his prayers and wanted to get baptized. but anyways the baptism went well and the confirmation.
we didnt have any investigators in church, but angel's sister bore a super powerful testimony in testimony meeting (her second sunday back and her first time bearing her testimony) which was awesome. they said they're gonna bring another one of their sisters to church too, who's not a member.
on tuesday we had a zone training, and the zone leaders asked me to direct and said they were training me (normally a district leader directs). we also did divisions with the zone leaders on friday, which was pretty sweet. i went with Elder Rhodes to Tayuasapé. around 8 or so he had to do a baptismal interview in san lorenzo (for the sister missionaries) so we went, but we couldnt find any male to accompany us, so we werent able to start until quite a bit later than we shouldve. she still had a bit of doubts, so Elder Rhodes was trying to help her clear those up so she could get baptized on saturday, but we didnt really have much time. we didnt end up getting out of the interview until 9 40 (we have to be home before 9 30) and we were in san lorenzo, quite a ways away from tayuasapé, and all the buses had already stopped. as we were walking to one of the main roads in san lorenzo to start the walk to tayuasapé, a bus passed us and stopped at the intersection. we ran up and asked if they were going to pass by where we needed to go, and they said that they could. turns out the bus driver was a member, and he dropped us off a block from the house with no charge! God is real and protects his missionaries.
sorry this week wasnt super exciting. it's starting to get a bit colder though.
pictures: angel
angel, his sister, his mom, and his nephew

April 21, 2014

Hola! this week we had a ward activity on friday for easter (catholicism is a big part of the paraguayan culture so they consider the whole week a holiday - mainly jueves santo, viernes santo, and sunday) and we had a miracle! there's a recent convert (pablo) in our ward who got baptized and a bit later his little brother (daniel) and sister (mariela) got baptized. his brother has a fraternal twin (manuel) but he didnt want to get baptized cus he was afraid of the water, but he came to the activity on friday, we visited him on saturday, he came to church on sunday and now he wants to get baptized! his baptismal date is for this saturday. on friday in the activity we ate caldo ava - a traditional paraguayan food. it's basically a big stew where you put everything from the cow thats not meat or bones (heart, intestines, tongue, kidney, liver, etc.) and a bunch of vegetables. the activity was combined with the other ward in reducto and a family from the other ward brought stuff to make tacos for all the missionaries, but i still had some of the caldo ava just to try it. i thought it was pretty good, and so did elder yamberla (from the other ward) but our district leader and the sister missionaries in the other ward (all from the states) ate a tiny bit and couldnt finish. it smelled pretty horrible but the taste was pretty good, although the texture of some of the innards was a bit off-putting.

on tuesday we did divisions, and it was my first time doing divisions where i stayed in my area. we found a couple teenagers (victor y jose) who had awesome questions and understood everything super well but they were out of town on sunday so they couldnt go to church but they're super calidad
on thursday we had interviews with pte agazzani, which went well. he hinted to elder pacheco that he was gonna leave reducto, but he also hinted that he was gonna stay another transfer in reducto, and he didnt hint anything to me, so we're not quite sure what's gonna happen this transfer (we find out tomorrow, and change wednesday). the district should change quite a bit, as everyone in the district has been here at least two transfers.
angel is still a capo and his mom got called as the second counselor in the relief society yesterday. angel brought his stories from the book of mormon book to church on sunday, and all the kids in primary wanted to know where he got it, and after church a few kids came and asked me to give them one too. i had bought three, as we had originally planned to give them to juan's kids, so luckily i was able to give out a couple more, and more or less satisfy everyone (i gave one to manuel and daniel and mariela to share, but they're not really super into sharing).
elder pacheco's birthday is a week from tomorrow, but we're gonna celebrate tomorrow in case he gets transferred cus having your birthday the first week in a new area is pretty lame, as you dont know anybody and nobody knows it's your birthday. also in about a week a missionary that's out from this branch gets back, so he should be able to help a lot with the work and pte agazzani gave us some suggestions that should help quite a bit too, so the work should continue progressing well here.
i cant think of anything else so here you go

April 7, 2014

i had more time and remembered more stuff i wanted to write.

