Monday, July 24, 2017

Mon., 7/17/2017 (Yby Yau)

What a week! About 2 days ago it was sunny and about 90 or so F, but its now in the 30s or so F with the first rain that we've had in a month or so. That's what the weather is like here in a nutshell. The week was a really good one; we didn't spend all day every day contacting, and had a lot of investigators progress. I don`t have too much time, and I wrote a lot with the pictures, so I'll have to go quickly. Most of the week was pretty normal. Tuesday we had district meeting, and Airton was there because we have to have a member. Thursday I had a division with Elder Passos in his area, including a couple of colectivos early and late at night, resulting in a slight lack of sleep. We visited one of his cousins, Luichi, who along with his son Diego really wants to get baptized. We also met a couple other people that want to get baptized, and Fernando is getting ready to get baptized this week! Saturday we went out into the middle of nowhere to visit the Familia Caceres, an older couple who are really strong members but live really far from the church. About 10 or 15 years ago they had church meetings in their house, but now all their neighbors who were members moved so they come to Yby yau every once in a while for church. Sundays we normally have about 20 or 25 people in church, but we got up early to go bring people to church. Together with the hermanas we had about 9 investigators in church, which is a TON. They were also all really cool investigators. The difference between good investigators and normal people, is that they ACT! They ACT by READING scriptures, PRAYING and going to CHURCH. We, as members of the church, should probably set the example and do those things, don't you think? Try to do all 3, all week! Have a good week everyone!

[DEAR BLOGGER READERS:  I--ELDER OLSON'S MOTHER--AM SUDDENLY HAVING DIFFICULTY COPYING AND PASTING HIS PICTURES INTO HIS BLOG.  WHEN I FIGURE OUT THAT I'M DOING WRONG, I'LL ADD THE PICTURES.  SORRY!]

1 With all the kids in Fm Fernandez. Dario, the little guy in the middle (10 years old), wants to get baptized in about a month, so stay tuned!

2 Fernando (also 10 years old) is planning to get baptized this week so also stay tuned! His mom is a member but hadn't been to church in 8 years or so until the Branch President asked us to visit her! The power of giving references to the missionaries!

3 Elder Passos discovered hamburgers with BACON in Pedro Juan and we had to check it out to finish off our division.

4 In the colectivo on the way home to Yby yau

5 the inside of a nice colectivo looks like this

6 we went out a few kilometers to visit a reference from the branch President's son, Robert

7 the bridge wasn't big enough for my bike and I at the same time

8 Since we were out there we decided to so see a pretty cool stream

9 Yby yau is at km 109. As a side note, my bike helmet is one of the original helmets that the missionaries used when they first opened up the area in the year 2000(17 years) and if the bikes were in another area before, my helmet might be older than me. Airton's bike is also one of the bikes they had here in 2000. I'm not exactly sure how it still works, but it does and we aren't going to ask questions hahaha

10 Whenever I talk about empedrado, this is what it looks like.

11 Airton's bike doesn't actually work going uphill

12 We went to visit Brother an Sister Caceres, who really want to go to church but live a little far from church, and he's 83 and she's 76. They do come about once every other month. That's what I call dedication

13 A little far as in 30 km away!

14 We made it (sadly that's a little out of range on the bikes as it would take half the day). Good thing Pte Cristino got a car!

15 We have had a lot of sand in the wind recently. If you look close, you should be able to see it.

16 We ate out at a restaurant the other day. As you may be thinking right now, Airton is with us every day all day!


Mon., 7/24/2017 (Yby Yau w/transfers tomorrow!)

Well it has been a jam packed week and we had changes. I will be leaving Yby Yau which is hard but I know the Lord will put me where I need to be. There isn't an abundance of time so I'll get right to it. This last pday we cooked marinera (kind of like fried chicken) with Airton, then did nothing until 6. It was freezing cold, and in the night went below freezing for the first time in years here.

Tuesday we spent all day helping the Fm Fernandez move. They lived in a pretty rough area so they moved to the other side of the neighborhood, about a half km away. They have the heaviest bed frames I've ever lifted! hahaha. That night we had a cookout with our investigator Luis. His wife doesn't like the church or something so she didn't want him to get baptized. He almost got baptized 5 years ago or so, but never got permission. We saw his record in the area book and decided to visit him. He's awesome, honestly the nicest person I know. He really wants to get baptized, but his wife who lives in Spain right now said no and he didn't know what to do because she was pretty set against him getting baptized. We felt prompted to teach about fasting in the first lesson, and explained that it's normally the first Sunday of the month but whichever Sunday works. Well turns out, he wanted to fast Tuesday until Wednesday so he cooked up some pork and some chicken sausage (which is actually really good) and we went over to eat then start our fast together with him (and Airton). Wednesday we went back to finish the fast with more sausage (they really like their meat here). We taught Luis that fasting is one of the most powerful forces that we can have because it's calling down help from God. Friday we went by to have a lesson, and Luis was super excited. He told us that he got a call from his wife at 4 in the morning asking directly if he wanted to be baptized. He said yes because he really does and she said he had her permission! He hadn't even told her yet that we stopped by to visit him or anything. This experience strengthened my testimony of fasting. I rarely fasted before my mission, but now I've got a lot of faith in the fact that it works. Friday we cleaned the baptismal font, and got it all filled up. We had a few complications with the water, but it all worked out in the end. Fernando got baptized and it was awesome; To Mom's joy, I did end up singing a musical number with the Hermana missionaries (When I am Baptized form the Children's Songbook) and Elder Cartagena got to baptize Fernando. It was a great moment. S

Sunday we had attendance of 46 PEOPLE at church!!! That's a little bit higher than the 11 or 12 we used to have! That night we did receive the news that I will be leaving Yby Yau. I didn't even start packing my bags because I didn't want to leave, Elder Cartagena didn't want me to leave, and honestly nobody did! In Yby yau they're used to having missionaries for a long time, and after 6 months it's hard to say goodbye! Especially with Pt Cristino and Airton. It has been an awesome and humbling experience to be in Yby yau with the people here, and they're honestly like a family to me here. Thank you all for the emails and have a great week! I'll be writing from a new area next week, so watch out for that!

