Monday, July 21, 2014

Historia de Exito

This week... Hermana Goimarac´s echo in my head, "The weeks only get better, each new week is "the best"." :)

         I fought wars with Mormon, burried the plates in the Hill Cumorah with Mormon (he´s my new hero... I WILL marry a man like him), and prayed with the Jaredites these past weeks while traveling the country side of Paraguay.  These past few weeks we have been to Pedro Juan Caballero (bordering Brazil), Yby Yau, Benjamin Aceval, Mariano Roquialsono, and Concepcion for all the divisions.  Since we are out lejos our trips are 1-8 hours long.  My favorite thing to do on the trips is open up and devour the Book of Mormon.  I am almost finished in Spanish!  The stories just come to life and I love imagining that a lot of the stories took place right here on these beautiful plains of Paraguay.  

         We traveled a lot this week including a fun road trip with President and the Assistants.  Hermana Amado and I were priviledged to teach part of the Zone Conferences. We taught about why and how we can and should use the scriptures more effectively. I feel like my relationship with the scriptures has grown and is growing so much in the mission.  President is having everyone memorize 100 scriptures to the lessons we teach.  It is fun because we have competitions.  It is a huge motivator and animator.  

         So our Success Story... Thursday it was POORING rain and the streets turned to mud rinks.  We skated to every lesson.   Shoulda taken a picture of my shoes.  They are caked in mud it is awesome.  It was 730 and we were going to catch a bus at 830 to head to Concepcion for zone conference on Friday.  We could have easily gone home but decided nah there has to be someone waiting for us.  I named some people and Hermana Amado picked one: Maria Louisa.  She is a less active we contacted in the street.  So we went straight away.  We found their tiny house with one light lit in the window, hidden in the back of a small street.  It was a wooden house, the size of a suburban.  We clapped and her husband popped his head out, then she.  They were a little surprised to see to sopping wet missionaries outside their house especially at this time at night. (Everyone goes to sleep early here when it rains, no actually it´s more like they bundle up all day in bed if it is raining.  School is canceled and work.           Paraguay is so chill.)  Anyway, they quickly let us in and right then and there my friends we found some of the Lord´s lost sheep.  No one has every mentioned this family.  TheFrutos family. We came to find out that Hno Frutos and Hna Frutos are both members, their three children no = baptisms!! Hno Frutos almost served a mission!  He has made some mistakes in his life, but he has so many desires to change and repent.  They are tini tiny people and full of humility and love.  We gave them a Book of Mormon to begin reading, testified of our Savior and his redeeming love, and finished with a prayer.  The Hno offered it.  They were so excited saying that they want to come back.  It was such an incredible small yet powerful lesson.  Hermana Amado and I lefted, speechless.  Seriously the only word we could utter was, "wow...."    Like Ammon said, "and this is the blessing which hath been bestowed upon us, that we have been made instruments in the hands of God to bring about this great work." (Alma 26:3)

         This work is constantly changes lives, including mine. This past Saturday we had the baptism of Maria!!  She was so excited.  She really has had a change of heart.  At first she wanted nothing to do with us, but with time, and a regular study of the Book of Mormon she has come to as clear as I or any of you know that these things are true. We invited her to bear her testimony afterward.  She was a little nervous but got up and within the first few words tears began to fall.  Her grandmother and great grandmother were both present (both nonmembers).  Her grandmother began to cry along with her and to hear the words that left her mouth.  I think EVERYONE was a little humble and surprised.  I am not kidding you it was one of THE strongest testimonies I have heard a convert bear on my mission.  I will never forget what she said in the end... "I know this church is true and I am willing... to endure to the end."  Are you too, willing... to endure to the end?  I am reminded of the words of King Benjamin as he counceled his people to serve their Heavenly King, "I would desire that ye should consider on the blessed and happy state of those that keep the commandments of God.  For behold, they are blessed in all things, both temporal and spiritual; and if they hold out faithful to the end they are recieved into heaven, that thereby they may dwell with God in a state of never-ending happiness. O remember, remember that these things are true; for the Lord God hath spoken it."  (Mosiah 2:41)
Con Cariño,
Hermana Owen

The 3 pics below: family of maria and us at baptism, me and maria- all clean, my new BEST FRIEND maria´s great grandma! she is HILARIOUS!!! she is flipping strong even though she is flipping tiny haha

definition of us :) haha jk

No Blood...  And it's FREEZING !

my hair is growing so long!  hermana amado flattened it for the conferences
you should have seen how long it was

it is SO green here I love it!  This is our window next to my study desk...
 look who desided to come in! haha

Filled to the Brim

      I´m staring out the cyber window, laughing, and thinking of Hermana McMullin´s comment one day of, ¨Who thought you´d ever see a Mango tree, Palm Tree, and Pine tree growing right next to one another.¨   haha Only in Paraguay.

