Monday, June 24, 2013

"The heart and soul of the gospel is love. All the rest is commentary." --Stephen Robinson

Querida Familia Mia,
Have you ever been so happy you have had to cry? I have. That is pure happiness, not just pleasure. It happened a couple of times to me yesterday, when I felt love for so many things and so much gratitude and the Spirit and happiness all at once, and my heart swells and my throat gets stuck, and my lips quiver as I bear my testimony, and tears fill my eyes. I don`t mean to be mushy or poetic, it`s just how it is. I AM SO THANKFUL TO BE A MISSIONARY. 

I absolutely loved the Work of Salvation broadcast. I know myself well enough to know that if I wasn`t on a mission right now I would have watched the broadcast last night with tears of regret in my eyes. But thankfully, I AM A MISSIONARY right now and was crying with happiness and love for the greatest work on earth. Hope....I told everyone present we had to look for my sister and we all looked....bummer we didn`t see you but I heard your beautiful voice ringing through. :)  I have to say, Hna. Macahuachi and I were expecting some huge announcement--like the opening of China or that sisters will now serve missions for two years or something. But the changes to make more use of the internet to share the gospel will hardly affect us, I think. Anyway, I loved the videos. I have always said that I want to be a returned missionary mom, but yesterday, seeing that video of the family that shared the gospel put my heart running over. I felt God telling me that I can have a family like that, that I need to prepare my children to share the gospel. I don`t want to be a return-missionary mom, but a missionary-mom. It is truly my greatest desire (I think I would consider myself a success if my son reads Preach My Gospel on his i-pad while brushing his teeth like the boy in the video...haha). Then when they had the interview with Sister Niell Marriot and she said she has 11 children, a member of the stake presidency sitting behind me tapped me on the shoulder and said, "Have you thought of having 11 children?!" as a joke, and I nodded my head resolutely, and he got a kick out of my response. But really. 

