It was great to speak with you! Despite all of the phone lines and mess, we managed it. Yeah! That´s awesome to hear about Ruben and the new member in the ward family - Martin, and about the baking adventures. Oh... baked goods. How I love them... ;) haha.
Well... what do I say? This is the last letter. AH!!!!!!!!! Not cool. But I am readyyyyyyyy to go to work! :D. We´ve got lots of plans Monday and Tuesday to go find those people who are waiting to hear the restored Gospel of Jesus Christ. Yeah! Our investigator situation as of right now is basically the same, trying to find those people are who looking to know the truth. Lots of funny stories though... they´ll have to wait ´til home. Sorry! I was thinking about what I was going to say today, and I decided that I would write my testimony. Qué le parece?
The mission has been an absolutely amazing experience. I have learned SO MUCH! I have seen many changes in the lives of those I have been able to serve and in my own life. It really is true the saying, losing yourself in the service of others brings to pass miracles in your own life. The times I most changed were those times I spent of all my energy, focus and time on serving those around me. Be it my companion, the members, investigators or random people in the street. Another saying I grew to appreciate, people don´t care how much you know until they know how much you care. Charity and love is such an important part of life. Really, without it, life is kind of self-centered and dull. Missionary work without charity is just about impossible. Reaching the Celestial Kingdom without it IS impossible. I´ve learned so much about what love can do for other people and their progression towards eternal life. And then, I grew to love these people from the bottom of my heart, being happy with their progression and positive changes in their lives, and more determined to help them when they are going through hard times. I have learned a lot about mercy and justice. Truly, justice does not work without mercy, and mercy without justice does not work. If I were completely just and not merciful, where is the love I have for others? Where is the charity? If I were completely merciful and not just, what does that say about the laws of God and the importance of keeping the commandments and that no unclean thing can enter into the kingdom of Heaven? Thankfully, the answer is Jesus Christ. He suffered the price for all sins. For all pains. For all sickness. And through Him, the only Mediator between us and the Father, all He requires of us is to keep the commandments and to repent of our sins. Heavenly Father is perfectly just, yet perfectly merciful, because our Savior and Redeemer. Repentance really is a merciful gift from the Father, as He allows us to change and become more like His Son every day. Having faith in with the promise of forgiveness allows us to freely repent and to trust in our Lord and Savior. Baptism and receiving the gift of the Holy Ghost are also requirements. And enduring to the end, faithfully and joyfully, allows us to become like our Heavenly Father and His Son, Jesus Christ. I personally know that our Heavenly Father knows each and every one of us. That He loves us. That He has hope for us. And through His Son, we can live with Him again. The Book of Mormon is a powerful testament of these truths. It truly is the word of God and is another testament of Christ. The Church of Jesus Christ, His church, was restored by the prophet Joseph Smith. He was called and ordained of God. Christ is our Savior, and by His stripes, we are healed. Even though our sins be as scarlet, they can as white as snow. By His grace, He gives us mercy. By His justice, He requires our hearts and minds dedicated to live His gospel and keeping His commandments. Of this I know. With surety, without doubt. And all who desire can know the truth. Just seek, and you shall find. Knock and it shall be opened. Have faith, trust in the Lord, and let the Lord change your life. It is possible because it happened to me!
Well, that was long. MERRY CHRISTMAS TO ALL! And I will be home by NEW YEARS! :D
Cool week! That is so exciting! I am glad that everything is going well for you all! Man... I remember the day Alec left... whoa... time flies by!! Gotta love every minute of it. :) So you are officially in winter break mom? I suppose so. I would imagine with this Sunday being Christmas. I am honestly so confused as to how States life is. I am going to have a culture shock coming back... hahaha... awesome! Baptism in the ward! I am willing to help the missionaries out teaching lessons if they want! It´ll be awesome!!!!!!! :) Especially if they are teaching in Piru. Let´s do it! :) Oh... Dad always knows what he is talking about. Much to my chagrin... ;).
This week... hmm. Well, we have been working with several new investigators trying to help them progress and receive the blessings that the Lord is offering them. A lot of talking in the street and meeting new people, but the Lord has prepared these people to receive the restored Gospel. We have a new ward mission leader, and he is super excited to do the work! He is so pumped up! It´s awesome to see his excitement and his ideas and advice to help bring more people to Christ. This Thursday we had an End of the Year ward party, and the ward asked us to put on a skit thing. It´s hard to explain, but we were ´mini´ missionaries, I being the new missionary and Elder Clement the trainer, which was a lot of fun!! I have to get the video from him... I couldn´t get it on my camera. But it was quite enjoyable. So this week is going to be a building up week so that we can have some strong progressing investigators that can be baptized in January. Kewl!
Well, MERRY CHRISTMAS to everyone, enjoy the wonderful time of the year that we have to worship the birth of our Savior, and to spend the time with the family. It is a wonderful time of the year and should be treasured! Talk to you SUNDAY!! Love you!!
Whoaaaaaaaaaaaaaa it´s already December 12th. Crazy... time flies doesn´t it? I think by the time we get home everything in the house will be replaced or different... hahahaha... ;). Just giving you a bad time. Trunky... no time to be trunky. I am still showing my companion around the area, although he has picked up quite a bit for being here a week and a half. I also have another missionary companionship I need to work with and their area, so busy busy busy. Wow... Alec is already back. Ruben and Alex are getting home too. Paul got his call!!!!!!!!! Sweet jacks! Going to Mexico! Yeah! If I had anything to say, the new missionary (Elder Rodriguez?) would be going. 5 months is a long time in your first area. Just my thoughts.
Well... the work is going!! We are working hard trying to find the chosen and elect people who are ready to accept the Gospel of Jesus Christ. We´ve been seeing many ups and downs, but gotta keep pressing on. Gotta keep moving. It´s hard work, but that´s the way the missionary work is. I don´t know what else to say. We are still working with Martirez and his family. The kids are reading and loving the Book of Mormon. Our other family we´ve been working with, are doing good. They all came to church on Sunday ) the dad is an ex missionary). The only problem is that Daniela, the wife, is moving with the kids next week, so the missionaries will have to keep working with her down there. We´ve been trying to find a lot of new investigators, so the work keeps moving on. Y... así es. And that´s the way the cookie crumbles. The mission is focusing on finishing the year strong, so we are going to do our part and work work work. Yesterday the stake had an activity for youth wanting to leave on the mission so we were invited to share a bit with them and our experiences. That was fun.
Well... I don´t have much to say this week. Sorry! I hope everything keeps going well! I love you all! TAKE CARE!!!
WHOA! It is so weird being in the city... everyone is up to date (as much as you can be here). Last year I didn´t really hear or see too much American Christmas influence, but here in Cidade del Este, there is a ton! Super weird... I was with my new comp, Elder Tilleman, in the market and heard a bunch of Christmas music... weird... but anyway. That sounds like everything is going great for you all! Time is flying by pretty quickly huh? Cottage cheese... I forgot that existed. And sour cream... whoa. Way to go super tech mom! You are learning! Yeah!! :D Guacamole... Salsa Mexicana... whoa... you are blowing my mind... hahaha. Cool the Christmas party! Our end of year party for the ward is the 15th... there is going to be a talent show and we´ve been invited to do a skit, we the 4 missionaries. Hmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmm. What can we do? Hehehe...Well, I guess I will get started.
Well, like I said, I have a new companion! He is from Phoenix, Arizona, and has been in the mission for 6 months. He speaks really well for his time, and is starting to pick up Guaraní. Something I´ve forgotten a lot of, but it´s fun learning it again with him. I am his third companion, and Ciudad del Este is his 2nd area. And I am not a Zone Leader anymore, so I´m NOT IN ASUNCION!!! YEAH!!! That was pretty exciting news... not having to travel last night. Always such a bother. Traveling on the omnibus isn´t so much fun being tall... it´s hard to sleep. Oh, Elder Tilleman is taller than me (6´4´´ ish) super weird. My tallest companion by far. I feel little walking with him. I really miss Elder Eddy, he was a ton of fun to be with. We worked well together and had the same vision, which makes the difference in a companionship. We are working with Martirez and his kids, they are super awesome. We taught them the Sabbath Day last night and I really enjoy seeing their faith and growth. They have a baptismal date for the end of the month, but I would love for them to be baptized the weekend before on Christmas Eve. I can see it happening! We´ve got a lot of new investigators that we are working with, so we will see how they progress. I am just super excited to work with Martirez and with the members so that we can make the change in their family and see that great big smile that comes from a new understanding of the restored gospel of Jesus Christ. Love it!
Well, life is going good. We are working hard. I am always learning a lot. It´s hot but not too hot yet. The heat should be cranking up in these next few days and weeks. Gotta love the summer!!!!!!!!!!!!! Anyway, questions comments concerns? Jokes? I am all ears! Love you mean it let’s do lunch. Keep working hard! I love being a missionary! That´s the way to be! Take care of yourselves!!!!!!!!! CHAU!!!!
