First of all, happy anniversary mom and dad! I was thinking of you on September 7th. I am so thankful for the great decision you made that day 35 years ago. :) It sounds like you had a lot of fun with Carrie and the kids. Thank you for the pics!
Yes, I am still playing piano for the branch. I even taught a little piano lesson to a sister in the branch, but realized it will take a long time for her to get to the point where she can play for church....but I enjoy playing as long as they don`t mind an imperfect pianist. I wish I had time to practice but there`s no way. Piribebuy is ON FIRE and we are so extremely busy. Even my journal entries have been getting shorter and shorter just because there is no TIME! I fall asleep in seconds every night from exhaustion. But I wouldn`t have it any other way.
Last Sunday we fasted to find 10 new investigators (to be a new they have to say they will be baptized once they get an answer the church is true). God answers fasts and prayers. We got 10 news this week.
Thank you for praying for Mariam, mom. She told us on Saturday that they have almost all the money saved up to get married and that as soon as she has it all she is giving the money to us missionaries to keep safe for her. :) Wedding on September 22nd! Yippeee!! Also, Celzo, the dad of the 10 kids is getting baptized on Saturday. Such a great family. They live farther away from anyone and yet are one of the more faithful in coming to church every Sunday.
We also have an eternigator...an investigator who has been learning about the church on and off for 7 years. His name is Santiago (and he has a member friend named Juan and we often teach with both Santiago and Juan, and wonder "Where is Pedro??" hahaha) and he should be getting baptized in two weeks, por fin. And Nelson...didn`t come to church on Sunday but he is making progress. He changed his phone number to avoid his girlfriend who is making fun of him for investigating the church, which must be rough. We were walking home with him one night from a really lejos (far) area for like an hour, and he asked us if he has to give up women to get baptized. We explained the law of chastity and how we believe in having ONE woman, to whom you are married, and he about freaked out. He couldn`t believe it. He said he used to believe it was possible to have just one girlfriend or wife, but now he doesn`t. It just doesn`t work like that in Paraguay. He gave up drinking and smoking a year ago, but he said this chastity thing is going to be the hardest thing by far. So pray that he can have the strength to change in this area of his life. He truly seems to want to change. But change is hard.
Speaking of which, I have learned much about sacrifice this week in my own life. During personal study I was praying about whether it was necessary to give up a certain something, and still felt like I didn`t have a clear answer. We began companionship study by singing Give Said the Little Stream in Spanish (we`re on a primary song kick right now.). The third verse of the song is so much better in Spanish than English. But translated it basically says, "Give, then, as Jesus gave. Give oh give, give oh give. Give then, as Jesus gave, everyone can give something. He gives us sustaining happiness. Children, let`s give today, too." The words filled me with the spirit. Everyone can give something more to God, even a missionary who has given up almost everything already. I know that sacrifice brings forth the blessings of heaven. It is rough...but consecrating more of my mind and heart to the work is what I need to do. It takes a lot of faith to believe that I will be happier for it and not just be sad...but it is a leap of faith I know will pay off for everyone involved. Whosover will lose his life for Christ`s sake shall find it.
I know Christ lives and this is His church. It changes people. I certainly hope it changes me. Every day I am more aware of my weaknesses and shortcomings and it can be discouraging to realize how far I have to go. But I am so thankful for His grace which is so encouraging and His love which is so motivating.
Your Sister Missionary,