Bom dia!!!! That means good morning, and it`s the only portuguese I know. HOPE I AM SO HAPPY ABOUT YOUR MISSION CALL I COULD POP. And you know me and those moments when I say I am going to pop. I am telling everyone about it. I even wrote about it in my letter to my mission presidente. Why didn`t I think of Brazil?! You`ve been there, you already know spanish but you wanted to speak a different language, it`s close to Paraguay so it`s obviously pretty great, you`re good at roughing it so living in a jungle or in a South American city will be no big deal. In just a few short months we will be sooooo close. It`s going to kill me being so close yet so far away. We have to find a way to see each other. I can just do what someone I know does and show up in the ward you`re serving in on my way home the Sunday after I leave Paraguay. After all, no one can stop me from going to church. Oh Hope, you have made me such a proud sister. I am so thankful Heavenly Father sent us to the same parents at the same time and that we get to be sisters in the best work ever, too. How do you say sister in Portuguese? Just yesterday afternoon I was talking with someone from Sao Paulo, little did I know that at that moment you were probably thinking about that place.
Well, we are in full swing in Isla Bogado trying to establish everything. I am with Hermana Pelozo, from San Lorenzo Paraguay, which is right down the street from where we are. She is a breath of fresh air! So loving, humble, sweet, full of light and she always laughs instead of being frustrated when something happens that we can`t really do anything about. She has such a good attitude. She`s been a member for just 6 years and is the only member in her family. Her family actually doesn`t even realize she ever got baptized. She kind of did it in secret and they never thought to ask. They don`t have any interest. She, like Hna. Quito, joined the church thanks to an invitation from her member friend. She`s been an EFY counselor, is the the current primary president, and just loves the gospel. She is studying nutrition and is on summer break right now, so she told Pres that she could be a local missionary for 6 weeks if he needed her, and sure enough he did. She walks fast, she sings great, she likes to eat salad and cook healthy things. I`m happy. :)
Our house is...well, we are not alone. We had a rat but I think it`s gone. I think I`m going to die of heat before I fall asleep. There is no air conditioning whatsoever. Hope, perhaps you should sleep with 6 blankets as mission prep.
My comp is great but she has no mission experience, and we are doing a lot of visits with members who also have no mission experience. So, I have to really stay on top of things. It`s mentally draining at times to have to remember everything on my own. There`s a lot to do....(I just plumb forgot it was fast sunday yesterday, just forgot, can you believe that? I felt awful and will be making up for it.) Our chapel is a huge stake center, so beautiful! There is a ward! My first ward and not a branch! There were about 80 people at church yesterday, although there are supposedly 600 members. Did I mention there is lots to do?
I have to say, I really know this change was inspired. I have felt it a lot over the few days we`ve been here. Our first day we arrived at the house of a member, Hna. Perez, and she hugged us so tight and began to cry and said a whole in her heart has been filled, that we are two angels who are going to change this ward. She was taught by two sister missionaries from Utah 21 years ago and is still in touch with them today. She and her husband and RM son all have callings in the stake and are a rock of the ward. It was so different to go to church here and basically just attend (well, I did play the piano in sac mtg here, too) than in the little branch of Piribebuy, where I taught two classes and played the piano and sat by investigators and calmed wild little Arturo Baez at the same time.
I was going to tell you a little about how it was to leave Piribebuy. It was so hard to say goodbye. Sonya, our investigator that we taught maybe 6 times, called us and asked if she could come over to say goodbye. We can`t have people in our house, we went to her`s and we visited. She began to cry and said we have changed her life. I never would have imagined she would say that. She ran in the house and put together a little gift for me with her photo and jewelry and a letter and told me "Te quiero mucho." It was so sweet. I heard she went to church again yesterday, and although I wish I could be there to see her progress, I know I planted seeds in good ground with her.
We got here on Wednesday afternoon and were told there was an investigator with a baptismal date for Saturday already! There are two companionships in the ward, the ward is divided into two areas and there are elders in the other area, and they have been working with a 12 year old boy named Ronni in our area. We had his interview on Friday and his baptism on Saturday and confirmaion on Sunday, and ya esta! It was the easiest baptism ever! His mom is not a member, but came to the baptism and all three hours of church on sunday! Ronni was so happy at his baptism, just gleaming and grinning ear to ear as he came out of the font. Baptisms are always soooo happy. We`re going to have a lot here, I don`t care if this area hasn`t seen a baptism for 18 months. I feel like I will be here for a long time, and good things are going to happen! I am soooo full of HOPE!!!! I am so happy (despite being so lost! haha!)!!!
Your Sister Missionary,