Monday, December 29, 2014

The week after Christmas

Once again, this week has absolutely flooown by too fast. I loved spending Christmas here. But the thing is, they don't really celebrate Christmas here. They celebrate the 24th more. That's when they have their big dinner and all of their fiestas, and then at midnight they launch off fireworks. We had permission from the president to be out on the street until 11 that night. I'll have to say that as 10:00 rolled around I was beat. But I only get 2 Christmases in Paraguay so naturally we stayed out til 11. We had Christmas dinner with the Bishop which was super fun. We had an Asado which is a ton of meat. But don't worry mom, I ate some veggies too :) they had this super yummy salad which is called Ensalada de Remolacha. Which Is sugar beets. I hadn't really eaten sugar beets before but I have to say that that salad was some of the best stuff I have tasted. I dont know what was in it but it was awesome!! So for Christmas Eve dinner I had meat and sugar beet (I think they made it rhyme on purpose!!)

But as for the missionary work this week, its been hard. Every one gets drunk. It makes it extremely hard to find someone that is sober enough to understand our message. So this week has been a week of on and off. With Tuesday being a regular day and then Christmas Eve and Christmas as awesome (because we just visited members and talked to our families!!!!!!) but then Friday, Saturday and Sunday were absolutely hard. It was extremely hot and everyone was still drinking. So it was a bit rough but it was expected. I also suspect this week will be similar.

We were able to have one good lesson this week with an investigator that had a lot of questions. You would be suprised how hard it is to find people that have questions about our church or anything. But he had heard that we worshiped Joseph Smith, and stuff like that, but he wanted to hear from us what we believe in so it was super cool. He also had lots of questions about the Book of Mormon, and so we explained it to him and after we asked if he had any questions and he said "So if I don't read this book, will I be condemned to hell?" We were a bit confused at how he got to that conclusion but we told him that if he read the book and prayed to know that it was true, and followed the footsteps of Christ and be baptized, it would save him from hell. It was amazingly powerful and it was awesome to see someone excited about reading this incredible book.

I would love to hear how all of your Christmases were so write me!!

Elder Jared

Monday, December 22, 2014

He is the Gift

Hello family and friends!

This week has been incredibly fast... Like I dont know where time has gone! and now its Christmas! I love the christmas season soo much! everyone is happy!

Speaking of Christmas, the Church has come out with a video called Èl es la Dadiva, which in english is "He is the Gift" If you havent seen it yet, stop reading and go watchit. Right now. WE have been using to contact people. It has been working amazingly well. Sometimes we get to watch a video right there when we contact(they have smartphones but live in little shacks, dont ask my why they get a regular phone put the money to something else). and when we get to watch it with them, the people loooooove it. The spirit from the video is soooo strong and they can feel it. It has been a great way to get on the other side of the fence and teach a lesson.

We have discovered another thing thats hard about a Whitewash right before christmas. You dont have anybody to spend Christmas with. So In Kokuere, I had three dinner invites, and here we were thinking that we would have to spend christmas alone. To make things worse, the members didnt like the Elders before us and they didnt trust them. But luckily, the Bishop has invited us (Kinda) for dinner. I say kinda because he didnt say it to our face. He was talking with the Hermanas and invited them over and they asked if the Elders were going to be there and he said yes. So I feel like we have a family to spend christmas with.

I hope you all have a very merry christmas and hope that you can see the most amazing video (along with "because of him" (easter)) in the world.

Feliz navidad y enjoy the cool!!

Elder Jared

Wednesday, December 17, 2014

Whitewash Week 2

This week has been a wierd week.. It was going great the first half of the week and they its like a light switch was flipped. I'll talk about it a bit more later. 

We had zone conference this weekend and things are changing in the mission. It's great changes! So right now every week we have to send in 14 things to the president. It's baptisms, confirmations, investigators with a date, investigators that went to church, lessons to a investigator with a member, other lessons, progressing investigators, references received, contacted, new investigators and lessons to a menos activo or a recent convert and the number of contacts, menos activos at church and total at church.

