Monday, March 30, 2015

Oh the people you meet

Another week already??? wow!! its hard to believe that we are on week 6 of the change. so that means that changes are next week. Right after conference, What a perfect way to end a transfer! We don't know who will stay and who will go, because we both have the same time here. It's very likely that we have changes, because we have been here a long time together, 3 changes now!! But its been a great three changes!

We had another good week number wise. We had 111 people at church, Now I know what your thinking, that 111 isnt close to 140. But it's a lot considering the challenges we had this week. The first challenge was that It was super rainy right before church, and most don't have cars and its really difficult for them to attend. The second problem is that we have a mini bus that goes and picks up the families that live far away and it got stuck in the mud!! So there were a good 20 active members that couldn't make it this week, bummer but still it was good to see that many people there despite the challenges.

Weather wise it was a tranquilo week.. rainy but not too rainy, so it was awesome, and for Grandma, there aren't any gutters, so when it rains, the streets turn into mini rivers, It's always fun crossing the street and avoid getting water in your shoes.

We had quite a funny experience this week. It happened Saturday night as we were walking home. We were passing a gas station and there was a guy that wanted to "talk" with us. We knew he was probably drunk so we just said we would go give him a chance. We under estimated how drunk he was the first thing he asks us is"Do mormons drink soda?" when we said yes, he was super surprised  and he was like "well lets get some soda then!!" We tried to explain to him that we were in a rush to go home but his mind was definitely focused on soda with the missionaries. So a drunk man bought us soda this week! It was a pretty funny experience because he was absolutely wasted.. It was hilarious.. Good times!

This week is called Semana Santa or Holy week, because its Easter week! and there's a Catholic tradition to not eat any meat from Friday on, but chicken and pork is ok to eat. Also they eat a ton of chipa. I don't know how to describe chipa, but it is easily one of my favorite foods. So for that I am really looking forward to this week.. But it only gets better from here.. Tomorrow morning we get to help this family SLAUGHTER A PIG!! haha definitely something to look forward to!! haha too pumped!! Then Wednesday, we have an appointment to help a hermana make chipa (which means eat chipa :)). and then Thursday a family invited us for dinner. and it's going to be awesome :) Ill tell you what it is next week. I just can't go around telling you all my plans right?? There has to be some suspense right?? haha so yeah, its going to be a pretty awesome week!!

On a spiritual note, I have been studying in 2 Nefi 28-29 and there are some things that I love here. They both are about the restoration and the Book of Mormon, But some of my highlights are

Chapter 28 vs 20-22 Which Nephi states are three ways that Satan traps us, I think the most interesting one for me is in vs 21. Nephi tells us that Satan convinces us to be lazy. That everything is good in Zion and we don't have to do anything. Always remember D&C 58:27. So that settles things. I hope you read those versus and study them

Also, the Church released another awesome video for Easter. Its similar to those of "Because of Him" and "He is the Gift" this time its called "Gracias a que el vive" which translates to "Because He Lives" They are super awesome and You can feel the spirit so strong from the videos. I hope you spread the word and post it on facebook, twitter or instagram. It can help Millions of people feel the love of God. And makes everyone happy!!

Con amor and felicidad,

Elder Jared

Friday, March 27, 2015

It's about time!

Its about time that.... Paraguay is starting to cool down!! seriously though. Saturday marked the first official day of fall (otoño). and It was like God flicked a light switch. No joke. It was Thursday and we were dying of heat. It was seriously one of the hottest days I have experienced. It was pretty rough mentally because its the time where the days should change, but it was still crazy hot!! But then, like I said, God told us we have suffered enough and Saturday he sent a nice, strong cold wind... It was absolutely marvelous!!! I loved it! I have to say, It was the first day that I haven't been soaked from sweat or rain since I've been here, (well there are days with the sick comp, but those don't count.) So that was absolutely a blessing!! The time is changing!! wahoo!!

Its about time... Our district absolutely killed it this week. Our two wards knocked the numbers out of the park... I know that numbers aren't everything, but they mean something!! Out of 5 areas, there was only 1 recent convert missing. And that's because she is sick. And each Area has from 3-6 recent converts! So that is absolutely amazing! Our two wards also had a lot of people in attendance. Usually the other ward (Bella Vista) has around 170-180 and we (Juan de Salazar) pull in 100-115, but this week was unreal and Bella Vista had 205!! That is a ton of people!! and we got 140! Which was an all time high for our ward!! So as a district, we had almost 350 in church and like 85% of the recent converts. Absolutely unreal awesome!!! Also Gabriel got confirmed yesterday so that's an offical baptisim and confirmation! It was an absolutely amazing week!!

