Monday, May 29, 2017

Mon., 5/29/2017 (Yby Yau)

It's been a busy week! Monday after Pday, I had a division in Pedro Juan with Elder Torres again. Tuesday we had district meeting, then I went to Romero Cue again with Elder Albornoz. That night we went to Yby Yau on a late colectivo. The colectivo was late, so we got in at 12 or so. The next day I had a division with the other Zone leader, Eldr Passos. They came to help us in our area since we spend half the week helping other areas. Elder Passos is from Brazil, and there's a colony of Brazilians that lives just 9 km away from us, so we decided to go out there. It turns out they speak more Spanish than the Paraguayans here hahaha! We're going to try going out there one day a week now. Thursday we had a full day to work in our area. Friday we had interviews with President Evans, and Airton, one of the young men that spends all his time helping us, had his mission interview. He had one thing on his papers missing, but other than that he's good to go! During his interview, we asked Hermana Evans for a cleaning inspection. We got the full 5 stars once again! She told us that at the moment, we have the only 5 star house in the mission. I'm assuming she hasn't inspected all of the houses yet. After the inspection, we had our interviews then crammed into the back of their car with the assistants to go to Pedro Juan Caballero. We got dropped off around 7 pm at a district (stake) activity, a talent show. The moment we walked in the coordinator was pleading for acts. I gave the opening prayer, and we gave in and sang I Know That My Redeemer Lives with the Rama 1 sister missionaries and the sister training leaders.. One of the Hermanas sang the first verse in Portuguese, then I sang the second in English, then we all sang the fourth. A couple other people that didn't have their whole group asked for our help, but 9 pm rolled around so we got out of there. Saturday we had a zone conference about the Abrahamic Covenant and eternal marriage. We learned a ton about just how important our calling as missionaries is, and the importance of marriage. It was really useful though, because we have a pair of investigators right now that want to get baptized and married, but they are having a lot of problems between them. We learned about how its important to have patience, patience, and more patience, and even thinking about breaking up or divorce will RUIN the lives of the children. We were able to use some of the new insight while teaching our investigators, Luis and Fabiani, last night. Blessings always come after the trial of our faith. Sometimes with family, friends, or spouse we feel like we don't know what to do, that they don't care, or that they aren't the one for us after all, but that's all wrong. Satan is always there to twist things, and the fact that we're here on earth helps him. Please always remember that even though we have problems and all that now, there will be a time in the future when we will all be happy and we can be in the presence of God. There's no reason to be scared of death either, because we'll just be with God after this life. Anyways on with the week. After the conference we took a colectivo home. Yesterday, We were late to church because we went by an investigators house to walk with her to church. We got to Priesthood meeting and the branch president was teaching, So I thought to my self, yay I don't have to teach today! And then he promptly sat down and asked me to pick up where he left off. Oh well hahaha, I am used to teaching in church, since I have to teach for 2 hours. Elder Castro does get nailed almost every week to give a talk, and he co-teaches with me during Sunday school. The attendance was way higher than last week; we had 29 people come this week! We figured out that if we call the members the night before, they're more likely to come to church. Today we are in Pedro Juan for Pday, since we aren't allowed to use the computer in the church anymore. With that being said, to be able to send pictures, I need a converter piece or to borrow one from someone else, because the computers here are out of date, so I might be able to send a picture or 2 if I can get the converter from another missionary.

I want to share my testimony this week on the power of the priesthood. There is a family of less actives that we visit a lot, that all in all they have about 20 people that are members of the family. A lot of them were sick this week and last week, and we gave some of them blessings. They told us that directly after we gave them the blessings, they were healed. That's honestly something that we can't possibly fake, because we don't even know exactly what they have going on, but the Lord does. He knows each one of us by name, with our specific differences and problems. He is always there for us, we just need to turn to him! I hope y'all have a good week, and thanks for all the pictures! I love you all!
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1 With future Elder Villalba
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2 Walking up on stage to sing during the talent show
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3 Digging a well

Sorry my hour ran out! Have a good week!