Right after the broadcast we went with Leonela and Javier to a family that just moved near to us. I contacted the mom, Susan, in a bus a couple months ago, but didn`t understand where she lives to go visit her. A couple weeks ago she passed us while we were walking and had her husband stop the car, and poked her head out and said, "Hermanas! You still haven`t visited me!" and we got her phone number and taught her and her daughters on Wednesday. She is very prepared.  She quit working to raise her three daughters at home, she reads the Bible every day and used to go to a Universal church but felt like it wasn`t doing anything for her, and now doesn`t go to any church because she doesn`t know which to try. We went back last night to teach her with her husband, and he`s a great guy, too, open to the truth. He said, "Why do you guys do what you do? What`s your purpose? What are you hoping to get out of this? A lot of people here, I have to tell you, think you`re here as spies directed by satellite and that you gain money for what you do and after two years you can go back and retire." We`re well-aware of such assumptions. The other big theory is that we`re here to steal their "sweet water." Little do they know their water gives us diarrhea. Ha. Anyway, after joking around a little we explained the significance of the gospel to us. Then, I felt pure revelation coming to my lips. I don`t know that I`ve ever said anything as heart-felt and sincere and straight from my soul as I did then. I said, "Carlos, when I think of what the Savior, Jesus Christ, has done for me....the hope, and the forgiveness, and the comfort, and direction....serving a mission for Him isn`t anything. It`s the least I can do." I felt the spirit so strongly. I don`t know if he did, but I felt such PURE LOVE for God fill me up. I have always been grateful for Jesus Christ, but this was not just a feeling of gratitude for Him, but sincere love. Those moments in Primary and family home evenings, the moments at girls camp and the trek and EFY, the moments in Jerusalem and the moments on my mission when I have learned of Jesus Christ and His atonement all gathered together and I felt such a relationship with my Savior, Jesus Christ. Not for the first time, but it was one of the strongest moments. 
This week we did two divisions, one I was with Hna. Tomco from Utah here in Isla Bogado. She said, "I wish we had divisions for a week so I could be your companion for longer." That made me feel good (it`s probably just because I speak English, though...ha). Then I went to Piribebuy with Hna. Petien! They had branch night, by coincidence again (it`s just a night when the chapel is open and the members can come to play soccer and get together) and tons actually came! I got to see the dear Velazquez family, and Juan Riveros, and Carlos and Olga Meza, and Primitiva and Santiago and Sonia---my investigators! Hna Greer, Santiago told me to tell you hello and that you`re very special and "te quiero." He seems very converted. I wish I had my camera to send pics. We took a branch picture that is precious. I felt very loved, going back. It`s been such a blessing to re-visit both my old areas. Sonia is the new primary president and just flourishing. 
This week the poverty has been getting to me like never before. It`s gotten very, very cold. Maybe I`m just a baby but it was 8 degrees C on Saturday, and it has been drizzling rain non-stop for like 5 days (thanks for the boots, Hermana Greer! I`m sharing them with Hna. Macahuachi because hers are also holey..haha). I`m living in my favorite brown coat, sleeping in it too because I only have one blanket. I feel like you did mom and dad, sleeping on the trampoline and camping. Except, camping in my own house. And our shower has surprise bursts of cold water. But this is everything but a complaint. I have never been so grateful for a blanket and a luke-warm shower. The other day we visited the Zayas family, on a very cold day, and the little children were all in flip flops or with NO SHOES AT ALL. They had thin little sweat pants on. My heart just about broke. I was shivering with my three pairs of socks and boots on. And Diego, an former investigator who lives with them, said he couldn`t listen to us because he had to take a shower. And indeed he did, he went to the hose and filled up a bucket and went behind the house. I`m sure he would have heated up the water over their fire but they were heating up water for the kids to take baths, and the charcoal they use for fires is like a dollar a they can`t afford to heat everyone`s water. I think of Lizmabel and Luis, some former investigators in Piribebuy I got to see, who still live in a room as big as our upstairs bathroom at home, or of Angy--a contact we visited who lives in a tiny room with her 9-year-old son and shares a bed with him because her husband left her a year ago with NOTHING, or Maria Elena and her 5 kids who also live in a wooden, breezy shack the size of our old pantry and none of her kids know how to read even though they`re teenagers, or Carmen--a single mom member who feeds us on Wednesdays even though she barely has enough for the pan de cada dia (daily bread) for her own kids. The poverty is wearing me down. I can hardly bear to see it. No one is prepared for the cold. If it were to snow here so many would die. I dedicated my hour of personal study the other day to researching poverty in the scriptures, because surely God knows how to help them. I learned a lot and have no time to share, but I covenanted with God to help the poor my whole life. Who are we to say they don`t deserve a hand-out when God gives us so many things that we do not deserve? (Mosiah 4) The question is how do we help them without generating beggers....without making them dependant on help? Anyway, I have a lot to learn but I am determined and excited to improve poverty situations until the day I die. 

I liked what you said mom last week, about the blessings of the gospel, and how they`re not always blessings of a good job, or money, or success, but more like the spirit, forgiveness, the scriptures, etc. I was reading Jesus the Christ in chap. 17 this morning on the Sermon on the Mount and it says the Beatitudes show us what it really means to be blessed. So many here think that blessings mean daily bread, work, and good health. But there are so many things that, according to God are of much more worth. After this life,  daily bread, work and health don`t matter. But the blessings that are promised in the Beautitudes are of eternal value. I am so thankful for the eternal blessings we recieve from the restored gospel of Jesus Christ. I bear you my testimony that we are truly in His Church, that obedience to His gospel brings happiness, and that no effort to be obedient or serve one another is EVER in vain. In the name of Jesus Christ, amen. 

Love Your Sister Missionary,
Sister Faith Goimarac

Monday, June 17, 2013

A Dear Friend Loveth at all Times -- Proverbs 17:17 (Photo at end.)

