I am just going to start by saying that this week hasn't been the most effective week as far as working goes, haha, but we did have a couple of cool moments.
One of the cool moments was last Tuesday. We had gone to Filadelphia for p-day (as usual) to get our ciber stuff done (emailing and branch work) because as most of you know, we really can't email or do any computer stuff here in Neuland because we don't have a computer. It's kind of frustrating because I have talked to the guy who is supposed to be getting us the computer, and he said the computer should have been here by now, but it just hasn't come. One thing I have learned on my mission is that the Paraguayan people are really laid back and not stressed at all, and so when they say that are going to do something or give you a date for something, you know it is going to take longer. For example, they were planning on making our church a little bit bigger so we could fit more people into the chapel for sacrament. Originally they said our church would be remodeled by the beginning of the year 2015, and here we are in April of 2015 and they haven't even started it yet. It's kind of crazy, but that's just the way Paraguayans do things. I have found it's really important to keep on top of things or things can get lost. :)
But yeah, as for the cool moment that I was talking about ... we were coming back to Neuland from Filadephia and we received a call from the Hermana Franco, our Relief Society President. She called us and asked us if we could come over and give her and her mom a blessing because they had fallen ill. It was night time when we got back to Neuland, and we were able to go over to her house and talk to her and give her and her mother a blessing. As we were there, it reminded me of a time when mom was going in for surgery and dad called Steve Young to come and help him give her a blessing. I remember Steve saying that he was so grateful and humbled by the fact that we would call him and put the trust in him to ask him to give a blessing. It made me think that I have earned the trust and the confidence of these people enough that they know when they need something as important as giving a priesthood blessing, they can call us and we will help them. It was really a great experience. It was kind of random because we weren't expecting to give her a blessing, and when we did it was such a great experience. It completely put into play the part of my Patriarchal Blessing where it tells me that I should always be ready and willing to serve others when called upon. If my comp and I had been doing something stupid or doing things that had made us not worthy to give the blessing, the members would have lost a lot of trust in the missionaries and it would have been a horrible thing. It's nice to think that as we live worthily, we will be prepared to answer the call whenever it comes.
Another cool experience is that I got my hair cut, and I'm not gonna lie I am looking pretty sexy! HaHa :)
So we had a Zone Meeting and interviews with President McMullin on Saturday. It was quite funny because President is trying to help the people in the Chaco to grow and to be self sufficient, and he was asking the Elders in Abundancia how their area was doing and things were going good, and then he asked the Elders from Filadelphia how their area was doing and there were going good there too. Then President asked us about how things were going in Neuland and as we talked to him and told him all of the problems that were going on, he started to laugh about why and how much we are struggling. President McMullin said that he is very much aware that the work is much harder in Neuland than in any other area in the Chaco because the people are so prideful.
Another cool experience was that in my interview with President McMullin, he told me that when he was doing changes and trying to figure out which missionary he should put in Neuland, he thought really hard about it and prayed a ton about it. He told me that when he asked God to help him find the perfect missionary for this area, my face immediately popped in to his head. I know that I have been personally called of God to be in Neuland, and even though it is frustrating some times, as the scriptures say "I will go and do the things The Lord has commanded because I know The Lord doesn't give commandments unto the son of men save He also gives a way for them to complete it." (1st Nephi 3:7) Honestly, it is really hard to serve in Neuland some at times, but I know that I have a lot of work to do and I know that God has enough trust in me to put me in this area to be able to help the Neviclay (Lamanite) people remember the things that they need to be doing.
And another cool thing that happened this week was that we had 12 people at church. The funny thing ... they were all children and one old lady. Haha. Oh and for the first time since I have been here, we had more then one hour of church. I helped the Primary President teach the children and my companion taught the adults in Sunday school. It was super nice, and a great accomplishment. :)
I really enjoyed the package that y'all sent me for my birthday, I made the cake and it was so delicious, so thank you for all of that. :) (Mom's note: Because Jon is serving in the Chaco and it is so far away from Asuncion, his packages take weeks and weeks to get to him and, consequently, his birthday package got to him very late).
I am really excited for General Conference this coming weekend. I expect all of you to watch and to write me and tell me which were your favorite talks. :)
So other than those cool things, my week was super boring. We traveled a ton. We went to Filadelphia from Sunday to Tuesday, then to Abundancia from Friday to Saturday. Then we came back to Neuland for Sunday, and then came to Filadelphia again to be able to use their computer so I could write this email. It's crazy how much we travel, but it's super chill. I don't really mind it other than it takes a lot of money, but igual no mas, I'll do whatever it takes to be able to write to my beautiful family. :)
I sure love y'all!
Jon's Birthday Package
(We also sent him some white shirts
and a few other items from the Paraguay Distribution Center).
Jon requested some new gel inserts for his shoes,
he definitely needed them. :)
The way they roll in the Chaco
Jon's Birthday Cake