Monday, June 29, 2015

One Quick Change

Yeah, This change is over now. It is amazing to think how quick this change has gone by, but at the same time it feels like an eternity since the change has started. Before this change started I had three companions... 3 comps for 8 months and in this change I have doubled that. Its kinda crazy. so yeah, but everything is great with my companions, Just a little interesting fact for this week.

I dont think Ill have changes, but you just never know whats going to happen. Its a great suprise. Kinda like Christmas every six weeks :) haha. For some reason I think the Bishop thinks that I will leave. Even though half of the missionaries here in aregua have been here longer than I have. But he knew that we had changes and he gave 2 missionaries a little bit of time to bear their testimony in preisthood meeting and then in sacrament meeting. He wanted me to do it in both. So I dont know if its revelation or if ill stay. luckily for me I find out tomorrow, you all have to wait another week.

This week has been really good. we have found lots of good people to teach so Im pretty excited. But there are two that I am super excited about. One is called Guillermo and the other is Richard.

We found Guillermo when I was in the Trio. He was just a street contact, he seemed very interested but the directions to his house were a little bit shaky. He lives in a different area from mine. But this week, I went on divisions to that area and it was like 6:30 at night and we were just contacting, and my Companion (elder Dswson from the Trio) said that he hadnt contacted this one street before so we just start tracting, and not the third house in, we contact Guillermos house, an absolute miracle that we found him again. But so we start teaching him and he just asked all right questions. Like he seriously would ask a question that would be answered perfectly but the next principle that we would teach I.E, He asked ¿why are there so many church on the earth today? bam, the great apostasy, then he asked ¿What makes you all different from all the other churchs? bam, Joseph Smith and the first vision. It was absolutely wonderful. He learned a lot and I feel like he will progress

Richard is the son of a less active that we have been working. Hermana Ana. HeIs 16 but he lived in a different house until this week. He was baptized when he was eight but hasnt been to church in a lon long time. He had forgotten a lot about the church and why its important. But he is very ready to learn and progress. WE felt inspired to talk to him about the book of mormon and how it could help him.  then he just asked a lot of questions and each one could be answered by a verse in the Book of Mormon. So he could see how the book really could answer all his questions. And then, HE WENT TO CHURCH!!!! Even though it was raning, he went to church for the very fist time in nearly 6 years. It was amazing. he is such a quality young man and will be a very good missionary some day. I have so much excitment for him

So there is progresion going on and there is nothing that makes a missionary more happy then seeing people progress!!

All my love,

Elder Jared

Monday, June 22, 2015

The sweetest fruit ever!

Man this has been a great week. It really has been. Although we didn't see much progression on the people that we were focusing on, we had lots of less actives go to church even though we hadn't been focusing on them. I guess it's God telling us that we have to change who we focus on! Haha!

SO this week we had the special opportunity to listen to the President of the Area, Elder Walter Gonzalez of the 70. It was an absolutely fantastic mission meeting. He talked about the Book of Mormon and how it is a book of levels and standards. Or meaning that we can go to different depths according to our studies and apply scriptures differently to our lives. It reminded me of some advice that my mom has sent me (more then once but it is fantastic advice!!) I think she got it from a member of our stake presidency. But anyway, There are basically 3 levels we can go to. The first is compared to swimming with our head out of the water. We enjoy the water but can't really enjoy what is under the water. The second would be be similar to snorkeling. Our head is under the water and we enjoy what is under the water. The third is like SCUBA diving. Really going deep and living underneath the waves. Ok now its time for the explanation. First we can read the Book of Mormon and enjoy what is really on the surface. We can have a great time reading, but we miss a huge part of the fun! Second we start going deeper. Thinking harder about the scrptures that we read. and starting to see the beauty of the scriptures. Third is the most difficult to do. It takes lots of practices, traning and paciencia. We are applying what we learn. Or basically we are living in the beauty of what we learn, really understanding the scriptures and living in them!

