Monday, July 29, 2013

"No man can become a citizen of the Kingdom by partial surrender," --James E. Talmage from his book, Jesus the Christ (Photos at end)

Dearest Family,
Well, let´s see what I´ve done for the first time this week, to go with Hope´s theme. In my second-to-last-change, it´s not easy. For the first time I put my weekly baptismal goal as 7, and my monthly goal as 9. Other than that....I´ve mostly done things that I´ve done many, many times. And things I will painfully miss when I am no longer a missionary. But Hope, 59 lessons in a week!? Sheeesh! If I had done that it would for sure be the first!  I´m happy when we get 4 or 5 lessons a day. What´s your secret to time management? I suppose the car would help. Anyway, way to go!
I don´t know how to start explaining to you all that I learned this week about faith, prayer, fasting, God being a God of miracles, how true our living prophet is, how exciting missionary work is, how involved God is in the small details of our lives, how God asks us to meet goals in order to bless more people, how God helps one stay missionary-focused even when she gets distracting mail, how patience is an important virtue to the salvation of souls...
I have a great story about how we are all in the work of salvation together, we all play an important part. Hermana Greer, pay attention. :) On Saturday we went to a baptism of the zone leaders in Palma Loma. The convert´s name is Raquel.  My former companion Hna. Greer contacted her on a bus one Friday at the end of April.  It was a fairly normal contact that she didn´t necessarily remember, nor probably recognize as having just sown an imporant seed in good ground. Little did Hna. Greer realize that this lady had been "praying for angels" in her life, because she had a lot of problems. The next day, Elder Blackmore gave a talk in his ward and raised cain a little bit on how we as members need to open our mouths and share the gospel. A member in his ward, Hermana Moreira, thought to herself that she needed to open her mouth more. So she grabbed some pass along cards from the wall in the church building and while walking home, saw her neighbor whom she didn´t really know, and decided to invite her to learn more about the church. Her neighbor was Raquel. This being Raquel´s second contact with the church in three days, she recognized this as an answer to her prayers and asked if the missionaries could visit her. Yesterday we attended her beautiful baptism and it was a testimony to me that "God does notice us and He does answer our prayers, but it is usually through another person that He meets our needs," as President Kimball said. God answered the prayers of this woman through a missionary who was just trying to be a good missionary, and a member who listened to a talk in sacrament meeting and decided to apply it to her life, neither of whom immediately saw the big picture or saw immediate fruits.  Let the seeds be sown, we really have no idea when or how they will sprout, and then the sower and the reaper shall rejoice together (John 4:36-37)
On Wednesday night Hna. Macfarlane, and Hna Aguero and I were all out together because Hna. Macfarlane was feeling good enough to go out. We hadn´t planned on visiting the Resquin family, but we had met our daily goals already and I felt we should visit them, even though the majority of them are very active now (preparing to be sealed in the temple, and to think when I got here they were super inactive!). We went and found the sons Angel and even Arnaldo (Ester´s husband who avoids us like the plague now!) and they were there with their friend, Alfredo. We talked about the blessings of the temple with their family and congratulated them on their goal to go and be sealed there in August. We know that Angel hangs out with a rough crowd and we´re pretty sure he does drugs. Hna Macfarlane shared her experience, of having gone inactive for several years and doing drugs and smoking and drinking, and then how the Book of Mormon changed her life, and how it was a long road of repentance, but she eventually became temple-worthy. The spirit was so thick. She was very blessed to share all of this very clearly even with her very limited Spanish. Hna. Aguero also shared her testimony, being a fairly recent convert, and I shared mine and my love for the Resquin family. We all testified of Jesus Christ. In a way, it is very exciting being in a three-some instead of just a companionship of two. It was like 1, 2, 3 testimonies! Three people who love you! BAM! Fight that! The gospel is true, and we three witnesses testify and invite you!
Anyway, we left not really expecting much of it because Angel hasn´t been to church in years. But on Sunday, half way through gospel principles, he walks in with his friend Alfredo! As they walked in, I felt the Spirit remind me that that very morning I had prayed for the less actives of this ward. I had prayed that God would touch their hearts and give them a desire to go to church.
Being a missionary, I pray for lots of things and for lots of people. And I don´t always recognize or even see the results of my prayers. I guess sometimes I have even doubted that my prayers make a difference, because it seems that whatever happens would have happened whether I had prayed or not. But this experience, with the impression coming to my mind that Angel going to church was a blessing from my prayer of faith, helped me realize that God is just waiting to bless us, but usually requires us to ask Him first, to exercise faith in Him. The same thing happened on Monday night when I really wanted to get our daily goals and we lacked one lesson with a member present. The only member in the neighborhood is an inactive convert of one year, Sergio, who lives with his nonmember wife. It was our only hope for getting our goals. When he came to the door, he asked if we could come back tomorow. I said, no, and prayed in my heart that he would let us in. He went in to ask his wife if we could visit. As we waited I just prayed in my heart. And he said to come in! I again felt that this was a result of my having prayed. It was like God is trying to teach me that my prayers do make a difference. We taught and his wife asked us to visit her sister Sally the next day, who is a drug addict and very lost in life. We went the next day to visit her, and our visit was an answer to HER prayers. She said that that morning she had been crying and asking God to help her. She is so captivated in her addiction. She felt bad for letting her 5-year-old daughter see her cry. When we showed up and asked to visit with her, she began to cry and told us all of this. We taught her of Jesus Christ and the healing nature of the atonement, and we all cried together. :) She has a long way to go to change her life, but don´t we all.
