Monday, September 5, 2011

My Last Email As A Full-Time Missionary

So, this is it.  I can´t believe it came.  They all say that, but it´s true.  I don´t even know where to begin.  There is no way I could sum up these past 2 years - and my unbelieveable appreciation and love for this experience - in just this email.  There have been so many little, seemingly insignificant moments that have made this such an amazing experience.  Looking back, I am surprised that I even made it on a mission.  But I did, thanks to my Heavenly Father, my incredibly loving and supportive parents who allowed me to make my own mistakes while never - ever - giving up on me, and to a humble servant of the Lord bishop Tim Hunt who really is responsible for getting me out here. Not to even start to mention all of the priceless positive influences I´ve been so fortunate to have growing up, both within the Church and without.  I honestly have no way to ever thank or repay you for all you´ve done for me.  For the rest of my life, I´ll do my absolute best to make you proud and see you all in the Celestial Kingdom.

Monday, August 29, 2011

My Last Zone Conference

Hello everyone!

Last week was incredible.  I participated in my last zone conference.  Want to know who came?  Elder Arnold, the president of Sudamérica Sur area and his wife, Sister Arnold.  They...were...incredible.  Last Wednesday night, the assistants came and slept in our pension with us (because the conference was held in our chapel).  The 4 of us woke up at 4:45 Thursday morning to go to the church and set up tables and chairs, clean up one more time, and just get everything ready.  Then while our companions were in another room, President Arnold had a meeting with the 4 zone leaders, us 5 district leaders, and us 2 trainers - 9 people in total in a meeting with a member of the First Quorum of the Seventy.  He actually gave a talk either last General Conference or the one before where he told a story about cows in the field and one of them broke through the fence and died, and related it to how the commandments help us to be safe (look it up, it´s a good talk).  Elder Mervyn B. Arnold.  I´m not kidding, this man is inspired.  There were about 4 times just in that first 55 minute meeting where he said that he had something else planned but the Spirit was telling him to go another

Monday, August 22, 2011

Will Ye Also Go Away?

Man, something funny always happens to me.  There are a lot of people here who don´t know about missionary work or who have very misguided ideas of what we do.  But there is one thing that people who don´t know anything about the church usually ask me:  "When you go home, are you going to continue in this church and still be Mormon?"  Uhh....duh!  Haha.  It´s like when Christ asked His apostles, "Will ye also go away?" and good old Peter says something along the lines of "Where would we go?  For thou hast the words of eternal life."  This isn´t a "job" that I´m doing here or just a gig that I´ll come here, complete the task, and go home and be "normal" again.  I´ll never be normal again.  (I don´t know if I was ever really "normal", but you know what I mean haha).  Nothing in life nor death could ever separate me from this Gospel and this Church.

This week I have more pictures, and I took some time giving some tips and instructions to my dad in another email for when he gets here, so my time is short.  But I´ll attach the pictures to this email and promise to write

Monday, August 15, 2011

And Besides, We're Canadian!

Hello family!

This week has been craaaaazy.  Haha.  Oh boy.  To say the very least.  Ups, downs, funny stuff, extremely difficult stuff...all kinds of "stuff"!  But the work goes on.  The branch here is really kicking it into gear in terms of the leaders getting things organized and moving.  We have an excellent, hard-working branch president and an incredible 1st councelor in the district (stake) presidency who is really helping us out.  We have people coming to church - both less active members and investigators - who haven´t come in a long time.  This branch has incredible potential.  The leaders are in place, the missionaries are in place (oh you betcha haha), and we´re ready to get this thing rolling.  It´s about time Rama 1 had some success down here.

Quick funny story to leave you with.  We were walking down the road by the plaza last Friday, and I see this drunk guy across the street just making a B-line right for us.  "Oh this should be interesting" I thought haha.  It

Tuesday, August 9, 2011

1 Fast Sunday Left. Boo:(

Weird realization last week:  I only have 1 fast Sunday left in my mission.  Boo :(

Thank you Nana for sending me those recipes and copies of those talks.  They were great!  I love you and will see you soon.  Tell Great-grandpa to stick it out for another month and a half until I can get down there and that I love him too.

So this week has been good.  Congratulations to the new Mr. and Mrs. Austin Hunt!  And welcome back Tyler!  Looking forward to seeing you guys again.  Sorry there´s not much to write this week, but I´ve run out of time.  It just so happens that when I FINALLY figure out how to send pictures from this cyber after playing with it for a while, I don´t even have my camera.  Blah!  But I do have my companion´s camera, so I´ll send you some from his camera just so you have a few and I´ll bring mine again next week.  Love and miss you all!  Have a great week!