         I need to catch up and fill you all in on the last few weeks, instead of only just this one because they have been so eventful and jam pact with adventures.

I adore Maria
         First off to inform you all on the work... We have coming up this Saturday a baptism for Maria Diana.  She is 13 and she is so excited to be baptised.  She reads the Book of Mormon two times a day.  She gets a lot of criticizing from people she works with.  They ask her a million questions and discourage her a lot.  However, she is holding strong, loves coming to church, and has great friends there.   We are so excited.  

Then there´s Susi (Susana).  She is the granddaughter of a less active who we often have lunch with.  She is darling. We have been trying to activate while at the same time bring her grandmother with her.   The main thing with Susi is that she needed a change of heart more than anything.  She showed up the other day and tells, ¨Hermanas I´m now reading the book of mormon.  I want to be baptized as soon as possible.  I keep my Book of Mormon on my bed so whenever I have spare time, I pick it up and start reading!¨  She said it with such excitement in her eyes.  Now we just need her to rub some of that excitement off on her darling Grandma.  

         We had an amazing conference Saturday night with President McMullin and a member of the quorum of the seventy, Elder Krasnoselsky.  From Argentina and knows Flia Abad, dad! and Pte. Aguero (both leaders Steve worked with from his mission 30 years ago).   
He is so humble and inspirational. His name is REALLY hard to pronounce.   They really got our little branch excited, organized, and inspired to get going TOGETHER in this missionary work.   We are excited.  We have two awesome branch missionaries who are our "assistants" we like to call them.  Angelica and Sebastiana (recently baptized).  Yesterday we split and did divisions with them to showed them less actives and investigators we are teaching.  They are amazing little missionaries.  Tuesday, Wednesday, and Friday we will not be in our area because of divisions and zone conferences with President (we get to present! hermana Amado is freaking out!) so they will be visiting the inv.s and less act.s the days we can´t.  This is going to help the progress of our area so much.  We even gave them two missionary agendas to use.  They are stoked and feel privileged :)  I love it!  Being in Horqueta is so much different than a ward in Mesa, or even Asuncion.   There are so little members that you gotta have everybody working. There is constant communication and constant interaction. I love it.  

      This is the Lord´s work and I know it´s true.  Don´t give up.  Don´t let down.  Remember your Savior and that he is always calling out to us.  This is my scripure I found and love for the week: D&C 88:63

love hermana owen
fun gang of the youth and victor

this is Victor he is THE cutest little munchkin in the world.  he is crazy, loves to run around, loves to pray, and knows our names!  He is Roberto´s (recent convert) nephew.   isn't he precious.

            walking thru yby yau.... i love this one because of the cow 

Elder Krasnoselsky

our tree of life. it is in the middle of the street here in little horqueta!

Hermana Owen y Hermana Amado

hermana Valenzuela- reminds me of tara porter and a mix of maquel simkins.  SHE´S A UTE FAN! haha we had a fun division the other day

Lights Out


         I love winter here! The trees are blooming with the beautiful purple flowers from last year.  

