Tuesday, September 2, 2014

September 1, 2014

so i totally started training this week. it wasnt really unexpected at all so yeah i sort of expected it. so anyways on wednesday President talked to all the trainers a bit and then we met our companions. my companion is Elder Call, from wyoming. he's 18 years old and didnt know any spanish before going to the mtc, but he's learning pretty quick and has a strong testimony. we had a pretty tough week in that we werent able to teach a whole lot of lessons and none of our investigators came to church, but we got some good contacts that we should be able to teach and help in this coming week. due to the fact that before we were only working half the week in my area we had to liven it back up a bit again.
training Elder Call is reminding me a lot of how it was when i was in training - for example on wednesday we taught a less active young man and his friend, and Elder Call bore his testimony and told how he decided to come on a missoin and the Spirit was super strong, and i thought of the first time i was able to testify powerfully in a lesson, which really helped encourage me to keep going.

but anyways on saturday we went and taught Sergio (he is still in my area). i had already told Elder Call about him and when he was studying he found a scripture that he thought would help Sergio. i helped him plan how to present and explain the scripture, and then in language study we practiced it in spanish. we got to the lesson with Sergio who realized that Elder Call was new and just started talking to him in english. Elder Call ended up sharing most of his part in english which was pretty cool. but Sergio had read up to 1 Nephi 10, and said that he doesnt have any doubt that the book of mormon is true or that Joseph Smith is a prophet. we mentioned baptism and how it should be done by the authority of God and he said well i got baptized by immersion but i dont know if the guy had authority. he accepted being baptized again, and we invited him to church on sunday and he said that he doesnt want to hurt his relationship with the people that he works with on sundays so he wont be able to go to church on sundays. he asked if we could start holding meetings on saturdays too to accomodate the people that have to work on sundays. we promised that if he stopped working on sundays to be able to go to church that God would bless him and everything would work out but he didnt show signs of changing. so yeah he's a great investigator and he has a testimony but if he doesnt show any signs of progressing more towards going to church on sundays we'll probably have to stop teaching him pretty soon.
apart from that not much exciting happened this week. we studied a ton (since i'm training we study 4 hours every day - 1 hour of personal study, 2 hours of companionship study, and 1 hour of language study) and contacted a ton to be able to add a few more people to our pool of investigators. we went and visited a few old investigators again too, with varied results.
pictures

me and elder call

August 25, 2014

this week was pretty swell. it was pretty tough in terms of numbers and i was sick all week but the weekend made up for it.

so this weekend we had stake conference. we hadnt been able to visit sergio again since the first time we visited him, as one saturday we work in my area and the other saturday in elder blacketts area, but on saturday he just came to my mind. i thought hey we cant bring him to church on sundays cus he always works but today theres church on saturday so he can come. we passed by to invite him, and later when we got to the church to wait for the bus to take us to stake conference, he had been the first one there. we went, he talked to the zone leaders a bit (who had given us the reference to visit him) and we sat down. the first few talks were about commandments and familys and stuff. one was about being self sufficient which was a theme he was really interested in. but the last talk gave the stake president and it was a great talk and sergio was quite impressed with it. when the stake president had like 5 minutes left the power went out, so then he just said the power went out but im just gonna talk louder so you can hear me. then he changed the last hymn to a well known one, told us to sing loudly (there was just a keyboard so there couldnt be any music to accompany) and he directed it. everybody sang louder than either of the first two hymns, which had had the keyboard, and it was super awesome and the Spirit was really strong. sergio liked everything and wants to keep coming and keep learning but his most stable job is on sundays.

on sunday it was gonna be a sattelite transmission from Salt Lake but at the beginning they couldnt get the transmission so the stake president spoke again and talked about the blessings and importance of going on a mission. he said something that i liked too - that the missionary work isnt the job of the missionaries. missionary work is the responsibility of every member, and the missionaries are just here to help the members fulfill with their missionary responsibilities. as he spoke, i was seated next to a recent convert who is super converted, he loves everything about the gospel and wants to keep all the commandments as well as he can. so i was next to him and just thinking ''dang, now he's gonna want to serve a mission'' (but he's married with three kids) then we went to eat lunch with them and he asked us if there was any chance that he could serve a mission. we explained that now he cant but when his kids go he can with his wife, and he said he wants to do that. also he got the Melchisedek priesthood yesterday and is super excited to get a calling.

since last sunday i was feeling a bit sick, and on wednesday everything hurt and i was super tired. we got home after walking a ton on wednesday and i told my comp that i didnt think i would be able to go out on thursday and just went straight to bed. then i woke up on thursday and felt a lot better so we got to work. now i just have a stuffy nose and a sore throat.