[DEAR BLOGGER READERS:  I--ELDER OLSON'S MOTHER--AM SUDDENLY HAVING DIFFICULTY COPYING AND PASTING HIS PICTURES INTO HIS BLOG.  WHEN I FIGURE OUT THAT I'M DOING WRONG, I'LL ADD THE PICTURES.  SORRY!]

1 WE didn't do anything for Pday last week; just relaxed. This is Nielson, the younger brother of Airton
2 Airton's mom has started cooking for us every couple of days! It's nice to not have to cook everything once in a while. Imagine hush puppies that are sweet: pretty good stuff.
3 Back at it in the cold
4 We helped our investogator/lessactive family build and move their house


5 Moving Fm Fernandez. By the way, there is no such thing as a moving truck here. We moved everything manually about a half km up a hill to the new house
6 It was so cold we had our cookout with our investogator Luis inside
7 Luis is on the left, his friend Leo on the right. Paraguayan cookouts include meat, other type of meat, other type of meat, and a little bit of bread and mandioca on the side.
8 Cleaning the pila bautismal(baptismal font/pool)


9 Daniel gave a talk for the baptism, and did a great job!
10 Fernando's baptism!
11 With his mom, Lucia, and his sister Miriam
12 Happy as can be
13 with everyone that came early for the baptism
14 With my amigo Derlis
15 Empanadas are a big thing here so we tried making them
16 Not gonna lie, Elder Cartagena and I make some pretty good empanadas


17 y 18 the empanadas in process
19 Airton got a flat tire and we didn't have time so we had to leave the bikes at home
20 With Airton and his mom. They're an awesome family. Airton is our translator, Nielson is one of the hermanas translators, and their mom, Elva cleans our clothes (and now feeds us a ton)



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!
Displaying DSCN7202[1].JPG
1 Elder Entze and I celebrated the 4th of July
Displaying DSCN7203[1].JPG
2 and later again with the Americans in the zone
Displaying DSCN7217[1].JPG
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
Displaying DSCN7216[1].JPG
4 Merica
Displaying DSCN7199[1].JPG
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
Displaying DSCN7222[1].JPG
6 I mashed potatoes with a cup. Its actually very effective.
Displaying DSCN7229[1].JPG
7 You can't forget the salad!
Displaying DSCN7232[1].JPG
8 Finished product: T-bone steaks, garlic mashed potatoes, and salad
Displaying DSCN7234[1].JPG
9 Yet again I got to see my grandpa, Elder Villacresses
Displaying DSCN7235[1].JPG
10 Our first and probably last time taking a picture at a normal LDS chapel
Displaying DSCN7245[1].JPG
11 We got up early to watch the sunrise from Cerro Memby for Pday
Displaying DSCN7255[1].JPG
12 Cerro Memby is about 11 km from our house. Airton also came
Displaying DSCN7265[1].JPG
13 Cerro Memby
Displaying DSCN7260[1].JPG
14 We had to hide the bikes in the grass for the day... good thing even the trail is difficult to see
Displaying DSCN7270[1].JPG
15 We made it!
Displaying DSCN7275[1].JPG
16 We beat the sun
Displaying DSCN7278[1].JPG
17 sunrise
Displaying DSCN7308[1].JPG
18 12 meters of climbing required to take the fastest route to the top. As you may have thought, we avoided it
Displaying DSCN7328[1].JPG
19 The sun!
Displaying DSCN7342[1].JPG
20 Well there you have it!
Displaying DSCN7373[1].JPG
21 We showed the Hermana Leaders how to get up there too
Displaying DSCN7379[1].JPG
22 District Yby Yau
Displaying DSCN7412[1].JPG
23 see 22
Displaying DSCN7374[1].JPG
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!
Displaying DSCN7144[1].JPG
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!
Displaying DSCN7152[1].JPG
2 Helping Fernando's mom make Empanadas with Airton
Displaying DSCN7147[1].JPG
3 Elder Cartagena found out from hard experience that paraguayan rolling pins can be dangerous hahaha
Displaying DSCN7153[1].JPG
4 Empanada shells are fun to make
Displaying DSCN7156[1].JPG
5 Airton's mom made us Paraguayan tortillas! They're about half oil but taste really good!
Displaying DSCN7157[1].JPG
6 Paraguayan bus stop
Displaying DSCN7161[1].JPG
7 biking up 2 km hills right after lunch, in 35 celcuis weather is not the best idea
Displaying DSCN7167[1].JPG
8 Cleaning crew
Displaying DSCN7171[1].JPG
9 on the way to district leader meeting
Displaying DSCN7172[1].JPG
10 Got to see Elder Brower again
Displaying 100_1337.JPG
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!