          We are in Asuncion, back to the city.  Saturday about midday we were emptying the baptismal font to prepare our third baptism in Horqueta when BOOM, lights out.  Water... gone.  Word on the street is, it´s the EPP and they blew two or three electrical towers and all north of Paraguay lost water and light.  I wish I had my camera so bad.  You need to see what we showered with.  President Duarte (previous press)- who by the way is best friends with Pte. Sparks (good friends of our who was Pte in Paraguay in '99-02)- has a well and we drew three huge buckets of well water to supply us for two days.  We used it to shower and clean etc.  It was FREEZING.  We lived by candle light day and night and my handy dandy head lamp because a rainstorm rolled in and it was especially dark.  
          The chapel on Sunday was an adventure because it was so dim.  But it was a BEAUTIFUL meeting.  Hermana Amado and I sang a special arrangement of Teach Me to Walk in the Light with a mix of Guarani, English, and Spanish.  It was so fun.  Their faces light up when we start singing in Guarani.  Bearing of testimonies was great but my favorite part of Sunday was afterward.  We got the youth to practice an arrangement of I Am A Child of God in Guarani Spanish and English as well :)  President is coming Saturday with a Seventy to have a Concilio so that´s why we wanted to prepare a musical number.  I bribed ´em with Sour Patch Kids (gave em all a few at the end) Thanks James and Kristen! LOVED the package!  Everyone loves the chocolates and candies :)   Anyway, we went to practice in a small room in the chapel.  I kind of directed and we told them to sing really loud, with all their hearts.  You wouldn´t believe the spirit that instantly FILLED the room and my heart.  I closed my eyes and imagined them and I on the Mesa Arts Center Stage like EVMCO and I couldn´t contain my smile. It was a choir of angels. They sang beautifully and you could understand every word in English.  I almost started to cry.

         Oh we have so many bugs in our house!  It was an adventure this week.  We have found about two huge cocroaches everyday.  Thursday night we were hopping into bed when Hna Amado pulled her blanket up that was sitting by the wall and holy batwoman a TARANTULA(no idea how to spell that) or Brown Recluse.  We put him in a jar and I have an awesome pic but will have to send next week.  Also giant centipede type bugs keep crawling out of our tiles. Bleh!

         So the baptism will happen in two weeks from now.  Lights are back in Horqueta we here and oh I am so pumped from the conference we had with President today.  Elder Gunther composed a song for our mission (making mission history!) and we recorded it today. The song is so awesome.  OH I love this work so so much.  Love you all with all my heart. xoxox

Con Cariño,

Hermana Owen

Starry Nights, Full of food

            Okay sorry about last week.  Left writing the weekly letter until the very end and now our cyber didn´t have internet so us 6 missionaries all get a little short time to write.  So to those who I didn´t get to respond I will next week if Concilio with President (council with the President) doesn´t run to long.   

        But oh you guys so much has happened in only a short two weeks!! Forgot to mention the most exciting part, We had a baptism LAST Saturday(21) and this past Saturday! (28)  It was awesome.  There are about 40-60 members that assist every Sunday.  However, about 70% are youth.  We are trying to work with the parents.  Please pray for them.  

        We lived off of 10 mil (like $3) this week for food because we had to do a lot of traveling and cooking and  one day we returned to the house to see what we could scrounge out to eat.  Well we opened our fridge... an old pomelo, juice, and burnt peanuts I tried roasting haha... on the shelf a bag of flour, salt, and half a bag of noodles.  I said a little prayer for some miracle.  We brought home some carrots and other vegetables and seriously five minutes upon returning Hermana Duarte and our President´s wife, came over and surprised us with a plate FULL of food.  Serious.  The Lord seriously watches over us.  
look this is the food heremana duarte brought us!
       Especially, in these areas out lejos (far) because he knows it´s hard.  The poor people really don´t have much but give you ALL.  I LOVE them SO much.  We have wonderful strong youth that are all so excited and involved in the missionary work and ward activities.  

         So here I am back to the rock paved streets, washing clothes by hand and in buckets, eating noodles, tortillas, and mandioca, but I love it.  A little like life in Loma but more rural.  It is getting cold again.  I was wrapped in tons of layers yesterday.  The nights here in Horqueta are incredible, the skies are FILLED with stars.  You can see galaxies.  I feel so stranded and on such an adventure.  I am learning plenty Guaraní.   Yesterday I learned how to say ¨door¨ ...oké.  Where the accent is, you pronounce it with a nasely sound.  It is such a fun language.    
I am loving Horqueta.  Love you all!

Hermana Owen

Oh and I think I mentioned, but my comp is AWESOME!  I am learning SOOO much from her and we have a blast EVERY day!!! Mom I am going to live in Guatemala upon return.  It sounds like a dream there and they eat amazing food!  haha also she is absolutely hilarious... 

an idea of where i went haha the ride to horqueta
this is maria!!! who will be getting baptized next week!!

first baptism :  Roberto Sanchez (17) and excited to serve a mission this past sunday recieved the priesthood!!! :) he reminds me of little nate

their mother :) I  LOVE HER she makes us mandiochururu which is like fried potatoes  
it´s amazing!
our little friend Miguelito on the street