These experiences made me think of the song by Cherie Call that goes, "There are yeses that our Father can hardly wait to give, and they are packed in every crevice of the lives we live."  We so often just recognize the "no´s" that God gives us, times when our prayers are not answered how we wish they were. The truth is, He gives us SO many yeses, and even the "no´s" are yeses in the end. I know with all my heart that God answers every single prayer, that every time we speak to Him, He listens.
Last Saturday after lunch I decided to fast until lunch the next day, even though I hadn´t previously thought to do that. I fasted to have 6 baptisms this change. We already had the four Estigarribia family set for the 3rd, but I felt we could have more and desperately wanted to find more people to teach. That week we found the aunt of Ramona, Fatima and Junior Escobar and talked to her about her nieces and nephew getting baptized. Actually, before we even brought it up she asked us if we could baptize them or bless them or something, because they were never baptized. It was a very spiritual visit. Within a few days of my fast, we had 7 people with the baptismal date of August 3rd. This Saturday is a white Saturday and we are all so happy. Yesterday I asked these youth how they feel about being baptized, and they just beamed and said they are so happy and wish it was Saturday already.
Christian Morales is also really progressing. He was already baptized in an evangelical church, by immersion, but after learning about the Restoration says that he feels in his heart he must be baptized in the Church of Jesus Christ. He didn´t go to church yesterday but feels really bad. It´s just that his family didn´t have one cent and had no food, so if he didn´t work that Sunday morning they wouldn´t have eaten that day. It broke my heart to hear that. We must help people in temporal ways so it doesn´t interfere with their spirituality and salvation. Anyway, we clapped his house as our last visit one night at like 8:30 at night when it was freeeeeezing cold, and I honestly didn´t think he would come out, but he did. He braved the cold to listen to two little sister missionaries.
Here are some blessings you should all be grateful for this week:
-Heated water in sinks. I forgot about its importance until washing my face was like unto the cold shock of the Titanic hitting a glacier.
-Heated houses. It seemed overrated until getting into bed was like unto slipping into the icy sea after the Titanic hit.
-Living where the people are generally honest. On Tuesday someone stole our cell phone. There went 6 months worth of phone numbers of the members, contacts, and investigators. It´s my fault because I put it in the mesh pocket on the back of my backpack, and while contacting someone I just didn´t feel someone take it. How sneaky. The bishop´s motorcycle was also stolen while he was doing interviews at the church. And if anyone doesn´t deserve that, it´s him, such a saint.
Last night we had another great lesson with the Estigarrbia family. They are so converted because of the Book of Mormon. They have a strong testimony of it already. Yesterday Carlos said that before going to church he wanted to get his family together to pray and read a little bit in the Book of Mormon. He likes to say a prayer and then open the Book of Mormon randomly and read the verse his finger is by, randomly. Yesterday he opened up to Mosiah 26:20-24 which talks about the blessings of baptism. It really made an impression on them.
I am reading the New Testament one more time before the end of my mission, and yesterday the story of the pearl of great price once again drew my attention. The man who found the pearl of great price sold everything to be able to find this pearl of GREAT price. He probably had lots of good pearls, but when he recognized the greatest, it was worth everything. Seekers after truth may find lots of things that are good and desirable, and not find the greatest truth of all, the truth that will save. But, I truly believe that if one seeks persistantly and with real intent, in search of pearls and not imitations, God will lead him to the truth and he shall find. But, it comes with a price and he will have to abandon many of his cherished possessions, perhaps cherished traditions and even acceptance from family or friends. As Hope said, many people don´t want to do that. It´s hard. I am eternally grateful to have been blessed with the pearl of great price in my life, and to have a family who also recognizes the truth. The gospel of Jesus Christ will always be my pearl of greatest price, and I am willing to give all I have and am to live it.
Your sister Missionary,
Sister Faith Goimarac I
1. We printed a bunch of these photos to give to our neighbors with a copy of the Book of Mormon and choc chip cookies and a note saying we are their new neighbors. Very Utah-ish, but inspiration none the less.
2. Angel and Alfredo. This is for you, Hna. Greer!
3. Raquel and her children (future missionaries they say!) at her baptism.
4. In front of our house, a beautiful morning.


