Tuesday, March 30, 2010

Women at the Well

Hi family! So I always thought it was weird when people would talk about 3rd world countries as not having "running water". I always thought, "well at least they have water, right?" Now I know why that’s such a big deal. Running water means, toilets, showers, clean clothes, clean dishes, washing your face, brushing your teeth. It doesn’t just mean water, it means water pressure. Water pressure flushes toilets and gets the grime off of dishes and your toothbrush. A handful of water splashed on your dishes doesn’t get hem that clean. Imagine all of the things that you do with a faucet and then imagine doing them with a bucket or a cup of water. Dear family, I just want you to know that this is my 5th day of survival without "running water". Ha ha. I’m sure you can all image what a funny image that is. Thank goodness I am with Hermana Plessl and we make it fun. We have been hauling our water from a lot of different sources, the neighbors well, a truck that drove in front of our house, and a members who let us fill up 2 liter bottles from their filtered well. It has been quite an adventure. There was an enormous rain storm this week that flooded everything. It devastated a lot of the houses and flooded that government asentimientos. It broke the motor that supplies the water for the city. We spent a few hours on Saturday morning trying to help a widow with 5 kids get her house back in order. The water entered up to their knees! It was so horrible. We have heard that the water will be back on today though. Menos mal. All in all, it has shown me how blessed I am and how much my Heavenly Father loves me. It is also kind of empowering to know that I can live from well water for 5 days :).

Honestly this has been a great week. We have a great investigator named Mabel right now; we found her knocking on doors. She is a widow of 10 years and is just great. She has been so open with us and we have really been able to help her feel the Spirit and answer her questions. We taught her about how families can be together after death and how the Restoration of the gospel makes that possible. She is having a hard time changing though. We all prayed together one night to ask if Joseph Smith was a prophet and we all felt the Spirit so strongly. I asked her after, "Mabel, was Joseph Smith a prophet?" and she said yes. The next time, we went back. We let her pick one of questions of the soul from the Book of Mormon which she read but didn’t understand completely so we read together and helped her to understand. We asked her if she had prayed to know if the Book of Mormon was true and she had. She said that that night she had fallen asleep and dreamt of her husband. She said she was at a meeting with some friends and that she saw her husband and that he was beckoning her. She said she didn’t know how but that she knew it was somehow an answer to her prayer about the Book of Mormon. We then explained to her the plan of salvation and what her husband is doing right now. She felt the Spirit so strongly. At the end though, she told us she still wasn’t ready to change and likes when we come but doesn’t want to change religious. Ugh. It was so frustrating but I am not convinced yet. We have another appointment with her this week and are PRAYING that she will come to General Conference! I don’t see how you could listen to the prophet and apostles and not get baptized. It is just so incredibly powerful.

We had another really cool lesson with a member’s friend. Her name is Marie José and was way cool.
I have been studying the Bible a lot lately and am amazed at how much the apostles, especially through the epistles of Paul, worked and traveled to keep the church in order. Without modern communication, it would have just been a disaster. I am so grateful for their efforts and boldness. I am honestly loving reading about it. It makes me understand more and more though, how the churches of Rome, in Jerusalem, Corinth, etc. could have apostatized in a matter of not many years. Thank goodness that we have a living prophet and apostles that guide us and that will again speak with us this upcoming weekend. I am So excited!!!!

Things are wonderful here and I am so happy and loving being with Hermana Plessl. This church is true, I know that will all my heart. Thank you for incredible love and support. Tell everyone hi for me!!!!

Love always,

Monday, March 22, 2010

All Is Well

HI family! As you know, last week was a tough one and I think it was kind of a good learning experience and allowed me to rely more completely on the Lord. I always look forward to the emails from the family and everything just seemed to be going wrong last week.
This week has honestly been awesome. Things got better...as they always do...and we are working very hard. Hermana Plessl is just great and I love being her companion again. We work so well together. I am excited that I have this change and probably the next to be together with her. She has such a strong testimony and love for these people. She loves the individual and the details, something that I had lost a little, so it has been refreshing to be with her.

