Monday, March 18, 2013

Great week of exchanges!

Elder Morgan and the assistants to the president (all of whom have served in Amambay)

The view from the top of the assistants' apartment building

Elder Gayoso on the bus on the way to do exchanges with the assistants

Okay, like you saw in the photo, we had the excellent opportunity to do exchanges with the assistants. I got to work with Elder Dyches, who is incredible. He was here in Amambay a year ago. He is always excited, shows genuine love for the people, and is very focused on baptism. That excitement for baptizing has spread to most of their members in the ward. I wish we could do that more here. He really has a miraculous opportunity. Because of the change in where the assistants are, he is finishing is mission in the area where he started, but like I said the ward is much more supportive. I really learned so much from him in that day. We also did exchanges with Republicano. I helped Elder Correa, who was pretty discouraged his first few days, but he seems a lot happier now that he is adjusting to everything. We had some really interesting experiences. One of those was with Blanca, a less-active member who is now Methodist. She did not want to accept the Book of Mormon again (the typical "the Bible is everything" mentality). I have found that Ezekiel 37:16-17, John 10:16, and Isaiah 29 are great testimony-strengtheners for people who already believe in the Book of Mormon, but they make no sense to people who don't want to accept it. What helped her most was José Olavarrieta´s personal experience and testimony. She talked a lot, but she ended up talking herself through the issue and decided to give it a shot again. I read some of 2 Nephi 29, which is a very direct way to explain why we need more. In personal study I also found a few other scriptures (the title page, 2 Nephi 33:10-15) that talk about how this Book will be used to judge us (a doubt she had) and it was written especially for this continent. It is pretty cool to know that I am preaching the gospel to the Lamanites.

Many of our investigators--Lorenzo, Amancio, and the Pavón family, are progressing slowly, but really need to make the decision to come to church. For new investigators, we found all men this week (hopefully we'll teach their wives next week and be able to count them as families). I´ll give you a quick summary of who they are for a general idea of the kind of people we teach. Luis Caballero got baptized without getting confirmed a few months ago, but he is planning on moving back! What a miracle! We´ll have a confirmation this month! Luis Cabral is an old man who wants to do everything. One of his sons is a member, but the rest of his family hates us. Hugo is a crazy-ish man who we found during a huge rainstorm this week. He doesn't believe the Bible was translated correctly, he is very smart, but he also has some weird theories. Brian is a young man who almost got baptized in Puerto Pabla, but it looks like he also has family opposition. Eleno moved here from a small, far-away city, and my companion can speak Guaraní to him. He really is great. Hope they can all progress!

I will think a lot this week about things I wish I had known, especially with clothes. (Next week I will send pictures of a few things I need replaced). We use all the same manuals as you, but because we don't always have investigators in church, we don't always have Gospel Principles class. I am really trying hard to get that going even if there is one investigator who stays after sacrament meeting. I am doing great health-wise. My toenail still looks funny, but it feels great. I am trying to send more pictures, and I would love to get more from all of you. :)

It's sad to hear about Aunt Karen and Sister Rhees, but they are both wonderful and I know that these are all just steps in God's plan for us. I know things will be great for them on the other side. Thanks for keeping me updated on everything. I know Braxton is out on his mission, and I would love to know if we sent off the rest of those young men. This is a Marvelous Work and a Wonder, and I know they would contribute great things to the Kingdom of the Lord. 

Love you all!

"This is what I wrote on the board to start our Zone training. It´s an example of everything you could possibly do in the first lesson, all of which are good things, but there isn´t time to teach all that in 30 minutes. So we practiced teaching a first lesson according to what interests the person so they open up to us and feel the Spirit (those are the other pictures)."

"Last P-Day we mopped the floors Paraguayan style--tossing water and soap all over the floor, scrubbing it with brooms, and squeegeeing it all away."

"I also made peach cobbler with your super-easy recipe."

"In one of the districts, four of the 6 elders are from Peru. (They don´t like hearing that they all look the same)."

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