Friday, August 14, 2015

Villa Elisa: June 5, 2000

Hey whole family,

This last week has been pretty darn hectic.  We moved to a different apartment, Elder Handy left, and I have to guide my new senior companion around.  His name is Elder Erickson.  He's from Phoenix.  Cool guy.  But before I get into that, I have a few words to say about your letters.  The first was from Dad.  No date was specified.

I was sorry to hear about your week you wrote about in your letter of April 24.
Thanks, but what did I write?  It's been too long.  I don't even remember what I wrote last week.

Work hard and love the people you are teaching.
I do.  I love these people.  Even the ones who reject me.  If I didn't love them, their rejections wouldn't hurt so much.

Our prayers are with you.
And mine with you.

Okay, this one's from Mom, dated May 5.

I am going to send this by regular mail to see if you get it sooner than pouch mail.
Doesn't look like it.  It took about a month both ways.

…the Catholic church is crumbling.
I probably shouldn't be happy about that, but I am.  Now all we have to do is get the Paraguayans to realize it.  I feel that a lot of them use "soy católico" (I'm Catholic) as a shield.  They are afraid of change, and that's what I bring.  It frustrates me when the people reject us without even hearing what we have to say.

And although we have kids who run wild also, the vast majority do not, or if they do, it only lasts a short period of time.
Maybe in the United States it's that way.  Here we have kids who run wild from 8am when church starts to 11am when it's over.  We missionaries usually have to herd the little br… I mean, darlings into their classes.  I haven't beat any of them yet, but I have taken my belt off.  Yes, really.  The parents think it's funny when we do stuff like that.  I miss the tranquility of church in Holbrook 1st Ward.  Now watch.  When I get back, the bishop is going to call me to teach seven-year-olds [ed: I'm currently teaching children who are between six and eight years old—and I love it.].  So much for tranquility.

I also thought you might like a copy of the picture we had made in Silverton, Colorado.
Yeah!  That was cool.  Now all I have to do is find a place to put it… hmm…

The photo you sent with your first letter—is that your mission president and Sister Cheney?
Nope.  It's a picture of a typical Paraguayan tree.  It would have been really nice if those darn Mormons hadn't gotten in the way!

Now I'm going to talk about my week.  I don't remember what happened last Sunday.  Sorry.  Monday we moved from our old apartment.  This one is nicer in most aspects.  The other wasn't too bad, just always dirty dirty.  There's a few things we lack, though.  We need a sink in both the bathroom and in the kitchen.  Also, we're going to get hot water installed next month (rare in Paraguay) and in four months, a bidet.  This place will be awesome when it's all finished up.  It's too bad I'll be gone by then.  I won't be here in my greenie area for six months.

Tuesday, during the zone meeting, we found out that Elder Miller would be transfered to Encarnación.  This is about as far as Phoenix.  I won't get to see him any more until we're both in the Asunción area again.  After that, Elder Handy had to go to the office for his final interview.  Then, the branch had a good-bye thingy for him.

Elder Handy slept in until noon on Wednesday (he was sick; it's okay).  Then, we spent the day doing about nothing.  He went around to say bye bye to everyone.  I had to go along.  Quite boring, I must say.

Thursday, we went back to the office to send Elder Handy away.  We took a picture of the two of us together (the only picture he took in two months with me in it), then I killed him.  No, not really.  He went home and so died.  I was his companion at the time and so I killed him.  My new comp is Elder Erickson.  He's from Phoenix.  Cool guy.  I said it twice, so you know it's true.  I really think things will look up from now on.  Not only does he have the same desires to work as I do, we work together to do it.  I don't feel unimportant any more.

We had to go back to the old house to clean it on Friday.  As I said earlier, it was horrible.  But now it's all nice and clean.  The landlord only pulled out 100 mil [tr: thousand] [ed: guaranies, the Paraguayan currency] of the deposit.  We were certain he was going to try to take it all.  We did some real missionary work after that, but I don't recall anything cool.

Saturday was actually the day we met with the landlord.  When I gave him the keys, he said there were three more.  I didn't know what to do.  I had given him all that Elder Handy gave me.  Then an idea popped into my head: maybe the keys are in the doors.  The three doors were the interior doors, and I didn't even know they had keys.  We looked, and lo and behold, they were there!  Guess what.  The idea didn't pop into my head.  It was put there.  I've noticed little things like that all week.  I was on the bus Tuesday reading the Ensign, and the bus driver turned the interior lights on.  About a minute after I had put it away, he turned them off.  Wednesday morning.  I opened my study guide for the first time in Paraguay.  I chose (did I choose?) to study the Restoration, or more specifically, the prophecies concerning the Restoration.  That night, someone had questions about… what?  Yup.  Prophecies concerning the Restoration.

We gave a charla [tr: discussion] two to our new landlords on Sunday.  It didn't go too well.  Visitors came in the middle of it, then he had to leave for a bit.  Neither of them accepted baptism, but said they'd pray about it.  We'll see.  We dropped by Jorgelina's house, and found out that she's been reading an anti-LDS book.  Grr.  She said she's going to pray, also.

