Thursday, May 28, 2015

Week 13 I think #paraguay

¡Dear family!

How`s it going! Just from skimming your emails to me I can tell they`re really quality. Thanks for always being consistent. Some people don`t have family members that email them every week and I just could not even with that #eternalfamnation.

This week was really good. Honestly. Sorry my last email was so angsty. I don`t know what to say about the mission that`s not SUPER cliche ("it`s a rollercoaster of emotions" "it`s hard, but worth it", etc.), but all those things are TRUE. So anyway, last week was weird and this week was really good.

Cambios!: So, I offically finished my first transfer last week, which I forgot to mention, and then this week we had changes. So like I said, it was pretty likely that I was going to stay with Hermana V, which was the case. Honestly I am so grateful for her. She is just such a good companion! I`m sort of worried that I won`t like anyone else as much afterwards... We already get along really well, but I just decided even more that I`m going to really commit to our companionship. I already was trying, but I just am going to try even harder to be the best companion I can be #marriageprep #lifeprep. It`s really awesome to put someone`s emotional well-being on par with your own. Other news from changes though, our district leader got transferred to the chaco, so our new district leader is Elder Chavez!! He and Elder Bingham are companions, and Hna. V and I love them so much!!!! They are just really, really awesome. And even just working with Elder Chavez this week has been awesome! Other than that our zone just switched around a few people but is mas o menos the same. I really like our zone, actually, and I wish we got to do more stuff with them. 

English class: So this week our english class went really well! We had a few investigators and played a bunch of super fun games and it was just awesome. The Elders in our district came too, and they are really fun. We`ve also been contacting a lot this week, and the English class is a really good gateway to talking with people. We actually found a new investigator that way this week, and we had a really awesome lesson with her on Friday. Her family is super religious and kind of seemingly against her investigating (she is only 17, sound like anyone you know, Mom?), but we have high hopes #thewillofGod. 

South mission: Lololol, so our area is literally right on the edge of the other mission in Paraguay, and it turns out there have been times we`ve been contacting in NOT OUR MISSION. Not even contacting in not our area, but literally not even our mission hahaha. Oops... It`s kind of weird, because our stake is literally an island in the South Mission (as in you have to pass through the south mission to even get to our stake center). And today we went and got lunch at this place we always go and we ran into other Hermanas that were also eating there... from the other mission. So apparently that`s right on the border as well... Lolz. We`re going to study our maps a little more so we are more careful to stay in our boundaries.

Other Paraguayan deets: So the weather this week was crazy fickle, as per usual. It was super hot in the beginning and I was dying, and then later in the week it POURED RAIN for like three days. Hermana Valenzuela and I got caught in a CRAZY rainstorm up on this hill and it was nuts! Even though I had an umbrella I was SOAKED. Also, the weather continues to ensure I never look good here... like ever. Bummmerrrrrrr. 

In other news, we had a zone activity today since it was the first p-day of the change and it was SO FUN!!! Hna. V and I were in charge of the get to know you activity (which ensured it was going to be more fun/less awkward) and then we played this crazy relay game followed by like 10 rounds of dodgeball. I was just laughing so hard at everything, and Hermana V said after, and I quote "This might have been the most fun time I`ve had my whole mission." So that pretty much sums it up. Real fun. 

Ok, so that`s a basic summary of the week. We are working hard, and also could always be working harder. Mostly I try not to worry about it and just remember that God`s love is unconditional. Things are progressing though, and another investigator we have, Joel, is getting baptized this coming Saturday! So look forward to that for next week. 

Love you all so much! God is so awesome for having changed my heart to go on a mission. I`m still getting used to it all, but I always recognize how grateful I am to be here. I`m already 10000000x more grateful for everything I have. En serio. Pray to recognize God`s hand in your life, and I promise you will. The evidence is in EVERYTHING!

Con amor,

Hermana Ross

Best Zone!

