Tuesday, September 8, 2015

Villa Elisa: June 12, 2000

To my Simper family:

There's more than one, ya know.  I have good news.  I really enjoyed this week.  I was merely happy before, but this week was really good.  Actually, number-wise, it wasn't, but I had fun.  Why?  I'll tell ya in a minute.  I want to keep you in suspense a little while longer.  :D

Now that I've said that, I'll blab a bit about the letter I got.  By the way, cool blue paper.

… so Dad made me stay down and is feeding me Smack Ramen and Kool Aid.
Aww, poor baby.  Am I supposed to feel sorry for you?

… if W.C. refuses to replace the knee, we plan to have it done under our regular insurance…
That would be "Workman's Compensation", not "water closet", right? :)  Anyway, it's good to hear that Dad's (finally) going to get better.  You've been down almost a whole year, haven't you?  Yikes.  What happened to the time?  Oh!  There it goes!  Right out the window!  Catch it!  Too late…

It was good to see that you guys are talking to Jorgelina again.
Um.  Yeah.  Well, we'll see how that goes.  She found a book.  Yeah.  One of those.  I think it's title translates to "God Makers."  Anti-LDS garbage.  Blarg.  Hopefully, we can take care of this little problem.

Aunt Edwina… called to tell me she got "a sweet-sweet letter from your dear missionary."
Um.  Cool.  Did she happen to mention what I said?  I don't remember.  I've written too much and it's been too long; probably about a month and a half.  Something like that, anyway.  I guess whatever I said struck a chord, eh?

One of your letters said, "We got hosed out of three appointments that Elder Kump and I made."  Then you said, "On Friday, we were hosed by five people.  Joy of joys."  What is this "hosed"?
Well, actually, I assumed you people would already understand.  Just goes to show what happens when you assume.  It's actually something I never say.  What we say here is "fallared."  The verb "fallar" means "to miss" or "to fail."  And, being Americans, we made it past tense with the -ed.  Remember that.  I'll use it from here on out.  By the way, it has nothing to do with water, unless it's raining.

A simple, but firm, "No thank you" would be sufficient.
One would think so.  However, Paraguayans are too nice to say, "No, go away and leave me alone."  They always say things like "Otro día" (other day), "Puede ser" (could be), or "Estoy ocupado" (I'm busy).  Arg.  All of those mean, literally, "I can't right now, but come back later."  No Paraguayan really means that when they say it.  They mean, "Go away."  But they don't say it!  I like getting the "otro día," because we can fire back with "¿cuál?" (which?) ;)

Sarah thinks cookies would stay good if we vacuum-pack them.
Watch out for that one!  She's getting' too smart for her britches! :P

Hopefully, by the time you get this, you will have a new companion.
I do.  Elder Erickson.  I talked a bit about him last week.  He is really cool.

I am praying that he will be just the right match for you.
To put it simply: Mom, I would wager that your prayers have been answered.  And I would never gamble unless I was 100% sure of victory.  Thank you.

God bless you daily, son.
He does.  I can see it.  Not only is my command of the language improving, I can understand the people most of the time.  Plus, reading the Book of Mormon every morning is a little thing that brings great blessings.  I suggest you try it.  Each of you.  And to top it off, I have your prayers and support.  What more could I ask for?

What is—

Okay, we'll give Mom a little time to wipe her eyes… :P  All better now?  Okay.  Here we go.

What is "going on splits"?
Splits would be where two companionships swap companions for a day.  That day, with Elder Kump, he came here to Villa Elisa, and Elder Handy went to La Floresta with Elder Christenson.  Simple as that.  No bananas involved.

Oh, by the way, the smiley faces are a scream!  We all get a big kick out of them!
I'm glad you like them.  I like them, too.  A heck of a lot easier than drawing a little goofy face.  They should last a while, too.  The original package had… uh… 320 little faces, twenty different ones.  I've used, in two months, only thirty-five.  I'll beg some more if I start getting low.  I doubt it, though.

What is "Noche de Rama"?
"Rama" is "branch," and "noche" is "night."  So.  Branch night.  Think Mutual night with more than just the young folks there.  It's pretty fun.  I like it.

Bandit [ed: my dog] says, "Ahowwllll."
Um.  Okay.  So, Mom, how long did it take you to figure out how to spell that?

I hope vociferious rambling is acceptable for letters.
Well, that depends.  What the heck does "vociferious" mean?  Rambling is good.  News from home, spiritual stuff, and good other stuff (like Bandit talking) are what I like to get.  And anything else you can think up.  Like nummies.  :D

Hey, love the Arizona temple stickers!  They're really cool!  Um.  Gonna blab about this week now.  Yeah, really.  No, there's nothing you can do abo—hey!  Quit folding this up!  I'm not finished!

