Well, another great and busy week in Paraguay!
Monday, February 28, 2011
Well, another great and busy week in Paraguay!
Sunday, February 27, 2011
Hey family and friends and whatnots.
How is normal life treating ya? All things are under control here. We taught in Finnish again this week and it was still really rocky but much better than last week. From day to day you do not see any progress but you can really see the difference from one week to another...Its kinda like when i was growing my hair out and it never seemed like it was growing but than i would look at a picture and notice the difference. That is how i am learning Finnish... one tenth of an inch at a time!
I saw brett grant in here this week. Haha it was great to see the guy and got me pumped for when tay mil will get here. me and tay will only have like a week lapse but i will work hard to see my brosky.
Man i have been here five weeks. that is so weird to think. Theres a saying in the MTC that the days are like weeks and the weeks are like days. ha and it is really true. I am almost half way done here and it is finally dawning on me how much more things i need to learn and do. It seems like you have a ton of time, but you really dont and so when yall come, work like a mad doggg.
How are things going with Housten, is it a good fit and do you guys think you could keep it up for the next 2 years? lemme know. I sometimes feel like me and dad are sort of doing the same sort of thing. Something hard and lonely but nontheless important and necessary. Its helps me to know that i have parents with so much grit.
I am wearing my glasses in class now and would like it if someone could send me some chums (that thing that goes on old people glasses). any kind of chums would work.
Also, (im lookin at sisters/andy/friends here) if you ever see any cool or funny little stickers, you should send a few my way. I want to sort of pimp out my tag (on the backside of course). Ive seen some pretty interesting stickers here, and mine is pretty boring.
Also. Get ready for this one... I dont want that much junk food sent to me. There is so much here from everybodys packages and the english elders leave so often that we have a small mountain of junk food in our room right now. so im pretty set. Now dont get me wrong.... still send starbursts and/or skittles but i dont need so much of the other stuff. Maybe just something healthier i can snack on... I am saying this cuz i am pretty sure i have gained 11 pounds. Im not used to eating everything i want and gaining weight!! its madness. Its cuz we barely do anything physical here, whereas back home i was movin all day. So thank you, i do love getting packages.
This week i drew a picture of me and andrew going on the pirates of caribean ride. haha i miss my bro. i drew the part where the skull is saying dead man tell no tales and then you drop down the big hill... haha i look at it when i get homesick.
So ya i miss you guys and stuff. Thanks for the letters.
Love you all.
Monday, February 21, 2011
Well, I had a pretty interesting week, a lot of ups and downs. Overall, it was a good opportunity to learn a lot about myself and about the mission. Saturday morning our ward had a missionary activity, where each elder in the ward went around with a bunch of youth in the ward and invited less/inactive people to come to stake conference next week in Luque. It was interesting going around with a bunch of crazy little kids, and I was pretty nervous because I didn´t have my companion right there in case I didn´t understand something. However, it went really well, and we committed a lot of them to come. The ward here is incredible, I have been ridiculously blessed to start the mission here, I hope to stay for a while.
On Monday night we did a Noche de Hogar with a family in the ward that is less active, which went well. But things weren´t as fun after it got over. We ended up having to carry this huge duffel bag full of guayavas (little apple fruit thing) at about 9 PM, walking with an old lady at her pace, about 4 miles from one house to another. When we were turning on to her street, after the long walk, the duffel bag ripped out because it was too heavy, and all the guayavas spilled and exploded on the ground, leaving them useless. Oh man, that wasn´t the best experience of the mission, but all we could do then was laugh, so we did. Gotta love service!
This week I had one of those cool missionary story experiences. We had planned to visit this family (Alberto y Antonia) later in the day, but for some reason we were on a street somewhat near their house. We heard some little kid yelling at us (in front of their house) and we just kept walking because kids yelling at us happens all the time. However, he kept yelling so we decided to go down and see what was up. As we got near, we noticed that Alberto y Antonia were home, which was a miracle because they are never home and are near impossible to find, but are super golden. So we asked them if they saw some little kid and they said that they had no idea what we were talking about...We looked all around but there was no kid in sight. So we told Alberto y Antonia if it would be alright to come by in 30 minutes because we had an apt. with a nearby investigator. When we returned and we were within eye view of their house, but still far, we saw that same kid again. And once again, when we got closer, he was no where to be found. The cool thing was that we were able to put a baptismal date with the family there, and if we would have gone by later they would not have been home, because they were about to leave. It was a great experience. Olson and I call that kid "The Angel Kid" because he was the little angel that led us back to our great family.