Tuesday, July 23, 2013

Publishers of Peace (Photos at end)

Dear Family,

Mom, I just love your enthusiasm for the sisters in the ward. And I am so impressed with all the baptisms coming up in Sedona! That 40 day fast really paid off. I need to suggest it. I will be here for the next 40 days, at least, haha. I`m still in Isla Bogado. I honestly thought I would get transfered because I`ve been here since January, but I`m content. I might just be here half my mission. But we moved houses (closer to the sister who does our laundry and closer to the church! Halleluja!) so it`s kind of like I had transfers. 
But I am now training again! So I`m not a sister training leader anymore. :(  President called me Monday and said he really needed us to train. I am finishing the second half of Hna. Macfarlane`s training; she had a rough start with a difficult companion, so I`m happy to help her. Although, I really wanted another change with dear Hna. Macahuachi. Good things we`re friends for life. 
So much has happened this week, I don`t remember what. Oh, we had to get the rabies shots for Hna. Macfarlane, and after getting 14 (pobrecita!) (poor thing!) she was ordered to stay in bed for 10 days. Gulp.  I would not have that. SO I asked Pres for a local companion and said I would find members to stay with Hna. Macfarlane during the day. We`ve been doing that. Hna. Aguero from a ward nearby who is waiting for her mission call came. She`s great and teaches better than me. She`s great and I like being with her. It`s my first three-some. We are quite a crowd. But I don`t recommend three-somes. Today we waited for 3 HOURS for a rabies shot. After talking to everyone in the waiting room....I realized I have learned lots of patience on my mission but still have a ways to go. But I have seen how the Lord has really helped us to find new people and do lots in the little time we have had to work this week. He is really walking right in front of us I feel, preparing our path. I wish I had time to give examples.
So we moved houses and it was definitely a downgrade, haha. The elders helped us move and tactfully said it is a "Hansel and Gretel house," because it is very simple. It kind of feels like we`re camping all the time because there is no kitchen sink and the doors are all very breezy and we`ve been FREEZING for the past week (it`s 7 degrees again today!). But it was the only house we could find, and really, it`s fine. I`ll send pics someday. The best part is there are goats behind our house and I get to wake up to their beautiful little bleats. Takes me back. :)
Yesterday after church Hna. Aguero stayed home with Hna. Macfarlane and I went out with Leonela. She`s a convert of just 4 years who married the Perez`s son after her mission. She`s like my best friend. We loved being comps for a few hours. It`s a plus that she drove us around in their little car and we didn`t have to walk in the cold. 
On Saturday morning I called Susan to confirm an appointment with them for that night. She said, "Hermanita, I`m walking into my exam right now (she just started law school) but yes! Come later!" So when we went later she mentioned, "When you called this morning I was in line for my exam, and after hanging up the lady next to me said, "Who are you calling 'hermanita'?" and I said, It`s an hermana from the church, a missionary." And the lady said, "Don`t tell me you`re a MORMON?" and Susan said, "Yes I am! But the truth is, it`s called the Church of Jesus Christ. Mormon was just the prophet who wrote in the book of Mormon, which is a book that testifies of Jesus Christ." and Susan pulled her book out and showed it to everyone who was in line for the exam. She asked them what church they go to, and they said, "church of San Blas," "church of Maria," etc. And she said, "Well if you go to the church of San Blas you follow San Blas, but I go to the Church of Jesus Christ because I follow Jesus Christ." I couldn`t believe her courage and how accurately she explained the BOM! I definitely never explained it like that; it`s all from her own studies. They all went to church yesterday and their daughters loved church. After primary their 11 year old daughter Estephanie came up to me and said, "Sister, what is this beautiful feeling here?" :) Children are so good at recognizing the spirit because they`re so pure.
I feel like my prayers and fasts that I`ve done recently to improve the work in this area are really paying off, finally. I have a lot of hope, but sometimes I lack faith in people. People who keep saying they will go to church, and don`t, etc. We are teaching three youth, two sisters and a brother named Ramonita, Fatima and Junior (ages 15, 13 and 11). They live with their aunt who (according to all the neighbors) is not a kind person. They have had a hard life. But they love church. They go all by themselves, for 4 weeks in a row now. 