we had conference in our chapel, but as there are only one ward and one branch in this chapel, there were only six missionaries, and only 4 americans, so we ended up watching the conference in spanish. i understood mostly everything and didnt have a problem, but the sister missionaries and the district leader in the other ward had wanted to watch in english. people in our stake translate the talks from spanish to guarani for the sunday sessions, and get the talks a week before. the second counselor in the stake presidency was telling us about it and said that when he's translating, sometimes it's a bit tough especially when the talks are changed in conference, but that while he's translating and reading he feels the Spirit incredibly strong, and it sounds like translating anything for the church would be an awesome experience. before the priesthood session, he was telling us a bit about how Elder Ballard's talk was gonna be on sunday morning. if you want to hear, it's not under guarani, the language is natively called avañe'e (or something like that). i personally know a few of the people who translated on sunday, but the only one i know specifically is that the second counselor in the stake presidency did Elder Ballard's talk on sunday morning (and Elder Ochoa's talk in october)

also i tried mondongo again, and it wasnt so bad this time. we went to a members house to ask for her help with an investigator, and she asked us if we wanted to eat tortillas (not mexican tortillas). she brought them out, and i started to cut into one, but it was a bit tougher than normal (tortillas are normally really easy to cut). i got it into my mouth and knew something was wrong - it was super chewy. we realized that it was marinera de mondongo, but it actually didnt taste half bad and i was able to eat the whole thing. marinera is a piece of meat dipped in a batter (of eggs and some other stuff i think) and then fried. 

but anyways thats all chau

April 7, 2014

this week was pretty swell. the emails gonna be a bit brief cus i still have a ton of people to write from last week, but here goes. this week was a bit tough in terms of numbers, in lessons and new investigators our numbers were quite lower than normal, but conference was awesome and 7 investigators came!

on thursday i think we saw a member walking with a friend and we waved to them. later that day we asked the member who her friend was, and she said that her friend had said that she was a member. she told us where her friend lived and we went to visit her, and we found a less active family that we didnt know existed (they're not on the list of members cus they got baptized in luque and never went to church here). they already know a few members from the branch, and we invited them to come to the conference and they came, and one of the kids (that we didnt meet on thursday), angel, is 9 years old and isnt a member. we went to visit them again after the conference and angel wants to get baptized this saturday!

hector and elizabeth and jessica came too, to the sunday afternoon session. they had to leave before the closing remarks because hector had to get ready for work but it seemed that they liked it. hector was sleeping for parts cus he works night shift but he was awake for parts and always understands and receives what we teach really well. they didnt want to accept a baptismal date until going to church, but now that they've gone, we're gonna go try to put a date for april 19th - the last saturday of the transfer

abril came too, but her parents dont want to give permission so that she can get baptized so im not sure if she's gonna be able to progress much. she's been reading and came to church but there's nothing we can do unless she has permission

a couple other investigators came too, that also dont have much potential to progress for their current circumstances, but i know that God truly blessed us for our efforts in being able to have 7 investigators

my birthday was swell, we ate asado and cake. general conference was fantastic and the best birthday present i could have

it's been super hot this week, especially saturday and sunday.

March 31, 2014

this week was a bit tough. the mission's been putting a lot of emphasis on step 4 of weekly planning (bringing investigators to church) and this week we did probably the best planning of step 4 i've done in all my mission, and talked to all the members to ask their help in bringing investigators, welcoming them, and sitting by them, and not a single investigator came to church.

we did have a bit of a miracle in finding wilfrido again, after not having been able to talk to him for two or three weeks, and when we all sat down he called his wife to come join us (which he's never done before; she's usually present but usually washing clothes or cooking or something, and she had only sat down and listened on two occasions previously) and was showing a lot more desires to keep his commitments and everything. he had to work sí o sí yesterday, but said he's gonna go to general conference this week, which will be great for him as one of his biggest challenges has been being able to wake up in the mornings to go to church. he hadn't been reading much either but he said that they were gonna read the chapter we left them together right after we left.

we also found an old investigator, who seems promising. Elder Chale told me i should visit her, but i didnt really pay him much attention at the time. also i couldnt find her teaching record, so there was no way of finding where she lives. one day we went out with brother Acosta, who got baptized in 2012 and for a good while accompanied the missionaries every day. he mentioned belén, and we asked him to show us her house, and we went and met her and her mom and her boyfriend, and her 5 kids and two niblings. she was gonna go to church but got sick, but they said they're gonna come this sunday. her sisters a member (lives in argentina) and her mom already went to church a few times with her sister. two of the kids that live there can get baptized too, so hopefully everything goes well with her. she said she already knows the church is true so she just needs to go to church (and get married or get separated) and she can get baptized. I just realized i wrote most of this paragraph last week but here it is, igual.

we also found a couple single men who seem pretty promising, one accepted a baptismal date in the first lesson but was on vacation this weekend, and the other reads the pamphlets we leave him and always has great questions and enjoys learning, but also had something going on on sunday.

our branch mission leader also got a prospective job offer where he won't have to work on sundays - it wont be available til august but he'll be able to help a lot more when august comes around.

juan committed to go to church on sunday, but when we got to his house he didnt want to go. we went on thursday and he said he had a lot of questions, but didnt want to ask them til later (the branch president was with us so maybe thats why). he did ask one, and asked if it's okay to listen to people from other churches too, so it seems we have a lot of work to do. we're gonna answer his questions and then if he doesnt start progressing again we're gonna stop visiting him for a while, and see if that motivates him, as we've done basically everything we can.

