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.