Also, mom, yes, I leave on October 9. Plan away for our church history trip. In November Emily Armstrong and I want to go to Utah to find housing and I want to apply to work at the MTC, and see some friends there. Hope, I have been thinking of you all week and loved your email. Someday you`ll get the package I sent to Brazil on June the mean time I hope mom keeps sending you dear elders and brownies. 
I don`t have anything spiritually as deep as what you said, Hope. I am out of time but just want to say that the Spirit really works. It leads us and protects us.  I don`t think I`m fully aware of the many things I have been protected from, the many dangers that have not crossed my path because the Lord protected us. I am so thankful for the warmth of the truth of the gospel, keeping me going in this frigid weather. 
In such a distraught world, all I want to be is a peace publisher. That is my goal. And I know the gospel is what brings peace more than anything in the whole world, because it is from the Prince of Peace himself,  not from men. I know the Book of Mormon is true, my testimony of it has tripled on my mission. It is so important and is truly the proof that this is the Lord`s church. 
Have a wonderful week and keep working hard in the work of the Lord. 

Sister Goimarac, I

1. Susan and Carlos and two of their daughters, on Hna. Macahuachi`s last night. 
2. Leonela de Perez and I. She is my favorite!
3. Hna. Aguero, my local comp, and Hna. Macfarlane and I at our favorite P-day lomito arabe restaurant.
4. Elders, elders, elders. How we love them. This is my zone before transers. 
5. Jacklyn and Hernardo in their little house, about as big as it looks. Pray that they can quit smoking. They`re doing great so far. 


Thursday, July 18, 2013

Obedience is the best way to show God we love Him (photos at end)

Dear Family,

Hope, Colorado Springs! How exciting! I can only imagine that you`re a little scared and nervous right now; it`s a lot of change in very little time. I remember being in the airport on my way here, and it was the first time I was in public with my name tag. It felt different but so good. I felt like a real missionary. I bet it was hard to say goodbye to your MTC district.  And you`re probably nervous that you`re going to forget all your Portugese....or mix it up with Spanish. Just know that GOD is WITH YOU. You know. :) I hope you get to Brazil before I go, though. We have to be neighbors for at least a change...I`ll mention that to God and hopefully your visa can speed up. ;)
Hermana Greer (er...should I be calling you Maggie now? How about I just say "best friend"?)  remember that less active, Jacklyn, you found on the collectivo and made me promise to find? We found her! She got baptized 7 years ago actually and got confirmed and never went back to church. She said it`s because one day she found a brand new box of cigarettes in the street and, in a moment of weakness, fell back into smoking (she had smoked since she was 13 but quit for a long time and got baptized) and felt too guilty to go back to church. She and her husband got married and baptized the same day and have four little sons. She and he are only like 27 years old, and she`s so beautiful. And, on Sunday they all went to church!!! We passed by their little shack of a house (she has nothing) and we all walked to church. It was quite a walk but they didn`t have any money to pay for the bus. They seemed to really feel good being back and we`re going to work with the members to help them be active members and get on their feet. They`re about to separate, so hopefully we can help their marriage and help them become a beautiful, eternal family. 
An old investigator, Christian Morales, also came (visiting him was inspiration on my part that I didn`t realize was inspiration until we visited and he said that that very day he had been wondering why we don`t visit him anymore [he wasn`t progressing]). We had a great visit and he went to church, and felt the spirit in priesthood meeting and got personal revelation about how to help his wife! Way to go principle number 5! (Revelation through church attendance!) and two other youth, Fatima and Junior. We had 5 investigators in church just like you did in Sedona!
