Friday, January 18, 2013

"The crowning characteristic of love is always loyalty," Jeffrey R. Holland (Photos at end)

Dear Family,
The new dog is super cute! I am so glad there is an animal in the house again. She is a lucky dog. Do you think she can run four miles with you every day, mom and dad? I can only imagine how jealous Snickers is, looking down from heaven. haha

HOPE, happy birthday this week!!! I will be thinking of you on Saturday (even though I think about you like all the time already especially since your call). You should ask for the day off at Sound Bites. I sent you a letter two weeks ago so look for it. Also, I bet you are going to baptize a ful in Sao Paulo. I`m sure by now you know there`s a temple there. Many of the early members in Paraguay traveled there to be sealed with their families. It was the first temple in South America. 

The photos I`m sending are of me and Hna. Pelozo, of me by a cow in our daily short cut, and of the baptism of Blanca (who finally got confirmed yesterday! Her father died on Wednesday which freed her up from taking care of him, and she went to church) I sent this photo before but I don`t think you were able to see them.  The fourth is an advertisement for soda pop.

Yesterday Ronni went to church all by himself, without his friends or his mom, and received the Aaronic priesthood. He is really quiet but seems very devoted for a 12 year old. I think of Elder Zaballos of the 70 who also joined the church as a child alone without any family. I know a family is much more preferable though, and we are working with his parents but for some reason they are not nearly as submissive and willing to go to church. Along with the 15 other people who committed to go to church yesterday and didn`t. 0 out of 15...whew. 

Sister Quito called me from Piribebuy yesterday. She told me Sonya is getting baptized on Saturday! It made me so happy! I wish I could be there for her baptism but it doesn`t really matter, we`re all on the same team. I remember the day I contacted her, and now here she is. I sent a photo of her and me last week. Hna. Quito also told me she got a card from you, mom and dad, and also a card from a sister in my ward (don`t know who). She loved it. Thank you so much. 

We worked sooo hard this week. We found 14 new investigators and had 32 lessons and contacted a ful (a ful means a ton, by the way. A spanish word I kind of love) and reached our daily goals 6 days out of 7. The happiest days are the ones you work the hardest. Funny how that works. 

Mom, the heat is definitely a trial but I`m getting kind of used to it...I guess. We do have a ceiling fan and a floor fan, but with both of them on, my alarm clock still says it`s 92 degrees. I wake up as hot and sweaty and thirsty as if I had been running all night instead of sleeping. 

This week I read a talk by Pres Monson about seeing others as they can become from last conference. I really felt the Spirit. I KNOW he is prophet. Anyway, it is a quality I`m really trying to develop. I am also studying each of the Christlike attributes and setting daily goals to practice one of them, and realized God wants us to have hope in people. Hope is a Christlike attribute. He wants to us to not give up on anyone, he wants us to see people who seem hopelessly lost or stubborn or uninterested, and see the good in them, have hope that they can change and "put off the natural man and become a saint." 

Last Friday (the day Hope opened her call!) was my half-way mark. I can`t believe it, but I also don`t think about it. Why count how much time I have left on my mission if my mission should last my whole life? Perhaps my location and my nametag will change, but I will never look back or turn my vision away from missionary work until the job is done and the love of God and of neighbor rules the world. As Elder Holland said in his extremely-moving conference talk, "Ours is not a feeble message. It is not hapless, it is not hopeless. Is is not to be consigned to the ash heap of history. This is the work of Almighty God, and it is to change the world. " It is also to change me as a missionary. I don`t really see a lot of changes in myself, but I sure hope I have changed. I can say I have way more confidence and almost no fear in opening my mouth about the gospel, which was not the case before. 

Well we had some great experiences this week. We had a visit with a recent convert, Sergio Ayala, and his wife. I asked him why he decided to get baptized, and he looked at his non-member wife and said, "Well, I actually never told my wife I got baptized, but now she knows. Honey, I got baptized in September." That was unique. She was a little surprised but not upset. We haven`t been able to find him at home since. We are also working with a great guy named Milton who I really think is going to join the church. He started talking with the missionaries because he has diabetes and terrible foot pain that the doctors can`t figure out. He is desperate to be healed. His faith has already grown so much and he truly wants to believe. We had an amazing visit with him on Saturday with the Perez family and they invited him to watch the John Tanner movie with them, which is perfect. Have you seen that? It`s on the D&C DVD and is an amazing story of John Tanner whose leg was healed. 

There are literally millions of mangos ripe right now. There are Paraguay mangos which are small and sweet and full of fiber and Brazilian mangos which are big and have no fiber. I love them. I have mentioned to some people that I love the Brazilian mangoes (but they`re harder to find) and on Saturday I had 6 mangoes that members had given me. The whole town smells like cooked or rotten mangos because there are just hundreds lining the streets. (And with all this fresh fruit it seems everyone still just eats meat and white bread and soda...)

Well this was a fairly lame email I`m afraid. But know that I love you and that the mission is one of the best decisions I ever made, and that the gospel is here to change us. Let it change you. And go read Elder Holland`s talk from conference again. And tell the missionaries in the Sedona ward how lucky they are to have dinner and a with-member lesson every single Monday night with the best family there is--mine.

Your Sister Missionary,
Hermana Faith Goimarac

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