How´s it going? It sounds like you had a great thanksgiving week! That is awesome! So I guess the new back door is made out of steel then? I guess I will have to be careful in not getting my hand stuck in there when it slams shuts. That wouldn´t be fun at all. Not a bit. Got to keep working hard at surfing! You can do it! . That`s great you went to go visit Brandon. I am sure he enjoyed the company. We had a good week, so I`ll get started.
Well... on Wednesday we had our zone conference. It was a really good experience. It helped me learn and realize things I need to work, both as a missionary and a as a person. We had many examples that were rather enjoyable (no rules, what do we do, rules, basketball, golf clubs - you can carry 14 with you, who needs 14? Really??, use everything available, situations of being obedient, stuff like that). It broke the routine of what we normally do in zone conferences so it was a really nice change. Elder Eddy also had his final interview with President Callan after the zone conference. Whoa!!! My second companion who has finished his mission with me. It is quite the experience, let me tell you. I have learned a ton in these 4 months with Elder Eddy, and putting them in practice will help me a lot. The beginning of the week was pretty rough with our investigators... everyone just seemed to lose interest and not want to make changes in their lives. But, the end of the week was really good! We had an awesome lesson with Craig and Daniela, the return missionary and his wife from Argentina, where she expressed some of her doubts and was able to resolve some of them by herself on the spot. Pretty cool! It is a process still, but I have faith that she will be baptized! On Saturday, we went to go to talk to a man that´s a friend of a member who is a single father with 6 kids, ages 13 12 10 8 6 3, and works from 12 - 9 every afternoon except for Sundays. He, Martirez, was really receptive and is an awesome guy! His kids are pretty cool too! It was a big find for us, so we will be working hard with him so that he progresses and comes to church next week. Saturday night, the other missionaries from our ward had a baptism of a 24 year old guy, Victor, and he shared his testimony after his baptism. He´s got a strong testimony. It was cool to hear about his progress and where he is at now.
I still don´t know the changes, but I will be staying here. It makes me happy to be here with the members and having yet another opportunity to find those people waiting to hear the restored gospel of Jesus Christ.
Well, it sounds like you had a great week! That is awesome! I did have Bill Garfield as a sub before. That is sad to hear that he passed away.
Being busy is good... better than having nothing to do!!! :D.
This week was all right. We´ve had to drop a few of our investigators because they weren´t progressing. That´s always a little hard to do, especially when they are very good people. That´s life though. We have to make changes if we hope to become better. We did find a family this week that has been going through some tough times. The mom had some experiences with the church when she was a youth and has desires to change. Her kids are pretty funny... every one of them has a nickname for around the house. The oldest kid, Marcos, is 16 plays the guitar really well and sings. He is in a youth group type of thing where they have a band that plays religious music. He played a song at the end of a lesson that was pretty cool to listen to. They are all super good people so we are going to help them progress!! We also were working with a couple, Craig and Daniela. Craig is a return missionary from the 90´s and his wife is from Argentina who has known the church for a very long time. They have been coming to church, and their little girls participated in the primary presentation the other week. They are progressing little by little, so we will see where that comes out to. Another member from who lived in San Lorenzo brought his girlfriend (who is a lawyer!!) to church and she is interested in the church. Currently she is living in another area but she will be moving this week. Hopefully she will progress too! That´s all that we´ve got for now... but this week should be a good one. And yes, it is raining here. But that´s nothing new... it´s been raining every weekend for the past month, except yesterday. Which was nice. But yeah, we are working, and hopefully everything will come out the way we planned!
Thank you for your love and support. It means a lot for me. Take care of yourselves! I LOVE YOU!!!
First off... HAPPY BIRTHDAY!!! I didn´t forget, and I have it written in my agenda if you don´t believe me. ;). And for your birthday, like Dad´s last year... BAPTISM! Yeah! ;) What luck, huh?? Good news around the board it sounds like... I do remember you saying something about Elder Sessions a while ago... I think when I trained. Around then. Pig Latin... please no. English is hard enough. Hahaha. The paper letter? It should arrive in time (1 month´s time) and that would be cool to get right before Christmas. Digamos a christmas present. ... Digamos would be.... let´s say? Something like that. Kewl... 14 hours of school. It works.
Alrighty. This week. Hard, but good. BAPTISM!!!! Yeah!! Finally!!!! But we did receive some rather strange news on Wednesday... Blanca, the lady who was going to be baptized, was told by her older son who is 21 that they had been baptized about 12 years ago in Ca´aguazu (Where I started). She didn´t remember anything, but we sent off her information in search of the truth. Lots of calls between the office, the missionaries in Ca´aguazu, and finally an email to Buenos Aires confirmed that she is a member, on Friday morning. CRAZY!!!! That drove us both up the wall because we had to figure out stuff for her interview, the baptism that weekend, but in the end, everything came out really well. Her son, Hugo, got baptized and was SUPER EXCITED! Elder Eddy baptized him and it went really well. Hugo even participated in the Primary program this Sunday, and did a great job! It is so cool to see his energy and excitement, and that his mom has a new growing testimony with which we are going to baptize her other son who isn´t a member and work with the oldest son and his girlfriend. Yeah! Rain threatened to postpone everything, but with the help of members and their cars (WHAT A BLESSING IT IS TO HAVE A CAR!!!!!) everything came out really well. We also had a big scare on Wednesday, the second counselor and the Bishop had a motorcycle accident, the 2nd counselor is a motorcycle taxi driver, and as they were approaching the Bishop´s house and turning the corner, another motorcycle slammed into them at full speed from behind. Luckily, they both were wearing their helmets and nobody was hurt really bad. Even the kid who crashed (and wasn´t wearing a helmet) came out of it all right... it will take a while for him to get back on his feet though. We found out when the 2nd counselor got home with his beat up bike and pretty torn up clothing... so after giving him a blessing, we went to the Bishop´s house the next day and gave him a blessing too. Motorcycles are insane... but everything came out alright. What a blessing. We are still working hard and trying our best. Life is good, and that´s the way the cookie crumbles.
Well... that´s about it. Happy happy birthday, have a great week. I love you. Thank you for EVERYTHING!!! Please please take care of yourselves. LOVE YOU!!!
Awesome week! I am not going to lie, did not miss Halloween. I can´t imagine trying to proselyte that day. Crazy stuff. Thank you for the pictures! They are great! I will ask President if I can send Jake a quick email every now and then. He did tell us only immediate family members, but who knows. I am going to have to type quickly today, so excuse the errors!
This week was good! We are finally having a baptism this weekend!!! Yeah!! The first one in about five months... give or take. In Paraguay, as we are constantly told... that is a long time to go without baptizing someone. But she is a single mom with a 9-year-old son, and they are great! She went to church in Caaguazú a while back, but she is doing great now. We are pumped for their baptism this weekend. We are teaching the mom of a somewhat recent convert who is from Brazil, and I cannot tell you how nice it is to be able to teach someone who understands completely what we say and read. It´s hard sometimes, well a lot of times, because of the illiteracy level here, to read scriptures and have people understand. We have to simplify many things we teach, leaving out more detailed stuff, and then going back to reteach the same lessons but going into more depth. But Rosane, she immediately can read, understand and apply. She understands Spanish, even though she is from Brazil, which is awesome. The Guarani language barrier here can be really tough at times, but luckily here in Ciudad del Este we don´t have to face that too much. We had some other investigators drop this week due to the father and his decision that we can´t come by anymore, and that was hard. The area they live in is pretty sketchy, but it is always hard to leave those people that are accepting of the restored gospel. The trip to Asuncion was really really tiring, but that´s the way it is. We had breakfast burritos this week!!! Yeah! Elder Eddy and I made them twice, once with the Bishop´s family and today... so good!!!!!! I am really enjoying being a missionary and loving life here in Paraguay!!
Thank you for all of your support and love!! Please keep up the hard work! I love you!!!
Cool beans! Thanks so much for all of your hard work! The schedule looks good. I´m not going to worry about it too much and focus on the mission. It sounds like your week was pretty awesome! 5-5-5? It is a plan that works with Ward Council. I guess we will have to share with you all about that later!
Well, news. I am in Asunción today, and will be traveling back. We had our monthly meeting... so 12 hours of travel. Fun stuff! It gives you a LOT of time to think about investigators and how to help them out. And also to catch up on some lost sleep, leaving at midnight and getting back at midnight. But all is good that ends good. Or however it goes. The meeting we had today was pretty good. We talked a lot about the doctrine of Christ and how applying it to our personal lives will bring about a change in the lives of our investigators. We basically analyzed 2 Nephi 31 and it is amazing how clear the scriptures teach us. To sum it up in a phrase, I believe that the Doctrine of Christ is to completely submit our will to the Father´s will, being obedient to His commandments. The scriptures teach us to be humble, following the example of our Lord and Savior, Jesus Christ, and the importance of repentance and persevering until the end. Elder Eddy and I were talking and we figured out that attending church is part of the repentance process and unless one does, he cannot repent. Also, repentance is incomplete with the baptism of water and of fire, or in other words, being baptized by immersion and receiving the gift of the Holy Ghost. It is pretty cool! President Callan explained to us that faith is basically our feelings towards God, and our willingness to do what He asks of us. Hope is how we feel about our personal salvation and our outlook towards life. With faith and hope, we can have charity which will allow us to have the pure love of Christ.
