WEEK 19 It all lies in the Restoration Sept 2, 2013
Transfers. I´m still in LOMA!!! :) It was very sad to see Hna Toctaquiza leave. She will be missed dearly. She gave me the cutest hug goodbye I think she really will miss me too. :) I love her and seriously can´t wait to visit her after the mish.... ya let´s go to Ecuador as well M & D :) Anyway my new comp is Hermana Goimarac (pronounced: Goy-mu-rac in español), her name is Yugoslavian (how do you spell that?). She is from Sadona Arizona and we are seriously like twins. We love to run, green smoothies, breakfast is our favorite meal, and smile. Every morning we recite 8 principios fundamentales y she added one: nueve: sonreír (smile)! She was companions with Hna Mcfarlane in Isla Bogado in Luque. Hna Toctaquiza got transfered to Luque but to Marambuye. Hna Goimarac loves to work and I have learned SOOOOOOOOOO much from her. Seriously she is amazing!! She turned 22 in February and will be finishing her mission with me here in Loma. Does that mean I will be training here in Loma next?? What?? Ahhhh!!
Things are really really prgressing. Seriously! Fasting is incredible you guys. We had an incredible turn out Sunday. So many people came. Hermano Pavón!! He and his family have been less active for a year.
Oh life, I really have never been happier in my life than I am right now. And seriously that´s all I feel like writing but for your sake mom and dad I´ll continue. :)
Okay so Hermano Gregorio Flor (the less active I told you about) came to church!!! We are going to have FHE tonight with him and his wife and possible his son. His son is 21 and the stake sent him a letter to serve a mission but he never ended up excepting it. Hermano Flor wants nothing more in the world than for his family to return, his wife to be baptized, and his family to be united in the gospel. He gave the most incredible testimony. I was bawling my eyes out. Mom and Dad okay I really didn´t think I would touch any lives here cuz my Spanish is weak, or at least not this early in my mission. He said that if it wasn´t for my visit (with a yw in the ward) he probably wouldn´t have returned or had a desire to return, because before I visited he was thinking of not ever coming back, because he has lived so long without his wife joining, and his kids have all fallen away. I don´t know why things worked out the way they did, but he recognizes and wants with all his heart to return. He experessed that he sees now that salvation is personal. He siad he used to feel alone coming to church but now sees that he has family here as well. A whole ward family. Our ward by the way... something is changing. People are more willing to give us references, everyone talks to everyone now (well almost), there is more interest in the work, and less actives are returning!!!! It´s amazing. Everyone was so spiritually full after church on Sunday.
It was especially neat to hear our investigators Gloria (48), Milagros (14), and Faviola (16) comment on how much they loved church. By the way I have failed to keep you all updated... but Milagros (14) and Gloria (48- Milagro´s mother and aunt of Faviola) are getting baptized this SATURDAY!!! Pray for them. Oh I am so excited. Gloria was just a random contact one night with a member (3 of us... this is significant). We clapped, she came out, we taught her a bit, and asked if we could return. She opened up to us right away. She told us about a dream she had that 3 angels visited to bring her something but she wouldn´t accept it. She never told us the meaning and she talks about a lot of interesting dreams she has, but I seriously think that those 3 angels in her dream were to prepare her to recieve us. In other words, we were the real 3 angels :) She has such a hard life, poor thing. Her husband left her and her sons live next to her but won´t talk to her or even acknowledge her. She has found so much refuge, comfort, and peace in the gospel. She experessed to us how much it hurts yet how much she loves them. We testified of how Jesus was persecuted first. Really he was turned away, persecuted, hated, rejected, and spit upon his whole life yet by his merciful love for all mankind he said in his last moments here on this earth, ¨Forgive them Lord for they know not what they do.¨ I stand all amazed at the love Jesus offers us. If we turn to him we truly find peace, we truly find joy, we truly have a friend.
So like I was saying Hermana Goimarac... She has taught me sooooo much! First off, she has taught me that God really is preparing people for us to teach, everyday! Sometimes it is hard but seriously as we plan, listen, and look the Lord places people in our path. It has happened everyday with her. Like the scripture says, the Lord will hasten his work in these latter days. It is amazing.
