Tuesday, May 22, 2012

Muy Agradecia

Hola Famlilia.

It was a little sad to come print emails this morning, with high hopes of hearing all kinds of things from several people, only to have one email. Thank you, dad, for being so faithful. :) Without you I would have had nothing. You´d think with 7 siblings (and what...3 boyfriends? haha jk) I would get more communication. But then when we came back his afternoon to write emails I got your letter mom. Thank you! I´ll have to print it and read it after I am done as I only have a bit to type this. If you could send them before 7 a.m. on Monday your time, that would be perf!

By the way, this is the blog of my companion, if you feel so inclined to read her letters, too: 

Ahhhh.....me encanta la obra misional (I love missionary work). Si o si. I´m feeling very, very grateful today, so this email is going to take the form of a grateful list, as I am quite fond of those. 

1) I am mostly grateful for the Atonement. You are probably thinking "What a typical missionary email for her to type that." But it is true. Without it there would be no gospel to preach, there would be no hope for any of us. I read a phenomenal talk in the  April Liahona by Elder Bednar called the Atonement and our Journey Through Mortality or something like that. It talks of the enabling power of the Atonement, how we can be strengthened to deal with our problems instead of our problems just being taken away. Also, seeing all of the suffering here just breaks my heart. But I am reminded of perhaps one of my favorite lines in Preach my Gospel that says, "Everything that is unfair about life will be made right through the Atonement of Jesus Christ." We don´t understand it but we can use it. Oh how sweet the gospel is!

2) I am grateful for parents who have always walked the talk. They didn´t tell me what to and what not to do and then live differently. If only everyone had such examples to live by! It was Mothers' Day here in Paraguay on Tuesday, so there was no work or school and everyone was outside their house...drinking. Everyone was carrying loads of beer around and every man had a can in his hand. It was sickening. That´s the only way they know how to celebrate around here, though. Anyway, I´m sure the parents all tell their kids, "Don´t drink,¨but everyone was drinking, so of course the kids are going to. There was even a baby I saw with a beer can in her hands. I felt like Alma in Alma 31:30...the wickedness pains my soul. It just hurts me so bad to see alcohol ruining this country. 

3. I am grateful to have citizenship in a country where you don´t have to wash ants off the counter before you cook, where there are noise ordinances to prevent super loud advertisements and music from blaring all over town all day, and where there is a bigger selection of food other than soda, meat, and white bread. 

4) I am so grateful for the vision the gospel gives me. Without it, after a hard day (when, say, all of your planned visits are not home or only 1 out of the 7 people who said they would go to church actually goes) a missionary would be tempted to zip up her triple combination and hand in her article of faith cards and go home if it were not for her VISION! But with the vision of the gospel, I know every sweaty, hot day is worth it. I KNOW the message we have is what people need, whether they know it or not. I KNOW what we know is the truth. Without vision, the people perish. I am so thankful for the vision we all have: that this life is just a small part of the real, big picture.

5) I am grateful it is almost May 31. May 31 is the city´s birthday, and they are having a big desfile (parade) and I swear every school from miles around has a marching band playing in that parade, and they all practice on OUR street every. single. day. So loud. Can´t wait for them to perform already. haha

6) I am so thankful for everyone´s prayers. I can feel them. They are being answered! Thank you so much.

7) I am so thankful for my companion. She is the best. She saves me from being lost in the confusing grid system of Concepcion, and she saves me from being lost in lessons. The other night we were teaching the plan of salvation, and I was explaining our earth life. Our investigator kept saying how there are so many temptations in this life, so I asked him, "Porque hay tentaciones? Why are there temptations?" But apparently he thought I was asking him WHAT are your temptations. But he is very hard for me to understand. He started saying how he was having feelings for another woman when he is married, and on and on about his temptations....and there I was just smiling and saying, "si, si." Oh man. 

8) I am thankful for Steve. For many reasons, but this week one thing I´ve been grateful to him for is his love for Elder Holland and how he gave me a stack of talks on CD by Elder Holland. I have been playing them in the mornings while I work out or make breakfast, and they have been such a strength to me. I am taken from my little missionary apartment to the roads of Jerusalem or the cell of Liberty Jail while I am reminded that trouble has no necessary connection with discouragement, that it is in times of anguish that we learn our most profound lessons, that "Conquer we must and conquer we shall!" I´m reminded of so many truths that sometimes you don´t think about when you are teaching the first principles of the gospel day in and day out. Thank you Steve. :) You prepared me so well for my mission and just by being you I´m inspired to be better. 

9) I am thankful that I´m still not sick. I have had to eat questionable meat and drink the water, and I have more mosquito bites than I can count (don´t ask me how they get me, mom!). But I am feeling as healthy as a horse. Quite a miracle, if you ask me. 

10) I am grateful for what the mission is making of me. Before my mission, all I talked about was my mission. But now, as Hna Springer and I walk around between appointments all day we talk about the kind of people we want to be after our missions, our future families, etc. I realize that a mission is the MTC for life. Before I justified that I didn´t do much missionary work in my daily life by thinking, "I´ll just do missionary work when I´m a missionary." But now I think of how much more effective I would be if I was somebody´s friend who invited them to church or had a gospel conversation. I realize the power of member missionary work more than ever before. Before, I thought that if I shared the gospel with my friends they wouldn´t want to be my friends any more. But I know that is not true! We have nothing to lose by sharing the gospel. It is truly our biggest responsibility to teach God´s children the truth---through our famililes, church callings, and with everyone we know.  I hope I can remember this and be a bold missionary my whole life, constantly inviting my friends.

11) I am soooo grateful to have the opportunity to do what I´ve always wanted to do. This week we taught the Meza family a few times. Here I was, sitting on a little wooden chair in a tiny, dirty, dark kitchen with a Paraguayan mom and dad and 5 daughters, testifying of how the gospel has brought me so much understanding and happiness, how the commandments have blessed my life and will bless theirs, too. Teaching them that the truth of Jesus Christ has been restored to the earth by a loving Heavenly Father!  They all listen intently. They have each learned how to pray and taken turns praying at the end of lessons. They came to church for the second time in a row (which is saying A LOT because everyone tells us they will go to church and almost no one does). We are having an FHE with them tonight with a member family who has children their age, and another investigator (Carlos) and his 9 year old daughter Guadelupe (who adores us like no one ever before and somehow got our phone number and calls us all the time, so cute). We'll be teaching about how faith is like a little seed, and I made "Semilla de Fe BINGO!" and brownies. (Seed of Faith bingo) Oh so excited. 

12) I am grateful for the lessons that I am learning from the people. I have learned that cars are overrated. Everyone drives motos. So now, I kind of really want a scooter when I go back to BYU. You think it´s a problem that you can´t give peope rides? The people of Concepcion have taught me that it´s easy to stack 4 or 5 people on. And helmets must be overrated, too, because I haven´t seen one yet. Ha. We were teaching a family with 10 kids this week, and they said they would come to church. They live pretty far from the church though, so I asked if they had a moto. They said they did, and that they also have a horse and cart. Just imagine the horse and cart parked outside the chapel. Ha. But they didn´t come to church anyway, surprise surprise. 

I was reading the Bible Dictionary about Faith, and wondered if someone could get me some lectures on faith to read or listen to? Also, on my computer I have a file called Patriarchal Blessing that has my PB typed on it. Could you forward that to me to print? I forgot to bring it. It might be in a file titled Personal things or something. 

I love you all so much! I know the gospel is true with every fiber of my being. 

And um....WRITE ME. :) (....Hope!)

Your Sister Missionary,
Hermana Faith Goimarac

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