This week was pretty good! We have a mom and her son preparing for the 12th! They went to church this weekend! It was great! She is preparing a family home evening this week to teach us. Cool! We are starting to have success, and I need to keep having the faith and hope that the Lord will guide us to the people prepared to receive the Restored Gospel. I am so grateful for the atonement and the chance to repent and come unto our Savior.
Love you all! Sorry for the short email... Take care of yourselves!!!!
Elder David Watson
P.S. DearElder takes about 2 weeks. Love you!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!
Thanks for everything! I truly do love you for everything you do! It sounds like you are all having lots of fun! That´s great! I am sure that life is a lot different without two munchkins to take care of, but after a couple of years it seems like you´ve got the hang of it. :) Cool!
Sorry about not sending the letter last week... the power ran out on me. ARGH! So I will finish and keep adding on for this week.
Sweet! Dad’s a pie eating contest winner! I will HAVE to see that!! REALLY DO!!! Working hard at keeping the faith and Helping others to do the same. LOVE YOU!!
Well... changes are this week, but I am staying! Elder Eddy is staying too, so I will be here for the next few months... unless something weird happens. Elder Eddy will be finishing up this change. HOW WEIRD!!! Time flies by so fast. Don´t like it. This week was pretty good! We found a lady who went to church in Ca´aguazu about 10 years ago but has a renewed interest in the church. She has a baptismal date for the 12th of November! Yeah! She is really great and understands everything that we are teaching her. Did I tell you that some Elders in my zone found the very first person I baptized here in Paraguay? The missionaries out there in Presidente Franco are working with her and her son to become active again in the church. We went to go see Saltos de Monday last Monday, and it was great! But I don´t have any pictures because I forgot my camera and Elder Eddy accidentally erased many of his pictures. He was pretty unhappy about it, but he´s making up for it by taking a lot of pictures......
This week, we´ve been working pretty hard! The heat is starting to kick up, but that is expected. We are continuing to work with that family and helping them get ready to receive the ordinances of baptism on the 12th. We also were able to start meeting with a less active convert and her family, who are her mother and some other family members. The mom is Brazilian but is super smart! She has taken a liking to the lessons and the church, and we are seeing a lot of progress. She has a lot of faith and has decided that she needs a big change in her life. Which is amazing because that is what the Gospel of Jesus Christ offers! We are also working with a mother and her two kids (the dad is pretty standoffish at this point) and they should be able to go to church this week. The son had some mandatory classes that he had to take every Sunday and his mother had to accompany him, but that ends this Thursday and they should be ready to hit the ground running! We have been visiting them for about a month, month and half now, they love the Book of Mormon and are excited to go to church! We finally had the chance to chat a little with the dad, but he´ll soften up. He´s a good guy! We also were talking with a few families down in a part called San Rafael, and managed to find a pretty good family! The father had a stroke 7 years ago and is bed ridden, hardly conscious, but his wife and kids are listening and have taken a great interest in the Plan of Salvation. Ciudad del Este is different than the rest of Paraguay, as is every part, but we are finally get the hang of teaching the people here and learning how to satisfy their needs with the Gospel of Jesus Christ.
I love being a missionary! It is amazing! I enjoy every minute of being able to share the restored gospel of Jesus Christ and helping people to understand the Plan of Salvation and how it can benefit their lives. It is amazing to see the hand of the Lord in His work and being able to be a part of it.
Thank you so much! I love you for everything and am so grateful! Take care of yourselves!
Sounds like a fun week! Wow... Sadie would be about 10 by now... right? Essh... how time flies. Way to go Dad! That makes me really excited!!! I am really happy to hear about your progress! I know that has been something that had been bugging you for a long time, and it makes me happy to know that your health is getting better! Gotta love it!!! What do you mean Mom... not too shabby? You are probably doing pretty good! :)
Well... life here on the east end of town is going great! We are finding some really good people to teach. We are working hard to find families that are ready to receive the restored Gospel. We did divisions this week and I went out to Presidente Franco with Elder Beatty, a missionary that is in his 2nd transfer here in Paraguay. Wow... he speaks super well and teaches pretty well! We had a really good time together and I learned a lot. We had some good discussions about gospel principles and doctrine, motivations and the blessings of keeping the commandments. It really surprises me still all the stuff I learn from the new Elders getting here... they are so prepared! It really is true that every coming generation of youth is getting better and better. It was fun to talk to him because he also knows Jake Watson, he ran track with him at UVU. We had an investigator, Ismael, come to church these past two weeks, and we are working pretty hard with him. He is a father of two kids and is a mechanic. He really thinks a lot about everything we have taught and contemplates it. We are happy to see his progress. All in all, I love being a missionary! Even in the hard times, the blessings of the Lord are amazing. :)
Sorry for the short letter this week... we are running out to Monday Falls (Saltos de Monday) later today and have to get everything ready. I love you all so much! Say hi to everyone for me!
HEY! What a weekend! Just so you know, I LOVE CONFERENCE!!!! It was super inspiring. I loved it. It sounds like you had a fun filled week. That is super cool. Sounds like Dad has a new hobby... uh oh. Should be interesting!!! ;)
Well... this week was really good. We found a really great family! They were members of another church, but due to some circumstance their church sort of fell apart. They are in the process of looking for another church, so we came in at a great time. They are attending another church at the moment, but don´t quite like it. The wife just had an operation so she has lots of time to read... she has read a couple of the pamphlets that we have left and parts of the Book of Mormon. They both really like what they are learning, but I feel the Guaraní language barrier might slow things down with the father. He speaks all right in Spanish and understands most of what we say, but this is a case where we really need the members to come in with their special Guarani skills. I can only get so far with ´How are you?´ and ´How old are you?´ and ´Where do you live?´ hahaha. It´s a fun language but HARD, but I am learning a bit. I have been learning a bit of Portuguese too while I have been here in Ciudad del Este. I am still trying to focus mainly on Spanish though, as it is the language of the mission and will do me the most good here. We are also working with a small family out by a family we recently found and are working with them to progress. It is awesome seeing the people learn about the Gospel and start to change their lives.
I loved conference!! Especially the talks of Elder Packer, Elder Holland, Elder Christofferson and Presidente Uchtdorf´s in the Saturday Afternoon session. I took some good notes, so now it is time to apply what we have learned. Pres. Uchtdorf said in a past conference, "Let us change our ´Do it ´switch to the ´Now´ position" so no time to waste!! I felt that there was a specific urgency when the prophet and the apostles spoke to move forward, look up, wait upòn the Lord and to always have the Spirit to be with us. Doing these things can give us the peace and hope that we need in an ever changing world. I love how our Heavenly Father is constant in an evolving world and so that we can always rely upon Him to protect and to bless us with the inspiration and revelation we need to press forward. These men are really inspired of God and have His authority to be apostles and prophets in these days. It is amazing to see the love of God expressed in the consejos (umm counsels?) that they have given us to apply to our lives to live within the boundaries that God has set up for us. Let us never take ourselves out of these boundaries and expose our weak selves to the temptations and evils of the devil. For I know that man is nothing, but through Him, Jesus Christ, who saved us and died for us, all things are possible. We have the divine ability to exercise our agency to become perfect through repentance and keeping the commandments of God. It is a perfect plan that has no flaws, and if we keep to it, I know that we shall always have the peace and happiness of knowing that God is on our side, and there is no need to fear.
I am so grateful for you guys and everything you do for me! Thank you thank you thank you, and may God bless you!
This week... fun stuff! That is so cool that Dad wants to go surfing again! It´ll be fun to go surfing with him. Pool party!! Fun stuff! Sounds like you all had a blast with that. I remember having done that. It was always a lot of fun. Somehow you always have to find fun stuff for the youth.
You know what? In our meeting today (I am in Asuncion for today and tomorrow) we talked about Sister Vero Martinez going on her mission. It so awesome to see how people progress!!! Got to love it.
Good work getting the morning glory... that´s hard stuff! ;).
It sounds like the ward is progressing!! That is awesome! I can´t wait to go back and speak in ALL Spanish... hehehe... :).
Well, we had divisions with the assistants this week. We found a lot of potential investigators so we will see where that all goes. I am super excited to be here in Ciudad del Este. It is one of the hardest areas I have been in to find people who progress to teach, but one of the most rewarding. I really do enjoy being here and teaching the people the Plan of Salvation.
