Monday, April 29, 2013

"God hath chosen the weak things of the world to confound the things which are mighty." 1 Cor 1:27‏ (Photos at end)

Dear Family,
Before I forget to tell you, just let me tell you what I had for lunch today, A falafel! Yeah! I was taken right back to Jerusalem. :) 
Well, it was a great, great week. We had stake conference yesterday. We had some great lessons with members. We found a great family that is progressing, named the Benitez family, and we had an awesome lesson with members last night. Nothing like a good with-member lesson to make a missionary on cloud 9. That`s all I want in life right now--good lessons with prepared people, which is just what we had. Miriam Benitez, the mom, has never been baptized in any church, and as we were teaching about the apostasy, she was like, "So how did we get the authority again??" She UNDERSTOOD. So many people just don`t understand the importance of authority, or the Restoration in general. But she does and her two kids, Paula and Elias, also love church. We found them because our little 12-year-old convert, Ronni, is Elias`s friend and invited him to church. Now Elias has been going to church every week for about a month and told his mom he likes it better than his grandma`s church (Pentecostal) and his dad`s church (Catholic), that he feels better there. The dad is not quite as on-board as the rest but he`s not against anything, which is a blessing. Pray for the Benitez family!
Also, Karen was doing great and agrees with everything. We`ve really seen how God has been preparing her. However, yesterday she talked to her dad who goes to an evangelical church, and called us and said she is confused. We are going to see her tonight. It just hurts to see people trust more in the opinions and false ideas about "the mormons" than the answers to prayer they have received from God. Karen has felt the spirit and has recognized it, but now she seems to be confused from (probably false) things her dad says. Pray for her, too. 
Speaking of rejection, this week we just got some nasty reactions. On the bus to church yesterday I said to a man how the Church of Jesus Christ is the same church that Christ himself established during his life and he said, "Mentiras! (Lies!) Joseph Smith was a liar and a murderer." It just breaks my heart, not that I`m offended that they don`t see the world as I do, just that they are losing so many blessings, and salvation as well. But, according to Luke 6:22-23, I should be leaping for joy when people reject us like that, haha. 
So you all want to know about my new position as Sister Training Leader. On Thursday we went to the office and had a historic meeting with Pres and Hermana Madariaga about what exactly our role is. They don`t really know much either, but we established what we`re going to do. We`re mostly zone leaders but for the sisters of the whole mission, going on divisions twice a week in order to do a division with each sister every 6-week change. Pres says he expects us to be exemplary missionaries---i.e. as perfect as can be. Keep a clean house, have a map of the area on the wall labeled with our investigators and menos activos (less actives), etc., be perfectly obedient to mission rules, keep an immaculate area book, contact everyone, etc. I am so excited. Ever since, I`ve been analyzing everything I do, thinking, "Would a perfect sister missionary say that? Do that? Eat that? Wear that?" It`s truly more of a privilege than a sacrifice or burden. We`re supposed to keep our area very active, a model area that other sisters can learn from. It`s a lot of pressure but God is with us, so I`m very excited. We`re starting this week, doing divisions on Wednesday and Saturday. One of us will have to travel to each area and a sister from that area will come to our area to work with one of us for the day. I even get to go way up to Concepcion and Pedro Juan eventually! (What I would give to see the dear Meza family again! Nila Meza wrote me recently and told me her family is very active and she is a counselor in YW, that she wants to serve a mission and marry an RM. :)) As STLs we are also going to speak in every zone conference for 30 minutes, and in mission leadership council on the first Monday of every month to the zone leaders for 30 minutes on the topic of our choosing. Pres said I very well might have this position for the rest of my mission, whew! Although he`s out of here in July, so who knows. 
By the way, I love Hermana Greer. I feel like I am the best missionary when I am her companion. We wake up early and go for a full 30-minute run, we don`t eat sugar, we talk to everyone, we kneel to pray at the end of every visit, we just both try really hard. We have great conversations. We wake up so happy every day. We practically pop out of bed and are like, "Yes! Let`s go preach the gospel! The field is white all ready to harvest!" Mutual desires to be obedient is the trick for a good relationship, no matter what it be. I  feel like I could  get along with anyone as long as she tried to be obedient.

