Monday, December 28, 2009

Happy New Year!

Querida familia,
Hello hello! IT was so much fun to talk to you all this week! I had all your voices stuck in my head and can still hear them a little. How fun that was for me. Since we spoke on Friday, not a ton has happened. We found some really great new people to teach and are trying to help them progress. I was really excited about an investigator that we found. He is the friend of a member and was excited to come to church Sunday, but didn’t show up. We were going to have a family home evening with them last night too but he didn’t make it there either. He is awesome though and I hope he will be able to progress and change his life. We’ll have to see. Our church meeting yesterday was great. Hermano Roig from the temple presidency spoke to us and it was so great. I learned a lot. He told us of a cool experience that he had the other day. He was in the temple at the front desk when a man suddenly walked in. He had been walking around the temple grounds and had felt the Spirit so strongly so he walked in. He told Hno. Roig that he wanted to go in and walk around. Hno. Roig asked for his recommend. He didn’t know what that was, so Hno. Roig took him into the waiting room and explained to
him what we do in the temple and why there is such a strong Spirit there, that it really is God´s house. The man loved what he heard and Hno. Roig sent the missionaries to his house. I don’t know what happened after, since it was only a few days ago, but I do know
how lucky we are to be able to enter the temple. It is such an incredible service that we do for those who have died.
There’s a quote from President Hinckley that talks about how temple work is the work on earth most similar to the Atonement because we are doing for someone else what they cannot possibly do for themselves for their salvation. We don’t receive recompense; we only do so for love. I hope that as we all make our New Years goals, we will put temple attendance on the very top of the list. Help those that haven’t entered the temple, to make worthiness to enter the temple their goal, whatever it takes. I hope that we can all love God enough to love His children and desire their salvation too. We could even make it a family goal to go once a week or twice month or something. There is nothing more worthwhile. The only problem is that I won’t be able to participate until February, but I would go if I could. I hope you’ll take the challenge.

Speaking of challenges, I am so excited for this New Year. Today, being P-day I’m going to make my goals for 2010. First though, I’m going to review the things I’ve done this year in 2009. I don’t remember making goals this past New Year and if I did, I didn’t write them down...unfortunately. 2009 has been a great year though and I have learned A TON! Some of the landmark events though were going to the temple, and serving as missionary. Can you believe that I have lived in Paraguay for almost 5 months! Wow, what a cool year for me. I hope that you will all do the same before this Friday. That we will review and write down in our journals the things that we accomplished this past year, the things that were memorable, the attributes we developed, the successes and failures, and then make new goals for what we want in the year 2010 and how we are going to achieve them. I hope we will be able to figure out our weaknesses and write down specific goals to help us to improve. I love what the Lord says to Moroni in Ether 12:27. "And if men come unto me I will show unto them their weakness. I give unto men weakness that they may be humble; and my grace is sufficient for all men that humble themselves before me; for if they humble themselves before me, and have faith in me, then will I make weak things become strong unto them." Family, have a happy new year and keep being so great! I miss you, love you, and pray for you always. Please tell all my friends, family, and ward members how much I love and appreciate them! Love love love,


Monday, December 21, 2009

Miracles in Paraguay

I love you all so much! Thank you so much for your prayers for the couple we were teaching. I’m glad to report that they were married, baptized, and confirmed this weekend!!!! We were so happy that Heavenly Father answered our fasting and prayers! The story was really a miracle. I will tell you about it on Friday. It
was a BATTLE though. Like a spiritual Helms Deep of sorts.
Yesterday I spoke in Sacrament meeting ("Our gift for Jesus Christ") and thankfully it turned out pretty well. I hope we can all remember that its Jesus birthday this Christmas, not ours, and we will be able to give Him our time, love, and sacrifice this Christmas season and upcoming year. I hope that you will all write down and pray for specific goals that you want to accomplish this upcoming year. I can’t believe it’s almost 2010! Wow! And how excited are we all to use the new Principles of the Gospel manual this year. We got our copies yesterday and it is beautiful.
Mom, thank you for all the news! I LOVE Hearing how all the people in the ward are doing. Thank you for the virtual hugs from friends!
Well, I gotta go. For a Christmas activity pday we’re going to eat as a zone, singing at a hospital, and going to play futbol (que aburrido). Boys are so not creative. Talk to you FRIDAY!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!
Tu Hija, Rachel

Thursday, December 17, 2009

Feliz Navidad!

