Friday, March 18, 2016

Villa Elisa: July 17, 2000

Che familia [tr: My family],

This week's been really different.  There were a lot of different stuffs we did this week that we normally don't do.  For example, this week would have been Zone Conference week, but Elder Allred of the Second Quorum of the Seventy came and we held a special conference thingy with him, instead.  We also had a fireside.  I took notes, so I'll tell you about them in a little bit.  I've got a letter to respond to first.  Yeah.  It was dated, um… hold on a second… June 30.

Yesterday we went to Phoenix to the airport and met Dallan [ed: my cousin who was serving a mission in Argentinacoming off the plane!
Whoa.  Dallan's home.  That is so weird.  Has he really been gone two whole years?  No lo creo. [tr: I don't believe it.]  I mean, I don't believe it.  Of course, I also can't believe that bump day is in only two weeks (bump day is the six-month mark).  Time flies.

He says there is very little hot food… in Argentina.
Same here.  I don't think I've ever had anything spicy hot here.

He said there is quite a difference in dialects between Paraguay and Argentina.  In Paraguay, you guys clip your words in a way they don't in Argentina or Chili.
First off, "chili" is a food.  "Chile" is the country.  [ed: always a wise guy…  never did grow out of that…]  And yeah, there are differences.  I have noticed that we Paraguayans clip words.  I say "we Paraguayans" because I've picked it up.  Another difference is the letter "y".  In Argentina, it has a "sh" sound, but here is a "j" sound.  I don't have that yet, but I will.  Also, over there the "ll" is a "sh" sound, whereas it's a "y" sound here.  Ask Dallan how to say "Villa Elisa."  He'll probably tell you "Visha Elisa."  I'll tell you "Viya Elisa."

They want to party tonight!  Dallan wants "empanadas."
Party!  Party!  Oh, wait.  I'm a missionary.  No party for me.  Nuts. :S  Empanadas are big here, too.  Yum, yum.  I have eaten them with beef, chicken, and ham and cheese.  They don't do apple pie filling around here.  At least, I've never had it.  Maybe in Encarnación.  That's right across the river from Argentina.  Who knows?  Not me.

He has a whole recipe book!
That's a good idea!  I'll have to start asking for recipes.  Apparently, I don't need to get empanadas, eh?  Let's see... there's guiso con arroz [tr: stew with rice] or con fideos [tr: with noodles].  There's chicken… ooo… chicken… Oh, yeah.  "Guiso" is stew, "arroz" is rice, and "fideos" are noodles.  I'm definitely going to look into it.

…beautiful tooled leather cover for his Spanish hymnal.
Yeah, a lot of missionaries here have things like that.  I'm going to look into getting covers for my Spanish scriptures.  Elder Martin just got a pair of really, really nice… uh, leather things.  They have the Oakland temple on them.  Very nice.  And they were only 100 mil [tr: thousand (as in, guaranies, the Paraguayan currency], which is about $35.  I'll get at least one of those, too, but with the Mesa temple.

Dallan has lots of ideas of how to get inside a house.
I've got a good one that never fails.  "Hi!  How ya doin'?  We were just going by to drink some tereré [tr: traditional herbal drink, preferably consumed in company] with you!  Would you like to?"  I've always been let in.  Plus, they use their yerba [tr: herb], their guampa [tr: tereré cup], their bombilla [tr: metal straw for drinking tereré].  All I do is drink.  It's really, really sneaky.

Do Paraguayans use hand signs to convey things?
A couple.  Thumbs-up is for anything good–good job, I'm feeling good, it works fine.  Waving only the index finger means no, or "I don't think so."  There's a different sign for "come here" here than in the States, but ask Dallan to show you, because I don't know how to describe it.  As for others, I haven't found any yet.  Or, at least, I can't think of any.

Boil angel hair pasta and add beef bullion for the soup.
Good idea, but I don't know if I can find beef bullion or not.  That's okay, though.  Noodles are big here, so that's not a problem.  Plus, I can go to the store and get little boxes of tomato sauce.  Also there are packages of cream soups that work great over pasta.  Ever tried pasta with ham and pea sauce?  It's pretty good.  I also added a bit of really ham and some peas, too.  I found a sauce the other day that, with a little bit of cheese, is just like alfredo sauce.  Yum!

