Friday, December 30, 2016

"Does He Have Health Problems?" - Change Week

What a great Christmas present it is to have changes the week after! No, not really but Christmas was great!! I loved getting to see my family so happy! So yeah, this week was changes and some pretty funny things happened. But first, let me tell you guys how Elder Parada and I were Santa’s helpers.

Saturday- December 24th, We were out doing some errands and on our way to Quattro D (an amazing ice cream place) to order ice cream for the newbies during changes. We parked across the Street and as we were walking there, Elder Parada said, “Is that Hna Evans?..” “Oh..nevermind, she is playing with a dog.” Then I looked over and said, “Woah! That does look like Hna Evans!......Wait….that IS Hna Evans! What is she doing with a dog?” So we ran over to her and she said… “She [the dog] is the Christmas present to Travis…We still don’t know if we made a good decision”. President needed us to watch her (Holly is her name) and then at midnight, we took her over to his house. So, we were some pretty good elves that night and got her over safe and sound.

Monday-Elder Bickley (chausito), Elder Crofts, Elder Parada and Elder Ticeran went to get the South mission’s van so we could borrow it to do changes.

While they were there, the Financiero for the South mission asked, “So is Elder Zaugg still in the office?”

Elder Bickley replied, “Yep, he’s still there.”

South Mission-“Does he have health problems or something? Is that why he has been in there so long?”

Elder Bickley and the others burst out laughing, and so did I when they told me what happened. I’ve been in here 6 changes so naturally, they think I have health problems. Well luckily, the people in our mission didn’t think that…6 changes and then training isn’t craziness so they just figured I was in here a long time. So changes come around and out of the 4 office elders, guess how many are training a new Elder to take his place? 3!!!! So obviously, I’m one of them and probably Elder Parada-I have been here the longest after all……WRONG. Elder Parada, Elder Proffit, and Elder Cárdenas are all training new people to do their jobs and I'll be seeing out the last of the office crew!

“Oh great,” I thought, “Now people really are going to think I have health problems!!” 

Elder Proffit is training Elder Behrens to be the new Secretary. Elder Behrens just came down from Filadelfia (the chaco). Elder Bickley (ex-asistente) is headed out to Filadelfia to finish his last 1 ½ changes! He is super stoked. Elder Fairbanks is the new asistente.Elder Cárdenas entered the office last change. He finished his training for the Cartero this week, and will turn around and train Elder Avellaneda to be the new cartero, and Elder Parada will train Elder Cárdenas to be the new Fichero. Overall, it was a good change. I’m super stoked for all the 5:30am soccer games we are going to have with so many people in the office now!

Wednesday-Changes. Everything was going well until it came to getting the Pedro Juan Caballero people off to their colectivo…It left at 2:15 and they arrived just a minute late. So, the Company put them on taxis to catch up to it! Well, they didn’t catch up to it, or so sad Santania, the Company. Oh, best part? The 4 missionaries left without phones. So there was no way to contact them! The Company had no way to contact the taxis so we were just stuck not knowing if they made it or not, where they were, and what they were planning. We called the missionaries in Pedro Juan and told them to be at the terminal at 8 to pick them up. We acted like we knew they were on there sooo we were hoping they were. We actually expected them to show up at the office or call us from the terminal a couple hours later but it never happened! Turns out, they did make it there because we never received calls from their comps asking where they were! Haha

Thursday-A very sad day. Elder Ticeran and Hna Jara left. Hna Jara was the Hna leader when I came to the office and was here for 5 changes, until the Hna Leaders were moved to a different área. She is super awesome! Elder Ticeran…too much to say! I loved having him here in the office for the past 7 months. It was so much fun and we are definitely gonna miss him. It was hard for him to leave, and some tears were shed but hopefully we see him again some time soon! They both flew back to Peru super early Thursday morning. 

A little more info about Quattro-D. So as of late we started ordering ice cream there for conferences, changes and such. Well we are going to order lomito arabes from there this monday. The boss loves me. He has given me so much free ice cream I love it. He gave Elder Parada and I free hamburgers. And yesterday, I called him about the lomitos. I told him we usually get them from another store and they are half the price than his. He told me he would make it for that price. It wouldn't be the same size as the ones in his store but that it would be great. Then he said, "You know what? Are you in your office? I'll send you 1 right now so you can see it..No, I'll send you 2 for your comp as well. If you like it, you get them here". So then about 30 min later, a guy called me and said he was outside the office with 2 lomitos ready for us to try. I love it. :) 

Make it a great week everyone!

