Monday, February 18, 2013

Busy, busy week

It has been quite the week. February 14th marked one year since receiving my call! I tried both figs and blood sausages. We went to a couple museums last week about the history of Paraguay. And, most importantly, we are trying to teach as much as we can.

Diego, as always, is amazing. Cecilia Grau had already talked to him about tithing, so he has been trying to save his money more. He said he is already receiving more financial blessings for doing that. I have never taught tithing and had the investigator already be able to testify it. He is great. We just need to get him baptized. I told him I would do it tomorrow if he wants. The only problem is his family, and that is something he has to face on his own. I don´t know if I have ever mentioned Elía Almeida. He is 27 years old and a convert of 3 years who has been off and on in his activity in the church. This week we helped him write a talk, which went great. I felt like a proud parent. Also, he has a roommate named Líder who we have been teaching. He speaks a lot of Guaraní and only understands the absolute basics of what we teach, but he is very happy and willing to do everything. 

One of our biggest miracles was finding the Pavon family. We contacted them a couple weeks ago, but finally had time to visit them. It is a "multi-family" of about 20 people in three or four little houses all next to each other. We have taught about 10 of them so far. They work all day in the sewing factories (just about everyone who is low-income works in one of those--there are a lot), and they tend to drink a lot on Sundays, especially Marcelo and Maria, who were baptized in this ward about 15 years ago. They are great people who really seem to feel the Spirit; and I have a lot of hope that they will change. We didn't have much time in our first lesson, so we were going to do what we often do in short or simple first lessons: talk about Christ (as the Son of God, his baptism, church, and atonement). We read Alma 7:11-12 and as I testified that Christ has suffered for each of our pains, the Holy Ghost was very strong. I decided to invite them to come to church, but they said that they had a baptism this Sunday of one of their babies. I wasn't sure whether to talk about that or save it for the next lesson, but Elder Knudsen jumped right it. We read a scripture in the Bible about responsibility for our own sins and Moroni 8:8-10. They admitted they were only doing it because it was what they had always been taught, and we invited them to pray to find out who needed to be baptized: their children or them. Only two of them came to church this week, but luckily it was the two who were going to baptize their child (who traveled a long way to do it here...). We have a lesson with them in a couple hours, so I hope things go well with that.

We found Rubén again, that kid who was really interested in what we were teaching last week. His family goes in the category of a few families we have had this week who seem to have tough lives because of illnesses, accidents, drugs, or poor living conditions. It is difficult, especially because we cannot to do much to help them temporally. All we can say is that if they have faith in the Christ, come to his church, and live his Gospel, they will be able to find the peace they need, and eventually some solutions. For some of them, that is enough. That reminds me of a couple we found yesterday. They had fallen off their motorcycle and were almost too drunk to remember their names. They were on their way to Luque, which is about an hour away. We did everything we could help them recover their strength so they could take a bus. But honestly, they were like 3-year-olds. They were not in a mental state to make any decisions. After doing everything but physically forcing them to the bus stop, we let them get back on the motorcycle and ride away, swerving all over the street. I prayed hard for them...but I didn't have much hope. Like I said before, there is only so much that is within our power. People suffer a lot here sometimes, but I just need to remember that it is all part of God's plans.

Besides that, it has been a busy week with a lot of baptismal interviews. President Agazzani challenged us last Monday to call everyone and see who they could baptize this week. We had a few people find old investigators that got baptized or are progressing again. Normally, I love doing baptismal interviews. It is a great opportunity to see someone´s preparation and testimony. This was my first time having to call President for permission to pass them, which we have to do if they committed a serious crime or sin. He pretty much left it in my hands to decide if I felt the man was ready, which was a lot of pressure. We also had a Zone Conference, where we learned a lot about how to do weekly planning better (helped a lot). Hermana Agazzani talked about more precautions we can take to be healthier, which we are doing, like putting a little bleach in our water bottles to purify it every night. 

Yes, I would love receiving CD's. I wear my Guaraní tag on my suit.  I am doing great health-wise. And we found out in the Conference that we are going to be receiving 100,000 more Guaranies ($23.00) every month, which is actually a big deal!

One more thing. We did a mini-training with our District Leaders to help them with some of their difficulties. We talked about many things, about the importance of testifying when explaining our purpose, like I mentioned to you last week. I have often found that inspiration I receive is actually for me to share with other people. My favorite moment was when my companion talked about the importance of teaching a short, spiritual first lesson according to the needs of the person. I was so happy! I have been trying to help him with that my whole time here. There is always hope for the future.

 Love you all!

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