Tuesday, May 23, 2017

Mon., 5/22/2017 (Yby Yau)

Well it´s been another super fast week! Sorry, I can´t send pictures this week We have been keeping busy this week, with a few bike repairs and a lot of rain. We´ll start at the beginning. Monday night I went with Elder Albornoz(from Bolivia) to a part of his area that took us over an hour to get to from their house, called Romero Cue. It´s a group, which means that where the people live there aren't many members. The area was first open to missionaries about a year or 2 ago. We found out this week that the mission is in the process of turning it into a branch, so that´s awesome! It´s great seeing the work of the Lord progressing. Tuesday we had district meeting, and then we spent the rest of the day on a division with PJC Rama 4B. I worked with Elder Godoy for the day. He is from Ciudad del Este, Paraguay, and came out on a mission about a year after his baptism. In the evening I went home to Yby yau, but not with Elder Castro. We had another division, and I got to spend Wednesday with Elder Richard from American Fork, Utah. His Spanish is better than mine, and we got along well. We had a really packed day. We started off visiting our investigators (and 4 recent converts), Fm Benitez. We got to where they lived, and THEIR HOUSE WAS GONE. Needless to say, we were a bit confused. I mean that their house was there last week and gone this week, with only holes in the ground to prove there had been a house there. We then went looking for a few old investigators and didn´t find any of them but we found some other new people to teach, including the son of a less active member and his girlfriend, who want to get baptized! To round it up, we had a lesson with Luis and Fabiani during the night. We taught them about the plan of salvation, and they agreed that everything we taught was true. We´ve taught them about 4 lessons, and they´ve read the scriptures every time we gave them something to read. We tried setting a baptismal date for them but they didn´t accept, because they said they aren´t ready just yet. They are really a cool family, so we´ll keep passing by to see how we can help them. We left their house and started up a big hill when there was a big snapping sound and my bike stopped. I´d broken my chain! Well we were about 5 km from home or so, in the middle of the dark (we were about 2 km from the nearest street lamp) in the pouring rain! We got a little walking in, and then got the idea to have one of us pedal on the other bike and push the other along. We did that for a while and then it was all downhill. It was honestly a fun experience. The next day Elder Castro came back, and we got back to work. Throughout the week Elder Castro ended up finding a total of 6 holes in his bike tires, 5 being in one of the tires so we ended up getting a replacement today. We had to spend a lot of the week walking, but ended up finding 12 new investigators, which surpassed our weekly goal. It´s always good to pass goals. We celebrated by eating some empanadas. Friday we had a service project helping build a house. To make the roof, we had to go to a field near the family´s house and pull up tall grass from the roots (3 or 4 ft tall) to make the roof. I learned a bit about the wheat and the tares during this service project. In the middle of the grass were other plants, including thorns. We were unable to distinguish which was which, and ended up cutting up our hands. I´d like everyone to pause a minute and think about your life for a minute. Do you have any habits that don´t seem so bad, but when you think about them are actually not the best thing to be doing? Stop now! Don´t cut your hands! It´s hard to do the laundry with cut up hands! I encourage yãll to look at what you can do to improve these small actions. All the little things count like bricks when building a house. If they´re all good, it works, but bad bricks can make a very unstable house. Sunday I only taught 1 class! I did have to give a talk though. It poured all day, and we started church with 6 people. A few minutes later, both counselors of the mission presidency showed up. We got some good counsel from them of what we need to do as missionaries to keep helping the branch. Today for Pday we went to pedro Juan as usual. We now have to go every week, because as missionaries we aren´t allowed access to the church´s computer any more, so we have to write in Pedro Juan where there are computers. That´s it for the week!

I´d like some input from everyone that reads this! In your emails, send me a sentence or 2 about how the gospel has caused you to be happier in your life! Thanks!

Have a good week everyone!
Mon., 5/15/2017 (Yby Yau)

