Monday, January 13, 2014


We are seeing some excellent progress in the branch. I am excited to hear that you have a new Elders´ Quorum Presidency. We do too!! When I got here there was no one in the presidency. Yesterday Alberto Sostoa was sustained as president, with two counselors (one is his dad who he is helping reactivate) and a secretary. I don´t know if you remember that Alberto is Delfina´s husband who was inactive before he moved back here and we helped baptize her. He is a natural leader, and I am so excited to see progress here! Our ward mission leader is helping us reactivate recent converts, one of whom--Juan Martinez--received the Aaronic Priesthood.

We only had three investigators in church (saying "only three" is also a sign of progress). Cristian, who is still waiting for the divorce papers came with his cousin Alex, who we have been teaching. Best part: Alex randomly showed up with Silvia to one of our lessons with the Melgarejos. He´s dating Silvia and he is very excited to be baptized on the 25th. Though she still acts very unsure, I am pretty positive they´ll get baptized together. What a miracle! They also want to go to EFY the week after (they´re both 17).

Luján did not come to church and her mom is gone so much we couldn´t teach her at all this week. Though she likes coming to church with us, we´ve decided to postpone the baptism until her mom or her uncles (The Garcías--those recent converts who have also been facing some work and social difficulties) are reactivated and can take her to church. I just realized that you can´t say uncles in English to refer to an aunt and uncle. I´ll leave it that way just for fun.

The Meza family is also a disappointment. We were pretty gung-ho about their baptism (they seemed to be, too), and we talked about the law of chastity to explain why they´d need to get married before their baptism. Now they don´t want to talk to us...Lesson learned. I´ll be sure to teach a few more of the doctrinal lessons to strengthen the faith of the investigators before teaching a commandment that could try their faith.

I´ve realized that I talk a lot about what these people do, but not much about what they are like. That may be for lack of time, but I do wish you could get to know all of them. My best way is just to compare them to people you know. Like my companion, who--musically, religiously, politically, and in many other ways--keeps reminding me of Tony. He´s a lot of fun, and we have been very good about communicating openly and being patient with small differences. For example, there´s Sister Guerra, the Uruguayan Relief Society President who is SO crazy I can´t even explain it. There´s Rubén Ledesma, the young (20) man who came to live with his active grandma. He was born in the church but never really developed a testimony. He knows he should come to church and do the right things but seems to have a lot of bad influence from his friends and his personal feelings. It´s really interesting to help people like that. Perhaps someday we´ll have enough time to talk about all of the great people I´ve met and who they really are.

As far as Elder Morgan goes, I do wish there were faster progress in the Zone and with the investigators, but we are working hard. I have been sick this week (cold), but I´m finally recovered. Only the 2nd time I needed to ask for a health blessing on the mission. I don´t even want to talk about how skinny I´m getting. New favorite fruit--Mburucuyá (passion fruit in English). It´s hard to describe. Sort of like sweet lemon, but all the seeds are mushed together in a goo that´s inside of a very hard shell. Reminds me of an alien egg. There´s fruit everywhere in Paraguay, and that´s the latest one that falls so much people just give it away.

I do also wish I could explain more about the culture. Part of the problem is that I don´t want to say anything negative, so you only hear the positive things. In this city, there are a few many asphalt roads. The rest are cobblestone, and there are quite a few dirt roads. It´s interesting here, because there is a lot of urban influence from Asunción and tourism, but there is quite a bit of rural culture, too. We have 70-80 in church every week, but the other two companionships are finally starting to bring people to church, so that should go up as we continue baptizing and retaining.

Also, we are in the South America South area, which is Paraguay, Argentina, Uruguay, and Chile. I can write anyone in those missions for free, which is nice. Our mission baptized just under 1,400 last year, and President Agazzani´s goal is 2,000 this year. He likes it when people tell him he´s crazy.

Thanks for all the other news from everyone. Not all the news is good, but it gives me things to pray for. I know the Lord is with us, no matter what happens. Just trust in him! Love you all!

-Elder Morgan the Older

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