Tuesday, August 20, 2013

The one who falls and gets up is so much stronger than the one who never fell. (Photos at end)

Dear Family,
I already told mom happy birthday in a different email, but here´s a public Happy Birthday to the greatest missionary mom there is! I hope to never ever return from my mission, just like you never have. Way to be a missionary all the way, mom, to your children, the ward....having a great FHE with investigators is a perfect example. 
Thank you Jessica, Cameron, Elliot, and Tarah for the emails! You are true friends to write me still. I appreciate that so much. 
You asked about my final testimony, mom. Well, apparently it´s a rite of passage I´ll never get. We don´t have regular zone conferences anymore, apparently. It was cancelled, and replaced with President coming to a little zone meeting we had among like 15 missionaries and we talked about ward council. I was super bummed but I have to just flow with the changes that come with a change in mission president.  He said we´ll just have big zone conferences every time a general authority comes, which is once or twice a year. 

Let me tell about our charming walk to church yesterday. Well, some back up information. On Friday I prayed with so much faith that God would lead us to a family to teach, a new family. We clapped lots of houses and no one was interested. We received a reference from the bishop (!!!!) to visit a man but he turned out to not be interested. But then we got another reference from a random contact to visit a father, Julian, who has a lot of kids. We went, and their situation just made me so sad. There are 5 kids ages 17-5 and the mom left them 3 years ago. The dad lives with them and works and the oldest daughter, 14 years old, takes care of the rest. They were very receptive because the oldest kids had been to our church a few years ago with the elders. Anyway, on Sunday morning we passed by for Sally, and she walked with us to pass by for the Lopez kids (the new family), and then we passed by for a new investigator Maria de Jesus and her two children (one of her boy´s names is Angel Gabriel, and hopefully her other son´s name is Joseph and you´ve got a whole nativity). We walked to church as a group of 10 people! And everyone was so happy. It was beautiful weather. We were all obeying the commandment of going to church. Who wouldn´t be happy? They all seemed to like church, too. 