I have had many ups and downs this week with a lot of things, and have learned a lot about the mission, other missionaries, and myself. It bugs me when elders here are only focused on numbers and could care less about the people. I love studying in Preach My Gospel, especially about Teach People, Not Lessons. I have really focused myself this week in improving my ability to connect better with the people here, and serving them. I really do love the mission and have been so blessed to be in Paraguay. I know that there is a reason I was called here, and I hope that I can magnify my calling and be the best missionary I can. Serving a mission is a great experience, and I am excited to see what happens.
Thanks for everything, love you guys. I love hearing from you all through the emails, thanks for taking time out of your busy schedules to write me it means so much. Pray for me and the people here!
Thursday, February 17, 2011
Hello all. How are you. This week has been good. On thursday we talked finnish for two whole hours in class, and we all understood most of it. So ya its pretty cool, but then i heard two of the teachers speaking to each other and i understood 1 out of every 50 words so that kind of brought me back to earth. haha. We are going to teach our first lesson in Finnish this week. Its pretty scary but awesome at the same time.
I have been getting a lot into four square this week. It is soo fun, anyone who is reading this and is planning on going on a mish i say to you now: play four square. it is boring at first but after a few goes it gets way intense. There is a rivalry between the Finns and the Argentines. haha its pretty funny. They live in our same building so we are always talking trash when we see them, haha.
There was a talk this week about complete obedience and how we need it to reach our full potential. And i agree that obedience is good and all that but the way he was saying it kinda bothered me. But then our second counsy was talking about it after and he said make sure not to let the pendulum swing the other way, it is important to keep your personality and not completely deny yourself. And i thought he was spot on, we need to find the balance between not being selfish but still watching out for ourselves.
The days here are long and i am always tired. I sometimes get in moods where i just do not want to be here. but they do not occur very often anymore. I have already been here 4 weeks and so when i start getting annoyed i just keep telling myself: 8 more weeks til Finland. 8 more weeks til Finland... and it usually goes away. Finland will be hard, but the adventure of being there will make up for a lot of the hard stuff.
I got the families package (and kates). Thanks it was awesome. Getting mail is like winning the lottery, but getting a package is like winning the lottery twice. Everyone here loves their posti. I also got dads usual valentine which is always sweet. Thanks.
All in all. Everything is good here. Companionship is getting along, were teaching well, were learning. I am reading the BOM like a mad man. we have a goal for 18 pgs a day which takes me forever but i am really liking it. The Finnish is slowly coming as well.
But thanks for the letters and dear elders, I love them (*refer back to the lottery comment)
Kittos. Love you all.
Monday, February 14, 2011
Eating Chupa Chupas (popsicle thing)
Cleaning the house in my new Henry France jersey that cost 10 US dollars, awesome jersey.
At the Bishop's Storehouse.
At the baptism of Romina- in front of the capilla.
¡Hola a todos!
This last week was great and very eventful. Saturday night we had a baptism of maybe the greatest person I have met in Paraguay so far. Her name is Romina. She is 9 years old, and comes from a very inactive family. Its been a great experience working with her and her family, and we have started to reactivate the family because of the faith and strength of their 9 year old daughter. She is hilarious. It was a really special night with the baptism. I was able to give the talk at the service about baptism, and my comp baptized her. Overall, it was a beautiful night, even though preparing everything for baptisms is surprisingly hectic.
In my spare time, which is practically the 20 minutes before I go to bed, I wrote a rendition of "Come, Come Ye Saints" on guitar. I love that song soo much (maybe my favorite hymn) and so that was one of the highlights of this week, my comp and i are planning on performing it sometime, because he is really good at singing.
We had zone conference in Asunción this week...it was awesome. I got to see Colligan, Miner, and Richins who were in my district in the MTC. Also, we heard from President Madariaga, and learned about how we can be better missionaries through obedience. I know that obedience is vital in the success of a mission, so it was great to hear and learn about that. At the end of the conference they did a testimony meeting, where anyone of the 50ish missionaries could go up and talk. I felt like I should share something so I went up and bore my testimony in Spanish. it was a pretty neat experience, a very strong spirit was there in that meeting. After I talked to the President for a while and he gave me some great compliments on Spanish and everything, so that was a really great day, one of the best so far here. The language is really hard, but I love it and am working hard so I can improve and grow more. Spanish is cool, Guarani is really awesome too. I am pretty dedicated to learning both, so we will see what happens.