Best P day:  fun and  games for hours

Random Trash Everywhere

Awesome Tree near where we were soaked in a freak rainstorm

Elder Chavez is an amazing district leader

Eating french fries

Week 12 Obedience Angst

Dear family,

Welp, another week has passed and I`m still alive, so that`s chill. This week was literally soooo long. Like practically first week of the MTC status long. I couldn`t even tell you why, but it was literally like a month. I had like three separate existential crises. Missions`ll do that to ya, though. It wasn`t even that bad, just really long and like a weird vortex of time and life lessons. Here`s the breakdown:

Beginning of the week: So the beginning of this week just started out on a bad foot. Hermana V is going through some weird stuff so she was kind of in a weird place (which obviously affects the companionship) and then I was still just feeling weird after Mother`s Day because I don`t really know what I`m working towards right now, etc. So it was just not the best and I was feeling off balance. 

Divisions: So on Tuesday night we get a call after planning letting us know that we are going to go on divisions (when you switch companions for a day) with the hermana training leaders. It was really short notice, but we sort of couldn`t say no, so that went down from Wednesday evening until Thursday evening. We all met up in a city about twenty minutes away from where we live and then I went with Hermana W (who is from St. George) to her area in AsunciĆ²n to work. It was an interesting experience, for sure. It was definitely cool to work with a different companion in a different area and get a better grasp on the mission in general, but it was also sort of overwhelming for those same reasons. I literally felt like I was leaving my mom to go to my first sleepover or something. So we get back to Asuncion way late because of how long it took to travel there, so we pretty much just contact the whole way home, which TBH is not my strength (obviously at this point on account of the language problemz), and it was just pretty intense right off the bat. They want us to go on divisions with the hermana training leaders so that we can see the picture of a "perfect" missionary, and that was pretty much what I came out of the division with. Hermana Welch is just extremely organized, contacts everyone she sees, schedules every minute, etc. And it was just really intense for me, especially coming from Hna. V who is just really chill. So I was just overwhelmed in general and it kind of made me super stressed about the future (of the mish), which I try to avoid thinking about too much. And she is really nice and such (and she went to BYU before, so we talked about that a lot) but it was just a really intense experience overall for reasons I can`t really even describe. It wasn`t even just how highly scheduled everything was, but also just the tone in which it was gone about. Hermana Welch literally said, and I quote "I get the most satisfaction from obedience." Not that I don`t get a certain kind of satisfaction from obedience myself, but it`s definitely not where my satisfaction derrives. So all in all that day took FOREVER long, and when I finally met up with Hermana V again I felt like I`d been gone for a week. Then the rest of the week just passed by slowly and I had more mini crises about the mission and it was just weird. 

