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