Dearest Family,
Well, now I love Mondays twice as much because I`m going to get Hope`s awesome emails. An elder next to me at the internet place says there are more sisters than elders at the MTC right now. Crazy. What fun it would be to be there with such an army of missionaries. It is SUCH an exciting time to be a member of the church, and a missionary on top of that. We sometimes forget there`s an army of missionaries out there, because we`re kind of alone out here sometimes. We talk to people who have never heard of the church sometimes (although the grand majority have heard of the church down here by Asuncion). Anyway, your email Hope had me  so happy and almost wishing I could go to the MTC again and go on another mission right after I finish this one. If I didn`t miss dating so much I totally would do that, no questions asked. But the next best thing would be to work at the MTC, and I certainly hope I can!
The Lord truly is hastening His work, and I, like you, Hope, am SO overjoyed to be a part of it, especially with my best friend and sister Hope! It is a huge responsibility to be a missionary. I know God is going to hold me accountable for a lot more things, all because I decided to go on a mission. But, whom the Lord calls, He qualifies. Thank goodness. 
Anyway, I am stoked to look for you in the broadcast next Sunday, Hope! I am going to pop if you get put on the screen. And if I pop, mom is going to explode with (grateful) pride. Haha. You need to drink more water on Mondays mom, to make up for the crying you`re doing at the computer screen. 
Dad! I forgot to say Happy Fathers day last Monday because I didn`t realize  it was Fathers Day already! Yesterday I spoke in church and my topic was baptism. I said, "En este dia del padre, he estado pensando en mi propio papa. Para mi, el es el máximo. El me bautizò hace 14 anos...." (translation: This Father`s day, I have been thinking about my own dad. For me, he is the best there is. He baptized me 14  years ago.) And I continued about how baptism is a gift from our loving Heavenly Father, part of our journey home to Him.  Dad, I am much more grateful for you than ever before. I think I said this last year in my email home, but I`ll say it again. There are very few good men in the world. Paraguay has made me well aware of that. I feel very blessed to have been born to one of the few  gems out there. Thank you for loving the Lord over all things, for loving mom and for loving us. It is the greatest accomplishment I think a man can have; loving the Lord and his wife and family.
So! I got to go to Concepcion! Oh it was such a rewarding trip. One of the best days of my entire mission! First thing in the morning as we walked to the zone meeting, we saw Cresencio sitting by a bus stop, our convert who quit chewing tobacco. He was so happy to see us (I was with Hna. Wood who also began her mission in Concepcion soon after I left) and proudly told us he goes to church every week. We presented at the zone meeting, then we had lunch with some members, then we saw the Meza family! It was Nila`s 17th birthday that day and she was overly ecstatic to see us. You never really know if people are going to remember you or not, you know, or  if they will be as happy to see you as you are to see them. But for the Meza family, it`s not like that. We are like family, and it was like we hadn`t been apart for a year.  The sad thing is Juan Angel came driving up on his moto, and he said, "Goimarac! Can it be?!" and was very happy and wanted to hug me. Nila said, "He`s so drunk," and it was clear he was. He`s much worse than he was when I knew him.
We went to Jessica`s house (the other Meza daughter who got baptized with us).  She has recently moved into a rented room with her little daugther just to get away from her dad, Juan Angel. Mercedes and Milene were also there and are as precious as ever! Nila, Mercedes and Milene always go to church and love it. Nila  is in the YW presidency and is planning on a mission and everything. Jessica and her mom Gladys  don`t seem to be quite as active.   Gladys was at work so we couldn`t see her, but we said we would pass by the chapel later that night for  branch night and see her then.
At night we did pass by and Gladys hugged me so tightly and for so long, and then I saw tears in her eyes. She said, "You`ll never know how happy I am to see you." We sat in front of the chapel and talked and talked. She has the hardest life and all because of her husband (was I not just talking about  the men here?!). Juan Angel  comes home drunk and talks and talks about stupid, absurd things and makes it so Gladys can`t sleep (they live in a one room house pretty much) and if she tries to get him to be quiet he gets violent, and she especially doesn`t want him to get  violent in front of the kids.  So she and her daughters go the Jessica`s rented room down the street, to all sleep in her one little bed. When she doesn`t do that she doesn`t sleep at all, and walks to her work dizzy from having no sleep. One night Juan Angel almost killed his baby granddaughter with a machete in his  drunken wrecklessness, but Glady`s brother stopped him just in time. He was sent to jail for a week for that. It is just a heart breaking disaster and Gladys doesn`t know what to do. She`s tried everything. What I would do to just take them to the states with me and let them be part of my family. To give Nila a good education and righteous husband. That girl is going places, she`s already studying English a lot. 
I was with Hna. Amado (brand new from Guatemala a week ago)  in Concepcion, looking for new investigators with her.  It was night time and we were walking towards the terminal. Someone called out, "Goimarac! Goimarac!" It was Leida! Our old investigator who almost got baptized but didn`t. She has moved and no one knew it. We had a great chat and she wants to get baptized.  It was such a miracle she saw me, honestly. Then right after that an old investigator named Carlos saw me in the street, and we made an appointment for the sisters to visit him again.  I truly feel like it was a tender mercy I got to be there to help the new sisters find my old investigators. 
Here is a pic of Hna. Macahuachi and me right before we came to the cyber so you can see her. I love being her comp. She really tries to learn English and it`s fun helping her.  
I love you a ton and always wait with great anxiety to hear from you. I love my mission and I love the Lord, and I`ve had several great spiritual experiences this week but just used my internet time to write Pres a  letter, since he`s leaving in two weeks. Anyone wanting to read an uplifting, funny, and inspiring missionary letter should just read my sister Hope`s letters! :)
 One thing I loved this week was finding Mosiah 16:5. The atonement is for those who repent. It is in vain for those who do not. Let`s repent. 
Your Sister Missionary,
Sister Faith Goimarac I

