Monday, June 3, 2013

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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