Reflections on obedience: So the whole division experience really caused me to have some stressful moments in my life. Beforehand I had tried to be sooo chill about not stressing about "being good enough", doing "enough", working "enough," etc. BUT that all came crashing down after my experience with Hermana W because I just realized just what "exact obedience" looks like and realized that I`m not doing it and also I don`t know how to/don`t know that I have it in me. I feel like I`m going to get struck by lightning for even thinking that, but it`s true to an extent. For sure I`ve been obedient so far on the mission. Like, for sure. I do what I`m supposed to, I follow the rules, I haven`t broken any mandamientos, etc. BUT, I also don`t use all my time as wisely as I could, sometimes Hna. V is pretty chill, etc. And I just had this huge internal crisis because I was with the hermana training leaders, which was TOO intense for me, and then I immediately came back to my area and realized it was TOO chill for me, and the obedience contrast was just too great and I felt really bad about it and I just felt super super super unhappy. And it was so dumb because I know I need to not let it get me down like that (it`s obviously what satan attacks missionaries with ALL THE TIME), but I couldn`t help it. So I was just big time stressing and all of the "disobedient" shortcomings I have were just adding up all at once and I felt really unhappy. But then, something really great happened, which is that I remembered the Atonement. And it`s not like I ever forgot it, but I feel like I really realized it for like maybe the first time ever. Because as a normal person in my normal life I never really felt like I had a ton I needed to repent of. Not that I was perfect, but just that I never really had a problem choosing the right, ya know? And I know that the atonement isn`t just for grevious sins and such, but I always just felt like it was hard for me to learn to apply in my life. And on the mission I still feel like I`m choosing the right, obviously. BUT, even if on the mish you read the scriptures three hours a day, didn`t watch TV, listen to music, tried to tell people about the Gospel when you could, etc. (all stuff that would be super, super awesome in normal life), it`s NOT ENOUGH on the mission. Because it`s FULL TIME. Me just keeping the commandments isn`t enough anymore. I need to keep the RULES. And I am (I swear I`m not disobedient), but I just realized that there`s a whole other set of "commandments" that we`re given here that I`m just having to get used to. And so because I fall short of this ever ellusive picture of exact obedience, I feel like I`m not "as good of a person" as I was before. Which is obviously a huge lie, but it`s a thought that crosses every missionary`s mind, I`m sure. But anyway, as I was reflecting on all of this I realized that I could apply the atonement in my life! Like for reals for reals. Because everything I read in the scriptures all day is THE TRUTH, duh. And Jesus Christ took upon himself not just my sins (which would maybe be like going swimming/to the movies, etc. on the mish or something more outlandish like that, which I would never do), but also my WEAKNESSES (such as being tired, lazy, taking a little too long to get out of bed, taking too long at lunch, running late to an appointment. etc.) DUH DUH DUH. Anyway, this is all very obvious, but it was just great to finally internalize. So I felt better after that, but I still realized that there were some things I need to change, and I`m working on those (which is literally the definition of repentence). So mostly I`m trying not to stress too much about it still, which was my original goal, but it can get me down really easily if I focus too much on it. I literally have to live the mission day by day or I can`t hang emotionally. I`m just not used to not thinking about the future, because before that`s how I would set goals and work towards them and such. But if I do that too much here I start to get really overwhelmed, so I`ve had to learn how to rework how I process stuff. Which is no easy task.

E´s baptism: So in the midst of all my angst, E was baptized!! So clearly we aren`t doing nothing, because baptisms don`t come out of nowhere. Anyway, it was really great and she is really, really sweet. I hope L (her husband) gets baptized eventually too. We have been trying really hard to work with him, but he just literally, literally will not keep committments. Real bummer. But E is really sweet and a great example. And Hermana V made the goal for me (lolz) to have a baptism in every change, and hers was two days before the end of the first. So that`s exciting! Claps for goals! 

Anyway, sorry if all of this just sounds really angsty. I try hard to put my emotions into words, but it`s honestly really hard. I can`t describe most of what I`m feeling adequately, and honestly you pretty much have to have served a mission to understand/have learned a new language/have lived in a third-world country, etc. It depends on the problem. I`m sure this week will be better though, because it LITERALLY cannot go slower (knock on wood).

We got to go bowling today because we got speacial permission because it was one Hermana`s last p-day, so that was chill. It was defs not my best game though, so that was a low key bummer. I guess I`ll try again in 15 months *single tear*

I love you all so much! thx 4 the support #pray4Holly


Hermana Ross

E's baptism celebrated with her family

Preparation Day Bowling Fun

More Bowling
Where we often eat lunch outside with a generous family

Monday, May 11, 2015

May 11 Week 11

Dear Family, 

Well, I just talked to you yesterday, but I guess I still have a regular amount to tell you. TBH there`s just no way to have satisfactory communication on a mission. Really. Which I think was good for me to realize, because of course I`d fallen into the trap of thinking "I`d feel better if... (insert: I could talk to my family, or whatever)" but yesterday helped me realize that it`s just hard no matter what and there`s no "easy fix" for something that would make all my problems go away. Bummer, amirite? But I guess if life was easy it wouldn`t be hard. 

