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
Top: John the Baptist and other Bible characters.
Bottom: Our sign advertising the event.
Ester and the Resquin family at her baptism.
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.