Yesterday was Elder Eddy´s birthday, so that was fun. He gave a really good talk about the Book of Mormon! What we have is SO valuable to the people. We were talking one day, Elder Eddy and I, about what would it be like to not have the gospel knowledge that we have. I wouldn´t have a purpose in life. I´d be lost! Really, I would! What would I have to look forward to? Work, maybe having a family some day, college parties, not so great hobbies that many young adults find themselves in. There wouldn´t be any path to walk! It´s like Alice in Wonderland... if we have no idea where we want to be, it doesn´t matter what road you take. Something like that. I mean, if I didn´t know that God loved me; I would have no motivation to keep the commandments. If I didn´t know if there was life after death, I would feel pointless working so hard to raise a family. If I didn´t know that there are consequences for sins, I would have no reason not to. But this is what I do know. That Christ is our Savior, that He loves us in his infinite mercy and charity. That God is our Heavenly Father, that He desires our Salvation and wants to bless us. That there is a plan in life, that God is Just yet Merciful at the same time. That there is a purpose to my life. That there are so many blessings, temporal and spiritual of keeping the commandments. I stand all amazed at the love Jesus offers me, and really the fact that I can live with my Heavenly Father again. I love being a missionary, I love being here in Paraguay. It isn´t easy, but what is easy and still worth it? NADA!!
I love you all! I am out of time. Take care of yourselves! A BIG HUG!!
First off, Mom... I said less than 138... hehehehehe... but I hadn´t taken the time to count exactly... ;). But anyway, it doesn´t look like I will have to count because you are already doing it. I am waiting also to hear the travel plans... as for me and my part, I won´t know until the very last few weeks. You should be receiving as well an email about the official plans. Yo no sé. No idea...
Well, this week was super fun. We had a blast! It was one of our investigator´s birthdays, so we got the members involved and had a little birthday party. It was super `fun and she really liked it. One of our investigators moved to Buenos Aires, but we are still teaching his girlfriend here. She is pretty sincere! We had our part member family come to church again this week, so that was really awesome! She is progressing, and we just need to help her gain a testimony of the Book of Mormon and look towards the temple. What else happened this week? Not much, we are helping our investigators progress, and we are in the process of finding more investigators. Opening up an area is kind of difficult, but worth the pain. Opening up Acahay was a lot easier to find people to teach, but here we are seeing a lot more progression with the investigators. We are really focusing on the Book of Mormon and sharing it with the investigators. I know it is the word of God, and it is another testament of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ. It has helped me to change my life and it will change the life of anyone who reads it with an open heart.
Surfing? Dad went surfing? I want to surf!!! That´s cool... better learn fast and before I get home because that´s on my to do list. ;). Sorry for the short letter, I really do love you all. I am grateful to be here and learning so much and being able to help the people of Paraguay come closer to our loving Heavenly Father. LOVE YOU ALL!!!
I didn´t forget yesterday either. It wasn´t big here at all... no one mentioned anything about it to us. But we won´t forget, and it is another day to reflect on how great being an American really is and how many blessings we are afforded living there, being the government, schooling, work, life style, anything. It really is a big blessing to live there. It sounds like you had a rather nice week without too much going on, if I read it right. That´s great! I am bummed to hear that the other Elder Watson got a change, but at least he is CLOSER! I like that! Being moved from area to area isn´t fun, but that´s what I will probably be doing in a month. Maybe I will stay here, but I don´t know. I would like to, to a point, but really the Lord`s will is what matters, not mine. So whatever happens happens.
This week was pretty awesome! We had 3 investigators in church this week - progression! We are finding lots of great people and the area is starting to move forward! We have a baptism planned for the 1st, so EXCITED! It´s a 20-year-old young woman with her little brother that came to church yesterday. They loved it, and the members did an awesome job helping them feel welcome. It is such a big difference. We also had another family come to church where the wife is not a member yet, and it put the biggest smile on my face. We have been working with them for a month or so, and seeing them there in church made me so happy. Seeing the dad, the mom, and their two little girls sitting there in Sacrament Meeting just made my day. Like my friend Elder Abe Wilson (he´s in the Toronto Canada mission) said, I never really cared before who came to church as in investigators, to a degree, but now the simple fact that a loved brother or sister came to church just completely makes me happy. IT´S awesome. They are so awesome! She works almost all day, and goes to night school to finish high school, but seeing her face brighten with the gospel of Jesus Christ and her understanding of the plan of Salvation is better than anything else. You can literally see a difference in the faces of the people who want to learn and grow closer to our Father in Heaven. It is awesome!! I love it. We have been working a lot with a couple of less active members and it is amazing seeing the testimonies grow and see them share the blessings they have received in their life with everyone around them. It is jaw dropping to feel the love of our Heavenly Father in my life and to see how it really does affect every aspect of the lives of our investigators and those we teach the restored gospel to. There really is nothing better than feeling the Holy Ghost testify of the truth, and feeling life´s burdens and weight being lifted from our shoulders. There is nothing like receiving an answer from our Father in Heaven that this is the path we need to take, and that what we are learning is the truth. It is amazing to share the gospel with others and feel the Holy Ghost testify of the truths that I have known all of my life and see how those truths shape the lives of the people. The Plan of Salvation really is perfect and there is nothing that could replace it. There is no other way someone can more perfectly describe the purpose of our life here, why things happen, what we are supposed to do with our lives while we are here, and all for what end. The Plan of Salvation fits better than putting puzzles pieces together. There is just nothing that can really replace it. We have a purpose, and God loves us, and he allows to progress, learn, and to become better. Everyone falls, but he who doesn´t fall can´t learn to pick himself back up. And if he doesn´t pick himself up, he can´t feel the exhilaration of being able to run. It´s so true, just take a minute to look at life. God exists, and He has given us a Way to walk. Just take it!
Well, I have got to go. I love you all so much. Take care of yourselves. I´ve got to use these last few precious months to the fullest! I love being a missionary!! :D
Well oh well... what a week! I am glad to hear that she (Sister Mink) is resting from her pains and troubles. I have seen too many people suffering from illnesses and pains that I can imagine how nice it will be to finally rest from all of our cares and worries in the Spirit World, well, that is if ya go to Paradise. :)
Ray and Erin? Yeah!!! That is so awesome!!!!!!!!!!!! I wish I could have been there to see the smiles on their faces. TOO COOL!
And Sister Vero Martinez!! Muito legal! Eu falou muito poco portugues, quero aprender mais pra falar melhor. Happy day!
News from changes - nothing! I get to stay another change! Woo hoo! I love it here in Ciudad del Este. The ward here is great! There are so many families here that are awesome! The members here have some strong testimonies and it is such a relief to see a ward that functions well here in Paraguay! We are starting to work better with the members and we are finding some great investigators. We are teaching the mom of Javier Melgarejo, who we were able to reactivate and she has made so much progress! It is amazing to see the difference that the gospel is making in her life. She is going through lots of sicknesses and pains, but it is such a joy to see the hope that the Gospel of Jesus Christ gives to people. We are also teaching some nice little families and we are super excited to see their progress. It has been a little hard starting up this area from nothing, but we are starting to see the fruits of our efforts. It is so different working here in Downtown and the areas round about. It is a different lifestyle, but the Gospel is still so important that everyone needs to hear it! There are lots and lots of Middle Easterners, Asians, and Brazilians here, but the diversity makes it fun. Slowly we are finding the less active families and it is so cool to see them start to make changes in their lives. We found a little family here downtown, where the husband is a less active and his wife isn´t a member, but they are awesome! We are going to be working really hard with them to get them to come back to church (she knows a ton about the church and knows the missionaries VERY well) so that she can be baptized. I really enjoy working here with Elder Eddy, we are working in a different manner than I have in my whole mission, but we are seeing better results. He`s helping me a lot to keep progressing and growing. We are super excited to keep working together here in CdE and edify the Church! :)
I am super happy to hear that everything is going great back home. Don`t get into too much trouble... although I believe I would have liked taking apart the laptop too. Hahaha. Tell everyone I say HI and give them a GREAT BIG HUG! I miss you all, but I am so so glad to be a servant of the Lord and preaching the restored Gospel of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ. It saddens me that time is starting to come to an end, but I am going to make to most out of it and bring back some stray sheep to the fold!
Well, that was the reason I didn’t get the email last week! Pictures make the email slow. Oh well. I still got to read it! You are absolutely right - I am so grateful for the Plan of Salvation! It really gives us a peace and strength to know what we need to do in this life in order to prepare for what happens after death. It helps us to know that families can be forever, and that the death does not separate the family - what a blessing it is to know that.
This week has been awesome and super busy! We were getting things ready for this week and for the conference with President Arnold! It was an amazing conference! I felt the spirit so much!!! We learned a lot about having the spirit always with us, becoming more like Jesus Christ and working with the members. I had the privilege of having an interview with President Arnold - I know personally that he has been called of God and that he does have the authority to be one of Christ`s witnesses as a seventy. It was an amazing and spiritual experience. I learned a ton and I know I have to keep making changes in my life and as a missionary. It was awesome to see that everything Elder Eddy and I have been trying to do in our area is exactly what we learned about in the conference! It helps me to know that I have the authority of our Lord and Savior to be a missionary here and to help the people of Paraguay come closer to our Redeemer and to make the changes in their lives and to become spiritually clean through baptism. I love being a missionary!!! I am growing to love the people and see in them what our Heavenly Father sees in them!