There's a little story behind Gabriel's confirmation. We have been working really hard with their family and preparing their Dad to do the confirmation. At the beginning of the week we gave him the steps to do the confirmation and everything was tranquilo. But the Saturday night, he felt super nervous and he wanted one of us to do the confirmation, But basically Elder Breton said "your his father, you can receive special revelation for Gabriel, we would prefer if you could do the confirmation" we then told him things he could bless him with and he decided to do it. Then Sunday morning, He gives an extremely powerful blessing. I could look around the room and see people with tears in their eyes. There is no doubt in my mind that Heaven surrounded Gabriel's father and guided that blessing. It is one of the most powerful experiences I have felt here. it was... indescribably.

So yeah its been a pretty awesome weekend.. not much to complain about, just that I faced my arch nemesis again, the Andai Kamby (pumpkin in milk) and I won again.. haha take that stupid pumpkin.

With an eternal smile,

Elder Jared

...funny story about the flowr tower...We were doing one last game and the tower fell on I get kinda dirty and wash it off...but I go back in the home and everyone has flour for the they had me put more lour on my damp face.  As I was putting my face towards the plate with flour, Elder Breton moves the plate into my face so I get covered...covered in flour...

Monday, March 16, 2015

The week of miracles

Yup, this week has been pretty miraculous if you ask me. Its been absolutely amazing even though a tad bit frustrating. Most of the miracles may seem small to you, but to me they are huge. There are 4 main miracles I want to tell you guys. So you guys get some stories!! Yeah!!!

Miracle #1:

We have lunch on Tuesday with some members and they just got sealed in the temple sometime last year, They have 4 kids named Bianca (10 years old) Lady (7) Angél (3) and Neggy (1). They thing is Bianca is the daughter of a past relationship and hasnt been baptized. Her mom doesnt want her to be baptized, but she loves the church and wants to be baptized. So thi miracle is... Her father (active member) won custody this week and now Bianca can be baptized!! She Is super excited and really Intelligent and loves to learn. So thats the miracle #1 this week

#2: It was late on Thursday night, and we really needed to get home really quick, but we were a long way from our house. We had just visited Erika, Karina and Gabriel and they live super far away, a solid hour walking home Its about the time that the collectivos start to close and so we were walking pretty fast to get to the road to get on the collectivo. As we are like 30 feet from the road, the last collectivo passes. It was super dissapointing because we had a super long walk and we would get home late. But as would have it, a collectivo that was closed passed by, and we signaled it down and it stopped for us. usually when a driver is done with his route, they dont pick anyone up. But this driver did for some reason. which was super lucky. But this is where things get super awesome, as we go to pay, Hes like "no charge" So we got home on time and saved some money. Supper lucky!

#3: We had some menos activos go to church! We call them super menos activos because they havent gone in forever, and tons of missionaries try, but they just dont go to church! But we have been working with them and helping the Father get worthy to Baptize his daughter who is turning 9 this week. But the awsome thing is that they went to church!! they telll us every week that si o si this is the week. But they never go. So we had a lesson with them and we decided to be very direct with them. We told them that we were trying to help them, but it was up to them to act and recieve the blessings. And it worked!! I just hope they keep going, because I believe they will!!

#4: This is maybe the biggest miracle of all. 2 sundays ago we were talking with Erika, Karina and Gabriel about the baptisim yesterday, and they all said that they were feeling good about it. So we thought it was going to be todo tranquilo, but then we visit them thursday and Erika, the oldest, changed her mind and told us that she wanted to wait a little bit. The most frustrating part is that shw wouldnt tell us why. She just wanted to wait. We were super worried that because she is the oldest, the other two would follow her example. So we asked Karina what she wanted to do. What did she tell us? she also changed her mind and wanted to wait. our hearts droped. We knew they were prepared and they knew they were prepared. they just wanted to wait. But then Gabriel. Sweet sweet Gabriel just pipes up, we hadnt even asked him yet, and he says"I dont know what your thinking, But I want to be baptized!!" so Gabriel got Baptized this sunday and became and example to his two older sisters!! It was awesome to have him get baptized by his dad. he was super brave! Also, I dont trust sending pictures from this cyber because of gamers, Im worried about virurses. 

So thats my week!! Just a perfect mix of Gods love for us!!

Chau chau for now!!

Elder Jared

(Elder Jared isn't able to send photos for now because he doesn't feel as if the computers he is using will be safe...they might have viruses).