A year ago on April 24th I got on a bus and rode for 7 hours from Asuncion to Concepcion, my first area, with my first companion, Hermana Springer. Elder Tenney bought us and his new comp chipa, a very common Paraguayan cheesy bread made from flour of mandioca. I had never heard of it before. I thought it was weird. I was so inexperienced in every aspect of being a missionary and had no idea what to expect. I admired my companion for everything she did. "She talks on the phone in Spanish!" "She just walks up to people and talks to them!" "She reports numbers to the zone leaders!"  And this year on April 24th, Hermana Greer and I recognized our 1-year mark (we landed here together, we were on the same plane) by buying the best chipa in Isla Bogado, called Chipa Tati. It`s crunchy on the outside, hot and cheesy on the inside. Soooo good. And I thought back to that day one year before when I curiously took a bite of my first chipa ever. It was the first of many, just like Hermana Springer said. And I thought of how the past 365 days have been SO happy and so hard. Truly, as clichè as it is,  truly the best year of my life. I am forever grateful I took that leap of faith into the MTC and never looked back. My mission is holy ground for me and I love it more and more every day. 
Really, the truth is, God loves us so much and wants us to succeed. Yes, life is a test, but God wants us to get an A+. He does everything to help us not fail. He sent his own Son and He established a church so we would always have guidance in life. And so that we know which church is from Him, He gave that Church His permission, or authority. And He gave us the Book of Mormon so we have proof that this is indeed the same church Jesus Christ established. And then he sends missionaries all over the world so that everyone knows of the great news. He does everything possible to help us succeed. It is just amazing. 
I have so many stories I could tell this week: a great experience of praying to feel the spirit and it was noticebly felt by us and this young mom Irene we were teaching, finding a less active who had been praying the missionaries would find her, fasting for a couple in our ward who is having marriage troubles, and going out with Ester to visit a less active neighbor or hers and hearing her bear her simple testimony. So much to say, and even with 2 hours there`s not enough time....nor do any of you probably have enough attention span, haha. Sorry I`m kind of long-winded. 
Your Sister Missionary,
Sister Faith Goimarac
                                                                   Ino's family in Piribebuy!  Yea!
                         Our district right before changes. Elder Caceres (de Paraguay) and Elder Garcia (de Peru).
                                        Look what I found in the bathroom!  Thought you'd like to see.
                                                            365 crazy  blessed days in Paraguay.

Monday, April 22, 2013

"It is not enough to avoid evil, we must be anxiously engaged helping others to conversion." Robert C. Gay‏

