Monday, November 23, 2015

Week 39

Hey hey hey!

Ok, so TBH I´m feeling V disanimated to write an email about my week right now, which is a high key bummer on account of right now is the allotted time. I´m real sorry. This week was actually pretty good though, and we´ve had a lot of great moments. My comp continues to be really great and I´m honestly really enjoying my time with her. I´m actually just gonna copy and paste her weekly email here so you guys have a more spiritual account of what went down this week. And then I´ll just fill in a few random details first (so you´ll essentially have two records of the same thing #Nephi #Lehi #thewillofGod)

#whenyourmomisamoderndaypioneer: So cool story I forgot to mention last week is that there is this joven in the rama here named Fernando and we recently had a lesson with him in which he was talking about how it´s hard for him to come to church because he is only 16 and is the only member in his family. And then I was like, "wanna know a cool story? My mom was a convert at age 17 (from a very Catholic family) and to this day none of her other family has joined the church. But she decided to be baptized and serve a mission, and because of her faith and desire to follow the Lord, all of her children have served (RaeBae), are serving (yours truly), and will serve (C-dawg) a mission. And surely we will all also raise our children in the church and also help them cultivate the desire to serve Christ and others. So don´t get discouraged that you´re "alone" in this, because you never are. God is with you and you literally can´t know the influence that you can have as a child of God committed to follow His plan for your life." So it was a cool lesson and everything went well. And THEN on Sunday, he was assigned to give a talk on missionary work. And he gets up in front of everyone in the rama and says, "I´m the only member in my family, but I know that I can serve a mission because Hermana Ross´s mom did it (and then proceeds to tell the story as I told it to him.) So how about that, mom? We honestly never know how far our influence can reach. That´s honestly one of the things    I´m the most stoked about for after this life. Seeing all the ways we helped/influenced people and never would have known it. But isn´t it such a #tendermery on the rare occasions when we catch a glimpse into how we´ve helped other people? So there´s that one for you #liahonaworthy

In other news, this week is Thanksgiving!! We actually ARE going to have a Thanksgiving dinner(ish) of sorts, because of our all-English speaking district! Yay! And obviously the Cranneys are 2 chill to let a holiday this important pass by. So obviously on the mission, it will still be a normal work day. BUT, we will at least get to take a tiny opportunity to celebrate what everyone knows is the second-best holiday. Big fan. And I really do feel grateful for everything right now. Like, every experience I´ve had on the mission (every HARD HARD HARD experience) has taught me a lot. Now that I´m in a better place in general, I can really reflect better on the past few months and see everything that I´ve learned. I honestly have grown in empathy x100, and I have an increased testimony of the Atonement, Jesus Christ as our Savior and friend, God´s love for me individually, the need for opposition in all things, and increased charity. I feel like I truly know what pain feels like now. And it has been so humbling. But so good. I can´t really say I feel relieved yet though, on account of I honestly think the mantel of being a missionary stays with you until the very end. And honestly it´s kinda a pretty heavy burden to bear at times. Like, if you don´t try to keep REALLY GOOD perspective, it can really, really affect your mental thought process. I´m sure every missionary knows the feel. But I really think it´s good for me to really learn what trials are. Like, really really learn. "The Lord will have a tried and purified people." So yeah, this Thanksgiving I´m feeling very grateful for the chance I have to sacrifice for the Lord and truly try my best to align my will with His. AND OF COURSE, the mission also has the awesome side affect of giving you increased gratitude for EVERY BLESSING YOU EVER HAD EVER before the mission. Like, I will never look at anything ever the same way. Family, friends, anything in the 1st world, etc. I appreciate it all with a depth that could only have been developed by giving it all up in the service of the Lord. So of course I miss it, but right now I´m mostly just grateful that I ever had it. And very, very grateful that I will one day have it again. But until then I´m content to chill out in the refiner´s fire #hurtssogood

Ok, well I love you all so much, and am SO SO SO grateful for you. Like, really. Have a hecka great Thanksgiving week and know that for as much as I wish I was there, there´s also nowhere I´d rather be. 

xoxoxoxo 5ever,
Hermana Ross

Ok, here´s more good info about the week from my companion. Good thing she speaks English, amirite?:

Some interesting stuff happened this last week. Basically we had some amazing lessons and... okay I need to back-up a bit.