-Élder Moore

Monday, August 1, 2011

Temptation And The Adversary

This week has been a good week.  We found a golden investigator and will soon meet his family.  His name is Julio Espardella.  Julio´s dad actually obtained the land for the chapel back years ago when it was built, and he remembers the missionaries coming over to his house when he was a little boy.  He´s now 40 or so with a wife of 18 years and 3 kids.  He was a reference from missionaries from another branch, and we´ve gone by his house twice and haven´t found him.  We just happened to be looking for people on our list of inactive members and saw his house nearby so we felt we should stop by.  He came out and was like "Hey Mormons".  So we were like aw dang this guy is going to be a heckler.  But he was way nice.  He asked us to come in without even asking our names or anything, just opened the door and said "come on in, good to see you".  We had a great lesson with him, found out a little more about his life, and taught him the message of the Restoration.  At the end, we presented the Book of Mormon to him, and he said "Yeah, I´m going to read this tonight".  Gold.  And then we said that after he reads it, he´s got to pray and ask the Lord if it´s true.  He was like "No, I don´t need to do that, I already believe it´s true."  Who says that?  Haha.  Great man, and I hope his family is the same.

Monday, July 25, 2011

Drink Up Of The Waters While I'm Standing At The Fountain

This is weird.  In 2 days, I will have 6 weeks left on my mission.  My group will be the oldest missionaries in Paraguay (besides President and Hermana Callan).  We´re on deck for going home.  Freaks me out.  Don´t like to think about it.

Hermana Callan is actually going home this week for 2 weeks.  Their youngest 2 daughters are getting married both within those 2 weeks, and they´re the last two of the Callan children to get married, so she gets to go home for that.  There are also 5 birthdays in those two weeks, 2 grandchildren to meet that they haven´t met before, and one of those little ones is getting blessed in church one of the 2 Sundays.  So she´ll be busy!  She told me that there are some missionaries who have already gone home that are going to be there too, so that will be neat.  I don´t know how it works, if she´s on an authorized 2 week release, or she´s still on missionary duties or what, but she gets to go home.  She´s really excited, so that will be good for her.

We had a really good lesson with the family - Pedro and Sonia - who we are trying to get baptized and married.  We had planned on going there to watch the Restoration video with them, but we got there and they had

Monday, July 18, 2011

God Has Called A Prophet

Hello family!

Just a quick thank you, it is always so nice to get letters from people, so thank you to everyone who writes me whether it be every week or every few months.  I apologize if any of you haven´t heard from me in a while - I´ve been really busy, but last week I sent out a pack of 5 or 6 letters.  I´m sending out my last ones this and next week.  If anyone gets one from me from here on out, unless there´s a way to get it to me before September 8th, send me a message on <> .  Put in "Elder Timothy Moore" for the missionary, and "Paraguay Asunción Mission" for mission, and it will get to me in about 2 weeks.  Thanks!

First of all, I would like to send a special message to Boyd Erickson and Brett Jenkins and their families.  Know that you are in my prayers and I´m praying for the quick and complete recovery of these two great men who I rather love, and for the comfort and consolation of their families through their prayers and through the ward

Monday, July 11, 2011

Just Doing Our Paraguay Thing

Hello my family!

Not much to report on this week.  We´re moving right along.  Mostly we´re working with a new member in our ward who moved here from Asunción - Hermano Nappa.  He´s a champ, he helps us so much.  We´re teaching his employee named Lili, and it´s going just great.  She should be getting baptized here in 2 weeks or so.  She came to church yesterday, so it was a great start.

Really short on time this week, sorry to disappoint!  President Callan is coming here to Encarnación to do interviews with some other missionaries today, and they´re doing it here in our chapel so we have to go open it up for him.  My comp is well, I´m well, and we´re just doing our Paraguay thing.  Love and miss you all!

-Élder Moore

Monday, July 4, 2011

Pride and A Bike Ride

Shoot off some fireworks for me!  God bless America!

So, this week has been one of the worst of my mission in terms of success.  Haha.  Man, sometimes when you´re on the floor, life has no mercy for ya and keeps pushing you down when you try to get up haha.  It was kind of funny the amount of unfortunate events that have happened this week.  But, the work goes on and I´m not sad or discouraged.  I´ve learned that from my mission and from President Hinckley.  Even in the worst of circumstances, he never got discouraged.  When people asked him about a tough situation, his replies were often (with a smile): "things will work out" and "oh, the Lord will know what to do with that".  That is great faith to me, and I´m trying to develop it likewise.  Two people together can do anything, as long as one of them is God.  There´s no jam I can´t get out of or no problem I can´t fix when I have the Lord´s help.  I´ve personally experienced that on my mission, and I know it will be the same this time.  It all depends on me.