The work this week was still tough, but we are working hard to get the trust and help of the members. We went out with one hermana this week and have a few others that are going to go out with us this week. It honestly helps a lot. The hermana that we went with this week showed us the houses of some less active members so we went and visited them with her. One of them was a family whose dad was terribly sick. He has cancer and is literally skin and bones. You can see his whole skeleton. His wife and daughter take care of him all day and he just looks terrible. I asked the brother if he would like a blessing and he agreed so we came back with the elders the next day. The blessing was special and after, we asked them why they had stopped coming to church. There weren’t many good reasons why and finally the mom said that she really was Catholic and that she had only joined the church because her husband promised her he would quit smoking and drinking if she got baptized. Sadly, he did not keep his promise and for that reason, he has cancer. There were a lot of tears and sadness. We talked to them about repentance and that this brother still had the chance to change. We told them to come back and that they knew it was right. They made excuses about why they wouldn’t be able to make it and I left just feeling sad for them and worried about how much more time that brother has before it’s too late.
In contrast, it made me think of one time where we went to visit one your friends, dad, who was in the hospital with cancer. I don’t remember how old I was or his name, but I remember that man’s happy and smiling face. He was a good member of the church and had a family that he loved. I remember him joking around and jumping up and down on his skinny little ankles. I remember crying as I left and thinking that it must have been such a challenge but he was so happy. That really had a big impact on me. That was not the scene that I saw this week. It broke my heart to see him miss out on those years of joy and blessings. I know that God loves His children so much and that the gospel means joy for families. Whenever I ask people what they want here, they usually say the most important thing is health, but that just isn’t true. I am so glad to know that there is more than that.

Speaking of joy for families, we had another really cool experience this week with a recent convert family. I LOVE them! We ate lunch with her on Friday and she taught us how to make empanadas. After, we sat down and wanted to share The Family: A Proclamation to the World with her. She and her husband loved it. It was as if it gave them personal counsel. We talked about the threats of the family today: homosexuality, abortion, pornography, immorality, and especially here in Paraguay women working out of the home because the father doesn’t want to. The roles are completely switched. She got teary as she explained how much she loved the counsel that it gave and that she had found from the church and prophet.

Well, I gotta run! I love you all and hope you have a wonderful week.

All my love,


Monday, March 15, 2010

He always sends a rainbow!

Hey family!

This week has been tough. I feel a lot of responsibility right now in this area, because all of the people that had been here for like 6 months, my companion, district leader, zone leader, left this past change. Everyone else has only one change here, so it has been a challenge to figure everything out. I am still really new in a big and unfamiliar area. We have gotten rejected all week and there is just no one who seems promising. The family that was going to get baptized this week disappeared. We haven’t heard from them since last Saturday when they told us that they were coming to church, but they weren’t there when we went to pick them up in the morning. We’ve gone and called every day, but haven’t been able to contact them.

So why do I tell you all these negative things? Because the work must go on. I can only do my best and work my hardest and hope that it will be acceptable to the Lord. I know He loves me and wants the best for me and these people here in Coronel Oviedo.
So...I will put a smile on like always, and get out there again. I will try harder this week and see what I’m doing that I can improve on. I will try to look at the positive and never get discouraged. I really like some of the counsel that President Callan gave me in my last interview. Try to improve the things that we have control over. He brought up the example of Noah and how he only saved his own family but that he considered him to be very successful. But speaking of Noah, God promised him blessings for his faithfulness and reminded him of his promise by "placing the bow in the sky." Yesterday was probably one of the worst rain storms I’ve seen here in Paraguay, but after, I saw probably the most beautiful rainbow I have ever seen. It touched on both ends and you could see the complete rainbow. It was so bright and beautiful. Although it may sound cheesy or cliche, the clear skies really do come after the storm, light after the darkness, blessings after the opposition and trials, and rainbows after the rain. I will send the picture of it next week :). I know also that God will send us blessings for the opposition and trials that I am facing now in the mission.
All my love to you all! Have a wonderful week!