PS-Re: your nickname, "short rooster."
No comment. :S

All righty.  I also got some notes from weird people who I think are related to me, but I don't have anything to say to them. :D  I'm going to talk about my week now.

Tuesday wasn't very nice to me.  It rained, but it wasn't a nice, friendly rain.  It was a freezing rain.  I ate my lunch outside, too.  Brr…  Other than that, Tuesday wasn't very special.

Wednesday wasn't either, until 7:30pm.  That was the fireside with Elder Allred.  Here's some of the neat-o stuff I learned:

First off, the fireside was geared toward investigators.  Sister Allred told us that the most important thing in this life is to come closer to the Lord.  She also said that the church leaders are always happy.  Why?  Because they know who we are, where we came from, why we're here, and where we're going (the plan of salvation).  Also, because they are dedicated to service, both of other people and of the Lord.  When we serve others, we are following the example of Christ (great though, eh?).

Elder Allred spoke about the Book of Mormon.  He started off by relating the story of the First Vision.  Then, he pointed out the three things that Joseph Smith learned: that the Lord knows each of us by name, that Heavenly Father and Jesus Christ have tangible bodies, and that none of the existing churches were true.  Then, he talked about the fact that the Book of Mormon contains the fulness of the gospel, and that he also had to find out for himself that it is true.  He said that the Book of Mormon is the only book that testifies of itself (Moroni 10:3-5).  He tried it (it = the promise in Moroni–read, ponder, pray) and heard a voice saying, "Richard, the Book of Mormon is true."  Wow.  Then, he mentioned sharing this knowledge.  He said that he wants to share it with everyone.  As do I.  And then came the absolute best part of the whole fireside.  He said, "Ustedes tendran un templo adentro de un ano."  That's "You will have a temple within a year."  Yes!  That was very awesome good to hear.  I got of of these when he said that: :))).  Yeah, really.  It was quite incredible to hear.

Thursday was our special conference with Elder Allred.  It replaced our regular monthly Zone Conference.  Here's some of the neat-o things I learned.  Thing #1: the subject of the conference was "The Spirit of Missionary Work."

Hermana Cheney [tr: Sister Cheney] was first.  I only wrote down two lines of stuff.  A scripture reference and the name of a sheet.  Why is that?  Because I was too busy translating for a Paraguayan stake missionary.  That was hard.  I did okay, but there was a lot of things I missed.

President Cheney was next.  He stressed prayer.  He asked us what was the blessing we all want.  Baptisms, of course.  Then, we need to pray for them.  If we want a blessing, we pray for it.  In his own (translated) words, "How can we have this blessing without asking the Lord for it?"  Good question.  The last thing I wrote is this: "How can we have more baptisms?" "I'm going to answer your question with one word: prayer."

Sister Allred spoke about our examples to the others.  She also talked about D&C 16:6 (go look it up).  Got it?  Okay.  Read it.  Her point here was also the families of these souls.  Their descendents.  She pulled out Alma 24:14.  Read it, too.  Then, she asked this question: Who are the angels?  And answered it: The missionaries.  It still brings tears to my eyes.  She closed with "Although it is difficult at times, keep going because it is worth it."

Elder Allred talked for about an hour and a half.  And it was incredible.  He didn't have any notes whatsoever-not even for his scripture references.  I took two full pages of notes.  I'll try to do him justice.  Wish me luck.

He said that Adam taught his children in the same way we teach.  Cool thought.  Then, he said that everything the Lord does is with a purpose to bring everyone back to him, and also that the purpose of the church is the same.  Later on, he said something that was incredibly powerful: Until they pay their tithing, the Paraguayan people are condemned to poverty.  Wow.  We have the authority and the responsibility to teach the people.  And we must do it, because the Lord will never bless a lazy missionary.  Never.  By exercising faith and keeping the commandments, I have the right (not the privilege–the right) to be guided by the Spirit.  Along the same lines, if I want blessings, I have to obey all the rules.  Every one of them.  I have this next part written down: I have consecrated my time to the Lord.  It is not my time.  Yes.  I really feel that way.

Wipe your eyes, Mom. :P  Okay.  All better?  Good.