on friday we went and did service. kevin and edgar are just renting in my area, their house is really a lot more towards the river, but it was flooded. the water left their house already so we went and cleaned it. it was full of mud and toads, so we just threw buckets of cleanish water on the floor and swept out all the dirty water, and did that until we took out all the mud. their water wasnt working so we filled up the buckets with water from the front patio of their neighbor, whose house is a bit lower and is still full of water. after we finished edgar and his mom tried catching some fish in the water but didnt get anything. then we went and made pancakes with them.

transfers are this week. President Agazzani came to our apartment this week to bring us some new furniture and Elder Blackett asked him ''¿who's gonna train?'' and Pte answered that i am, so theres a good chance i'll start training this week. it should be a pretty great experience. i'm a bit disappointed that i wont be able to work in the other area anymore as we have some pretty great investigators there and kevin and edgar are gonna move there soon but i suppose thats what God wants. 

but anyways bye
Elder Woodfield

August 11, 2014

this week was a bit tough. nelly didnt get baptized, and didnt come to church either. she's passing through some hard times and Satan is really working against her. everything took a turn for the worse on friday, but i was on divisions in another area (we did divisions so that the district leader could do her interview) so i only heard about it.

nothing super cool happened this week so i'm gonna fill the email with a few less cool stories.

the zone leaders gave us a reference of a guy (sergio) they had talked to in their area when this transfer started, about 4 weeks ago. we looked for him and couldnt find him, but he saw the zone leaders a few more times and kept asking that we visit him. we made an effort but never found him. then on friday they called us and said alright you have to call him tomorrow at 10 in the morning and he's gonna explain where he lives. so i called him and we ended up finding him, and it was quite an interesting lesson. he's of jewish descent, was born in france, raised in argentina, and then moved to paraguay. he studied the torah thoroughly, studied with the Jehovah's Witnesses for a while (but doesnt like them cus they changed the bible) and currently considers himself adventist (not sure if i translated that correctly dont judge). but anyways 10 years ago or something he sat down in a park and found a book of mormon so he took it home. his favorite part is the guide to the study of the scriptures (basically a condensed bible dictionary + topical guide that replaces said resources in the spanish scriptures from the church) which he read from beginning to end various times. he fervently praised said guide saying it was the most complete and perfect and useful resource that he has found. he brought the book of mormon to a jewish rabbi and he said concerning the guide to the study of the scriptures that everything agreed with the old testament and was great. he said that there was evidence that somebody had left jerusalem in 600 BC but that there wasnt sufficient evidence to concretely say that it was Lehi and his family. sergio said he wants to go to church, but considers saturday the sabbath day so he has work on sundays but he's gonna talk to his boss to see if he can change his schedule. he's been to a lot of churches and likes the bible study and analysis they do but recognizes that they're all false, so he just needs to get work off on sundays and he'll come and likely get baptized.

the district leader also gave us a reference of a part member family that he was teaching but that now lives in our area. the dad is member, but his wife and kids no. the wife smokes but they all apparently want to get baptized (we havent taught them yet, just the information that we got) we have an appointment with them on tuesday so we'll see how it goes and hopefully be able to get a few more baptisms this transfer.

on sunday we went and talked to an old investigator in elder blacketts area and we were outside talking to them and then when we left an old slightly drunk guy sitting nearby said hi brother to us. we said hi back but its pretty normal that people say stuff like that (hola hermanos / hola elderes) to us so we didnt think much of it, but he called us over, said he wants to stop drinking and smoking and accepted a baptismal date, and basically everything else we told him too.

i know that this is the work of God and that there are people in every place that God is preparing to accept his gospel. there are people that every one of knows that are just waiting an invitation. we just gotta do our part and keep looking. like the brother of Jared prepared the stones so that God could touch them and make them give light, we have to do everything we can and then let God do the miracles.

Elder Woodfield

August 4, 2014

kevin and edgar got baptized wooo! their parents came to their baptism, but didnt come to church on sunday. it was a pretty busy week trying to finish teaching them everything they needed to learn. it was a bit tough, for various reasons, but we managed to finish everything. we almost lost the baptism on wednesday, when their mom walked in front of the church and saw some kids doing stupid teenager stuff and she didnt want to let them come anymore, but thankfully we were there with a missionary that got home last week, and he was able to calm her down, and convince her that if she wanted her kids to grow well the church was the best place for that. then on friday we went to visit her with a young mens leader so that he could explain a bit what they do in young mens. there were a bit more members than last week, but it could still improve a bit. kevin said after his baptism that he felt ''super happy'' and edgar said he felt ''stupendously tranquil''

we werent able to teach nelly at all this week, but she still came to church. we talked to her there cus we werent sure about her baptism for this week (shes living with her boyfriend) but she said that she's either gonna get married this week or move out until he wants to get married so that she can get baptized this week. it's gonna be a bit tough to get her ready (kevin and edgar we could visit every day cus they live one block from the limit where our two areas meet, nelly lives a lot further away so we can't do that with her) but she's definitely got the desires and is gonna do whatever it takes. she's stopped drinking, is reading a bunch in the book of mormon, and has come to church every sunday since we found her.