Happy Mothers day! For anyone that`s from Paraguay, knows English and can read this, Happy Independence Day too! Turns out, today is actually Mothers' Day in Paraguay. We`ll get right down to the good stuff. This week started out with a combined district meeting on Tuesday, where we met the new zone and had introductions and went over new rules. There weren`t many new rules, and the ones the zone leaders announced were about limiting calling other missionaries and such. Elder Castro and I are already follow that so no problem there. After, we had a division with Elder Ollero again. As usual, we spent the day finding new people to teach. We had a great day of finding, then Elder Castro and I took a late colectivo home. The next couple of days til Friday were just the normal looking for new people to teach. We did have a little bit of frustration set in mid week as we continued to work, but have met a lot of dead ends with all our investigators in recent weeks. That frustration didn`t last long though, because we know that we are doing all we can, and the rest is up to the Lord. Friday I taught Elder Castro how to make French toast, and then Saturday is when things picked up a little. For the 3 or 4 months that I`ve been here, the young men have been pleading for us to go with them to Cerro Memby. We finally gave in, on the condition that they bring friends that aren`t members. It turns out that only the 2 sons of the branch president came, but they brought 3 friends, so we have 3 new people to teach. Cerro Memby is the big huge rock that we climbed a couple of weeks ago, but couldn`t get to the top. This time we figured out how, and it was one of the hardest things I`ve ever done. Most of the way is hard because it`s climbing up rock walls and is really steep, but the last part is about 12 meters straight up, with nothing on either side or beneath. There is one part where you have to climb up with your back against one rock wall and hands and feet on the other side, and get up. Steve and Davy would love it. Of the 8 people that went, only 4 of us made it up top. The view is spectacular. You can see for miles. We went about halfway back down and ate salami sandwiches, then drove (the branch president, his son, and us missionaries in his car, the others on moto) home. We had a couple good lessons with Fabiani and Luis, and also with Karen. All three are new investigators. Sunday I didn`t give a talk! But I did teach the other 2 hours hahaha. There were only 13 people in church, which is a bit sad, but with small class sizes it`s easier to teach what the people need during Sunday School. In the afternoon, we decided to go to the church an hour early for skype, because we really felt that we should. It`s a good thing we had that prompting because the technology we thought was going to work didn`t for the microphone. It took us more than an hour and a half to get the microphone working. We ended up using a classic microphone, hooking it up to a speaker, and then to the computer. We also had to hold the microphone to the microphone cord, because they were old. The skype went well- it was great to see Mom Dad, Steve and Davy and to hear Mike. We were going to play soccer today for Pday but it`s poured all day so that won`t work. After pday ends, the zone leaders have part of Pedro Juan and also a Group that's part of their branch that is an hour or 2 walking from pedro juan, and have appointments in both areas, so I`m going with Elder Albornoz to visit their Group, Romero Cue. Tomorrow and Wednesday we`ll be in divisions. That`s all from my week, have a good one! I love yall!
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1 Elder Castro climbing Cerro Memby. In this photo he had just gotten past the hard part. Due to the danger of the wall, we were unable to get a closer photo.
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2 We made it up on top!
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3 Presidente Cristino Centurion
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4 Beautiful view from Cerro Memby
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5 Yoyi Centurion, Pte Cristino, Elder Castro, Robert Centurion, and Robert`s friends Derlis, Alexis, and Dani. I hope I got the name order right hahaha.
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6 Elder Castro with a termite hill. They`re EVERYWHERE in Paraguay
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7 We got out of there right as the clouds moved in
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8 Termites!
Mon., 5/8/2017 (Yby Yau)

Well we have had an interesting week. Tuesday in District meeting we had to say goodbye to all of the missionaries that were going to leave. It was hard to see Elder Villacresses and Elder Andrango leaving, as well as the others. Elder Villacresses ended up as the new assistant! Elder Andrango ended up going to my first area, Juan de Salazar, my first area! We went back to Yby Yau and had a pretty uneventful rest of the semana. Our investigator, Fernando, was planning to get baptized in 2 weeks, but we went to talk to his grandparents about signing his form and they said no. We´ll have to keep working with them. We spent most of the week finding new people to teach. With the time, Elder Castro is improving drastically in his biking skills which is helpful because we can get so much more done! He is honestly a great example for me, because he never had experience with a bike and he went straight to mountain biking. That's a big change and he just went right in. He´s also not afraid to talk to anyone. Nobody really showed up to church this week... we had attendance of 12 including us ahhaha. That did however include 2 investigators. The highlight of the week, though happened at home. We took out some chicken (we bought in bulk, so it was actually 2 full chickens) and put it in a bowl of water to thaw, and put that on the table in the kitchen. We went into the bedroom for studies, and the door was closed. Our back door was closed, but not locked. Out back, there are 2 cats and a bunch of chickens wandering around. Well, we went into the kitchen 2 hours later and the chicken was GONE. The back door was open. We thought wee´d been robbed, but we walked to the back door and there was a cat, tearing apart the chicken on the ground. Elder Castro chased the cat away. We were content until we noticed there was only 1 of the 2 chickens accounted for. Turns out the other cat took the other chicken further into the backyard and was eating it behind a bush. Don't ask me how they got in but we ended up being a little short on chicken for the rest of the week. A few minutes after we thought it was pretty funny what had happened.

