Dearest, dearest family,
To sit down and write to you just fills my heart. It makes me think about what I`m doing from an outsider`s perspective, which makes me realize that I wouldn`t rather be doing anything else right now. I don`t always keep that in mind. But I am going to try a lot harder. I want to cherish every minute of the next 13 months I have (I turn 5 months old as a missionary tomorrow, can you believe it? I realize you`ve been counting the days, Steve, but I haven`t....haha).
The photos are of me and Hermana Greer making chipa today and of our district right before transfers this week.
Yesterday we had SEVEN investigators in church! Do you know how happy that makes me?? Nelson, our golden investigator, came for the second time even though he has to walk about an hour to church. He asked if we can teach him in a park or somewhere besides his house because his family doesn`t want him to talk with us. And then Mariam and her four little boys came. She is one of the most impressive investigators in my short mission history. We taught her fasting on Friday and agreed we would all fast together so she could have the money to get married (she wants to and her husband is willing, but they just don`t have the money, even though the church is paying half) then visited her Saturday night and she said she fasted two meals after we taught her and was about to start fasting again for Sunday. We told her she only has to fast once a month, and she understood that, but she said she just really wanted this blessing from God. I love her family already so much and have such high hopes for her. I`m praying and fasting my heart out they can get married this month so she and her 9 year old son can get baptized, and then her husband shortly afterward, I hope. He just needs to get to church. I love the thought of putting families together through important covenants like marriage and baptism.
Speaking of baptism, here`s a little update from Concepcion, my last area. I called Hermana Quispe last night and she is training a brand new sister from Utah! Poor Hna Quispe, doesn`t understand any english and now she`s with another american who doesn`t speak spanish too well. Anyway, she said Juan Angel Meza and Nila (another of their daughters) have a baptsmal date after they all fasted as a family for him to stop smoking. And little Mercedes Meza turned 8 yesterday and is going to get baptized with them on the 15th. Hearing that filled me with joy. I`m pretty sure one of these days I`m going to physically pop and I`ll never see any of you again because I died....from popping with joy. That would be sad.
One thing I have learned from the people here is that if there is a will, there is a way. And if there is no will, there is NO way. When we invite people to church they often say, "If God permits," or "I will do everything possible to get to church." Of course, that always means they don`t come. But then there are others who walk for miles with four children or people like Juan Leon, an old Guarani-speaking man who doesn`t seem to understand a word we say but has come to church 4 times making great sacrifices.
I am really pressed for time today, we traveled to Tobati to make chipa with the elders, so I haven`t been able to read your emails first, but I noticed you sent me another political update, dad, and I thank you for that. I can`t click on links to go to other websites ( I could...but I`m going to be obedient, so I won`t), though. So an update in your own words is always best. I wish I could vote for Mitt while I`m down here. The world is getting soooo exciting and so black and white, it seems the division between good and bad is widening and we have to take a stand.
Mom, the pics of the kids doing school is so precious. Way to go homeschooling. I`ve been thinking about you a lot this week, and how you served a mission. In fact, it was because I saw some pictures in a Liahona of some people from Quebec, Canada that got me thinking about that. I love that you and dad both served, and I thought how one major reason I wanted to serve a mission is so I will be a return-missionary mom, like you are. I want my kids to learn from their parents that "In this family we serve missions."
I got a letter from Sister Farley today, which was such a sweet, pleasant surprise. Tell her thank you so much for me. Sisters Oakason and Fletcher, thank you so much for your emails a while back. I have the best friends in the Sedona ward. Jessica Jackson, thank you so much for your dear elder, too. I LOVE hearing about your life. You are so sweet to remember me in your busy, busy life. I was reading your letter on the bus just now and as I finished it a lady sat down next to me. She seemed a little sad and I asked if she was sick. She said that she just came from the burial of her cousin, who died very unexpectedly yesterday. After sympathizing with her a minute I asked her, "But hermana, do you believe this life is all there is?" She shrugged, looked off into the distance and said, "I don`t know." Do you know how sweet it is to tell someone the good news of the gospel when they DON`T KNOW? Especially in a time like that when they want to know? To put your arm around a sweet Paraguayan lady and tell her God loves her and to see her smile a little bit, to tell her her cousin still lives and will be resurrected and have a perfect body someday? To send her on her way armed with a Plan of Salvation pamphlet, committed to read it and share it with her children? Ser misionera es el mejor.
Hope, Spain sounds so great! Oh you are just the cutest little world traveler, and I`m so glad you`re reading Predicad mi Evangelio. You will be a great missionary someday, whether it be when you`re 21 or later, and the nice thing is you don`t have to worry. Whom the Lord calls, He qualifies. We don`t always feel qualified, but if we are obedient He takes care of the rest. The success of one`s mission is not measured by how well they speak Spanish, how many people they baptize, etc.... but by their commitment to the gospel.
Sorry I can`t read all your emails and respond. Know that I`m printing them out and reading them on the bus to Piribebuy right now. I know the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints is the church of God. It is Christ`s church, with a living prophet who truly receives revelation, and that revelation also guides the leaders of missions to guide even little sister missionaries to the specific people who are ready to receive the gospel. How thankful I am for that.
Con muchisimo amor,
Tu Hermana Misionera,
Hermana Faith Goimarac
p.s. Mom, also, maybe you could update my facebook status once in blue moon and say something like, "Faith is in her second area, the paradise of Paraguay known as Piribebuy. And she loves being a missionary." It might prompt letters. :)