Monday, June 10, 2013

"People who don't believe in God don't look up enough." --Me (Photos at end.)

Dear Family,
I was anxiously waiting to hear about the departure of Hope. I had a dream that I came home from my mission (I`ve been having them like every night...dang it. Little influences from the devil trying to take away my focus!) and Hope was there. And after two hours I said, "Wait! Why aren`t you on your mission?!" And she said, "I postponed so I could see you first!" So, I am SO happy to see that she made it into the MTC. Seeing those pictures made me think back to the same curb and the same crying Matthew, Katie, and Melanie and the same tight hug mom and dad gave me as I made that difficult goodbye. Gah. Hardest day of the mission. 
I had a similar goodbye to make the same day to Hna. Greer. We all miss her. But now I am with Hna. Macahuachi, who is as fun and cool as her name! I love saying her name. She is from Peru and has one less change than me, so one year in the mission. Mom, I just have one new companion. The other sister training leaders who were called have their own area. So now we are over half the sisters in the mission, and them the other half. Somos un equipo (We are a team). Es mejor asi porque hay muchisimas hermanas ahora (It's better like this becaue we have so many sister missionaries now). 
On Tuesday Hna. Greer and I went to spend the night in the mission nurse`s home with 6 brand new sisters, because the nurse was traveling and couldn't be there with them. So we were there to take care of the new hermanas for the night before they met their trainers. Five are from the U.S. It was fun to get to know them and talk in english together. This change, ten new sisters came and 1 elder. As Elastigirl says in The Incredibles, "C`mon girls, are we going to leave the saving the world to the men?.....I don`t think so." Yeah. :)  There are now 42 sisters in the mission. When I came, there were 14. 

Today we woke up at 5:30 and went to the office for the monthly mission leadership council. We gave a presentation on how learning a new language should be a blessing, and not a barrier. We did a little skit using terrible spanish that showed how it can cause frustration in a companionship; it was funny. I was saying that I felt "embarazada" to speak and my companion was like, "What?" and we did a few plays on words like that. You`ll only get this if you know Spanish. Anyway. It was a great meeting. I feel very thankful to be able to attend such meetings. It`s good public speaking practice to present in Spanish to a room of zone leaders.  ("Embarazada" sounds like it would mean "embarrassed," but it really means "pregnant."  It's a common Spanish mistake that new speakers make.)
Tomorrow I am getting on an overnight bus to Concepcion to present at a zone meeting and then do a division with the sisters there! I get to see the dear Meza family and several other people we taught and dear Presidente Gomez, and so many more! I am so excited! It is such a blessing to get to travel the whole country of Paraguay to do divisions. 
I am also excited for the June 23rd big worldwide missionary broadcast. Hopefully we can see it. 
Yesterday Leoncio`s family went to church for the second time and loved it, again! It is such a joy to go to church and see the Benitez family, Analia, Gabriel (in his cute little new white shirt and Sunday pants), Rossana, and our other converts parcipating and being active. I could definitely sit there and think of all the people we invited that didn`t come, but I prefer to just focus on the progress when I write letters.....haha. Analia is progressing so much. She went to the temple to do baptisms on Saturday and gave the closing prayer in Sacrament Meeting yesterday, and is getting her patriarchal blessing soon. I keep pestering the bishop to give our converts callings but nothing is happening. 