I am sorry for the short letter! I promise to send a much better letter next week! Love you tons!!!!!!!!!!!!!! Take care of yourself!!!!
Elder D. Watson
Thanks for the email address! Is there anything I can do for you all? Let me know! LOVE YOU!!!
Well, what´s new? Life here is going fine. I guess the email system is acting up again because I didn´t get the weekly email, but that´s all right. I`ll get over it.
This week was a little nutty... we finally got moved into our new apartment. It´s not the best apartment in the world, but it works. We are living in downtown right now, which makes things nice because we are close to everything. Logistically speaking. If that´s the right word. Anyway. It´s been pretty cold lately (I know not as cold as down south) with lots and lots and lots of rain. Puts a damper on things. The work`s been picking up little by little. We are trying to focus on working with the members instead of by ourselves. We can teach teach teach all we want, but if the members aren´t in on the teaching and the fellowshipping, it´s not worth it. For the longest time, things have been divided - the members and the missionaries. It`s a big problem because many of the converts fall away when the missionary who baptized them gets a transfer. Rather sad too. But if the members are the main focus in the lessons, and all we do is help them teach their friends and loved ones, the church will watch out for the welfare of one another´s souls. Instead of the missionaries taking care of things. It`s rather daunting trying to start something like this, but the excitement of the members as many of them are learning how to share the gospel helps out a lot. Things would be so much better if the members had their converts instead of every missionary. Sure, the limelight and importance will placed on the members instead of the missionaries, but that is all right. I don`t need anymore pride - I`m trying to get rid of it. I`d much rather that each convert has a strong relationship with the members than with me. Although it is rather important to love those you teach and charity for them, I’d rather slip out of the picture on the back end after everything is said and done after a baptism. I have much more confidence that a new member, with lots of members looking out for him, will stay active rather than trusting in the missionaries to keep him active. Which isn`t the job of the missionaries anyway. It`s rather inspiring to see the members get excited when they see the vision of how the Lord`s work should be run and the many blessings that are waiting them and their loved ones who are ready to accept the gospel in their lives. It`s also pretty cool to see the testimonies of the members themselves grow and develop as we help them learn how to share the gospel. It is a huge process, but a process that is worth it.
We`ve been teaching the mom of a member we activated (who would rather speak English with us while we are with him and Spanish to his mother). It`s been amazing being able to teach the Plan of Salvation and helping people get the whole picture of what this life is about. She`s been rather sick these past few years, but as she grows to understand the purpose of life, why we go through trials and difficulties, and what`s the purpose of bettering our life here rather than eat, drink and be merry for tomorrow we die. Life is so much more than living in the moment. There is a goal so much more divine than living to make a fortune. There is a purpose so much more pure than wander around until we find a place to be comfortable in our lives. The purpose of life is to be happy - to prepare ourselves to meet our Divine Maker. The goal is to live with our Father in Heaven after this life - with Him and where no unclean thing can dwell. Life is about becoming more like our Savior, Jesus Christ, the Great Jehovah. He is the Perfect Example. He is the Divine Role Model. It is Him who we should pattern our lives after. Big whoop how much money we have when we die - how big our house is - how nice a car we have. Have a higher vision, look beyond the moment, see what God wants you to see. We can take nothing with us in this life - only who we are, what we`ve done, the desires of our hearts, and if we have followed the Lord and kept His commandments, and have been sealed in the Holy Temple by the divine power and authority of the Almighty, we can live with our families forever. It`s amazing when you think about it like that. The Gospel of Jesus Christ solves any family problem - solves any personal problem - it just takes the desire and the will to take that first step in the footsteps of Him who blazed the trial. May the Lord bless you all with this desire to follow Him in the straight and narrow path that leads to Eternal Life and Salvation.
I am sorry for the loss in the family... I didn´t know Greg but I can imagine that is rather hard for you. I am sad to hear about the loss of Ed as well. Please send my best wishes to everyone.
Wow! It sounds like you had a nice trip home! That is excellent! I am glad you got home safe and everything. I remember taking those car trips and it being a good time. Although, most of the time was spent sleeping or on the gameboy hahaha. Oh the joys of being a child hahaha.
Stake Conference! I love Stake Conference!!! Thanks to the family, ward, and stake for their support and prayers - they mean a lot! :).
Well well well. This week. We had a baptism in the ward! One of the families we are preparing are getting closer to their goals. Their 16 year old son decided to be baptized so Elder King and Elder Henriquez prepared him! It was nice going back to see the family and their progression. I hadn´t seen them for a couple of weeks besides Sundays so it was nice to be able to teach them once again and see how everyone was. The dad is so great - he is helping the missionaries teach his neighbors! Those missionaries are going to be super busy! :). Elder Eddy and I have been working hard getting to know the members and less actives, and teaching their families and friends. We have found some excellent people and we are excited to activate members, strengthen the testimonies of the members (all of them) and finding the prepared people the Lord has put in our path. It´s amazing seeing the testimonies and the faith of the Paraguayan people, even if half the ward isn´t Paraguayan... :). Well, not half but a good portion. This Sunday we had many people from the US, a good chunk being from Utah. What happened? A service medical group (Hope Alliance?) came to Ciudad del Este to visit the hospitals and health centers. They gave us a call to ask to help translate, being as they are all from Utah, members, and very few speak in Spanish. So we have been talking, helping and translating. It´s been a blast, as well as we have been receiving many references to go and teach. It is awesome. But it has helped me to know, that being a DOCTOR or anything of the sort is not for me. Sorry! No can do. ;). But we are excited to keep helping until Thursday and finding more teaching opportunities! They are amazingly awesome people too, so loving and willing to help. They came to the baptism Saturday and Sacrament Meeting on Sunday. Such great people! :). We have a zone conference this next week with Pte Arnold who is coming on tour of the mission next week. It will be really intense. I am so excited. I have never met him, but talking with the other Zone Leaders has given an idea. Also, the zone leaders will have an interview with him... AHH! I am so excited and ready to become a better missionary! So cool! :)
That´s about it for now. We are moving into a new apartment, and it isn´t fun moving. But that is life! I love being a missionary. I love you all so much! Take care of yourselves! Say hi to all for me!!! :)
Lots of love
Elder D. Watson
PS Please don´t send too many more packages... they are asking us to reduce the number, for several reasons which you will be reading about in a letter from President Callan, and any packages we do receive we will have to pay extra to receive them. I feel it would be better to save the money and use it towards a better cause after the mission. Thank you so much.
Wow... wow... wow... my cousins are all getting married. Crazy stuff. That´s awesome though! Send them my love and congratulations. Wow! Kyoko! How is she? And all the family??? It sounds like everything is going awesomely great!
This week was rather interesting - we gave up our investigators to the new missionaries and started working in the side of the area where the missionaries have not been in years! A funny side note - we are teaching more people that speak English than in Spanish... hahahaha. Cool jacks. Anyway, it is amazing to see how the Lord works and puts people in our path. It´s amazing to be a missionary! We are having so much success working with the members, teaching in their houses. The Spirit is so STRONG there. It´s such a difference. When we teach the members´ friends and family in their own homes, the missionary work is such much more effective. The Spirit can testify even more through the testimonies and experiences of the members. All of the success we are seeing in our area is because of the members and their inspired help. It is absolutely amazing. I can´t wait to help the missionaries when I get home because that´s where true success is in the missionary work. IT´s helping the members teach their loved ones the Gospel of Jesus Christ.
I am REALLY sorry for another short letter. I have been having to report more numbers of late and information being a Zone Leader. Not cool, but sacrifice is necessary. I love you all so much! Take care of yourselves! Say hi to all!
Elder D. Watson
P.S. Thanks to all for their letters and support! I love you all so much!!!
Sorry this week is going to be a short letter too. We had our Zone Leader Meeting here in Asuncion and the bus leaves soon.
The work is going great. I get to play tour guide for 3 missionaries but this is the Lord´s work, so it is possible. We had 6 investigators come to church in the rain - what a blessing.
Elder Eddy is such a great Elder. I am going to be learning tons from him. Let´s just say I am learning that I can humble myself even more all of the time. There isn´t an end to pride, unfortunately.
We have a baptism this weekend if we prepare them really well! If not, next weekend. I am excited. They are the children of a family we are teaching, and the parents are doing paperwork so that they can prepare to be baptized as well. They are a really good family.
We have an investigator who has SO MUCH faith, but she is moving to the other zone, so we will pass the reference on so she can be baptized over there. She already says she is a member of the Church of Jesus Christ. Too cool.
Elder Eddy has had a lot of success working with members and I am excited to be able to work with him. Elder Flint came with his parents this Sunday to church - way weird. But cool.
I have to go now. I love you all. Never forget that.