we did have a small success in bringing two less actives to church, a dad and his son. we had visited them once before and the dad said he didnt go cus his kids never wanted to go. i had with me at the time one of the candy canes that grandma sent so i told him if he went he could have a big candy from the US. they didnt go that sunday, but we went again saturday night, and spent a good amount of time just talking to the kid, about school and stuff. he loves school so i told him that church is like a school to learn about God, and he told his dad he wanted to go. they went yesterday, and the dad only stayed for sacrament meeting, but his son stayed all three hours.

it's raining. i'll take pictures if it starts raining more today. here's a picture of the road i live on. also thank you to everybody for the birthday wishes

March 24, 2014

the weather was something else this week. on monday when we were out and about during the day, it was incredibly hot. it rained a little bit and then got hotter because of the humidity. on tuesday it rained a ton. we left our apartment and spent the first hour trying to manuever around all the puddles and rivers to keep our socks dry (paraguay is a labyrinth when it rains), but after a while our socks got wet just from the rain falling on our pants. we went to visit a less active member, and couldnt take the path we usually take because it was a river, so we went in a big circle. as we were going to their house, we were easily able to walk on the streets without any problems, but on the way back 15 minutes later it had started raining harder and we were literally just walking in a river. we had given up on staying dry and couldnt take a step without being 3-6 inches underwater. there's a street in our area where there's a mango tree in the middle of the street, and a big drop down after the mango tree, and usually when it rains there's a river/waterfall of about 5 feet of width and considerable depth on one side of the tree, but on tuesday the river encompassed the entire street and was on both sides of the tree. it was incredible, and i wanted to take a picture, but didnt have my camera. if it rains like that one day on a monday i'm gonna go take a picture. but anways towards the end of the week it started to get a bit cold, especially at night. also there was a time change saturday night so what was formerly 10 pm is now 9 pm, so it's even colder at night and harder to work in the last couple hours before going home. Elder Pacheco's been suffering quite a bit from the cold, but it's not super bad yet in my opinion.

but anyways, we had three investigators in church yesterday. Derlis came without us having visited him at all this week, and sister statunato and her daughter (brother statunato is a member, and they both came to stake conference too). we visited her this week and she said she wants to get baptized but said she doesnt want to accept a date yet, so i'm not sure if she'll really progress very well (that's the same problem we're having with juan, he knows the church is true but doesnt want to accept a baptismal date until he feels more ready, but doesnt realize that he'll be able to prepare himself more easily if he has a baptismal date). (and with derlis, but he just wont accept a date cus he doesnt want to get married until december). 

a couple weeks ago, we did a contact with a couple and set an appointment, but the day that we went it was raining and they had left. this week we were waiting to meet up with a member to visit an investigator and they walked up and asked if we had gone that day, and asked when we could come again. we went a couple times to teach them, but the husband was always sleeping (he works night shift security)  but we finally were able to teach them on sunday. afterwards, the member that went with us (he used to go out with the missionaries a ton) told us about an old investigator, who hadnt gotten baptized cus her boyfriend was in jail, and we went to visit her and taught her and her boyfriend and her mom. the Lord truly blessed us that day, as we were able to find 6 new investigators to be able to achieve the goal that we had set for the week.

there was a zone conference this week too which was pretty swell. Elder Viñas, a seventy, came and taught us about the atonement. i also saw elder barahona, and he told me that three of the investigators that elder chale and i had been teaching got baptized the last transfer! lujan got baptized, yamila (the daughter of a less active) got baptized, and sara (the cousin of diana and yohana) got baptized.

there was a stake training meeting too for all the ward mission leaders and ward missionaries, so we should be able to work more effectively with the members. our branch mission leader is a convert who got baptized in november, and was ordained to the melchizedec priesthood and called as branch mission leader this sunday. he works on sundays but this calling should help him have motivation to get sundays off or find a different job, and he's excited to learn and help more in missionary work.

i cant think of anything else exciting that happened this week, so here you go. enjoy!
Elder Woodfield

March 17, 2014

I'm staying another transfer in reducto, with elder pacheco still. nobody was changed in my district this transfer, which is a bit strange, and there was only two changes in the other district.

we had stake conference this week, and had three investigators in church, but they're all just part member families that only came to church because a bus went around the branch to take all the members, and dont really have much desires to progress or learn more (one was sleeping during the conference, one was already baptized but her dad said the prayer wrong and she doesnt want to get baptized again, and the other doesnt live in our area).

derlis and lidia didnt come, cus lidia had to work on sunday, and we visited derlis afterwards with the branch president and had a very direct 'you need to repent, get married, and get baptized' lesson, but he's set on getting married (and hopefully baptized) in december. he said he wants to keep reading and going to church, but as three weeks have passed without them going to church, i'm not sure that'll happen, and we're going to stop visiting them as they're not going to progress.

