Wednesday, June 20, 2012

To Be a Light to Others, You Have to Glow Yourself

Dearest family and friends,

First of all, HAPPY FATHERS DAY DAD!  I have always been thankful to have such a wonderful father, but this year I am particularly aware of just how big a blessing a good father is. Righteous men are so rare in the world! There are so few famillies here with good fathers. We were at a member´s home this week when the granddaughter was leaving for school where they were going to have a father´s day activity. Both her father and grandfather have left their wives, and so she had no one to go with. It was a very sad conversation to hear. 

But the sad thing is most children here don´t have dads in their lives. And even if they do they are usually not the God-fearing, providing, loving dads like mine. And even if they are those things, they don´t do things like watch their six grandchildren single-handidly (and clean up potty training accidents) so their daughter and wife can go to the temple, or spend their father´s day driving to Phoenix to pick up their son, and spend all their free time landscaping the yard and write their missionary daughter every week. 
Yesterday we were blessed to have a delicious, big fathers day lunch with a member family. I have to admit I was a little homesick. I thought of how last Father´s day I was in Tanzania and I called home for a few minutes (sorry I have been in the opposite hemisphere lately and can never wish you happy fathers day in person!) and I still remember how you said, "I love you too, my little UN delegate!" and I thought of how very supportive you have been in every desire I have had. From Missoula children´s theater to a milk parlor to a mission....from track meets to Tanzania. And how, just like our Heavenly Father you never give up on any of your children, or the people in the Sedona Ward. I don´t think I really comprehend the sacrifices and what it has required of you to be such a great dad. 

There may not be many righteous men in the world, but I am so blessed to be the daughter of The Cream of the Crop. I hope I can manage to marry such a gem as mom did. I love you dad! You are one of the biggest blessings I will have. I wouldn´t be who I am without you, and certainly wouldn´t be on a mission. 

You may have already noticed there are no baptism pictures attatched to this email. But never fear, they should be here next week! The Meza family is so prepared to be baptized, but Juan Angel, the dad, is still having trouble smoking. Steve (this one really great MTC teacher I know) invited me last week to have a deeper vision for my investigators. To write down how they are today, and then write down how they could be with the gospel. Not only how their lives would change and the blessings they would have throughout their lives, but to go even deeper. To think of how one day they will meet God cara a cara (face to face). How will they feel when they see him? Anyway, my companion and I talked about this for Juan Angel. Tuesday morning we had a visit with him and his member friend. We only know that he has been smoking because his member friend, Alex, told us. Anyway, we talked about the vision we have for Juan Angel. It was a very spiritual lesson for me. He ended up bringing up smoking on his own, finally. He realized that he can lie to his friends, to his family, and to us....but he cannot lie to God. We wrote down some commitments for him: to stop smoking, to read the BOM and pray every day, and to be baptized on June 23rd. The next night we taught his family and with a beaming face he said to us, "Today I kept my commitments!" Oh I was SO happy. He emphasized to us and his children that we can lie to other people, but we cannot lie to God. That really seems to strengthen him.

I invite all of you who are reading this to the same thing for yourself--deepen your vision of your future.  Think of how you will feel when you see God. Maybe play the song "I can Only Imagine" by Mercy Me and think about what you have done in your life. When we see Him, earthly things will slip right through our hands (Helaman 13:33), leaving just our lives and our hearts to show what we have done, what we have become. The gospel is such a blessing for us to find happiness and peace in this life, but it is also the great test and determines how we spend eternity. Thank you, mom and dad, for caring more about children than money. Thank you for having your priorities straight in a world that almost never does.

Yesterday we had four investigators in church! Herminia and her two kids, and her sister Miguela came for all three hours! Usually our investigators only stay for one hour. Herminia is a sweet, beautiful young mom whose husband works in the chaco. She moved here recently and we clapped her house one day, actually looking for a less active member. But she said she had shared with sister missionaries before in her old town, and she always saw us walking by and wondered when we would stop at her house. Music to our ears! God truly leads you, even if you don´t realize you´re being led. Anyway, I mention her because I think she´ll probably get baptized in July. Very excited for her. She always has lots of great questions. 

I am learning what a difference a smile makes. Sometimes when we approach people they just have this attitude of, "Oh great, another missionary trying to save me. What can I say to make them go away?" But if you smile and cheerfully ask them about themselves, their whole expression changes. When I am just contacting to get 75 contacts that week and forget to view people as children of God who need the gospel, I notice a difference in their reaction. People truly don´t care about how much you know until they know how much you care. 

Everyone and their dog in Concepcion is sick right now. Not joking. Every family has someone sick. It really hinders church attendance, makes it hard to get members to make visits with us, etc. I realize how our physical health affects our spirituality, which makes me love my major more. Public health is definitely needed in Paraguay. But, even though we visit a lot of sick people we are both very healthy. Major blessing. 

I thought that by my second month in Paraguay I would be a lot better at the language than I am. I am feeling a little discouraged about my abilities, really. I can say what I need to say usually and am working a lot on using proper grammar better, but I just don´t understand some people. Some are easier to understand than others. But, please pray for me that I can understand better. It is hard to help people if you can´t listen to them and assess their needs. Listening and understanding is the majority of my job!

Thank you for the politics update, dad. Keep it coming! GOOO MITT! 

Also, Paulette emailed me about her and Levi! I emailed her back. I am very excited and proud of them!

Also, are you able to attatch my photos to my blog? That would be great if you can. 

I am so thankful for the love and the mercy and help of our loving Heavenly Father. I might not have been able to call dad on Fathers Day, but I called my Heavenly Father quite a bit. He is a marvelous parent, who knows us individually and wants to bless us. We just need to go to Him. 

Your Sister Missionary with 66 mosquito bites (and remember how my first week I thought 23 was bad? hahahaha),
Hermana Goimarac

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