Pioneer day? What´s that? ;) Elder Flint asked me if I knew what yesterday was and I almost didn´t remember. Luckily I guessed and I was right!! Elder RAY!!!!!! Oh man! I remember him!!! Wow... time flies doesn´t it! Other than that, sounds like your week was rather calm. Sweet! And you are teaching a class online mom? Since when? Cool jacks! Sounds like fun! Katey´s wedding? Awwwwww man! I want to see that! Well, I guess I will have to settle for pictures. That´s alright.
Alright! This week! WOO HOO! Well, there are changes (Awesome being a zone leader I know them today!! :) ) and my new companion will be Elder Eddy. He is coming from Coronel Oviedo. I don´t know him too well, just that he has a transfer more than I do and that we are going to work! I also have to play tour guide a little bit because our area is being split in 2 and they are opening Ciudad del Este 1.2 (A second part of the First ward). So we will have 4 missionaries in the ward now! Which is awesome because our area is really big! It´s a relief now that we can focus on a part of the area without worrying about forgetting all of the other people. Pretty sweet! It will be a fun week this week, but I am so excited!! :) More missionary work!
We have been finding tons of new investigators these past two weeks and we are excited to keep working with them and helping them progress! We are working with a Brazilian neighbor of ours who has a thick thick accent on his Portuguese. Kind of hard to understand, but he is really willing to change and leave his addictions behind. So excited! Another neighbor is half Paraguayan, half Brazilian, and we are starting to teach her as well. It is fun teaching Brazilians because they are so different! Plus I can learn Portuguese! :D.
I have such a strong testimony of the word of wisdom and the law of chastity - they might be super ´unpopular´ but they are some of the most important commandments God has given to us. If only the world could live these 2 commandments, families would be so much happier and united. How many single mothers are out there without a husband? And how many times has alcohol, tobacco or drugs destroyed a family? I testify that these are actual commandments from a loving Heavenly Father who gives them to us so that we can be free! Free from addiction, free from physical and spiritual damage, and families that are united and free from hate, suspicion and filled with love and confidence. I don´t care who says they are stupid - know that they come from God. There are heavy heavy consequences from breaking these 2 commandments, as they not only affect the person who breaks the commandment, but also their loved ones, be it friends, spouse, or innocent children. Can you imagine Christ breaking these commandments? I testify that He would NOT, He who is our perfect example. He who has a perfect love, charity, patience, understanding. Live the promise of Christ himself - John 7:17. He who does these things will know if they come from My Father (Christ being the Son of our Holy Father in Heaven) or if I speak by Myself. (Roughly translated). Not only is Christ our divine Savior and Redeemer, but He did nothing that was against the will of our Father in Heaven. Try it, See. Put your faith in God and live the commandments. You might be surprised to see the blessings that will come flowing! I know it to be true - and I will stand by it!
Alrighty... enough of my rant. I love being a representative of Jesus Christ. I love being ordained by His Holy Priesthood to proclaim repentance. I glory not in myself, but the Mercy, Power and Love of Him who has called me to this holy calling. I glory in the fact that He has allowed me to change, and that I am learning how to be molded by His perfect hands. I declare unto all that this is no invented idea. No invented power. No invented authority. I have been called by a LIVING prophet to be a Witness of Jesus Christ for these 2 years. I have seen His hand work in the lives of the people of Paraguay. I have seen lives change. I have seen sadness turn into joy and happiness, and desperation turn into hope. Have faith. Have hope. Search for the truth. And once you find it, calling upon God to know the truthfulness thereof, NEVER let go. NEVER LET GO. I KNOW without a doubt that this is the ONLY true church of Jesus Christ. The only place where we find modern revelation, having the privilege of being guided by our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ in our days. I testify will all of my heart that he who diligently seeks the truth, shall find it. And he will be forever changed by it. I personally have seen my life change and hope that I can continue changing my life to live in harmony with the Gospel of Jesus Christ. I love you all so much!!! Take care of yourselves! CHAU!!!!!!!
Wow! Sounds like you had a fun week! Nothing rather exciting! That´s always good. Oh man... dentist appointments. I am sure they are going to throw a fit with my teeth since I haven´t seen a dentist in a year and a half... hahaha. But mind you I brush my teeth well - much better than what I did when I was home. I´m sorry for the teeth pains - those are no fun at all. At least you´ll feel better afterwards! Elder Flint tells me that his parents too saw Harry Potter and said it was awesome. Eh. Little boys and girls waving sticks at each other. Fun stuff. ;)
Well... this week! We were searching, searching and more searching for new investigators. I am sorry if my English is bad. Anyways. We had an awesome contact on Monday - there was a young man (20´s) walking back to his home about 9 at night, while we too were heading home. We stopped him and began conversing a bit. He began to ask us what is it that we do, with what purpose, and how. So we explained a little bit about families being united, and he explained to us about an argument he had just had with a pastor right before we talked to him. He basically told us his life story summed up in 5 minutes about going to every church he could find and family problems coming from this. He chose not to follow his mother´s new religion because he knew it wasn´t true, and in faith walked out of his house so that he could find the way to follow Christ truthfully. Since then he had lots of problems, but things were starting to look up in his life. We explained that God listens to our prayers, and that we weren´t here to obligate anyone, only to invite others to come unto Christ. We invited him to pray to know the truth of what we were saying and he told us - hey... No one has ever told me that. They only ever try to obligate me to follow their commandments and rules, but never to pray to know the truth. You know... that seems right. I like this! We fixed a appointment to visit him and we are now working to help his faith in Jesus Christ grow. Awesome! :) I love the fact that we can invite all to ask our Heavenly Father to know the truth of all things. It is a powerful promise that only the true church of Jesus Christ can offer to the people. We had interviews this week also with President Callan, which was an awesome experience as always. We went on divisions later in the week with a trainer, Elder Butler who came with me to Ciudad del Este. He also has a twin who is serving in Neuquen. Fun stuff! There are a lot of twins in my mission. Elders Massey, Harwell, Butler, and some more but they´ve already headed home. It´s kind of funny to tell the truth. Hahaha
Well, my time is up again... where does the time go??? I love you all so very much!! Take care of yourselves!!!!!! LOVE
Elder David Watson
PS. Yay! Please tell the Martinez´s Hi and that I love them! (Hola Familia Martinez!! Gracias por su amor y todo! Les extraño y les quiero!!)
What a joy to hear from you! I am glad that everything is going well for you all. I am sorry but I have to keep this rather short. So everything necessary!
This week. BAPTISM! AND MAWWWWWWWWAIGE! Yeah! So cool. Basically a miracle happened. A couple we were teaching completely changed their lives. They decided to get married and baptized. So cool. And her brother who is a recent convert baptized them. So cool! The Ciudad del Este First Ward helped out SO MUCH!! It would not have been possible without them! This is my first ward that actually functions like the states! It is amazing to see what happens when a ward does its part so that the missionaries are just missionaries! Miracles happen! SWEET! So excited! I am sending pictures. Some of divisiones, most of the mawaiage and baptism. Don´t laugh I can´t spell anymore.
Anyway. We are working hard to stay focused and find more people to teach. Elder Flint will be ending his mission in a few weeks so we are really focused on the mission work and not time.
I am so glad to hear that all is well at home. That mom is healing and dad swimming. Happy day! Take care of yourselves. Really I mean it. Don´t sweat it. Take care!! I LOVE YOU!!
I didn´t forget this year! Last year I did forget... whoops! Things are so much different... one just forgets sometimes. ;) I missed the email this week, but I am sure everything is okay! This week was pretty good, not much happening but that´s the way it is sometimes.
Well, like I said last week, we started it off out in Asuncion for a couple of meetings on Monday and Tuesday. We got back pretty late Tuesday night, but safe and sound. Wednesday was a workday, but we finished it off with a ´movie night´ for Ward Night watching the movie Joseph Smith: Prophet of the restoration. Pretty sweet! Thursday... nothing to special happened. Except that Elder Sorensen, one of the district leaders in the zone, came to my area to do interchanges. He was in my very first district here in Paraguay and has one more change in the mission than I do. We had quite a good time teaching together and catching up on what has gone on in the mission. He said something I really liked - that in these 2 years we have the opportunity to talk with anyone and everyone, because that is what we do! We have an excuse to do it - to change the lives of others so that they can come unto Christ. Gotta love the mission experiences. Friday we had a recent convert came with us to go teaching, and it was an awesome experience. It is so cool to see how the gospel completely changes someone´s life. Saturday was a good experience too! All of our plans fell through in the morning, so we decided to go to a contact´s house that we had done a while ago (before I got here) and he let us in! And it turned out that they were going through a couple of tough experiences and our message was just right for them! They loved it and wanted us to come back the next day. Which we did, and shared a little bit of the Gospel of Jesus Christ and about the Book of Mormon. They were so excited to be able to read the Book of Mormon. I´m jazzed. :). I had a similar experience in Carapegua (part of my last area) and I am so excited to be a missionary. It’s just so sweet. Sunday was a good day too. We had 6 investigators in church! We are having a baptism this week too (no matter what) of a family that is ready to go! A new family, the Rolim family, in the ward (from Brazil, they moved here about 2 months ago) invited us over to their apartment in downtown, so we went and did an activity about sharing the gospel with people they knew. They are an amazing family, and even though they don´t know anyone, they were really willing to find people to share the gospel with. I am definitely going to try and learn the basics of Portuguese... it will be cool! On Sunday, we found a guy that didn´t really understand Spanish, so I tried to teach a little in Guarani. It worked! A little bit... hahaha. I am not the best, but it is cool being able to teach principles of the Gospel in other languages.