Tuesday, March 10, 2015

Can't beat the wacky weather :)

We have had a wacky week of weather this week. Its blazing hot in the morning, rains during the afternoon. These rains havent been your average Utah rains either. It has been raining buckets and the worst is you can never really tell when it will hit. Itll start to drizzle and then bam!! Its soaking wet. So i think the first day that it was like that was tuesday, but we made it home intime to get our rain jackets and umbrellas (Mine broke that day too which turned out to be a big bummer) but I did have my rain jacket to keep the upper half of my dry. So that was pretty fun. Getting soaked by rain. Wednesday we had the foresight to bring our rain jackets and the exact same thing happens. super hot in the morning and super rainy in the afternoon. Then comes Thurs. This is when the real fun happens. It wasnt super hot that morning like the other mornings have been, so we didnt think It would rain, but as would have it, in the afternoon the clouds came in and they didnt look superdark, just dark enough to rain hard enough to go home and get the rain gear. so we were walking down the street and I looked back to see if there was a collectivo coming and all I see is a wall of superdark rain clouds. and It was coming in fast. we were like 2 miles away from our house but like 300 meters from a place that sells empanadas. So we were praying that we could make it to the place for some cover, but right then it started to pour. so we ran to the copetin (the empanada place) and we were soaked, but our keys fell and so we had to go searching for them, In the pouring rain. so yeah, we got wet. really wet. But it was fun :)

So I think I might have forgotten to tell you the dates for the baptisims, Erika, Karina and Gabriel are for next sunday. and they are super excited for it. They chose the flavor of cake and everthing. Their dad is a recent convert and will baptize them. that makes be really excited, missionaries will come and go, but a father will stay forever. But they are super excited.

The other is David, who has a date for the 21st, he is super cool, because we know he will go to church. we dont have to pick him up because we know that he will be there. So its pretty awesome!! I dont know if he will get baptized that date but hes praying for confirmation.

So about the scripture that I shared last week D&C 101:55, Its alot about how the lord needs everyone on board and helping others find the gospel. He needs the worriers (missionaries perhaps), the young people (youth) and the older people. the lord needs 100% of the church to help Increase the work of the lord. And for the Church to give 100% all the members need to give 100% of the effort to help increase. A while ago, Elder Ballard challenged everyone to pray for one chance to send someone the light of christ each trimester of the year. So I want to reissure the challenge to all my readers to start praying for missionary opportunities!! It doesnt have to be a huge deal, it doesnt have to become a refernece for the missionaries, just help someone feel the love of Christ!!They more the merrier!! and from the side of a missionary, we love it when the members help us, so make someone smile!

With the biggest smile from Paraguay, Elder Jared

Monday, March 2, 2015

Stuck in the warp whole - both of us!

Theres a saying among us Paraguay Asuncion North missionaries. Its "When you get to Luque, you die in Luque" Basically Luque is a warp whole. if you get out your lucky. Now I know what your thinking, Why Luque? Really because its super big. It has three of our 10 zones (the most of any city in our mission) and the zones are the largest zones. so there are lots off missionaries in Luque. Luque isnt that big, its just that for some reason they call the zones Luque a, b and south. The subject line also says both of us. That means I am still with Elder Breton!! I'm super happy about that because honestly, I feel like we deserve one more month. I'll explain why a bit later.

But as for this week it was suuper hot. or maybe its just humid I can't tell the difference anymore. All I know is that my hands felt like they were starting to prune form the sweat.. It was pretty nasty. haha but then we had some cloud cover to help with the blazing hot sun. but it was a pretty good week. First of all to fill you in on why I'm so happy to be with Elder Breton one more change is we have 4 investigators with a baptismal date. Soo yeah... we could have lots of baptisms coming up.. so please don't stop the prayers!!! Our ward hasn't had any convert baptisms since April. 0. and the Hermanas in the other part of the ward have one this weekend. So that means together we can get 5 convert baptisms in a month. so you ready to get to know our investigators (I feel comfortable using names without the last name. Especially because the names are pretty common here)

On the 14th, we have Erika, Karina and Gabriel. They are 15 12 and 10 years old and the children of recent converts that are active. We were super confused on why they didn't get baptized with their parents and it turns out that they didn't listen to the lessons, but they have been going to church consistently the past months and they know the church is true. They didn't want to be baptized thought because the thought they didn't know enough. but know they feel comfortable with the date!! I'm so excited for them!
Family of Erika, Karina, and Gabriel

And on the 21st we have David. He went to church with his dad like 5 years ago, but his dad passed away and he lost contact with the church. But we found him and he has started going again and he loves it!!! They only thing is that he doesn't know how to read. He dropped out of school to start working for his family. He has a 6th grade education but doesn't know how to read. But the awesome thing is that he wanted to start reading the Book of Mormon so he enrolled in school again to learn to read!! He is pretty awesome. Also, he speaks more Guarani than Spanish and so its a little bit difficult to communicate with him. But he loves the church!!!

As for the spiritual thought, It comes from The president of the area, who came to our stake conference. He said there are actually 6 gospels that preach of Christ. We all know the 4 (Matthew, Mark, Luke and John), but what are the other two?, 3 Nephi and.. All of the Book Of Mormon. I hope you enjoy that :)

An Idea for family night, read Doctrine and Covenants 101:55 and talk about that :)

Un abrazo de Paraguay,

Elder Jared
Guarani Plaque