in other news, follow up on the lady we contacted last sunday that i wrote about - we got there (again with the RM that got back last week) and she came out and straight up said that she didnt want to get baptized and she didnt want to listen to us. we testified a bit and as alberto (RM) was testifying of how the gospel had changed his life she said wait a sec im gonna open the gate. we went in, she was still a bit tough but we were able to teach a good lesson. at times she brought up unrelated horrific stories that she had seen on the news and asked us why stuff like that happens. but anyways she didnt really want us to come back again but she said that she was gonna read in the book of mormon and maybe show up to church one day.

in this transfer elder blackett and i set a goal to baptize every week. we already had cristina, edgar and kevin, and nelly, so 3 out of 5 (we didnt include the first week, even though we did have a confirmation that week) weeks were already set. so this week we had to look a lot for people to get baptized in the other two weeks but we didnt find anyone new that was able to come to church this week. on sunday i was a bit disappointed and feeling lazy, so i didnt really want to contact. (we have to do 5 contacts every day) we were just walking around going to the appointments and then around 6 i thought wait, if i want help from the Lord to baptize i have to do what he's told me to do. so then we started contacting like crazy and clapping in almost all the houses. the first few werent that great, but then we found a guy who seemed really interested and we set an appointment with him, and then for our last one we got to like an apartment building and just clapped in front. my comp commented me that there had been someone on the second floor that had gone away, then there appeared two people. the guy asked us what we needed and we said that we were missionaries. he said he was gonna come down then he just opened the gate and told us to come in. he already went to church once with a friend in another city, so we put him with a baptismal date for the last week of this transfer, the week 5.

also another cool story that was really cool but then didnt end up so great. we went on monday to take our clothes to the lady who washes our clothes. earlier with elder huntsman i had contacted the house in front, and when we went the kids were all outside in the street. i felt we should talk to them and at first i didnt want to but then we went and set an appointment to come back. we taught the girl and her friends, (her name is milagros (miracles in english) which was also pretty coincedential, considering how the lesson went) and were explaining baptism. she said she had already gotten baptized, and i asked '' if i punch you, will just my hand have sins or my whole body?'' she answered the whole body and i explained that she needed to get baptized by immersion to be completely clean of her sins. she immediately responded that she wanted to get baptized, and started asking all her friends that were there how they got baptized and telling them that they had to get baptized again. we had invited her previously to go to church but had never taught her and she said that now she wanted to go and wanted to get baptized. we went back for the appointment and her mom came out and said that she was catholic and was going to stay catholic.

another story, we were walking down the street and we heard someone calling us, we turned around and saw someone that elder huntsman and i contacted a while back but had never found again. he said he wanted us to come to his house and that we had been passing at the wrong times of the day. we had a pretty good lesson but he didnt end up coming to church - we're not sure why but we're gonna try to see why and get him to come the next week.

in other news its pretty dang hot over here again. paraguay seriously has maybe 15 days of winter scattered throughout the winter months in between a lot of summer.

pictures:
my two favorite things that i've found in this area



baptism (edgar and kevin with their parents, and with us and the district leader and his comp)

July 28, 2014

on saturday we had the baptism of Cristina, and her confirmation on sunday. it was kind of lame cus only 8 people came to the baptism (her, her three kids, her sister in law, the first counselor of the branch president, and us) but we got to eat a lot of cake. Paraguay kind of shuts down when its cold, and it's starting to get a bit colder. nobody wants to leave there house. it was even worse cus she's come to all the other baptisms in the past few weeks and seen all the people in all of them and then in her baptism there was barely anybody. but everything turned out pretty well.

kevin and edgar are gonna get baptized this saturday. we havent been able to teach them a whole lot cus of weird schedules and having to work in two areas, but we're gonna visit them a lot this week and finish everything. kevin accompanies us sometimes to appointments where we need another male but i dont think he really pays attention in the lessons but igual he likes helping us.

then for the next saturday we have nelly, whos super prepared. she went to church a lot when she lived in spain, but never got baptized cus she didnt have time. now she wants to get baptized, she just has to get married. also miraculously she's divorced, cus in paraguay divorces are a huge impediment to baptisms. people often get married, get separated, and then get with someone else. then if they want to get baptized they have to get divorced and married again, and divorces are ridiculously expensive. there's another investigator who always comes to church and pays tithing and everything whos not baptized cus shes waiting for a divorce. but anyways it doesnt seem like much but its actually quite a miracle.