But now we only have three things, and that's baptisms and confirmation, % of the recent converts that went to church, and total at church. So that takes a lot of pressure off of us and we can focus on teaching investigators and not trying to reach a number. 

So that was on Wednesday. and something big happened on Wednesday also. I had divisions with the APs. It was tons of fun and I learned soo much. I went with Elder Caldouron. He is from Logan but was born in Colombia. He's been the AP for 6ish months. But at the end he told me that my spanish is great and gave me stuff to start perfecting my accent. So that made me feel awesome!

But Wednesday was when things started to change. Monday to Wednesday we didnt have any trouble getting into houses and finding new people to teach, but from then on it was seriously nothing. All of our contacts were rejections and we had tons of trouble finding and teaching. I'm sure this week will be better!

It's mango season right now and they are everywhere! There are tons of mangos on the ground and are starting to rot so it smells bad. But when you get a good mango it's awesome! I've started eating a mango for breakfast and when we are walking you can just pick a mango and eat it. So everyday I eat like 10 mangoes (most of the mangoes here are small and fit in the palm of your hand). I love them so much!

For this week in studies I spent a good part of the week studying 3 Nephi 11. I have to say that it might be my favorite chapter in the whole book. It is absolutely amazing. But I left my study book at home so I can't share in detail. Basically the doctrine of Christ is to have faith in him, be baptized and repent. The rest of the doctrine is based on those three things. They are crucial and I loved studying them.

I have a question for you all, I would love to hear your responses next week. It will take some studying and research, but I'm sure you will learn a lot. In 3 Nephi 11:21 Jesus gives Nephi and the 12 the power to baptize. But they had been baptizing before, so were those baptisms invalid? I would love to hear your thoughts. Next week I will post my thoughts. I hope you have fun studying this!!

With love from Paraguay,
Elder Jared

Monday, December 8, 2014

Transfer 2

Heyy Heyy!! It seems like forever since I have been able to write! This week has been absolutely nuts. First of all I'm sure that y'all are curious where Elder Torres is now. He is still in the same place. But first I need to explain some missionary Lingo. All of this has to do with family history because it is incredibly important.

Father: Trainer
Mother: The last companion of your father in an area
Brother: Someone trained by your trainer
Grandfather:trainer of your trainer, etc

So that means Elder Torres is my "Father". And in this transfer I learned that I have a brother. And I am a mother... You put it all together and I am the one that left while Elder Torres is still training in Kokueré. So my new area is called Juan de Salazar. It's In between two cities called Luqe and Limpio. Basically my area in GIGANTONOURMAS! Like it is incredibly big. And we live like a mile away from it so every morning and night is a mile walk. To add on top of a giant area and huge walks to get to our area every day, we got whitewashed. So we are both new to this area and know where nothing is. None of the investigators, less actives, or the members. And with a new area and new comp. It's been pretty rough.

My new companion is Elder Breton and he is from Orem and is awesome! So I have an american comp! He has like 15 months on the mission and he hasn't been whitewashed before. So this is new for the both of us.

We had quite the shock when we first saw our home, I have pictures but this computer is not accepting my USB for some reason. Elder Breton discribed it prefectly when he said "Its your classic Paraguayan home. This is something you contact." Basically it's four walls and a bathroom. It does have AC which is a HUGE blessing you'll understand later.. But it smells like mold and the Elders before didn't clean it at all... There was a half pot of rice on the stove and a bunch of dirty dishes on the sink. And don't even get me started on the floor. Lets just say we spent the better part of a day cleaning. Also the area book was basically worth nothing. It had stuff from 09 and there was basically no info. So we really were starting from nothing.

Just one more paragraph and then I'll get to the blessing that I have felt. Our area basically has nothing. There isn't any supermarkets and only one paved road. The rest is dirt and it absolutely kills your feet. and it is the weirdest thing, you'll see a community of like 5 houses, then there will be nothing. absolutely nothing for half a mile. Its odd.