Early in the week: So the same thing happened to me this week which had happened to me last week, which was that on Tuesday/Wednesday especially I was just feeling super happy. Encouraged, excited, etc. I couldn`t really tell you why, but it was great. The rest of the week was good too, but just especially those days.

English class: So we had our first English class this week. It was somewhat poorly attended, but we`re hoping it will pick up speed as time goes on. Also, the four elders in our district attended, so that upped our attendance by a lot. Too bad all but one of them are native English speakers... #whyweretheyeventhere 

Comp dynamic: So I told you about this on the phone, but this past week has just been funny in terms of our planning for working with investigators. I pretty much just plan out where we`re going to go and what we`re going to say and then Hermana Valenzuela does it all. It`s really funny and works out pretty well. It`s just a bummer because obviously I`m unable with my language limitations to really form deep/personal relationships with people. Rachel mentioned that I don`t really talk much about people we`re working with in letters, and honestly it`s mostly because I don`t have very personal ties with anyone. I really like a lot of the people we`re teaching, but it`s just really hard because I only know about them what Hna. V translates for me, and they know NOTHING about me. I feel like I`m just a sweet American missionary to them and that`s it. So, that`s hard. But really the message we`re sharing has nothing to do with me anyway, so I guess it`s chill that nobody here really knows/cares about me #hardpilltoswallow

Wedding!: So we`ve been teaching this Brazilian family named the Souzas, and the mom (Edna) is getting baptized this Saturday! So in order for that to happen, they got married on this past Saturday! It was quite exciting. I mean they`ve already been living together for like 30 years, but now it`s official! And we decorated and made a cake and took pictures and it was super fun. It`s just fun to have something to get ready for, ya know? Plus it was a cool step forward for them in their lives. They have a son who is an RM and the only active member in the family, so he`s been way stoked that his mom is getting baptized. We have lunch with them twice a week, so we`re over there a lot. I have pictures I`ll attach from the wedding. Hermana Valenzuela did Edna`s makeup and I did her hair and it was way fun. 

Sunday trauma: So mostly I already told you all of this yesterday, but yesterday afternoon on was literally THE WORST. Oh my gosh, I cannot even. We tried to get internet access for four hours plus and nothing was working and the elders were driving us crazy and it was just really bad. So much the worst thing ever. It was actually so bad it was funny, so I guess that`s good. And then like I told you we finally found somewhere to get the internet, but it was across town and while we were walking these guys tried to mug us and it was just traumatic and awful. In the fight/flight dynamic I really feel like I`m neither haha. I guess probably flight, but Hermana Valenzuela definitely started running before I did. Lolz #paraguayprobz. Anyway, so I felt/feel really bad that I was kind of in a weird mood during skype and I just feel like I didn`t get to say a lot of stuff I wanted to. So I just was feeling really sad afterwards (and not even trunky, but just really unsatsified in general, which is a hard emotion to define), so we finally get home at like 10pm and I`m starving so I got myself cereal and started eating it in my bed and then Hermana Valenzuela asked me something and I just started crying. Hahahaha WHY does this happen?! I feel like I`ve been more emotional in the past three months than I have in the past three YEARS. Ughhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhh. So we just talked about it all last night and I feel better today. Really. I think I was just in a weird place. It was great to talk with you all, of course, but there was just too much build up with the trauma of the day beforehand. Missions are a weird kind of hard. Really weird. 

Ok, so I feel like we just talked (because we did) so sorry this email is shorter. I really love you guys a lot. If we were able to talk to our families on the mish I think it would make it too much easier. I really think that`s the hardest single thing about the mission. There are a million other hard things (the language, rejection, not knowing what to say, being tired, etc.), but I think that it`s all amplified by 1000% because there`s just no external support. I literally only have prayer, the scriptures, and Hermana Valenzuela. And obviously God is looking out for me, but it`s just a different form of support than what I`m used to. I had prayer before, but I ALSO had family, friends, coworkers, etc. Like I said, nobody here knows me or can even get to know me with the language barrier, so it`s really hard to feel "liked." I know I need to learn how to feel satisfied without constant external support (duh, otherwise I`ll live my whole life unhappy with the attention people aren`t giving me), but it`s hard. And it`s extra hard to do it in Paraguay. Ok, sorry this got kind of existential. I feel like I always end up typing in stream of consciousness. 