Elder Zaugg

Elder Ticeran

Hermana Jara

Elder Parada, Elder Crofts, Hermana Jara

Going to miss Elder Ticeran

Elder Crofts, Elder Proffit (back) Elder Ticeran, Elder Parada

Saturday, December 24, 2016

The Man and The Birds

today has been super fun haha but im exhausted!!! first, we woke up at 5:20 to play soccer until 7am. then, we cleaned the house to get ready for changes...from 7 TO 10!!!!!!! we deep cleaned it. ha. There are always new missionaries so we have to clean it good before we arent to great at cleaning it any other time! haha. i should get better at that but i never make the messes, so i dont clean.......i wonder how you felt with 5 kids in the house making a mess.....😬 sorry. haha then we went to TGI Fridays for lunch. (filet mignon is always good) then we played volleyball for 2 hours was really really hot. but i wore a hat, sun glasses, and sun screen! then, we got on to email, i got on for 30 min then decided to make cookies in the church kitchen. while i was in the kitchen, i heard some ppl outside playing soccer. so i went out to check. I peeped my head around the corner and they saw me and called me over. So i went and got the others (Ticeran, Parada, Proffit, Cárdenas) and we played with them for an hour and a half. It was super super fun but by the end, i was exhausted. Plus we won, so thats a bonus. The only bad part about today???? I ripped not 1 but 2 holes in my brand new nikes that E. Gibson gave me. So thats a bummer. But hey, look at the bright side, we met some new kids and they really liked playing us. Should be back to play soon! Maybe they will make it to the Christmas program on Sunday? As I am typing this, the table I'm wresting my hands on has a puddle of sweat...

So what else did we do this week here in the office? One of the busier I've had here actually. We got some bad news to start it off from the area medical doctor. One missionary had to go home. About a month ago, he fell playing soccer and broke his elbow. He didn't get good medical treatment, and it healed wrong so he will be going home to fix it. The cool thing though? He is from Cordoba, Argentina!!!! I'm praying that Cutter's first area will be serving in his ward! He should be back in 3 months if everything goes as planned, but I'm excited to see if Cutter gets to meet him. I have loved serving close with him in the mission! 

Remember that time missionaries got delayed coming to the country? Well...its caused problems. Getting missionaries used to be really easy. 1 trip to migraciones within the 1st 3 months and you are good. Well, this week Elder Proffit and I met with the viajes hermana. (one of the nicest, happiest, most patient person I have ever met!) We met with her for a week and found out that the missionaries now have to make not 1, not 2, not 3, but most likely 4 trips to different places within the first 2 months of being here...all on pday. Sorry new missionaries, that is going to be rough..

This week, I was reading in Mosiah. I came across the chapters when Alma and his people are persecuted by Amulon. They have been a good people, keeping the commandments, yet they are being persecuted, even to the point that one who offers prayer would be put to death. Yet, they kept their hearts. They had heavy manual labor placed upon their shoulders. It was becoming unbearable. The Lord spoke to them one day and said:

"Lift up your heads and be of good comfort...I will also ease the burdens which are put upon your shoulders, that even you cannot feel them upon your backs, even while you are in bondage; and this will I do that ye may stand as witnesses for me hereafter, and that ye may know of a surety that I, the Lord God, do visit my people in their afflictions."

I love this promise. The Lord God visits his people in their afflictions. And "afflictions" doesn't just mean labor as it meant for them, but it means ANY afflictions. No matter what we are going through, the Lord will visit us and ease our burdens. It doesn't say he will take them all away, but he will ease them, so that we can bear the affliction. The lord loves us. He will ease our burdens, our afflictions, our trials if we remember him and lift up our voices OR hearts unto him continually. I have a testimony of this. Christ suffered for our sins, pains, afflictions, tentaciones. He suffered it all, so that he CAN visit us in our afflictions and lift the burdens, because he has been there. He physically knows how to do it. One of the Christmas stories we read this week was amazing. It explains the need of Christ coming to earth in a short simple parable. I invite you all to read it:

