|These are the Hermanas that live below us|
|Drinking mate . . . . kidding. We can't. I just wanted a pic.|
|These are the Hermanas that live below us|
|Drinking mate . . . . kidding. We can't. I just wanted a pic.|
|This is a park in our area next to the river of trash. |
Everyone just puts their trash in this river. It's so sad.
So this past Tuesday we finally got to go to the temple in Asuncion! We had to leave at 5:40 in the morning to be there by 7:30 and our session didn’t start till 11 so we got to do initiatories. My companion had only been through one time for herself so she got to do initiatories and sealings. She was the daughter and a session all in one day. It was seriously so amazing. When I entered the temple I just cried and cried. I couldn’t stop because I was soooo happy to be in the House of the Lord. The last time I just really didn’t understand anything in Spanish but this time I understood it all. It was so beautiful to me. Even though I am so far from home the covenants and blessings that we make and receive in the temple are the same!
The other day I met a man in the street and he was kind of aggravated that we were talking to him. He got all in my face and said why are you here in my country trying to change us! It’s because you think that we are savages, that we don’t know God and that we need an American to come down here and tell me how to have faith in Him. I was really startled because no one had ever responded in that way to me. Luckily my companion is amazing and is teaching me and she had a lot of beautiful things to say to him but I kept thinking about that. Why am I really here? In the temple I got my answer. It’s because God loves all his children, not just the saints in Utah. He wants all his children to enter the temple and receive all the blessings and promises available to us. That’s why I am here. It was truly so beautiful. We didn’t leave until 2 in the afternoon and then we had a testimony meeting with all the missionaries and I bore my testimony even though it scared me to death. I hate speaking Spanish in front of other missionaries, but ya I totally forgot the word “digna” haha which is worthy. I was just standing there trying to think of the word and my cute companion yelled it out from the audience. In that moment I felt so happy because, for me, that’s a companionship. That’s working together. No one knew what I was trying to say, but she did. haha It kind of made my point that we are never going to be perfect but we can always be digna and I said that exactly. hah I’m not perfect, but I know that I am worthy to enter the House of the Lord. It was hard to leave because I found out we only go once a year and it’s always in May. Next year I will already be home. Something I loved that one of the elder’s said is that we have our whole life to do the work for the dead in the temple, but we only have 18 months to preach the gospel to the living, all day, every day and we need to use this time well. I loved that. Sometimes I forget that. I’m learning so much. I was so (what’s the word for when you don’t know what’s going to happen. haha I was.... innocent. I guess that works. I was so …. no. It’s naïve) to what the mission really was before. I didn’t really understand. I thought I did, but I didn’t. It’s a lot more than just talking to people all day long and trying to get them baptized. These covenants they make will change their whole life and the life to come. I’m so so grateful to my Heavenly Father for the time I have to serve. Even though I am missing lots of things at home, I know that Heavenly Father is with all of you and he is with me. I know that my time to serve is so short. The time is going so fast. I am trying not to count the time. The other day I said that I have been gone 7 months and it was the first time someone said “falta un poco, no mas” and I wanted to cry. haha
I love you all, xooxoxoxo
|Hermana Ramos y yo con cocos|
This week went by soooo fast!!!! So just a little thing about training, I don’t know if you guys know this but for the first 3 months of your mission you’re in training and you have extra studies. Normal missionaries study one hour personal, one hour with their companion and 30 min language. Now that I’m in training again with my companion we are starting the church’s 12 week program for new missionaries. We have all these extra practices and studies. We have one hour personal study, two hours companionship and an hour of language. It’s great on normal days, we get to do a lot of practices and there really is so much to teach her. It’s not like we don’t have anything to do, but this week we just had so many days that had other things going on so it seemed like we hardly had time to do any proselyting.
Monday we had our noche de hogar (family home evening) with Maria and basically every convert in this area. It was great. We read scriptures and played Pictionary telephone.