I hope you all have a great week! I really (really) appreciate your support!! Love you!!

Con amor,

Hermana Ross

The Edna Hair and Make Up Team

Wedding Preparation Time

The Wedding

The Souza Family

Catering Crew

First English Class
Four Frustrating Hours trying to get a Skype connection so they could call home for Mother's Day
This picture is perfect!

Perpetual Efforts to clean feet

Washing clothes by hand
Fun times

Monday, May 4, 2015

Family Email O'Clock

¡Dear Family!

Thanks for all the continued support! I hesitate to say P-days are the best day of the week because then it makes me look like THAT missionary, but... 

Beginning of the week: So this past Monday/Tuesday especially were probably the best days I`ve had in the mish thus far. Couldn`t even tell you why, because honestly we didn`t even do anything particularly different. But I was just feeling SO well adjusted and chill and everything was looking up. Honestly things don`t change that much here day to day/week to week, so mostly everything just depends on my mood. Which I try to control, but honestly sometimes I just feel better or worse for seemingly no reason. But like I said, I was feeling so encouraged. My emails last week were so great and I just felt a renewed sense of purpose in being here. Like I`ve said before, I KNOW that I`m supposed to be here, so it`s really awesome when that knowledge in my head connects to the feelings in my heart (aka my emotions). 

Youths: So as you know, I love youths so much and since being here my desire to work with them post mish has grown even more (yeah, I`m freaking already thinking about post mish. It`s hard to have a dying companion). But anyway, I just want to teach them ALL and I just really have a lot of love for them. It`s a little hard here because pretty much all boys between the ages of 14-24 (actually, just all boys in general over the age of 14) are EXTREMELY flirty and SUPER forward here. It`s actually pretty low key creepy sometimes. We get cat called literally 25/8 and guys are always saying pretty creeper stuff to us. It`s probz defz a good thing I can`t understand most of it, and Hermana Valenzuela only translates some stuff for me... ANYWAY, but that was sort of beside the point of me talking about my love for youths. So we found out on Wednesday afternoon during district meeting that the following night they were going to show Meet the Mormons at our stake center, and we were allowed to go if we brought investigators with us. So OBVIOUSLY we really wanted to go (I`d already seen it twice, but Hermana Valenzuela never had), so we pretty much worked all day Thursday inviting investigators to come. So mostly people are really unreliable here, but we needed someone we were SURE could come, because the Mish Prez was going, and he`d send us home if we didn`t have people with us. So there is a recent convert in our ward who has two daughters, and we keep trying to invite them to stuff but they are super typical teenager and are not interested. But we stopped by to invite them on Thursday evening and were being way persistent and super bold, but they were still kind of rejecting our efforts. So we told them we`d let them think about it and come by again later. So we walked down the street to talk about what our inviting tactics would be, and it was just a really funny dynamic. Hermana Valenzuela and I work really well together because I`m super bold and have tons of ideas/persistence, but literally NONE of the language to carry out my ideas. And she is super fluent and really personable, but doesn`t have quite as bold of tendencies or sometimes the ideas to put into words. So we`re just standing on the side of the road for like ten minutes roll playing how we`re going to get them to come, and she`s practicing with me, and I`m giving her the words to translate in Spanish, and it was just a super good time. The joke is that we are kind of the Moses/Aaron situation. So anyway, we go back and carry out our plans and I`m just standing there listening to Hermana Valenzuela talk to them (and she`s doing a really good job), and they agreed to come!! So it was really awesome because I know they wouldn`t have come if we hadn`t been so persistent. AND I knew they would like it because it was a huge social event and the movie is good and not even crazy doctrinal or anything. 