Hola Familia,
I have so much to say, and I actually have time to write it! We are now given 2 hours to email! YYYYEEEEE HAWW! And we can email all our friends, not just our families! But actually, we are in Piribebuy, my last area, right now.  We came to visit, and so I really only have about 30 minutes to type everything because we have to travel back to our area to get to work by 6. 
Today has been so fun. Since Hna. Greer and I served in Piribebuy together and we`re companions again, and we are only about 2 hours away from Piribebuy, we got permission to visit. We said hi to our "gente" here, like Ino`s family, the Velazquez family (who graciously gave us lunch, even though it was a surprise visit) and Hna Meza (who gave us MORE lunch, :) and Sonia who was baptized after I left. It felt so good to see her as a member of the church. She told me how much she knows the church is true even though she has 0 family support, and how thankful she was for me that she loves me. What a fulfilling, fun day it has been. So sentimental. I love my mission more than I can say. 
We`ve been anxious to get a call about changes today, because it could be that I get changed since I`ve been in Isla Bogado for 3 changes now. Presidente Madariaga called a couple hours ago, which made me realize it was going to be something special because usually just the zone leaders make calls. He said, "Hermana, have you heard of the new leadership council?". Um.....claro que no. (Of course not.) He said, "There is a new mission leadership council that sisters will be a part of, and you and Hermana Greer will be the first Sister Training leaders for the mission. I have every confidence in you two, and we`ll talk on Thursday in the office." That`s about all I know. But I`m excited. I`m glad I get to be with Hna. Greer one more change (her last change), we get lots done together. I feel very blessed for the chance to serve in this way, even though I`m not sure yet what it will entail. And I`m pretty sure we`re all going to train next change since the number of sister missionaries in our mission will more than double on June 5th (you`re not the only one counting down to the 5th, Hope.)
There is a sister in our ward, Nery Giggleberger, who is a Paraguayan pioneer. Her aunt was the first member of the church baptized in Paraguay. Hna. Nery washes our clothes and gives us lunch every Sunday and works in the temple twice a week, and prepares great RS lessons. Truly an angel. She lives with her son and daughter in law and their one year old baby (he turned one year old on my birthday) who are all inactive. On Tuesday morning Hna. Nery called me about our laundry and I asked how she was doing and she said, "mal." Her little one year old grandson died in the night. His heart just stopped without explanation. It crushed me. I hardly know him, but he was a sweet little baby that I had seen happy and healthy just a few days before. We went by her house later to see how we could help, and her daughter in law was just sobbing over the casket still. I can`t imagine something so unexpected. It made me think a lot. Every heart beat is truly a gift from God. Every day. We truly have to be ready to go any second, don`t we? It also made me realize that I have absolutely no idea what lies ahead of me in life, if I will lose children or a husband...or a million other possibilities. But thankfully, because of the gospel, I truly don`t live in constant nervousness or anxiety as perhaps some do. And yesterday, talking to Hermana Nery a few days after the death, we talked about how the gospel has truly helped her son and daughter in law overcome this. They went to church for the first time in a while yesterday. I can`t express my gratitude for my knowledge of the great plan. 
I love having time to visit those who are afflicted spiritually, emotionally, and physically. We are teaching a young man who lost his left leg and use of his left arm in a moto accident three years ago. He loved learning about the resurrection. No had ever told him he would have a perfect body again, I guess. And then later we saw a man in bed by his window, and we went up and taught him through the window. He also lost his ability to walk from a moto accident. He was very receptive. And then another day this week we miraculously found a man recovering from a prescription drug addiction and he repeatedly mentioned how thankful he was that God sent him two angels to help him find his way and the strength to overcome. And then yesterday we were passing a young couple, Fernando and Giselle, and their son, and I decided to contact them at the last minute. The man said he doesn`t believe in God (I think the 6th person on my mission I`ve met who claims to be atheist), but, really, it`s clear he does believe in God deep down. We asked them how long they have been together as a couple, and they said 6 years or something, but that this was their last day together. The girl started to cry. We testified they can be a happy, united family with the gospel. For about 15 minutes in the street we talked to them, and we made an appointment to visit them on Wednesday. We left them each reading the Proclamation on the Family. :) And then we visited Ester who is crushed because Arnaldo openly admitted he has a girlfriend, and he isn`t giving Ester the time of day even though she`s been nothing but gold to him. And we pulled out all kinds of scriptures that helped her a lot, and she went all by herself to church the next day, at great lengths on her part. SO happy and proud of her. And so thankful I didn`t get transferred so I can continue to help her.

It`s amazing to me that I can be as sure as sure can be that the gospel is true one day, and yet even MORE sure the next. Even when I feel like my testimony is at 100% maximum capacity, it still grows. My testimony truly grows every single day. This week we watched the Restoration DVD a few times with several different investigators. After watching it one time, my testimony of the Book of Mormon just deepened. As I thought about Joseph Smith and how normal and uneducated he was, and how he translated the Book of Mormon---a beautiful book that clearly testifies of Christ long before He came to earth, the spirit just touched me very profoundly and I knew with even  more determination that Joseph Smith was called of God to restore the church of Jesus Christ. I`ve felt the Spirit too many times to deny it. 

