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!!!
I am really happy today to have heard from home! Way to go Bryan! And Jacob!! Yeah! To Brazil! Sao Paulo even! Now I am going to have to learn Portuguese... hopefully I can make a stop in Cuidad del Este so I can learn a bit! That’s awesome! I am so excited for Bryan and Jacob... they really are entering the mission at an awesome time! I have no doubt they will have the opportunities to be some of the best missionaries! The missionary program is changing so much and I love it! No doubts that they will surely become awesome missionaries! It’s exciting to be learning and putting into practice everything that we are being taught, but I can only imagine that by the time Jacob gets into the MTC that it will be completely different! I am a bit bummed that I won’t get to see Jacob or Bryan for 4 years, or thereabouts, but that’s alright! They’ll be in the service of our Lord and will absolutely love the changes they will see in their lives.
Alrighty. On to my week. Oh, I did forget to tell you, in the confusion of last week, that we did have a baptism! She is the daughter of a less active family who are becoming active again. We are working with the two sons so that they can become active again and receive the priesthood. We are working diligently finding families to baptize, and we have found some really great people. We are trying to help them learn and make commitments so that they can enter into the fold of our Savior and receive the blessings that our Heavenly Father has waiting for them. Elder Griffin and I have seen a lot of progress here in Acahay, and we are excited to keep helping the members progress as well as our investigators. The branch here is still really young and we are helping to teach the doctrines of our Lord and Savior to the people here of Acahay! It is such a blessing to see the faith of people who do not fully understand the doctrine but know the truth thereof and therefore keep the commandments and move forward in the work. I was reading a conference talk the other day and I liked how one of the General Authorities said that even he didn’t understand all of a certain doctrine, but had a testimony of its truth and therefore did not doubt.
We had our Zone Conference this week, which was pretty great. We focused on teaching to the investigators’ needs and why it was so important. We also talked a lot about planning and goals, which even our Heavenly Father does. He planned (the plan of salvation, creating everything spiritually before physically) and had set goals. His goal is the immortality and eternal life of man. We, as His sons and daughters, have the opportunity to make this goal a reality, by following the plan and progressing towards that goal. We must all set goals! A prophet taught; we need to have the goal of looking forward to the time when our bodies will be resurrected and we will stand before the Judgment Bar of Christ. Can we imagine that the Lord will tell us that we have worked righteousness, or have kept his commandments, all of our lives and we shall be saved? Or if we don’t do our part, and do not participate in the plan of salvation, do we think to be able to lie to the Lord and tell him that we were not wicked? Rather, we have the full and complete knowledge of our sins and wickedness, and we will not deny that the judgments of our Savior are just and righteous. That is why we have the plan of salvation, to have faith, and to repent. As the New Testament teaches; shall we continue in our sins? God Forbid! May it not be so! Christ extends his arms of mercy towards each and every person. He is full of mercy and willing to bring us into his fold. He is the Good Shepherd, and we must listen to His voice (FAITH) and follow Him (WORKS). He invites to repent, and to be baptized in His name, by the proper authority and in the proper manner. We may know the truth of all things through prayer and fasting! The Holy Ghost will testify the truth of all things unto us! I testify that the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints has this authority, which was restored through the prophet Joseph Smith by resurrected apostles, Peter, the head apostle, James and John (the Apostle).
I testify that ALL may come to know of its truth, through our faith and efforts to do our part. God is a God of Miracles, but we must have the faith and works to see them in our lives. Miracles do not create faith, because if we KNOW there is no need to BELIEVE. Rather, we must believe, have faith, exercise it, and our Heavenly Father will manifest it unto us. I plead unto all, that they may have faith, repent, be baptized, receive the Gift of the Holy Ghost and endure to the end. Eternal Life is at stake, and it is the greatest gift that God has given unto us. Pray to know... Ask God specifically.
If you have faith, God will answer. God will answer. Trust in Him, and place all of your trust in God! The way to return unto Him has been given, and He is the light, life and hope of the world. Never lose hope. Never lose faith. Keep pressing forward in the faith of our Lord!
Wow... what a week! Sounds like you had some fun! I bet Mom loved the dance... hahaha. That´s so cool that Bryan is going on his mission already... I feel old!! :/. Hahaha, And Katey is getting married?? What in the world? Well, that is good news to hear that she finally found the guy that she´s been looking for! I did get to see most of the pictures, but not all of them. Looks like your ´trip to Big Ben´ was fun! ;) Did a pretty good job I must admit! And I did see the journal entries! Thank you for putting them in! I really do appreciate it! (You don´t necessarily have to find bible bashing stories... I just wanted to hear about any you had written down and not avoid telling them. We are avoiding ANYONE who wants to bible bash, because as you said, it is NOT productive, and it is NOT worth it.) It´s cool to see the thoughts that you had on the mission and how similar some of them are to me. Speaking of second companions, everything I have heard and seen, and from my own experience, being the second companion is tough. I still haven´t been in that position. :).
