First of all, thank you everyone for the birthday wishes! It really was so nice to get your emails, and everyone who has sent me letters or dear elders. I can`t write back to everyone, but know that I LOVE getting mail and you affect missionary work through the motivation you give me. My birthday was a very normal day, our lunch appointment was actually cancelled, but my comp made me a sign that says congrats in guarani (Terevyàiteke!) and we had dinner with our bishop, who didn`t even know it was my birthday, and they gave us a basket of fruit. And Elder Rigby gave me oreos. And today I blew nearly 7 bucks on buying American peanut butter to treat myself. A whole wheat bread pbj? So worth it.
On Saturday we had the baptism for Rosa Resquin planned for 4:00. I am always nervous when the phone rings on baptism days. And I was nervous when the phone rang at 3. The elders who were filling the font said the church didn`t have any water (what are the chances of the church not having water on a day of a baptism?! Well, in Paraguay, actually pretty high....haha). A baptism without water is like a dinner without food.... We went to the church and the font had about 6 inches of water and sure enough there was no water at all anywhere in the church. We waited while someone in charge tried to figure out the problem, and he said all the tanks of water were empty. I was thinking of the truth Elder Bednar teaches that we should not pray for our circumstances to change, but for the strength to change our circumstances. We have to act if we have faith, not just pray and sit and wait. So I went next door and asked the pharmacy if they had water, and they did, and very willingly said we could fill buckets of water there. There were 6 buckets in the church so the elders and we began filling the font. I was going to fill this font, because the whole Resquin family (recently re-activated) and even two investigators were there, waiting for the baptism to start!
Acting in faith, I started to play prelude music and the elders were going to continue to fill the font with buckets while we started the baptismal service. But then Hermano Morel, who was going to baptize, approached me and said this wasn`t right, that a baptism is very sacred and we shouldn`t do it with so little water. They were going to have to plunge her very low and deep for her to get all the way under water, and it was going to take a looong time to fill it with buckets. So we postponed it for the next day. Everyone was a little disappointed.
But the next day there was still no water so we went to the next closest church, about 10 minutes away actually. The hermanas misioneras there filled the font for us, and it was actually a very lovely, sweet, Sunday-afternoon baptism. Everyone was in great spirits and a lot of members came, which really touched the Resquin family. Hno Resquin gave a beautiful prayer and Hna. Resquin tearfully bore her testimony. This baptism is what has really re-activated the whole family, and a lot of ward members in their testimonies yesterday said how happy they were to see the Resquin family at church.
The Resquin family is huge (12 kids) and they brought all the neighborhood kids to the baptism in their little car. They had a kid on every lap and kids in the trunk....haha. I should have taken a picture of it.
Speaking of cars, today Hna. Pelozo was asking me if there are collectivos (public buses) in the U.S. and I said how where I live no one uses buses. She asked if everyone has cars, and as I thought about it I realized, with a gulp, that we are so absolutely rich. I realized my family has three cars. THREE CARS? Even one car is so much! I realized I have forgotten we have a car. I had a computer, and a phone, and a car. I just can`t believe it. Add to that a university education...and so much more. Overwhelmingly grateful I am.
It was the hottest week of my life, I feel like I just have to concentrate on surviving sometimes. Being unable to sleep I resorted to standing under a cold shower in my pajamas and then lying in bed under the fan. It`s like a swamp cooler. :) Feel free to recommend this little tip to all your heat-enduring missionary friends.
It looks like the photos I am trying to attatch won`t attatch. But one is of the neighborhood kids of a part-member family. We have to pass their house every day, and we often have to try and silently sneak by because if they see us they bombard us. (HERMANAAAAAAS!!!!!), which I love actually. They all came to church yesterday and were WILD in sacrament meeting, but I just love them so much I can`t be upset at them. We pass by and they never know if we are coming to visit them or passing to go somewhere else. Just now as we were walking to come email little Rosita begged us to come in, "Venid a caaaaaaaaaasa!" At least somebody loves us. :)
Wow I just love being a missionary. I only have 8 more months (today!), which is a sad thought. I have so much I want to do in so little time. I know I will miss it with all my heart. I feel so much joy as I teach or invite someone. I picture them with the gospel in their life. Oh how life-changing the restored gospel is. I am so willing to sacrifice and give whatever God wants to be able to completely live the gospel and share it, too. I was really touched as I read Helaman 10 today, how God told Nephi he had declared the gospel with unwearingness. I need to be more like him.
Love you all so much,
Your Sister Missionary,