The Man and the Birds by Paul Harvey
The man to whom I’m going to introduce you was not a scrooge, he was a kind decent, mostly good man. Generous to his family, upright in his dealings with other men. But he just didn’t believe all that incarnation stuff which the churches proclaim at Christmas Time. It just didn’t make sense and he was too honest to pretend otherwise. He just couldn’t swallow the Jesus Story, about God coming to Earth as a man.
“I’m truly sorry to distress you,” he told his wife, “but I’m not going with you to church this Christmas Eve.” He said he’d feel like a hypocrite. That he’d much rather just stay at home, but that he would wait up for them. And so he stayed and they went to the midnight service.
Shortly after the family drove away in the car, snow began to fall. He went to the window to watch the flurries getting heavier and heavier and then went back to his fireside chair and began to read his newspaper. Minutes later he was startled by a thudding sound…Then another, and then another. Sort of a thump or a thud…At first he thought someone must be throwing snowballs against his living room window. But when he went to the front door to investigate he found a flock of birds huddled miserably in the snow. They’d been caught in the storm and, in a desperate search for shelter, had tried to fly through his large landscape window.
Well, he couldn’t let the poor creatures lie there and freeze, so he remembered the barn where his children stabled their pony. That would provide a warm shelter, if he could direct the birds to it. Quickly he put on a coat, galoshes, tramped through the deepening snow to the barn. He opened the doors wide and turned on a light, but the birds did not come in. He figured food would entice them in.
So he hurried back to the house, fetched bread crumbs, sprinkled them on the snow, making a trail to the yellow-lighted wide open doorway of the stable. But to his dismay, the birds ignored the bread crumbs, and continued to flap around helplessly in the snow. He tried catching them…He tried shooing them into the barn by walking around them waving his arms…Instead, they scattered in every direction, except into the warm, lighted barn.
And then, he realized that they were afraid of him. To them, he reasoned, I am a strange and terrifying creature. If only I could think of some way to let them know that they can trust me…That I am not trying to hurt them, but to help them. But how? Because any move he made tended to frighten them, confuse them. They just would not follow. They would not be led or shooed because they feared him.
“If only I could be a bird,” he thought to himself, “and mingle with them and speak their language. Then I could tell them not to be afraid. Then I could show them the way to safe, warm…to the safe warm barn. But I would have to be one of them so they could see, and hear and understand.” At that moment the church bells began to ring. The sound reached his ears above the sounds of the wind. And he stood there listening to the bells listening to the bells pealing the glad tidings of Christmas. And he sank to his knees in the snow.
May we all remember the true meaning of Christmas and the need we have for a Savior to come to this world and die for us, so that we might be with our familly not just for one christmas, or even 50, but for time and all eternity.

Merry Christmas everyone!

Elder Brody Zaugg

 Merry Christmas!!  Best present ever!!!  Got to skype at 7:30 am

Clayton was excited to show you his stocking!!!

 Saying goodbye to the Craner's.  They have been the best and wish them the best as they head off to a new assignment in Texas!  They will be missed so much!!!!!

Christmas Eve with Cielo Belen Gimenez

Saturday, December 17, 2016

A Timely Visit

Friday night, 9:30pm and my nokia rings (the new iphone these days). I look at it to see our Elders Quorum President's name on the screen. He explains that tomorrow (last saturday) he was going to give a blessing to a member who had called him asking for one from IPS hospital. He asked for our help. So at 9:30am we went to the hospital. Now I had only stepped into one hospital here in Paraguay up until this point. Hospital Bautista, one of the nicest if not the nicest here in Asuncion, is the hospital we use as a mission if anyone has to go to a doctor or the hospital for any reason. It's a private hospital kept very clean and looks nice. Well, IPS central is nothing like that. Hno Palomeque explained that this hospital is what the workers of Paraguay pay to. Each worker pays 5% of their paycheck and each employer pays 10% of the paycheck to run and fund IPS hospitals. I know of 2, but there are probably more. We walk in and in the room to just get attention there were 100 people sitting and standing with broken legs, bandages on their head or other parts of their body with blood seeping through. This wasn't emergency care, but it was normal care, and everyone had to wait their turn. People have explained to me that one has to arrive at 4 or 5 in the morning to get a turn for that day. Super super sad. Anyways, we walked to the elevator. Waited a couple seconds then took the stairs. It was on the 6th floor. At that point, I realized how long I have been in the office. We were exhausted climbing to the 6th floor. 