not a real lot of stuff happened this week, apart from that. we had interviews with president Agazzani, and the flood waters going down a bit. 

also yesterday we were out contacting and the first 5 or 10 people we talked to rejected us, straight up (which doesnt happen a whole lot here, sometimes you can do 5 contacts without anyone rejecting you when you're lucky). i got a bit tired of that, suggested another house but kept walking past it but my comp stopped and clapped. a woman came out, said she had gone to our church once on a friday or saturday cus she wanted to learn more but it was closed. she started to ask us about Joseph Smith, and then about how we do baptisms, and then about what happens with people who die without getting baptized. the truth of the words of the Lord to the sons of Mosiah rings true - suffer with patience your afflictions and you will be blessed, and be able to bring many souls to repentance.

also when we took the bus to get back to our area from interviews, i saw a member from my first area. she was a recent convert when i was there and now shes a temple worker. half my converts from that area have moved, but the other half are active still and diana is secretary of the young womens presidency! it was pretty cool to hear about everybody.

but anyways everythings going pretty normal in obrero. i feel like this week if we work hard we'll be able to see a lot of miracles, so the next email should be a bit more exciting.

July 21, 2014

the new challenges werent really what i expected, but theyre certainly new. Elder Huntsman left, as a zone leader, and normally before someone becomes a zone leader president calls them. Pte called elder Huntsman last sunday, and also told him that something that had never happened in the mission was gonna happen to me. so anyways elder huntsman and elder fonseca left obrero, and i stayed with elder blackett (who got here in obrero with me, and was in the other side), and we have two areas. more missionaries went home this change than those that arrived, so president had to close a few areas. normally when he closes, he just combines the two areas and theres just two missionaries, but this time he didnt close either area or combine them, we just work one day in one area and the next day in the other area. then next transfer, presidents likely going to separate me and elder blackett and we'll both have our own companions again, and our own areas. so technically i dont have a companion, i just go on divisions with elder blackett every day - one day in my area and one day in his.

so that also means a lot more proselyting area, a lot more investigators and a lot more baptisms (and more food in the fridge). we already have one convert together (francisco got confirmed yesterday) and four more that came to church yesterday and will be getting baptized in these weeks and a few more that came to church last week and also can get baptized.

on monday we went to a family home evening to translate for the youth visiting from the US in the house of franciscos girlfriend, and we had told her to invite him. we got there and explained a bit more about the importance of the confirmation and the gift of the holy ghost, and he said that he had had emergencies in his work but after not being able to come two sundays in a row he told his boss that he has to go to church on sundays and that hes not available to work or fill for anyone, so this week he came.

we also have cristina whos gonna get baptized this saturday, and is super gold. she lives in front of the church (in the other area) and we basically dont even teach her. we just leave pamphlets and she explains everything she learned to us. she's already in 2 nephi 3 after just a few weeks of having the book of mormon and loves to read it.

then we have kevin and edgar, who are gonna get baptized the next saturday. edgar's already been to church three times, but we've only been able to teach him once so it'll be pretty tough to get him ready. theyre a bit irreverent in church but they like it and edgar's even doing his my duty to God already (it was a requirement to be able to play in the youth soccer tournament)

then we have nelly, who came to church yesterday but is from the other area and i've never taught her, but she seems cool.

we've also been teaching a couple that was gonna get married and baptized this saturday a lot but he had a few problems with the law a few years ago and had an arrest warrant. a police officer in the branch said he could go with a lawyer and say he wanted to fix everything (cus he did) and be able to not get arrested and start his probation over, but then he fought with his girlfriend on sunday and she turned him in, so now he's in jail, which is pretty lame. but we found them when we helped that family build their house, so we're teaching a few other of their neighbors too. we basically just get to the members house, sit down, and invite everybody who's outside to come and listen. their houses arent particularly big or well ventilated, so theres usually a good number of people outside.

also last monday for the district activity we ate two of the biggest sandwiches that there are in paraguay, it was pretty cool.




July 14, 2014

July 7, 2014

this week was pretty swell. we had a baptism (francisco) but he didnt get confirmed cus he had a work emergency on sunday, so hopefully this sunday he comes so that we can confirm him.

we also have another baptism for this saturday. we did divisions on thursday and elder huntsman went in the other area in this branch. while there they found a less active member, and his son, whose not a member and who lives in our area. Elder Huntsman talked to the mom (whos also inactive) before i got here but then she moved, so we didnt know where there house was. but anyways we figured out where his house was and we've been teaching him a lot. we passed by his house on sunday morning and his mom came out and said that they had already left to go to church. his dad knows a ton (and came to church on sunday too) so he's helping him prepare for baptism. God prepared this baptism miraculously cus his mom used to go to the catholic church and made benjamin go to, but then she went to a work conference and her bosses just talked to them by skype and she realized that they were mormons, on a mission in brazil. after that she changed a ton and started to ask benjamin what he wanted to do - if he wanted to continue in the catholic church or if he wanted to get baptized in the LDS church.

