Monday, February 29, 2016

More training!!

Well so last week we had quite a bit of training with zone conference and with stake conference. And this week we got the cherry on top!! Because Elder Bednar visited the south america south area and we had an area wide mission conference. More than 6000 missionaries involved. It was pretty awesome. Elder Bednar talked more about teaching repentance. But he really gave some pretty good advice. I really liked something that he says. He says that there is a tradition in the church that we will take lots of notes and really love the talks, but then a few weeks later we lose the notes and don't use them. He compared it to the Book of Mormon. Because the Book of Mormon is basically split up into 2 plates. The large plate and the small plates. The large plates were for the historical record (wars and stuff like that) and the small plates were for the teachings of the prophets. He encouraged us to "write on small plates" or write what the spirit tells us. not the speaker. He told us that it will make the notes more meaningful and help us use them more. So these past few days, I really have been focusing on "writing on my small plates" and It is incredible the change I have seen in my studies, It really does help. its a lot harder, but its worth a lot more. So I encourage you to start writing on the small plates :) but other than that, Missionaries were able to asked Elder Bednar questions and it was fun. Elder Bednar really is quite funny. It was fun to see that side of him, but it really was something special receiving the training with him.

Richard is still doing well. He was sustained for his Aaronic Priesthood this week and is looking forward to going to the temple to do baptisms for the dead. He is always doing well!! Haha

We haven't been able to find Victor this week. He has started his studies again so he can finish high school. So he has been really busy. But from when we talk with him on the phone he sounds like he is doing really good. He is still reading to book of Mormon, But we are struggling with him to go to church. Its always a battle, but I think if we can meet with him, he will go. He says he loves going.

We found a new family this week, they are called the Perez family. They are hardcore baptists, but we had a fun conversation with them. It was fun helping them use understand the bible and using to prove our doctrine. We didnt bible bash which was good. Just a good lesson. haha I loved it. Its fun talking with people that actually understand a little bit of the bible!

So it seems like the Paraguayan summer is starting to calm down. I don't want to jinx myself, but its been a tad cooler this week. So grateful for that!!! Haha love you all

Elder Jared

Monday, February 22, 2016

A week of training

Well this week was a good week. We had quite a bit of training this week with Zone Conference and stake conference so that took up basically all of our time Friday, Saturday and Sunday. but it was so good. There really isn't very much else that passed the other days. It was just the same walking beneath the burning sun. A Hermana told us that the real feel was around 120... so it was just super hot. Good thing sunscreen works. haha

So Friday was Zone Conference. It also was interviews with President McMullin. Time with President McMullin is like gold for us. Its always fun being with president. When we were together, we really passed a lot of time passing. President is actually really funny. I honestly dont remember what was so funny. It just was funny. But we were able to set goals for both of us (he will go home like 2 weeks before I do) so it was just fun to spend some 1 on 1 time with him. Its a little bit sad for me because I have just 1 more interview with him before he leaves... so that will be a little bit hard.

But for more on the zone conference we really are focusing a lot more on teaching repentance. Its a theme that has come from the 12 Apostles that we need to teach repentance and baptize converts. So we were practicing how to really teach repentance and we cant teach repentance without talking about the atonement of Christ. Because we really only can repent when we accept Jesus Christ as our savior. It because of him that we can repent. An alcoholic can stop drinking, but if he doesn't accept Jesus Christ as his Savior, It isn't a true repentance. Its simply a change in habits. Its so critical that when we repent we have to accept Christ. We cant repent without him. We really couldn't do much without Christ.

Saturday and Sunday we had sessions of stake conference. Elder Romulon Cabrera of the Seventy presided the sessions. President McMullin and his wife also attended. Saturday night was the Adult session that we were invited to attend. The focus was on teaching Children the Gospel. Hermana McMullin and President McMullin had everyone laughing and crying because they shared some experiences that really helped the Paraguayans learn. Everyone that I talked to after that loved their talks. Elder Cabrera gave an incredible talk on grace. He used a ton of scriptures that were amazing, It was so good.

Sunday  the main topic was repentance. All of the speakers talked about it in some way. President and Elder Cabrera were very direct and very very clear about it. I learned so much it was awesome!!

Victor is doing well. He struggles with smoking and drinking, we called him because we weren't able to meet with him and it that very moment, he told us he was reading the Book of Mormon and he hadn't smoked or drank since Monday. He really really wants to change his life and that is exactly what he is doing with help of the Gospel. Its awesome!!

Love you all

Elder Jared

after yard work

lunch with Elders

dead dog found while doing yard work

selfie surprise?

Monday, February 15, 2016

Every weeks a Good week with a Baptism!

Richard February 13, 2016
Well what can I say. It really can't be a bad week with a baptism!! Everything went smoothly with the baptism of Richard. It was awesome! Richard chose the first counselor of the bishopric to baptize him. If you ask me it's better for Richard. He has friends in the ward and it's obvious that he loved going to church. He told me he feels like he's at home and can speak freely and ask questions. This week I was teaching the Gospel Priciples lesson on the Holy Spirit and I asked Richard to tell his story of why he decided to be baptized. It's hard to tell exactly what he said, but basically he just laid a powerful testimony of the beginning of his conversion. He said that he was searching for a long time for the truth, Something that not very many 19 year-olds do these days. He said he just didn't feel right at any of the Churches that he went to. But from the very first time that he talked with us, he felt different. He didn't know what it was but it felt good. So as we were teaching him the lessons, we could tell that the spirit was with him. Hearing him testify of his conversion was incredible for me. It was amazing to see growth in such a short amount of time. But it works! It was incredible being able to teach him. It was a true honor.