So, Once Upon a Time our Mission President and  his asistentes gave us a study guide for Preach My Gospel and it sounds like more homework but it is AMAZING!!!!!!! We are so much more unified in studies and therefore in purpose as well. Our humble District of Horqueta, being as awesome as we are, decided to take it a step further and unify the members in our area. 

We have noticed some problems arising in the members of this branch, especially the youth. They basically excpect us to visit them on a bi-weekly basis and fix all their problems. They treat us like friends but with little respect. Not cool. We decided that we needed to be straight up with everybody and let them know the what and why of the missionaries purpose. Like, as much as I want to listen to people vent and fix the problems it's not my job. It's it Christ's job. And my job is to invite people to come unto Christ. Whether or not they accept that invitation is up to them. 

Anyway, this week we studied Faith. I love Faith. I used to think it was kinda lame (#gasp) especially when doing my Personal Progress but now it's my FAVORITE thing and I am never going back. Faith is really the first step to everything. Like, everything. And here's the dealio: Faith is not just a thought, word or belief. It's an action. We've all heard it, Faith without works is dead. And works without Faith, fault purpose.

So here's the cool part. We decided to visit all the members one by one and explain our new proposito knowing it wouldn't be popular but we went forth with Faith. And we gained a LOT of respect. Some still aren't huge fans and some we still have yet to visit but, so far so good. As missionaries our job is to do a lot of things. And it's not impossible (with God all things are possible) but it is hard. With this new proposito we are leaving a lot more resposibilty on the members. We will still help them but we aren't here to baby them or do it all for them. Which technially is more work on our part until we can get them up and running. But it the long run it's worth it.

Moral of the story: R-E-S-P-E-C-T is way more important than friendship. And in the long run, if you have respect friendship will just happen. And it will be the right kind. It might be hard to make that shift but I promise it's possible. Act with Faith. And I promise it's worth it.

Tell me what you're grateful for okay? I am grateful for bathtubs. I miss those things. 
I love you all! Hermana Lundberg

Monday, November 16, 2015

Week 38

Dear Familyyyy,

I have 2 much to say this week. It was a dang good week. So many things. Honestly it kicked off with last p-day, which was pretty fun in Conci and my comp and I went to a pretty cool restaurant after cyber actually, and then we bought ice cream together #compdate. Having a chill comp makes 150% of a difference. Open communication is wonderful 10/10 recommend. 

District meeting: So true fun fact is that our district is now comprised of all missionaries from the states!!! That´s cray and super rare. Honestly, it´s a pretty good time. And Hna. Cranney (the senior Hermana) still doesn´t know Spanish, so it´s seemed to help her a lot as well that we now talk in English quite a lot. Anyway, this past district meeting was V good. Our mission president gave us this new study curriculum where we are all now having to study the exact same things as every missionary in the mission during personal and companionship study. TBH at first I was kind of distraught, cause study time was supposed to be "our time." Or at least our time to use how we wanted to in terms of studying for other people and stuff. But anyway, it hasn´t been as bad as I thought, although the jury is still out on whether or not I´m a fan. BUT one of the things we have to do with this new program is prepare a talk every week that we could be randomly called to give during district meeting/zone conferences, etc. So I prepare my talk super briefly but am pretty much hoping I don´t get called on during district meeting. But as we are walking to the church, I run over a few ideas with my comp, and she´s like, "Hermana, I really hope you share. I´m gonna make it happen." Noooo haha. But then we get to district meeting and our DL puts all of our names on little slips of paper and then my comp gets to pull one of them out Hunger Games status to see who´s going to give their talk. And she looks at me and we both just knew she was going to pull my name. I mean, she couldn´t see whose was whose or anything, but it was 2 fitting when she ended up pulling my name. The spirit switched the name on the paper, I swear. So anyway, I end up giving my talk and it actually went pretty well. One of those "guided by the spirit" moments. And then the rest of district meeting was also just very good and after about 15 minutes everyone gave up with the Spanglish and we just did the rest in English hahaha. It was pretty sweet, actually #daydreamsofstatesidemissions