We entered the room of the member who had asked for a blessing, but he wan't alone yet with 2 other people. I could not stop glancing at the man closest to the door, his body pale, purple, swollen with a bandage over his chest. Eventually, the member explained his new friend, Victoriano Franco, had just recently had heart surgery. His son, Junior, had been with him every step of the way. They were from one of the interior cities, so they had no family or anyone here. This man was in terrible condition. We first gave him a blessing. Our elders quorum president gave a wonderful peaceful ordinary blessing. By ordinary, I mean he did not command him to take up his bed and walk. In fact, he didn't say much about his recovery, just mentioned at the very end of the short prayer that he would improve. We then gave the member a blessing. The 3rd patient, a man about 40 yrs old had sat up attentively throughout the whole process. On the other end of the spectrum, his wife had walked out just before the first blessing claiming she was not in agreement with what we were doing and was of another religion. We went and talked with the other man. He was a very nice respectful man. We shared a scripture with him from 3rd Nephi when Christ heals the sick and testified that power and authority is still here on the Earth today. Even though he did not agree with all of our beliefs, and was confident in his, he showed what true respect is. He knew and recognized we came in the name of Christ and he sat up for all we did, while his wife walked out angrily. Its a testimony to me that everyone does know a certain portion to why we are here and do recognize that we come in the name of Christ to share his gospel and help anyone and everyone. After All, we do wear his name on our chest every day.

Our beloved new friend, Victoriano, passed away 3 hours after the blessing, Hno Palomeque informed us the next day. That hit us hard. I knew it from the moment we entered the room that he was not in good condition, but to know his last hours were spent with his son and his new friends are comforting. Heavenly Father works in mysterious ways (mysterious only to us occasionally) and I know that the member in the hospital (who did not appear to have anything major wrong with him) was placed in the same room as Victoriano not by coincidence but for a purpose that we would be able to visit him and offer him some peace in his last hours of life. 

To brighten up the mood, it is Christmas! Yesterday, Elder Parada and I went Christmas tree shopping for the Evan's home. We found one that was great. It would be just right in their house, probably reaching the ceiling. We got it, took it to the church to try it out, and realized it was a lot taller than we thought...Turns out, they folded down the top in the store so we bought one that was way to tall for their house. We took it back this morning and got a nice one that will actually be a perfect fit. Oh, some Christmas packages came! That made everyone happy, especially me! The whole office crew took a picture with our gifts, thanks mom! Plus, last friday night was Mburucuya's Christmas party/event. I scored having a comp who served there for 6 months. Mburucuya and Campo Grande were one ward, years ago, but they are still close. We use the same building, and they invited us to their christmas party! So we took some party hat photos. Tonight, is the Campo Grande end of the year dinner. Free food. :) oh and good company. We have been going strong every night with our Christmas stories. Every night we read another each reminding us of the joy their is in giving and serving-something our Savior perfected. E. Parada have come up with the idea to take a stocking around with us in the car and anytime someone asks for money, we are going to pull it out and give them some of the american/canadian treats we got this week. Its not much, but its something little that makes us happy and the little kids as well. And just like that, any of you can do the same! Something so little can bring a lot of joy to everyone during the Christmas season and throughout the whole year!

Merry Christmas!!
Elder Zaugg 

PS-My mom wanted me to clarify that yes, I am still serving a mission here in Paraguay. Apparently some were left a little confused after my email last week. 😉

Thursday, December 8, 2016

Back on US soil

Friends and Family,

Thank you so much for all the support you have given me in the last year and a half. It has been a great experience, but felt great to get back on US soil today! The air is different, the trees smell different, Chevy Suburbans exist, everyone speaks English, even the news is in English...I love the US! Butttttt....I still love Paraguay so I'm gonna make the most of the 6 remaining months here! But yes, today we did go to US soil. The Cranners took us on a tour to the US Embassy here. And yes, there were a lot of Suburbans. I felt right at home in Gilbert, AZ. It was neat to get an inside tour of the embassy-most people don't get to go in and there is so much security anyways! We weren't allowed to take any pictures-not inside or outside! It was a nice pday activity. This week, pday was moved to Thursday to match up with the Paraguay holiday "Virgen del Caacupe". yeah...everyone goes to the city Caacupe and worships the virgin. But hey, the rest of the country gets the day off! ha. It is quite sad that it is bigger than Christmas is down here. But hey, that is why missionaries are in the country, to bring light to the people-the light of Christ!