The movie: So all in all we ended up getting 9 investigators to come with us, which was pretty bomb since we`d literally only found out the day before. And one of them even had a truck, which was a HUGE score. We rode in the back of it all the way there, which was pretty sketch to me, but I guess it`s chill here... So I`m pretty famils with the movie since I`ve seen it twice, and I sort of wasn`t expecting to get that much out of it because I already know the stories/I don`t really feel the spirit in Spanish (especially with the voice overs they have on all videos in English). BUT I WAS WRONG. I WAS SO WRONG. Oh my gosh, it was the greatest thing ever. When it got to the story about the Costa Rican family (of which they normally have English voice overs), they just had their actual voices (because they speak Spanish, duh), and it was SO GREAT! I literally was tearing up so hard because I could understand some of what they were saying and the spirit was just really strong and it was so great. And then when it got to the missionary story at the end I was all emotional again because I`ve always been a huge fan of conversion stories, but everything is amplified x10 on a mission because I`M A MISSIONARY now! So the whole movie I`ve been feeling the spirit super strong (which was so awesome, because it`s pretty much the first time I`ve really felt the spirit in Spanish), and then it gets to the end of the movie and Glorious by David Archuleta comes on (you know), but IN SPANISH! I totally hadn`t even thought about that, even though I know he speaks Spanish on account of his mission to Chile. Anyway, so I freaking can`t even hold back my tears anymore and tears are just streaming down my face because it was so beautiful. Hahahaha I`m tearing up even thinking about it. So funny. I swear I`m not even that missionary, but really, it was great. Big fan. And I feel like the movie was more applicable here than even in the states, because here the church is so much less established, and the people just don`t get even super simple doctrine like they do in the states. I just want all of Paraguay to see it.

Friday drama: So there was a really tragic situation that went down on Friday at like 5am (which I`ll send you more info on later). But anyway, Paraguay is definitely VERY different from the US, and people just do health care differently/not at all, and kids are extremely neglected and it`s just really bad. And everyone just seems to not understand or connect logical things in their minds, and it`s so weird to me. Like even things in the gospel. It rained yesterday during church and honestly the attendance was pitiful. I`ve heard that of South American missions a lot, but it`s just really sad to see. Like, do they think that the commandments of God change based on the weather? Do they just not have a testimony? Not understand? Are just lazy? Because we teach clearly, people say they get it, but then they just NEVER ACT. It`s so weird. I feel like I`ve just never ever ever had a problem connecting that faith and action are inseparably linked. You receive no witness until after the trial of your faith. I feel like I was born with that scripture on my heart or something. But people here are just waiting for life to line up so they can start living the gospel. And obviously (at least to me), it`s the other way around. Anyway, it`s just a weird cultural disconnect, and it`s hard for me to understand it. 

Planning: SO this week I had a pretty inspired idea that has taken off very well so far (it`s still in its earliest stages). So I was thinking about how there`s really no ward culture here, and members really don`t do a ton and also how there`s not really anything for us to invite investigators to besides church. And I was thinking about how G6 has game night and stuff, and I just know other places have stuff, and I really was feeling like we should have something like that here. It`s hard, because we don`t have quite the numbers to sustain it, but I was just really feeling like we should try. So I expresed this to Hermana Valenzuela during weekly planning, and we decided that we`re going to try to teach an English class! I`ve heard a lot of missions do this, and it seemed like a really inspired idea for the area we are in. So we made signs and announced it at church yesterday, and already the response has been REALLY good. People here are SO interested in learning English. Which is actually kind of ironic, because a lot of times people are actually extremely rude to me for being from the US/speaking English... But anyway, I`m really excited. Turns out getting a teaching degree isn`t for nothing, amirite? Because I feel like for the first time since I`ve been here I`m actually qualified for something. I can speak English! And I can teach! So we`re going to do that every Thursday night and we`re hoping it turns out really well and helps unify the ward as well as gives us super awesome contacting opportunities. Also it`s been really fun to advertise for it and create English Class branding, because I freaking love those things, and it brings me back to the BYUSA glory days. We spent like an hour Friday night picking our colors and fonts and designing everything. It was quite fun.