Today we were singing at the end of our leadership council, I just KNOW this is the Lord`s work, the Lord`s Church.  I want so badly to return to live with God again. I want to be with my family forever. I want to go to the Celestial Kingdom. I want to wear the victor`s crown. But I am so far from perfect, so far from deserving that. It`s depressing and hopeless, to think that can never be ours....until we remember Jesus Christ. I am so thankful that with Him it truly IS possible. I, a sinner, CAN repent and receive forgiveness and deserve salvation! If I follow God and give my all, Christ`s atonement can allow me to live in His presence. Oh, it is so marvelous. It is indescribably beautiful. I have learned a lot about the principles of faith and repentance on my mission. I will forever work to spread the knowledge of the gospel of my dear Savior who I love so much, so that more of my brothers and sisters can gain their own salvation.  I am so thankful to wear His name on my shoulder for 18 months. Hope, it`s the best 18 months of your life thus far. 

I love you each so very much. Remember to look up. Look up at the beautiful stars at night and look up when you need an answer. 
Your Sister Missionary,
Sister Goimarac I

 Photos: Karen and us on Hna. Greer`s last day.
 Hermana Greer and me.
 More "last day" pictures.
Me and Haedi, Ester`s little girl.

Monday, June 3, 2013

"And offer your whole souls as an offering unto Him." Omni 1:26‏ (Photos at end)

Dearest Family, 
So much to say and less time than ever! Today is my comp`s last preparation day of her mission, she leaves on Thursday. We are still waiting for calls about changes. I`ve been in Isla Bogado for 5 months, but if I leave they would have to whitewash the area. I sincerely hope I stay so I can take care of our converts. I love this ward. It`s going to be a struggle to get new investigators progressing because we have recently baptized all of them, but...forever onward and upward! There are always prepared people. But I`m going to miss Hermana Greer a lot. We are super good friends. I`ll let you know  who my new companion is next week. 

I was thinking about you so much on Saturday! What a beautiful wedding! You are so classy. I love my family so much it hurts. Just seeing that beautiful picture of you at the Sedona ward lawn...I just really love you. Know that. Dad, you are so inspired. Mom, the cake looks beautiful. You are all so sharp and attractive. Tom, I miss you! Write me! Carrie, your family is so precious! Elayne is so big!!

On Tuesday we had a very powerful fireside with Elder Richard J Maynes from the presidency of the Seventy. We all got to shake his hand. I learned a lot and felt the spirit so STRONGLY. Right after the fireside I went to an area called Ysapy and did a division with Hna Cortes from Colombia. She doesn`have any support from her family but left on a mission anyway. Amazing. Then the next day I came home and Hna. Greer went to Juan de Salazar and sweet Hermana Nielsen who just got here 6 weeks ago came to our area and I worked with her for a day. She`s from Colorado and went to BYU-Idaho. She loves to eat healthy and run and we had a great time together.