Well, my time is up. Don´t know where it ran off. I love you all so much! Please take care of yourselves!!! LOVE YOU!!!
Wow... the week just absolutely flew by. I feel like I was just here typing. We are here again in Asuncion for a meeting with all the zone leaders of the mission (11 zones, 22 zone leaders) and we will be here until Tuesday afternoon. Fun stuff! It sounds like you had a really fun week! Finally school is out... It is almost July! How does that work out? I bet the students weren´t very happy about that! Hahaha. I am really glad that the surgery went well with Mom. I am sure she will be alot happier after it is all said and done. :) Do you have any fun plans for the summer? ;) Or just the same old same old? President Murri is already going? Oh bugger. That would have been fun to have discussed Paraguay a little bit. Oh! Say Hi to the Johnson family for me too!! They are so great! The Jones family... The Watson family... Jalatay´s... Ward members... family... friends... everyone! Man... I just think about everyone back home and how great you all are. It is amazing to see how the Lord gives each person a unique gift and blessing so that we can all uplift and encourage another. So cool! I imagine I will get my package tomorrow seeing as we have a general mission leader´s training (zone leaders and district leaders) so I should end up getting my mail and everything. Usually I get stuff on Monday (mail wise) so I can write letters and stuff, but it seems like this week I will have to wait a little bit. Tranquilo! No worries. It doesn´t bug me at all... sorry if it does you. When you are a missionary... priorities change. But you know that. Tranquildad total (Dicho paraguayo). Total tranquility. My English is so bad... hahaha...
Wow! Way to go Jonathan! Like the other Elder Watson said... he will be taller than either of us. But that´s all right, because I like being in Ciudad del Este and I ain´t coming back. ;)
Anyway. My week. It went by TOO quick. It didn´t seem like we had time to do anything. Due to some circumstances, the baptism got pushed back a week but the family is awesome.
It has finally gotten COLD! Like super cold. I am sure not as cold as Rio Gallegos (Guy yay goes) but still cold enough for me. Leaving at 1 in the morning to get here was so cold............. not cool. But it shouldn´t last too long. By the time August rolls around it will start getting warm again. So I don´t mind it. I´ll be in Ciudad del Este. We have some awesome members here. They just work so hard! Elder Flint and I were searching for some references yesterday and we were in an area with people just stacked upon each other. I imagine something a little like Buenos Aires, but less sophisticated. Then we climbed this huge hill, and we came out to a bunch of mandioca fields (yucca) with a few houses here and there. Here there is just a little bit of everything!!! It is crazy! We are teaching a few good families and are seeing a lot of progress. We are also in the process of finding new families to teach. Life is awesome! We should be having a baptism this weekend of a family (pray please!!!) and are progressing really well with todos! It is a blast to be a missionary. Sorry that I don´t have to say too much this week... I will look for things to say next week! :)
Well, I love you all! Take care of yourselves! Send my love to everyone! Saludos a todos! I will keep you in my prayers for you health and strength! Keep pressing forward in the work of the Lord!
WELL! News! Sorry for writing today, being Tuesday. The office informed us late Sunday night about our TEMPLE TRIP on Tuesday, so today is our P-Day. I guess that is just how life goes sometimes... life on the move!
Sounds like life is good! I don´t have too much time today, so here goes nothing!
I am now in Ciudad del Este, 1st Ward. It is AWESOME HERE! Love it! My companion is Elder Flint, who is going home this next change. So now I already know I am going to have a new companion... ;/. Elder Flint is awesome and I am learning tons from him. Cuidad del Este is so amazing! I absolutely love it here! The ward is gigantic! Well, compared to Acahay at least... haha. But anyway. We have a bunch of Indian members in our ward. Like, people from India! They are so hard working! Our stake president is the first Indian stake president in the world, from what I have been told. Pretty cool huh? It´s awesome because they are all awesome and are so faithful. The Paraguayan members are pretty cool too! We had a young woman who brought a college classmate to church by herself. Sweet! We are teaching a few families, one of which is a cousin to a recent convert in Encarnacion. What a small world! She is also a member and we are working with her boyfriend who has a baptismal date for the 9th. The other family we are teaching has a date for this weekend, and they have progressed so much in the week I have been here. It is so different being in a place where Spanish is understood perfectly. Our next-door neighbor is Portuguese and is a member. We read out of the Book of Mormon in Portuguese with him sometimes and a recent convert who is his friend. So much to tell!
Today we went to the temple! SO AWESOME! I love the temple! It has such peace and comfort that we can receive from being inside. My English is a mess. Sorry... I hate being in a rush but that´s life. We are working hard and I am learning so much from being here. We will be taking a bus in an hour so that will be fun! So... ya. Got to go.
This is the truth. No doubt about it. The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints is the only true church! We have living day prophets who guide us. We have even more of the precious word of God that brings even more blessing in our lives. Jesus Christ is not dead; He lives. He still reveals His gospel and will through modern day prophets. I testify that He is the Son of God, our Savior, Redeemer, and our Good Shepherd. I know this because the Spirit has testified to my spirit of this truth. We can only know of spiritual truths if the Holy Ghost testifies to our spirits. Logic can´t do it. Logic will convince our minds, but the Holy Ghost will testify only of the truth, and nothing but the truth. That´s why it is so important to receive an answer from God to know what is the truth. I love prayer! :)
Anyway. I hope you make sense out of my jumbled mess. Next week will be better... I hope. We will to travel to Asuncion again for a zone leaders council on Monday and Tuesday for a training meeting. Lots of travel. Fun stuff! I love you! Take care of yourselves! I really do love you all! Take care of yourselves!!!!!!
Hey! So great to hear from you! I am so glad to hear that your week has been great! I am short on time today (took a little too long replying to the other Elder Watson and a few other things I had to read from President) (AND what do you mean ´David´s time?´ Just because I like getting to places early??? ;) ) so I will just start spewing.
First off! BAPTISM! We had a beautiful day for a baptism in the river 8 de Diciembre. It had been cold all week, a problem for the sister who was getting baptized because of health problems, but with lots of prayers of faith, we had awesomely warm days on Friday and Saturday and it all went off without a hitch. Roberto and Brigida Medina got baptized! In really cold water. Alright, it can´t be as cold as the water in Tierra del Fuego, but pretty cold nonetheless. Elder Griffin has other pictures that he is going to give when we get home, but I sent one. Anyways, answered prayers are awesome. They got confirmed members of the church the next day and it was an awesome day! Gotta love life.
On Saturday, I almost died. I was showering when the cables that bring the power to the showerhead exploded. Twice. A nice good scare, but no damage done. I got out without a scratch. But there was quite a lot of smoke. Interesting story for you. :).
Also, there are changes this week. I don´t know where, but I got the call from President Callan assigning me to be a zone leader. Boy was I nervous answering the phone. But it´s what the Lord wants. Where He wants me to go, what He wants me to be, there I go and there I am. Life is good in the neighborhood. I am quite sad to leave Elder Griffin, as he has been one of my best companions, and this area of Acahay. I have enjoyed immensely preaching the gospel here and calling the people to repentance. For through repentance is the only way to reach true happiness. True peace. True calm. The Atonement is really the central piece in changing our lives. Through Christ our Mediator with the Father, all is possible. Doesn´t matter how stubborn, dumb, stupid, arrogant, prideful we think we are, through repentance we may be healed of all of our spiritual sicknesses and weaknesses. Pride, I have seen is the downfall of all. Really it is. Whether it is rejecting the truth, rejecting the need to change, refusing to understand, refusing to change our lives to be more in harmony with that of our Eternal Savior, pride is the cause. As Alma teaches, those of us who are not free from pride have cause to repent for those who are prideful are not ready to stand before the Great and Eternal Judge at the last day. It is a lesson I am learning repeatedly here in the mission, and I suppose one all of my life. I still feel I have my prideful tendencies, but that doesn´t discourage me. I have faith and hope through Christ our Lord, for through faith in Him and His mercy, all is possible. Be happy, hopeful and don´t be afraid to change! It is a blessing. Truly it is. Repent ye, repent ye, and come unto Him who invites all to come unto Him. He reaches out with arms of love and mercy, willing to forgive us and welcome us into His fold. When we do our part, the Lord does the rest. Try it and see the blessings and miracles in your life.