All during the week Susan and Carlos said they were preparing to go to church. Susan even sewed herself a skirt to wear. On Sunday morning they were not there, and so I called them after the first hour (Sacrament Meeting is last). Susan said Carlos got home at 4 a.m. but they would be there for Sac Mtg. At 10:20 they were not there, and I was praying my heart out as I played the opening hymn on the piano. I was looking at the back door in my peripheral vision even though "Did you Think to Pray" has 3 flats and needs my careful attention. But in the corner of my eye I saw Susan and Carlos walk in, welcomed by Javier and Leonela. Boy did I think to pray, in gratitude! 
Come to find out, their arrival was quite a miracle. They had all piled in their car but it wouldn`t work, the gas tank spurted gas or something...and so they had to go on their motorcycle. But it wouldn`t start. They tried starting it 20 times, they said. So then they decided to go inside, kneel down and pray. At this point it was 10 a.m. They prayed, then went to try their moto, and it started like a charm. Carlos was going to take Susan and their youngest daugther, then come back and pick up his two older daughters. But when
they got to the church it was 10:30 and their moto wouldn`t start again, so their two daughters couldn`t come (they were heart broken). But it was a great faith-strengthening experience for all of us. Yet again, I know that God answers prayers. 
We taught them last night and Carlos and Susan said they both have friends who have seen their Book of Mormon and given them a hard time for it. But Susan said, "I just say, "Listen, I have prayed about this book and I know it`s true." And then her friends stop. She had a dream that a man was showing her the BOM and told her to read certain parts. She woke up and knew she had to read page 354. In Spanish, page 354 is Alma 34 which talks about today being the day of our salvation, and not procrastinating the day of your repentance. What a dream! 
The talent show on Sat was postponed to this Friday because it was pouring rain on Saturday. 
Well, I still haven`t explained the main news of this week. Monday night Pres called and said Hna. Macfarlane had to come to our area for a week because we live close to a hospital that has a rabies shot she needs. She was bit by a dog in my area when she came here for divisions and then again the next day by a dog in her area in Pedro Juan. So Hna Macahuachi had to go to Pedro Juan with her comp and I`ve been with Hna. Macfarlane all week, until changes on Wednesday. We have spent a lot of time waiting in the hospital for her rabies shot, and we saw wheelchairs there with the church name on the back.  Made me so proud!
We should find out about changes any minute. I`m very curious, because I`ve been in Isla Bogado for over 6 months now, but I also want to stay with Hna. Macahuachi. I love her lots. 
Pres McMullin has been calling me a lot to ask what I think about hypothetical changes, because I know almost all the sisters from having done divisions with them.`ll have to wait until next week I guess to know if I will finish my mission here (Isla Bogado will have been half of my mission...) or I have another area for the last two changes. If I go, I will be so sad to not see the Estigarribia family in white. It will be my first complete family of mother, father, and children.
Today we are moving houses. Long story and such a headache. At least all my stuff is packed anyway in case I`m changed. It`s a step down in quality from the house we`re in, but I say it`s good to practice living in poor conditions. 
Yesterday my comp was sick and slept for three hours. It tried my patience, but I was able to update the area book for over an hour, practice Spanish, catch up in my journal, and then I thought about the past week and wrote a quick poem. It`s no Emily Dickinson but I thought I`d share. All the things I mention happened in the past week, pretty much. 
For He will Fulfill All His Promises (Alma 37:17)
More happiness than you have yet tasted, it said.
That`s what my missionary call letter read.
To me this promise seemed hard to believe,
Yet the prophet said deep joy I`d receive.
One might look at my missionary life,
And think it`s not full of joy--but strife.
Talking to everyone, the mean and the nice,
Declaring the gospel in heat or on ice.
Dog bites, mosquitos, and rats in your room,
Slipping in mud while thunder clouds loom,
People who sometimes treat you like pests,
Others who mock the name on your chest.