I also have a stronger testimony that God is preparing people to receive us. In general conference they said that with the increase in missionaries, God is preparing MORE people, which makes perfect sense according to 1 Nephi 3:7. And it`s true. Take Karen, for example. She said that several months ago the elders clapped her house and she gave them some excuse. But then after going to her dad`s evangelical church for a while she learned things she didn`t agree with and began searching. She said she saw us visit her neighbor and just wished we would stop by her house. And because her neighbor, Dora, gave us Karen`s name as a reference, we did clap there. And after simply praying and reading the Book of Mormon for a week, she received an answer this is the true church and is already spreading the gospel with her friends and wants to go on a mission. We`re like, well, let`s focus on baptism first, haha. Fecha bautismal para el 4 de Mayo. :)  (Baptismal date for May 4.)  She went with us on Saturday to the baptism of a convert in a different ward and we all felt the spirit (the lady who got baptized is super converted, even though none of her family was there and are all unsupportive of her decision), and she liked church yesterday as well. 

I wish I could send pics because I have some great ones, but the good old charming Piribebuy internet cafe is also a little retro. 

Estoy muy, muy contenta y feliz. No hay obra mas maravilloso. Estoy muy agradecida que mi hermana va a servir en Brazil pronto, y que mi hermana Carrie esta criando a  una familia lindisima entre los lazos del convenios en el templo. Estoy agradecida por mis padres por mostrarme como es vivir los mandamientos. Pero en ellos no confio, sino en mi propio testimonio.  Les testifico que estamos en la iglesia verdadera, que el evangelio cambia vidas. Sè porque ha cambiado la mía, y estarè siempre agradecida. Dios contesta oraciones. El futuro es muy brillante para todos, no importa las situaciones en que estemos ahora. Dios vive y El nos guia por medio de su Iglesia. Eso yo sè. A Dios le quiero, le amo, con todo mi alma.  (I am very, very content and happy.  There is no work more wonderful. I am very grateful that my sister is going to serve in Brazil soon, and that my sister Carrie is raising a beautiful family within the bonds of temple covenants.  I am grateful for my parents for showing me how to live the commandments.  But it's not in them I trust, bur rather I trust in my own testimony.  I testify to you that we have the true church, that the gospel changes lives.  I know it has changed mine and I will be forever grateful.  God answers prayers.  The future is brilliant for all of us, no matter what situations we are in now.  God lives and He guides us through the Church.  This I know.  I love God with all my soul.)

I love each and every one of YOU, as well. Always remember that the gospel WORKS, as dad says. Have a wonderful week, and keep writing those missionaries out there. :)
Your Sister Missionary,
Sister Faith Goimarac 

Monday, April 15, 2013

We are not spiritual orphans

Dearest Family,
Oh, boy, oh, boy, I love my mission. If there is any future missionary out there reading this who has the fear of just surviving 18 or 24  months and wondering if they will make it....NEVER FEAR! The mission is great and you will love it. Have hope. 