we built a house on wednesday, that was pretty cool. the water keeps coming up so more and more people keep having to move. i was able to teach a guy who was helping us while we built, which was cool. he knows the bible really well, but hes not in my area (the other elders have proselyting rights to everyone who moved out of there area and are living in temporary houses, even if their house is in our area) but the other elders went to teach him already. 

analia didnt come again, and were not sure why as we called her sunday in the morning and she said she was gonna come, and she seemed really sincerely eager to come to church again and keep preparing to be baptized.

there was also another investigator in church, who was the friend of a member. the young men often play soccer together in the afternoons in the church and this investigator came and they invited him to church and he showed up. there was a youth fireside in the afternoon and his brother came to that.

also theres a group of young men and young women that are from the states that came to paraguay to do service, and they're going to be attending in our branch. they got here on friday, and are gonna be here for two weeks, and then there's gonna be two other groups. we went to the youth fireside yesterday to help translate (none of the youth speak spanish), so that the youth from the states and the paraguayan youth could get to know each other a bit better and learn a bit about the culture, and also taught sunday school - in english and spanish. Elder Fonseca (from costa rica) taught the class in spanish and Elder Huntsman translated everything in english, but one time he turned away from elder fonseca and started talking to the class, but said everything in spanish without even realizing it.

something cool happened this week too. all of our plans for 8:00 fell, and its a bit hard to work at that hour if you dont have appointments, but we were walking past stock (the supermarket) and elder huntsman said he just had a craving for soda, so we went in to get soda and we saw guillermo. he had cut his hair and was looking all fancy, and had his baby in his arms. then mariana came out of the bathroom, and they told us that they're together again, just living apart, and that they found work this week. we invited guillermo to church but he didnt come, and he doesnt really want to receive us in his house anymore cus his family is all atheist but it was pretty cool to have that happen and showed us that the spirit can speak to us in many ways - even at times through our stomach.

but anyways i know the church is true and that Jesus Christ is the savior of the world, and offers the salvation to everyone who's willing to do their part.

i have a lot of pictures this week:

this is... barrio obrero.


the home of cerro porteƱo



also we built a house

June 30, 2014

hi everybody

it rained a lot this week, so pretty much nothing happened.

cant think of anything else, so here you go.

just kidding but really it rained from tuesday til saturday and we couldnt really do much. on tuesday we were in a lesson outside of the investigators rented room, and it started raining so we went inside to finish, but then the power went out so we had to finish the lesson by the light of a cellphone. then it started raining a ton more and when we left the road was full of water. we managed to arrive to the sidewalk without getting our socks wet but then a bus came and sent a huge wave of water up on the sidewalk and our shoes got filled with water. at that point tuesday got a bit tough, cus it was raining, nobody had power, and it was already dark. going out of that lesson we still had to do two contacts, which was a bit tough, but with the help of the Spirit we managed to get them done. afterwards we were walking to our next appointment and we realized that only that part where we had been contacting had lost power, and we couldve walked 5 blocks more and easily done the contacts where people would be at least a bit more willing to come out and talk to us.

but anyways, we went to talk to analia and there was no power, so we just stood outside talking about a few things but then the power came so we went in to have a lesson. her daughter, cielo, has always read everything we leave in the book of mormon, but always when we invited them to be baptized or go to church she would say ''no i'm catholic and i already got baptized''. after the previous lesson we had left 3 Nephi 11 for cielo to read (where Christ teaches the Nephites how they should baptize) and on tuesday we invited her to get baptized and she accepted! i asked her why she accepted, and she said basically what angelica said the first time - ''i dont know, cus i like it''. we got home and told elder huntsman (we had been on divisions with the other two elders in the branch) and he agreed that it was a pretty incredible occurrence. they didnt come to church cus analia had to work and cielo said she couldnt come alone but si o si theyre gonna come this sunday.

nobody came to church except one members grandson whos not a member, so were gonna see if we can teach and baptize him.

we also found another miracle, we went on thursday to eat with the branches first counselor, and his daughter is less active and his granddaughter (guadalupe (or just lupe)) isnt a member. we had a lesson with his granddaughter and she wants to get baptized, but she couldnt come to church cus she went to visit her dad.

we went to eat with a recent convert too and when we got there they said ''we read in the word of wisdom that meat should only be used sparingly, so today we're not going to eat meat''. it was a pretty incredible evidence of the power that the gospel has to change people, and give up things that seem so harmless just because God says to do it.