Tuesday we had to go to Asuncion for immigration. Hermana Paredes had to sign some paperwork to be allowed to stay in this country. I got to go proselyting with a girl from her same group that is brand new. Her name is Hermana Cowley. She is from Utah and so dang cute. haha But guys this was the first time I have ever been alone in Paraguay with someone who knows less Spanish than me and honestly it was a big moment for me. We asked for directions more than once and I was the one who understood and translated for her. I really hope I get to be her comp. She is so cute, it really made me want a North American. Not because I want to speak a whole lot of English, it’s just nice to be with someone who thinks the way you do. There are just a lot of cultural things that when you’re with Latinas forever....
Anyway then we had zone conference. It was soooo good. We talked about the vision of baptism and why people need this conveno. It’s like if we can help them understand why, why in reality they need to be baptized, then keeping all the other commandments is going to be easy because it’s like “Yea, I am going to do that because I want to be baptized. It was great and it really helped me with some things I have been struggling with. But that, along with studying, we didn’t have a lot of time to teach people.
We also had the Sister Leaders this week. I stayed in our area with Hermana Ramos de Brazil. She is so great. We taught a lot of lessons and I learned a lot about being confident. She is so confident and I learned that people just respond so much better when we are confident in our message.
When my companion returned Saturday she looked horrible. She was crying on her bed. I went and hugged her and she told me she had been throwing up all night. She said that the Hermana Leader didn’t take care of her like I do and that she needed her mommy. hahah She just hugged me forever but she was seriously so sick. She slept for a long time and I working on a lot of other things in our area book and studied. We didn’t get to work a lot this day either....
Sunday we had a milagro (miracle). The daughter-in-law of Maria came to church again. She is so great. She just needs to stop drinking and get married, but hey, I have faith in her. We are working on helping her have the vison to be baptized so that those things won’t seem like such a hard thing. Saturday was also the birthday of Maria so Sunday we celebrated with her and I made her a cake. Then I remembered it was my mom’s birthday too and I told Maria and she just got teary-eyed and told me to tell my mom and all my family how happy they are to have me and that she is really grateful that you sacrificed a little of your time with me so that I could be here with her. She is going to be sustained as the relief society president this week!!!!! I can’t believe it, but she is ready. She is so amazing and Cristobal received the priesthood yesterday, the same as my little brother, Ethan, so these two things just seemed to go along so well with what was going on at home. It’s hard to not be there for these moments but I am so grateful to be a part of the process of Maria and Cristobal getting to know the church.
I learned a lot this week. Overall I learned to be patient with myself, with my companion and with Heavenly Father. I think the grand lesson of training is patience and maybe the whole mission. Sometimes we just want things now and we don’t really want to wait on the Lord’s time but that’s not really how it works. Just remember that there is a plan and purpose in all this. Keep moving forward.
Love you all so much,
|I saw Megan Gilchrist in the terminal. It was sooooooooooo great.|
It was like having a little piece of home for a few minutes.
|Mi Hija! (My daughter)|
So this week we had cambios (transfers)!!!! My family already knows, but for all you other people I’m still here in good old Villa Ellisa! But I have a new companion. Her name is Hermana Paredes and she is from Argentina. She is the best, but there is more.... this is her 6th day in the mission which means I’M HER TRAINER!!! whahooooo I wasn’t scared at all at first. I was so stoked for this opportunity, but then after a few days the fear started to come, haha but I know that I’m a trainer for a reason.
From day one she was teaching right alongside of me. She is really great about leading the conversations but this is also one struggle I’m starting to have because if I ever stumble on my Spanish she is off and it’s hard to jump back in. Sometimes I get a little down on myself and think I don’t have anything to contribute, but I know that’s not true. I know this is going to be good for me. This next three months with her is going to teach me a lot!
We found a girl this week named Camila. She is soooo great. Her step-dad is a less active. I don’t know him, but seriously, this girl is great. In her prayer after the first lesson she said please bless my parents that they will accept the fact that I want to be baptized and give their permission!!! ahhh It was great. We have a lesson with her this week so we will see how that goes.