The week at a glance: So this week was pretty good. We did a lot of preparing Sara for her baptism, lots of helping my comp get to know the area, etc. Good stuff. I honestly like my comp so much. She´s so nice and so open and really cares about me and my feelings, which is so nice. Honestly the biggest problem we´ve had so far is that we can´t get to bed on time because we just want to stay up talking. Talk about a dream problem, amirite? But seriously, we´ve had lots of #realtalks and we are both helping each other a lot. We´re just coming from very different mission experiences but somehow meeting in the middle with very similar feelings about all of it.

Sara´s baptism!: It honestly went really well. The spirit was there, the talks were good, the elders and my comp and I did an acapella musical number (I was soprano//you´d be proud), and she was way happy. And this is the baptism that I´ve felt the most connected to in my whole mission because I was able to teach her all the lessons start to finish. Like, I know converts are always the Lord´s and not ours, but it´s always nice to feel like you played more of a role, ya know? So yeah, that went really well and she´s so presh. Then afterwards my comp and I got dinner together to celebrate and it was way fun. Except for that the server was a wayyy intense Evangelico and he preached to us for like 15 minutes straight about hell before he would take our order #Paraguayprobz. Oh, and also during this dinner they were playing some music in this restaurant that was in English and I´m assuming pretty popular in the states, and I was like "I haven´t heard any of this... Oh my gosh." I hear a pretty decent amount of music on the streets, but in Horqueta it´s a lot of common for it to be in Guarani or in Portuguese. But I didn´t realize how much I´ve become out of the scene with stuff from the states. Really, really out of it. I guess that´s good, on account of I know I´m a real missionary now lolz. (p.s. But they did play what I think is a new song by Adele and it was V good. Like, V V good #9months #tranquinottrunky). 

So yeah, those are the highlights. Honestly I felt like I had a lot more to say, but I didn´t journal at all this week (danggitttt), so I´m coming up blank on if there was anything else... But overall things are good and I feel so normal again it´s crazy. Oh yeah, we also all had breakfast at the Cranney´s today, and it was bomb. They made us french toast with syrup (the most American thing I´ve eaten in 5ever) and we were all talking in English and I seriously had a moment where I was like "Is this what a mission in Washington or something would be like all the time? This is the dream." Hahahahah but then we walked back out into the POURING RAIN and RIDICULOUS HUMIDITY and I actually felt very, very grateful to be on my mission in Paraguay. Everyone gets a mission that´s going to help them grow, but I really, really feel like I needed to come to Paraguay. I just need to have a mission that´s hard for me in a lot of ways. And that´s a very good thing to accept, you know? I´m 2 grateful. 

"Thank you Mr. Gardener, for loving me enough to cut me down."

(See this link for the story behind this quote reference she makes: )

Hermana Ross
Sara was baptized!  

She was so happy!

Sara was baptized and we took baptism selfies!

A fun restaurant

me and Vladison Estigarribia

With Sara

Having French Toast as a Zone

The Elders legit tried for the whole baptism to get bad pictures of me #19yearoldboyprobz #talktothehand

This appeared in the middle of district meeting, so obviously we all got super distracted lolz
Sara with El Libro De Mormón
Fernando also doing the talk to the hand
Sweet sunset last night

