Monday, December 17, 2012

(no subject)

HOla familia!

HOw´s everything going? (I have no idea why the o keeps capitalizing itself). This week was pretty grand, a really great week. First off, last Monday right after I sent the email we ran into some other Elders that had just come back from the office in Asunción and they had my package! So don´t worry mom, I have things to open for Christmas (I even resisted unwrapping most of the gifts when I got the package, but I did open the ones that had chocolate in them so I could put them in the freezer). Tuesday was pretty much the only regular work day we had this week because on Wednesday we had to get a couple of things ready for our big Zone Christmas party on Thursday. It was a way fun party. President, his wife, the assistants, my zone and one other zone all got together in my church. We first sang some Christmas hymns, then we put together some little candies to give to children in the hospital. Then we all went to the hospital and caroled and gave away these packages we made. It was the second hospital I´ve been in here in Paraguay. The first one was in Asunción during my division with Elder Vance because we were asked to give a little baby a blessing (I did the anointing). That hospital I´m pretty sure was the free health care one and it was honestly one of the most heartbreaking places I´ve ever been. It looked like whatever we had left from world war 2 we just sent down to Paraguay and they are still using it. It was a little dirty too. But this hospital that we caroled at was much better. Hermana Madariaga really loved it when we sang we wish you a merry Christmas in English, so we sang it so much. It was funny because the Spanish elders had no idea what to do and the English elders only knew the first verse. Then we watched some of last years Christmas devotional and a video that President made of his mission. Pretty fun. Then I had a division with my zone leader named Elder Roberts. It was a way fun division. He is a lot like me so we got along really well and taught really well together. He´s going home first week of January so he´s got a lot of experience and since we´re so similar he was able to help me with a lot of the things that are hard for me because they were also really hard for him.
So people have started decorating even more. Everybody puts up Christmas lights, even if it´s just one strand hung across the middle of the wall. They also have a lot of nativities. They´re really cool because they use these coconut leaves to make them. Also there are a ton of Christmas trees. They´re all fake and they´re not nearly as big as the one in the states, but it´s cool still. Also a lot of people raise pigs all year then kill them for Christmas and new years, so guess what we did for service this week? Oh yeah we helped slaughter a pig! On Saturday this lady called us and wanted us to come help her kill her pig so we ran right over. They had a rope tied to its back leg, then they dragged it out of its pen and tied a rope to its other back leg. Then we dragged it over to a tree and had to hoist it up on the tree so it was hanging upside down (and it was still alive at this point). Then it got a little gory, but the pig was dead. They caught all of the blood in a big blue bucket and they´re keeping it for later, gross. But it was an opportunity of a lifetime. Then that day I also gave my first blessing in Spanish, it was cool. All of the words were just coming to me. I gave it to Nidia, she needed a lot of comfort. Sergio hasn´t been doing too well lately. Then on Sunday the bishopric asked me to give a talk next Sunday about Christmas, I think I´m going to try to focus mostly on Christ and his life and the Atonement. I´m just glad they´re giving me time to prepare. Also before I forget I still don´t know anything about how it´s going to work calling home on Christmas, but I´m sure they´ll tell me in district meeting tomorrow. But for right now I´m planning on trying to call home around 3 o'clock Paraguay time, I think that's about noon Utah time but you´re going to want to verify that. I´ll let you know more on Monday.

Well my time is drawing to an end. We didn´t have any investigators in church this week. Antonia had an emergency out lejos in the Chaco so she coulddn´t come, but we´ve still got some people we´re working with. We get a lot of first visits but not as many second or thirds, but they´ll come. We just have to keep looking for the people that are prepared. On my division with Elder Roberts he taught me a lot about setting good goals for my mission. He set some and he says because he´s always served with these goals he has no regrets from his mission. I took one of his goals and set it for myself. I decided that I´m always going to do the things that I´m afraid of doing but that I need to do, like contacting for example. I´m always super afraid to just go up to random strangers and start talking to them. Elder Roberts had the same problem so we did some practices and he helped me a lot. It´s kinda sad how the mission works because you get to know people and you get close to them, then they go home. But I realized this week how short my time on the mission actually is, so I´m glad I was able to set some good goals now. I love you guys so much and I can´t wait to talk to you next week! Think of some good questions to ask me because I have no idea what to say. I believe I have 40 minutes to talk so we won´t have too much time but it will still be great. Keep on the straight and narrow and be exactly obedient like the 2000 stripling warriors (I read about them this week and theirs is sí o sí my favorite scripture story).

Con Amor,
Elder Hulsey


Monday, December 10, 2012

(No Subject)

Email received December 10, 2012

Hola familia
How is everyone today( curse that blasted question mark that I can never find). So sorry if this email has a lot of errors, the keyboard I´m using is awful. Man this week was pretty crazy, but first off I can´t believe Jeff and Boo are already training! In my mission it´s almost unheard of to be training at your 6 month mark, most Elders start training after their year mark. I´m also glad to hear that Sam is putting on weight, I pray for those guys every night. So first off this week was la Virgen de Caucupé. I guess a long time ago a man was trying to escape some murderers and he stopped and prayed to the virgin that she would protect him, and she covered the murderers and he was protected. He gave the virgin his ca, which is an herb to sacrifice for her protecting him. So now every year on December 8th Catholics come from all over the country, and Argentina and Brazil I think, and walk to caukupe which is a city like 30 mins to an hour away I think, to show their sacrifice to the virgin for the blessings they received that year (that´s not the way we understand how faith works). A lot of people cheat and take a colectivo most of the way there, but there are some die-hards that walk the whole way on their knees or carry crosses all the way there. It was funny on Friday night because a lot of people were walking through Luque to get there by Saturday morning to start the big long prayer and we passed a ton of them and they tried to get us to walk with them. I wanted to have them walk with us to the church but Elder Morinigo wouldn´t let me. As far as the Nativity in the Catholic churches go I haven´t seen too many. There are a ton of little churches in our area but they´re super small, I´ll start looking for the nativities. There is also a giant Catholic church down the road from our house, I´m going to see if I can find a nativity there too. The thing that Paraguayans do to prepare for Christmas is kinda like our Spring cleaning. They clean up their yards a bit and paint everything ( I mean everything. They paint their houses, their fences, their trees, everything).