"Feliz Navidad, prospero año y felicidad."My companion and I were singing that song together and it was way funny because I didn’t know what the Spanish part said before and had always just made up my own. Same with my companion and the English part. We had a good laugh. Well, I am here on my 4th change in Amabay with Hermana Jara. We are both excited to be here another change together and grateful for the opportunity to have Christmas with such a great ward, but above all, to keep working with our investigators. I don’t want to jinx anything, because as we know, anything can happen, but I am so excited to say that we have a baptism of a family this Saturday!! Its a couple named Justina and Andres. She is a woman that we talked to a few months ago when she was sweeping outside. They have a little boy who is almost 2 and they are great. They’re not married, so we are going to have the wedding and the baptism the same day. Thankfully we have a lot of support and help from the members. Without them, I don’t know how we would do it. I wont be relaxed until Sunday though when they have been confirmed and everything. Please pray for them that they will be able to overcome the opposition that ALWAYS comes before baptism, marriage, or anything else good in life. I get to speak in Sacrament meeting this week. The topic: "Regalos para Jesucristo." I’ve been thinking a lot about this theme and how we can show our love for God. I was reading Elder Uchdorfs talk from conference about love for God and how He doesn’t need us to love Him but more that we need the blessing and direction of loving God. When we love God, our actions lead us more to Him, allow us to become more like Him, and therefore be happier and peaceful in life. Not to mention all of the promised blessings that God gives us as we keep His commandments. That we will have all that He has. I hope and pray that I will be able to help the ward with what they need. Honestly, every day here in the mission field is a miracle. I can communicate and understand in Spanish and a few words in Guaraní; I get to live with girls from Peru and Argentina; I get to work with incredible leaders of the church here in Paraguay (ones of the sisters here was RS secretary at age 12!); my testimony of the Book of Mormon, the Bible, the temple, Joseph Smith, President Monson, and the overall Restoration of the gospel have grown exponentially; I eat tomatoes, olives, pig, crocodile, cow, mondongo (cow stomach), oysters, squid, etc without problem; I learned how to cook; I clean better (I can almost remove the hair from a drain without gagging); I know how to wash my clothes in a bucket; I know how to take care of my skin with Guava leaves and aloe plants; I can make hair conditioner out of rose petals, bananas, and avocado; I get to see incredible sunsets every day; I kill spiders now; I’m fatter now but OK with it, etc....I really am growing up :). There is no better gift that you could have given me than that of being able to serve a mission. I am so happy to be here and love being a missionary. The Christmas call will be a lot of fun! I get to write to you again on Monday so I will try to get the number to you then. I know there’s a code you have to dial to enter but I will get it all ready for you. We are going to call in the church so we won’t have to bug any of the members that day. Are you all going to be there Christmas morning? I’m sure we could figure out how to call over email, but everyone calls to set up the call. It is kind of cheating but I’m sure I will do it too. I don’t know when, but I will get it to you before so that you can practice dad. The bishop might answer though so just hang up or something. jaja. I love you I love you I love you all. I will write more on Monday and let you know how everything went! I hope my siblings will write me letters for Christmas!! Even if they arrive after. And pictures!...if you can. Love love love, Rae

Tuesday, December 1, 2009

"Let it Snow?"