i ate mondongo again this week, and a lot of mbeju, which is awesome. its made of mandioca flour, butter, and cheese. its basically just mixed all up til you just have small clumps, and then you make the small clumps together into about the size of a small pancake, and then you cook it. it gets nice and crispy outside and all melty on the inside and its super good, and only like 50 cents.

but anyways thats all, for real this time

June 23, 2014

this week was a bit tough, with a lot of ups and downs. during the week, we were able to get to 4 people with a baptismal date for this saturday, but on saturday and sunday all of them lost their date. we were teaching guillermo throughout the week and everything was going well. he told us that he fights a lot with mariana so he wasnt sure if he wanted to get married, but we were able to visit them with a sister whos husband just got baptized in may and she reactivated, and she gave her testimony of how the gospel had changed their relation. they both committed to getting married and guillermo to getting baptized on the 28th. everything was going great, but they never read or prayed together so they didnt stop fighting. on saturday they went to a baptism that the other elders had. they got their late but everything seemed tranquilo but at 1 in the morning that night we got a text from mariana saying that they had fought and separated. neither one came to church and when we went to visit guillermo yesterday he said that he had wanted to get baptized and everything because he had wanted to change with mariana but now theyre not together and he doesnt want to change anymore. it was super lame. but earlier in the week we were talking about terere (a popular herbal drink) and we told him we cant drink it cus its a rule we have as missionaries. in his prayer to end the lesson he asked that we could have the chance to try terere and that it wouldnt give us diarrhea. that was quite funny.

francisco is gonna get baptized next saturday cus he has next saturday off work.

we also went and taught a less active member and his wife and daughter accepted a baptismal date for this saturday but he went to work on sunday and they didnt come to church.

and the highlight of the week - we have an investigator that elder huntsman found before i got here thats called analia. she has two kids, but all of her sons friends are almost always in her house, so weve been teaching all of them. on monday we went to talk to her (we havent been able to teach her much cus she works a lot) and while we were talking her friend was inside and asked us where and when we have church. we invited her to come to the next appointment we had with analia, and a bit surprisingly, she showed up. that lesson was a bit weird - we went with a few members and basically just had a lesson telling them that there wasnt any reason to feel uncomfortable about going to church as a last attempt to get them to go to church as we've been teaching for a few weeks and they still havent come (erwin, the son of analia, has some scars on his face and doesnt really like new people seeing his face) - but after the lesson we invited everybody to go to church and to get baptized, and analias friend, angelica, accepted. we asked why, and her response was pretty funny. it was funnier in spanish so im gonna write in both. she said porque me gusta! si no me gusta no lo voy a hacer ¡pero me gusta!. (because i like it. if i dont like it im not gonna do anything but i like it). on sunday morning we were standing outside church waiting to welcome people and we decided to call analia as the meeting was about to start. we called and she answered and hung up, and after that her phone was turned off and we basically lost all hope. but then we walked outside the fence and saw her and angelica walking up! they only stayed for sacrament meeting as yesterday was the birthday of analias husband but they said theyre gonna come next week too.

also this week and last week we did divisions, and both times i stayed here in obrero to direct the area. it was a bit hard the first time (as i only had one week in the area) but with the map i more or less survived, and the second time was a bit easier, although a few times we did start walking in the wrong direction.

cant think of anything else but here's a few pictures

dinner on friday



me and elder peralta (we did divisions on tuesday)

June 16, 2014

we found a miracle ite this week! on tuesday we had a zone conference and pte agazzani and the assistants basically just told us a bunch of stuff we needed to do better it was pretty incredible. but anyways in the conference they told us we needed to work more with the members, and especially look for less active members from the member list. they gave us a few minutes to put a member we were gonna look for in every day this week. on thursday we went to look for somebody, and we got to the house and a woman came out and said she was busy and couldnt talk to us right now. we werent sure if she was the member or not so we decided to be annoying and we kept clapping and waiting. she came out again and said that nobody was home. we went next door to ask and she told us the member was her aunt, and confirmed that we were in the right place. right then three people came out of the house of the member so we went to talk to them. turns out it was the son (guillermo) of the member, his girlfriend (mariana), and her dad. he was surprised to learn that his mom was member but still we put an appointment to go back and invited him to be baptized (we often put baptismal dates in contacts but approximately 1 out of 100 gets baptized) and he accepted. then his girlfriend revealed that shes a member too, but she got baptized in a different ward and then moved here with guillermo. we went the next day to visit guillermo, but the same woman from the first time came out and said that nobody was home. we had forgotten to ask guillermos number in the contact so we couldnt call him to see if he was really home or not. we were a bit disappointed but sometimes stuff like that happens. we decided to try again the next day. we got there and the same woman saw us but this time she asked if somebody had already come out to talk to us and went to get somebody. we talked with guillermos mom for a bit, and found that shes been inactive for five years but also that she had had an accident and isnt 100% mentally. but anyways we taught guillermo alone (his girlfriend was taking care of their baby who's sick) and he has an incredible desire to learn. he wanted to learn everything he could and understand everything. he also mentioned his baptismal date (people often dont remember, especially if it was just in a contact) which was cool. we explained that to be able to get baptized, he would have to si o si go to church. he seemed unsure and said that to go to church, he had wanted that we could talk with him and mariana together to invite them together, but he went to ask her and came back and said they were gonna go. they could only stay for two hours cus they had to give their baby its medicine but they liked church and guillermo is noticeably learning quite a bit. it was basically super incredible to be able to find them.

