Monday, May 20, 2013

Mi Cumpleaños

It is weird to be 20 years old. But that is part of life. Guess I'm more of a man now? In response to Brittany's question about the cigarettes*, we just soaked the cigarettes and put them in the trash. The box-burning was more symbolic.

It has been a great week. I will tell you about 2 investigators I haven't mentioned. First is Jacinto, who the missionaries have visited every once in a while for a long time. He is an old man with rheumatoid arthritis and prostate cancer. He is in a lot of pain and cannot move much. He also doesn't have much support from anyone. So we go by sometimes and sing hymns to him (and he sings songs for us, too). We read the scriptures too sometimes. As we always try to do, we invited him to be baptized, but he really needs to be in a better physical state to start coming to church. Unless someone can give him a ride every week. Any volunteers? Haha.  We have given him a blessing and he has a lot of faith in God. I told him that if he is still here in this life, it is because the Lord still has a mission for him, probably to help us appreciate what we have, see his example of faith, and learn to care for those in need. Then there is Blanquita, who we found this week. She reminds me a bit of Susan Boyle. She is a little old lady who goes into dangerous parts of town in the middle of the night to drag her drunk son back home. She is not afraid of his drug-addict friends and uses a belt to beat him, her ex-husband, or anyone else who tries to hurt her. She is a lot of fun to listen to. She also jumped at the opportunity to give her son a message that will help him change. So keep them all in your prayers. 

We really need to find more people to teach, so I am going to try teaching English classes for the first time. Gema has stopped progressing a bit, for some personal problems. Not many people who we invite are coming to church, including all the less-active members who tell us they know they need to start coming back. But I have learned a lot about stewardship and authority in this area. I don't have the responsibility to reactivate all of them, though sometimes I would like to. I can encourage them to fulfill their member-missionary duties and be good examples of keeping the commandments. But I cannot receive revelation to help them overcome their problems. We also had a companionship who was worried because their bishop was authorizing someone who may or may not have been worthy to perform a baptism. I had to tell them we really don´t have any say in that. So, like I said, I am learning a lot about leadership, especially in the church. 

It was a great week that was a lot colder and rainier. On Tuesday the streets flooded and Elder Ratliff (I was on companion exchanges) and I splashed our way home with very wet socks. Things like that are actually really good--they remind us why we are here and how important is to sacrifice for this cause. Elder Holland's talk in October also motivates me a lot. 

In the phone call I didn't want to say anything in front of my companion, and I am trying to be as positive as I can. Honestly, we have argued a lot more than I have with anyone else. But thankfully, it has improved. We are learning not to get frustrated over little things and how to let hard feelings go. We get along great now. Last night we got in a bit of an argument, but we put it behind us and were able to continue with all the planning and number-reporting we needed to do. That would not have happened a few weeks ago. While reading Our Legacy, I have been wondering why there are not as many miracles now as there were in the early church. One of the many answers I have found is that miracles are not always prophecies or visions. Sometimes they are things like that experience I had last night--forgiveness, getting along. Day-to-day things that are very important in the long run. I am learning a lot that will help me be a better husband.

And as far as the food goes, it is kind of funny that I couldn´t think of a favorite food. The thing is, all the food here is pretty good. Every once in a while it is amazing, but luckily I have only had one or two things that were very weird. I love chipa and milanesa, but I wouldn't put them as my favorite foods because everyone makes them differently. They can be very good or very mediocre. Yeah, that's Paraguayan food. 

Last week there were two days off from school/work for Independence day and Mother's Day. School is the opposite of what it is in the states, they have Summer vacations in December, January, and February. I do hope to go to the temple soon, but even if there is a session in English, I will do it in Spanish. I have always wanted to see how that is. I miss the temple, but I am helping other people get there--William got his recommend and Aaronic Priesthood. Thanks for all the news and birthday wishes. Keep praying (on your knees...I studied today about why that is important) for me and the rest of the Lord's missionaries throughout the world. Love you all!

*I had been nervous that he burned the whole box of cigarettes and would die of lung cancer.  I should have known that Wesley is smarter than that.

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