We finally had an investigator in church! Her name is Antonia and the way we found her was kinda cool. We were walking down a street and this girl started walking towards us so we stopped and went to talk with her. She asked us what we wanted and we were a little surprised because she approached us. Then she told us that that lady (pointing to a lady in her backyard) told her that we were looking for her. So we said uh, yeah we are and started telling her about how we´re missionaries. She stopped us and told us she´s been a member for about 10 years, just in-active for the last 2. She invited us to come talk with her boyfriend´s family, because that´s where she lives. It was the boyfriend´s mom that told her we were looking for her so we started talking to her. Antonia is the boyfriend´s mom and it turns out she had just visited an LDS church the night before for a birthday party or something and talked to the missionaries and was really interested! So yesterday we went and picked her up and brought her to church. In this mission and I would imagine in most missions it´s harder to get people to church than to get them into the waters of baptism so it was great that we had an investigator in church.
This week I also got a little sick. I made this juice out of a mango and some oranges. I had an upset stomach for a few days but it wasn´t bad so I still went out and worked. But on Saturday it was pretty bad and I felt like every weird thing I´ve eaten here was moving around in my stomach trying to come out through one end or the other. I went to our lunch appointment so my companion could eat but I didn´t eat a thing. The members were telling me that you´re never supposed to mix mangoes with other fruits, it will always make you sick. Lesson learned.
Well my times pretty much up, I´m glad Ryly is thinking about naming a horse after me, it really does mean a lot. I had a pretty cool experience this week. I´ve been struggling a lot with thinking about why I can´t be perfect. If the Savior said we need to be perfect like His father, than why do the prophets say that we just have to do our best and that our best isn´t perfect. Why can´t I be perfect. This has really been bringing me down and It makes me sick to my stomach whenever I make any little mistake. So I was reading in a book called our search for happiness by Elder Ballard and I was reading about when his grandfather was praying to receive help and he did and then the Joseph Smith story and I realized that I´m just as entitled to heavenly help as they were. So I took my problem to the Lord and I had complete confidence that I would receive an answer and I did. I received so much understanding about why I´m here on the earth and about why I´m not perfect but what I need to do and worry about instead. I realized that no matter what the problem is I can take it to the Lord and He answers me according to my faith. Take your problems to the Lord and expect an answer and you´ll receive one. I love you guys and I pray for you. I hope you have a great week and if it´s cold, just remember that I´m out here in the jungle where supposedly it´s like 113 degrees Fahrenheit. Live how the Lord wants you to and don´t get discouraged when you make mistakes because that´s why we´re here, to learn and grow so that we can become like God.

Con Amor,
Elder Hulsey
P.s. congratulations Emma on getting your young womanhood medallion! I´m super proud of you, you´re a great woman.

Monday, December 3, 2012

(No Subject)

Email received December 3, 2012

Hola Familia!
Hey everyone how´s life in the good ol' US of A? I always see people with American flag shirts and such and it always makes me laugh. A lot of people wear shirts that are in English and they have no idea what they say, it´s pretty funny. This week was way good. We had our zone conference on Wednesday and it was amazing! I was so pumped up to go and tell everyone that they need to repent and be baptized or they´ll never be able to live with Heavenly Father again. I got a package on Wednesday, it was a dear elder package with tons of candy in it, Thanks! There was a note in it but i think the people at dearelder made a mistake because the note was for an elder named Ricky Pierce, i think he´s still in the MTC because it sounded like he hadn´t been out very long. But it was a good package regardless. I put together a package with these things called Alfajors, they´re super delicious and very popular here but when I was going to send it I realized that it would cost some money. I decided that it would be better to buy some cool souvenirs for you guys instead of waste all of the money I have on sending a couple of alfajors, so be patient and I´ll hook you up when I come home, I already know what I want to get people. On Thursday it rained sooooooooo much! Holy cow our whole house started to get wet. We got pretty creative and started to catch the water that was dripping in the house with whatever we could find. We were stuck in the house until the evening because all of the streets were totally flooded, but we did some good planning and it was still a pretty good day. We found a great family that day that seems pretty promising. We went and visited some people and their backyards had water up to at least my knees. It´s totally worth all of the rain and things though because Paraguay is sooooo beautiful. I don´t mean to get all sappy or anything but one of my favorite parts of the day is when we´re walking through the jungle the day after a rainstorm (so it´s super green and there´s tons of little streams) and the sun is setting. It really is so beautiful. It´s kinda funny because when i first got here everything was so new, the sights the smells, the language the culture, everything. It was never that i didn´t like it, it was just new and different. but the more time I´m here the more I just love it. I love the new things. The other day we were walking and i smelled something that just smells like Paraguay and I started to smile. I´m starting to really love the people also. Paraguayans are super funny and they do and believe some really funny things (like you´ll die if you eat watermelon with milk). But I watched this video on the life of President Hinckley and one thing that I learned is that life is miserable without a sense of humor. You just have to look at the stuff and laugh a lot of times. It would be super easy to just get mad and frustrated at a lot of these things, but I´ve just decided that I´m going to laugh and be happy about it and whatever situation I find myself in. This has helped me so much to just be happy and love the people and the work. If you can´t find anything funny to laugh about, find something that´s hard or frustrating and laugh about that. President Hinckley had to do some pretty hard things that he didn´t like doing, like traveling for example, but he was always such a happy man. A nice sense of humor goes a long way.
So Christmas in Paraguay is a little different. I´ve been asking my companion all sorts of things about the history and the holidays and such. Just a couple of random side notes, Their summer vacation started last Friday so Adam you´re birthday would be a summer birthday here! (happy birthday this week big guy). Also they were in a war against Bolivia and they only won because they dug underground tunnels and snuck up on them in their sleep, pretty cool. But anyways Christmas, so obviously they celebrate Christmas because everyone celebrates Christmas, but it´s not a real big deal. They normally have a dance at night and party (because they´re always looking for a chance to party) but they don´t do gifts or anything really. But they decorate the city with lights (it´s pretty funny because these little shacks just have these funny Christmas lights) but that´s more just tradition they´ve adopted I think. There equivalent to Christmas though is called Los Reyes (the kings). It´s on January 8th and what happens is that each individual person puts out a plate of Pasto y agua (grass and water) and if you behaved well that year then I believe it´s these three kings that come to your house while you´re sleeping and leave you gifts. It´s pretty much like our Christmas, a day to spend with your family and everything.
Well It´s about time for me to go but I love you guys so much! I can´t believe I´ll be celebrating my 4th month mark this week! I didn´t even realize it was December until I wrote the date down in my journal, holy cow the time flies! My companion keeps telling me that it doesn´t feel like Christmas to him because he´s not with his family or drinking terere (it´s a drink like Mate but with cold water). I just laugh because it´s like a million degrees so I reallllllllllly don´t feel like it´s Christmas. But I guess that´s good because I won´t get trunky. I have gained such a strong testimony of this gospel and of all of its organization. Out here it´s not organized quite as strictly as it is back home and you can see the difference. Keep doing the things that will keep you on the straight and narrow, I´ll see you guys in 20 months (that really doesn´t seem that long, weird).

con amor,
Elder Hulsey
P.S. Megan I got your dearelder, i want you to read Joshua 1 verse 9 and then read Ether 12 verses 6 and 27. Keep your head up, things will get better.

