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!