we also did a bunch of service this week. on tuesday when we were in the zone conference a recent convert called us and asked if we could help his mother in law move as the water was about to get to her house so right when we got back we went to help her move, and were helping from 4 until 9. also, moving takes on a whole new meaning in paraguay. we got there, and the first thing they asked us to do was take the roof off. we ended up taking apart the whole house and putting it in a truck, which they reassembled upon arriving at their destination. on thursday we went to help put an extra part on their house, so they could have a spot to wash their clothes.

we also had a few other investigators in church, but various have things impeding them from being baptized. one lives with her boyfriend and he has to get divorced so they can get married so she can get baptized. her brother in law came to church too though, who we taught once last week, so that was cool. another is an 11 year old kid, whose grandma and much of his extended family are members, but his mom wont give permission. francisco came but didnt get to church until after sacrament meeting. he should get baptized soon but were not sure exactly when cus he wants to get married to his girlfriend (member) and get baptized at the same time, but he doesnt want to get married until he finishes the house hes building.

also i had a talk in church on sunday. the branch president told another missionary to tell me but he didnt tell how much time to take, so i ended up preparing and talking quite a bit, but everybody told me it was a good talk.

its also likely that we move this week cus pte agazzani came to our apartment this week (he came to see the flooding in the other area) and said he wants us to move out of it as soon as possible.

i cant think of anything else cool that happened this week so here you go

June 9, 2014

i got transfers this week - i'm now in obrero 1.1 (zone 1, in asuncion mismo) which if i'm not mistaken, was the last area of brandon carpenter. my companion is from utah (my first gringo), elder huntsman. he came to the mission 3 months before me and started in the same stake as me. obrero is a lot like san isidro; it has a lot of paved roads and the rest stone. we live with another companionship too which is cool but we're gonna have to move pretty soon (the renter wants to sell the house) and Pte Agazzani says we have to move into separate apartments cus he's considering putting sister missionaries in one of the areas (which means i may be here just one or two transfers). we spent a lot of this week looking for apartments (we have to find for the other companionship too, as their areas a bit poorer) but got a good amount of work in too. theres a lake in our area and a road that has a stream (which also serves as the landfill and the sewer for the people in that road) running through the middle of it about 15 feet down with about a foot and a half of space on each side for walking. there's also a river nearby, and the area of the other elders is quite a bit lower down in elevation and 3/4 of their area is flooded. on wednesday morning we went to help a member family move out of their flooded house, and everybody that lived there is building houses of plywood in parks or in the middle of big streets (on the islands). the member was lucky enough to be able to get the rights to an abandoned house, so even though he has to do a bit of fixing up, he at least has plumbing and electricity. apparently this flooding happens every few years and it's gonna be another 5 or 6 months before the water goes down again, and even when it goes down it's gonna leave everything considerably dirtier cus the river wasnt super clean to begin with.

we had one investigator (francisco) in the sacrament meeting, who is dating a member, but he wants to get married and baptized on the same day and he doesnt want to get married until he finishes building his house, so he has a baptismal date for july 5th (unfortunately not this month but it is this transfer) but he's basically ready. there was another investigator (victor) that we saw outside of the church after going out of sacrament meeting so we invited him to come to gospel principles and he came. he's a bit older (50s or 60s) and likes the church but we cant teach him in his house because his mom is super catholic but he already has everything too and we're gonna see if we can get him to come to sacrament meeting again and then baptize him.

we also saw a miracle on friday. we went to visit a convert who has a bit of memory problems, and he said he had a friend that we could visit. he didnt know how to explain where the house was but he said he could take us there, so we went to look for the house. he wasnt super sure and we walked in circles a bit but eventually he said 'ah here's the house'. we clapped and somebody came out and the convert started to laugh. he told us that it wasnt the house of his friend but the house of an old friend from work. we taught him igual and had an awesome lesson. he (emilio) was working on sunday and couldnt come to church but hopefully he can come this sunday, cus he said he works every other sunday.