Monday, November 26, 2012

(no subject)

Email received November 26, 2012

Hola Familia!
¿Gosh how the heck are you? Sorry that my last letter sounded a little down, I just couldn´t think of anything really exciting that happened during the week, but this week was way good, so many great stories (I´m only going to be able to share a couple). But I´m glad to hear thanksgiving was fun. Thanksgiving here was weird because it was just a normal day, but we did have a great lunch with one of my favorite families (they´re both returned missionaries and they have a son that´s a returned missionary and they have two kids on missions right now, so they really hook the missionaries up). It was fun because the other Elders in our house and the Elders whose area touches ours came too, so there were 6 of us. Then we went out and worked, but We found this way cool guy named Seferino and we taught him. Also Seferino had a huge pet Turkey, the first one I've seen in Paraguay so I thought it was very appropriate that I saw it on Thanksgiving. As far as changes go, they happen every 6 weeks (so last week was the first week of this change). The way it works is you are almost for sure with your trainer for 2 changes, but a lot of times you are with them for 3. This change will end the first week of January so unless they do special changes for some reason I will for sure be here through Christmas which is awesome! I love Luque so much. I still don´t know how Christmas will work out but I do know that we will be doing skype. I believe you guys have to add me as a contact on skype, I just set up my account. Just add me and then we can talk on Christmas. I haven´t received my packages yet but I have to go to Asunción on Wednesday for zone conference so I will see if they´re there. I did get my halloween card and a letter from aunt Linda and Josh and Jamie today though, thank you very much! There has been a ton of rain this week and the nights have been pleasantly cool, but this week will probably be super hot and humid because of all of the rain, oh well. Better hot than cold right? They tell me that it gets super cold for a couple of weeks in like June and July so around then I would love some sweaters. Paraguayans are so funny because they are ALWAYS complaining about the weather. We were eating lunch the other day and the lady was going off about how sunny it was and how awful that is, then it started to rain and she was complaining about how it´s raining and there´s no sun, pretty funny. But hey Sergio and Nedia came to church on Sunday so they got confirmed! I´ll send home the picture of their baptism.
So one pretty funny thing that happened this week. We were out tracting and we clapped this door and this older man let us in. He asked us where we were from, then started telling us about how he´s mad because his wife left him because he drinks and she went to Argentina, but he swears he´s not violent (and he was saying all of this with a huge smile on his face and in a very cheerful voice, I believe he was drunk as a skunk). Then he asked us where we´re from and told us the same story about his wife about 30 times more. We finally left and went down the street to another house. We were in the middle of teaching a family when all of a sudden our drunken friend walked through the gate, took one of this family´s chairs, and joined in and started helping us teach the lesson. It was so funny and the family was just laughing so it´s all good. There are a lot of pretty funny people in Paraguay.
Well my times about up, but I want to share with you guys something that´s kinda been like my theme for my mission so far. It´s pretty daunting to think about doing this for 2 years, to be completely obedient for two years and walk around for two years, but dad before I left you told me to read a talk by Elder Christofferson called give us this day our daily bread. I printed that out at home but didn´t read that until my first or second week here in Paraguay and that has helped me so much. The theme is that we don´t have to worry about being strong enough for 2 years, we just have to worry about being strong enough for one day. For example one day I woke up at 6 29 (like I do every morning) and I thought "well I got up today but how in the world am I supposed to get up this early every day for the next 2 years!" It seemed like an impossible task and then I started thinking and I realized that if I worry about that then it might just be impossible, but I don´t have to worry like that. Every night now I ask the Lord to give me strength that I can wake up tomorrow on time, I don´t worry about waking up any other day than tomorrow. As I work each day and try to be diligent and obedient I only worry about it for that day. This applies to everything, take no thought for the morrow (3 Nephi 13 I think). This is such a true principle. Obviously we need to plan and figure things out for the future, but we don´t have to get overwhelmed thinking about how daunting a task is. I´ve learned so much about patience and chipping away at a big task a little bit at a time (like eating meals. I know that sounds funny but they give us such huge portions here and a lot of times there seems like no way to finish, but I just eat a little bit and keep working at it and eventually the food is all gone). Patience really is a blessing. I love you guys so much and hope you have a great week. I love Paraguay and I love being a missionary. I´m happy, don´t worry. Keep living the gospel the right way. and tell caleb reber congrats on starting his papers.

Con Amor
Elder Hulsey

PS I hope that Caleb Hulsey´s birthday was a success, I can´t believe he´s already 1. He´s only got 17 more birthdays until he´s out on his mission that doesn´t seem very far away with how fast time seems to be moving lately (haha sorry mom).
[Zack refers to 3 Nephi chapter 13 of the Book of Mormon in which Jesus Christ visits the Nephites after His resurrection and teaches them, among other things, the same things He taught in the Sermon on the Mount. Compare 3 Nephi 13 with Matthew 6.]

Tuesday, November 20, 2012

So close!

Email received November 19, 2012

Hola Familia!
How is everybody doing (I STILL don´t know how to do a question mark on this computer). This week was pretty dang awesome, sounds like it was great back home too. I´m so proud of Sam Harris, he´ll do great in England. The people will love him, it´s kinda impossible not too, he´s such a nice kid. Tell Spencer not to be too bummed about not doing much this thanksgiving break because next year he´ll probably be pretty dang busy. To be completely honest I haven't been getting trunky at all for the holidays because its so dang hot that it doesn't feel like holidays should even be coming. Everyone in Paraguay is freaking out about the 21st of December and the world ending and everything. Some of the Elders are thinking that we wont be able to go out and work on the 21st or maybe even the 20th because the people are going to be nuts, but well see. So I just had lunch at this pizza place and rumor has it that the guys Italian, I wish i knew how to speak the language. But it was cool because Elder Jenson and his comp came up to Luque to eat with us and buy stuff from the bishop (He makes hats and all sorts of cool things. I definitely think I will be dropping some serious dough at his little store, the stuff is so cool). So it was cool seeing him, he´s doing well. As for Sergio and Nedia, they got baptized on Saturday! Elder Morinigo got in the water with them, the problem is they didn´t show up on Sunday to get confirmed. But we happened to find Sergio´s uncle in church on Sunday (he´s part of the other ward that meets in our building) and he said that he´ll go and pump him up about coming to church. Hopefully we can confirm them next week. Also this week I got to do a division with the zone leader. He´s Paraguayo and his name is Elder Escriva. He is super amazing! He goes him in December (He only got baptized like 4 or 5 years ago). He and his brother are the only members of the church in their family and the rest of them are super anti. His parents told him that he can´t live at home when he comes back, but over the course of the last 2 years they´ve changed their minds about that. He taught me a lot of really important things and got me so pumped up to go out and work hard.
I haven´t really bought any souvenirs yet but I keep seeing things that I really want to buy, but I never have my money. But one of these days I´m just going to make Morinigo go with me and we´ll go buy all sorts of things. I almost bought a sweet red white and blue apui tie, but I´ll just wait until next week. Like I said the bishop does all sorts of cool things with leather and crocodile and snake skin, so there shouldn´t be any problems getting cool things. Also there are a couple of well known (among the missionaries) Paraguayans who make the really cool leather scripture cases and things, so I´m going to look into getting myself some of those for Christmas. P-day today was pretty fun. We played basketball and it started raining super hard, so we went in the church and started telling stories. Its always fun when we can talk with the other Elders.
So last Monday I learned a super important lesson about meaningful service. So the past little while Elder Morinigo and I haven´t been fighting or anything, we just haven´t been super close and we never talked or anything. The days were so long and boring. But on Monday during P-day he likes to take a nap, so I usually study or play with my yo-yo or something during that time. But last Monday I decided that I was going to write down the words to one of the EFY songs that he loves to listen to in the apartment. He loves it so much when I write down the words to songs so he can sing along and learn how to pronounce them, he´s always asking me to do that. So while he was napping I did that and it turned everything around. He made me dinner that night and we have been joking and getting along super great! We get a long like friends now and the days are fun. He shared with me his biggest dreams and his life plans and everything. I learned that it doesn´t have to be anything big, it took me like 10 minutes max to write down the words to the song, but since I thought about it and did something just to be nice, it made all of the difference. That's why people cant tell you meaningful acts of service to do for someone, because if they're meaningful then it means that you´ve paid attention and are doing something that is special and thoughtful. I was filled with so much love and it has really made the difference.
Well I´m sorry this email isn´t that great, I can´t think of too much stuff that happened this week (but I know as soon as I get home I´m going to think of all sorts of things that I wanted to tell you guys about). But I sure love you and I´m so proud of you. I laughed when I read that Eli was saying maybe next time for the prayers because I can´t tell you how many people tell us "Otra Día" because it´s how the Paraguayans reject us (they´re too nice to say no, but I always ask them what day and they get a super confused look on their face like "doesn´t this American know that means we´re not interested" its pretty funny). Keep choosing the right and keep helping Spencer prepare to join me out here in the campo. I´ll keep praying for each of you.
Con Amor,
Elder Hulsey
P.S. If you guys come pick me up, I already know a few places we´re going to visit, Igua su falls and Ciudad del Este (this city has the third biggest shopping center in the world).

