Hello to all!
What a week! I am going to do more picture sending that writing, I feel like pictures say more than words. Last Pday, we went walking around and went to the shore of Rio Paraná, which is the border between Paraguay and Brazil. The view is incredible, I will add some pics to show. We got changes this week and it was really sad because one of my biggest mentors (my Zone Leader) got changed, and I don't know why but it made me really sad. He is a great example for me, and I have learned a lot from him. But on changes day, I was expecting to bring in a new companion here, really hoping to get another opportunity to train. But they said that I would be staying with Elder Garay for a little while longer. I know that the changes are direct revelation from the Lord, and so I know that its what the Lord wants, so I am excited about it. He has helped a lot, especially with Pablo (I'll talk more about him later) to translate what I teach to Guaraní. I´ll be sure to let you know what happens in the companionship.
My birthday was on Friday, and it was pretty great. I had cake 3 different times, once after lunch at this delicious cake shop, another with the other Saltos elders (they made one for me), and to end the night with one of my favorite families here, who coincidentally Elder Soto, my old comp, found when he was here. The branch here is really great to me and always express their appreciation for my hard work, which makes me feel great. A funny thing about Paraguay is when its your birthday, even if you have already shaken their hand 1 second before, once you say its your birthday, they say "FELICIDADES!!" and shake your hand again haha I don't know why but it makes me laugh every time. Its weird to think that I am no longer a teenager.
On Saturday night, I had one of the best experiences of the mission. After tons of chaotic preparation, including me having to make a bunch of big trips to find baptismal clothing, all turned out well in the baptism and wedding of Pablo and Mirium. They were so happy the whole time, you could see it in their eyes. The wedding went well, even though everyone was getting impatient (including myself, i will admit) when 2 of the witnesses didn't show up until a half hour late, and had their phones turned off. But they were married, and then we had the baptismal service. They wanted me to baptize them, so I did the baptismal ordinance for both of them. I will never forget how I felt when they entered into the water, and their lives changed. They were soooo happy. Everyone was so happy. We had a great musical number with all the full time and branch missionaries, I played the piano and we all sang Teach Me To Walk, the Spirit was really strong. There was a lot of branch support, tons of food, I even saved my birthday cake that the family sent me with frosting and sprinkles. On Sunday they were confirmed as members of the church, and Pablo along with Alex from a few weeks ago received the Aaronic Priesthood after the reunions. It was a really special weekend, to see the changes that people make in their lives, including my own.
I have been studying a lot in whats called The 4th Missionary by Elder Corbridge, and it talks a lot about how we are always changing, never standing still, and every choice we make effects our eternal progression. My life has changed a lot on the mission, I have been striving to apply and let Christlike attributes settle in and eventually let them become who I really am. Like Elder Corbridge says, in the long run its the easier and only way to progress and be happy internally. Let us serve God, no matter what our callings, responsibilities, occupations, locations, with all our heart, might, mind, and strength.
Keep me and the people here in your prayers.
Until next week,