Monday, June 27, 2011

The Priesthood Of God

Hello all my friends and family!  I love you all.

So I´m short on time this week, and the only real news this week is that the temple last week was beyond amazing.  You have no idea how good it felt to be back there after 8 months.  I felt really special to be able to complete the work for the ancestor that Dad sent me to do.  I felt that he was very thankful for what has been done for him on the part of my dad and me, and that he gratefully accepted the work done on his behalf.  He´ll be waiting for us on the other side of the veil I´m sure, and I´m excited to meet him.

Yesterday in Priesthood meeting, we were going over the talk from the last General Conference Priesthood Session given by President Monson about (of course) the Priesthood.  I had read over it before the class, and I really came to understand a lot better what the Priesthood is.  I´ll try to explain it so that those who are not

Monday, June 20, 2011

My First Time Teaching Sunday School

Hello all!

So, this week there are some good things to report.  Let´s get down to business.

Last Tuesday, Alcides got baptized!  It was a great service with a lot of people there.  His brother baptized him.  They moved to a different branch the next day (which we knew was going to happen beforehand), but I talked to the Elders of Rama 2 (one of which is Elder Alexander, my old companion from Guarambaré) and they said he got confirmed on Sunday and he´s just happy as a clam.  I´ll write him a little note today.

My new comanion is Elder Salinas.  He is awesome!  He is from Idaho, and is the oldest child in his family.  Despite his Latin last name, he is as white as can be haha.  Actually, he is a redhead (shoutouts to Elder Pierce!  Love you Elder!)  His grandpa is from Mexico, hence the last name.  But his mom was Miss Idaho, so he´s pretty darn American haha.  He´s just a great friend already.  He wrestled since he was 4 years old, so we talked about that for a bit too.  We clicked pretty fast, and we´re working harder than ever.  I´ve never worked so hard or been so focused on my mission, and I´m glad I get to help him start out his mission on a good note.

Monday, June 13, 2011

Training Again! Hot Dog!

Another week down.  Goes by quicker and quicker every time!

Ok, so I think I wrote last week about a family who was going to get married and baptized last Saturday.  The girl was a bit nervous about getting married, and we were praying for them to accept the challenge and make the right decision.  Well, we went to visit them, and they had talked and prayed (, huh?), and fully accepted the committment of getting married.  She said "I´m going to sacrifice myself and get married" hahah.  Perfect.  The only problem was they want a fancy wedding with dinner, a dress, and all the bells and whistles.  This will cost them money that they don´t have, so they told us they are going to start saving and then get married (and baptized) a few months.  Quack.  So what I was worried about turned out not to be a problem, she accepted the marriage idea, but just a little too much hahah.  We´re working with them talking about the importance of getting baptized and not waiting, and that the real marriage worth celebrating formally will be in 1 year when the enter in the temple and get sealed as a family for time and all eternity.  We´ll see how they take that.  But they are so great, I just love them.

So this week my companion finishes his mission (side note: even though this week is changes, P-days are now

Monday, June 6, 2011

Why Is God Invisible?

This week has been so great.  I´m really enjoying these last few months of my mission.  Last night and this morning, I was doing some thinking and praying about my mission, and I just had an incredibly overwhelming feeling of gratitude for all that I´ve been given in my mission and in my life.  It humbles me, because I know all the mistakes I´ve made, and yet the Lord continues to bless me even when I feel like I don´t deserve it.  I´ve begun to notice (and express gratitude for in my prayers) even the small things, like allowing me to feel the Spirit so strongly in Sacrament meeting.  It is such a peaceful, happy thing to feel the Spirit.  I´ve really come to appreciate it.  I have been so blessed in my life with so many things - and more importantly so many great people - and it overwhelms me.  I owe all this to my mission, because it has definitely changed me for the better.

We have a possible baptism this Saturday.  They´re Pedro and Sonia Coronel.  They have all the lessons except tithing, and they came to church yesterday.  We just need to be sure that she´s ready to get married this weekend, and if she says yes, they can get baptized this week.  They´re just a great family.  Keep them in your

Monday, May 30, 2011

Tender Mercy From The Lord

So this week has been pretty good actually.   We had 4 investigators at church, and one of the families that is progressing couldn´t come but they let us know beforehand so we wouldn´t think they were ditching us haha.  We have prospects for baptism in these upcoming 3 weeks: Gloria (the most adorable 9 year old girl whose mother is a member), Alcides (a 15 year old kid who lives with his brother and sister-in-law who both are active members), and a couple named Pedro and Sonia Coronel.  All 4 of them I suspect will be baptized in the month of June.  They are all incredible people who have come to church already and who are progressing well in the gospel.  Gloria will be baptized first, and then probably Pedro and Sonia (if the Spirit can convince her to get married), and then Alcides.  It was so great to see the kindness and Christlike charity of the members here in Rama 1.  Pedro and Sonia are a young couple (she´s 21, he´s 24).  They had their first child less than a month ago: a sweet baby girl named Ashley.  They were a reference from a member in another branch, so we went to visit them.  Pedro had investigated the Church before, but it was years ago before he met Sonia, so she has never been exposed to the Church.  We met with them on Thursday and Saturday the week before last, and they came to church that Sunday.  They got there just after Sacrament started, so we were elated because we

