Monday, December 14, 2015

It's beginning to look a lot like Christmas . . . actually not really. It's really hot here.

So this week I was able to get to know my area a lot better. I’m in a place called Caaguazú. We are close to the border with Brazil. It’s only 3 hours from here. There are 4 Branches (Ramas) in Caaguazu. We are in the first branch that was every created here. There are a lot of pioneer members here which is really cool, they tell you all about the history and they remember when the first missionaries came to Caaguazu. Our area is more city but when I say city its nothing really like San Lorenzo. We live up on a hill and as you go down it gets poorer and poorer. Our branch president lives in a nice house but then just like a block from his house there are people that live in houses made of wood and the floor is just dirt. It’s been raining a lot and when it rains no one has electricity or water. I always just lay in my warm bed and think about the people with those dirt floors. But they are some of the nicest people here and something I have missed so much from Coronel Oviedo are the children. In my second two areas kids didn’t really play outside all that much but here the streets are filled with kids and they all know us. I love giving them stickers and candy. We have been getting to know that part of our area because the missionary that was here before me was really scared to go there. But we spend almost all our day there looking for old members and converts and old investigators. It’s so fun. 

I was really stressed last week because I just felt like there were so many things to do and I didn’t know where to start. But we got the area book all organized and that has been helping me so much. I keep finding out more disobedient things that happened here and it’s hard to not judge and get frustrated. I have been trying so so hard to be a good example to my comp and do everything the way we are supposed to. Last night we were talking as we laid in bed and she was saying that the first week with me was really hard. She had gone from being really relaxed to me. haha She said you were just always doing something, every second.  I told her how I had been feeling and how bad I beat myself up when I feel like I’m not being 100% obedient. She looked at me and said I don’t know if you know what it’s like to be with someone who is disobedient. She told me that no one can be perfect every second but the thing that matters is that we try and that she could see that I’m trying and that I really take the rules seriously and I don’t question them. She said that every rule before was like something stupid she just had to try and complete but now she sees why. This made me want to cry. I had been beating myself up for a few days feeling like I wasn’t doing everything to teach her. But she said just being around me and watching how I am is teaching her so much.  I feel really blessed for the opportunity to be with her.  I’m really learning a lot from her too. That’s the thing, she isn’t disobedient she just didn’t know how to be obedient about somethings.  Sometimes I forget she only has a little time in the mission and I forget to explain things and to teach her. I’m use to being with people older than me. The last 6 months I was a co-companion which is really fun but it’s different than being a senior companion. I need to remember sometimes that I’m the senior companion.  But we are both just working really hard and we have been finding new people. It’s just hard to tell the people who are really looking for the truth. In the city it’s really easy to tell but here everyone is nice and listens and promises to come to church, ahah, but they don’t. 

On Sunday we had 2 random kids show up that live next to members. It’s sad though, one of them doesn’t really have parents, her name is Paola. We are going to try and teach her but we sometimes don’t know where to find her. She doesn’t really have a home. And she only speaks Guaraní that’s such a daily struggle.

 We got to see the First Presidency Christmas Devotional last night, that was such a tender mercy for me. Man the music just got me so in the Christmas mood! I love the Mormon Tabernacle Choir. The last song they sang is what I’m singing in this special choir I’m in, but I don’t think it’s going to sound anything like that haha. But it was truly amazing and really put Christmas in perspective for me.

I’m so grateful to be a missionary. I was thinking of all the gifts God has given me and the gift of being able to serve a full time mission is one of the greatest.
Love you all,

Hermana Ball o Vakapipopo

Ponderize: St John 3:16-17 “For God so loved the world, that he gave his only begotten Son, that whosoever believeth in him should not perish, but have everlasting life.  For God sent not his Son into the world to condemn the world; but that the world through him might be saved."

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