Elder Allred then commented that the mission is not a sacrifice.  It is a blessing.  Once again, he spoke my thoughts.  I have not lost anything.  I'm gaining everything.  he then said that we have to be willing to anything and everything to build the kingdom of God, and to testify of Christ wherever we are.  Another rather interesting point he made was regarding the book of Moroni.  That book was written after the destruction of the Nephites.  They never saw it.  It was written for us.  Doodley doodley doo.  Then, he asked what the point of everything in the conference was.  And answered thusly: to have the Spirit with us.

We closed singing hymn #84, "Dulce Tu obra es" or "Sweet is the Work."  I wouldn't bring this up except for the first line of the third verse, which reads, "Mi corazón es tuyo hoy."  That means "My heart is yours today."  It was quite touching.

I don't remember doing anything else on Thursday.  But on Friday… two big things happened.  First, I completed my charlas [tr: discussions].  That's the weird paper enclosed.  Second, I had my interview with President Cheney.  That guy is so awesome.  I love him.

Saturday was just sort of there.  Nothing really neat-o happened.  In fact, I don't remember anything.  Oh, well.

Sunday had some neat stuff.  We got three members to start working on their friends and relatives to help us out with references.  We also had a charla two with a guy named Pablo.  He accepted baptism!  That was just so awesome!  I haven't had anybody do that in a while.  Then, later, we gave the first new member charla to the family I baptized last month.

Okay.  So that's my week.  I'm getting bored of writing to you now.  I've been going at it since about noon.  It's 2:30pm now.  I'm going now.  Bye bye!

Love you!


PS  Oops.  Almost forgot.  Paraguayan Peek: Talking and hand gestures.  See spot I already wrote.  (Yeah, I'm lazy :D )

Okay. The dates in green were the goals that I set when I committed myself. The dates in black are the actual dates that I completed the charlas. I'm not too happy with Charla Five, but I'm pleased with how I did with Charla Six. I've decided to do this three more times during the mission–each six month mark. So, expect getting more of these records.

Villa Elisa: July 11, 2000

My Simper Family,

Well, this letter is probably going to be a little short.  It's Tuesday morning, and I have to leave in twenty to thirty minutes.  I know.  I'm a bad boy.  Somebody should spank me.  It's too bad everyone around here is too little to do it! :D

I received an email this week dated June 19.  Hmm…  That's a little late, isn't it?  Oh, well.  Anyway…

Have you gotten any of the packages I've sent you?
I've gotten two.  I heard tell that you sent three.  Hopefully, I'll get that one today.

Your new companion sounds great--another answered prayer!!
Yeah, he was.  So great that President Cheney took him away from me.  Elder Erickson is the new mission secretary.  Oh, well.  I'm doing just fine with Elder Martin.  Everything is just fine.

No one picks on me any more.
Sarah said this one.  I have just one piece of advice.  Get over it and go out and find some boys to pick on. :)  It's much more enjoyable to do the picking-on than to be the one picked on.  So… go out and get 'em!

Okay.  That's that.  Quick change.  This week was really slow.  It rained pretty hard, plus Elder Martin was sick.  As a result, we didn't get much done.  I'll see what I can do, though.

Tuesday: Nothing special happened.

Wednesday: We bought a map of Villa Elisa.  It's a nice map, too.

Thursday: Nothing again.

Friday: Surprise.  Nothing.

Saturday: We didn't do anything.  Elder Martin was in bed all day long.  I got quite a bit of personal study in, though.  I can't remember what I studied, though.  Is that a bad thing?

Sunday: We had a family all lined up to go to church.  A big family.  Two parents and ten kids.  Yes.  I said ten kids.  The oldest is only thirteen.  Anyway, they didn't go to church because the mom had a stomach ache.  Sigh.  Other than that, nothing.

Monday: Okay. This is it.  Monday.  I got a haircut.  Then we went grocery shopping.  We we got back, we started cleaning.  That stove was disgusting.  It's a lot better now.  It's amazing what a ball of steel wire, some elbow grease, and no respect for the paint can do.  Anyway, cleaning took a lot of time.  We had to go out soon after that, even though all we did was drop our laundry off.  We were actually out 'til 8:30, but we didn't do anything.  That's why I'm writing today.

Anyway, I've got to get going.  Sorry for the letter.  It's really true, though.  We did a lot of nothing this week.  We tried to do stuff, but no one would let us.  Hopefully, this week will be better.  We'll see.

Love you!