Monday, May 23, 2011

How I Love My 3 Hermanas

Grr.  So I finally got to a cyber where they allow me to upload photos onto the computer so I can send them to you.  But before I attach them in an email, I have to make them smaller so they actually get to you.  Or else I´d have to send them 4 at a time because the files are too big.  Well, turns out these computers don´t have the program I need to change the image size.  Ugh!  The guy who works here was messing with it for like half an hour and wasted my time!  Gah.  And now I have 10 minutes to write again - without pictures!  Bleh.

The only real news is that I got a reeeeally cool letter today!  Hermana Sargent, Hermana Green, and Hermana Denker (the 3 Sisters from my MTC district) wrote me today!  They wrote all the Elders from our MTC district.  This past week, Hermana Sargent came back to Paraguay with her family to visit for a few days.  Cool, huh?  She´s awesome.  Apparently she brought the letters from each of them to the mission office, and they sent them out.  It was an incredible spirit-lifter happy-maker to hear from them haha.  How I love my 3 Hermanas :).  It is

Monday, May 16, 2011

I've Got A Legacy To Uphold

Hello everyone!

This week has been good.  Started off kind of rough though, because I had to travel to Asunción on Tuesday to sign my immigration papers to maintain temporary residence here (now they CAN´T kick me out...haha), so that took the whole day and we lost that day of proselyting.  We had some good experiences this week in terms of lessons and such.  There is Gloria (the daughter of a recently re-activated member) who has a baptism date for next week, so I´m way excited about that.  She turns 9 that week, and she is just the cutest little girl.  Very smart, likes to draw, and loves Primary (even though there are only like 4 Primary-aged kids in this branch haha).  So that should happen next week.  Then we came in contact with a member who got baptized with his wife about a year and a half ago who just moved into our area, so we´re helping them get situated and into the habit of coming back to church.  There are some great things that can happen here in the next few weeks.  The only difficulty is that we´re a little nervous about inviting investigators to church here haha.  We have church from 8:30-11:30, and Sacrament meeting is the last hour.  We only invite investigators to Sacrament meeting so they show up at 10 haha.  The problem is that there are so few active members here (about 20) and they almost all come late.  When 8:30 came yesterday, there were 2 members who had

Monday, May 9, 2011

Last Round of Letters

Wow, it was so great to see and talk to everyone yesterday on Skype.  A nice little motivation to hold me over until the my end of my mission!  To those I didn´t get to talk to, I love and miss you all too haha.  I´m sending out my last round of letters this change (besides letters I´ll respond to if someone writes me), because if I wait too much longer, chances are you won´t have time to write me back haha.  So if you want to write me and want a response from me, better do it now!

This area is probably my hardest in terms of challenges and things we have to do.  But still my favorite =P I´m glad I have a lot to do.  The members here seem good, but the normal church attendence is about 20 people.  Yikes!  Lots of work to do, I'm really glad I´ll be busy until the end of my mission.  Elder Alvarez and I came up with some really good, solid plans to help out the members here and start generating some activity.  We´re first going to

Thursday, May 5, 2011

Encarnacion - Nauvoo Paraguay

Alright, I can´t lie.  I am beyond excited to see you guys on SKYPE this Sunday!  I mean, phone calls are awesome, but SKYPE is just taking it to a whole other level.  Taking it up a notch, thanks for the quote Chef Emril.  Yes, we have permission again to use Skype.  This will be my last phone call home.  I know I say this every time, but it really is weird.  I´ve had my last General Conference on my mission, I´ll be having my last phone call on the mission this Sunday, and next month will be my last temple trip on the mission.  But let´s not talk about the end of my mission, I don´t like that subject.  Changing to happier things :)

So this week were changes, and I got changed.  I left Obrero after 6 months (holy cow, I do not miss packing and unpacking my life in a suitcase...), and I´m now in what I imagine will be my last area.  It is a city called Encarnación, and I´m absolutely in love with it.  It´s like when I went to Reno and fell in love with it from day 1, it´s the same thing.  This city is amazing.  It is similar to Obrero, but a little bit more city-ish.  I am on the banks of the river that separates Paraguay from Argentina, so you can call it Nauvoo Paraguay haha.  My companion

Monday, April 25, 2011

Baptism Of Osvaldo

Where oh where is 2011 going?  Slow it down, speed racer!