Monday, November 9, 2015

Week 37


SOOOOOOO cambios were this past week! And like I had said, I knew I would have them, so it really a crazy surprise. What I didn't know was if I would stay or if I would go, nor who would be my new comp. So anyway, we get in our meeting where they announce changes and I{m kinda apprehensive, ya know? But it turns out the mission (president) decided to change the way cambios go down, so now they're just going to tell us if we are staying or leaving, but NOT where we're going or who our new companion will be. So they make the announcements and *shocker* Hna. Aguilar is going to leave and I'm going to stay! Crayzee. She was only in Horqueta for one cambio! But anyway, we didn't know where she would go, nor who would be either of our new comps. So we just did despedidas in Horqueta so she could say bye to everyone and then we headed over to Concepcion to wait for an all-night collectivo to Asunción. But then it turns out the zone leaders told us like an hour early, and then the collectivo ended up being an hour late, and it was POURING rain. So we are standing outside at like 11pm getting SOAKED. Legit though. It was a bummer. But anyway, we finally get on the collectivo and it's FREEZING COLD! Like the air was on full blast and we were soaking wet and it was kinda miserable. Ngl, didn't sleep too well. 

Asuncion!!: Ok, I was honestly so stoked to head back into Asuncion, even if it was for less than a day. I feel pretty isolated at times way up in Horqueta, so it was pretty chill to be back in the city. So we all get there (all the missionaries that have changes (aka like half the mission)) and we are all shuffled into a sacrament room to just sit and wait. And nobody has any idea what's going on, nor where they are going/who their comps will be. And it was a pretty good time because I saw a lot of my missionary associates who I haven't seen in months. So that was way nice. But anyway, we start it kind of like a reunion with a hymn and a pray and stuff, and then a few converts share their testimonies and we all just don't really know what{s going on. Then Presidente gets up and is like "In the days of Brigham Young, when someone got a mission call, they would announce it in front of everyone at general conference." (at this point I think he's starting to give a talk or something.) But then he continues, "So we're going to do things in the ways of the early church! So let's get started!" Lololololol and then he starts to call out names one by one and say where they're going and who their comp will be. And we had to stand up in front of everyone, and it was kinda a cool idea but also dragged out the suspense big time. 

Hna. Lundberg: So when I talked to President he told me that what he really thinks I need is just a really fun comp. So I wasn't sure who it would be, but I was kind of nervous, as was to be expected. But then he calls my name, I stand up, and he announces that Hna Lundberg will be coming to Horqueta from Ybi Ybu! Que loco!! She was the old comp of my old comp, Hna. Nuckles, and I{d actually talked to her a few times before. She{s WAY outgoing and WAY open. Literally, we talked more in our first two days together than I had in the past two changes. That{s crazy. Anyway, she's a hecka open communicator, and I'm a big fan. Big fan. I honestly feel better than I have in weeks. Comps can seriously make a huge difference. Honestly, we're pretty different in terms of our external social personalities, but in terms of our one-on-one conversation style, we're so in sync it's freaking great. And I'm coming from a series of pretty intense comps, so it's way nice to have someone more chill. And she's  coming from a series of really (really) chill/disobedient comps, so she's pretty grateful to have someone more stable who knows how to work. It's just been really great and I'm pretty stoked about it. Oh yeah, basic info. She's from Las Vegas, then Oklahoma and then Utah. She is 22 and was studying at UVU/working before the mish. She has like three sets of parents because her birth parents are divorced and remarried and then when she was 17 she was adopted by an extended relative. But yeah, she's pretty fun and It's been good so far.

Sara Diana: So Sara's baptism is this Saturday!!! (I've sent pictures) I'm so excited! And Hna. Lundberg hasn't had a baptism on the mission yet (she has a change more than me, aka 10 months), and so she's STOKED! And yesterday was pouring (pouring) rain and literally 8 members of the rama came to church (including presidente and his family...) BUT, Sara was one of them!! So I really think she's ready and I'm super excited for her and also for me and also for Hna. Lundberg haha. It's going to be a good time. Details to come next week! #pray4Sara

In other news we also have a really awesome investigator jovencita named Rosio, who I legitimately also think could get baptized this change. She is really sweet and we had some bomb lessons with her this week. In other, other news, Hna. Lundberg is helping me a ton to recover from some of my more deep emotional wounds that I received these past two changes (lol @ when stuff is so hard it's funny(. But really, she's super easy to be open with and we've already shared a lot of our deepest feelings together #compbonding. Which is unfortunately something I was never able to achieve with Hna. Aguilar. For as much as there were no real problems last change, I unfortunately don't really feel too close with her. Which is such a freaking bummer, because I've been such good friends with all my comps. But it's fine and I learned a lot and we're not not friends. She just literally doesn''t need emotional connection like other people, and therefore never really sought it out nor knew how to give it. But I have high hopes for this change and I think it'll be a good, productive one. 