I have one quick spiritual note. When we pray (EVERY DAY, of course), God is listening. Like a dad here on earth, He is our father and wants to hear all we have to say. Our prayers are answered by the Holy Ghost. Many times we know things are true when we feel a good feeling in our hearts. If you want an answer to a prayer. Please look for what the Holy Ghost WHISPERS to your heart, and don´t wait for a big dream or theatrical angelic visitation, because for the vast majority of us, that doesn´t happen. Listen to the still small voice, and you´ll be able to realize he truth of all things. Thanks for all that all of you do, and I´m sorry I can't respond to every email. I´m trying but the computers are slow and the minutes are few. I will definitely read every email though, I take pictures of them. Thanks for the emails AND pictures, I love them all! It turns out a picture I had taken of my companion made it onto a church social media site (in spanish hahaha)! Random but kind of cool. His sister sent him an email with a screenshot. 
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1 Saying goodbye to Elder Andrango! He is now in my first area, Juan de Salazar! It´s kind of funny because his first area , Huguito, was right next to Juan de Salazar.
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2 Picture of the zone PJC
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3 Saying goodbye to Grandpa(Elder Villacresses was my second trainer´s trainer). We did a lot with the zone leaders here, and I had a couple of divisions with him. He also speaks better English than me(and some German too). He´s now the new assistant.
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4 All those little speckles between the camera and me are drops of water. NOTE: In Paraguay, the roof isn´t guaranteed to be waterproof...
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5 we got the camera working for skyping next week!
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6 the remains of a good chicken
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7 my scripture case for the Bible. On the front is the sermon on the mount, on the back is Jesus calling the apostles to be fishers of men
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8 my scripture case for the triplet. On the front is Captain Moroni, back is Lehi's vision

Seriously though, have a great week! I love y'all!

Sunday, May 7, 2017



Mon., 5/1/2017 (Yby Yau)

First off, they cut our email time down to 1 hour, including writing Pte Evans so I`ll have to make it short. Monday for Pday we went to Cerro Memby for pday, then in the evening made our way to Pedro Juan Caballero. Tuesday we had district meeting, in which I gave a lesson on contacting (tracting). We then had a division for the day, and I worked with Elder Ollero for the day. He is from Peru and likes divisions because we work super hard. We found a bunch of new people for his companion to teach. In the evening, I switched to be with Elder Torres for the next day in a full day division. We were in their area in Pedro Juan for the day, and continued looking for people to teach. Thursday I got back to working in my area. I forgot to mention that in 2 days the temperature dropped from about 30 Celcius to 6 or 7 Celcius. I don`t know exactly how that works out in Fahrenheit, but it`s a little cold here. The cable for power for our little air conditioning unit also melted, so we are without air conditioning. We are also without hot water for showering, but that didn`t matter because once again there was a water shortage all week. Thursday and Friday we went out and looked for new people to teach. Saturday we had the same, then cleaning the church and playing soccer with the youth. Nobody showed up but we found some people to play with us and hopefully they`ll let us teach them too. Sunday I didn`t give a talk in church! (but I did teach the classes the first 2 hours and Elder Castro gave a talk). We had a bit of a conflict, as we had scheduled a lesson with our investigator Fernando in the chapel at 4, bur forgot about that and also scheduled branch counsel(all the leaders, meaning us and the branch president) at the same time. Fernando rolled up on his Moto and we realized that we had to teach and skip the meeting. As a result they didn`t have their meeting, but another investigator, Francisco, came to the chapel with his family, who are recent converts, so they had interviews or something such with the Branch President. Fernando is a young man who is 16 years old, and has a couple of friends who are members. He likes singing the hymns, and works in the colectivo terminal in Yby yau. We always call him to know when there are colectivos that we can take, and invited him to church a week or 2 ago. He showed up, so we decided to start teaching him. He already knows a lot of what we have to teach, so hopefully he will progress and continue to learn! Sunday Last night we received the transfer news. The zone leaders were supposed to call at 9 but called around 10:45.. We were pretty worked up at that point, because everyone thinks Elder Villacresses will be the new assistant, and EVERY other area in the mission had received their news befo 9:30. Elder Castro kept calling them and the line was busy every time. It turns out we will be staying together in the jungle another 6 weeks together. Fun stuff. Today we played soccer with a lot of the Zone, then went to an all you can eat buffet. For my skype call for Mothers' Day, I really have no idea when I will be able to, as Yby yau does not have skype capabilities. I`m sorry but y'all will have to be ready whenever because I haven`t got clue how to skype. The elders used to got to Horqueta to do it but Horqueta is out of our zone so we can`t. I hope you all had and will have a great week! We`re just plugging along down here in Paraguay. The work that we do here is so important, because it`s the salvation of lives! And we aren`t talking lifeguarding, we`re talking for all eternity!ª
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1 Ending the division with Elder Torres with 1 mil(20 cents) hot dogs
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2 The sunset didn`t make it in the picture but it was pretty cool
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3 We ran out of gas for the stove so we cooked with some charcoal we had in the house. I taught Elder Castro how to make burgers
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4 And we found some ugly ties in the house so I burned a tie for 6 months in the mission(a little late but oh well)
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5 We discovered a couple of Papaya trees in the backyard so I climbed them and we made some juice.
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6 the completed burgers
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7 burning my tie
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8 I also taught Elder Castro how to repair bike tires, because his tire had a hole

Thanks for all of your prayers and support and all. Have a good week!