juan didnt go either, but we think it's because he couldnt go on his motorcycle all the way to san lorenzo with his three kids on, and he didnt have money to pay for the bus (there was a special session for investigators at 8:30 and the bus that went to get the members didnt arrive til around 9:45). we went and visited him this week and angel and his other kids said they all liked church, just that they werent accostumed so angel wanted to leave early. he said he wants to get baptized, he just wants to be more sure of everything first, and learn a bit more, so we're gonna focus this week on helping him receive an answer to his prayers so he can baptized this month

wilfrido, we're not sure why he didnt go, probably because he didnt wake up. last week we called him before church to remind him, he woke up and told us he was gonna go, and looked at the clock and went back to sleep. but he believes the church is true and everything, he just hasnt been able to come yet and he's been a bit busy with work so he hasnt been able to read either.

we also found a new investigator, griselda, who reminds me a bit of lujan from san isidro cus she always has a ton of questions. it's a bit tough because she was living together before with a former bishop, who wasnt a super great example of the church, but she says she wants to go to church now and everything. before her boyfriend always tried to make her go to church and make her wear long skirts all the time and stuff and she never wanted to but now she wants to go to church cus we're not pressuring her, just inviting her. she was gonna go this weekend but we went to her house and she had just woken up and one of her kids was asleep still

also funny story one of the members had a dream where she saw elder Pacheco, and she asked him ''and woodfield? where is he?'' and Elder Pacheco told her ''he got married already''. also that member made me try mondongo (as far as i can understand it's cow intestine) and it didnt taste horrible, but it was incredibly chewy and not fun to eat.

stake conference was also pretty incredible. President Agazzani gave a talk about member missionary work, and read about the atonement from preach my gospel. he explained that Christ suffered for our sins in the atonement, and that everyone can enjoy the blessings of the atonement through faith, repentance, baptism, the gift of the holy ghost, and enduring to the end. then he explained that although this is available to everyone, the people wont know that it's available and that they can be clean and have more blessings unless we share it with them. if we dont make every effort possible to help other people to learn about and accept the gospel, we are preventing them from obtaining salvation. we are condemning them because we're afraid they won't want to hear about it. after hearing that, i have a renewed desire to do everything possible to help every person in my area accept the gospel, not just contact, ask if they have a bit of time, and leave it at that when they say no. with that said, i invite all of you to also meditate on that a bit, and to go share the gospel

Elder Woodfield

March 10, 2014

wooo! Christian got baptized on saturday! and confirmed on sunday! his baptism went pretty swimmingly (heh), and the district leader and his companion had a baptism too. i believe i already mentioned this but the stake president (the brother of christian's girlfriend) baptized him and sister suarez brought cake and empanadas and soda and everything. derlis came to the baptism too and liked it; he was also able to meet the stake president there who personally invited him to stake conference this weekend (there's gonna be a special session for investigators and recent converts too)
but anyways we had three investigators in church yesterday which is the most we've had this transfer. juan and his kids came (he has three kids, but only two are older than 8). his oldest son, angel, wasnt very happy to come to church, so they ended up leaving after sacrament meeting, but juan said he liked it. we went to his house on monday i think and he apologized for not going to church and said he was sí o sí gonna come this sunday, which was pretty amazing. he had also read the assignment we left him (alma 32) and liked it a lot. we couldnt find him again until saturday night after the baptism. we got to his house at like 8 30, but he wasnt home. we clapped a few times and were about to leave when elder pacheco saw someone coming down the street on a motorcycle, and it was him. we didnt really teach much, just listened to a couple stories he had about how God has helped him in his life. at the end without even asking he started telling us what he liked about moroni 7 which we had left for him on monday, and that he had read the whole chapter. afterwards, when we got up to leave, he called all his kids and told them that they were going to go to church the next day with us, and made them all commit and shake our hands. angel did it quite reluctantly, but the other two were happy to come, and had even asked him the week before why they hadn't gone if they had committed to go, and we passed by sunday in the morning.
Derlis and lidia got back from caaguazu thursday, and we visited them saturday (lidia works in the afternoon and we had zone training on friday and weekly planning on thursday in the morning) and they said they dont want to get married til december, cus they have family working in argentina that won't be able to come up til december. they said they want to keep coming to church and meeting with us, but they didnt come to church yesterday. we're gonna visit them with the stake president next sunday, and if they go to stake conference they'll be able to meet president Agazzani too (the mission president). hopefully one of them can bring about a miracle, or derlis and lidia wont be progressing much for a good while.
besides that this week was a bit tough in terms of teaching investigators and finding new investigators. my first week here we found 25 new investigators (10 in one day) and this week we found 6. in zone training the zone leaders did a comparison between being elevator missionaries or escalator missionaries, and the elevator is pretty much what happened to us. the elevator gets a bunch of people, and takes them all up all at once, but some people get off before it gets to the top. we got a bunch of new investigators, and tried to take them all up at once but a lot got off so now we're left near the top with nothing to do. the escalator on the other hand doesnt take as much people all at once, but takes a lot of people all the way to the top over a period of time, and there's always people getting on and getting off. we're trying to be more like the escalator but it's a bit tough when elder pacheco has personally contacted the majority of the houses in our area.
but anyway transfers are this week, we find out tomorrow and change (possibly) wednesday.
1.from left to right: President Suarez, Christian, Tamara, and sister suarez