Monday, November 12, 2012

(No Subject)‏


Email received November 12, 2012
Hola familia,
Gosh what a week, a lot of really humbling things happened this week, but one thing that i´ve noticed is that every time the Lord humbles me, i´m always so much happier after. Our baptism didn't happen this week because of a couple of things. But they are so ready for this Saturday! They are such an awesome family, they have so much faith! But to start out a couple of fun stories. First off I went to this pastry shop close to our house. The pastries all looked so good and I couldn´t decide which one I wanted, so I bought two. They looked a whole lot better than they tasted. But remember how I had to get over germs, well I still really hate being sticky and these pastries made my hands super sticky. I asked Elder Morinigo if he thought they would have a sink I could use to  wash my hands. He told me no way and basically that I just need to suck it up. I was not about to just walk around with sticky hands so I asked the lady super nicely if she had a sink I could use. I must have looked pretty concerned because she let me go behind the counter and use this weird sink. My companion was pretty surprised so I told him that´s what it means to ask in faith. Another thing is that we went to do some service for some people, we went to mow their lawns. But they don't mow lawns out here with normal mowers (at least we didn't) we just got the machete and started hacking away at the grass! I didn´t know what I was doing at first and the people were asking me if we just don't have any grass in the United States, I told them we just don't have machetes. 

So as far as the shower goes its not bad. Its either super hot or super cold, and I usually opt for super cold because I shower right after I exercise in the morning. It does rain a lot down here, usually once or twice a week but we´ve only had 1 or 2 really big, flood the streets storms since I´ve been here. I cant believe I've already been here a month. the time has gone so dang fast! Also one thing that's better here than in the states is that since they don't celebrate thanksgiving, I can listen to Christmas music all I want and no one tells me to wait until after thanksgiving. So a typical meal here consists of some kind of meat wrapped in something and deep fried (usually you can know what type of meet you're eating by looking around and seeing which pet isn't here this week that was there the week before), rice and bread (they cant eat unless they have bread to eat it with). Its not bad and when I go shopping I always get yogurt. Its so good here and you drink it, I love it. I also finally found some milk that tastes almost as good as the states, the problem is that its only good for 5 days. Also there are 2 treats here that I just love, alfajors (I´m going to try and send you guys some home for Christmas) and fresh juice. There area a couple of fresh juice stands here that are so dang good. 
Well now for some Spiritual experiences for the week. This one night we were out working and it was a long, HOT day. We contacted this house with this seemingly friendly old man. Turns out he was not that friendly. He just wanted to tell us about how we don't live the bible. He started quizzing us by asking us like "how many times should we be baptized" to which I responded "well we believe in what it says in Ephesians 4 that we should only be baptized once". That ruffled his feathers and he started looking for another scripture to hit us with. I realized that the Spirit wasn't super strong with us as were doing this, so I prayed that I would be able to resist fighting with him. We were teaching his daughter with him, and then all of the sudden her husband showed up and the old man had to leave. We started talking with the husband. Turns out he had been talking to a friend of his at work who is LDS and he was super prepared to listen to us. It was a really cool way to end a hard day. I know the Lord has prepared people for me to teach, I just have to find them. I miss you guys and I love you guys. I hope you know that. I pray for you and my cousins every night. Sorry I cant answer all of your questions that you send me but keep sending them each week and I´ll do my best to answer them. Keep on living the way you know you should.
Con Amor,
Elder Hulsey

Monday, November 5, 2012

(no subject)

Email received November 5, 2012

Hola familia,
Como estan todos!(I can't find the question mark on this computer). I hope you all had an amazing week celebrating halloween. I also hope you had as much success as I did knocking doors (just kidding, we don't knock doors, we clap). But as far as the zero tracting thing goes I think it's that they want to work more off of referals because that's where you can find the most success. But pretty much all we do all day is clap doors so I hope they still let us do that for a little while longer or I'm going to have to figure something else out to do all day. That's so cool that kristy kholert got her mission call, she'll be awesome. I had seminary with her my junior year and she is really good at gospel stuff. So last week I sent home pictures and I had no idea which ones I sent home, but the one with me in it is on this huge monument in Asuncion from my first day, the temple too. The one of the jungle is from my window. So this week has been quite a great one even though my companion has been sick. Last Monday I had to teach myself how to sew because I accidentaly pulled a button off of my shirt. I think I did a pretty good job because none of the other elders could guess which one I sewed on. Then on Tuesday I did splits with one of the assistants. It was way cool and apparently a little weird to already be doing splits with the assistants, but I loved it. Elder Vance was his name and he was mad that I already can speak Spanish (because for some reason that day my Spanish was way good). Two really cool things happened during the splits. 1 was that we were talking with these people and Elder Vance told them I had only been in Paraguay for 3 or 4 weeks, then they asked me what country I'm from because they thought I was Latin! How sweet is that! the bad news is that after that my Spanish was not as great for the rest of the week, oh well. The other really cool thing is that I had a super strong impression to share 3 nephi 27: 27 with this family. I have no idea why and I still don't konw, but it was such a strong feeling. Then I returned home and got to go back to my area on Halloween. Halloween here is a little anti-climactic. I saw one guy dressed up as a grim reaper running around at like 12 in the afternoon, then these little girls with witch hats were driving around the city at like 9 or 930 yelling something (probably happy halloween). Elder Morinigo tells me that the parties usually start at like 930 or 10 and go until like 6 in the morning, but its mostlly for the teenagers to young adults. But yesterday this lady from the ward did give us some little halloween goody-bags which was awesome!

