Another great week. I have found ways to eat way healthier. Today I made a beet, cabbage and lentil salad for instance. Still have to consume way more meat and soda than I like, but what can I do.
This week we really tried to get our daily goals every single day, 7/7. We saw so many little miracles because of this. We did everything we could, and it was so clear so many times that God was helping us. It really taught me that when we do our part, God certainly does His. For instance, last Monday (when we only have 3 hours at night to reach our goals) we needed to find a new investigator, but we only had like 20 minutes before an FHE. We clapped a random house and a sweet couple was there and they both became news, in 20 minutes. Such a miracle. And then the other night I was about to go home but we had to contact a reference in order to meet our goals. We asked a random guy on a corner if he knew anybody who would be interested in listening to us, and he actually gave us a name (!) and then we actually found that person at home! I think you have to be a missionary to really understand, but I learned a lot. We were short a member-present lesson two of the days and so we only got 5/7, but this week we are going to get 7/7 si o si.
We fasted for Nelson and Marian this Sunday, even though it wasn`t fast Sunday here. Marian was going to get married on Saturday, but her baby had some kind of growth on his eye and had to go to the hospital, and it sounds like she had to use the money she saved for the wedding on treatment. She even sold her cell phone first before using the wedding money. The poor girl, she wants to get married and baptized so bad. Her home is already like a member`s home, with all kinds of church books and magazines and pictures from them taped on her wall. Pray that she can get married this month, that she can have the money and her husband will still be willing. Neighbors and friends have kind of persecuted him, asking why he wants to get married, and he doesn`t really know what to say. We hardly ever get to teach him because he gets home from work really late at night.
On Saturday morning a series of events led us to an area near our house where we normally wouldn`t be on a Saturday morning. We passed by a house with a bunch of people gathered at it and found out that the husband of a lady we know passed away that morning. They had been married for 50 years. I can`t even imagine how hard it would be to lose your husband of 50 years, especially if you had a good relationship. Her son asked us to go talk to her. I tend to think that right after a tragedy like that is not the time for little me to talk to the person who is going through such a blow, but it is actually the time they need your comfort most. We talked to her for a while and she was sooooo touched that we thought of her. She asked if we would sing for her. So we sang, "Para siempre Dios este con Vos." All the people in the yard, probably 15 or 20, became quiet and all of them listened to us. It was such a peaceful moment. I am so thankful for our understanding of the plan of salvation. And I am so thankful that God leads us to opportunities like that when we can lift the heads that hang down.
A few highlights from this week:
-Getting bitten by a dog! I am a real missionary! Don`t worry, it didn`t bring blood.
-Climbing under barbed wire 5 times on my hands and knees, there and back, to visit Celso`s mom who lives practically in the middle of nowhere. Is there really anywhere I`d rather be than in the middle of a palm-tree laden Paraguayan forest on a Wednesday afternoon? Ummmmm...nope.
-Juan Jose (our little nine year old investigator who is getting baptized this next week) tenderly and caringly giving me a handful of chicken feathers, with a huge grin on his face, as if he was actually giving me a bouquet of roses.
-Reporting our numbers to the zone leaders and hearing them say, "Wow" after every number. Not that I really care about statistics, but it`s nice that we sisters are leading the zone, considering that often sisters don`t get as much credit.
-Getting ice cream today and the man behind the counter being completely drunk, which made him insist that we taste every flavor of ice cream before buying any. "If you insist," as dad would say.
-Asking a girl if she would be baptized if she got an answer from God that this is the true church, and she saying, "Me gustaria!" (I would like to!). Rarely is the answer so enthusiastic!
Mom, to answer your question about Spanish, I am feeling a lot more comfortable. It isn`t nearly the struggle it was before. I still am not as good as I thought I would be at 6 months out, but I can understand almost everything and the people seem to understand what I say, especially if it is gospel-related. When it goes to other topics my understanding drops a little...ha. I am learning a LOT of guarani here in Paraugay. Hermana Greer is really good at talking with the people and picking it up. We`ve been singing hymns in guarani a lot more to people who don`t understand spanish very well, and they love it. They get the biggest kick out of us american girls learning guarani.
My friend Jamie Claridge left the MTC today after 12 weeks, headed for Russia on her mission. So proud of you Jamie! I hope your wrist has healed! Russia isn`t going to know what hit ´em after you get going.
I have been reading the Book of Mormon in Spanish and have felt the Spirit so strongly. I know with all my heart that the Book of Mormon is true. It is such an act of mercy from our loving Heavenly Father that we have it. As it says in 2 Nephi 29, people will say, "A Bible? We have a Bible, we need no more Bible!" That prophesy is now fulfilled and many people say this. But why should they murmur at the thought of receiving more of the word of God? For instance, one lady we talked to this week said, "What is the point of going to church? If it is to be baptized, I was already baptized, and if it is to hear the word of God, that is why I have a Bible." It hurts to hear someone say that the Bible is the ONLY word of God we are going to get. As a parent, I don`t plan on talking to my children just once in their lives, but every day. And God is the same. He has not only given us the Bible, but the Book of Mormon which was written for our day, and also a living prophet and twelve apostles to guide us through this mist of darkness. I know the Book of Mormon is the word of God. It is powerful. It brings the Spirit. It testifies of Christ in a way that is so clear.
I am so thankful General Conference is next week, too! We are inviting everyone we see to "come and see" our living prophet who lives today. Speaking of direction for our day, this week I read the new For the Strength of Youth pamphlet and it motivated me so much to just be a better person, in so many aspects. If you can, find it online and read it. It can`t get much clearer than that booklet.
Ahhhhhhhhh I love being a missionary.
Thank you mom, dad, Hope, and Carrie for your emails. I devour every word. Paulette, I hope you`re doing great! I miss you! How`s Levi?
I loved Matthew`s little prayer to bless the people in Parauay ¨"so that they can read and be LDS people." It made my day. He is so sweet. Dad, I absolutely love the talk you sent me. It really made me think. I love my family so much. As Hope wrote to me today, "Thank goodness we`re stuck together for eternity!"