We had our Christmas conference this week! It was super super awesome. Hna Evans made some sweet pork and coconut rice...yeah you can imagine everyone went crazy. The best part? The other Christmas conferences to come for all the other zones will be in the office and us office elders get to eat every time😊 We also had a little service project-we made blankets for babies in the hospitals! Elder Parade and I made a pretty awesome blanket if you ask me. Christ served his entire life. Service is intertwined in the Light the World Christmas theme. It was an awesome time making the blankets, knowing that we would be helping someone in a very small way. But that is what is cool about service; service can be so small but can light up the lives of other people! 

Another act of service can be visiting the elderly. This week we went to Maria and Lila's house-2  elderly women. They actually served us and called us earlier in the week to give us dinner! I love them, but I definitely have to remind them next time an hour before we go that I can't eat pasta...bc they really like to make pasta every time we go :) After dinner, we sang a couple Christmas hymns. It really brought the spirit. Lila isn't a member, but with every time we go there, we base our visit on serving and showing love. Hopefully, she is allowing her corazón to be touched! 

Merry Christmas!
Elder Zaugg

Tuesday, December 6, 2016

House Hunters

My family and I would always sit down and watch House Hunters on Sundays while doing our laundry. Its basically our weekly tradition...really any of the house shows on HGTV. Well...these past couple weeks, Elder Parada and I were on the shows! kind of...A new senior couple arrived to the mission. They will work here in the church offices in the finance departments so it has been our job to find them a house. We went with them looking at 5 or so different apartments. Really, there wasn't even the suspense like there is at the end of House Hunters when you see which of the 3 options the couple will pick. We knew after we went through one of the last apartments that it was the one they wanted. It was pretty fun going and seeing new and nice apartments. Unfortunately the places weren't for us because we really wanted to move into some of them! Now we are moving on to step 2: the furniture. 

This week we were without internet here in the office until yesterday...So that was pretty rough. But we were able to get a bunch of other things done so it all worked out. When the technician came to fix it yesterday, he was here for about an hour. After he finished he asked me to test it. So, I pulled up a page to test it. It was super fast! But....2 seconds after I tested it, the power went out..... #Paraguay I will now missing coming back to normal electricity in the states!!!! 

On Sunday we ate with the Cranners...our last lunch with them! It was a very sad departure...they leave at the end of this month back to the states! I will miss them a lot! It has been super fun to have them in the ward! Oh...and I will also miss all the food they gave us :)

So I'm sure you all know the church came out with their Christmas video again...its so great! I love the theme. WE are the light of the world. Of course, Christ is the original light of the world, but now it is our turn to light up the world. It is our turn to act in a way Christ would act. The 25 days of Christmas calendar-what better way is there to remember the true meaning of Christmas!

It is all about giving. It is better to give than to receive. And come on, we all know how great it is to receive!! But it truly is better to give; God gave us His son. Christ gave us his atoning sacrifice so that we might be forgiven according to our faith in him and repentance. And now, it is our turn to give a little bit to everyone around us, to show our gratitude to our Savior and truly follow in his footsteps. And this isn't just a great thing to do for this Christmas season, but a great thing to continue doing! Spreading the joy and light of Christ is what heals the soul, is what brings peace, is what brings more joy and light to ourselves. 

My brother Cutter is about to just that! I'm so proud of his decision to serve a mission. For 2 years, he will spread joy and light of our Savior. Our redeemer suffered for our sins, and by doing so, he gets to choose the requirements to receive forgiveness from our sins and  to be cleansed of the manchas that spotten our body. And what does he ask? The we have AND show faith in him through repentance, baptism by immersion, receiving the gift of the holy ghost that will serve as a constant companion to guide us back to our Heavenly Father, and to keep his commandments enduring to the end of our lives. The gospel of Jesus Christ is something so simple, so basic to follow, but so complex that it takes a life time to ever learn just how perfect our Savior was and how we can live it to the absolute very best of our ability. I love you Cut! Can't wait for you to have the experiences that await you in Córdova. 


Elder Zaugg