Osvaldo was baptized last Saturday!  Oh, it was excellent.  It was raining, and I´m sure I´ve said in the past that when it rains here, the people act like it´s raining fire.  They don´t leave their houses and almost all the businesses shut down.  So I thought nobody was going to come, and I was freaking out.  The two people we had assigned to give short talks called us and bailed out 3 hours before the baptism.  2 hours before, the person who was going to offer the last prayer called to say he wasn´t going to come.  More freaking out.  But, luckily enough, a lot of people ended up coming.  Just not the people who had responsabilities haha.  He, being a bit older and kind of fragile, couldn´t be baptized standing up and being dunked towards his back.  So we brought him a chair, and he was dunked forward sitting down instead of backward.  His head wouldn´t go all the way down, so they ended up doing it a second time sitting down but backward, and he went under.  Took a bit of effort, but he got baptized haha.  And then after that, he got up and gave a beautiful testimony

Monday, April 18, 2011

Coolest 3 Minutes Of My Life

This past week was excellent!  I hope everyone´s week was as good as mine.  Here´s the rundown of what´s going on.

Yesterday, we had 6 investigators at church.  More than I´ve had in one week in a long time.  There is a kid who comes to play soccer with us at the church on Mondays, and we decided to go visit him last week.  We found his house, along with 2 other families that live in the same rental.  They all have 3 or more kids haha.  We decided to gather up their kids and teach them all something, and then ask their parents if we could bring them to church with us on Sunday.  Surprisingly, they said yes haha.  So Sunday morning we rounded up the little rugrats (I mean...children of God ) and took them all to church.  They loved it.  We showed them the video of the Restoration and then sent them off to Primary for the 3rd hour.  They had a blast.  There are even more people in their houses that we want to visit this week (especially their parents).  The parents of some of them went to church 2 or 3 times a few years ago, so that is a great entry point to talk with them.  They´re good kids, I hope to be able to get them in the water so they can grow up in the church environment with the Gospel in their lives before the temptations come too seriously and strongly.  Future missionaries they are :)

Monday, April 11, 2011

Wake Up Obrero!

Hey everyone :).  Good to write again this week.  There have been some changes here.

We are 4 missionaries here in Barrio Obrero (2 companionships).  Elder Yañez is in the other half if the area, and he has been here since I got here.  We lived in the same house for 5 1/2 months, and both went through a few companions but us two stayed together haha.  Well, because the amount of missionaries leaving this change is more than the amount that is coming in (and also because of the slower progress of the branch here), some areas have to be closed or joined because there won´t be enough missionaries to cover them.  Unfortunately, the other half of my area is one of them :(.  We got the call from the assistents yesterday, and they´re closing Obrero 1.2 and joining our 2 areas into 1 area.  Now we´re just one companionship here, my companion and I.  Bummer.  Our area just got wayyy big, and we have a lot of area to cover now.  And it´s a lot more lonely with just us 2, because Elder Yañez was a funny guy and we got along really well.  The funny thing is that he went to Republicano, and he´s going to be companions with Elder Ponce, the missionary I trained 2 changes ago who he lived in the house with haha.  There are good things about the change though.  Now we

Monday, April 4, 2011

Prayer and Practice

Another week down.  And thank goodness that this week it was a rockin´ one.

First, on Wednesday we had interviews with President Callan.  Those always motivate me and help me to focus myself.  That man is such an inspired person, it blows my mind.  The Spirit just radiates from him.  When he talks, you feel it just hit you in the heart.  But in a good way haha.  That animated me a lot.  Kind of sad to think that I´ll only have 1 or 2 more interviews with him.  And then he renewed my temple recommend.  It is reeeally weird to think that 2 years ago I got my temple recommend.  It definately doesn´t seem that long ago.  Don´t know when our next temple trip will be, but I hope to be using that new recommend soon!  I have a royal ancestor that is waiting patiently for me to perform these ordinances on his behalf that he can´t do himself.  That will be a really special moment for me, and I´m excited for it.  One of the strongest parts of my testimony is the temple.