Greetings from Summer in Paraguay!
Hello hello my dearest family!
Sorry for not being able to write
yesterday. We had zone conference
so today is our P-day. The conference
was spectacular as always and we got some
great advice as to what we need as a mission.
It is starting to dawn on me that my time
here as a missionary is WAY too short.
It makes me panic a little to think about how
quickly this time as a missionary is passing.
I am starting to wish that girls could have 2 years also.
worry though, I´m not going to extend 6 months, but really I just
feel so blessed to be here as a missionary! This is the best
experience I have ever had in my life. Never again in my life will
I have this calling, blessing, and opportunity. I hope and pray that
I am noticing and taking every opportunity possible to share the gospel.
I honestly didn't love this place at first, but I can tell you right now
how much I love Paraguay. I love the
people here so much!! I love my mission so much! I love to bare my
about Joseph Smith and the Book of Mormon. I love telling
the people here that
Christ came to visit their descendats and that
He lives today. I love to tell
people about President Monson and the
Quorum of the 12. It fascinates me and
I know without a doubt that
what I tell these people is true. The past couple
of weeks, we have had
some miracles. I've seen old investigators come
back and want to be
baptized. They remembered how they felt when we taught
they've seen the Book of Mormon make changes in their lives and in
lives of their husbands and children. It really gave me hope that
my efforts
haven´t been wasted and that they felt the Spirit and knew
what they needed to
do through me and my companion. The sad
thing is when they deny what they've
felt and choose not to continue,
but the more I read the Book of Mormon and the
New Testament,
the more realize that rejection, sadness, and disappointment are
not new experiences. For example, I am reading in Alma again about
when Alma gives up the judgment seat to go and preach the gospel.
I'm sure
this wasn't easy. In fact, Alma was el juez superior, but he
gave up his
position because he saw no other way to rescue his people
except with the strength
of pure testimony against them (Alma 5:19).
He faced those who had kept the
commandments, but many more who
had forgotten and chosen poorly. I love chapter 8
when Alma is leaving
the land of Ammoniah after having suffered many
afflictions, being
kicked out of the city, smitten, all of his words resisted,
when an angel
appears to him and tells him to lift up his head and rejoice.
The angel
doesn't tell him to rejoice because he baptized literally thousands of
people before or because he had a high position of both government
and church.
No. The angel tells him to rejoice because he has been faithful
in keeping
the commandments of God from the first day that he heard
the words of Abinadi
the prophet (Alma 8:15). To me this was really
noteworthy.We have much reason
to lift up our heads and rejoice as we
keep the commandments faithfully and listen
to the words of the prophets,
both ancient and modern day. This wasn't all though.
The angel tells him to
go back and we know that he went speedily. What a great
example of
faithfulness and diligence through trials. I have no doubt that the
Book of Mormon was written for our day and age. It has helped me
immensely this
week. I´m so glad that you all got your packages and
were able to visit Elder
Earl! That was really nice of him to do that for our
family. Speaking of
packages..I got my Christmas one this Saturday!
I was so
excited! But it is sitting in my room
tempting me every day. I know it will be worth it
to wait to open it on
Christmas. You are so wonderful to have sent me something.
thank you so much! I got your letter about Christmas in the field Dad.
Thank you so much. I really loved your advice and am excited to pass
a Christmas
here with the people in Paraguay. The only downside is that
we have transfers
15 December, so I might be in a new area, but still, it
will be fun for me to
serve other people on this day and help them grow
closer to their Savior Jesus
Christ. Its the only time of year where
almost everyone (at least in this part
of the world) is thinking about
Jesus Christ.What a great opportunity!
Honestly, Christmas here is a
lot different. Some people have lights and a
few decorations up. There
was a snowman yard art the other day that said
"Let it Snow" which
made me laugh. Really though, I feel so blessed.
Sometimes it makes me
sick to think of all the "things" that I've received in my
life that I didn't
need or that someone else could have used. For some reason,
I was thinking about when you first got married mom and dad, and how
I thought
we were poor because mom made our clothes and our house
was smaller.
Coming here has really opened my eyes and made me
appreciate how truly blessed
we are. The people here that offer us their
best food, that
buy us a soda (which is a huge luxury) that often offer us their
chair and
table to eat first because they only own 2 chairs in total or their
kids wait
for us to eat first and then eat whats left. It has truly humbled me.
I know that they are blessed when they help us, but still, it breaks my
heart and fills me with joy to see their smiles when they give to us. It makes
them so happy. Christmas here will truly be one that I will never forget.
Dad, I really understand why you don't like to receive gifts. Still though,
I hope the giving will continue in our family, but more with service, advice,
counsel, time, and love. That's great to hear about Corey and Katie!
Send them my best! Corey and I are going to be neighbors down here for a bit.
That will be so much fun. What part of Brasil is he in again? I can't remember
the mission name. Also if you could send me his address, I would appreciate it.

I love you tons!
- Hermana Rae