Well, super bad news is that the internet in the church is down! Soooo, the Cranneys are letting us use their laptop to email, BUT all the missionaries have to use it and also we don't have a lot of time, so I'm hecka short on email time today. Legit bummer.
Super quick summary of stuff:
Contacting: gosh, we've just been contacting a ton lately. It's really good, but also it honestly kind of stresses me out a little bit. Not the contacting itself, but the follow up! The goal is to have 20 contacts a day, but do you know how impossible it is to follow up with (theoretically) 140 people every week? And then the number just multiplies every week. And of course we have all of the conversos recientes, menos activos, etc. So REALLY the focus has been on trying to have the spirit to discern who really has interest and for whom we should really pass by again. It's kind of a stressful-ish process. But the fruits are real, on account of we have a ton of investigators we are working with now. And everyone in Horqueta is way open, EVERYONE is way religious, and it's not even hard to get lessons. That's the great/hard thing about South America missions, I think. It's easy to have lessons/investigators, but the number of people who are truly going to progress is actually quite small. We spend a lot of time following up with people just aren't keeping their commitments. A LOT of time. But anyway, it's been mostly good. It's really changed my whole style as a missionary. Before I was more about lessons with contacting in between, but now I'm more about contacting with lessons in between. But true story is that now almost every night I have dreams that I'm contacting, trying to talk with people, give them pass along cards, etc. It's actually V stressful and I wake up tired and feel like I didn't really get adequate rest haha. It's kind of unfortunate, but also pretty funny to me.
Zone conf: So we had our monthly zone conference this past week. It was ight. It was the annual zone conference about emergency plans and cleaning the houses, so it was pretty tranquilo. Not the best, not the worst. Then as part of a mission goal thing, all the missionaries had to go on divisions with members. It was kinda trippy, cause it was the first time I haven't been with a missionary in 5ever. I went with the young women's president of the rama, Daisy, who is actually 24 and preparing for a mission right now. It was a good time, but also I had to teach pretty much all by myself, which was low key stressful. But good to know I can do it, ya know?
Idalina: Ok, just gotta take a quick second to describe what was one of the most surreal experiences of my life. So last Monday we contact this lady walking on the street, and turns out she's heading out of town, but asks in a pretty urgent voice if we can pass by the next day. So we spend a while trying to find her house (have I mentioned Paraguay doesn't have directions? There LITERALLY aren't street names, house numbers, ANYTHING. The directions are literally, literally "walk two blocks in that direction, then turn right, then left, then walk for three more blocks in an S shape and then turn slightly left and the blue house with a mango tree in front is mine." Nuts.) So anyway, we eventually find her house, and it's out on the outskirts of nothing. And we walk up and there are legit like 20 kids under the age of 13 outside just chilling out and running around and stuff. And their house was smaller than small and the kids literally sleep all in a pile together and it was so trippy. I can't even describe it. I've seen a lot of poverty on the mish, but this topped it all, I think. And all the kids looked like they hadn't been bathed in weeks, and few had obvious illnesses and infections, etc. So it turns out she lives in the house with her six kids, her mom (who has 10 kids), her sister who has a bunch of kids, and then a few neighbors. Anyway, we had a really good lesson and she said she wants to be baptized. We set up an appointment to go back on Friday. But then, on Thursday night, there was a hecka rainstorm. Like, it POURED all night, lightning, thunder, etc. Just crazy. So we head back on Friday, and their house got legitimately destroyed in the storm the night before. They didn't have a roof, EVERYTHING they owned was soaked completely through, and literally they were left with nothing. It was really sad. And we taught a lesson to all of them, and there are just like 15 kids sitting there looking at us and I seriously didn't even know what to say to them. But the spirit is always with us, and I know that God has a plan for their family. Really.
Tiendas: Ok, so I also just want to mention one last thing that I noted in my personal study this past week. Firstly, I have to say that it's been HOTTER THAN HOT here. Really and truly. Like, you take one step outside and you're already dripping sweat and you just want to be anywhere in the world doing anything else than walking the streets in the Horquetian sun. And it's still fetching Spring... (aka, it will get significantly worse before it gets any better). But the point is that the physical conditions I am in are literally impossible to forget. It's just extremely, EXTREMELY uncomfortable every minute of every day. But anyway, it's fine, and I probably won't literally die. And if I do, it's part of God's plan, so that's fine too. BUT, the point I noted was in 1st Nephi, when Nephi says the famous line "and my father dwelt in a tent." I'd for sure noted before that Nefi mentioned the humble situation of his family, and that during all these experiences were taking place while his family lived in the desert in tents. What I DIDN'T notice before was just how much Nephi mentions this. I only read from chapter 1 to 16, but he mentions it quite a few times (see 2:15, 9:1, 10:16, 14:1, 15:5, 16:10, 16:12, 16:13, 16:17, 16:32). Like, in one chapter alone he mentions it five times. And I don't think he was doing it to complain. I literally think that their circumstances were probably so uncomfortable that he just couldn't forget it. All these things are happening... while they're living in tents in the wilderness. There are many times that he says, "blah blah happened... while we dwelt in tents." And I just really appreciate this fact on account of that's kind of how I feel sometimes. My journal entries are like, "blah blah happened... and it was burning hot today." So yeah, the point is that I've found a new scriptural insight and application, and I'm learning so much empathy in every way possible. Really though. Rachel wrote me and said something way true about the atonement, which is that when we pass through really hard things, we understand the atonement much more because we grow in empathy #truerthantrue #doubletrue
Ok, well I love you tons!! I used way too much of my limited time to write this email, so sorry if I can't write too much more individually. I love you the most and I'm so grateful for all of your bomb personalities. I was thinking about it the other day and was just overcome with gratitude that I have such great relationships with everyone in my immediate family. I would probably take that blessing over pretty much every other one, so I'm doing just fine.
|with the #wildlyfe again. 2 real. (also, toucans bite and are actually kinda scary)|
|Cute baby animals|
|Sebastiana and our investigator Sara (notice too the 2 cute baby animals in my arms)|
|Still 2 cute kittens in my arms|
|The sky was looking sickk last night|
Walter (so presh. Notice the dimples)
Noche de Rama