On Friday we had to go to the office for Hna. Greer`s final interview. On Saturday we had the baptism of Gabriel, he`s 8 years old. He has been going to church for months with his cousin Ronni but we haven`t wanted to let him get baptized without supportive adults who will help him stay active. His mom is investigating slowly, and his dad isn`t in the picture. But with his aunt Rossana and his cousin Ronni who are members, we felt he has support to stay active. He has watched all his little friends get baptized and was SO happy when he finally could. Watching him walk into the baptismal font in his cute little white jumpsuit, he gave a little gasp because of the cold water but then just burst into the biggest smile. He is such a cutie. 
We have been working with a less active guy, Leoncio, and his wife (well, unmarried) and three daughters. We have only visited with him once, but with his family twice. We have passed by their house probably 7 or 8 times and they always have some excuse or are not home or don`t come to the door. We flat out caught them lying once. Anyway, on Sunday morning we made one last attempt to get them to church and went to their house at about 7:45 (church starts at 8:30). Leoncio was there and we were like, "Let`s go to church!" he said he got home late the night before..had all these excuses. His daughter was like, "Let`s just go dad!." He got up, went out the front door and climbed a tree, came down with a parrot in his hand and put it in a cage, then got ready to go. We walked to the bus stop with him and his wife and three girls and we were all so happy! We could tell he loved being back at church. And the rest of his family are potential converts.
We have also been working with Miriam Gimenez, who is less active, and her daughter Milagros who is DYING to get baptized, but Miriam has not been to church even once since I`ve been here. We were out of ideas of what we can say and do to help her so that her daughter can enjoy the blessings of going to church. But for the past week we didn`t see them at all. Then yesterday they surprised us and showed up at church! It was the best surprise ever! So maybe you have to just drop people to make them miss you...then they step up and do their part. 

Pati Perez, a 19 year old member who I encouraged to go on a mission, received her mission call this week and is going to Buenos Aires South! We are so excited for her! 
The Benitez family is super active in the church already. Miriam`s uncle died on Monday, and she had to go to Argentina all week, but got home just in time to go to church yesterday. Her husband said, "She`s really different, because she would have reacted very differently about a death before. But now she`s calm and has a different perspective. The church has already changed her a lot." Yep, it tends to do that. 
Also, the sister missionaries from Piribebuy called us yesterday and said, "Someone wants to talk to you." They handed the phone to somebody, and it was Santiago, an investigator Hermana Greer and I worked with a TON in Piribebuy who never got baptized with us. He was calling us at his baptism! He had been investigating the church for 7 YEARS. We remember crying in lessons with him because he knew the church was true and that he should get baptized but had some mysterious doubt or worry we could NOT figure out. We talked to the hermanas today and they said his baptism was great and all the members were there because he has a ton of friends in the branch, considering he`s been going to church off and on for 7 years. They also said Sonya, another lady I found and taught who got baptized is the new primary president and is helping a lot. So much progress in Piribebuy!

Anyway, what do I say to my DEAR SISTER HOPE!? This is the last email I write to you as a non-missionary! Let me just say that being a missionary is so much better than your life now. In your words, YOU MAKE MY HEART SING. I am so excited for you and for this life-changing week. I am in the process of writing you a deeper letter by hand that I`m sending to the mission home in Brazil. So do you know how long you will be in Provo? Don`t get BYU sick. Just imagine the MTC is far, far away from Provo. 
As some comic relief to a serious time, but also very sincerely, I would like to promise you that I will write you every single week of your mission through this song by Michael Mclean. I invite everyone who knows a precious sister missionary angel leaving this week to make a similar promise to keep in touch!
I might lose my job and 50 bucks, just when my rent is due. 
I might lose control and punch my boss, and hope he doesn`t sue.
I might lose a million things or more, before this life is through.
Might lose a leg and need a crutch, but I`ll never lose touch with you. 
I might lose my watch and sense of time, where I need to be.
I might lose the stamp I need to mail my card across the sea.
And I might even lose a sock, when I do laundry,
But socks and stamps don`t cost too much, so you`ll never lose touch with me.
But there is One who loves us more, than we can comprehend.
And though our world is tempest-tossed, don`t need to feel lost my friend.
Love never ends, we don`t need to feel lost, we don`t need to feel lost, my friend.
Hope, I love you more than I can say and for that I am so happy you are going on a mission. Everything God does is to make us fit to live with Him. He wants to be with us, but we have to be like Him to be with Him. I know He has called you on  mission to not only make YOU more fit for the kingdom, but be His hands to help others be more fit, too. It is truly the best decision I have made in my life, after the decision to get baptized. I am scared to think of the person I would be if I didn`t go on a mission. I would still be worthy and active in the church, I think. But I truly see the world differently now. I love the Lord with a deeper love and know Him better. I understand what is truly important in life in a way that I didn`t profoundly internalize before. Sharing the gospel is my passion now, and it used to be a big fear. I have no doubt whatsoever that you will be a great missionary, Hope. Heavenly Father will be with you every moment, even when you don`t recognize it. I wish I could give you a big hug and cast a magic wand over you to take away all nervousness and fear. You don`t need to feel alone or lost or nervous, my friend. 
Your Sister Missionary,
Sister Goimarac I
Let me know if the pictures come through.
P.S. I didnt`have time to tell you that yesterday a moto crashed into the one in front of him and we had to leap out of the way to not be in the crash, then we helped the guy get the moto off of him. And the day before I got bit by a dog while trying to get a different dog away from me! It was a tiny bite, but I`m proud of it. :) 

