Sunday, June 21, 2015

Villa Elisa: April 17, 2000

¿Que tal, familia? [tr: What's up, family?]

Well, I've been here for a week and a half and I am just lovin' it.  This week has been great.  Well, as I look at my numbers for the week, maybe it hasn't, from a missionary point of view.  To me, however, it was great.

Let's see… Monday.  We spent all day in the mission office, messing with the computers.  Then, we went to the mission home, where President Cheney and his family live, and messed with their computers there.  I'm not pleased to say that we failed, but we got an amazing chicken salad.  Yum!

We had a district meeting Tuesday.  Nothing really big there, except I met the other missionaries in the district.  Two elders and two hermanas [tr: sister missionaries].  We talked about stuff.  I think I might even have understood some of it!

The highlight of the week was Wednesday.  I don't remember if I told you about Jorgelina, so I will.  This next little bit happened last week.  Sunday, I believe (not last night, the 11th).  Anyway, we had made an appointment with her neighbor, but when we clapped his house (it's rude to enter the yard without an invite, so instead of knocking on their doors, we clap outside the fence), he wasn't there.  His neighbor, Jorgelina, came out and told us he went to play some game or another.  We were kinda bummed, but introduced ourselves to her.  She let us in and we started teaching.  She was accepting everything really well.  Then, we got to my part.  Joseph Smith and the First Vision.  When I started, "Vi una columna de luz…" (I saw a pillar of light…), her eyes got really big and it was obvious to me that she was paying attention even more than before.  She was literally crying by the time I was done.  Such is the power of the Spirit of our Heavenly Father.

She agreed to read the Book of Mormon, which she did.  Well, not all of it, just Moroni 10:3-5--La Promesa (The Promise) and 3 Nephi 11--La Visita de Jesucristo (The Visit of Jesus Christ).  She also started reading from the beginning.  She related a story to us about it.  I'm not certain about the details because my Castellano (they don't call it Spanish down here) isn't good enough yet, but I got the main part.  She knows the Book of Mormon is true.  She was reading, turned the page, and was staring into the face of the Savior.  That night (this is Wednesday, the 12th), we taught both Jorgelina and her husband, Andres, who hadn't received Charla 1 [tr: Discussion 1].  Both of them agreed to be baptized.  My joy at that very instant is indescribable.  As we left, I said to Elder Handy, "And that is why I am here."  I'm certain you remember my other letter.  The one you shared with everyone, where I said that I want to share this with all my Paraguayan brothers and sisters.  I have done it once, and how great was my joy.  "And now, if your joy will be great with one soul that you have brought unto me into the kingdom of my Father, how great will be your joy if you should bring many souls unto me!"  (D&C 18:16).

Thursday was Zone Conference.  The five zones in the Asunción area met together and we had an awesome meeting.  Hermana Cheney [tr: Sister Cheney] talked about ten things to take home.  They weren't gifts or things like that, but they were Gospel stuffs, like a greater knowledge of God and Jesus Christ.  It was pretty amazing.  Another one was a greater love and appreciation for your family.  I've already felt that, and I've only been gone for two and a [ed: yes, I forgot to write "half" here] months.  She added a scripture that I'd like to modify a bit and share the first couple of lines with you:

"I, Joe Simper, having been born of goodly parents, therefore I was taught somewhat in all the learning of my father…" (1 Nephi 1:1)

And I thank you for that.

President Cheney talked a little about temples.  He said that, at the end of this year, there will be 121 temples in operation, under construction, or announced.  He also mentioned that, only two and a half years ago, there were fifty in operation.  We've doubled the number of operating temples in that short amount of time.  The coolest thing he said was a story about a Paraguayan family who sold everything they had (yes, everything) to attend the temple in Buenos Aires.  Talk about faith.  He also gave all of us a picture of the planned temple here in Asunción.  I'm not sure exactly where he got it, but it was from the Internet somewhere.  I snagged one for you, but I posted it in our chapel instead.  The people here have more need of it than you do.  :P

Nothing spectacular happened on Friday, but Saturday…  Elder Handy got sick.  He's got some weird thing called dengae fever.  It seems to be pretty common around here.  It's transmitted by (surprise) mosquitoes.  He had a burning fever, diarrhea, and said his entire body ached, even his eyes.  Needless to say, we didn't go out.  I spent all day reading or studying something.

Sunday rolled around, and he wasn't feeling much better.  We stayed home again.  I've read 57 Sections of the Doctrine and Covenants, an entire book for missionaries, started Jesus the Christ, and spent about four hours with the Spanish Book of Mormon, looking up words I don't know and writing them down.  I got to 1 Nefi 3 [tr: 1 Nephi 3].  Anyway, I'd like to share this scripture with you that I found, altered a little bit, of course.

"Verily, verily, I say unto you, Elder Simper, even as you desire of me so shall it be unto you; and if you desire, you shall be the means of doing much good in this generation.

"Say nothing but repentance unto this generation; keep my commandments, and assist to bring forth my work, according to my commandments, and you shall be blessed." (D&C 6:8-9, red added).

Incredible, ¿no?  This passage really touched me (obviously).  I do desire to be the means of doing much good in this generation.

Elder Handy seems to be doing better this morning.  That's good.  Maybe we'll go out tonight.  I hope so… ¡Oh!  Guess what!  Nope!  I got my first Paraguayan thunderstorm this morning!  It was cool.  It was going on at 6:30 when I woke up, and was still going at 8:30 when I woke up again, but when I woke up the last time at 9:30, it had run it's course.  It was nice, though.  I haven't heard a thunderstorm since leaving the house so long ago.

Well, that's my report for the week.  Hurry up and get letters to me so I can write more stuff!

Love you!


PS Feel free to email me, and definitely spread my address around!  It's [ed: email address removed to fight against spam bots] with Elder Joseph D. Simper as the subject.  Have them include their mailing address, too, so I can write back.

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