Monday, May 8, 2017
To update everyone, Marcelo did get baptized last week. I wish I had a photo right now but I wasn't able to be there. But man, it was so fun to watch him grow. Marcelo is a great kid. I loved watching people grow in the mission. I have met so many amazing people here in Paraguay. I will miss them so much!
With a heavy heart I want to inform everyone that this is my last email. I will have to cut them a couple emails short. I injured my back during a service project a couple weeks ago and have to get some medical attention in the US. (The medics here keep giving me more and more and more medication without knowing what is going on) With that being said, I truly am thrilled to see everyone and relieved it happened just 1 month before the original release date. I've got a positive outlook knowing we will figure it out and get me feeling 100% once again. Heavenly Father knows best and always has us on a perfect plan. As long as we look to the light, our Savior, we will get through our trials.
I know that I was called to serve here in Paraguay for a reason. These past 2 years were amazing. I grew so much. I learned of my Savior. I grew close to him. I gained a personal relationship with him. I know he lives! I know he loves each and every one of us. I know the He suffered in the garden for my sins, for my afflictions, for my pains, for my temptations-for ME! And he did it because he loves me. It means so much to me. I can receive strength to keep going, to have faith and hope when it seems so tough and dark because he did it and can help me. Because he suffered it, he can help us keep going. This has really helped me a lot these past couple years. I know Heavenly Father loves me and has a plan for me. I may not always understand it, but he has the eternal perspective and will always keep me where I need to be going. I know he speaks to us. He guides and protects us. I'm thankful for the gift of the Holy Ghost. I'm thankful for all of the love He shows me each and everyday. I'm thankful for the love my family and friends and support you all showed me throughout these 2 years. I love you all sooo much. See you soon!
Tuesday, April 25, 2017
What a week. Pedro was baptized this Saturday. What a miracle. This man is so strong in the gospel. 1 week ago, his father told him he didnt want him to get baptized. He respects his father a lot. They live super far a apart, but he had just gone to visit him. So, he asked to postpone his baptism. We asked him to read, pray, and come to church the next day. He showed up for sacrament meeting (the last hour) and told us he decided he wanted to get baptized. We were stoked, but hesitant. We thought he might have made the decision to please us. We went to visit him on Tuesday and spoke about baptism. He was so sure. He had ready Ether chapter 12 and it touched his heart and made him cry. At that moment he decided to be baptized. One problem, we still had not taught tithing. We were worried that might be a speed bump, but he accepted it wilfullingly. Just yesterday we went and visited him. He said he had been reading the tithing pamphlet and he recognized one trial he was given. His sister called him asking for money bc she broke her arm and cant work. So he had the decision to giver her money, or pay tithing. He said, "How can I expect to help other people if I dont give to God first? I know that if i pay my tithing, it will triple and I will be able to help her as well." He truly understands the concept of obedience and blessings. When we obey any commandment, we obligate God to give us blessings. (D&C 82:3). As if he needed another trial....the thursday before his ex-girlfriend called from Brasil-BRAZIL-and said, "I hear you are living alone again...I wanted to come visit you this weekend. Can I stay with you?" You are kidding me...........Well he told her she couldnt stay with him. He didnt want to make her mad, but he did it anyways and he was able to get baptized and confirmed!!
After the baptism, we went to Hno Flores's house and had a huge asado. It was so good. The breanch president, 2nd counselor and his family, Pedro, and Marcelo came. They were all so happy and enjoying themselves. Pedro told us yesterday: "Look at us on Saturday. We had so much fun and we only drank soda-not even a sip of beer!" Marcelo is super excited for his baptism this Saturday. After, he is going to have an asado at his house. We are stoked.
During the asado, Hno Flores said something I loved:
"In this church, there is no retirement."
I love that so much. There is always work to do in the work of the Lord. He always needs our help-whether it be feeding the homeless, taking dinner to a family expecting a baby, home teaching, preaching the gospel, serving in a calling, etc. Christ will always need our help. I know that when we obey the comandments, he blesses us. When we serve him, he blesses us. When we look to do more in his work, he gives us more. As we first search for Christ, the blessings pour down on us like the rain pours down here in Paraguay.