In other news, my converts are doing soooo great. They were all at church this last Sunday regardless of the rain. I was so proud we sustained Cristobal so this next week he is going to receive the priesthood!!!!!!! I am so proud of him.
We have a woman in our ward named Limpia. She is a little special. She is like 75, but her brain is at like a 7 year old level. She always comes to church and sits with the missionaries. She was baptized like 4 years ago because she wanted to follow Christ. Before, Hermana Guardado always sat with her and kept her calm, but now it is my turn. She came in all ready and sat by me. I was praying so hard to know how to help her. I just started whispering in her ear and she calmed down and sat and listened to the talks. I was just rubbing her back and then she started to rip the chair in front of us. It had some fabric hanging down. I tried to distract her with something else but she kept trying so I started to whisper to her that this was her dad’s house and that she doesn’t want to break her dad’s things. She felt bad so she got up and started yelling that I was a bad person and that she doesn’t love me or want anything to do with me. It was hard. At one point the speaker completely stopped talking and like everyone was looking at me. Then out of nowhere she just came and sat down and was fine the rest of the time. I love her so much. I know Heavenly Father was helping her calm down because I really did nothing.
President said something really interesting to us trainers before we met our comps. He asked us the difference between being perfect and being worthy. No one really said anything. Then he said it’s a big difference. In this life you will never be perfect but you always will have the choice to be worthy!!! So when you feel down or not good enough just remember that Heavenly Father doesn’t expect you to be perfect he just wants us to strive to always be worthy!!!
I wrote this one is for the moms because I didn’t really say Happy Mother’s Day to my moms yesterday. But really I have SOO many wonderful women in my life I am so grateful to all of you for your examples. I hope that I can be a good "Mom " in the mission.
I love you all. I hope you all have a great week
LOVE HERMANA BALL
|Our last Sunday together. |
I love this picture because we can finally use some of our winter clothes
|This week was labor day here in Paraguay and they do labor day big!|
Everyone is home with blasting music and they all eat meat!!!
|I just love this picture!|
|Ugh, the pictures never turn out so good, but it doesn't matter.|
The baptism was very pretty.
So first off I can’t remember if I have been fully telling you how amazing our Family Home Evenings have been! I always forget because it feels like I would have told you but we always have it the same day we write in the night. haha Anyway we have been having it at the house of Maria for the past few weeks and we have so many people that come. We always watch movies and read scriptures but this week we decided to change it up and have it at the house of a recent convert. She lives way close. They all live in the same street practically. Anyway, before, her family never wanted anything to do with us, but little by little they are warming up. This last Monday her daughter, Jessica, who is grown up and has kids, participated with her kids!! We had her, Eli, Maria, her son, Cristobal, Rocio, her son, the Relief Society President, Hermana Mercedes and us! and man, you guys, it was so spiritual!! We wanted to share a story, so after we read the story from the Ensign we asked if anyone had a comment. Maria was like “Ok chicas, I have something to say.” She then began to blow away any doubt Rocio may have had on being baptized. She said, “I think you have some doubts, Rocio, but don’t. This is going to change your life.” Then everyone started talking about how people had told them not to let us in or that they never thought they would one day be a Mormon but the peace they have found in the church is indescribable!!! It was so amazing. I love Maria so much. She has such a desire to serve and help others. The whole thing just went soo great. There are so many miracles here in Villa Elisa! Tuesday we were with Maria talking and we told her we were going to visit Rocio. She decided to come with us. We were doing a little mini-interview to prepare her for the real thing and it was so great having Maria there. She was so funny, but sincere. She told Rocio, who was a little unsure if she could give up coffee (she only drinks like a sip every once and a while that’s why we didn’t know she needed help with this) “It’s not a maybe, it’s yes or no. You’re going to do this. I promise it will change your life, Heavenly Father is going to bless you so much.” Maria is just such a powerful teacher. She is going to be such a leader in the church! She also was telling Rocio she needs to read the Book of Mormon. She never has really put much interest in the Book of Mormon but lately she has been reading where Nephi quotes Isaiah and she is beginning to understand and her testimony of the Book of Mormon is growing. It was so cool hearing her teach the very things that I thought she still had doubts about.
