Monday, February 10, 2014

Happy Birthday Heather and Daniel*

Wow! You have lots of questions! First we´ll talk about what happened this week. We had our Zone Training, which went well. We shared some scriptures and quotes that President Agazzani showed us about not worrying about what leadership position you have, just serving humbly. We reviewed the mission´s emergency plan--everyone has to have a backpack ready with basic hygiene materials and non-perishable food. The rest of the time we talked together as a Zone about our progress--especially in church attendance and baptisms--and what we can do to overcome the challenges. We also have a goal as a mission to read the Book of Mormon in the next three months.

I did divisions with Elder Cortes, from Chile, who is a great district leader. I also worked with Elder Jensen, from a little city in Utah, I think it´s called Castle Dale. He´s a great missionary, but very young and a little unsure of himself. His trainer didn´t let him do much, and so this transfer is the first time he´s teaching and talking to people in the street. I really enjoyed working with him. I made him do a lot of things he wasn´t comfortable with, but in the end he was happy with how much Spanish and missionary skills he knows. I love helping young missionaries, in part because they bring new ideas and a lot of spirit to the mission, and also because I remember how hard that part of the mission can be.

We have two baptisms for this Saturday--Irene and Cleotilde. They are sisters (24 and 21 years old), and three of their siblings are recent converts. Irene travels a lot and had some doubts, but she finally attended church for the third time and is willing to be baptized this Saturday. Cleotilde, the younger one, has a lot of crazy friends, and we have been trying to help her raise her moral standards. Saturday night we went and made lasagna with their family so Cleotilde wouldn´t go to any parties. This week we invited her to fast the day before her baptism, so let´s hope everything goes well.

We are teaching lots of people, but I´ll just talk about a few more. There´s Victor, a 9-year-old, who just moved from Argentina with his less-active mom. His accent makes me laugh a lot. Imagine how you feel listening to a little British boy talk. There´s Eladio, the husband of Perla, who is a very large man. He works with cement, and he had a big drinking problem. He´s been fine for a week, and a member who also struggled with alcoholism is helping us a lot. He´s planning on getting baptized on the 22nd.

We also have the Salidivar family, whose son is a recent convert and left on a mission last week. The mom was crying last night when we got there. Seems like she misses him a lot. We talked about the plan of salvation, and how if they get baptized, when their sons gets back they can be sealed in the temple.

So, things are going pretty well. It´s always rough for me to learn a new area, as I think I´ve mentioned. I´m not so good memorizing windy, unnamed streets. But I just try to be patient. Hygiene updates for you, Mom--I´ve switched to razors and shaving cream. My beard is pretty tough, but I´ll try to manage it. Also, those black spandex shorts have really helped me some hot days--keeps me from chafing. I think I´ll just have to show you on a map of Paraguay what happened to my mission. The whole south part, plus Ciudad del Este, is now part of Posadas, so our mission is pretty much the line between Asunción and Ca´aguazú. "Pa´ee Ñoo" (that´s how it´s pronounced) is about 30 or 40 minutes south of downtown Asunción, depending on the traffic. My last area was a branch. I do play the piano in sacrament meeting, which is interesting when your book closes randomly...The bench press is just solid cement blocks attached to a bar. I do use the perfect pushups. I think I´m at about 175-180 pounds.

My companion talks pretty normally. Most of the Latinos develop a fairly neutral accent in the mission. I really wanted to talk to President Webb about my career decision since he has lots of experience in those fields. I´ll just have to arrange another time with him. Love you all, keep reading the Book of Mormon and sharing the gospel with anyone you can.

-Elder Morgan the Older

*Our sister Heather's birthday is February 8th and the other Elder Morgan's birthday is February 7th, so it was a birthday-filled week!

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