Sunday, September 13, 2015

Villa Elisa: June 19, 2000

Hey guys!

Wow!  Not, one, but two packages!  Woo hoo!  Ahem.  I mean, thank you for sending me the candy and the bug spray.  It is greatly appreciated.  I… candy, candy, candy, candy!  :)  Heh.  So much for dignity.  Hey, you can't expect too much from me!  I just got candy!  Okay, I got it a week ago, but that's not important.  Oh, by the way, the pictures I requested?  That's what I wanted more than anything else.  ¡Y no hay!  ¿Que pasó?  (And there aren't any!  What happened?)

Well, I also received two letters included in the packages.  The first is dated May 26.  First, I want to say this: Very funny, Mom.  This one is the one you cut up.  You're a scream.

Last night, we went and saw Kay graduate.
Wow.  Graduation.  Wow.  Wasn't it February just yesterday?  What happened to the time?  Hey, wait… Whoa…  I've been a missionary for almost five months.  That's almost half a year!  Wow.  Time flies.  Oh, I guess I better get to my point.  Tell Kay I said congratulations!

Aunt Ellen said we should all hold our arms straight out with palms facing the podium—that way we could receive the Braille version.
Uh.  Okay.  Aunt Ellen is officially weird now.

We got more tomatoes—so we ended up with 70 quarts!
Mom!  These letters are supposed to be uplifting!  Arg!  Excuse me while I go and puke my guts out.

April Dawn got home from California yesterday.
Te voy a creer al recibir una carta de ella.  Pasale el mensaje.  (I'll believe you when I get a letter from her.  Pass her the message.)

Okay, that blabbing is done.  Now I get to blab about the other letter.  'Twas dated May 31.  On cool blue paper!  :D

It's hard to believe—two more days and you will have been gone four months!
Two weeks and it'll be five months!  I can't believe it either!  I'm probably going to be transferred this month.  I hope not, but four months in the greenie area is rare.  We'll see…

The big reunion has officially been cancelled.
Bummer.  I wanted pictures!  Boo hoo!  Well, I guess I can ask for pictures from you people.  I doubt I'll have to twist your arm too much to get you to go to the Homestead. :)

We went to the Homestead last weekend…
I rest my case.

…until I put the OFF on…
Only in English…

Keep up the good work!

I get to talk now.
Oh.  Great.  Siesta time!  Wake me up when she's done, okay?

…on September 2, 2000, the United Nations will declare a One World Government.
Why September 2?  Why not an important date?  Like December 24?  :D  Actually, I'd like to know what this so-called "One World Government" thinks it's going to do, and how it's going to work.  If it's really what it's name implies, then it won't work.  Don't call me pessimistic, though I'm no pessimist.  I'm a realist.  If the Saints weren't able to do it, the whole world won't, either.  Good idea, but I think it's doomed to failure.  That's politics according to Joe.  If I'm wrong, tell me.  I'd like to know what's going on.

Christopher won't eat tomatoes!  He says they are EVIL!!
Good boy!  Tomatoes are the bane of my existence!  We must avoid them at all costs!  Unless, of course, we're chucking them at a comedian.

I wonder where that came from!?!  Hmmm?
No clue.  Maybe a little birdie told him?  Oh, hey, by the way, I have a nickname in Guaraní.  It's Kokoro'o karape.  That means "short rooster."  Elder Erickson gave it to me.  Don't understand why.  (Hope you caught the correlation between "Kokoro'o karape" and "a little birdie.") :P

Okay, that's what I got this week.  Now I'm going to blab more!  This time about my week, beginning with Tuesday.  The biggest thing was Zone Conference!  Yay!  It seemed, to me, that the theme this month was the Holy Ghost.  Anyway, let me pull out my notes…

Hermana [tr: Sister] Cheney said, several times, that "it is the Spirit that teaches."  Very true.  She also said that conversion doesn't come until the person has been touched by the Spirit of the Lord.  However, in order to have the Spirit with us, we must seek it and, upon finding it, we must hoard it.  She presented four steps to have the Spirit with us.  I'll talk about nothing for a bit so I can get to the next page because I don't want to break up the steps.

