Monday, December 2, 2013

Mucho que hacer...siempre*

*Lots to do...always

We were expecting a ton of people in church this week, but life always presents many obstacles. The only ones who came to church were the Garcias, whose son will get baptized this week. They enjoyed the classes, but had to leave early. Unfortunate, but I think we´ll continue with the plans. They enjoy everything about coming back to church, and Brother Garcia is helping us teach some one of his neighbors. He also asked "Why aren´t there as many people in church as there used to be" (I do not like that question), and we committed him to talk to his many neighbors who are less active members (his neighborhood is full of them).

We found a great guy named Justino. His wife is a former investigator, but she recently left him. Normally, it is hard to talk to people during crises in Paraguay. When someone dies they pray and mourn together as a family for several days, and when other bad things happen, they often react by drinking a lot or doing other things to isolate themselves. But when Justino told us what happened, we promised him a message of hope and peace, and he actually let us in! By the end of the lesson he couldn´t stop smiling. Great moment. He has neighbors who are members, and with their help he´ll be baptized soon.

One more, Elvio Britez. Well, first you have to know that the Resquín family are recent converts, whose daughters were baptized, but only one of their 5 sons. For some reason, Gustavo Resquín (17 years old) decided to let us teach him, and told us he wanted to invite his friend. That´s Elvio, who, unlike Gustavo, is very interested in learning about God and coming to church. He works on Sundays, but is trying to change. If we can help him with that, he´ll be a great missionary someday.

This week we will work in other areas for the weekend so we can avoid being here during all the activity for the pilgrimage, which has already started. Lots of people come in buses from very far, and there is music coming from the Basilica all the time. Still haven´t found the less-actives we are looking for in MLS. I have enjoyed the opportunity to learn and help people in my calling, but it would be nice to focus more on missionary work.

Our Thanksgiving dinner was moved to Saturday, because there was another Zone Conference this week on Thursday, which I conducted. Elder Ávila, an area 70 from Argentina, visited us. We watched a video of President Eyring and Elder Holland comparing the Atonement to missionary work (and D&C 107:99-100-"Let every man learn his duty"), which explains why salvation can never be easy because it comes at such a high price. Elder Avila talked a lot about obedience, working with members, and the importance of the first two great commandments. He has a very animated personality, and we learned some great things--especially the importance of loving God and those we serve. And the lunch was with the other four missionaries here in Ca´acupé. The Kellers made us somewhat-American food--chicken, peas, sweet potatoes (kinda), mandioca (paraguayan), and rice with gravy. It was definitely good enough for me.

Other interesting bits. Sister Castro (Milagros´s mom), like many members, is going to be working all this week (including Sunday). We read Luke 12--a parable about focusing on eternal rewards, and reminded her of her goal of the temple. She committed to pray and decide what to do...but wasn´t in church on Sunday. We did what we could. Mom, I really liked that you shared 1 Nephi 13:37 with us because President Agazzani sent us the same scripture last week! We saw Plutarco, a less-active member, skinning a dead pig he had hanging by its feet. That was a new, unforgettable experience. And I also realized I have lost more than 10 pounds in this area. It´s so hot you can breathe the heat in, and we walk up a lot of hills. But I´m doing fine, don´t worry!

Also, I got my Christmas packages! So happy to have my camera working again. This time I´ll wait to open up the wrapped presents. I loved the photos of Chris....I like showing people the photo of him before I left and they say "Wow, you´ve been out here a long time." I´m so old. But I really did appreciate the candy and decorations. It´s going to be a great month. Thanks for your support!

-Elder Morgan the Older

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