Christian also went to church, but Rossana could not because she had to work (she sells herbal remedies) because Christian finished the job he was working on and is without work. If Rossana had gone to church they wouldn´t have had anything to eat that day. It´s such a day-to-day struggle here, even more than living paycheck-to-paycheck, which makes life so very stressful, but also makes people rely on God so much more. Anyway, Christian took notes on everything so he could go home and tell Rossana about it. I was so impressed! Members here never take notes in church! 
I gave a talk in sacrament meeting on how the members need to share the gospel more and help the less actives. I hardly looked at the pages I had written, I more just told it, for the first time. And I wasn´t nervous at all, which helps me realize maybe I have learned something in the past 16 months because my first talk I was nervous and was glued to what I had written.
Carlos received the priesthood, Susan gave the closing prayer. 
Last night we went to Christian and Rossana to teach them.  Javier and Leonela (they go with us each Sunday night) had arrived right before we got there, and Rossana´s dad, Augustin, was yelling at Rossana, telling her it´s his property (they live side by side on one lot) and he doesn´t like us being there, preaching the gospel. It was mostly in guarani, but I got the gist. He was terribly drunk, but even when he´s not he´s a problem and doesn´t like us. Rossana was trying to defend us and they were going at it. Then her dad hit her, the kids all burst into tears, it turned into a big physical fight, we ran into the house to get out of the way, the drunk dad followed us in and told us to get out and off his property.  We tried to leave and he hit me helping me out. It didn´t hurt, it was just so ugly. Christian is a big guy and just picked his father in law up and took him to his house across the patio, and we left, but then he came running out waving his arms and chewing us out. It was the most violent rejection I have been a part of. It just broke our hearts to see the little children see their family fighting like that. Christian and Rossana were so embarrassed. But tonight we planned an FHE with them in the house of the Estigarribia family. I hope it is a spiritual, powerful lesson for them and they can recieve strength. 
They are so strong through all of this opposition. They could just say, "Look, we´re sorry, but we can´t keep visiting with you because Augustin doesn´t like it." But they don´t. They also came across some nasty film that ALL our investigators have seen recently about Brigham Young killing a bunch of people? It´s not a documentary, just a fictional movie, but it talks all about the Mormons. It kills me that people make movies like that. Christian said, "But I decided God doesn´t speak through movies. He speaks through the Holy Ghost and I have felt that." WAY TO GO Christian! They are getting married this Saturday. He is desperately looking for a job so he can pay his half of the cost. Pray for him. 
Sally is doing so great! She cracks us up. She has already changed so much. It´s amazing the light that can come into one´s eyes from just reading the Book of Mormon, praying, and going to church twice.  Her mom is super duper Catholic, but she apparently loves us for having helped her daugther change a lot.  She gave us cake last night. Sally used to smoke 3 boxes of cigarettes a day, and is now smoking 1 and a half. She used to not be able to bear a 20 minute lesson without smoking in our faces, but now she can go an hour easy. She makes a lot of comments in Sunday School and Relief Society, and I´m always a little nervous when she opens her mouth because she´s just....not your normal investigator or member, but she made really good comments. 
My spanglish is getting bad. There are words I simply don´t remember in English. I said "por cause" once when I was talking in English to my companion, instead of "because" and I´ll never hear the end of that...haha. But I don´t want to ever quit speaking Spanish, I love it. As soon as I feel I have the hang of it, I have to go home. So it is with every aspect of the mission. 
The other tragedy of the week was that my written agenda disappeared into thin air on Tuesday night, between writing in it at 8:30 and getting home at 9. So many precious names, numbers, goals, and plans all lost. And agenda #12 from my collection that will never be replaced. 
It was very interesting what you said about fasting, dad. Yesterday Elder Wolfgramm said he fasts every Tuesday and Thursday and we are welcome to join him. I thought, "What! That´s a ton! I can´t do that. Fasting is HARD." But I think I will try to do it more often, at least. It´s not nearly as hard as it used to be. And knowing it´s good for you helps, because when I´m fasting I feel like I´m killing myself. 
We have calls about changes next Monday. We shall see if I finish here or go somewhere else for my last 6 weeks. I´ll be content with whichever, but kind of want to get to know a new area. 
Today we are in a place called Itawa with a few elders. We came to go souvenir shopping (there we go...I couldn´t think of the word souvenir. We all say "recuerdo shopping").  One elder told me that through the grape vine I´m known as the "Girl Ammon." That made me happy. I had no idea. 
I am simply so content in life and so grateful for the experiences and truths that God has given me on my mission and my life. I´m so thankful I have a sister also preaching the gospel in Colorado. Never doubt Hope that you´re where God wants you to be. Don´t be like some visa-waiters who act like they´re on vacation. God knows where you are and wants you to be there, and there are people you can touch just waiting for you. However, I´m also praying your visa comes so you can get to my continent---South America. 
I have learned lots during personal study this week and from my fabulous companion Hna. Macfarlane, but that will have to wait because we gotta run. I hope you were able to find something spiritually uplifting in these short paragraphs, because the spiritual things are the only things that really matter in life. 

I love you each so much.
Your Sister Missionary,
Sister Goimarac, I

 Sometimes Hna. Macfarlane and I like to match the elders.  
Here is a picture of the Estigarribia family at church yesterday. We took pics because Elder Alvarenga, a paraguayan serving in our ward who was called to Mexico but was serving here until his visa came, finally is off to Mexico today. He hardly knew them but it was an excuse to take a picture of them in their sharp Sunday best.

Elder Wolfgramm, Alvarenga, and us last Monday outside their house for a little asado and...sheep herding. That´s what we do all day after all...find God´s sheep and invite them into His fold. But sheep herding the ceramic kind is looootts easier. 

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