Tuesday, July 11, 2017

Mon., 7/10/2017 (Yby Yau)

Once again a busy week! I started the week in Asuncion for a big district leader training. After Pday, Elder Vasquez, Elder Behrens and I all went out and visited a recent convert and less active family in Elder Behrens' old area, since we didn't have anything to do. The Asuncion Paraguay Temple is going to close soon for 2 years, and we shared a small message with them about how important it is to take advantage of the blessings of the temple. We then got taken over to the bus terminal, where we had to wait for a while. There were 2 massage chairs sitting in the middle of the terminal and I don't think anyone knew how to use them, so we tried them out. We took a colectivo all night to Pedro Juan Caballero, where the next day we had district meeting. Before the meeting, Elder Vasquez and I had to go to his house to switch companions. While there, Elder Entze and I celebrated the 4th of July for a couple of minutes. During the meeting, Elder Vasquez and I ended up having our meetings combined, and we gave an overview of what we learned from the district leader training. After the meeting, I went with Elder Pace, our zone leader, for the day in a division. As is normal for this mission, we spent the day contacting, contacting, and more contacting. I'm getting a lot of practice in contacting; its actually pretty fun! In the evening we concluded the division with some good 1 mil (20 cent) hot dogs. Good stuff. 
Wednesday and Thursday we got back to working in our area, and since we had limited time, tried passing every investigator's house that we could get to. Friday the branch president's wife fed us lunch! Then we had interviews with Pres. Evans and went to Pedro Juan with him and Hna Evans for zone conference. I did a division that night with Elder Vasquez and Elder Passos again to do a baptismal interview. We ended up walking around 15-20 km to gt there and back, which took up the whole afternoon and evening, but it was worth it. It sounds like for this month, our zone will have 9 baptisms! That's a lot better than where we were at before. That night, we stayed with Elders Enteze and Vasquez, and grilled some steaks. The next day during zone conference, we learned a lot, and it was focused on teaching repentance and baptizing converts, a talk from Elder Neil L Anderson. Repentance is so important! If you don't know what it is, find out now! There are so many people in the world with a weight on their shoulders that Jesus is waiting to take; let Him take it! Make the change; I know y'all can do it! In other news, Fernando couldn't make it to church, but he is honestly so excited to get baptized, and will definitely make it this week. For Pday, we beat the sun and biked the 11 or so km to Cerro Memby to see the sunrise with Airton. At a more human friendly hour, the Hermana Leaders also joined us for our district activity.That's pretty much all; have a great week! I love you all!
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1 Elder Entze and I celebrated the 4th of July
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2 and later again with the Americans in the zone
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3 On Saturday we had zone conference so we had to go to Pedro Juan on Friday. We decided to cook out to celebrate the 4th of July again
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4 Merica
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5 We discovered massage chairs in the bus terminal. Nobody knew what they were apparently because the other people in the terminal all looked at us weird  hahaha
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6 I mashed potatoes with a cup. Its actually very effective.
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7 You can't forget the salad!
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8 Finished product: T-bone steaks, garlic mashed potatoes, and salad
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9 Yet again I got to see my grandpa, Elder Villacresses
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10 Our first and probably last time taking a picture at a normal LDS chapel
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11 We got up early to watch the sunrise from Cerro Memby for Pday
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12 Cerro Memby is about 11 km from our house. Airton also came
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13 Cerro Memby
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14 We had to hide the bikes in the grass for the day... good thing even the trail is difficult to see
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15 We made it!
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16 We beat the sun
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17 sunrise
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18 12 meters of climbing required to take the fastest route to the top. As you may have thought, we avoided it
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19 The sun!
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20 Well there you have it!
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21 We showed the Hermana Leaders how to get up there too
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22 District Yby Yau
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23 see 22
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24 The best(and only hahaha) trio in the mission, hands down

Y'all have a good week!

Tuesday, July 4, 2017

Mon., 7/3/2017 (Yby Yau)
We have had a busy week as usual! Last Monday we ended up spending in Yby yau. so we got to have our Tuesday district meeting in the chapel, and as the district is just Elder Cartagena, the Hermanas and I, we had to have a member, Hno Paiva come. I taught my lesson on the need for charity and love, and setting an example. Tuesday in the evening Airton came home from visiting family and buying his mission clothes, and Wednesday Morning we took his bike (around 5 years ago when the bikes got replaced, those that the missionaries would have thrown away they gave one to him) to the shop to get an overhaul NOTE If you are from Paraguay they charge you considerably less in places like bike shops. We literally replaced half of his bike for the price of about 5 dollars. With 3 bikes to use, we got out to work. Most of the rest of the week was about the same, but we got so much more done being on bikes AND with Airton. We have started moving out to working farther away, in a direction where we have to bike up a 2-km hill just to get to the closest people (NOT recommended directly after lunch hahahaha). Elder Cartagena started out really struggling on the bikes, but he has made considerable improvement, and he made it up both km for the first time Saturday! He´s really learning fast. Sunday during church I only taught one hour, and due to fast and testimony meeting, didn't give a talk either. Sunday in the afternoon Elder Cartagena and I went to Pedro Juan Caballero, so that he could stay with an elder there and I went with Elder Vasquez (from Ecuador) and Elder Behrens to Asuncion for a district leader meeting with President and Hermana Evans, and the Assistants. We learned a lot! We talked a lot about a lot of themes that work as a leader, but also apply to parents, spouses, teachers, or in whatever situation. We need to lead by example, with love for those we lead. That means to never get mad, never bajar la cana (I think it translates to ´´dropping the cane´´), and think about others first. Hermana Evans also brought in 2 sheep skins and showed that maybe the color is he same but the wool was very different, and explained that as leaders (or parents spouses teachers etc) we need to think of each person differently, by their needs,because everyone is different. She also used the example of twins, because a stranger can't tell them apart but to their mom they're very different from each other. This entails getting to know those whom you serve personally. As a missionary, that´s why I'm here, and as people, sons and daughters of God, that's why y'all are here. Look out for how you too can serve others. Any service, big or small, is big in God's eyes. Thanks for all the emails and prayers, have a good week!
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1This is Fernando. He is the 10 year old son of an Hermana that hasn't been to church in 7 years that we just helped reactivate. We are working towards a baptismal date in a couple weeks with him. He´s awesome- understands about 300 times better everything we teach than I do! He prayed to ask if he should be baptized, and got an answer in the affirmative!
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2 Helping Fernando's mom make Empanadas with Airton
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3 Elder Cartagena found out from hard experience that paraguayan rolling pins can be dangerous hahaha
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4 Empanada shells are fun to make
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5 Airton's mom made us Paraguayan tortillas! They're about half oil but taste really good!
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6 Paraguayan bus stop
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7 biking up 2 km hills right after lunch, in 35 celcuis weather is not the best idea
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8 Cleaning crew
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9 on the way to district leader meeting
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10 Got to see Elder Brower again
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We went to get Chinese food in Asuncion today after the meeting with the 2 elders who are serving in Juan de Salazar, my first area. As a side note, Elder Vasquez has special permision from President Monson to have a ponytail because he´s indigenous from Ecuador! Pretty cool if you ask me!
Y'all have a good week!

