Monday, June 4, 2012

It is Far More Blessed to Give than to Receive

Buenos dias mis amigos y familia!

Usualmente pienso mucho durante la semana de que quiero escribir en mi email, pero, oh....sorry I didn`t realize..ok, I am going to switch to English for you. Anyway, this week I didn`t think much at all about what I wanted to write home about because time just flew! 

Dad! What an awesome canoe trip you had! You are going to be just like Brother Beus when you`re 80, too. :) That sounds very tiring, but fun, and scary when the canoe fell off the car. Since you`ve recently been in 110 degree weather, now you know how I feel all the time in Paraguay...except add 100% humidity to that. Haha, no, it`s not too bad.

Mom, I never said congrats on your 98% on your Spanish final! It`s weird that you`re emailing me about your test scores when I used to email you about mine. How is the Sunbeam calling? You sure do a lot of things with children and helping them learn, considering all your own children are over 18 now. 

Today it was actually not hot for the first time! It was rainy all day and almost a little cold. This may finally be the end to the Perpetual Ponytail! It`s been so hot that I can`t bear to wear my hair down. But it appears winter is setting in, thank goodness!

I also figured out why they don`t have peanut butter here. It`s because they use dulce de leche on everything, and have it on hand all the time like we would have peanut butter on hand. A sister in the branch gave me a spoonfull the other day and I think I fell in love a little. Today as a p-day activity our district made a bunch of empanadas at the church. Good old saturated fat. :) We took some great pictures, but I forgot to bring my camera cord to the internet place, so you`ll have to wait until next week. 

This week we had some incredible teaching moments (more than I have time to type, but here`s two), both incredibly wonderful and incredibly hard:

Our ward mission leader had a reference for us, the Ojeda family. He said they are already Mormons but just don`t know it yet. I don`t know why he said that, but we went and we found out they are very active in the Catholic church. But they wanted to listen to us, and we asked if we could just explain our beliefs. We taught the Restoration very clearly and used the Bible a lot and testified. I thought it went very well. Then the husband said how they admire us so much, they think we are just doing a very beautiful thing and are very impressed, but they are very Catholic. He said they don`t believe in prophets today because prophets in the past were just there to prophesy of Christ`s coming, and then Christ came, so they aren`t needed anymore. He doesn`t believe Christ will come again. Once was enough. Anyway, it was a very polite rejection. Then the next three people we contacted after leaving their house all told us we were welcome to come share with them, but warned us they are very Catholic, "We have our religion." People just are not open to change. It`s hard. If I didn`t have a testimony that God has people here prepared for us, I would be discouraged. 

But along with this, this morning Hermana Springer and I were just talking about things we had learned about during our personal study. She was talking of the Restoration and how whether we believe it or not doesn`t change that it happened. And I just felt the Spirit testify to me again that Joseph Smith really did see the Father and Jesus Christ. It is knowledge that we don`t have to believe from anyone, we can learn it directly from God, and in fact that is the only way we can know it. How it hurts to see people shut their eyes and deny something without first experimenting upon the word, and just praying to know if it is true. What have they got to lose? Tradition, I guess. 

But our good teaching moment was with the Meza family! They are progressing so well and it makes my heart sing everytime we visit them and they bring out their Book of Mormons and show us what they read. Last week we had a lesson I will never forget. I don`t even remember what we taught, I just remember that after the lesson Hna. Springer and I bore our testimonies, and then we were talking and the husband and wife told us how they are so much happier with this knowledge of the gospel in their life. How before, Juan Angel had been drinking a lot and the family was very unhappy and torn. But now their family is more united. They said they know this is the right church. As we all shared how the gospel has changed our life, the Spirit filled that little kitchen. I wanted to cry. I wanted to hug them. I thought of how worthwhile every thing has been just to see them learn the gospel. They have 6 daughters, and the two youngest just love our visits. They are learning to pray and at the end of every lesson we kneel with their family and the little girls always want to give the closing prayer. They call us Hermana S and Hermana G because our names are hard to pronounce. :) 

They are very ready for baptism, and we are hoping they get baptized in June, but they don`t feel like they understand enough, and want to wait. So we shall see. We asked them to pray about it to know if it is right to get baptized this month. 

Today is June 4th, the day I was scheduled to leave the MTC if I had stayed the normal 9 weeks. I am so thankful I`ve been here a whole transfer and gotten to know the precious investigators we have. 

If Concepcion, Paraguay has a Wickipedia page, I`m sure that May 31st is on it. It is the BIGGEST deal, bigger than Christmas. It is the day Concepcion became a city and they have a big parade that is televised and everything. We went to see it a little bit during our lunch hour, thinking we could contact a bunch (and to get some authentic Paraguay food). But no one really wanted to talk about the gospel, just about how pretty we are and how we`re from the U.S. 

Thank you for the emails. For you, it is just an email. For me, it is a huge animo booster and my once-a-week connection to my past life. Your support and just thinking of me mean soooo much.

I love you with all my heart! We are so blessed to have the gospel in our lives! Between living in the U.S. and having the gospel, we are truly the richest people in the world. 

Love your sister missionary,
Hermana Faith Goimarac

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