A couple of really cool experiences from this week. So as far as investigators go, we haven't really had any solid investigators. But theres one family, Sergio and Nidia, who just needed to come to church one more time and then they can get baptized. Well yesterday at church they werent there and I was so dissapointed. My companion asked me if I wanted to call them but Im still super afraid to use the phone. But during one guys testimony I just thought that we should call them. I wanted to wait until the end of this guys testimony but I told my companion that we should call them and we left right in the middle of this guys testimony. right as we stepped out to place the call there they were, they didnt know if they could come in or not. We brought them in and now theyre scheduled for a baptism this Saturday (the day before your birthday mom)! How sweet is that! They´re such a great family. Then another thing is we visited this way cool member for a lunch cita. He told us his conversion story and it was way cool. He was just wondering around one day trying to find different churches because he wanted to follow God. A missionary approached him on the collectivo and gave him a pass-along card. He went to church and was baptized then served a mission. His story is a lot cooler than that I just cant remember all of the details. But he was a pretty awesome missionary too. One other really cool thing that happened this week was I was really praying hard to know what I should study to help me with a few things Im struggling with. The thought came to me so clear to study in chapter 11 of Preach My Gospel. I started studying it and I was doing all of the activities and everything. This whole chapter is talking about stuff that I need to work on with my investigators, but there was one scripture in the suggested study that was pretty good. But the cool part was that when I opened that scripture I saw a random one in my scritptures that I had highlighted. I read it just to see what it was and then I read the whole section it was in. It was exactly what I needed even though it had nothing to do with chapter 11. The Lord works in mysterious ways.
Well I love you guys a ton. I pray for you every day. Happy birthday this week mom. If you were here they would throw you a huge asada with all of the deep fried meat you could handle, and then they would make you eat more. Im so glad that your my mom. I got this really weird rash on my foot this week. I decided that I would look in that bag full of random medicines and stuff and I started thinking "what would mom tell me to use right now". I went with the A and D ointment, I think its helping. But that bag that you packed me with all of the random stuff has saved me a couple of times already. Thanks for everything guys, Ill keep an eye out for that package (Also its super expensive to send a package and I know that you have to pay for Spencers mission now too, so a birthday package and a Christmas package should be fine. And they told me that packages shouldnt have a declared value of more than 90 dollars or we have to pay to pick them up). I love you all and keep living the Gospel the right way. I promise that its the easier way and the way that will lead to the most happiness.
Con Amor,
Elder Hulsey

Monday, October 29, 2012

An aposostle in Paraguay!

Email received October 29, 2012

Hola familia,
Gosh this week was soooooooo dang great. I'm going to try to remember to say everything but there was just so much that I dont know if I have time! So first off last week I forgot to tell you, but Elder Bednar came to Paraguay! It was so cool. The two Paraguayan missions all got together in a chapel near the boarder of the missions (about a 45 minute collectivo ride) and we did an amazing training activity with Elder Bednar for 3 hours! It was exactly what I needed. Elder Bednar is such an amazing guy. He taught us a lot about how to appropriately invite people and the reason for it. He said that what we do is invite people to exercise their agency and choose to learn answers by faith. We can't just give all of the answers to everyone, but what we can do is show them the way that they can find the answers for themselves. I decided that I would exercise faith and open the Book of Mormon when I got home and I knew that I would be able to find something that would teach me more about this principle. I started reading about when the Lord called Nephi up to the mountain and commanded him to go and build the ship. Then rather than the Lord saying "and this is how you will do it and these will be your tools and explaining how everything was to be done", He simply guided Nephi and told him how he could use his faith and learn how to do these things for himself. This is exactly what I'm doing as a missionary. I get to go and tell people what God wants them to do, then I get to show them how they can figure out for themselves how to do it. This is an important principle, I learned this morning, because of what it says in John 7: 17, if any man will do his will, he shall know of the doctrine. Another important thing I learned from Elder Bednar is that you don't have to be an apostle to have spiritual experiences or find answers to your questions. Gosh it was such a great meeting. I got to see Elder Jenson there, and Cayden Brown came over and talked to me for a little while. We were talking about how weird it is that two guys from small town Lindon are out here preaching in Paraguay. But he's a really nice guy. It was really nice to see a familiar face. Another thing that happened this week was we went and were clapping houses and this lady came out and seemed really friendly, but really what she wanted to do was Bible bash. It's super hard not to Bible bash because its so easy to see the flaws in some peoples reasoning, but I knew that I shouldn't so I didn't. But one thing she said to us really got me thinking. She said that the Bible has all of the "authority" that she needs. I started thinking about how that doesn't make sense. Why would the Lord give his priesthood authority to a book. I may be wrong, but I really doubt that a book can take me into the waters of baptism and baptize me. I realized the importance of having the priesthood authority back on the earth, and what it means to have it restored to a prophet.
Now for a couple of crazy things that happened this week. So on one of the days there was a big dia de santos celebration going on in our area. Basically it's where the people in the area get together and drink and party celebrating the saint that the local school is named after. My companion made a great decision to go home (because we didn't think we'd find much success among the drunk, religious celebrators). But the streets were full of these parties, so the collectivo driver had to drive us home through the jungle! I kid you not it felt exactly like the Indiana Jones ride at Disneyland, only you don't have the same security of knowing that the ride has been safety tested. It was so much fun! Then another thing is we were teaching a less-active member who claims she is a visionary. She told us that Christ has already come back to the earth. My companion asked her if she has seen him and she said that the other day during this crazy storm He came walking right in front of her house.  Sometimes we go visit her just because we know it will be a good time, but also because her grand kids love it when we come over and my heart aches for them because of their situation. Also yesterday was the primary program in sacrament meeting. It was a little different than the ones I'm used to (and by a little I mean a lot)! People were snapping photos of their kids, and the kids were crazy! They kept running up and down the stage, but on the plus side I still felt the Spirit and there were tons of people in church that day (almost triple the amount that were there the week before). But mom don't worry, I'm sure whatever Eli does in church doesn't come close to what I've seen out here. Also I washed my clothes by hand this week. That was an experience and my comp was making fun of me because I didn't know what I was doing. But the clothes cleaning person usually cleans our clothes. And the house cleaning lady only comes once in a blue moon so we do our own house cleaning.