As I was thinking about Richard last night and I was thinking that as a missionary, in the past 18 months, I haven't converted a single soul. I have only been an instrument in the hands of the Lord to help people feel the spirit. I feel that this advice is specifically for Dallin who is preparing to leave on a mission this summer. So Dal, Just remember you won't convert anyone. But you will see the spirit convert. It HAS to be done by the spirit. Because if it is done by any other means, they won't end up being converted to the Gospel. You just have to invite the spirit to be with the investigator and let the investigator choose. Do it for Christ Dal.

Other than that, I had a cool experience yesterday also. I was just sitting in the Sacrament meeting, by the back door to be the "usher" and a member from the other ward tells me that there were 2 people wanting to listen. So I step out into the foyer and I start talking with Oscar and Maria Franco. I could tell that they probably lived in very humble circumstances. I understood that they were from the interior of Paraguay and mostly spoke Guaraní. But from what I understood, They had come to Asunción to go to the hospital and they wanted to listen to the Word of God. So they just entered and sat down in the foyer until the member told me about them. as I explained to them what was happening, we entered and they started listening, During the middle of a talk, I could see Oscar whisper to his wife something and tears were streaming down his face. I'm almost sure it was the spirit. Then after the meeting, the Bishop starts talking with them and I never saw them again. but it felt good helping them!

My verse of the week is Alma 37:7 love it!!

Love you all

Elder Jared

Monday, February 8, 2016

The Power of a Book

Well this week has been a pretty good week. It really flew by so so quick. I don't understand how time can pass by so darn fast. it's incredible. But this week was just a normal week in the hot Paraguayan summer. Lots of sweat lots of water. Elder Polo is back to normal so it was good getting back into the work full time. Something really awesome that happened this week was that we gave Richard (our progressing investigator) the option to be baptized on the 13th because he has met all the requirements and really has a firm testimony and a firm commitment to got to church always. He accepted and will be baptized this Saturday. Yesterday we went to pick him up to go to church and we were arriving a little bit late and when we got there, he wasn't there. We were a little bit worried because he seemed so firm, we didn't know where he was. So we get to the church and he's there. We were so relieved to see him there and so happy that he took the imitative and went by himself. I think that it shows his commitment to follow Christ.

Other than that, there wasn't anything to special about this week. Every week in the mission is full of great things and full of tiny miracles that there is no way to talk about all of them.

There is one thing that I do want to tell you guys from my studies this week. Our area has challenged all the members to read the Book of Mormon before the next conference and so as a mission we have been doing that since January. This week I was studying a lot about Ammon and Aaron and all their missionary success. As a missionary, We study them a lot and learn how to be like them. But this time around what kept jumping out to me was the people they were teaching and their conversion. I realized that just being baptized doesn't really make us converted to the Lord. Baptism is a critical step on our way to being converted, but conversion takes time. A good amount of time. So I made a list of attributes of a converted people following Alma 24: the number is the verse that I found it in.

1. Converts are slow to anger
6. Converts are peacemakers
8. Converts recognize that their conversion came from the Spirit
10: Converts become converted through the Atonement of Jesus Christ
11. Converts realize that repentance isn't easy, but its worth it
13. Converts are afraid to commit sin
15. Converts will always give thanks to God no matter the situation.
18. Converts want to make covenants with the Lord
19. Converts will prefer to die than to break Convenants.

That's my list, I want to see if you could find more attributes and then let me know!! I really feel like in these 19 months, I have become more converted to the Lord. I'm on my way and will always be trying to better my conversion. I really loved this chapter and I want to know what you all think!!

Love you all

Elder Jared

Monday, February 1, 2016

Not too much!

Well this week was... interesting to say the least.... Basically there isn't much to report. It all started out Monday night. Elder Polo wasn't feeling to well so he went to bed early. And then at about 12:30 in the morning he just turns on the lights and he is groaning in pain. So I call the Mission President's wife, because she is a nurse. She's asking me all these questions and Elder Polo really can't respond. He was just in so much pain. So she just tells us to go to the Hospital. It was the end of the month and there wasn't too much money to be able to pay a taxi and there is a member who told that we could call him at any time. So I tried him and by the end of the fist ring he picked up. For me it was a miracle that he hadn't gone to bed yet. So he was at our house in like 5 minutes and we went to the hospital. The doctor said that it was a bacterica in his stomach that was causing him some pain so they gave him some medicine and watched him for a few hours. so it was about 5 in the morning when we got home. I am so grateful for Jony (The member. He is basically our dad now :)) So the doctor told Elder Polo to rest and just make sure he gets back to full strength. SO basically there wasn't much to do this week. We were stuck inside all day every day until Saturday and then we were able to leave and work. Even then we took it easy. So it was just a slow week. Not much to tell about.

Victor wasn't able to come to church yesterday, but Richard was and is progressing very very well. His family is starting to get interested too!! So we hope to start teaching them too. I really hope all works out!!

Love you all

Elder Jared