The bugs here are huge and crazy. I have pretty much been eaten alive this last week, tons of mosquitos here because it will rain super hard in the morning, then the sun comes so its a living sauna. My legs even get bit through my pants...Its frustrating too because I have the worst blister on my pinky toe...I named it "Two Face" because one side is perfectly fine and healthy, and the other looks like a wrinkly, pink, raw pinto bean. I´m sure you all didn´t want that image into your mind, but I thought I´d share my pain.
I can´t even express how much I am loving my area in Mora Cue (Bella Vista A). We have one of the highest assistencias (people going to church), if not the highest in all of paraguay. A few weeks ago we had 211 people at church...most others are lucky to get 50. The members are incredible too, I already have so many "moms" here, they call me their son and treat me like a son too. I love the support from the ward, they are great examples and are always willing to help us out in every way. I am so thankful I was able to start in this area, I couldn´t have asked for anything better.
I love Paraguay, the mission, the opportunity to serve the Lord, my family, friends, the people here, the gospel, everything. I can´t say enough about it here, besides that I love it and love being a representative of Christ. Sometimes its so hard and I am so tired, but I can honestly say I love it and wouldn´t trade this experience for anything.
Thanks for the support from home, from the friends. I love you and miss you all so much. Keep praying for me and the people. Keep in touch! Jayjotupata/Nos Vemos/See ya later!
Friday, February 11, 2011
Wednesday, February 9, 2011
How are you all. I am doing well and I say that every week but I dont know what else to say... It is like back when i was in school and i would come home and mom would always say "how was your day'... I would think about my day and literally tell no difference from that day and all the other useless boring days at high school. Thats how it is here except not useless, and sometimes not boring. I have only been here 3 weeks and already my days are beginning to mesh into one long day with not a whole lot of difference between them. People ask me how long i have been there and I have to really think of the answer. You do the same schedule every day so when you think back on the days, you get everything mixed up.
But basically i am studying finnish a lot. It is a ridiculous language. every lesson we have blows my mind away, but i keep trying to understand and by the end i can usually barely grasp the concept. And then the next day the mind blowing process continues. It is really tiring, but i can really tell that it is stretching my mind and I am learning a lot.
Vanhin Jarvis was moved into our district this week. He is the one that was in Missy and Bens ward back in Finland, and he can speak it fluently. It is fun to have him around because he teaches us the words the teachers wont haha cool=siistii and he helps with pronunciation. It is kind of discouraging sometimes because it makes you realize how long we have to go until we can even kind of speak, but overall he is very helpful and a really nice guy.
I see shauny boy every once in a while. It is cool to talk to a familiar face... He is doing good and is getting stoked to leave. I would be too.
Oh and we are teaching a lot nowadays. It feels kinda weird teaching. I have learned a lot about my style of teaching. I think a good missionary needs to be balanced in knowing the scriptures well and the whole doctrinal side of things but also be able to relate and share the emotional and real side of things. Right now I do not really have the doctrinal side of things down as good as i should. I was never the kid in seminary who loved to memorize the scriptures they told us to so i could get a gold star. I was more of the kid who sat in the back and made fun of the kids who were crazy about the gold stars. but i wish i would have tried a little more. It would be really useful, cuz i hate having a perfect scripture in my head for that moment but not being able to find it. So all you seminary people out there, learn your stuff.
Ok thats about it. Keep the Letters coming. I really love them. I miss and love you all.
Monday, February 7, 2011
guepa! (guaraní for hola)
It has been a pretty great week here in Mora Cue, Paraguay. The weather has been really inconsistent, we´ve had some bad heat recently. Its not the temperature so much, but the humidity. Also, I experienced the heaviest rain in my whole entire life Friday night, it flooded the dirt roads really badly and made the trek home from the other side of the area crazy. The next day it rained until midday, and then the sun came out and made Paraguay an outdoor sauna. Crazy stuff.
The language is coming along better this week than before, I have noticed some progress. Sometimes I am having full conversations with people and feeling great, other times I feel like I forgot everything, it has its ups and downs, but thats part of the growing process and I am hoping to shorten it as best as I can. One of the members last night told me that I spoke great, and thought I´d been here a long time, so that was nice to hear. However, I´ve still got a long way to go.