Then with General Conference this passed weekend, how could it not be a rockin´ week?  Every single time, I think "No way this Conference will be better than the last one".  And it always is.  It was really cool too,

Monday, March 28, 2011

A Moment of Silence

Hello hello my family.  It´s always good to hear from and write you all :)

This week has been alright.  My new companion is a little...headstrong, we´ll say haha.  He´s an EXTREMELY hard worker when we´re out of the house, and he knows how to work with the members.  But he is far from obedient, and a bit obnoxious haha.  He complains about everything, oh my goodness.  It´s his way or the highway, and if he doesn´t get it, he gets ticked.  But oh well.  I´m sure we´ll be fine, I get along with just about everybody.  And if it ends up that we don´t get along very well, as long as we work hard and have success than I´m happy with that.  I feel kind of bad for him though.  His mom isn´t really active and neither are his brothers, and his dad isn´t a member.  He never gets letters from his family either.  When he does internet, he writes his brother and President Callan and that´s it.  Poor guy.  I would ask you guys to write him so he has some letters, but nobody knows Spanish to be able to write him haha.  But he´ll be alright, he´s been out for a long time and he´s used to it.  Just keep him in your prayers.

This week, I had kind of a neat experience.  We went with our ward mission leader (Hermano Chaparro) to teach a guy named Alejandro Diaz.  He is a 24 year old guy, real sharp, and knows a lot about the Bible.  We

Thursday, March 24, 2011

I Got My Trunkie Papers!! (Going Home Papers)

Lizzy Soulfriend!  I got your Dear Elder, thank you!  I haven´t written because I lost your Georgia address, I´m sorry!  But now that I have it from the Dear Elder, I´m writing you today without exception :)

This week was changes, and Elder Caicedo left already!  The same thing has happened to me that has happened to Elder Pierce.  The only time I´ve been with one companion for more than a change and a half was with my trainer for 2 and a half changes.  I don´t know if it´s a good thing or a bad thing haha, but I´ve convinced myself that it´s good :).  Elder Caicedo went to Yuty (basically way way far away), and I´m still here in Obrero.  My 4th change here, but I don´t mind.  I like it now, and I know that it is the Lord´s plan.  Helps me to know that if he kept me here, it´s because there´s somebody to baptize :)

My new companion is Elder Perales.  He´s from Peru, and a really good worker.  Kinda goofy, but he works incredibly efficiently.  I think we´re going to do a lot of work; he´s already got a lot of baptisms.  He has 1 year 4 months in the mission.  It is really weird to work with somebody who knows what they´re doing haha.  Of my last 5 companions, 4 have been my trainees and the other - Elder Avendaño - was relatively new (6 months in

Monday, March 14, 2011

Eternal Life is Earned, Not Deserved

Hello my family,

Ouch, this week was tough.  There are only 2 things in this country that can stop the people from playing soccer: rain and politics.  This week we had a both.  The temperature is FINALLY starting to go down after an incredibly hot and humid summer season.  We got up to about 112 degrees and like...150% humidity.  It´s alright though, I was much more used to it this year, so I dealt with it much better.  We had some rain here last week, and yesterday we had local elections.  NOBODY was home, and those that were didn´t want to hear us that day.  We visited the leaders and the less-active members.  Turned out pretty well.  We made some plans with the second councelor in the branch presidency.  He is a 24-year-old return missionary and a really smart guy.  Kind of a class-clown, but he knows how to run a branch really well.  We´ll see what happens next week.

This week, I´ll finish on the Atonement.  I´ll start now so I have time.

Monday, March 7, 2011

March From Babylon into Zion

Hello family :)

This week was pretty normal.  We have 2 good families that we´re working with.  One couple is Nelson and Blanca.  We´ve been teaching them for a while, but they´ve just recently started to progress.  Whew!  The other is one that we just found last week.  They are Ramón and Marta.  He is just excellent, already progressing.  She is a bit slower to progress, but she is very nice and there is great potential there.  She studied with the Jehova´s Witnesses (does Jehova have an "h" on the end?  In spanish, it doesn´t.  I´ve forgotten haha), so she has some other beliefs that we´re working on.  But I think it will turn out well.

A lot of things are changing in the mission.  Thankfully it´s all for the better.  With the recent visit from the area president, Elder Arnold, everybody is very motivated and excited about the work, and we´ve changed a few rules to make things run more smoothly and to have more success.  The vision for this mission is a bit overwhelming sometimes.  Elder Arnold said that a goal of 2 baptisms every month for every companionship is very low compared to what this mission can really do.  There is a silent monster of potential explosive

Monday, February 28, 2011

Mail Me A Birthday Gift - The Bigger The Better

Well if you ask me, this will be the best letter any of you ever get from me, because it was received on the world´s best and most important international holiday - MY BIRTHDAY!