I am glad you had a good time in San Diego. I was thinking of you all week. If I weren`t so happy sharing the best thing on earth I would have been jealous. But who has time to be jealous when you`re milking cows and calming teenage-girl boyfriend drama, and racking your brain about how to get the ward involved in helping your convert participate, and running on beautiful chilly mornings, and the dozens of other little tasks I did this week. But I am indeed glad you all went.  I loved your Mormon Batallion pic! I was also thinking a lot about Elise, and how happy I am for her and the testimony-builder she is to me. I wish I could have been there to support her and feel the spirit.  
Also, happy birthday Kimberly Eggett! I always remember your birthday is tax day. I hope you have a great day today!!!  
Also, public congrats to Cameron for finishing the Book of Mormon! Six months is not long at all, I think it took me two years to read it through the first time when I was 8, haha.  I`m so proud of you! I know with all my heart the Book of Mormon is true. I would love to know what you think about it, and I also hope we can talk in person about it in October when I get home.  
Can I just start by bearing my testimony? Yesterday in church I really felt the spirit so sweetly. My testimony of the gospel has grown a lot this week. I know that this is Christ`s restored church. I know that God lives today and guides us through His church. I know He hears and answers prayers. I don`t know how I know that so surely, because I often times can`t see the answer to my prayer or see how  God is answering it, but I just KNOW He is answering. I can feel it and have NO doubt He hears and answers us. I know His Holy Ghost really guides. I am so thankful for it. 
Yesterday we left the house at 7:30 a.m. to pass by 5 different houses to go with some investigators to church. We arrived at church empty-handed and a little late. So if you ever see missionaries (or anyone for that matter) arriving late, don`t judge. They were probably doing a good deed that made them late. Anyway, our efforts were not in vain because our investigator Christian Morales (a different Christian than the one who came a couple weeks ago) showed up with his little boy (who looooved wreaking havoc in sacrament meeting with the other kids...ha. Seventh heaven for him). Christian really enjoyed church. We are focusing on finding men investigators, because every ward and branch in Paraguay  needs more priesthood. We have learned how to capture their attention in lessons and contacts. It really works. You have to talk to men differently than women because they are not as naturally interested in God and religion, I`ve found. So we`re focusing on finding men to teach, I try to contact every non-drunk man I see. Man-hunting....I`m going to be in good practice for when I`m back at BYU in a few months, haha. 
Anyway, the testimonies at church yesterday were so good. I am so glad we had an investigator there.    However, I was also very full of Godly sorrow. I seem to have my deepest thoughts while sitting on the piano bench during the sacrament. I was thinking of all the things I did the past two weeks, what I need to repent of, etc. And on the one hand I was so very joyful and light and thankful...for all the things we did do. But as I thought of all the people I love who we had invited and committed to come to church who were not there, my heart was so heavy.  What more could we have done? How can I help these precious souls understand just how much better their life would be if they would do a few simple things like go to church? 
I think some people probably think we do what we do just to fill the chapel, just to find people to go to our church. I love to clarify that that is NOT our motive. This is the only church that has the keys to unlock the gates to the celestial kingdom. No one else has that authority. But also, going to church makes life so much easier! I can`t even say how happy I was yesterday in church. The truths we discuss, the testimonies we heard, the pure doctrine that was spoken. I have no doubt we are in the true church. And I have no greater desire than for the whole world to know of it. 
It got kind of cold for the first time. I think I have gotten way too accustomed to being hot because the littlest bit of cold makes me freezing and I pull out my sweaters and scarves. haha. I am so paraguaya. It`s like in Africa we were all hot but it was their winter, and they were wearing their winter clothes. But now I`m pretty much just like that.  

Wow, I really don`t know what  to say. We worked very hard this week and have super high numbers. I love being with Hna Greer. She makes me a better person. For instance, we are doing a sugar fast right now and not eating sugar until the end of her mission (well, she`s a little more diligent in this regard than me. It`s gotten cold and I am a lover of hot chocolate.) We also go running really hard in the mornings. She also has talents that I have always wanted that inspire me, like braiding my own hair, singing perfect harmony, and drawing craazy good. We have the best conversations allll day and I love it. It`s a constant spiritual round-table discussion between the two of us. 

Well, I don`t have much else to say except that I have a whole new vision for my life with new goals and dreams. I must go on a mission to Africa with my husband. I must run a marathon next April. I must convert a family asap. I must be the missionaries' best friend my whole life and do visits with them all the time, because missionary work is the best work there is. 

Well, I love you and have a scripture from me to you: Moroni 8:3. 

Hermana Goimarac

Friday, April 12, 2013

This isn't missionary WORK; it's missionary FUN!