Thursday, March 11, 2010

New Companion, but familiar face!

Hello familia!! It has been a great week here in good old Paraguay. We traveled again at 3 in the morning yesterday and made it to Asunción with the other elders. It was sad to see Hermana Redmond go. She was a great missionary and wonderful friend. I learned so much from her and she worked right up until the very end. There honestly was no "trunkieness." I’m very proud of her. But you will never guess who my new companion is...Hermana Plessl!! She was my comp from the MTC! Oh my word I am so excited! It seriously is going to be so wonderful to be together again. The Lord has blessed me with such great companions and areas here in the mission, I have no idea how I get so lucky! Yesterday we got home at like 11:30, ate lunch and then went out again until 9pm. It was a long day and I am looking forward to a long nap after this. I am so grateful for Hermana Plessl´s cheerfulness and positive attitude. It will be a great time together and I’m assuming we’ll have at least 2 changes together. ¡Que gusto!
This week honestly hasn’t been too eventful. I’m trying to make sure I know our area. Its a little tough because our area is huge and there are basically no street names or the streets have like 3 names. The addresses are " the blue house made out of wood with the mango tree in front of it." Too bad ALL the houses have mango trees. haha. But it has been a miracle to see how heavenly father has blessed us to find people again and visit them in their homes. Yesterday went well and I am very grateful for that.
The changes were really fun yesterday. I saw Hermana Jara and she is doing great! I promised her that we would go to Machu Pichu together some day, so I am planning on that. She is so funny and doing really well. She and the Elders told me that Amambay is doing great and that José’s sister’s baptism was wonderful and that basically the whole world was there. I think it really lifted the moral of the ward. I still haven’t gotten my little package from José but I should be getting it soon. I also saw Elders Lowe and Petersen from the MTC and they seem to be doing great. I was happy to see that. Oh! And I forgot to mention that I finally saw Elder Bowers and Elder Velluto from high school. It was so much fun to talk to them.
Well, I am in the middle of writing all of you personal little letters and getting a CD ready to send for next Tuesday. Sorry that I am kind of short on words and on time. I love you all immensely though and will talk to you soon!!!

All my love,


Wednesday, March 3, 2010

I Love To See The Temple

It has been quite an eventful week here in Oviedo! We have been all over the map. We didn’t get a p-day this week because we went to the temple all day yesterday, but we got permission to do our email. Sorry for not writing on Monday! They didn’t let us know until last minute.
I just barely got all your letters and I received the 2 packages. Thank you so much mom and Aunt Sheri!
So, Ciudad del Este was really fun. We woke up at 2am to take a bus at 3am. We got there at like 6:30-7:00 am and ate breakfast at a grocery store. The conference was so great! We talked a lot about being better teachers of the gospel. I learned a ton and we practiced teaching a lot. As always, there are so many things that I take away from the conferences that I can apply here in my area. We left at about 4:30pm for the terminal and got back on the bus at 6:00pm. It was a long day, but we got home and went to bed around ten thirty.
The work here has been going well. It’s always a little hard to lose a day but we had two investigators in church this week and are still working really hard with this family. We taught them do a companionship inventory with each other and it was very interesting but actually helped a ton! I never thought I would have to play the role of a marriage counselor (haha), but it has been an incredible learning experience. Oh yeah, did I tell you the three sisters got baptized? They wrote me letters and I was so happy for them.
Yesterday we got to go to the temple. ¡Por fin! ¡Que alegría! We had to take the bus at 4:00am this time and then took pictures outside of the temple and waited for our session to start. Wow, it was just amazing. It really put things in perspective for me again about what the eternal goal is of our work here as members and missionaries. I love it! At the end, Herman Redmond and I got to sit and ponder for a while after everyone left. I have never felt so much happiness in my life. The first thing that I thought about was that I was so grateful for our eternal family and that we have been sealed together forever by the proper Priesthood authority.

Have a wonderful week and thanks for everything!!!!