Anyway... my week. From Monday to Saturday was AWESOME E´TE! Or pretty awesome! We were finding lots of families and all of our investigators were progressing. Sunday was a let down... our Branch President was unable to go to church and did not advise us until the Sacrament meeting (the last hour). Elder Griffin and I held out pretty well teaching the first two hours. But I had to run with a member back to our house to get bread and water (there was none in the chapel) and by the time I got back several people had left. The good thing is that we had investigators who came, but unfortunately had to leave early for family reasons. The rest of the day was quite interesting. The culture here is quite different and at times is disappointing on how they celebrate. We started to explore our area some more and just as we were passing a house, a car stopped us. They happened to be members from Leopardi (Asuncion) and the house we were by were their relatives. Which was awesome because we could fix an appointment really easily to come back another day. Other than that... we just kind of had to call it a day spent working hard. We are looking forward to this week (Zone Conference on Friday!!) and helping the members understand the doctrine and the consistency we need to have following all of God´s commandments. We have investigators who we are excited to work with and help them enter the waters of baptism. This area has a lot of potential, and we are finding the best way to try and take full advantage of every opportunity we have to share the gospel. It really is a testimony to me even though we had to direct the meetings and teach without preparation, the people can still feel the spirit and know that this is the true church.
Well, something just came up. I am sorry... got to go. Love you all!
Wow! We had a pretty good weekend. I am sure the highlight was Sunday with the phone call. We didn´t get around to talking about all that much, but it sure was nice to hear some voices from home. I couldn´t hear the other Elder Watson all that great, but now I know what he felt like back at Christmas. Sounds like you all had a fun week! Tech toys... I am sure Dad is a happy camper with all that fun stuff. Sounds like everything is going great there! :)
We did end up having a better night afterwards than what I would have thought... the rain stopped about 5 minutes after leaving the house. One of our investigators did accept a baptismal date for the 4th of June. So right now we have baptisms for the 14th, 21st, and the 4th. Do work! We are working hard here with the members, strengthening their testimonies of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ. The language is proving to be a tough issue, especially with some of the members that do not understand any Spanish whatsoever. But the other members are willing to help us, so we are moving along... surely and diligently. We also found a member from the United States who is part of the Peace Corp and is working way out in the boonies. We are working so he can come to church with us soon, and enjoy the blessings of taking the sacrament! He´s from the Westwood area in California, and we try to talk with him once in a while. Paraguay is filled with interesting situations. Just about every single situation that could be. Haha. Life is good. I love being a missionary. I love sharing the Gospel. I know this is true. I know the Lord loves each and every one of us. I know that Heavenly Father listens to our prayers. If we are willing to do what the Lord wants, He will guide us according to His sacred plan. We can choose to work with Him! Never think that you are too far away from receiving the blessings of our loving Heavenly Father! If you have too, make small goals and progress each day and week! For example, we are working with some members, making goals with them so they can prepare to go to the temple. We are starting out reading the scriptures 5 minutes every day. Remember by small and simple things the Lord brings great things to come pass. (Alma 37:6, 7 ?, also Alma 32:34 ? ) Making even the smallest of steps towards the light will move us away from the dark. I love what my mission president shared with us last week about Charity. Charity really is a key in life! Without it, we can´t feel the Lord´s love in our lives. With it, we will be obedient; we will be united with our fellow brethren, and we will be guided by the Lord. Without charity we cannot enter into the kingdom of our Father in Heaven (Ether 12:24). Remember the end of the law is that we have love that comes from a pure heart! (1 Timothy 1:5). Christ taught that the first great two commandments are first that we love our Father in Heaven and second that we love our neighbor as ourselves. If we can really have this love, I promise we will see the change in our lives. I promise that you feel closer to the Savior and that He will be able to mold you into an instrument in His hands. I love being a missionary and sharing the love that I feel from the Savior. I feel my Savior´s love in my life, and I know that through the work I am doing, I am helping all those around me to be able to receive the blessings of this in their lives. I am of myself nothing, for I am a creation in the Maker´s hands, but with His help and guidance, I can do all things that He requires of me.
I truly do love you all! Keep working hard! Remember that the Lord provides a way so that we may keep the commandments and walk in His path. There is no other name given other than that of Jesus Christ by which we may be saved. We must follow His teachings if we hope to be healed through His atoning sacrifice. Pray always, and faint not, that the devil may not steal you into his wily paths. Stay alert, avoid the natural man, and come unto Christ and the loving arms He extends to each and every one of us!
Sorry in advance for the short letter. There was a huge mess with the technical stuff here trying to figure out how we were going to be able to handle the call on Mother’s Day... that´s what you get for being in the middle of the jungle... haha. Short
sweet and important stuff.
I did not get transferred, that means I stayed with Elder Griffin and we are still in Acahay!
As far as investigators go, we are finding some pretty good people and I love teaching the Gospel! It is amazing to see the faith of some people and the power it has!
I love my mission! I love being here in Paraguay and in Acahay. I Love being a missionary and I don´t want it to end. I love learning about the Gospel and sharing what I learn and the blessings I receive! I love being changed by the Lord!
Calls! Mother´s Day! Yeah! Talk to you all SUNDAY! :)
SORRY SORRY SORRY for the short letter! I love you!