What I´ve grown to love more than anything else here so far is the people. 95% of them let us in at any time of the day to talk. They are so open, but have a hard time with commitments. It can be frustrating, but the times when they follow through are awesome. We have a huge ward in Bella Vista, possibly the biggest in Paraguay. Last Sunday, we had 211 people at church...they are awesome and love giving us references and helping us out. I love the members and really enjoy working with them.
On the other side, I have not particularly enjoyed what the missionaries here call "Snakes", which are the Paraguayan young women that love american young men and will do or say anything for us to give them attention. They call them snakes for many reasons, one interesting one is because instead of whistling like they would do in the US, they make this hissing noise. Or they will say stuff like "Que Lindo" (how pretty) when we walk by...It´s ridiculous. Its funny because my comp. and I go out of our way to make sure they all know we are not at all interested and put our heads down and ignore them. One member young women told me "tienes la cada de un santo" (you have the face of a saint) which made me laugh because I actually understood it and my comp couldn´t stop laughing.
I´ve been able to kick the soccer ball around a little here which has been awesome. Some kids were playing in the park and kicked a ball over by us. Since I play soccer my comp told me to drop kick it really high back, because it would impress all of them. So, following the advice of my trainer, I kicked it as hard as I could, and absolutely shanked the ball way off and looked like a complete idiot. They all laughed and were calling me "Messi" making fun of me. Being my prideful self, I had to redeem myself and brake the typical American stereotype that we can´t play soccer. So, I asked if I could see the ball again, and they were still laughing and stuff. So I did all my best juggling tricks for them...it was hilarious because they all got really embarrassed and wouldn´t do any tricks in front of me and would just pass it back to me when I´d ask them to try. I was glad I somewhat was able to redeem myself, and so I took that opportunity to contact all the teenagers there and invited them to church and to play soccer at the capilla every wed. and fri. I call that a double success.
It is very depressing to see how poor the people are here. On the other hand, it is rewarding when we are able to do service and help out. We went to the Almacen del Obispo (bishop´s storehouse) and spent our whole morning there helping with all the food and organization. That's one of the best parts of being a missionary, just being able to help. I have gained a new appreciation for service. You can always open a door through helping others, and so far it has been true. Just by offering help to random people here and there, we´ve found investigators in need. My challenge to those at home is to go out and help someone in need. It doesn´t have to be anything huge, just simple kind words and actions can make a big difference in someone´s life.
Thanks for everything from home, I love hearing emails about people from home. Pray for me and the people here. Stay in touch.
Saturday, February 5, 2011
my week has been pretty normal. Everyday seems the same, we wake up, im tired, study, still tired, eat breakfast, still tired, class lunch class (tired throughout) then dinner, then spiritual devotional or something... I am always tired though... I dont know why. i think i will eventually get into more of a time routine that will make me not as tired. With that schedule you are probably thinking "wow that sucks, he probably is hating his life hardcore right now" but the truth is it is pretty fun here. My district is great and way fun. Me and elder pope invented this awesome game called planner shootout... two young men take three steps away from each other, someone says go and then you turn and have to pull your planner out of your little pocket and throw it at the other person... we are getting pretty good. We also all made these drinks at lunch and named them after jersey shore members....(for those of you who do not know what this is, it is a ridiculously mind numming tv show) but we made eight drink combos and then on tue had the "jersey shore challenge" which is you have to drink all eight and then hold it for two hours. The snooki was soo nasty. OJ and milk and a mix of everything else. But me and three others completed it and now we get to sign our name in this book... We invented this challeng and hope to inspire future finns down the road to strive for completion. We will pass the book down thru the ages.This all sounds really dumb, and it is. But the mtc is so much studying and work that you need something really stupid to even everything out...
The language is coming. The grammer is hard but finnish is really a smart language. Once you learn the rules it is like a math equation.
The church thing is coming too. I still have a lot of questions about stuff but feel overall pretty good most of the days. And finallly the moment youve all been waiting for............... my scripture (for the ward plaque!!) its in mathew, towards the beginning and says something along the lines of "for what does a man profiteth if he shall gain the whole world but lose his own soul" that one really speaks to me... I love it. pure poetry
Companionship is good too. I get a little annoyed every once and a while, but overall nothing to big.
The food is getting to me....
Thanks for all the letters and support. I miss everyone soo bad. I love to hear from all of you, even the short little paragraphs are great. To those who want to: i really miss normal funny stuff. Like a good simpsons quote or something... So feel free to add that if you want to
Much love yo