Oh, by the way.  I should have a baptism this week or the week to come.  Finally!  Their names are Wifrido and Lilian.  They had all six charlas before I got here, and we found out that they were found by the elder that Elder Handy replaced.  Elder Handy was here for six months.  Long time.  They have to get married before they can be baptized, and that's why it's taken so long.  She needs identification.  However, Elder Erickson told us that they could be married with a birth certificate.  Yay!

This week's Paraguayan Peek is going to be short.  This is my last page in this notebook.  The topic: newspapers.  It appears that there are no regulations on printed material.  Elder Handy told me that sometimes they show pictures of people who have been brutally murdered.  One newspaper line always has a picture of a woman who is, shall we say, scantily clad on the front page.  I guess they need something to get people to buy.  Plus, a lot of the stories aren't true.  Hmm.  Worth buying?  Nope.  Worth reading?  Nope.

Um.  Yeah.  Bye?  Love ya!


Villa Elisa: May 27, 2000

Simper people,

Yeah, I'm writing early.  We'll move on Monday, and Elder Handy leaves on Thursday, so I took time to write tonight.  This means that this letter will be a bit short because Sunday and Monday will be left out, plus the fact that I didn't get a letter from you this week.

Tuesday was action-packed.  We had zone meeting, which went as usual.  My agenda has three names on it for all day long.  Two of them weren't there and the third told us to go away and not come back.  Oh, well.  It's his immortal soul.  I've done my part.

Wednesday was cool.  I went on splits with the zone leaders again.  This time, I was in their area.  We did a lot of work.  Nineteen charla cortas [tr: short discussions] and five charla [tr: discussion] ones.  Plus, he told me a lot about being a good missionary.  Oh, yeah.  "He" is Elder Osmond.

Thursday.  Um.  We had a charla one with the people who are going to be our new landlords, and that's about all we did.  We had our first correlation meeting with the new mission leader, which went well.  The greenie (that'd be me) had a good idea, too!  The others talked a lot about the investigators and the new members, but I brought up the inactive members.

We didn't get much accomplished Friday either.  We had a good discussion with a lady named Margarita.  She's what I would consider gold.  She needs to get married before she can be baptized, though.  For that, her… uh… guy has to get divorced.  This is a predominately Catholic nation, so it costs the equivalent of $250 to get divorced.  A marriage is only about $20.  Not very nice.  Anyway, we also had a good charla five with Jorgelina  I think she's gold, too.  She just needs to figure out what she wants.

Today was rather pathetic as well.  We walked clear across Villa Elisa, called the landlord to tell him we're moving, and then walked all the way back to our pensión [tr: apartment] to meet with him.  Grr.  We had a good charla four with Juan (the guy whose kidneys don't work).  Elder Handy snuck a charla six in there, too.  Crafty.  We came home early because, as I said earlier, we move Monday, and we need to get stuff ready to go.  So here I am writing a letter home.  ¡Que malo que soy!  (I'm so bad!  (sort of))

With the exception of Wednesday, this was a slow week.  Next Tuesday, I'll learn who my new companion is, and I'll meet him on Thursday.  Maybe things will pick up after that… (not a nice thought, I know)

Anyway, I'm gonna go away and figure something out.  I'm thirsty, so I'll probably go drink some water.  Yeah, definitely water.  Then, I'll do something else.  But before I forget…

Paraguayan Peek: animals.  There aren't really weird animals here.  I've seen three parrots and a monkey and a lot of dogs, cats, horses, cows, etc.  My point today is… um… never mind my point.

Doggys here fall into one of two groups: really nice or really mean.  There's some dogs near my house that aren't nice doggys.  Elder Handy stuck a good sized stick through the fence, and they snapped it in two.  Yikes.

Okay, there's two more groups: really, really sick, or just with fleas.  Really, really sick involves bugs that cause the poor puppies to lose their hair.  Makes 'em look horrid.  The other group, just with fleas, don't look bad but they are dirty-dirty.

I have no clue why, but everybody calls kittys "meechies".  I don't know if it's Guaraní for cat or not, though I don't think it is, but everyone uses it, so I've picked it up.  Meechies are also either really nice or really mean.  Think Smokey and Evil Kitty.

A quick note about… cows!  They are black and white like cows are supposed to be!  Yay!  Those brown cows that live next door to you are ugly.  Nyah.  Cows here are pretty.  They still stink though.  Kinda funny thingy: I've seen baby cows eating grass in the median in the main road of Villa Elisa.  This isn't exactly a modern city.  There's also chickens running everywhere.  I've only hit a few with rocks (but not for lack of trying!).

Okay.  I'm done for sure this time.  I go bye bye now.  Probably gonna go read the Bible.  Don't know just yet.  At any rate, I'm gone!

Love ya!