WeDnEsDaayyy :) I LOVED WEDNESDAY!!! so, get this, here in paraguay ther is a pretty normal trend of people getting baptized and then after being in the church for less than a year, they go all weird and get less and less active :P for example, in my area right now there are TONS of less active members! our ward here has an attendace of roughly 115 people every sunday, but there are over 800 regsitered members in the area! so i have been really focused my entire mission in trying to reacitvate people, cause just as the scriptures say, those with greater light are susceptible to greater condemnation :/ and just like the sons of mosiah, the very thought of one lost sould makes me shudder.....so lets keep that in mind.
we had a district meeting taught by the assistants to the president. and it was alll about baptizing, and how our calling in the mission is to baptize! when Christ came to the americas in third nephi 11, the very first thing that he teaches after presenting himself to the people and letting them touch the marks in his hands, is BAPTISM!! our mission is really doing well right now with reactivating and retainging members, but we have really taken a downhill turn with the number of baptisms each month :p because people have really lost the focus(myself included) in the missionary calling is the invite all the come unto Christ through the waters of Baptism :) so it was like a good wakeup call and reminder of why i am here :) i am going to keep working tryng to reactivate and retain members, but i cant make the decision to endure to the end for them, that is a personal choice that i cant help them keep, but i can help people make the first four steps, which is have faith in Christ, repent of sins, BE BAPTIZED, and receive the Holy ghost :) the enduring to the end is up to them completely, and i cant help them with that nearly as well as i can help people make the first four steps the lead to enduring :) so that was a reallly good experiance :)
the other cool experiance of the day was later that night as we were walking to one of our last appts. i was super hungry, but i didnt have money with me. we had like 2 more hours till we would go home. so i prayed in my head and said "God, i know you have done a lot for me, but i am doing my best to serve you and be your servant, so could you find a way to get me some food?" literally less than 10 mins later Elder Alvarez offered to buy us some empanadas :D I love God! he knows me so well and i know that he loves me so much that he will work small miracles like that to show his love to me :)
thursday was a blast! we started the moring with some good old service! we went over the family medinas house and were ready to start, but they insisted in feeding us first. so they started frying some eggs. but since we are in paraguay....well they dont have an actual stove, they just have a little stand things that they warm up coals in and cook over an open fire thing. well the pan and oil got so hot that it CAUGHT FIRE!! haha the pan was completely burning and we had to quickly get it out of the house to avoid a tragic accident! haha but it was a good laugh and everybody was rather tickled about it ;) the mom said " that has never happened to me before!" haha it was super funnyXD
we then went to work in the backyard, where we dug a giant pit for them to put there garbage in, then i rearranged all there clotheslines so that they were more taunt, and then we replaced there fence so that chickens dont come into their yard anymore :) that took most of the morning, so they gave us some lunch afterwards too :) it was the best lunch i have had here in Capiatat :) so yea, it was an awesome start to the day!!
we then went home and took showers and changed and got ready to go do visits for the afternoon :) after we had been working for just a few hours we were called into the church to help set up for a showing of "meet the mormons"! we set up a ton of chairs for it, and set up the sound and all that good stuff :) it was super cool cause we actually did it outside :) it was a huge success, a ton of people came from all over the stake and i got to see the movie finally! i loved the way that the church was super humorous in the beginning to kind of ease people into it, and then just showed who we really are :) it was a very spiritual experiance and i have to say that my favorite story was the couple from Costa Rica :) and not just because it was in spanish so i got to hear there real voices, but i also loved the idea of the husband playing a supportive role to his wife and the two of them being super acitve and such, i loved it :)
Friday: the morning we just spent planning for the next week, then the main highlight of the day was that evening :) the little girl Milagro Medina was baptized (she is 8, so it is just a ward baptism) but we helped a lot with it :) while we were there i practiced the piano a lot, and i am getting a looootttt better :) i sight read the right hand for severl songs with almost no problem! and i was working on including the left hand now :)
overall the entire baptism went rather well, the talks were pretty good, my comp had been asked to actually officiate the baptism for milagro, so that was cool :) then after that we helped clean up and such, but i think the weirdest part was after everything was done. there was a church dance waiting for the baptism to end so that it could start. as soon as the closign prayer was said and everyone was done, the music started! i felt soooo out of place! my body wanted to dance sooo badly, but i had to control it and remind myself that i am a missionary and that my time is dedicated to serve the Lord with this time :)
Saturday: we did the usual studies with the morning time, but then we were reminded last min that we were going to do service for the family that gives us lunch on saturdays, so we hurried up and got over there and painted for a few hours :) it was rather relaxing, it reminded me of all the times that i have painted in my life haha :) lunch was super good too! we were each given basically half a chicken, noodles, mandioca and the works! it was a perfect lunch to start my fast sunday :) haha (BTW HAPPY BIRTHDAY CLAIRE POORE!!! may 2nd was her Bday :))
i think my favorite part of the day was when we met with Evoristo again :) (the one that is somewhat special needs now due to his traffic accident) and we read the BOM with him for a little bit, but the best part was when we tried on the white shirt that i gave him. last week in sacrament he said to me that he was pretty sure that he was the only one in the entire congregation that didnt have a white shirt. so i just said "hey i have some extras, ill just give you one" so i made good on my promise and gave him a shirt. so after we said the closing prayer i said "hey go try it on!" and he did AND IT FIT HIM PERFECTLY!! like seriously, this shirt was a little small for me, so i was kinda worried, but seriously it was like we went to a store, had him measured, and then chose it :) and it is pretty new so it should last him a while :) so he said that it was perfect, then comes my favorite part :) he asked me how much he needed to pay me for it! so considering this situation, i took him to shake his hand and said "come to church tomorrow and we will be good" the look on his face was priceless :) i wouldnt trade that moment for anything in the world! to finish the day off we went to go chat with a less active member, and after the lesson was done we went and talked with his son :) the kid is a really good guy and i hope we can get them back to church soon :) but the coolest part of that visit was when they let me try and start up his motorcycle! haha that was cool and exciting :)
sunday it rained a lot a lot a lot haha :) due to the crazy weather not many people came to church, but it was a super good fast sunday and i have to say that the scipture that out of the mouths of babes the wise will be confounded or something like that is soooo true!! this little like 9 year old kid went up and gave his talk it was amazing! he talked about how he knows that the scriptures are really important and that he realized recently that he wasnt spenidng asmuch time in the scriptures as he needs to, the sincerity of his words and the pure truths that came from his mouth were so powerful that i was almost brought to tears and Evoristo was sitting next to me and said to me afterwards "sabio palabras" or translated "wise words" and i just had to nod my head in agreement :)
overall i have had a really good week! i have been able to learn a lot and i get to have the occasional phone call with Elder souza to catch up on how things are going back in Curuguaty, which always is a highlight :) i love this gospel. i love working hard inviting all to come to christ, and i love being a missionary!!
with love from a missionary with a tag on his chest, sweat on his brow, and a smile on his face,