Monday, March 28, 2016

Turning In the Badge

Miracles do exist . . . Paola was baptized!
Look how happy Marta is
We made a goal for my last week to eat ice cream every day, haha

So this is it. I am getting close to the finish line.... it's a weird feeling. Honestly I don't really feel like it's true. But let me back up for a minute and share some miracles that I saw this week.

So I don't remember where I left off on the Paola story, but she was living with the family Mercado and we were trying to get them to have custody of her, then out of nowhere her mom comes back from Argentina and takes her to her grandma’s house, which is in our area. Miracle number one.

Then Paola shares with her mom all that she has learned in the church and her mom sees the huge change in her daughter and decides to let her daughter be baptized. Paola was so happy, she said she wanted to get baptized this Saturday before I leave.  But wait, we didn't announce her baptism Sunday, and that's a new rule in the mission. So we talked to the assistants to the president and they told me no that there are no exceptions.... so I was really bugged. Not because I want to be here for her baptism but because she really is so prepared and there was no reason why she shouldn't. Plus President Wilson always makes exceptions since I have met him. We talked to Paola and she was sad and said can we announce it and I get baptized Sunday in the afternoon, so you can be there.... the problem was then she would have to wait a long time to be confirmed and we all know that's not good... but we said we would see. We talked to our branch president and he was like, “Who said NO?”... haha No hermanas, don't worry. I will take care of this. He called President Wilson and explained that Paola has been coming to church and seminary for two months now and that we have just been waiting.... and President Wilson was like “Ya, that’s fine”!!! I personally talked to him to be sure and he told me the same thing. So we got our guns moving and started to plan everything.

It was honestly the most beautiful baptism I have ever seen. There were so many people and the elders had a baptism too. All the missionaries sang a musical number and I felt like there were angels singing with us, but the best part was just seeing Paola's face. She was so happy. She is so responsible. She came to her baptism all by herself and Sunday she was the first person at church. I know that it was her time. I'm so grateful I was able to see her enter the waters of baptism. 

The other big thing this week was I had my last interview with President Wilson. It was on Tuesday so I was worried it would make me so trunky and I wouldn’t be able to function. But it actually made me less trunky because he settled all the fears Satan was putting in my mind. I love President Wilson. We talked for an hour. My hija (companion) was like “What happened in there? You were gone forever!” haha.

I’m still writing down all the advice he gave me. I’m going to miss him and his wife a lot. One thing that I loved was he said your companion is amazing. I said I know. He told me I’m leaving a beautiful legacy. I told him she came that way. Then he looked at me and said, “But you gave her everything she needed to grow”. That kind of hit me hard because I feel like this with my whole mission, that I really did nothing. The people I saw change were ready, I was just there watching. It made me think of a seed, a good seed. If we throw it down it won’t grow, but if we plant it and take care of it, it can become something beautiful. I think that was my job on the mission; to just take care of all these good seeds God gave me so that they would have a fair chance to grow. 

Sunday was a hard day. President Vera came up and said “Are you ready for your last testimony?”  I told him yes, but I didn't know what I was going to say. The intermediate hymn was my hijas (companion’s) favorite. We sing it literally 20 times a week, so we were both a wreck and couldn't stop crying. Then the counselor gets up and says “18 months ago the Ball family gave up their daughter. They trusted her in the Lord's hands and gave her to us. Now it’s time we send her back.” Also it was the farewell of a boy that’s leaving on his mission the same day I end mine, so that was special.

I want to share what I told the people of the Caaguazu branch: 

“When I came on my mission, I came because I felt so happy with what the gospel brings. I wanted the whole world to know what I know. One day when I was walking down the road with my companion (in Villa Elisa) a man stopped us and asked where I was from. I told him America and he asked what we were doing here.... you’re here to preach he said. I told him we are here to talk of Christ. He looked at me and said “You think that the people of Paraguay don’t know anything about Christ, you think that we are ignorant of God?” “No, that’s not why I came here to Paraguay”. There is a quote that I love by Elder Bednar he says that we invite all to come with all the knowledge they have, every good thing they have and see if the restored gospel of Jesus Christ doesn’t edify and enlighten what they already know. I have seen that come true. I have seen so many people come with what they know and the gospel of Jesus Christ lights there life with so much light. I know that God sends out missionaries because he loves all his children. He wants them all to have the truth available to them. I’m so grateful for the opportunity I have had to be a part of this great army of God. I love what timothy says in 2 timothy 4:7 

I have fought a good fight, I have finished my course


People always say that their best years were when they were on their mission. This always makes me sad. I don’t want the best years of my life to be behind me. But President Wilson told me that I’m not really finishing my mission, I’m just starting a new one. and h (that’s all of the letter that came)

-Jenny's mission will end on Thursday morning when her dad and step-mother pick her up.  She arrives in Utah on Saturday, April 9th.  Her homecoming will be at 11 am on Sunday, April 17th.

Some pictures that got left out of last week's letter:

Palm Sunday.  They make these and sell them.  No many people were at church.

This may not look so pretty but in real life it's my favorite part of our area.

Look how happy Ismael looks!

This is one of my favorite things ever. They just peel a grapefruit and you suck out all the juice.

 They do it with all fruits.

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