2. picture 1 + me and elder pacheco

March 3, 2014

this week was moderately swell. Elder Pacheco had diarrhea on and off starting last sunday, up until saturday, and almost every day after lunch we had to go back to the apartment for a few hours, so we couldnt work a whole lot, but it still wasnt a horrible week.
yesterday in church we had one investigator, Christian, who's gonna get baptized this saturday. when i first got here, he had a baptismal date for the 8th of february, but it's a bit hard to find him, so the first time i saw him in all my time here was on tuesday. his girlfriend (tamara suarez) is a member of the church in our branch, and her family is one of the oldest member families here (one of her brothers is the stake president and her other brother is on a mission). but anyways she called us on tuesday and said he wanted us to come over, so we went and talked about the plan of salvation (both his grandparents died recently) and a bit about baptism. he said he wanted to get baptized, but he wanted to prepare himself a bit more. he came to church on sunday(sister suarez mentioned he wanted to accelerate himself a bit), and we had gospel principles class with just him, so we just talked a bit more about baptism. we went to visit him in his girlfriends house after church, and his girlfriend came out when we clapped and told us as we were going in, '' just give him a baptismal date, he wants to get baptized and get married in the temple'' so we set a date for this saturday. he's gonna be busy all week so right there we had to call the district leader to come and do the interview. we called the district leader, reviewed the questions of the baptismal interview with Christian, and went to church for his interview.
Wilfrido came to church too, but he showed up while the sacrament was being passed, and he didnt see anybody so he left again, which was pretty lame. next week sí o sí he's gonna go, we just gotta make sure he get's there on time.
also we were teaching sebastian about prayer, and he told us an awesome story. we read a scripture (alma 37 37) about how you need to pray before going to bed and when you wake up, and he said that the night before, he had forgotten to pray before going to bed. when he was sleeping, he had a dream where he was with his uncle and some other people, but there were a bunch of demons and stuff attacking them or chasing them or something, but during his dream he said to the people with him 'wait lets say a prayer' and he prayed and all the demons went away. it was pretty cool. he remembered to pray that night, but had the same dream again anyways.
the weathers been pretty tranquil this week, a bit of light rain and it's been pretty cool most of the time. this week i ate mondongo (i think it's cow intestine). it didnt taste too bad, but it was tough and chewy, like gum almost, and i couldnt eat more than one bite. fortunately, that wasnt our lunch appointment for the day, just a member we were visiting who had happened to make mondongo and invited me to try it.
derlis and lidia are still awesome, but lidia's niece died of cancer so they were in caaguazu for the weekend, and couldnt go to church. they wont be able to get baptized this week, unfortunately, and the next week is stake conference, so they should be getting baptized the 22nd. that may mean that i'm not here for their baptism, as this is the last week of the transfer, but odds are i'll be staying here, as i've only been here one transfer. President Agazzani, however, is renowned for doing the unexpected in transfers, so i suppose we'll find out next week (or i'll find out next week, and you'll find out in two weeks). but whatever be the case, i know that the Lord is directing this work, and that if i get transferred, it's because he wants me to be somewhere else.
Elder Woodfield

February 24, 2014

this week was pretty swell, although not quite as swell as the last week. Sebastian started soccer practice so he can't accompany us as much (when he works he cant accompany us at all, but whether he works or not depends on how lazy he's feeling so it's normally not guaranteed). in the san lorenzo stake, every two months there's a ''mini mtc'' where teenagers who want to go on missions and all the missionaries in the stake go to a ward or a branch and group up and visit  a couple investigators or less active families in the ward. we had one this saturday in san lorenzo, and sebastian came with elder pacheco and i. we were assigned a couple investigators, but the first one was busy and the second wasnt home, so we just contacted in the city for a couple hours. we didnt have any success at all (the city's always a bit hard, especially for elders as a lot of people work and there's often only maids or women at home). we did have a funny experience though, where we contacted a house that had a sign outside that said they sold ice cream for 300 Gs. we clapped, and someone came out and asked us what we needed in an annoyed tone of voice. we realized they didnt want to talk to us, so we just pointed at the sign and asked for ice cream, and their disposition changed completely, and they all of a sudden were more than happy to attend to us.
also derlis and lidia went to church, which was great. they're set to get married and baptized the 8th of march, although there might be stake conference that weekend (we're not completely sure as we heard two different things from two different people) which would mess everything up, cus the 8th is the last week of the transfer, and we can't confirm them in stake conference, so they would have to go a week without being confirmed. but anyways they're progressing well and dont really have any problems or anything. we also had a miracle in that on tuesday when we did splits, i was walking down the road that leads to the church with elder denhalter (district leader) and when we arrived at the main road, derlis drove by on his motorcycle and saw us, and later he drove down that street exploring (he's new in reducto, not sure if i've mentioned that or not) and found the church.