Well I'm going to go now, but I love you guys. I know this is the Lords work. Little things happen that remind me of this. The other day for example I really wanted to say frog for some reason. I had no idea how to describe one, but then all of the sudden two just jumped out of no where and my companion told me what they were called. Then that night they were everywhere so I could talk about them to people to start conversations. Small and silly but I knew that the Lord was watching out for me. I love you guys so much and I pray for you every night. Keep choosing the right.
con amor,
Elder Hulsey

PS. still works. I got one from Kate Lillywhite last Tuesday and one from Sister Allphin the Tuesday before.
PPS please try to find and send to me the addresses of Russell Allphin and Evan Kirby, I think I can mail them letters for free.
PPPS this is not urgent at all, just ideas no mas, but the next time you send a package of something I would love a photo album of me and my friends and such before my mission. Also a roll of clear packing tape would be excellent. and maybe some more of that febreeze to go.
PPPPS most of these photos are just photos from different parts of my house, Ill probably send more next week or something

Monday, October 22, 2012

Cows, dogs and parrots with Cancer‏

Email received October 22, 2012

Haupei familia,

That's guarani for whats up family! Gosh this week has been awesome! Before I forget I did receive my package. They gave it to me on the second day I was here and everyone was jealous that I already got a package. As of right now I can't really think of anything I need other than just like American snacks (they have none of that here). So it has been pretty hot here, but I honestly don't mind it really. Today we played soccer again and this time I actually scored a couple of goals, but my companion started messing with me and faking me out. But then we played a little basketball and I took him to town! It helped that it was like his second time ever playing basketball. But other than doing that this morning I haven't really minded the heat. The food here is great. I love empanadas soooooo much.There are a couple of empenada shops around my house so sometimes after working we stop by and grab a couple. Another really popular food here is called malonesa. I think it's some kind of chicken (but you never actually know what's in the meat). But whatever it is it's deep-fried so I'm not complaining. The members for some reason think I'm always starving so no matter what I say they always give me more food. The other Elders always say they're full and it's tranquilo, but they never believe me when I say it, but its all good. I haven't been too sick, just a little. Also we can't take our cameras out tracting with us, but I have some other pics I'm sending home. On the streets where we work there are like a million cows tied up, it's funny. And there are so many dogs here. I saw a couple of them fighting the other day, pretty crazy. The ward here has about a hundred people, but only about 60 of them are active I think. This Sunday we had a crazy rain storm so not a lot of people made it to church because paraguayans are afraid of the rain. But my bishop is awesome. He sells a ton of cool paraguayan stuff and he's giving us missionaries a huge discount. I liked this hat that was way cool, but the curse of the maddox head struck again and it didn´t fit, blast. Also there is always music playing here. a lot of it is american music that nobody knows the words. Regaton is muy popular and there is a cool genre called Cumbia paraguaya that is pretty good.
So we keep finding the wierdest people that just want to Bible bash (and its really funny hearing people do this all in Spanish) but we've found some dang good investigators through of all of this so it's all good. A couple of funny stories from the week. One day we were at a members house and they were feeding us this amazing something (it's some kind of dessert). And I look over and there's a balding parrot, turns out it had cancer. It was pretty funny looking. Another one was we were walking down the street and this group of little girls started pointing at me and calling me Kevin Mcalister from home alone, my comp thought that was hilarious. One of the funniest things though was the other day this peruvian lady came over (she works for the church so our president told us it's okay). She came to help us clean the pench, gosh it was so funny. For the first little while she was having us through rags at the ceiling (this went on for like 2 hours). Then she made all of us change our sheets and she kept telling us all of these weird things to do after that. But the best was when we were cleaning the kitchen she cleaned us out of food. She just took a ton of it and said she was going to use it and give it away to people who needed it (it was cool because it was pretty much all leftover from the hermanas that lived here before). But it was quite the morning.

So I think the hardest thing for me at first was ordering food at restaurants. I never knew what to say and I never had any idea what they were saying to me, but today I went to a restaurant and I could order exactly what I wanted and I understood exactly what the lady was telling me. I can pretty much understand everything that happens in the lessons, I just still have a hard time with some peoples accents (mostly old people, they also use a ton of guarani in their Spanish), but I'm learning a ton. My companion said that my spanish is better than a few of the missionaries that are leaving in the next couple of weeks and he said that he thinks that I'll have no problems. He's still diligently learning english. I was teasing one of the other elders in our pench the other day and he told me "Hulsey when was the last time you got round house kicked in the face?" My companion thought that was the funniest thing he had ever heard. Hes always telling me "When was the last... no recuerdo". It looses it's affect but it's funny none the less. We have a few really solid investigators and we are planning on baptizing them within the next couple of weeks (it depends on a few things but they do have dates to be baptized). One is named Celsa and after her we're hoping to baptize her husband Eduardo. The other is this family named Olvera. They're awesome and we just have to teach them the commandments and they're set. Then we have this girl named Caren and she is super awesome! She is super faithful and we're hoping to set a date with her the next visit. The way we contact is fun. We walk around then we stand outside peoples gates (because EVERYONE has a gate in front of their house, even if they don't have a fence) and then we clap. Somehow they always here us. We were doing this the other day and this lady let us in named Laura. She has a two year old son named Elias, I told her my brothers name is Elias and he's two (I didn´t feel like explaining the english name because here I think it's a girls name). But it was a cool reminder of why I'm here, to bring the gospel to people so they can have real joy on earth and be together forever in the eternities. My Personal studies have been super great, I'm learning so much from the Book of Mormon everyday and from different talks by different people. I love working hard because if you don't work hard then you feel really bad (because you're waisting the Lords time). I know that this is the Lords work and that I'm doing exactly what I need to be doing. I know for sure that the Lord calls us and then as we work hard then he qualifies us. Often times as soon as we get things figured out then things change, but this just allows us to grow more. I love you guys so much and I pray for you every day. Keep being an amazing family and keep living right.