Ahem.  Let's see.  Monday.  I did absolutely nothing of note.  I spent all my free time writing letters.  Our landlord fixed our electricity, which was pretty durned friendly of him.  Before, the shower would go out, so we wouldn't have hot water.  He fixed it, though.  Yay!

Tuesday was zone meeting as usual.  Afterwards, our day just crumbled.  We planned six charlas [tr: discussions].  None of them were there.  Well, some were there, but couldn't talk to us.  We also planned to do our contract.  We went to the notary person's office and waited for about twenty minutes.  We got in.  We left.  We needed the title for the house.  Grrr.

We went back the next day and got it all cleared up.  Yes, that would be Wednesday.  One noteworthy… uh, note: our landlords invited a friend to hear the first charla with them.  Her name is Celeste.  She showed up wearing practically nothing.  We set a time to come back (oh, by the way, this was a while ago, not on Wednesday).  On Wednesday, we went back and had an awesome charla one with her mom.  Her name is Cornelia.  She's one of those who likes to talk.  And talk.  And talk.  The charla lasted an hour and a half, about twice as long as usual.  That's okay, though.  They're cool.  Oh, and Celeste wasn't all snakey this time.  Snakey is a missionary term for females who try to attract us North Americans.  The name comes from the hissing sound they make to try to get our attention.  Snakes have many methods, of which the most frequent is small clothing, and flirting.  Well, a one-sided flirt, anyway.  They're quite annoying.  Hmm… that'll be this week's Paraguayan Peek because I'm too tired to think of another one.

Thursday, we did a lot of clapping.  We had some good contacts, too.  The best part was, during the correlation meeting that night with members, the branch president told us that Rama Villa Elisa is now Barrio Villa Elisa.  "Barrio" means "ward."  Yay!

More of the same on Friday.  A lot of running around like chickens with their heads cut off, without a lot of visible results.  Elder Erickson made some good pasta, though.  Highlight of the day.

Saturday we went by a lot of the people with whom we talked.  Not charlas, but charla cortas [tr: short discussions].  They said to come back Saturday.  Some did.  They said come back Saturday or something along those lines.  One lady, who we had given a charla one to, told her son to tell us that she went on a trip.  We caught him in the lie, and he 'fessed up.  We commended him for his honesty and continued on our way.  The cool thing about Saturday was I received a nickname in Guaraní.  I am kokoro'o karape, which means short rooster.  Don't ask me.  Elder Erickson gave it to me.  His means bald monkey.  He's a little thin on top.  Just a little. :)

Sunday was cool.  Celeste and Cornelia went to church, as did our landlords.  Also, Juan's brother, Lorenzo went.  That was a surprise.  I haven't talked to him in like a month.  He was there for charla two, and he accepted baptism.  After church, we proceeded to get fallared.  How lovely.  We went to a member's house, and planned a really, really cool thing.  She doesn't ready very well, so we are going to go by her house once or twice a week to read the Book of Mormon with her.  It's going to be very cool.

Today was very crazy.  We left the house and dropped our less-than-clean clothes off, then went to San Isidro.  That's the barrio next to Villa Elisa.  The hermanas (sister missionaries (get used to it)) there are part of my district and invited us to the ward activity.  It was cool.  I played volleyball and ping pong, and ate food, too.  Mmm… food…  As we left, we were going to buy food, but the supermarket was closed!  Arg!  So we came home.  I borrowed a Guaraní-Castellano dictionary from a member.  That'll be helpful.  It says how to pronounce the letters, so I'll be able to ready my Book of Mormon in Guaraní.

And that was my week.  A lot of nothing.  But why am I so happy?  Because Elder Erickson is AWESOME.  Last night, for instance, we talked 'til midnight about some cool doctrinal points, and we shared scriptures.  It was really cool.  Elder Handy and I never talked about anything.  What little I know about him, I picked up from him telling investigators and members.  Elder Erickson and I talk about all sorts of stuff, all the time.  Plus, I feel that my talents are actually being used.  I feel like I'm actually learning.  I consider Elder Erickson my trainer.  Anyone can be called to be a district leader (as Elder Handy was).  Anyone can be called to work in the mission office (as Elder Handy was).  Anyone can be assigned a new missionary as a companion (as Elder Handy was).  However, to be a trainer, you have to actually train.  I feel that I'm learning, and my boundaries are being stretched.  Just the other day, I gave half of a charla three.  I haven't even studied charla three yet.  That's the sort of thing a trainer is supposed to do.  Elder Erickson does it.  And so, Elder Erickson is my trainer.  He is a great guy.  I'm really happy and extremely blessed to be his companion.

Okay, well, it's rolling onto 11pm, and I'm exhausted.  I can't go to bed, though, 'cause I still have to write President Cheney and answer another letter.  I'm going away now.

Love you!


PS I'm gonna have a book by the time I get home!

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