Sisters and boyfriends get married without you,
And all kinds of news comes in to distract you.
But happiness comes just as was promised,
As one forgets her own will and keeps commandments.
Helping a man say his first prayer,
Clapping a house and asking to share,
Playing the piano in sacrament meeting,
Feeling God`s love while scripture-reading.
Kneeling in prayer with a whole family.
Teaching a lesson in the shade of a tree.
Watching your investigators walk into church,
Seeing the gospel bring an end to their search.
Watching a long-lost member re-activate.
Seeing an atheist his beliefs re-evaluate.
Getting a letter from one of your converts,
Admiring new members in ties and white shirts.

The life of missionary can be difficult, yes.
But the promise of happiness has been put to the test.
And I write you a poem to testify,
This has been the happiest time of my life.

I love you so much and am so eternally grateful for the strong family I was born into. You are my greatest blessing over the gospel itself. 
I testify that Jesus Christ is our Savior.  He is truly everything to me.  He is the Light of my life, and the hope of the world. How I love wearing His name. Let`s go invite others to draw closer to Him!
Your Sister Missionary,
Sister Goimarac I

Well, here are some pictures from about a month ago of my trip to Piribebuy, and of the cold and Hna. Maca and me bundled up. 


Monday, July 8, 2013

Amar es Servir (To love is to serve)

Dearest Family,

Oh happiness, happiness, happiness. It would truly be impossible to be so happy doing something that wasn`t the work of God himself. God is so good! So merciful! So just! I just love His parenting style, which pushes us to be better while also granting us sufficient sucess along the way to keep us motivated. 
Anyway, Hope, I loved your email and know what you mean about the Church film 17 Miracles. I watched it for the first time while on a date right before deciding to go on a mission, and as I sat there in the arms of a great young man, I thought, "I don`t want to be here right now. I want to be out building the kingdom of God like these pioneers. They gave everything for the gospel. The least I can do is go on a mission." It was a turning point. And I know what you mean about your love for Amurica. (I had no idea what you meant by 'Murica for a sec and thought it was a Portugese the way, dad, that country Hope invented as a child was Markeetoo. Remember Hope? Can`t believe that came to my head.) We did absolutely nothing to recognize the fourth this year, but I remember last 4th of July I was brought to tears as we sang the Star Spangled Banner in district meeting. God bless the USA!!!!!
Dad, and Sedona ward, I`m so sorry that baptism fell through. I completely understand your pain, just be really patient! Never give up! Dad, thanks for telling me about your testimony yesterday, I think you are doing a great job as bishop. I can see it from here.  Mom, our mission was split but no new mission was created; some areas went to the south mission and some to the Argentina Posadas mission. My trainee, Hna. Quito, was transfered to the south mission and was very sad. I was not able to bid pres Madariaga goodbye, but we said bye a long time ago at zone conference. I can only imagine how hard it was to leave, yet probably a huge relief as well. I would love to be a mission president`s wife, but it is also an incomprehensible responsibility. 
Last night I came in from a great day of hard work absolutely walking on air with gratitude and bursting with a testimony of the restored gospel, and I collapsed into bed with delightful exhaustion, as Elder Holland says we should. A little update on Susan and Carlos will give this more meaning:
On Tuesday I was on a division (with Hna. Francois! So good to be with her again!) but Hna. Macahuachi taught Susan and Carlos the Plan of Salvation. She said it was good but they were still so undecided and said they didn`t want to set a baptismal date.  They said maybe they will get baptized in 10 or 20 years. Ouch. 
Friday we visited and talked about how we have to do our part to receive answers to prayer. We read Ether 12 and it said faith always precedes the miracle. I told the story of my birth and my first name, and the spirit was definitely felt by all. 
Saturday night we visited with the bishop. It was a fantastic visit but Susan said she couldn`t go to church the next day because she had already committed to help at her daughter`s San Juan activity at school at the same hour. 
Sunday morning Carlos shows up at church! THIS IS A HUGE ACT OF FAITH FOR HIM. He said he doesn`t do things like that, especially not by himself. He claims to be very shy and timid, but to me he seems very relaxed and funny. He`s a lot like you, dad. Humble and quiet but has a hidden sense of humor that comes out when he`s in the comfort of his home with his new friends the missionaries. There was a great testimony meeting and lesson on the Sacrament in gospel principles, but I was a little worried about what Carlos would think because the kids were (as always) wreaking havoc during sacrament meeting and I just really wanted him to feel the spirit. And he did! Everyone reached out to him. It all just worked. This is a great ward. 
Sunday night we couldn`t wait to hear about how he liked church, so we visited again with Javier and Leonela with Carlos and his whole family. We asked him how he felt and if he felt the church is true. He said, "It has to be." We asked Susan and she said she feels it is true, too. Guess what beautiful family has a baptismal date for August 3rd! :) Goes to show that when someone truly wants to know the truth, and they read the BOM and pray and go to church, they get revelation from God. They can feel it. We don`t have to do any convincing. I always tell people, "If this is God`s church, He will tell you." And He always does when someone takes the time to ask. 

We had three other investigators in church, and all of my converts were there too. Ester`s daughter was blessed. Ronni passed the sacrament. Miriam Benitez was sitting next to me and I said, "You should bear your testimony for the first time today!" She said she was really nervous, but in the end she did! Last week she was called as the ward librarian to take care of the hymn books and the Liahona magazine and everything. We haven`t been able to talk to her since about how she felt about it, but I was talking with a different member and this member said what a shame that the bishop didn`t pray about what calling to give her, that she should have had a calling that would help immerse her in the doctrine and teach or something. I kind of thought, "Yeah, what a shame. She should have gotten a teaching calling but we have to respect the bishop." Well, what do you know but Miriam gets up yesterday and says, "When the sister missionaries told me I would be getting a calling I was really nervous. I said to God, 'If I have to teach a class or something I just don`t know if I will go to church, I don`t think I can do that, God.  I will clean your house or whatever, but I don`t have the courage to stand up yet in front of people.' And when the bishop called me to be the librarian he said he had prayed a lot to know what calling to give me, and I went home and cried and thanked the Lord. I know that God exists and he knows us. And I know the bishop is called of God." 
What a beautiful testimony, no? Always respect those called of God. As Hope said, calls are not just made by someone saying, "Oh, there`s space here." Hope, you can trust that God will send you where you should be. If He knows new converts in Paraguay should be called as librarians, He knows where His missionaries need to be to touch hearts prepared for them. 