wilfrido and magdalena also said they were sí o sí gonna come, but sunday morning wilfrido's son's foot got cut open and he had to go to the hospital, and couldnt make it to church. we went and visited them with the branch president after church, and he said he cant promise us anymore that he's gonna go to church cus you never know what could happen but that he's going to try to come next sunday. we had splits this week, and i went with the district leader in his area, and elder pacheco was with the district leaders companion in our area, and they went and taught wilfrido and taught sabbath day and said that wilfrido wasnt sure but elder yamberla gave his testimony and wilfrido said he was gonna go. we visited him again on friday and taught the plan of salvation, and it was pretty incredible cus after we finished the lesson we asked if he had any questions, and he said that from his reading (he read the beginning of the book of mormon, the introduction and the testimony of Joseph Smith) and from what we had taught beforehand, he had wanted to ask us why we put so much emphasis on Joseph Smith and didnt talk as much about God or Jesus, but that by teaching the plan of salvation we had put that doubt to rest completely, which strengthened my testimony of that God really is directing this work, even if at times we dont realize it, cus when we planned to teach plan of salvation we had no idea he had that question. the lesson with the branch president wasnt super great, cus he just didnt want to stop talking, but at least wilfrido knows someone in the branch apart from sebastian.
splits were pretty great, but unfortunate timing. on tuesdays we have lunch with the ramirez family, and this tuesday sister ramirez made a dish at my request that i wanted to try, but i didnt get to try it cus i went with elder denhalter. also that day was the birthday of a kid in the ward, and when elder pacheco and elder yamberla passed in front of their house, the family invited them in to eat and they ate a ton of food and cake and stuff, so i missed out a bit.
juan is still recovering, and couldnt go to church either. he seems super solid, but for now he cant go to church and he cant read cus of all the problems he's having. once he gets a bit better though he should be able to progress and get baptized quickly.
on wednesday night we had to be in the church for a meeting at 7, and left at 8, but it had started raining and was raining a ton. this area's especially hard when it rains cus a lot of the roads are just dirt. we had an appointment, but didnt know exactly where the house was, so had to look for it in the rain. we got there and clapped, but nobody came out. we went a couple days later and realized that they had two gates, and that we had been clapping at the wrong gate. but anyways, when we were walking back home, on the street that connects with the street where we live, i was walking on an island of mud in between two rivers. on the street where we live, i was walking in a river. it was pretty swell.


i took these in san isidro but i dont think i ever sent them (to give you an idea of what it's like when it rains)

we had a visitor when it rained (we live on the second story, btw)

February 17, 2014

this week was pretty swell. sebastian got baptized (wooo!) but not very many people came (which just means more cake for me wooo!). his aunt (who's inactive) came and said she was gonna start coming to church again now that she had sebastian to go with and afterwards she was gonna bring her whole family (she has two kids that aren't baptized), but she didnt make it to church on sunday. sebastian accompanied us to our lessons after church yesterday (he accompanies us almost every day) and while we were walking he told us he felt different, that he was feeling super great and super happy. he also told us that right before his baptism he had started getting a fever and a headache, but when he came out of the water, it all went away and he felt like he was free from all the things in his past that he had done. we had a lesson with a couple we're teaching, derlis and lydia (gonna write about them later, they're capos too) and after teaching baptism, we invited sebastian to share his experience and his testimony of baptism. he shared his experience, and afterwards invited them to be baptized, and to get married too. after the lesson he said when i was talking to them it just came into my head that i should invite them to get married, and i did it, and we said ''yep, that's the Holy Ghost. whenever that happens, just say whatever comes into your head''