Friday, June 30, 2017

Mon., 6/26/2017 (Yby Yau)

It has been a pretty eventful week, so I'll start from the beginning! Monday I was with Elder Behrens from Boise and Elder Reategui from NYC in a trio for P-day, and it was COLD. Turns out it got down to 1 degree Celsius! And raining and windy. To end P-day, we had to go to the other side of PJC to pick up the office elders' truck, since Elder Behrens used to be secretary and has a license. We had to get a ride from their landlord, who stopped by their house to pick up his 2 dogs. The dog that climbed all over us did it in this moment. We finally got the dog under control, but there was no hope for our 3 white shirts hahahha. We picked up the truck and went back to their area to work. They're in a whitewash (both are brand new in the area), so I showed them around Monday evening since I had had 4 or 5 divisions in their area. 
Tuesday, my 20th Birthday, we had to get up around 4:30 to pick up my companion, the zone leaders, and the office elders from the terminal. WE then had district meeting, and got to get a ride home with the office Elders. They had to renovate a couple housing contracts, so it took a while to get home, and we also found a cool national park on the way so we took a pit stop. Later the office Elders had to stay the night so it was a pretty jam packed birthday! Nobody sang but we got to do a lot of cool stuff and President and Hermana Evans called to wish me happy birthday so that was neat. The rest of the week was back to business; we had a couple service projects raking leaves and such, and I started teaching Elder Cartagena how to cook. Sunday we had church as normal, and I taught the first 2 hours as usual, but we had visitors. The District President, Secretary, and a couple of the people in the Young Mens' presidency dropped by. After church we had a meeting with them, and learned a lot about working together as a branch and with the missionaries. It was really helpful. They also brought a huge container of empanadas, and they didn't know how we were going to finish them off, but just think about how much the missionaries eat and the fact that nobody ever feeds us. Between the two of us, we finished off at least 25 or 30 empanadas hahaha! WE got back out to working the rest of the day. It is SO much easier when the members give referrals and help the missionaries. Today for Pday we are here in Yby Yau. Since I'm district leader and there are just the 4 of us, we will have our meetings here in Yby Yau, we just have to have a member come to the meeting. We went to Cerro Memby for Pday. That's pretty much all for the week! Please remember your scriptures, prayers and to go to church! There are so many people that I've met here on my mission that don't have the knowledge disposable to them that we do, because they've rejected our message! Don't reject the message! The only way to not reject it is by looking for it. You can do that by reading, praying, and going to church! Have a good week! And thanks for all the birthday wishes!
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1 Got to see my buddy Elder Grey from Honduras during transfers; we waited together for a while
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2 District Yby yau!
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3 A lot of divisions later., I finally had to say goodbye to Elder Ollero
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4 As well as Elder Albornoz, our zone leader
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5 Asado (Cookout) with Airton on Elder Castros last Pday in Yby Yau
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6 We helped dig a well 
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7And I got a little dirty
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8 Last pday we got attacked by a dog in a car hahahah
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9 we got the dog under control (with Elder Reategui from NYC)
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10 And then picked up the office Elders truck from the shop
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11 We got a lift from the office Elders to District meeting
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12 My bed for Sunday and Monday night
PS that bed was actually really comfortable
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13WE GOT IPADS!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! Well not rally but it was pretty close. Whiteboards are soooo useful when the people speak a different language! ! picture is worth 1000 words!
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14 We got a ride back from district meeting too
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15 WE got a ride home too! Also discovered a national park in the middle of nowhere
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16 Pretty cool place
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17 The park is some kind of war memorial
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18 And there's the name
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19 For those who have said that Paraguay doesn't have mountains, hills or good views:
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20 This all occurred on my birthday. Turns out the office Elders next stop was pretty far out and President didn't want the driving far during the night, so they had to stay with us for the night
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21 Elder Olson's cooking class
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22 He's learning!
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23 We went to Cerro Memby for Pday
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24 Some cool graffiti halfway up the hill
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25 I think it's suposed to be a rainbow?
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26 A little throwback to the university days because lets be honest, everyone is always sleeping
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27 In the words of Louie, " What a wonderful world!"