Lord, I Give Thee My Heart, I Give Thee My Soul (Photos at end)

Dear Family, 
I was thinking all day about you yesterday, Hope, and how your farewell talk was. How I wish I could have been there. I am so happy for you I could just pop. I tell everyone my sister is going on a mission to Brazil, it helps them understand that it`s a worldwide church. What did you talk about? And I`m so impressed you hiked (and jogged!) the Grand Canyon! You and dad are so fit! Ready to do it again in October with me, dad? :) By the way, I think my return date was changed to October 9, so I`ll have plenty of time to spend time with my family before going back to school! Yea!
I`m so glad the ward is having more success in missionary efforts. Prayers and fasts are answered, no? Having sisters in the ward might be helping, too. :) 

Well this week was probably one of the absolute best weeks of my LIFE! I wish I could adequately explain to you the pure joy that fills my heart. I don`t think I`ve ever really been more content or happy in my life. I am so determined to just serve God until the day I die and ever after. Serving God is the passion of my soul. Yes, I want to get married and and I want to have children, I want to work in public health and I want to do lots of things---but I want to do all of that just to serve God. It is truly better to give than receive. Ok, I`ll put some concrete details to my vague-but-overwhelming feelings right now:
We presented at zone conference every day, and had to travel there every morning. It was a week of little sleep. But the presentations went great. My testimony of the Book of Mormon was greatly strengthened as we heard stories of several missionaries who are also new members and were converted through the BOM. The spirit was just so strong and every day on our bus ride home I contacted my little heart out. I talked to everybody with all the enthusiasm my voice could muster. My voice hurt talking so much. I had a lot of great experiences talking to people in buses this week, wish I had time to tell. Anyway, all the traveling gave us a lot less time to teach our investigators, and we had 5 preparing for baptism this saturday. But God helped us a lot and it worked out great.
Pres announced some changes to the mission in zone conf. Right now there are 226 missionaries, but on July 1 the mission is being divided and parts of it are going to a new mission of Posadas Argentina, and other parts (like my dear Piribebuy) are going to the Asuncion South mission. Whoever is in those areas on July 1 will automatically be in that mission for the rest of their mission. I don`t think I`ll be there, though. But there are changes next week so we shall see. Fifty-six of our missionaries will be going to other missions. 
Pres also gave a great presentation about how we need to teach repentance more. It made me think of how I need to do daily repenting myself. I`ve been doing a lot more of it because I realized that I sin a lot more than I realize. Every time I have the chance to do something good and don`t do it....that`s a sin. When I see a chance to help and don`t, when I could share the gospel with someone and don`t, etc. But I`ve been truly trying to repent more and yesterday as I took the sacrament I had the most incredibly clean feeling, as if I was baptized all over again. I know that God is pleased with me. THAT is true peace, knowing your standing before God. I am so thankful for repentance and for the miracle of Christ`s atonement. 
We have been teaching the Benitez family every day and they were so ready for their baptism! Oh, they are so precious and converted! Their baptism was the most beautiful baptism ever. It all worked. Members and invetsigators and friends and family were there. The room was packed and the spirit was there. Miriam and Elias and Paola were so excited and bore their testimonies afterward. Miriam said that all throughout her life Sundays were a disaster, and she dreaded them. As a girl her family always got drunk on Sundays and she felt uncomfortable. As a mom she always cleaned the house and worked on Sunday and felt something was missing. Now, after learning about the Sabbath day she said she can hardly wait until Sunday. She tearfully thanked God for sending two angels to her house (I love it when she says that :), that before her family had a real hunger for something and now they are filled. She said she really believes Joseph Smith was a prophet because it makes so much sense that God calls prophets today. Paola followed and said her only desire is that her dad also get baptized soon. He is the nicest guy. He loves us and loves what we have done for his family. Last night they invited us over for dinner and we just talked and laughed and taught about temples and baptisms for the dead. Miriam was like, "Everything I`ve read in the Bible and wondered about all makes sense!" I didn`t even realize that a font over 12 oxen was in the Bible, but apparently it is. 
Analia was also baptized and bore her testimony that she is so ready to do anything asked of her. It was very tender to see her friend, Pati Perez, crying with the joy of having shared the gospel with her friend and see her gain a testimony. She`s waiting for her mission call, so I`m glad she got a taste of the joy of missionary work before she goes. Analia told everyone present at her baptism to pray and ask God if the church is true. There she was, a member of mere minutues and already inviting others to taste the goodness of the gospel. 