derlis and lydia are awesome. we met derlis last sunday (not sure if i already wrote about him or not) contacting houses. we clapped outside a house, but nobody came out. i saw lights on and a guy moving around inside, so we kept clapping. after a while we realized that there were two houses, and that the entrance to the house where the guy was was around the corner. we went and contacted there and he brought out chairs to sit down. he said he really respected what we were doing, and he was gonna listen to us even though he's catholic. we taught the restoration and left him a book of mormon and a pamphlet of the restoration. we went back another day that week, and he had read the pamphlet, prayed, and received an answer, which was pretty amazing. i asked elder Pacheco after the lesson if that had happened to him before (investigators reading their commitments and getting an answer after the first lesson) and he said never (he has 13 months in paraguay). he said his girlfriend also read the pamphlet and she liked it too. he also said that he wanted to go to church with us, but that this sunday he's gonna be working on his house so he's gonna come the next sunday (they're renting a house right now and building their own house nearby). we had planned to teach him keep the sabbath day holy but we were both a bit afraid (at this point in the lesson we only knew that he had read, he didnt tell us he had prayed and gotten an answer until the end of the lesson). i thought about it a bit and felt that i shouldnt be afraid, so i started teaching sabbath day. we read in mosiah 13 about how you shouldnt work on sundays and after reading and explaining it, he said that he wasnt gonna work this sunday and he was gonna come to church with us. he said he had never read that commandment before but now that we explained it that he knew it was true. they didnt end up going to church cus some relatives came over, but they said they're gonna come next week sí o sí. yesterday we went with sebastian and met lydia too (she's working and studying, so isnt home much). we taught lesson 3 (the gospel of Jesus Christ (faith repentance baptism holy ghost endure to the end)) and they accepted a baptismal date for march 8th. they're calidad.

we also had a miracle in church on sunday. a lady showed up to sacrament meeting that neither of us knew, but she was in a dress so we assumed she was a member from a different branch. afterwards we talked to her and discovered she's not a member, but she lives nearby and has always liked and been interested in the church, and she wants us to teach her and her family.

we didnt have any other investigators in church (juan wasnt feeling good, but says he doesnt have any doubts that the church is true he just needs to get better to be able to come and get baptized; fede was tired even though he said he was gonna come and gonna sleep early (last weekend was his birthday and he was up til 7 in the morning saturday night); and i'm not sure why the rest couldnt come) but a big less active family came, which was pretty swell.

also i bought a fanny pack (fanny packs are cool in paraguay), we moved on wednesday (our new house doesnt have a kitchen so we have to wash our dishes in the bathroom which is lame but other than that it's not too shabby), and my watch broke (i suppose that's what happens when i buy 10 dollar rolexes in china). it's still super hot here but this week wasnt too bad, it rained a bit friday and saturday and didnt get too hot.

cant think of anything else so here you go

February 10, 2014

sebastian's gonna get baptized this saturday wooo! he said he didnt come to church last week cus he slept in, so this week i gave him my alarm clock (we use our cellphone to wake us up) and he got up on time and came to church. also he went out with us a ton this week, and has a bunch of excitement to read the scriptures and do missionary work and everything.

we've also seen miracles with other investigators, but nobody else ended up coming to church. we've been teaching a teenager named Fede(rico) who was a contact, and at first it didnt seem like he was really interested, just another teenager who wants to sleep and live and have fun, but we kept visiting him and the second visit, we got there and asked him if he had read the chapter we had left him and he had, and remembered basically everything it had talked about. he accepted a baptismal date and we explained that to be baptized sí o sí he had to go to church three times and he said he was gonna go with a member that lives near him. when the member went to get him though, he had just gotten home from a party (at like 8 in the morning) and just wanted to sleep, but he should be able to come next week, we just need to commit him a bit better. the member was annoyed though and doesnt want to go get him next week, so we're gonna have to.

we've also been teaching wilfrido and his (wife/girlfriend/?) magdalena. we found wilfrido in a contact, and set an appointment but he wasnt there when we went to visit him. we went back a couple days later and he apologized and we shared a bit with him. he's super prepared to hear the gospel sí o sí. we invited him to church and he immediately accepted, saying that it's good to get to know other churches, and he went to the catholic church before and the evangelical church now but doesnt like the catholic church and hasnt been baptized in the evangelical church even though he's been there for years because it doesnt feel right. he said he was gonna meet us at the comisaria (police station) that's a few blocks from the church cus he didnt know exactly where the church was and it's not in a super well known area like it was in my last area so it's a bit harder to explain. we had another appointment for saturday but he wasnt home, so we just went to the comisaria sunday morning, but didnt find him there either. we went and visited him after church and he apologized again, cus he had had to work, but we had another awesome lesson and he said he's gonna go to church this week. he wanted to read but one of his kids took out the bookmark that we had put, and he tried finding the chapter we had marked but couldnt find it. we read it with him and he said he thinks its true but wants to go to church and learn a bit more.

we found another couple who almost doesnt understand spanish, but we taught them with a member who translated to guarani for us. the first time we taught we just taught cintia, and it seemed like she didnt understand much and it wasnt a super great lesson, so we set an appointment to come back when juan carlos would also be there, hoping that he would understand a bit better. he didnt, but we had a member with us so he translated when necessary. they told the member in guarani that they're catholic, but that they dont go to church very much and they liked what we taught so theyre gonna visit our church, but the member went by on sunday to get them and juan carlos had had to go work.