it was a bit hotter than normal for most of the week but last night started to get a bit colder again. i'm not sure if the heat is because i'm in the city now or just because it was hot but i suppose we'll see how the weather goes in these coming weeks.

on tuesday in reducto i said bye to a lot of people and we found some cool new investigators too. we had asado for dinner with angels family and with another family

dinner on tuesday (and angel)


my new companion



lake

June 2, 2014

hello, this week was pretty great. deisy finally went to church woooo! i'm not sure if i've written about deisy before, but she's angels sister, and since we found their family she's wanted to come to church but she always worked on sundays. (she had a debt that she has to pay every monday and the only work she had was saturdays and sundays) last sunday she didnt work either but it was raining and she didnt want to take her son enzo (2 years) to church in the rain. on saturday we taught her about the gospel (baptism) and invited her to be baptized on the 21st of june and explained that she had to go to church these three sundays to be baptized on that day and she accepted everything and said she wanted to get baptized and go to church. her son always goes to church with angel and his family but this week was the first week that she went.

we also went to teach an inactive family where one of the kids is 8 and hasnt gotten baptized yet, and we committed them all to go to church, and he said he wanted to get baptized. his family didnt go to church but he went with his cousins, who live on the same street (about half the active members of the branch live in the same street, within about a block of each other).

also on monday we had a district activity and made tacos. one of the hermanas in my district has spicy taco seasoning and elder Yamberla and I were cooking the meat and we put a ton, so they were super spicy. i ate 5 or 6 and they were amazing but the next morning in the bathroom i regretted it a little bit.

changes are on wednesday and it's very likely that i'll be transferred, but this week Pte Agazzani changed the way we find out about transfers. before the zone leaders found out monday and told the district leaders and everybody found out in the district meeting tuesday morning, but now if we're gonna get transferred the assistants to Pte are gonna call us tuesday night to tell us, which is gonna be a bit wierd. next week you'll find out where i am

it wasnt quite as cold this week which was nice, but it was still a bit hard to do anything at night because everybody goes to sleep early. we either have to set solid appointments or walk around contacting people that we see in the street.



pictures: district activity

May 26, 2014

this week was a bit crazy. to start off we had a baptism woooo! but in two days of the week i was out of my area doing splits. on thursday the district leader did divisions with elder Ruiz in our area and i went with elder Yamberla. on friday we did divisions with the zone leaders and i went to their area. it was cool and i learned a ton but it was super weird being out of my area for two days in a row. but anyways this week was super swell. on tuesday we went to the temple and did baptisms, confirmations and an endowment session. on wednesday we had district meeting which we usually have tuesday.
teresa got baptized!! the district leader did the interview on thursday in the splits and she passed just fine. on saturday i got back to my area around noon and we had to clean the font and fill it for the baptism at 4, so we werent able to do much. the hot water wasnt working so we had to boil water to pour into the font as it was filling with cold water. Ivan (the return missionary and nephew of teresa) said the water was freezing, but Teresa said she didnt feel cold, which was a miracle. she cant walk well so we had called someone to take her to the baptism but he wasnt answering his phone so we called someone else last minute and he was able to bring her. on sunday it was raining in the morning and nobody wanted to drive through the mud to pick her up so we ended up calling a taxi but everything went well. we're also not sure if her daughter is member or not (she got baptized at least once but it wasnt done right and we're not sure if it was repeated or not) so we're gonna figure that out and if she's not member we'll be able to baptize her this saturday.
Diego didnt come to church again, and said that his dad wants him to wait a bit before getting baptized (til he's 14) which is lame but we're doing all we can so that his dad will give permission (this week we're gonna teach diego about fasting and fast with him so that he can get baptized)
on tuesday and wednesday it was a bit hot, but since thursday it's been super cold. i go out with thermal underwear, a sweater, my suit coat and a jacket and im still cold. it wouldnt be so bad if it werent for the fact that paraguayans dont like the cold, and when the weathers like this, nobody wants to go out of there house, so the church attendance in the branch went down a bit and it's a bit harder to teach/contact.
something that's telling me that i've been in this area too long is that i'm starting to know the area of the district leader and zone leaders too. when i went with elder yamberla, i recognized most of the area, and i already knew a few of the people that we visited. the zone leaders have an investigator that they have taught three times in total, and i've been present in two of the three lessons, and i recent convert that i went to visit before she got baptized and that i have taught twice after her baptism. we have transfers next week (a week from wednesday) and its almost 100% that i'll be transferred, cus i've been her three transfers already and it's a pretty small area, and Elder Ruiz goes home after the next transfer so if i stay i'll have to stay for two more transfers. now we just gotta wait to see where God sends me.

baptism
 its cold and Elder Ruiz and I are unhappy


toucan


more baptism