On Thursday we had a Meet-The-New-President meeting. I admire his whole family a lot. They all spoke and introduced themselves.  It was a great time. Both President McMullin and Pres Madariaga met their future wives right before their wives went on missions, and faithfully waited and wrote to them the whole time. Their little boy who is 7 gave a talk that Elder Armstrong (AP) translated into Spanish for him. He talked about how he loves soccer and how life is like a soccer game (what I always tell the Paraguayans!), but that even if we score a million points, we only win because of Christ. I found myself with tears rolling down my cheeks (I am much more emotional after being a missionary for 15 months...don`t know why. I hardly ever cried before). If I have a 7 year old child who understands the atonement that well, I will be very filled. Today we had another leadership council with them and we hermana leaders went to Burger King across the street (never fear, I got a wrap and probably consumed more lettuce in a BK meal than I`ve had in months) with Hermana McMullin to talk about how to help the hermanas in the mission. SO MUCH TO DO. And I love it so very, very much. I`m probably more content in my life right now than I will be in a long time. If God asked me to serve another 6 months I would be even more content. 
Oh! Hermana Greer, you`ll love this. I got a call from an unknown number this week and it was Marian from Piribebuy! She asked when I was leaving the country, and I said Octubre, and she said, "Oh good, you`ll be here for the wedding then!" She and Jorge are planning on getting married on Saturday and then she and Steven (just turned 8) will get baptized!

I know I had a million other things I wanted to say but I can`t think of it right now. Next week I shall know about changes, if I stay or if I go from Isla Bogado. I`ve been in Isla Bogado for 6 months but with the Estigarribia family progressing like this, I hope I don`t go. If I stay though I will have been here for half my mission. 
We are having a talent show on Saturday and Carlos volunteered that his three little daugters dance in it. Cute, huh? It`s like pulling teeth to put on a good activity but we are pulling teeth, anyway. The Kingdom of God or nothing!! They will thank us in the end.
I just can`t say enough how thankful I am for the gospel. Seeing so many people live without it makes me wonder how I would be without it. It scares me. I am so thankful for the bright lights of sister missionaries that are dotting the horizon of the world. Carry on, sisters! May your light so shine before men that they may glorify our Father which is in Heaven! Share the gospel this week! I love you all so much!
Your Sister Missionary,
Sister Goimarac, I

Monday, July 1, 2013

I cannot speak of the Restoration in tempered tones.

Dear Family,
You have a sister missionary in the ward named Sister Probeyahn? She`s apparently brand new? Sister Greer told me she is the cousin of her friend Max. What a small world. I am so happy the work is progressing so much in Sedona! I know there is no such place as a place where there are not people prepared for the gospel.
Speaking of missionaries in the ward and Sister Larson`s leaving, I have compiled a little list of
How to Spoil the Missionaries in your Ward
1. Give them references. Tell them to visit your friends, your co-workers, your coach, your neighbors, anybody you know who is sick or going through a hard time. We are here to help but don`t always know who needs help. 
2. Visit your friends with them! Help them have lessons with members! And in your visit, testify! Be friends with everyone they teach. Offer to pick up investigators for church. Invite them over to your house for dinner. Thank the missionaries for letting you do visits with them. Ask them when you can go out again!
3. Give missionaries office supplies. Post-it notes, pencils, tape, stickers, paper. 
4. Whenever they come by your house, offer them food. Hot chocolate, fruit, whatever you have on hand. Send them home with food, too. Ask them what they want to eat (or don`t want to eat) when you invite them over for dinner.
5. Add them on facebook (for when they go home) and be friends their whole lives.
6. Take care of them when they`re sick. Their moms are far away and sometimes their companions are clueless. 
7. Go on splits with them! They can double their effectiveness if they can each go out with a member!
8. If you`re a bishop or leader in the ward go out with them all the time!
9. If they don`t have a car, give them rides! They will love you and they will save time, enabling them to teach more people the good news!
10. Invite them over for a special dinner when they leave your area.  Take pictures.  Write them a letter of encouragement.
Anyway....those are a few things members have done for me that I have been touched by. When I go home I fully plan on spoiling the sisters in the Sedona ward rotten. Get ready to have 20 lessons-with-member a week, sisters! :)