we also found another awesome investigator this week, juan avila. we were walking down a street at 8 or so at night looking for people to contact (we're supposed to do five contacts per day where we teach or at least set an appointment and Elder Pacheco and I set a goal to do 7/7 cus neither of us had done it up to this point in our missions) and i saw a man sitting outside his house with a beard. i asked Elder Pacheco if he had contacted their before and he said no so we went and greeted us, and he told us to come in. we found out that he had talked to missionaries before and that he had gone to church twice with his family but that he hadnt really been super interested back then. his wife died two years ago and he just recovered from a near fatal illness, during which he almost died and prayed and asked God to save him, and changed his life. now he wants to go to church and learn and everything, but not just out of curiosity, but to apply it. he didnt go this week cus he was still recovering from his sickness but he's reading the book of mormon and is gonna go to church next week.

manuel, alejandro, and gloria didnt go to church either, but manuel and alejandro have been reading the book of mormon (gloria doesnt know how to read). i'm not completely sure why they didnt go (a member went by to bring them) but theyre always eager to learn from us and to read, so hopefully they can go next week and progress towards baptism. their step father shouldnt be a problem, since he's not their dad he doesnt really have any power, and from what they've told us it seems that it's pretty easy to get him to agree with stuff.

elizabeth and her daughters said they were gonna go to church, but they called sunday morning and said they couldnt. they're not reading (except josefina, who's 8 or 9) but they said they were gonna go to church next week so we'll see what happens with them.

also the contract for our house ended jan 31 but the new apartment isnt ready yet so we're staying in our house until the new ones ready. we went one night to talk to the owner about everything (he lives across the street) and he invited us to come for lunch on sunday. he was drinking so we werent sure if he would remember but he did and we had asado. he also wants us to come back to start teaching him (when we told him the limits of our area, he complained that we had never visited him) and invited us to come every sunday for lunch. 

there's not many mosquitos here, i think i've gotten one bite in my two weeks here, but it's super hot. on saturday it got up to 45 degrees i heard (celsius, you can convert it). 

cant think of anything else so here you go

February 3, 2014

i got transferred this week. i'm now in reducto 2 (i think the town is called reducto, if you can't find it it's right next to san lorenzo) which is the smallest area in the mission. my new companion is elder pacheco, who's from peru. he knows the scriptures super well and i'm truly blessed to have him as a companion.

this area's quite a bit different from my last, in many ways. in san isidro, there were a few paved roads and all the rest were stone. here, there's one paved road, a few stone roads, and the majority are just dirt (sometimes firm and sometimes loose, which is a pain to walk in). san isidro was completely city, with a few plots of land where there were no houses or anything and just plants. here there's a lot more country, with open fields and trees and stuff. it's a bit hard to believe but here there's even more mango trees, and a ton of other trees too. it's a normal sight to see cows and horses just hanging out on the side of the road. there's a ton of members in the area, but a good number of them are less active, and most of the people who aren't members have shared with missionaries at least once, due to the size of the area. it makes it a bit hard to find new people to teach, because almost all the houses have been contacted, but the members can also give us a lot of references, or we can reactivate a family and baptize their kids. Elder Chale (my last companion) was here a while ago, and when he was here the church attendance was around 15, but the elders in between me and him did a ton of work with the less actives and yesterday in church there were over 80 people.

when i got here, we had a baptism planned for this saturday, sebastian, who's the friend of the nephew of the relief society president, who lives with his aunt and got baptized the week before i got here, but he slept in yesterday and wasnt able to make it to church, so he should be able to get baptized the next saturday. he wants to get baptized and everything, but it's a bit tough cus he works monday to saturday and doesnt get home normally until 8 or so at night.

we also have cristian, who i havent met yet, but who was an old investigator and a friend of a member, but he's even harder to find, so we cant teach him very easily, but he has a baptismal date for this saturday. odds are though he'll be moved back cus we still have a ton to teach him.

we also found a family that moved to the area recently this as a reference from a recent convert. the first day we just taught manuel and talked to his mom for a bit, the next day we went back and taught the whole family except the dad, and we have another appointment set for tuesday. whenever we pass by there we wave and they ask you're gonna come tuesday right? so they seem like they could really progress well, the only thing that could possibly impede their progress is if the dad doesnt want them to listen to us, cus up until now, we havent met the dad. we met and taught a few kids on saturday, and set an appointment to come back and teach their whole family, but when we went the dad wasnt interested and that just ruins everything, cus we cant teach or baptize without the permission of the parents.

the members here are awesome, we have lunch with members every day except mondays, and sometimes with the same family twice in a week. they often invite us to dinner too (normally not much more than a snack) if they see us out in the street at night.


me and my new companion and elder muñoz and his new companion (my new companion trained the current companion of elder muñoz)