Love you all!
1-3-Enrique's baptism-his brother baptized him! Only members in the family. Antonio is the brother and my homie here
3&4-Pedro's baptism. Presidente Fermin baptised him. That was awesome. We forgot to tell him to bring a towell....we were dying of laughter that whole night.
6-went to the temple today and met up with elder parada!
7-went to Smuchi'ssssss
Monday, April 10, 2017
"I think this is it!" My "comp" heard that about 10 times on Saturday hahaha. On Saturday we did splits with two 18 year olds in the branch from 1-9pm. It was super super great! I worked with Antonio and we really enjoyed it. It wasnt the easiest finding the ways to the houses, but we made it every time! Only truly got lost once haha. We were so lucky to have so many people home-we went straight from lesson to lesson the whole time! He got to meet some of our investigators and he really enjoyed it. He is prepping for his mission. He finished high school this december and then will go! That was definitely a cool experience. Both of them "complained" about how much they had to walk...our area is huge! It truly was a blessing that nearly every person was home. There are a lot of times when they are not home or are sleeping haha But I definitely think the Lord wanted Antonio to have a great experience while preparing for his mission!
Yesterday, Elder Pèrez and I went looking for a house of a street contact we had made that has lived in Germany, USA, and Canada! His mom is actually a member so we wanted to find them. There was a huge storm yesterday so there wasn't any power....but we found them. It was about 5:30pm and we were outside just talking to shadows hahaha. We were talking to the mom and her daughter. We were explaining why we go to church and the need for a church. Her daughter said she doesnt have a religion and she doesn't want one because it isn't neccessary. She said we can do everything we need to believe in Christ from our home and by ourselves. Her mom then went on to explain why she doesnt go to church anymore. She says that there are many people in every religion that go to church, but when they come home don't act like it. And she has had experiences where she wanted to help them, but they don't want to be helped. They think they could do it all by themselves....... Sound familiar? The daughter had just stated she could do it all by herself and didn't need help from other people to worship God.....It was so ironic. We both testified of the need for a church. Without the authority in this world, we cannot become clean of our sins. It is that simple! No matter how hard people try to be perfect, they won't be and when they commit sins, there is no way to be clean again UNLESS they repent and are baptized by someone holding the authority of God and repent and partake of the sacrament that is blessed by men who hold the power and authority of God. We cannot succeed in this life solo. We cannot become clean without the sacred ordinances that the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints offers by the power and authority of God. We told them these things. We walked away laughing because we flat out told them straight to their face they were wrong. But we left with an invitation to return!
To think we can conquer this life solo is pretty prideful. Those who think that way reject our Savior and his atoning sacrifice. Only with his help can we have conquer sin and spiritual death. Thanks to his resurrection, we will all be given the gift of a perfect body after we die. We need our Savior and we need the church he established to perform the ordinances that he taught. Christ lives! I am so grateful to have this testimony. I know that without him, I would stumble and fall, stumble and fall, stumble and fall and never ever get back up! I hope everyone has a great easter!