My dearest Family,

Wow, aren`t we all just full to bursting after this weekend? Aren`t we all as convinced as ever that we have a prophet and 12 apostles? That this is Christ`s church?
We were able to watch all the sessions in English, thankfully! It is such a blessing to watch it in the same langauge it is spoken in. It is not the same when it is translated, and the poor people watching in spanish all stand up and watch in silence as the choir sings in English, without knowing a word. Anyway, I`ll type a shortened version of a list of thoughts I had if I have time. I got so many answers from conference to questions I had for my area and for the type of person I need to become. 
We recently began teaching a wonderful young woman named Karen. After our first visit she prayed and felt the spirit tell her this is true. She reads the book of Mormon and takes notes! And yesterday she came to conference! She was dressed like a cute little BYU student, she looked like a lifelong member. As soon as it was over she asked me, "What time does church start next week?" She`s very prepared and intelligent. We had told her we would visit on Thursday, but we didn`t have time because I was sick with a hot fever and head ache and ended up sleeping for a couple hours at a member`s house while Hna. Greer did different visits with another member. Anyway, she was worried we weren`t going to come back, and on Friday prayed that if the church is true, we would visit her that day. And on Friday I specifically made time to visit Karen and it was an answer to her prayer. She kneeled down at the end of the lesson and thanked God for that answer. 
On Wednesday we got to go to the temple! I got to go with Hna. Francois and see her again. We did a few visits and then were going to go straight to Asuncion to the temple, but in our visit it began to unexpectedly POUR. Pics are included. Anyway, it was such a great feeling to walk from the muddy, stressful, noisy atomosphere of Paraguayan streets and buses to drop off my muddy boots at the guard`s house of the temple, change into white clothes, and be in the holiest place in the country of Paraguay. The peace is truly out of this world. I wished I could stop time while I was in there. After not being for a year, so many important things were brought to my rememberance that I had forgotten. Truly, my greatest blessing that I have and will ever have is to be a member of the Church of Jesus Christ, and on top of that an endowed member. 
Also; I met a sister named Jeanne Price (maiden name Mortensen) who pronounced my name right and said Ronnie and Christine Goimarac are her dear friends, and Mr. Goimarac (papa!!) was her school principle. What a great connection, huh? She`s from Manassah Colorado. 
Ester is doing so great. On Monday we had an FHE with her and a member family and she said that she used to be so much more anxious, that when things weren`t going well (such as her husband ignoring her) she wanted to kill someone she was so upset. But now, after finding the gospel, she says she is so much more at peace and has patience. She said, "The gospel really changes you!" We went with her to the stake center to get her temple recommend because she wants to go with the ward to their temple trip on Saturday to do baptisms! 
One thing I got out of conference is the need to be more positive. Hna. Greer made the point that in the 13th article of faith it says we SEEK after all things that are lovely, of good report, praiseworthy, etc. Sometimes that means that the good things are not right in front of us. We need to seek to notice and recognize the good. I was very touched by the story of that roommate of one of the 70, named Bruce, who was the most optimistic person he knows, who never said anything negative. I want to be like that. I have a renewed goal to be the most optimistic person I know. I want to only notice the good in people and situations. Who am I to judge?
I so loved what you said mom, that I want to copy your paragraph for the rest of the family, "Tonight, dad took Matthew to the Priesthood session.  Oh, he was so excited to go!  As they were walking out the door, dad came and gave me a kiss goodbye.  Matthew saw and came back to me and also gave me a kiss goodbye.  He took notes, which he read to me when he got home, and thoroughly enjoyed being with all the men and going with all of them to McDonald's for ice cream afterward."
That paragraph really brought the spirit to me. The home is what it is all about. The Priesthood is so important. I love my mom and dad and nieces and nephews and siblings so much. 
Well, here is a little (edited slightly for public viewing) list of some other things I thought during conference;
1. I need to be more humble by accepting new ideas and advice all the time, and changing constantly to improve.
2. I should be focusing on if I`m giving my all.
3. I will be the most optimistic person I know. Goodbye negative thinking!
4. The Savior is the ONLY way to Salvation, to pass through the gate. He "employs no servants there."
5. I need to teach the Restoration with the awed, amazed tone of voice it deserves.
6. I want to teach as boldy as L. Tom Perry gives conference talks. Now if only I can aquire that wise quiver in his voice.
7. If I am to make a difference, I have to BE different.
8. I will not yell at my kids.
9. I will not let technology take my attention away from my kids. 
10. You milk the cow when she needs to be milked, not when you want to milk her!
11. I will bridle all my passions. Obedience to the law of chastity largely determines our happiness. 
12. "No force in the entire world can stop the work of God!"
13. A great test in life---will I follow the traditions of my fathers or Jesus Christ? (I`m using that with my next virgin-worshipping investigator, si o si)
14. Marriage is a gift of God to us. The quality of our marriage is our gift to him. 
15. Man. Sometimes I just really want to get married. 
16. Who are we to substitute our own rules for God`s laws?
18. I love how many times in conference the speakers said, "Jesus said..."   Are we in His church, or what?
19. I can be more obedient. Yes.
20. The best school is called "home."
21. Faith, literally befriend the poor and the weak. Serve until it hurts. Then serve some more.
22. I loved Elder Christofferson`s talk on redemption. It is my responsibility to redeem people from all types of suffering. And the best way is through inviting them to the Ultiimate Redeemer.
23. I will ever praise God for the privilege of being a woman.