Work to understand the doctrine of our Lord Jesus Christ. Understand the purpose of the Atonement, The Plan of Salvation, The Gospel of Jesus Christ. If we truly understand, we will change our lives to follow our Lord and Savior. We will be able to teach and guide our families to the straight and narrow path that leads unto salvation. Without understanding, it is extremely difficult to be obedient to the commandments and almost always leads us to be tempted by Satan. It is something I see here every day and I know that true comprehension will lead to having more happy, unified families that rejoice in the Gospel of Jesus Christ and His Atonement. The amount of money we have means nothing. I work with people who live off of 20 dollars a week. With big families. But when we have faith, true confidence in the Lord, He WILL provide. Be faithful, be diligent, be like Nephi. And I must obey. Amen. (2 Nephi 33).
Alright. Got to go! Love you so much! Say hi to everyone! I cannot wait to be able to share my experiences and what I have learned with everyone, especially in Spanish! LOVE YOU!!!!!!!! Take care of yourself!
Wow!! What a week! Sounds like you all had some fun! Nice, calm, but great! I really like what the other Elder Watson wrote about being happy... something that cost me a lot to learn! I actually learned it when I had the opportunity to train Elder Hatch, but it really has made ALL the difference in the mission! It’s just our view on life! I had read a talk from a past General Conference about Happiness: A Conscious Decision. It never really hit me though; even through the tough times I was experiencing, until I got the opportunity to start from scratch. But now... I truly can say that I am much happier! I can say the Gospel of Jesus Christ brings SO MANY blessings! It brings peace, joy, and a satisfaction of knowing that you ARE doing what the Lord desires. So awesome!
Anyway... this week. Today I had a zone counsel (consejo de zona) with the zone leaders and the other district leader in the zone. We spent most of it talking about relying on the Spirit, mostly on the topic of planning. I am so excited to see the changes of what is taking place in my life. Here in Acahay we have the unique opportunity of going to places where there have not been many missionaries. On Wednesday, we went to Carapegua, our second time entering the area. Again we had another amazing day being led by the Lord. Finishing our day we found a family that was so interested in the Gospel! We talked with the 20ish year old daughter who has a few kids and her brother of 17, with the mom taking care of the little ones. We sat at a table, inside the house, on normal chairs... I felt like I was in the states! Haha. Anyway, we had an awesome discussion about the role of prophets in our lives. I felt the Spirit testify as we taught them about Thomas S. Monson, our living prophet in our day (hoy en día). As we were running short on time (She had to go to college), we briefly shared about the Book of Mormon and some of the teachings that help us to understand the gospel of Jesus Christ. We all felt the Spirit strongly, and each wanted their own copy to read so they didn’t have to share. Hehehe. A family that had never heard of the Church of Jesus Christ, let alone the term Mormon, and we were able to talk about the true doctrine of our Lord Jesus Christ. I really consider it to be a special opportunity to be able to find these people so prepared to receive the restored truth. We are so excited to be able to go back on Wednesday and Friday to teach this special family even more and to find the other families that are waiting to accept the gospel in their lives. We also have 2 families preparing to be baptized this Saturday! We are working on getting the necessary paperwork to marry one of the families (with whom we have had such spiritual lessons that have brought me to tears) and praying for good weather so that the wife of the other family can be baptized due to her health. 4 baptisms!!!!!! So exciting!
It really is a blessing to be here in Acahay. The branch is slowly strengthening in its knowledge of the true doctrine of Christ and is growing as the people are truly becoming converted into disciples of Jesus Christ. It is not an easy process, but then again, whoever said it was? The Atonement of Jesus Christ was not in any way, shape, or form easy. Do I think I am better than my Lord and Savior? More perfect? Absolutely not!! I am being humbled daily to see how true faith brings miracles. How the true Gospel brings families together. How the restored doctrine of Jesus Christ changes the lives of everyone who openly receives it and applies it to their lives. I know, beyond the shadow of a doubt, the truthfulness of the Book of Mormon. That Joseph Smith was called of God to be a modern day prophet. Prayer is the key in our communication with our Heavenly Father. It is key that it comes from our hearts. It is key that we talk with the Almighty, as He is our Father in Heaven. Have faith. Trust in Him who cannot fail. He shall guide each one of us in His path. Ask with faith, and we shall receive blessings because we keep His commandments and do what is pleasing unto Him. Who can refute the power and glory of Him who created all things? The word of God shall be fulfilled. It doesn’t matter how many people say the world is going to end. It doesn’t matter what justifications the tempter can create. He who has all power will act according to what He has said and what He is now saying through His modern prophet, Thomas Monson. Pray. Try it. You might be surprised. :D
I really am SO EXCITED to be a missionary. I never want it to end. I don’t want to leave the friendly people of Paraguay. I don’t want to leave this people who really are waiting to follow our Lord Jesus Christ. I just may cry if I have to leave Carapegua and Acahay behind... not to mention where we haven’t explored yet (Ybycui, La Colmena). I absolutely know that even more families are just waiting to meet the Lord’s authorized servants. BIG SMILE!! Apyka Tuicha! Una GRAN SONRISA!! Love it!
I love you all! Really do! I can’t lie! If you knew how much I really am grateful for the experiences I have had, here in the mission and before! I apologize if I can’t name everyone by name... but really I am truly grateful. I love all the letters I get and the thoughts and prayers of all of you! The Lord works miracles according to our faith, so that the prayers of the just and faithful shall be answered (Alma and the Sons of Mosiah with the angel). I will be talking again next Monday (change in schedule, Pdays are ALL Mondays now) and we will see what happens. I may know of the transfers because I am the District Leader, I may not. We will see. Until next time... chau from the valley of Acahay! Really Itá because that is where I am at... hehehe. CHAU!!!
You think the weeks fly by? Man... it is insane!!! Elder Griffin keeps rubbing in that I only have 5 transfers left... about 7 months... not cool. I don’t like it. Which means that time is running short! Time running short does not make a missionary happy! But I guess it does give me even more motivation to do the work! It sounds like you had an awesome week! That makes me happy! It still blows my mind that Bryan is leaving for the mission and Jacob is getting ready. Puts a BIG smile on my face! There is nothing like the mission! YOU JUST GOTTA LOVE IT!!! :) There may be times of frustration, but those are the opportunities that we have to learn patience... patience... patience. Definitely something I am learning here in Acahay as we try to teach in a language the people half understand. But the good thing is that I am learning Guarani... I know how to pray, share my testimony, and I am practicing introducing the Book of Mormon and Joseph Smith’s story. Nde eporanduta Tupape ko’apa ha’e la tupao añetete (anetete)? Will you ask God if this is the true church? Hehehe... ;).
Well... this week. We went exploring!! We went to a city called Carapegua, which is in between the missionaries of Paraguari and our area. What a prime area! The Lord led us to so many people to give them the hope and happiness that they need in their life! It was absolutely amazing! The Plan of Salvation really does give us hope about the future! Even when a loved one dies, we can have the hope of seeing them again after this life. We were walking in the downtown, where my companion realized that he forgot his pen. So we went into a small little store to buy one, and started talking to the lady who owned the store. Her husband had just passed away some months before and really wasn’t happy because she did not know where he was. We testified to her that she could be with him for forever, through the message that we shared. It made me think of the blessings that we have! The Book of Mormon, which teaches the doctrine of Christ so clearly! It helps us to understand really what the plan of our Father is! And the blessings of modern prophets, that help us to overcome the challenges of this life! So AWESOME! What else happened? We have 2 families and the father of a family planning to be baptized the 11th! We are working and finishing the arrangements with one family, working on teaching the other, and the man, Roberto, is ready to go! He is really familiar with the Bible and will be a great aid and priesthood holder here in Acahay. We are really excited to be working here and teaching diligently the doctrine of Christ so that all may progress and receive the blessings of a loving Father in Heaven! :) As the other Elder Watson shared, Christ called His apostles to leave their nets behind and to follow Him. I know that He has called me to be a missionary, to leave behind my ‘nets’ and to follow Him! I testify that in so doing, He can change our lives completely! We can become true disciples and follow Him! I have seen it in my life and I can’t describe how many changes there are in my life! I can’t believe how I have changed, but it is a miracle and I need keep pressing forward with my faith firm in Christ! May I invite all to do so as well! You too, will see the changes in your life as you follow the Lord and leave behind your ‘nets’!
Cool! My letters finally got there! Yay!!!!!! Long enough! We have been having problems with the encomienda (the way we receive letters and information from the office), so we will see what will happen in these few weeks... hahaha. Gotta love life! :) I appreciate the missionary journal entries! They are awesome! I can totally relate to it! :D
Well, time is about up. I absolutely love you all! Saludos (greetings??) to all! Especially the Conaways, Paces, Boons, Freemans, Jalatys... everyone!!!!!!! I can’t list everyone! It’s impossible! If I knew them before... HI!!!!!! :D I think that solves it. I hope... ;).
I know this is the true church of our Lord Jesus Christ! I know that the Book of Mormon is true! I know that Joseph Smith was a prophet of our Lord! I have been called of Him, by someone holding His authority, to serve and represent the Savior and Redeemer of the world, Jesus the Christ. May the Lord keep blessing you! LOVE YOU!!!