But that´s just my opinion :)

Thank you all for the birthday wishes (Kitty Kat, I did get yours, but I can´t write back because I can only write family through the internet, but thank you! :D).  It makes me feel at home.  And it doesn´t hurt that like 6 members have offered to feed me and give me cake haha.  But we´re just going to visit the first member that asked me (to be fair in choosing) and just do a small something.  I actually don´t know what they´re going to be doing, but I told them that we´ll still be working today and that I didn´t want anything big.  So we´ll see what happens.  This is my last birthday that really matters haha.  Weird huh?  After 21, who cares how old you are?  There are no more milestones.  I mean, maybe if you hit 100, that´s an accomplishment (or maybe a punishment, depending on how you want to think about it), but other than that there are no fun birthdays anymore.  So I´ll try to enjoy this one and sleep as much as possible :)

Monday, February 21, 2011

Luz Gets Baptized

¡Hola mi familia y mis queridos amigazos!  Hace mucho que no les escribo más en español, y quisiera hacerlo hoy :).  ¡Disfruten el trabajo de traducir!  Quizás puedan llamar a Cristina para que traduzca esto.  Estoy muy bien aquí con mi nuevo compañero.  El es rre-bueno, tiene mucho ánimo y muchos deseos de servirle al Señor.  Estoy leyendo el Libro de Mormón en Guaraní.  Puedo entender la mayoría de lo que leo, pero me es muy difícil hablar todavía.  Esta semana voy a mandar por un libro que enseña Guaraní y estudiar eso hasta el final de mi misión.  6 meses es bastante para aprender mucho Guaraní.  Vamos a ver qué pasa.

Ok, that´s enough of Spanish.  You´ll have plenty of translating to do with that paragraph :).  First news is first: we had the baptism on Saturday!  I´ll attach pictures that Elder Beckett took from his camera.  That little girl is the sweetest little girl I´ve ever seen.  Her family is so incredible as well; I´ve really come to love them.  Her little sister Asir didn´t get baptized yet, but Luz told me that after the baptism Asir said "I wanted to get baptized with you." haha.  She regretted not doing it.  We´ll see if we can set something up for her in the next coming week.  She already has her interview, she could get baptized tomorrow if she wanted to.  Also, one of the friends of Luz´s family came to the baptism.  Her name is Chila.  She had talked with missionaries before, but

Monday, February 14, 2011

In a Galaxy Far, Far Away...

So a quick little news before I forget.  Last week, the company that sends us our letters every week lost the envelope for our area.  So Dear Elders from about 3 weeks ago are lost, and if you´ve sent me a letter in the last month or 2, its possible that it got lost as well.  Bleh, drives me nuts.  But what can ya do?

Some better news: we´re having a baptism on Saturday!  She is the sweetest 10-year-old girl I´ve ever seen.  Her name is Luz.  Her mom, her aunt, her 2 uncles, and both her grandparents are inactive members.  Even though they are inactive, they are just an incredible family.  Luz´s mom told me that her daughters tell her how I´m their friend and also how it´s my birthday on the 28th, so she went out and bought me a cake to thank me and to celebrate.  I about cried, it was so nice.  We´re working with Luz´s little sister Asir as well.  She´s 9, and isn´t quite sure if she wants to be baptized yet or not.  But she comes to church with Luz (they come all by themselves), and the Primary has done a fantastic job making them feel part of the ward, so she likes it and I know she´ll come around.  I hope my package with my camera is in the office tomorrow when we go for Zone Conference so I can take pictures Saturday and send them to you guys.  I´m really excited about that.

Thursday, February 10, 2011

My New Companion...Another Trainee!!

Hello my family and friends!  Really though, you´re all my family :)

Ok, so I´ve got some good news and some bad news.  I´ll start with the bad so we end on a good note.

Yesterday during changes I met up with Elder Patterson who is in Guarambaré (my old area). Do you remember the story I told you all about, about that old guy (the dad of a member family) who hit my companion when he was drunk and how we had the chance to teach him a few times?  Well, Elder Patterson told me that he died about a month ago.  He was lost for about a week and didn´t come home, and they started to worry.  They started looking for him. 2 or 3 of his grandkids found him behind the cemetary.  He was murdered :(.  Elder Patterson told me that they described the body, and he was brutally murdered.  It was really savage, so I´ll save you the details.  Poor guy.  The family is doing well and continue active in church, thank goodness.  The missionaries are visiting them almost every day.  They are coping well and learning to depend on the Lord, so they are moving on little by little.

Monday, January 31, 2011

2 Men Dressed in White

HAPPY BIRTHDAY PAPA BEAR!!!  You 21 year old champ you ;).  I think everyone who reads this letter should go and give my dad a gift for his birthday.  And if you´ve already done it, it again!