She has also taught me how crucial and important the restoration is. It is SO TRUE. If people don´t understand the restoration they are just going to think you are sharing another "sweet message" with them. Before, it didn´t really matter which lesson we taught first (1, 2 , or 3) but Hermana Goimarac has helped me see that Lesson 1, like it says in Preach My Gospel, should always be taught first, unless otherwise instructed by the spirit. There isn´t one lesson that has gone by that I haven´t testified of the Prophet Joseph Smith and that he truly restored the Lord´s Church once again on the earth. People have to hear/know the difference. It´s the fact that we have the priesthood. It was given to Joseph Smith by 3 origional apostles of Jesus Christ and then passed from prophet to prophet in these latter days. I have never known something so gratifying or sweet than testifying of this grand hope that our Loving Heavenly Father has extended his hands to us in these latter days and restored his church. (rekindling my greanie fire :) His church which has always and will always be directed by a prophet and the power of the priesthood. When poeple just take the time to listen and learn a whole knew conocimiento (we call it) or knowledge is unfolded and we can´t deny it, because it is made known unto us by the power of the spirit and the spirit of God does not lie.
Gloria said this is the only church that she has not ever been confused in. The other day Hna Goimarac and I were teaching this cute girl Pia. I think she could really progress. As we were testifying of the first vision she literally gasped in reverance and awe that Heavenly FAther and our Savior actually descended. THAT is how we should respond to the message of the atonement. Oh it is the greatest message to hear in these last days. The Lord is preparing to come and the Lord needs us to prepare. He´s not just gonna give us a bunch of churches and say, ¨well good luck findin your way back, hope you´re prepared when I come.¨ There is one God, there is one way. His church (a prophet, apostles, the autoridad, revelation, and scriptures) and gospel (faith, repentance, baptism by immersion by those who hold the priesthood, the merciful gift of the Holy Ghost, and enduring to the end) are on the earth. These truths have been restored. I find the most incredible joy when I testify to people of this. Today on the bus I told this cute girl Saeda (about my age) the story of Joseph Smith and bore my testimony. It was one of those ¨Wow, serious? How beautiful!¨ reactions.
Man I could write forever about this week. I just want to tell you about all the wonderful people here and tell you all their names and a little about them. Maybe I will do that next week.
For starters, Yesica and Paul this cute couple in my ward says hello. Yesica siempre sale con nosostros. Ella es muy muy amable and adorable, a petite little Columbian. She met Paul when he was serving his mission in Columbia and they got married here in Paraguay in the temple 8 months ago. It is super hard for her because she is the only member in her family and no one came for her wedding or anything.
Hna Ana Acosta says hi. She makes us delicious stews every Tuesday. Oh and dad Hno Rojas in our bishopric served in Buenos Aires South about 10 years ago. Oh and Hna Ortiz (the cute one that reminds me of Grandma and who made me a skirt) has a grand daughter who is living in Tuscon and attending a spanish branch. Her name is Diana Ortiz but she is married to an American (Adan or Adam Efran I think and they have a new little baby). Just curious if the Mortensons might know them?
Any way sorry for the crazy long email hoy. Tengo mucho a expresar. Mi corazón es lleno hoy y cada día. Oh tambien!! Today Hna Goimarac and I went on a 45 minute run it was AMAZING! We are finding fun paths and cool trails that take us to awesome views. Afterward, we came back and enjoyed an ice cold glass of chocolate milk on our roof as the sun rose. The weather is wonderful today but it is definitely warmin up.
Roh hey huy (I love you in Guarani)
P.S. This morning as I was sweaping I sweaped up a DEAD MOUSE!!!! AHHHH it was so sad. It looked like he died in running position. I will send a pic next week. He was so cute, but I am so happy cuz now we won´t find nasty mouse poo in EVERYTHING!!!! Seriously he got into our suitcases, food, drawers. BLEH.
P.S.S. Grandpa Dougie, Grandma, and Aunt Deone thank you for the wonderful letters! :)