1. The Caceres family came to church and loved it!
2. The two jovenes we did divisions with! Antonio and Jesus.
3. Got caught in a huge storm!
4. Marcelo gave his testimony during church!
Monday, April 3, 2017
"I am the light of the world: He that flloweth me shall not walk in darkness, but shall have the light of life" (John 8:12). What a blessing it is to have His light in my life. Christ conquers the darkness and negativity in the world. I loved Elder Bragg's talk about the light of the world. If we look to the light of the church, gospel, and Christ, we won't have to walk in darkness. As I study Christ, I constantly learn more about Him and who He is. Like I said, I truly am blessed to feel his light guiding my life. I know that occasionally, his light seems to have disappeared and we suddenly find ourselves in a tunnel of darkness. For some, that light is really hard to see. Satan is miserable. He wants us to be miserable. He uses every tool he can to make us feel like he is, especially mental illnesses. So many peaople struggle seeing the light of Christ while burdoned with this heavy weight. Elder Gibson was a really close friend. I grew to love him in the short months I knew him. This past week he passed away. President Evans called me in to let me know. It was a hard moment. However, He said something that I loved. "Depression is one of the fences that affects mortality. Once we pass on, that fence does not pass with us. Elder Gibson will now be able to hear the gospel without that fence." I know Elder Gibson will cling onto the light of Christ and never let go. I can't wait to see him again. The plan of Salvation is real. God sent his Son to die all manner of afflictions for us so that we can return to live with Him. His atoning sacrifice gives him power to help us in our times of need, in our afflictions, temptations, pains, trials, etc. President Nelson said that we can receive the power of Christ as we:
- Learn of Him and His atoning sacrifice
- Choose to have faith and follow him
- Make and keep our covenants
- Turn to him with faith
If we spiritually stretch ourselves, he will give us His power to help us conquer the fences that exist in this life.
We are working with a lot of people that are turning to the light of Christ, that are learning of him and are getting ready to make baptismal covenants. This week we had a miracle. We went to visit the Caceres family with a member, Hno Caceres (same last name). He instantly became their friend. While talking, he asked if they had plans to get married. The miracle? They are married!!! Elder Perez told me they were not, but they have been married for 8 years!. We ate dinner with them and watched the Restoration. They all have prayed and believe Joseph Smith is a prophet of God and that the Book Of Mormon is true. We are so stoked and blessed to be working with them!
1. The Caceres Family!
2. Our dogs ;)
3. Pedro. Another super cool guy. He is getting baptized on the 22 of April!
Monday, March 27, 2017
Walking and Walking and Walking. Itaugua is huge! But I love it. It has been awesome to get back to teaching people all day long. While we walk, we speak in English. I am helping Elder Perez speak english so that has been fun! Today though, was not so great. We had to go to Asuncion for leadership council. Itaugua is super far from Asunciòn, and the meeting starts at 8 so we had to leave early. We left at 5 am. The busses were so crowded that I was squished between people the entire time. After finally getting to San Lorenzo at 6, we got on another bus to Asuncion.............that bus was terrible. Again, squished so much I could barely breathe. Some old guy had is huge water jog and terere and it was constantly jabbing my back haha. At 7:30 am, we finally made it....to the bus terminal! Oh my. So we got off and took a taxi. We showed up at 8:05, luckily President was late too. But wow, I will never do that again. I told me comp next time we are taking a taxi from Itaugua! haha
The first couple days here were not the easiest for me. It was hard to get accostumed to the people and such. But, I did make one great friend, "M". His family is really wealthy, and we are teaching him! He is 18 and the first time I showed up to his house, his first words to us were, "I'm sure. I am so sure!" We asked him about what and he said that he is so sure he wants to get baptized. !Que facha! His date is for April 29th! We ate lunch with him on Saturday and he came to church as well. Last week he started studying to be a pilot, and this week he starts studying english. So we are gonna help him out with the english when we go over. I hope he continues his progression! Please keep him in your prayers!
We are also working with Familia "C". They are a super humble family, but were not always this low. The dad started a business, but after a couple unfortunate business moves on his part, he has basically been kicked out and taken over by his partner. That was super sad, but I know that God works in mysterious ways. Because of the financial struggles, they recognized the need to include God more in their life. So had this not happened, we probably would not be teaching them. He might be getting a good job at a nice hotel. His friend offered him a spot or something, he should find out this week! I love going over because they have such great personalities. They are super funny and sarcastic, so its not a bland hour when we go. They have to get married, but we are planning on helping them do that on the 29th of April as well. They could also use some serious prayers!
I am so thankful to be here in Itaugua. The ward is awesome, and there are a lot more investigators that we are teaching. I am thankful for the opportunity we have to listen to the Prophet and Apostles this weekend. Couldn't come at a better time! I hope you all have the chance to see it!
Love you all
1. Elder Crofts Parada and I. Elder croft's last change!!!
3. Elder Murphy and Elder Passos. Elder passos trained elder murphy in the field, and i trained him in the office!
4. Hna Llanos! Her friend is Cutter's companion right now!!!! super cool!