Con Amor,
Elder Hulsey

ps. I can´t figure out how to send pictures because it's in Spanish, I´ll have my companion show me next week

Monday, October 15, 2012

Bienvenidos a Paraguay‏

Email received October 15, 2012

Hola familia

Sorry about how poor the grammar is in this letter, these spanish keyboards are pretty tricky to figure out. how are all of yall doing? UEA was a sucess? Man Paraguay is AWESOME!!!!!!!! First thing that happened when I stepped off the plane is I noticed how Hot it is here! That must be hard for you to believe because it is almost Winter in the states but boy its hot, but its tranquilo (Thats the word that everyone says here. Tranquilo or tranquilopa, basically its like the word cool). But actually as far as temperature goes its been perfect, I couldn´t have asked for anything better. So my companions name is Elder Morinigo. He´s from Paraguay. He was originally called to the Dominican Rebuplic but he couldn´t get a visa. He´s awesome and super good at futból (soccer). He played soccer for a team that would be the equivilant to the d-league in basketball before the mission, he´s been out about 10 months. There was only one latin trainer and I was lucky enough to get him! It was a little hard at first but now we´re pretty good at playing the game where I describe a word and he tells me what it is in Spanish then I tell him what it is in English, he really wants to learn English. He makes me laugh so hard because he loves singing American songs, but he doesn´t know all of the words, so he just makes sounds that he thinks sound like English, its way funny. But he really wants me to teach him all of the words to ice ice baby by vanilla ice. He´s set a goal to have that song down in three weeks.
So my area is called Marambure B, we´re opening up this area so we don´t know anyone. But the Bishop is awesome and he has such a great family. They feed us a lot. Gosh one thing I´ve learned is that it is literally impossible to turn down food. I try to say I´m good or I´m full but they still just give you food. But its tranquilo, the food is actually pretty good. There was one lady that is a member and we went to teach her daughter and son in law and the mom has a son on a mission, so she told us that we´re her sons now and she gave us these HUGE hamburgers with eggs and all the fixings, super good. And I haven´t been too sick. On wednesday or thursday I had a terrible headache, so I took a nap and I´ve been good until today. We live in a city called Luque and it´s about a half hour walk outside of our area. Luque is HUGE and we live right in the center. It´s pretty cool because we literally live in like the inner city. Also one thing about Paraguay is that there are no rules for the road. Wow that was weird at first, but you just learn to be careful. Also since it´s kind of a big walk to our area we take these crazy buses called collectivos. They are crazy, you jump on them (because they don´t really like coming to a compleate stop) then you pay the guy and grab the bars on the cieling because its a bumpy ride. Luque has paved roads (more or less) but Marambure doesn´t really. It´s either dirt roads that they put rocks on or just straight up dirt roads. I really like it here though, the people are pretty dang nice. They all love my spanish (probably because it´s really funny sounding). But what they really love is if you speak Guarani. My companion taught me how to say "a little bit" so whenever they ask me if I speak Guarani I say "mishimi"(I really don´t know how to spell that, that´s just how it´s pronounced). All of the people just laugh so hard when I say that. Also one thing about the culture here, you have to get over any kind of germaphobia that you have. There will be a group of us and we ask them for water and they bring out one cup for everyone to use. But I´ve just learned to close my eyes and eat or drink whatever they give me. I have to set a lot of goals to just finish what I´m eating, but I really do actually like most of what I eat. We went to Burger King today and it was sooooo good. Also it was the fanciest burger king I´ve ever been too. The people take your trays for you and its super clean. the word to describe it in Spanish "chuchi".
So about my house, we live with two other Elders and they´re both brand new too. They´re doing something called "white-washing". They´re two Americans, one has been out for over a year and the other one only for a few months (he and I are about at the same level for Spanish). The one helps me a lot to understand what my companion is saying. Their area is called Marambure A, same ward but different area. When I first got here they told me that my house is really chuchi but I didn´t believe them until I was out tracting, then I really got a taste for what a poor house is. I´ll send some pictures next week hopefully of my house and of the jungle, because there is a lot of jungle around here. Anyways there is a front room where we have our desks, then a kitchen of sorts, then there is the room taht has my companions and my "closets". My bedroom doesn´t have lights or airconditioning, so we just use flashlights and a fan. But the other elders have a light and airconditioning, so it´s a pretty nice little pench. There are pretty much 2, sorta 3, big soccer teams out here. There´s the Guarani, which is kinda just the classic old-school team that everyone like. then there is cerro and olympista, they´re the real teams that people go for. its wierd because the best team is libertad, I think they´re ranked like 8th in the world, but for some reason people don´t really like them. I personally don´t really have a preferance, yet, but I think I´m leaning more towrds Guarani, my companion is convincing me.
Well I´ve got to go, but I love you guys so much. I know this is the work of the Lord, because he´s helping me so much. I´m so glad that my cousins are out right now because I can feel their love and support and I want them to know that I pray for them everynight. Sometimes it feels a little lonely when I´m sitting in a lesson and I have no eidea whats going on, but then I can really feel the spirit and it helps me. Also when we talk about the gospel I can actually understand pretty much all of it, but when we start talking about things outside of the gospel I get a little lost, but my spanish isn´t too bad. But anyways I´m glad for my cousins example. I had a dream last night that the Spencer, Caleb and Travis all had their calls. Travis was going to Billings Montatna, Caleb to tulsa Oklahoma and spencer to Costa Rica, I guess in a few months we´ll know if it was revelation. Church was interesting all in Spanish, and I had to bare my testimony, but it was pretty easy. I´m still learning but it´s not bad, and I could still feel the spirit even when it was in Spanish, it´s a pretty cool concept that the Lord really understands your heart. I love you and I hope all is well. Paraguay is tranquilo, keep being awesome and choosing the right.
con amor,
Elder Hulsey

Tuesday, October 9, 2012

I made it!

Email reveived October 9, 2012

Hey everyone, I don't have hardly any time but I just wanted to let you know that I made it to Paraguay! Man a lot of time on airplanes but I got to talk with a lot of people (even though I was just guessing a lot of times what they were saying). It's super hot here, and poor, but I love it. President Marariaga is a great guy, he picked us up from the airport. I love you, I will email again probably next monday.

Con Amor
Elder Hulsey

Monday, October 8, 2012

And times up!

Email received October 6, 2012

Calling Home from SLC Airport
Dear Family,

HELLO FAMILY! Oh man how are you amazing people! Gosh I love you guys so much (it's so weird being able to say guys because that word is a no-no here in the MTC, it's President, Brother, Sister and Elder). So dad congratulations on your new calling! I know you'll do great. My branch president told me on Thursday that he noticed I grew so much and helped my district a lot when I was district leader. I honestly felt like I was barely keeping my own head above water the entire time and I really didn't think that I helped anyone. But it just goes to show you that when you're trying your best then the Lord can really work through you.

So this is probably a little on the overly-confident side but I'm really not worried about the Spanish. I have been working super hard on my Spanish and I had a couple of experiences that really helped me gain some confidence. So first off last week we had this thing called TRC which is where people (usually BYU students) volunteer to come and receive a lesson from the missionaries. They are members of the church and, for us anyways, they don't act as investigators. Well Elder Jenson and I got 4 native Spanish speakers! They were from Chile, Guatemala, Peru and Honduras. Boy they were talking fast but the cool thing was I could understand almost all of it (with a lot of focus). Then they were all really surprised with how much we could speak. They told me I have a really nice accent. Then we have been working a lot with the native/fluent districts in our zone and one of them thought that we were a fluent district and they were all saying that our Spanish is really good. I know I'm going to be super confused and humbled once I hit Paraguay, but for now anyways I'm not worried. I think I'm even going to try and give a way a pamphlet of something in the airport/plane. I'm so excited to get to go do missionary work. I saw my plane ticket and stuff so I know they're here. I'm super nervous for the traveling and such. Keep praying for me, it's my first time.

