Tuesday, August 28, 2012

It's Cold?!

As it says in the subject line, it is actually cold, and has been for a couple days. It's about 50-60 degrees F, which is about what it got down to in Buenos Aires. At least I can wear my suit coat and enjoy it (we are required to wear it to church and other important meetings). I also have to make sure I mention intersting cultural things about Paraguay as they come, because in a year this will all seem normal. Clapping at the gate rather than knocking on doors is no longer strange. One thing that I can count on here, without fail, is that every time I tell a member I am from Utah they say, "Ah, la fabrica," which means "the factory." Also everyone, and I mean everyone, has this certain type of chair that I will try to explain. It has a metal frame like a lawn chair, but the part you sit on is all brightly colored plastic cords (like jump ropes) weaved together. Some salesman made a lot of money off of those.

People in Paraguay are very simple, and I have had to understand that they do not think the same way as me. They are all laborers or store-keepers; there are very few intellectual jobs, except lawyers (which a lot of people want to become). They are not stupid, because 90% of them can speak two languages. But we definitely have to keep the concepts and questions in our lessons very basic. So many times we will ask people questions and they will not understand that it was a question or answer yes when it was not a yes/no question. Sometimes that is because they just weren't listening, but I think it may also be due to the different structure of Guaraní. I am actually learning a little of that every day. I can greet people, say I'm hungry, ask who is going to say the prayer, and a few other basic phrases.

I heard that David Mella got his mission call to Uruguay and is going to the Buenos Aire MTC!! That is awesome! I am so excited for him. Now, to answer your questions. A man in our ward does our laundry; we just have to leave our clothes in the church on Mondays. We do usually eat a snack at 9:30 when we get back to the apartment, but that is pretty much it unless someone feeds us while we are out. I speak only Spanish with my companion, and I try to do the same with other missionaries. I feel like my comprehension is improving, but I still have a long way to go. The people here often speak Jopará, which means they will go in and out of Guaraní and Spanish, so it is sometimes hard to follow.

*Brittany quiere que yo escriba una porción en Español, entonces, aquí está. Esta jueves tuvimos una Conferencia de Zona con Elder Jorge F. Zeballos y su esposa. Eso fue muy purete (esa es una palabra que se use acá para decir "muy bien." Nadie sabe si es Español o Guaraní). Aprendimos mucho sobre nuestro propósito como misioneros y como podemos trabajar con los miembros--muy importante para conversión. También es muy importante que ame a su compañero. Necesita enseñar con unidad y disfrutar cada momento, entonces yo necesito ser amigos mejores con cada una, aunque sea difícil. En la conferencia, vi a Elder Brown, Elder Adamson, y Elder Villar, porque incluyó todos los misioneres en Ciudad del Este y Caaguazú. Me encantó verlos, y ellos están teniendo éxito también.

Well, none of the 8 or 9 people we committed to come ot church with us actually attended. That´s including Anibal, our awesome investigator. Hopefully we´ll find out why. It may have something to do with his mother-in-law, who tells us to leave him to his own religion every time we come by. He hates that. He came with us to a lesson with Alejandra, a girl we met this week. She was awesome. She is about 15, and she says she feels a lot like Joseph Smith. She also really wants to read the Book of Mormon--apparently she had one before but her aunt took it away. Unfortunately, we can't visit her until Saturday, so we have to hope things go well until then. We also have to make sure a man over 18 is there, which is a rule for every lesson. We are finding more and more investigators and giving them baptismal dates, which is important for helping people progress. This week we met Junior, a happy young Brazilian guy who actually talked to us first. Unfortunately, he is often drunk, so we have not been able to teach him a real lesson. When he is drunk he starts going off in Portuguese (it is amazing how many people here speak that AND the other two native languages) about how much he knows about the Bible (he has studied Theology for 9 years). The Aguinaga family, Freddy, Antonia, y Selva, are doing well. They did not attend church, but they are reading and praying about baptism. They really like us and the gospel. We have been going out to the "fondo"** where they live quite often, which takes a lot of time. In "el fondo," most of the houses are just wooden boards, but they have an oven, a TV, and sometimes a sink.

Our ward mission leader gave us the idea to have a family home evenings with our investigators and members so they feel like they have friends. So, to end my letter, I´d love to hear some ideas for FHE activities. Right now all we have is videos like The Testaments, and most of the games I remember playing require English or a certain board. So if anyone has any ideas for other games to play with families, I would love to hear them. Thank you for your prayers, and know that I am praying for you too.

Con mucho amor,***
Elder Wesley Morgan

*Spanish translation (with zero help from Danny, thank you very much):

Brittany wanted me to write part in Spanish, so, here it is.  This Thursday we had a zone conference with Elder Jorge F. Zeballos and his wife.  This was very "purete" (this is a word that they use here to say "very good."  Nobody knows if it's Spanish or Guaraní).  We learned a lot about our purpose as missionaries and how we should work with the members--very important for conversion.  It's also very important that you love your companion.  You need to teach with unity and enjoy every moment, so I need to be better friends with each one, although it may be difficult.  In the conference, I saw Elder Brown, Elder Adamson, and Elder Villar, because it included all the missionaries in Ciudad del Este and Caaguazú.  I love seeing them, and they were also excited.

**I had to ask Danny this one.  It basically means the boondocks.

***With much love

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