Well, I`m out of time. 

You Missionary-Fun-loving Sister Missionary,
Hna. Goimarac

Monday, April 1, 2013

The best compliment that can be earned in this life is to be known as a covenant-keeper.--Russell M. Nelson (5 photos at end.)

Dearest, most beloved Family,

I am writing with tears of joy in my eyes. I am so full of the love of our Savior. I am so thankful my best friend and sister, Hope, went to the temple this week. Seeing the picture of you and mom, standing so valiantly outside the doors of the temple....I can`t explain the happy emotions that fill my heart. I love you SO much, Hope. I am so grateful for you. I was anxious all week to hear about your experience. 
WHAT a week. One thing I love about the mission is that there is truly never a dull moment. I have just been so filled with the love of God these past few days that I haven`t wanted to even ask for anything when I pray, just give thanks. 

I shall write this email chronologically. On Thursday we had our Easter activity. We asked members to dress up as various characters from the Bible and tell their stories of the events and miracles of the Savior`s life. There were actors in each classroom, so it was also kind of a church tour. And at the end we played a video in the chapel about the crucifixion and resurrection. I have to say, it was a great activity. It was meant to find new investigators. But not one non-member came, just members. But for the members it was good. 

On Friday night we were teaching a great couple when President Madariaga called. I looked at the phone and saw his name and decided I better step out to answer it. He said there were emergency transfers and tomorrow we had a change in our companionship. He calmed my racing heart when he said I am going to stay in Isla Bogado, and Hna Francois would be going to Capiata. He said my comp is someone I already know: Hermana Greer! We wrecked shop in Piribebuy together. I was so happy to hear that. So on Saturday we exchanged companions. (Insider`s scoop; She was 2 weeks into training and had such a rough companionship that they couldn`t even go out and work together. This is her 3rd difficult latina companion in a row. President apparently decided beforehand to send her to be with me, but then asked her anyway who she gets along with best and Hna Greer said, "Hermana Goimarac!" It was inspired.) Although, I already miss Hna. Francois. We also got along great and it was sad to see her go. 
We have been reminiscing about our adventures in Piribebuy together and pulled out our journals and were like, "Oh yeah, remember that?" So fun. It`s nice to be with an experienced missionary for the first time in 6 months. I have to say we have had the spirit with us since our first hour together, and teach really well together. 

