|These are two of my favorite young women|
Another eventful week in good old Paraguay! Ok so first off we had made a lesson plan last week about temple work and family history for Justina to help her learn more about the church. We had tried like 4 times to teach this lesson with a member and the member couldn’t come, couldn’t come. Then Monday we had a huge miracle, she could come! The whole time her and Justina just spoke Guarani and I was lost... (even after we had sat the member, Hermana Digna, down and told her exactly what we wanted to teach. It was like all that flew out the window) but it was still really great even though it was in Guarani. I could understand part of it, Hermana Digna was really Catholic before she was converted and her story is really great. She told the whole thing to Justina. She told her even after she knew the church was true it took her a long time to decide to be baptized. I felt the spirt really strong!! But we didn’t get to teach what we wanted. so Tuesday during comp study we decided maybe it’s been so hard to teach this lesson because Heavenly Father wants us to try and fly it solo with Justina and teach without a member. So we did and it was great. I think she really understood. She loved everything we were saying. I asked her if she had a testimony of these things and she said she did that she knows it’s true. It was great!!! But she still didn’t accept a date. We were crushed.... we found out her daughter is a Jehovah’s Witness. They are really intense people and apparently she is bashing on Justina for wanting to be baptized again. We haven’t given up on her but it’s really hard to keep going every day so we only went two times this week to see her. She went to visit her dad Friday so she wasn’t at church on Sunday, we were really sad. I know she will be baptized, I just don’t know when. haha We had a lesson with her and her sabinas (nieces) Friday before they left for her dad’s. We were walking away and me and Hermana Escobar were both like sweet one lesson with member and then we remembered she isn’t and we wanted to cry. It was hard. We don’t know how to help her. We really wanted her to attend a baptism of a little boy the elders found so she could feel the spirit and want to be baptized too, but she was at her dad’s. We were so bummed.
In other news, we are teaching Justina’s family like crazy. Her daughter in law, Nina, is great. She loves everything we teach and is reading the Book of Mormon everyday with her son out loud so her husband can hear. Her son loves to read. He is 12 and read the whole lesson one folleto by himself and loved it all. It’s like all the men in Justina’s family got together and said don’t let the woman go to church because Nina’s husband really doesn’t want her at church. Justina’s other son doesn’t want his wife at church. Her other daughter’s husband doesn’t want her at church. (she has like 9 kids) but we are still just working on them. Justina is such a missionary. She loves sharing what she learns with all her family. She wants us to teach her 90 something year old dad, but he lives really far away. haha She was like I will bring him back so he can meet you. She is so sweet!!!
Oh so one of the things we talked about in the conference de zona last week was not going to the same families every week for almuerzo (lunch), which is really hard not to do, but we had been praying for other opportunities and we got a few this week. We were really excited about the one Saturday. She is becoming an eternal investigator también (also) because her husband doesn’t like the church. Are you seeing a trend in our week?? ughhh men in Paraguay! Anyway we walk the 40 min in the middle of the day heat, the kind that just makes you so hot you want to kill over and die, and there is no shade on the way to her house. The whole time we kept saying I hope she didn’t forget. We tried to call but honestly people never answer their phones around here or at least answer our calls. I also think the service is not very good. So we get to her house finally all sweaty and we clap at the gate and her big shirtless husband comes to the door.....
HIM: ¿¿QUE DICE???
US: "Ummmm hi is Loudes here????"
HIM: No she went to visit her parents in centro...
US: ohhh. Ok, tears in our eyes
It was seriously so hot and we were so hungry. We were out in the farthest barrio we go to, with no food and there are like no empanada venders out there. We go to a despencia and buy an alfahore. It’s like an oreo on steroids, its so good, and we sit down in the shade and eat it... then we had the thought to go to the menas active (less active) family that lived not too far away. We normally eat with them on Saturdays. We get there and she had forgotten we weren’t coming so she had extra food. When we told her we didn’t get anything to eat, they swept us into their house and started serving us like we were so special. The dad sent the kids to the store to buy cold soda and bananas. I seriously started crying, I felt so special. Since coming on the mission you feel so important. People do stuff like giving us things for free or charging less for us or when we eat with them giving us the very best they have, or give us a whole bag of mangos and bananas. At first I thought they just love me or, I don’t know, they like being nice. But when I was sitting there in the Martenz’s little battered home as their kids served me and poured my drink, carefully placing my food in front of me, I realized they recognize that we are representatives of Christ and that they treat us how they would Him, if he were here at this moment. I finally understood what that meant and I feel so privileged to be his voice and his hands here in our little piece of Paraguay. When people do all those things, it’s not for me, it’s for Christ and when people reject me it’s not me they reject, it’s Christ.
When we finished eating, which we ate so much they kept bringing more, they wanted to make sure we were full. The mom told us that since we have been coming they have felt the blessings. Her husband has had more work and they have always had enough money and food. She said one day they weren’t sure if they would have enough and he told her she didn’t need to worry. This is a family that hasn’t been to church in a long time but they understand the important role we play. It was such an amazing opportunity to be in their home and Hermana Escobar and I finally realized why it’s important for us to bless every home we come to, to never leave one without our love and gratitude. I don’t know. It was honestly an experience I will never forget.
Sunday came and we had no investigators come to church. It was really hard....but the elders had so many!!! It was our turn to teach and for the first time I felt really comfortable in front of the class (it’s really intimidating to teach 4 elders and their investigators. They don’t want you to mess this up for them) we taught keeping the Sabbath day holy and it was so awesome. Everyone participated and there is this one awesome sister we found contacting that lives in the elder’s area so we had to give her to them, but she is great and she wants to be baptized so bad and she shared an awesome experience of the blessings of coming to church. I realized it didn’t matter that Hermana Escobar and I didn’t have our investigators there. We are all a team and together we had 11 investigators at church. All the missionaries in the world are a team. I wish I knew how many we had total at church, but I know that it’s not a contest. We are all doing our best to cultivate this little part of the field we have been given to take care of. I am putting my whole heart into the work and I know that someday the results of our work will come!
As for why we are writing so late in the day, it’s a frustrating story. Last night at 9:30 the office elders called and said somehow he had forgot to tell us, but I needed to go to immigrations today in Asuncion. We tried to get a taxi, but it was too late, to take us to the bus terminal, so we had to get up at 3:30 to leave by 4 to make our hour walk to the terminal, take a bus for 3 and a half hours to Asuncion and take a taxi to the office. But it was fun. I got to see Hermana Bronson. I love her so much. She is doing really good. As well as some of the sisters from the mtc that went to the north mission, they were there too!! Anyway after being at immigrations for an hour, the office elder comes over to me and says I have bad news for you. I read Hermana Hall from the north mission’s name in the email and I thought it was you. They aren’t ready for you yet. You’re going to have to come back Thursday! UGH So not only did we waste our whole p day, now we have to go back Thursday and miss planamental seminal. ugh I was so bugged, but on the bright side..... ummm I haven’t found the bring side of that story except for seeing Bronson. She is seriously one of my best friends on the mission. She had bought me a clip for my hair, so I guess that’s a bright side.
I love you all so much. I know that success isn’t solely measured in baptisms. We are working hard with our menas activos (less actives). We are going to get the Martenz family active!