We went bowlinggggg today!!! That was super fun. It was E. Ticeran's first time bowling. He fell on the ground a lot. hahaha
Mumbles. Noises. Grunts. Groans. Really that is mostly what I hear when someone speaks Guarani. The language is so different to any other that it all comes into my head like a big blob. I'm sure that is how I felt about spanish a year ago..For the first couple of weeks, I only tried focusing on the spaces in between words. They talk so fast here that I thought every sentence was one word! (funny story about that...last week, the new missionareis went out contacting with some missionaries on their first day! Of course, the majority of the Americans have a tough time understanding. It takes awhile to train your ears from hearing MTC spanish to actual spanish. BUt there were other newbies, from south america-spanish speaking countries-that did not understand the Paraguayos because of the speed they spoke. They asked the American comps to translate.....) So anyways, after about 3 weeks I was able to notice most of the spaces between the words and pauses between sentences, but I still had to actually learn the words. The words they were using didn't mean much to me because I only heard noises! Finally, after studying and practicing, I trained myself to hear spanish!
Understanding other people and other languages truly is a gift God grants us. The ability to communicate with others allows us to progress temporally and spiritually. For example, without the divine help from our Heavenly Father, I know that I and many other missioanries would not be able to speak and understand spanish or any other language in just over 3 months. Most people are shocked when they find out we learned the language that fast. It is possible because our Heavenly Father sent us here to Paraguay to preach the gospel and we can't do that if we can't speak the language or understand the people! The Book of Mormon teaches us in Mosiah 15:28 that "the time shall come that the salvation of the Lord shall be declared to every nation, kindred, tongue and people." With the divine help we receive, missionaries all over the world are able to preach repentance and help God's children make their own choices to return back to live with Him again.
Training ourselves to listen and understand the words people use is one thing. We also need to train ourselves to listen to the promptings of the Holy Ghost. Without practice, we may not be able to understand him. He speaks to us in a passive voice that allows those who are seeking His guidance to hear him. If we are not paying attention, we may not recognize his guidance. Two Sundays ago, we were walking around clapping at houses (like always). We had a lesson in 20 minutes and I was stoked because frankly...everyone said no that day. Seriously, we didn't get into a single house. We were about ready to head over to the lesson but decided to try one more street. We passed a couple houses and then as we passed another, I instantly felt an actual impression telling me to contact that house. I literally could not have mistook the feeling. The front was barren, only mud and there was a tiny light on in the back. We clapped but nobody came out. "Oh boy I thought, another one either "not home" or just avoiding us." We clapped again and a man walked out. He gave off a little laugh and I really expected some sarcastic comment. His name is Joel, 25 yrs old, an artist, and is just exploding with questions. We sad down on some bricks and begain talking with him. He asked questions the bounced back and forth from cualquier topic. After an hour of mostly listening to him, sometimes getting out a couple words, we finally found a point to end and sum up the conversation and left him with a Book of Mormon. We were already 30 min late to our lesson. We set up a time to come back Friday. We showed up that Friday as he was walking out of his house to the street. We were about 30 min late. He told us that he had been waiting for us and had walked out several times to see if we were there. As we sat down on the bricks again, he apologized and said, "I'm sorry I didn't have time to show you any drawings, I was busy reading this book." He read 1 Nefi, Mosiah, 3 Nefi, Moroni, and other books inside the Book of Mormon! He loves pictures and paintings, so looked in the front of the book of mormon and read about the events described in the pictures. I was shocked. Never have I seen someone read so much after we left the book of mormon. We ended up teaching him about prayer and he accepted the baptismal invitation. On Sunday, E. Bingham and I went back and taught him the Restoration. Fast forward to Tuesday when Elder Crofts and I taught him the Atonement of Jesus Christ. He pays so much attention and is always waiting for us! I love it. He accepted the baptismal fecha for 24 Septiembre! Finally, a progressing investigator in Campo Grande. We are so blessed. We are so stoked to have met him. Had we not been guided by the Holy Ghost to contact that house, we would not have found him. Now I'm not perfect at listening, but I know it's possible if we pay attention to the still small voice. And if we do, blessings will be pourded down from heaven!
Love you all!
family in our ward getting ready to get sealed in the temple