Their confirmations were so beautiful, too. I just loved the problems we had this week. Problems like finding enough baptismal clothes for everyone, and 7 confirmations taking up 20 minutes of sacrament meeting time, filling out a bunch of baptismal records. The ward is also really impressed and is more willing to work with us because they can tell we`re working, too. In RS yesterday, 4 of the 10 sisters present were sisters who have been baptized since I`ve been here in Isla Bogado.I got your packages on Friday, mom and Hope! They couldn`t have come at a better time. I have had no time to take our laundry to get washed and am so sick of all my clothes. Hope, you have such good taste and it all fits great! Thank you from the bottom of my heart for sending me clothes! That was honestly so touching to me and means a ton. I will definitely return the favor when you`re sick of your mission clothes in 14 months. 
Today we went to Asuncion (again!) for a choir practice because Elder Richard G Maynes of the Seventy is coming tomorrow and will speak to us. We are singing a beautiful arrangement of Lord, I Would Follow Thee in Spanish. An RM girl from Arizona who is here doing a public health internship from BYU was also there and it was really fun talking to her. It is going to be another amazing week. On Saturday we also have the baptism of Gabriel and hopefully Karen. 
I feel more blessed than I can express, and that makes me more ready and anxious than ever to give God all I am and have. The joy of giving is truly just 100% times better than receiving. For instance, I bought Ester some Sunday shoes for Mothers day, and I`ve also given her a lot of my sweaters and clothes, and seeing her wear them and like them just makes me SO happy. Seeing her testify to another investigator is so much better than anything else. I am so excited for you, Hope, to taste the incredible happiness of being a sister missionary. It is something you just can`t understand quite yet. I love you with all my heart, and am so excited for your witty Portuguese-mixed-English emails from the best ground you`ll ever walk: the mission!

I love you each so much. Go share the gospel! Pray for an opportunity this week and I promise it will come!

Your Sister Missionary,
Hermana Goimarac

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Above pics: Hna. Greer and Analia and me. Love that girl!
Little Ronaldo Resquin also got baptised, but he`s 8 and his parents are members, so he`s not our convert. But still! Another soul saved!
Paola and me. She loves us so much and I love her so much, and we both just LOVE the church so much!
 Me very happy to have new clothes from my fashionista sister Hope. SO happy. :)
Rossana`s baptism last week. Gabriel is in front, he`s getting baptized next week. Ronni is next to her. He`s the little man behind a lot of our success.
 The Benitez Family Baptism (above and below)

 Today while at the temple, I was taking a picture of Hermana Greer when I fell into the pool.

Carmen and some of her children.  I mentioned her in my last email.  I love her so much!
 Analia and me. 
 Doin' the hair.

Our Zone´s Zone Conference. WERE THE ONLY HERMANAS. That will be changing soon with all the hermanas coming.  I already wrote Kristina Marsh a letter.  When is she getting to the mission again??

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