Saturday we had Ester`s baptism! Oh man. I love her so much. She is so strong. It was a great baptism. Hermana Francois came back to see it, and Hermana Pelozo came, too. I had so many comps there. The whole Resquin family came to support her (except her own husband, Arnaldo. He has no idea how he breaks my heart. And Ester`s even more.) And yesterday she came to church and was confirmed. Watching her grow in the gospel has been such a deep joy. She asked me yesterday for a tithing slip, which makes me know she is really living the gospel and trying. She is one of my best friends I feel like. A precious convert I want to stay in touch with my whole life. 

We had four investigators in church yesterday, even with all this hubub. Christian and his Energizer-bunny kids came again! And a guy named Miguel Angel from Chile who was walking by the church and felt a need to come, because his grandma used to go with him when he was little. We taught him after church and he wants to get baptized. Wow!  Okay!

This whole week was Semana Santa (Holy Week). Literally it was Holy Monday, Holy Tuesday, etc. I`ve never lived in such a Catholic place on Easter. However, Easter Sunday isn`t as big of a deal as Holy Friday, when they recognize the crucifixion. Yesterday for Easter was nothing out of an ordinary Sunday. Except for the fact that I didn`t mess up very much while playing the hymns for sacrament meeting. 
However, whether Paraguay recognizes Christ`s resurrection or not, I do. In preparing for the Easter activity we did, I have been thinking of the miracles Christ did and how they apply to me. Christ truly wants us to seek Him, so we can reap His blessings. For instance, Christ cast the devils out of the man who cried day and night and cut himself with stones. He cast them out because the man ran to him and worshipped Him. If I run and worship Him, He can cast the devils out of me, too. The bad habits, the weakness, the shortcomings. Christ said to the lifeless daughter of Jairus, "Talitha Cumi" which is "Damsel, I say unto thee, arise." He can raise me from my dead dreams and give my life hope again. He can raise me from discouragement or sin, if I just go to Him in faith as Jairus did.  He blessed 2 fishes and 5 loaves of bread to feed 5000 men. He can make my meager contributions sufficient, too, if I just put all I have in His hands. He made regular fishermen into apostles who became powerful fishers of men. He can help me do things that I don`t think I can do if I just leave my nets--my comforts and preferences and guilty pleasures--and follow Him. He calmed winds and waves and storms that seemed life-threatening. No matter how dire my storm seems, He can calm it if I just GO to Him. "Draw near unto me, and I will draw near unto you," he says. And I am SO ETERNALLY GRATEFUL I am a missionary who gets to spend her days inviting people to GO to Him, and receive His miraculous help through faith and repentance and baptism. 

I was going to say that I`m writing this from the hospital, sick with dengue fever, as an April Fools joke, but I just don`t have the heart. The truth is I am so content, so filled. I am cherishing every moment and have no regrets nor yearnings to go home. I wake up and am just deeply filled with gratitude for the little things, like to have another day of life and another day on my mission, for my health, for a knowledge of prophets who guide us today. They`re little things that make our lives so rich. The gratitude of the Paraguayan people has rubbed off on me. They are always so thankful for the little things, for the daily bread and for good health. A grateful heart really does make life 100% better. 

And is if I weren`t blessed enough, we get to go to the temple on Wednesday! It is the first time I have been in a YEAR. I am so very excited. And on top of that, it`s conference weekend this week, which is as exciting as Christmas! Or even more exciting. Two days of pure doctrine from a prophet and 12 apostles. Wow. 

I love you with all my heart. I am so thankful for the great past I`ve had and for the bright future we all face. I am so thankful for our Savior, Jesus Christ, who makes our future bright. 

Your very grateful Sister Missionary,
Hermana Faith Goimarac
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Top:  John the Baptist and other Bible characters.  
Bottom:  Our sign advertising the event.
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Ester and the Resquin family at her baptism.
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This is my beautiful sister Hope, and I a year ago at last April`s general conference. At this point I had no idea I would be saying goodbye to her for over 2 1/2 years. But how worth it is to bring precious souls to Christ.  She leaves June 5 for Sao Paulo, Brazil, four months before I return from Paraguay.

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