Monday, September 27, 2010

We Received a Miracle this Week

Hello family!

So first thing´s first, because I know you´re all going to look at the pictures before anything haha.  Here´s a description:

1 - Yes, this was in the empty pool in our backyard of our house.  Dont ask what it is, because I don´t know.  It hissed...
2 - Lais and Elder Martinez burning my tie for my 1-year birthday!
3 - Me in the fountain in the plaza
4 - Again.  ¡Que churro!
5 - The couple we married and baptized, Domingo and Suni.  Aww, cute =P
6 - Their daughter Julie.  She is a little doll, melts my little missionary heart
7 - Mom will like this one
8 - And this one
9 - Haha.  The funny part is this was candid - I had no idea Elder Martinez was taking this.  Caught in the moment.  Proof that I haven´t changed a bit =P
10 - Marriage of Domingo and Suni
11 - Marcos, Domingo, Joel, Julie, and Suni - the whole fam
12 - Domingo and Suni.  I seriously love this picture.
13 - Before the baptism
14 - After the baptism
15 - One of the most rockin families we have here on Elder Martinez´s last night here

Alright, there´s your photos!  There´s a bunch, so enjoy!  This camera card is huuuge, so I think it will be a while before I need to send it home haha.  But alright, down to business.

Monday, September 20, 2010

Baptisms and Bubble Gum

Wow, a lot has happened this week.  Holy cow, the Lord trusts me a lot.  Haha.  I´ll explain why.

First of all, we did have the baptism!!!  Oh my goodness, it was fantastic.  They got there, the judge came from AsunciĆ³n to marry them, that went well, they got baptized afterwards, and then we all ate cake.  Man, it is something incredible to baptize a whole family.  It´s not like baptizing a single person.  They both feel great, of course.  But it´s different with whole families.  Who knows how many generations will be affected by the decision of these 2 people.  The dad - Domingo - and the mom - Suni - got married, and then they got baptized with ther 11-year-old son Marcos.  I baptized Domingo and then Elder Martinez baptized Suni and Marcos.  It went really well.  Well, once it all got going it went well.  We had to work hard for that baptism, oh goodness.  Ok so.  Our baptismal font is like a small-ish plastic swimming pool, it´s outside it´s not built into the chapel.  It´s pretty old, so it has broken in the corners and been repared.  There weren´t any problems with it during the baptism of Mari and Evelyn in June.  But this time wasn´t the same.  The water pressure is reeeally weak here, so we have to start filling the font the day before or it won´t fill up in time.  So Wednesday morning Elder Martinez and I went to the church and cleaned the whole thing out and scrubbed it down nice and squeaky clean.  We went to fill it, but there was no hose, there´s only the faucet.  So we had to go buy a hose.  And

Monday, September 13, 2010

For Reasons like this, I am a Missionary

Hello friends and family!  Good to be able to write you again this week.  Hope everyone had a good week, especially Elder Pierce on his birthday.

First thing´s first:  we´re going to have a baptism this week!  Man oh man, I love when that happens.  Their names are Domingo and Suni, and they have an 11-year-old son named Marcos who will also be baptized.  The baptism will be on Thursday.  We met them through the family of a less active member.  We went to visit him, and his parents were there so we shared with them.  They liked it and told us how to get to their house (I was going to put gave us their address, but silly me, there are no addresses in Paraguay!), so we went to find them and we did.  One time when we were teaching them, their other son (who is Domingo) was there, and we started teaching him as well.  He´s a great guy.  We met his wife Suni the next visit, who is also incredible.  They have 3 kids, and Marcos is the only one old enough to get baptized.  They came to church without us having to go to look for them the past 2 weeks in a row, and on Sunday the branch president announced their baptism for Thursday.  We have to marry them first, which will happen the same Thursday right before the baptism.  We´re extremely lucky, because apart from people in Paraguay never wanting to get married (which they had no problem with), it´s hard to marry people in this country.  We´ve been extremely blessed to be able to find this familiy and teach them the Gospel.  I´ll let everyone know how it goes next week!

Old Guy who punched my companion! 
What´s next...OH YEAH! Remember when I wrote a few weeks ago about the old guy who punched my companion?? 

Monday, September 6, 2010

The Best Gift I Have Ever Received (Half Way Mark)

Subject: 6 September 2010

One year ago, I was in my first few days at the Missionary Training Center in Provo.  I was terrified.  If somebody could think of a word about 20 times stronger than inadequate, that would describe a small fraction of how I felt.  I missed my family and the people that love me and that I love more than I thought was possible.  Don´t get me wrong, I loved being a missionary.  I still love being a missionary today.  But I was lost, confused, and a whole onslaught of other emotions all at once.  I think somebody had slipped Pandora´s Box in my juice or something.  But above all, I knew what I was doing and why I was doing it.  Or, at least I believed that anyway.  In Paraguay, the emotions were amplified tenfold.  This was the real deal, this wasn´t the "training center".  The word was hard, the heat was brutal, and I had a lot of issues to deal with.  This was the basic pattern that continued for the 10 months that followed  up until today.  The work is still hard, the heat is still dreadful, and there are still more issues to deal with than I can express.  But I kept fighting, kept pushing through the unequivocally hardest trials of my young life, and here I am a year later still going strong and still fighting the good fight.  Salvation is not a cheap experience.  It wasn´t easy for Christ, it won´t be easy for me.  But the blessings are indescribable and irreplaceable.  I am so blessed to be a missionary.