Okay, here we go:

  1. Cultivate a desire or will
  2. Study and search the scriptures
  3. Engage in humble and sincere prayer
  4. Work, work, and work

She then impressed this important point (is that how you say it?): After doing these four steps, LIVE BY IT.

After Hermana Cheney was done, we had a special musical number.  A group of missionaries sang "The Spirit of God."  They sang in English.  None of them were American.  It was very cool.

President Cheney got up next and told us that there is nothing more important than what we do every day.  But, if the mission is the hardest thing I've ever done in my life, I'm doing it wrong.  I hope I'm doing it right, then, because I've never done anything harder.  He also told us that the number of baptisms (88 in May) is not sufficient.  Ouch.

Then the assistants of the president proceeded to tell us how to use our most powerful finding tool: the members.  They took an example from Lehi's dream (1 Nephi 8).  Lehi got to the tree of life and ate the fruit (the gospel), then he had the desire to share it.  Hint, hint.

After nearly all was done, we had the testimonies of the new missionaries and the ones leaving.  One greenie hermana started off in the fresh-out-of-the-MTC Spanish that I remember so well, but then slipped into English.  There was a Paraguayan stake missionary sitting next to me.  I translated for him.  Then, there was a Latin hermana who bore her testimony in English.  The Spirit was so strong right then that I almost cried.  After the meeting, I thanked her for it.

Wednesday was a lot of nothing.  We went to the house of a member to have a charla [tr: discussion] one.  No good.  She never let us talk!  Plus, she said that her husband is inactive because he drinks and smokes.  That's nothing something an investigator needs to hear.  To make matters worse, she tried to tell us how to do her job.  Right in front of the investigator.  And then Elder Erickson asked the investigator when we could visit her in her house and the member said, "She'll talk to her husband."  Arg!  It was just a disaster.

I had my interview with President Cheney on Thursday.  Way cool.  He told me there was a glow about me that wasn't there before.  I guess I had lost that "fire in my eyes" that Mom wrote about, and I seem to have found it again.

Friday and Saturday both were a heck of a lot of nothing.  We gave three charla ones in these two days, but only one of them will amount to anything.  One of them didn't even want to take a Book of Mormon!

Sunday was the pits.  There was a huge attendance at church.  Forty.  Yup.  Forty.  The stake president was there, raised us from branch to ward, and there was forty people there.  That night, we went to Jorgelina's house.  She told us to go away.  We've lost her.  She went from "I want to be baptized" to "I don't want to talk to you any more."  It wasn't very fun.  As I said, Sunday was the pits.

This week was tough.  It's getting to winter, which means it's cold and rainy.  And Paraguayans like to sleep when it's cold and rainy.  Not good for missionaries trying their hardest to share the gospel.  Oh, well.  Nothing we can do except for what we're already doing.

Paraguayan Peek: tereré and mate.  These are typical drinks.  They are identical except for one thing: tereré is cold and mate is hot.  They involve filling a cup with green stuff called yerba, pouring water in, and drinking the water through a straw.  There's more to it, of course, but that's the important part.

Paraguayans love drinking tereré and love sharing it, too.  Just the other day, we got in to a house by saying, "Ah, you're drinking tereré.  You want some company?"  The more people in the circle, the more they like it.

Okay, Mom, don't flip out.  Everyone uses the same straw.  After you've slurped down your bit of water, you pass the cup (called a guampa) back to the person serving, who refills the water, and passes the guampa to the next person.  Not very sanitary, but it's good.

All righty.  I've blabbed enough for one day.  My hand is getting tired.  I'm going away now.

Love ya!

PS Send pictures!

PPS Plus, I'd like an ink refill thingy.  I don't know if I can find them here or not.  I need a Sheaffer ballpoint refill.  It says "Medium" on it.  I hope that's enough information...  Thanks!

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