What a BUSY week we had. We had to do a division in Pedro Juan, which is in the opposite end of the country. Hna. Macahuachi began her mission there, so she went and I stayed and Hna. Macfarlane came here with me for two days. She is great and we had a good time, despite her getting bit deeply by the awful dog on our corner. I felt so bad. We have twice asked the owner to tie it up and he still hasn`t. I usually walk by it with a big stick in  my hand or a rock, and it`s usually fine. But this day it just ran up to her and bit her before we could do a thing. Highlight of the division. We finished that division on Friday morning, and after lunch and weekly planning had to do another in San was an emergency. I went to San Lorenzo with a really great new missionary who is from Utah but speaks perfect spanish. But it was hard. Their area is really hard. All our planned lessons fell through, and we began to just clap houses. And everyone rejected us. One guy was so offended we would invite him to learn of Jesus Christ, he threw his hands in the air and treated us like annoying dogs. He was like, "Go! Please! Vayan!" I have to say I`m not used to that. The missionaries in the U.S. probably think that`s nothing. Anyway, we had two lessons in 24 hours. It was very disheartening and I felt like an awful Sister Training Leader. So members! Take note! Help the missionaries fill their agendas with meaningful visits so they don`t waste time knocking doors. 
But I feel like I was really able to help the other sister missionaries this week. I am so thankful to get to do divisions with them and get to know them. I love them a lot. It felt good to be able to help them, if nothing else to just encourage them. 
Susan and Carlos are progressing so well! Ahhh! Please keep praying for them. I think Carlos has the face of the next bishop or stake president. Last night we had a long visit with them that was just so great. We taught the Restoration using a lot of Bible verses. It is just so clear. The restoration makes so much sense. Carlos reads the Bible a lot but said to him it`s an old book...shouldn`t we have something for our day? We explained that God is the same yesterday, today and forever and that by reading the Bible we can know God and how he works with us today. But at the same time, we have a living prophet today....God DOES speak today. It was exciting to teach. This family has all the traits of a family that progresses: the daughters already want to be missionaries like us (they are 11, 9, and 4), they ask us when we are coming back, their front room floor has become holy ground to me as we kneel to pray at the end of every visit.
Speaking of prophets, this morning I was reading Jesus the Christ about John the Baptist and it said that every prophet leading up to him had testified of Christ and had been persecuted or rejected. John the Baptist was also persecuted, and Jesus Christ himself. It makes sense that Joseph Smith and even us missionaries are persecuted, rejected. Every time someone kicks the church, it`s more of a testimony to me. 
Today is the day our mission was split. President McMullin got here on Friday and Pres. Madariaga left. :(  I still haven`t met their family, but we have leadership council next Monday morning, so I will then. They have a son about to leave on a mission, a 15 year old daughter, and a 7 year old son. I admire Sister McMullin already for not only being a mom to her own kids, but also the mom to 200 missionaries. I was reading the descriptions of all the new mission predents and their wives, and Sister McMullin is the only wife that has served a mission, of all the wives of the presidents in the South America area. Way to go Sister McMullin!!!!

Leonela and Javier have been helping us a lot and I just love teaching with them. Javier served a mission in Chile two years ago and when he teaches with us the people just eat up his every word. We went out with them the other night to a guy named Isidro who said he feels relieved after he prays, but he used the verb "resar" which is like giving a memorized prayer, instead of "orar" which is really praying and convsersing with God. He said that he repeats Padre Nuestro (the Lord`s Prayer) each night, and that`s it. I said, "If you feel better after doing that, just imagine the relief and the strength you will get if your really talk to your Heavenly Father, if you really get to know Him through prayer. And, if you feel peace just remembering God and talking to Him, just imagine the peace of conscience you will feel if you are baptized by someone with His authority, so that you are truly forgiven of your sins, and you can stand with confidence before Him. That, Isidro, is peace of conscience. That is true relief." Isn`t it the BEST NEWS on earth that God has restored the powers necessary to rightfully perform necessary ordanances for salvation, like baptism? It is truly marvelous.
Yesterday the sun came out for the first time in 2 weeks, we had two new investigators in church, and I felt the spirit a lot. I caught a glimpse of myself in a window as we walked to lunch from church, and I saw myself with my name tag and my comp (and the new cute clothes Hope sent me, thank you again!!!!) and thought to myself as my heart popped a little, "I am doing exactly what I always wanted to do. I am living the dream! I wouldn`t rather be anywhere else." And, asi es. 
Dad, HAPPY BIRTHDAY TOMORROW! I have attatched a picture for you. I can`t believe it`s your birthday already again. You are a true super-hero, dad, and I am honored to be your daughter. Have a wonderful day, and eat ice cream even if it`s currently banned from the house. :) 
Also, happy Fourth of July. Whenever I mention that this week is the Fourth of July my comp says, "Que es importante del cuatro de Julio?" Oh yeah....that`s just a regular day for everyone else.
I love you all and miss you! Share the gospel with someone new this week!
Sister Goimarac, I

Wishing will not make it so. The Lord expects our thinking. He expects our action. He expects our labors. He expects our testimonies. He expects our devotion.
President Thomas S. Monson

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