Academic Advising: So another inspired reason that Hermana Valenzuela and I are companions is because she is finishing her mission and has NO idea what she wants to do when she goes back, has never been to college, knows literally almost nothing about college, but feels like she should go. HELLO! This is LITERALLY my area of specialty! So we have entire conversations where I just explain to her what a major is, what a minor is, what general eds are, what an associates degree is, what different majors are, etc. Honestly it`s so fun for me. She said she would always just tell people "yeah, I`m going to go home and just work on some generals to try to get my associates" and she had NO IDEA what that even meant hahaha. So I told her what a Bachelors degree is vs Masters vs Ph.D., etc. And it`s really fun for me, and it`s obviously inspired because the timing is perfect for her what with her leaving so soon and all. 

Well, overall things are about as good as they could be given the situation, I would say. I can`t think of much I would improve other than pretty much literally every physical situation you could think of and also knowing Spanish. But really, I feel extremely blessed with the way things have been going. It almost feels like the calm before a storm, which kind of scares me, but maybe that`s just how life feels? I don`t know. Although I`ve been told repeatedly that I`m si o si going to get a Latina companion after Hermana Valenzuela, so I have that to think about anytime I feel too comfortable... This whole struggle I`m having with SYL (speak your language) is going to really hurt me later... But I`ll cross that bridge when I come to it, I guess. 

Love you all so much!!! 

-Hermana Ross

p.s. Ok, so I know this is old news but WHAT THE HECK ZAYN LEFT ONE DIRECTION? NO CHILL. I`ve been meaning to address it for weeks. This is JUST the kind of thing I feared would happen while I was on a mission. I just didn`t think it`d happen so soon *single tear.* 

p.p.s.  I`m just going to copy and paste what I wrote to the mish prez about the situation I referenced above. It`s not how I would have talked about it normally, probably, but I was typing really fast. Anyway, it was a really tragic situation and extremely uncomfortable. I`m emotionally recovered completely, but it`s still a cultural bummer. This is 2015, COME ON. 

Now onto some bad news that happened this week... So on Wednesday we went to have a Noche de Hogar (Family Home Evening) with a family that`s sort of set up in a bad place (the dad is a drunk and there are six kids who are really under loved and not taken care of very well). One of the sons (who is 3 years old) had a lot of ant bites all over him and he was really swollen and didn`t look very good. There were also fleas all over him eating at the bites and it was just a really, really unpleasant situation. So Hermana Valenzuela asked the mom if he needed to go to the doctor, and she said no because he had been improving and also the dad didn`t want them to go. But we said that if they needed we could find someone to watch the other kids while they went to the doctor, and we even called the primary president to ask if she could help, but the mom said it wasn`t necessary and the primary president said she was busy with work. Anyway, so we figured everything would be alright since the mom said he was getting better and it didn`t seem like a super urgent situation, per se. We were wrong, however, and we got a call at 5am on Friday morning from a neighbor telling us the son had died during the night and asking if we could come over and help take care of the kids while the parents went to the hospital to fill out paperwork. So we got dressed and headed over in the dark and it was just a terrible situation. And all the other kids didn`t know what was going on and didn`t understand that their brother was dead and it was high key depressing. So after an hour or so we left to come home and re-plan our day and such, and then they had a funeral later around 4pm that we attended and sang a song for. They had his body just lying on the table in a little casket and it was extremely sad and I felt really uncomfortable (especially since I couldn`t say anything/didn`t know what to say even if I could). It`s just such a bummer because it was SO preventable! He died of ant bites being untreated over the course of three days... And obviously Hermana Valenzuela and I had NO idea how serious it was or we would have done something more, but I just feel like it really could have been prevented if he had been taken to the doctor. 

 Imagine the caption: My sister went to Paraguay and all she got me were these pictures. Happy 17th  Broski!