So I've started practicing really really going deep and learning. And I have been greatly blessed from that. There is one underlying theme that I have seen from these scrpirtures. That would be the Atonement of Jesus Christ. I knew that the atonement was a common theme in the Book of Mormon, I just didn't realize how much it talked about it. I have discovered that EVERY single verse can either apply to the atonement, or support a verse or story that can be applied to the atonement. It honestly has changed my life. I know that Jesus is the Christ. He suffered for us, He died for us. He lives for us. I know that the Book Of Mormon is the word of God. It has helped me understand life so much more and helped me get though the hard time on my mission. I feel like the Book of Mormon is the sweetest fruit that I have tasted. I love it!

We had another awesome lesson with Daniel and Lili. They are just so great. They were both sick this week so they didn't go to church. But I really feel like they have the desire to change. They have started reading the Book of Mormon and have felt a change in their life. They feel more peace and tranquility in their lives. They are feeling the spirit in their lives! more sweet fruit!!

Finally, we had maybe my favorite service ever... We picked strawberrys. Fransiscos uncle owns a strawberry farm so Saturday we helped him in his field.... We picked around 54 pounds of strawberries. I love strawberries so much. And to pick your own strawberries is the best. Super sweet and delicious!!

I love you all and hope that you will all really start going deep in your studies!

Love you more than the strawberries here!!

Elder Jared

Wednesday, June 17, 2015

The June Rains


Man I am so glad that today is Pday... I really needed this one. Its not that this week was hard or anything, I don't know. I'm just extremely grateful that is Pday right now. Its a nice time to relax a little bit and prepare for an awesome week.

this past week wasn't hard, I just don't feel like there is much to report. There were rain storms this week and that always makes the work hard. The biggest storm came Sunday morning right before church. So basically attendance wasn't very good.

Daniel (our investigator) works as a truck driver and he got stuck in Buenos Aries and we couldn't visit with him for the week. it was kinda disappointing but it is ok. From what I hear he is reading the Book of Mormon and really likes it. but I've just heard that through the grapevine.

Our recent converts are doing really good. We have Fransisco working on his family history. He is planning on going to the temple at the end of this month to be baptized for his dad. He loves the family history work. Our other Recent convert is doing really well too. Im not sure if i told you about him, his name is Carlos Torres and reads a ton. In fact this week he finished the Book of Mormon! supposedly he has read 3 chapters everyday since hes been baptized in February. And ever since he went to church for the first time. he has only missed twice. so he is pretty awesome. We have some fantastic converts.

And now for the less actives. WE have a lot of them but not much progression is happening. None of them went to church due to the rain. we are really focusing on 2 menos activos Hma Lorenza and Hma Ana. They both will go to church if the conditions are good. But if not they wont go. They are the two that are progressing the most of our less actives. Reactivating is really really hard. and its kinda frustrating but its a part of the work so I love it.

I love you all!! Don't be afraid to write me paper letters too!!

Elder Jared

Monday, June 8, 2015

The Tables Have Turned!

This has been another crazy week… yeah. As you know, I have been in a trio for the past 2 weeks. I loved being in a trio but ow its all over. I have a new companion. His name is Elder Calderón. He was born in Peru, but the last 8 years hes lived in Portland Oregon. So it is a possibility that he knew Evan Johnson when he was there. He has the same time as me on the mission and will go home with me. He really likes speaking English and I am used to speaking Spanish so he will talk to me in English and I reply in Spanish. So the tables have turned.

Not too much has happened this week. It seems like forever since I've had a pday. It always seems like its been forever when I have changes. So this week has flown by but has lasted forever. Weird how that works out eh? Haha its weird how time goes on the mission. The days are long and the weeks are short and the months are even shorter. I don’t understand how that can happen!! I am no longer considered a greenie now! Haha so once again, the tables are turned!! Haha

