The best part of this week was traveling to Asunción for an incredible conference Elder Maynes, from the Presidency of the 70. We did it in Moroni, the chapel next to the temple, which I got to see for the first time (our trip there is in two weeks). It is always great to see my friends from the mission, including those from the north mission. Elder Maynes served in the Paraguay-Uruguay mission, so he started off with a few words in Guaraní that he said he has been waiting 40 years to say. He was a great speaker and shared some incredible things that are changing the way we teach. He talked about using the Book of Mormon more and expressing love for the people right away. In Paraguay, people often refer to each other as ¨Hermano¨, so we often skip the part of ¨How to Begin teaching¨ that explains that we are all children of God. But I am trying to do that more with Romans 8:16-17. He also talked about teaching clearly when inviting people to repent so we can find those who are really interested. He told us to stop wasting time trying to convince people to be interested, something I have done many times. So that is something else I am trying to improve. It is a little frustrating, because I am realizing how many people her don't want to change. But scriptures like D&C 42:6-8, 123:12 help me not get discouraged and have faith to find those the Lord has prepared.
And an answer to that prayer---Paola. She is a friend of the young single adults in the ward who has attended church activities for years, but never church itself. She knows it's all true but has always been afraid of something. Missionaries have been trying to get her baptized for a looong time, but she does not like to feel pressured. With the baptism in our branch on Saturday, she decided to come to church. We had taught her the day before and invited her to read and pray. She hadn't prayed yet, but we talked about how she liked what she had read (3 Nephi 11) and how she felt at church. My companion had the insight to help her recognize her feelings at church as an answer, and after listening and asking questions I pretty much said, Paola (it's important to put the stress on the O...she likes that we are the first missionaries to pronounce her name right, haha), you know it's all true, and we are not going to pressure you, when do YOU want to get baptized? And, what do you know, we have a baptism this Saturday!!
She is a friend of Laura Lopez, who has a 12-year-old sister that her family is trying to adopt. That will probably be a baptism for the week after. Miracles all around! The other person we are teaching often is Brian Naumann, whose dad speaks English and is a less-active, anti-Book of Mormon member. We have had some interesting lessons with him. I´ll try to share more another week. The branch president's wife is awesome and offered to wash our garments. We found a laundromat that will wash the rest for very cheap, which is great. Just a lot of work to haul it there, but I am happy with what we found.
So, we are working hard with the people we have and always trying to find new people. I enjoy being district leader and being able to focus more on the individual missionaries. I did 5 baptismal interviews this weekend, which was great. I am not sure how big this city is, you'll have to google that. The downtown part is fairly small, and that is where the sister missionaries work. Our area is huge, but we work in the part within a mile or two of the chapel, where there are more houses.
My companion is great to work with. He is new, so he is willing to try anything. His name is John, but everyone calls him by his middle name, Crosby (like Bing Crosby). Crosby Pacheco--how cool is that name? Before the mission he liked salsa dancing, football, and video games. Oh, when we were in Asunción we found a place that makes Seviche. He LOVED that, and I got to try a bit. Very good. I like living with four. We cook together, usually the missionary norms of rice or pasta with eggs, meat or other sauces. Love the suit, thanks for everything!
Love and prayers,
-Elder Wesley Morgan