I just wanted to tell a cool experience we had yesterday.  There are these 2 girls (Luz and Asir) we are teaching who are part of an entire family of inactive members.  Luz is 10 and Asir is 9.  They always come to the Wednesday branch activity night where we teach them English, but they have never come to church.  Luckily, their mom is going to allow them to be baptized.  The family is really great -they always receive us and they´re really nice - but they don´t attend church because they have problems with the members in the branch (not such a good excuse for me, but we´re working on it).  Sunday, the little girls didn´t come to church, so we had planned to go see what happened as our last visit for the day.  We had an impromptu meeting with the Elder´s quorum presidency that ran over about an hour and 15 minutes, which put us way behind.  We couldn´t cancel our appointments in order to have time to visit Asir and Luz because they were with one partly inactive family and one family where the husband isn´t a member but the rest are, and we promised we were going to come by on Sunday.  So we run out of the meeting and blaze over there.  Turns out that the inactive member

Monday, January 24, 2011

We Worked Our Little Missionary Tails Off

Hello to everyone this week!  Hope all is just peachy with my long lost family and friends.

The work has progressed here in Obrero by leaps and bounds this week.  We committed ourselves last Sunday to teach 40 lessons total this week.  Blistering heat tried to slow us down.  Thunderous rainstorms tried to keep us indoors.  Punk teenagers tried to throw mangos at us.  But we worked our little missionary tails off, more than doubled the amount of people we talk to every day, and we ended last week with 42 lessons in total!  Does it not show that I´m excited? Haha.  As dead tired as I am - and believe me, I´m completely whipped - I have a real feeling of inner peace and extreme happiness that comes with working to your limits and doing the will of the Lord.  I am finally starting to feel like I´m doing what I came here to do.

But, as with all things in life, there are still obstacles to overcome.  As hard as we work, as much as we study, and as obedient as we try to be in order to qualify for the blessings of the Lord, we just cannot get these people to come to church.  The culture and tradition here isn´t quite haha.  They are excellent

Monday, January 17, 2011

Come Partake of Salvation

Hello family and friends!

We had a zone activity today.  It was really great, really inspiring.  We went over some details that President Callan told the zone leaders in their last leadership council.  Then I spent the whole time talking to Hermana Sargent hahah.  I can´t even tell you how weird it is...the Hermanas that were in the MTC with us only have ONE CHANGE LEFT before they go home.  She finishes this change, and then next change is her last one and she goes home in March.  That is really really strange to me.  I have so much to do and so little time left.  But it was good to talk to her again, it´s always nice to talk to an MTC buddy :).

President seems to be tired of not having success here in Paraguay in this mission.  He is fed up with the lack of obedience, the lack of baptisms, the lack of success.  And I don´t blame him.  Paraguay is a prepared country with hundreds of prepared people in every area, it´s we as missionaries that aren´t cutting it.  For the past 2 weeks or so, my companion and I have tried to be strictly obedient and talk to more people during the day, and really we have seen miracles.  I´ll tell you about one that happened yesterday.

Monday, January 10, 2011

Priesthood Blessings are Incredible

Hello everyone!  There isn´t much to report on this week, sorry.  That´s because I was sick and in bed for 3 days.  Boo!  I had a major cold, a giant headache, and a doozy of a fever.  Got up to like 102.  But I got better in a jiffy and am out teaching and working again, thanks to some resting time and to a priesthood blessing from my companions.  A little side note that´s not the purpose of my email today: priesthood blessings are incredible.  I´ve given more blessings in my mission than I think I´ll ever do in one calling, and seen countless more.  And I´ve seen them work.  I have no doubt in my mind, because of my experiences and because of the spiritual testimony given to me by the Holy Ghost, that the priesthood is real, is on the earth today, and does miracles when righteously used to bless the lives of others.

And with that, we continue exploring the First Vision :).

Monday, January 3, 2011

Being a Missionary Rocks!!

Bad news: The book of 2010 has just finished and closed shut.
Good news:  I started writing the sequel on Saturday.  Should take me about a year or so to finish.

Happy New Year everybody!  It was wonderful to see you all through Skype on Christmas.  That was the best Christmas gift I´ve ever gotten.  I love and miss you all.

Wow, only 8 months to go.  President Callan just told us in this week´s bulletin that he emails everybody that 21 new missionaries are coming in next month.  That is a lot!  We´ve got a few more coming than going, so that will boost the work a bit.  I´m so glad to be a missionary.  I don´t know what happened to me, but I´ve just been in super missionary mode the past week.  Ever since my new trainee came, I´ve just been trying really hard to do everything right and to be obedient 100%.  The cool part is that I am already seeing a huge increase in success just in this 1 week.  I´ve gained a big testimony that the Lord does bless us more for obedience.  It´s just one of those things like "Well duh!" you already know, but it´s just different when you actually are actively putting it into practice.  I´m so happy to be a missionary.  Maybe because I´ve realized how little time left I really have, I don´t know.  But for the first time, I´m sincerely happy being a missionary.  I don´t mean that I