Ok, well I think those are the highlights. We had our zone activity today in Conci and it was pretty fun. We played spiritual jeopardy and ping pong and uno. Also, everything in life is better now that I can speak Spanish. I mean I know it's been a while since that happened, but I'm still really, really grateful. It's a miracle of sorts. 

Love you tons and tons! I feel like I even had more to say, but we are still in Conci and I don't remember all the details. Oh yeah, I'm in change 7 out of 13 now, so that's crazy #tranquinottrunky

Keep it real.

p.s. 2 Corinthians 12 
9 And Christ said unto (Hermana Ross) "My grace is sufficient for thee: for my strength is made perfect in weakness." 

Most gladly therefore will I (Hermana Ross) rather glory in my infirmities, that the power of Christ may rest upon me.

10 Therefore I take pleasure in infirmities, in reproaches, in necessities, in persecutions, in distresses for Christ’s sake: for when I am weak, then am I strong.


the zone before changes
if you wondered what was in the middle of Paraguay #justpalmtrees


W/ the new comp, Hna Lundberg

And w/ the Estigarribias

Darling kids!

The new Horqueta district

Monday, November 2, 2015

Week 36

Dear Family!

Well, I gotta be honest, I’m going to keep it really short this week. Although it’s hard for me to do so. Tomorrow are changes and I’m like 98% sure that either my comp or I will get them on account of President as good as told me so. I’m pretty nervous as usual, because what area you’re in and who your comp is can make like at least 90% of the difference. Ok, throwing out random status. Don’t hold me to them.

I just want to share a scripture that pretty thoroughly sums up my feelings as of now. It’s in 1 Nefi 17:13-14: "And I will also be your light in the wilderness; and I will prepare the way before you, if it so be that ye shall keep my commandments; wherefore, inasmuch as ye shall keep my commandments ye shall be led towards the promised land; and ye shall know that it is by me that ye are led. Yea, and the Lord said also that: After ye have arrived in the promised land, ye shall know that I, the Lord, am God; and that I, the Lord, did deliver you from destruction; yea, that I did bring you out of the land of Jerusalem." Guys, I don't want to be prideful, but I'm pretty sure these scriptures were written for me. I really, really feel like the Lord is the light in my personal wilderness. And he is preparing the way for me to reach my own personal promised land. But seriously, I know that it is by Him that I am led. I know know know that. Honestly I am having such a hard time right now. Just in general and with everything. But the Lord will fulfill all His promises to me. He loves me and will help me.

Hope you all had a gr8 Halloween. I didn't eat a single piece of candy, which was a straight high key bummer. But I did buy myself a pizza this past week, which was one of the best decisions I've ever made. 10/10 recommend. 

Hermana Ross

That time I had extra money at the end of my month so I bought myself a pizza and it was the literal best decision I ever made
Doing spiritual crafts at the church (is your house built upon a rock?)
English class
2 typical
With Liz Sandra and Denice
That time my comp was like "let's take a picture with our hands like this!" Me: "why?" Her: "It'll look cool!" lolololol


Walter drew this at the Halloween party. Har har. 
The familia Arsel! They're in the area of the Elders, but I'm way jealous cause I love them 
More Halloween
Hermana Sofia
Liz Sandra's coustume was straight terrifying
Can we just talk about how much this looks like a missionary picture from the 80s or something?
With Diana and Fiorela <3
Me with Elsa y Noemi
Carving Watermelons
That time Spanish can be THE WORST. Why does every word in Spanish mean like three different things in English? Why? WHY?

Rachel in her natural habitat