Now it's blessings time:
1. I love my comp and he is working amazingly hard.
2. Something switched in my brain and I can understand people and converse with them. I'm still not grammatically correct, but they catch my drift
3. Is the ward. They have helped us soooo much. We met with the bishop the first day we were here and EVERYONE, was like, hey-your new. I want to help you. Call me anytime and we will work with you" people young and old, male and female. I guess the other elders didn't work with the ward that well, and they were excited for new people that would work with them. So every day we have had a member with us to show us where people live. I dont know how we would have done it without the ward. They are amazing.

They also speak alot more guarani here so here are some phrases:

Che uhei (shea uh hey) means im thirsty-which we use often because we saw a sign and it said 51 degrees. thats like 124 degrees. So its baking here
Che vare´a (shea varey ah) Im hungry
Che kane´o (shea can eh oh) Im tired
and Che akese( shea ah case eh) I want to sleep

Basically we use all of those alot. haha

But for reals the biggest thing I have learned this week is that all things will fall into place if you do what the Lord wants you to do. No matter how hard the task may seem, It's all possible. We have been teaching so many lessons and people are accepting our message. Its all because we are willing to forget our will and desire and do the Lord's work.

I hope you can find an application in your life somewhere

With all the love in the world,
Elder Jared

Monday, December 1, 2014


So I'm sure y'all are curious of how we celebrated Thanksgiving. Basically, we didn't do anything. But we did have a super fun Noche de Hogar (Family Home Evening) with a family that is menos activo. We played the flour game. It's where you build a tower out of flour and put a coin on top. Then you take turns cutting the flour untill the tower crumbles. Once the tower crumbles the coin is lost in the flour and you have to find it and take it off the plate with your nose! It was super fun! And to take it a step further, if you made the flour fall, you had to answer a question about someone else that was there. If you got it wrong, we would pop a water balloon on your head, If you got it right the person who the question was about got the water balloon. It was a pretty great night if I do say so myself. And naturally we shared a spiritual message and we decided to share the first lesson again. It was the most focused I have ever seen that family. They said that they wanted to go to church but they had other commitments on Sunday. Tough luck.

Last week I mentioned Black Friday here, You can already get stuff for super cheap here compared to the states, and with the deals it would have been a killer opportunity to grab some Paraguayan gear but we weren't allowed. No biggie for me because my mom will tell you I'm not much of a shopper!

There is another family (a mother and son) of menos activos who we have been working really hard to get to church. We have been trying forever to get them to church. They said they had troubles waking up in time, so we gave them an alarm clock. Promising eternal blessing also wasn't enough to get them to church so we had to stoop to chocolate. They didn't have any excuse to not come to church this week. and did they come? Nope. I seriously don't know what else to do with them.

We haven't been able to visit the family that is super close to baptism this week. Because the kids are in finals getting ready for summer vacation. Funny that while you all are in the snow and school, I am in summer and the kids are on vacation!

In other big news, I gave my first talk in sacrament meeting yesterday. I had to talk on prophets. It was super scary because I struggled giving a 10 minute talk in english and now I had to do It in spanish (which is a ton better than my first week). But I felt like I did a good job I was able to fill my time and the Branch was very nice to me and said I did great.

Also, we have changes on Wednesday and Elder Torres feels like he is going to leave. He has been in this area for 4 changes and has been in this zone for his whole mission. We figure out tomorrow for sure what happens.

One last thing. As you know, my area borders the south mission. And our stake is probably going to change boundries. That means that my branch may become a part of the stake that is in the south mission. I don't know if they will send us to another part and whitewash our area with missionaries from the south mission, or if the missionaries already in our branch would just switch to the south mission. So a bit of uncertainty in Rama Kokueré.

Con Cariño
Elder Jared

Ps: The offical name of the other mission is just Paraguay Asunción, but to me, they are the south mission