Milagros lives in the area of Elder Dawson and Silvers my old companions) so I won't really be able to visit with her. But I did see her at Church yesterday so she is progressing really good. Daniel and Lili are still in my area,. I absolutely love going to visit them. They are so genuine in their desires to change. They told us that they will only be baptized if it will truly change their lives… And they have already seen the changes. Daniel is a truck driver and is gone during the week so we visited them on Saturday. He told us that his week was unusually good and that he has been more patient since starting to converse with out Heavenly Father (Padre Celestial). He tells us that before he would just recite the Lord's prayer before. So prayer has really changed his live for the better. They are just such great investigators and their situation is just absolutely fantastic. I might have told you, but it doesn’t hurt to hear it twice. They live across the street from the Elders Quorum president. They just moved in a few months ago and immediately the Familia Domiguez (EQP) started fellowshipping them. Not by inviting them to church, but by being a friend. And that has helped Daniel and Lili so so much. They have noticed something different about him from the other neighbors. SO shout out to good examples… hurrah! Hurrah!!

But they didn’t go to church this week because there has been a little bit of a bug that has been going around. It kept them from church as well as 3 other menos activios we have been working with. But all in all, we had a good turn out at church. From our ward we had 113 come. So that was more great news!!

Have a great summer my family! Love you just as much as I love this work!

Elder Jared

Monday, June 1, 2015

Change of Heart and Beer Bottles

Man what a week this has been, Lets just say that the trio has been killing it! We've started getting into a groove with teaching and all that stuff. We have been getting along really well and working really hard. And the miracles have been coming.

Our mission president has been encouraging us to put a focus on baptizing, contacting more and helping the people of Paraguay learn the importance of Baptism. So we have been being super bold when it comes to inviting people to baptism. President Mcmullin promised us that if we are bold and not afraid to put dates for baptism the first lesson he said the Lord would soften their hearts. When I first heard this I was super skeptical about doing it. I was afraid that it would seem a bit too pushy and was ready to put that challenge behind me and forget about it. But it was Wednesday night and we had a lesson with a less active and her daughter that is not a member. We taught the restoration and the Book of Mormon and the Spirit was super strong. I just had a feeling that I needed to challenge her to a baptismal date. And she accepted. Her name is Milagros (in English, miracles) and the date is the 4 of July. So the promise from my mission president came true! And more evidence of that comes from last night. We were on divisons with Fransisco and his uncle. So Fransisco was with Elder Silver and I while his uncle was with Elder Dawson. Fransisco gave us this reference and right from the beginning we could tell they were prepared to change. They asked what they would have to change to become members of the church and when we told them that they would have to pay tithing obey the Word of Wisdom, get married, they were super ready to change. They kept telling us that they really wanted to change and already had plans to get married. They don't have a problem with the word of wisdom and said that they were ready to pay tithing even though it would be a great sacrifice. They are super prepared. They are named Daniel and Lili. and have a date for the 18th of July, It's a long ways away but they do have a wedding to plan!

So the dates aren't they only miracle I've seen this week... We have been working with a less active named Lorenza. She went inactive because she had a problem with a leader in the ward. Supposedly their neighborhood got together and own some water supply thing. She thought that the ward leader was stealing money from the neighborhood. The sad thing is she didn't even know if he did steal. So that's why she stopped going to church. We have spent the past 6 weeks with her trying to help her forgive. but she just couldn't. Thats when the miracle comes in. Tuesday we had planned to teach her about how we can feel the spirit from the Book of Mormon. But we ended up teaching repentance. It was a great lesson. And the best part of all was that the end, she told us that she was going to church! And She did!! It was great!!

So two hearts were changed this week. Mine and Lorenza's. Now I know what you're thinking. What are the Beer Bottles? Well... We had a family home evening with Hermana Lorenza and her family, and she prepared a little dinner. As she brings out the drinks they were all beer bottles... We were like uhh..... But she's like "Relax, I refill them with soda!" so yeah, we drank soda out of beer bottles!

This Pday was an adventure. We wanted to climb a hill that is close to our house but is absolutely covered in jungle. There wasn't really a pathway to the top so we brought our Machete and made a path. The view was great!! you could see Asuncion and the lake. Absolutely gorgeous! I also recreated my jumping photo. And just for kenna, some pictures of the roads we walk!

Love you all! I just hope you are all happy as I am!!

Elder Jared