Then, guess what, we had exchanges with the Sister Leaders. Exchanges in Coronel are different than here because we were so far from everything. The sisters would come and we would separate but all would be working in our area. Here, one of the sets leaves for the sister leader’s area and it was my TURN!! I got to leave Villa Elisa for a day. It’s not that I don’t like it here, but it was so fun to go somewhere else. It’s like a little sleep-over party. haha and I love Hermana Cheney. I learned so much from her! She helped me realize problems that I have that I didn’t even know I have! It was truly a great day! hahah During one of the lessons a little kid put a cat on my back and the cat pooped all over me, diarrhea poop. Oh man, it was gross but Hermana Cheney, with her Christ-like love, cleaned me up and we had a good laugh. haha Interesting things always happen when I am with the sister leaders.
So once upon a time Jenny Ball, the person, was clumsy and then she became a missionary in Paraguay and Hermana Ball, the missionary, is more clumsy than Jenny, the person! The roads here are just rocks so literally all day I am tripping and almost falling on my face. The other day I was just walking along talking and bam, I ran into a cactus that was hanging over the path. If you thought there aren’t cacti here, think again. hahaha Also, the other day I was walking and I tripped and all the dogs in the world erupted in loud barking. It was so scary, hahah. If you pictured Hermana Ball, the missionary, as a graceful being, think again... it’s a daily struggle. hahah
All week we were working with Cristobal and Rocio so there would be no problems. They both passed their interviews beautifully and were just so stoked for their baptisms! Friday we filled the font, ugh that’s always a struggle, but we did it! Saturday we got everything ready. I don’t know how to tell you the joy that I felt seeing them in the water! Maria said the opening prayer and a miracle happened. For the first time she said “in the name of Jesus Christ, amen” (I would like to say something about this. I know that the name of Christ doesn’t matter. What matters is accepting what he did for us. Maria truly does, she has such a testimony. The reason I had a problem with what Maria was saying about the name of Christ was she asked me what is his name in English. I said Jesus Christ and she said and do you think he hears you? Of course, that’s the thing. It doesn’t matter what name we use or what language we use. haha I use Spanglish with Gurani in my prayers and I know that he hears me and understands perfectly. But Maria didn’t understand this. Then yesterday she told us, “I’m beginning to see that when I use Jesjua people don’t understand. So she used Jesuscristo in church and then when she prayed with us she used Jesjua. For me it was just proof of her growing testimony and that she is opening up and she is beginning to understand that no matter what name we use, God hears us) Anyway, the baptism just went perfectly.
Saturday night it began to rain and it rained and rained. I don’t know if you guys know this but when it rains here people do not leave their house for work, for school, or for CHURCH! and Rocio and Cristobal needed to be confirmed! Oh man, it was a mess! And guess what, it wasn’t even that they didn’t want to go, they were all ready to go, they just needed someone to come pick them up. You guys know the river that I sent that passes literally in front of Maria’s house when it rains, so it was loco, but we got them there and they were both confirmed and Maria and Rocio both bore their testimony. It was so beautiful. Maria said “I am still new here but I want to say that I know our Father is with us and that I feel proud to call you all my brothers and sisters.” She just kept saying how happy she was, the same with Rocio. She was just saying her gratitude for all that everyone has done and her gratitude with Heavenly Father. There were only 45 people at church and a big group of that 45 where converts, and Rocio and Cristobal and their family. We were just so proud of them. It was literally such a great week.
I love you. xoxooxoxoxxo
I hope you all have a great week!
I can’t believe it’s May!!!!!