I think I'm going to try and call home from all of the airports, but not for very long. Dad my first call will most likely be while you are during your observation time. You don't have to cancel it because I'm also going to try and call home during my layover in Texas, but I will also most likely be talking to all of the kids during that time too so whatever you want. I got the calling cards and my jammies and after reading the card instructions like 20 times I think I can use them right. I think during Christmas I call home via skype so we'll figure that out when it happens. Also I didn't open my P.J.'s and I don't plan to until Christmas eve. I'll have my companion bring them out to me just like the older cousins do each year. I was laughing when I heard about that Snow College video. Gibson literally finished it the night before he left. [Zack and his cousin Jeff starred in a video used to highlight aspects of Snow College. The video was created by their friend Gibson, who is also now on a mission. Zack's brother and cousin saw the video during a college recruiting day at their high school.] I had a dream the other night that I was back in Ephraim and I had a job and I was so happy. I really like it down there. I really might go back there after my mission.

Well my time is about up, and we have General Conference! I love that so much, that we can hear from God's prophet on earth today! The same kind of prophet as Moses and Lehi and all of the greats! This week I have been studying a lot about sacrifices, because they're a very old ritual but I pretty much only studied about the sacrifices that we make today and why we make them and how they can bless us. My question for conference is what can I sacrifice right now, maybe it's leaving my comfort zone or not doing something that I want to do so I can do something my companion wants to do, so that I can be closer with my Heavenly Father. I challenge each of you to have a question like this too. I love you all so much and I really can't wait to call on Monday. I'll probably only talk to Mom (and Dad if he's home) from Salt Lake but rest assured that I will be calling home again to talk to the kids (hopefully). Have a great day and be expecting a package from me sometime this week. I'm sending home some stuff for you all. Keep living righteously,

con amor,
Elder Hulsey

P.S. Dad can you email me that poem that says, "Beginners are many but Enders are few". I was trying to share it with some people but I didn't have it anymore. If you just email it to me sometime that will be great, I'll get it next week when I check my email and that's fantastic.

Friday, September 28, 2012

Travel Plans!

Hola familia!
Oh man what an awesome week. It's been pretty hard but also pretty great. For some reason I can't really remember at all what happened, but hopefully something comes to mind soon. So I guess first off I got fired as district leader last Saturday. I guess they like to change district leaders every 3 weeks but I guess they kept me in a little longer. It's kind of weird not being in the leadership position anymore, oh well. So the big news of this week is that I received my travel plans this morning! I'm scheduled to leave October 8. I fly from Salt Lake to Dallas/Ft. Worth then to Buenos Aires Argentina then to Asuncion Paraguay! All in all I think it's a little over 20 hours of traveling! (The biggest flight is a 12 hour flight from Dallas to Argenitina). So I can call home as many times as I want from all of the Airports and for as long as I want (There are no rules about calling home from airports). I'll probably try to call home from SLC. Then I have some time to call home during my first layover, so I'll probably try then too. Then I've got about a 2 hour wait in Argentina that I can probably call home, then I think they'll have me call home from Paraguay to let you know I made it. This might be too much calling home. Write me and let me know what you think would be best. Also in order to call home I need a calling card. They sell them here but I don't know how many minutes they have on them, so if you send me a package this week be sure to send some of those calling cards. Also please don't send any food in this package, there is no way I'll be able to do anything with it if it comes this week, but thanks for all of the packages you've sent! It's been really nice getting things from home, and the packages have been super thoughtful.
So Davis left this morning which is kind of a bummer because He and I had the same schedule pretty much, so I liked running and doing things with him at gym, but I only have a few more gym times left so it's good. I don't see Andrew very often, but he's gained 10 pounds! He's really worried about it, it's funny. I don't know if I've gained any weight because I don't remember how much I weighed before, but I've been weighing myself this week and I've weighed pretty much the exact same all week. I may have put on between 2-5 pounds since being here, but I feel like as soon as I breathe some of that South American air all of the weight will magically fall off. I saw Luke last night, he's such a happy guy. I was way excited to see him. So I get to see my old roommate Gibson a lot and I love it. He and I talk, he's got a good attitude. The more we talk the more we both feel like we kinda want to room together at Snow again for at least one semester after our missions. I'm not sure yet but I think that sounds pretty fun. Also I realized last night while talking with a member of the Branch Presidency, he's a radiologist, that I might want to do something in the med-field. A lot of the people that I've meet here that I really respect do something in the med-field (like my teacher Hno. Lee). A lot of them have given us anatomy lessons and related them to the Gospel and I'm so fascinated by it, but we'll see how I feel later. I'm not making any decisions now.
Well this week has been pretty much the same as the rest. I did really finally take to heart what they mean when they say the way to get out of a slump is to work. I was thinking that as I worked in class and things and I thought that's what it was talking about, but I think it's talking about going the extra mile. It's when you start sacrificing your personal time to study a little more and serve a little more that the Savior's sacrifice can start working in you. It's pretty tough because our time is one of the only things that we have control over, but when we make the sacrifice to give it to the Lord, He blesses us so much. I have been so happy doing this during this week. My Spanish has improved and I have had the spirit more. It's hard to figure out when to do it but if you plan out how you're going to use all of your time during the day then it's easy to see how you could study the Scriptures for 10 minutes here or there. I think so much time is wasted when we don't have a plan on how we're going to use it so we have to think of things on the spot. Just some food for thought for you guys.
I love you guys so much! I miss you but I know I'm in the right spot. It's kinda hard to focus on being here when I know that by this time in 2 weeks I'll have been in Paraguay for a few days already, CRAZY! But I still have so much to do and learn here that I'm going to try and finish strong! Have a great week and keep being righteous. Also I don't think I will be sending home an email next Friday because I have in field orientation, but I will probably send one home Saturday.
Con Amor,
Elder Hulsey
P.S. Please do not come visit me at the airport and make sure no one else does. I'll call home so there is no need to come visit me.

Friday, September 21, 2012

A whole week already‏

Email received September 21, 2012

Hola familia, como esta
I can´t really type that great because the computer is in dutch right now and it´s having a very hard time switching back to English for some reason, so sorry about all of the weird characters! So first off I cant beleve how fast this week went by, it seems like I was literally just barely typing an email and now I´m doing it again, so sorry if this one is a little boring. But man this week was pretty much AWESOME! I was way stoked to hear that all of my cousins are getting some nice exposure to Spanish. Boo with his new comp and area then Sam giong on splits with the Spanish missionaries and Jeff with his dreams! This is awesome (so yes I am getting the letters forwarded from dearelder, thank you so much, keep it up!) So my Spanish has improved big time this week I´m pretty sure. We´ve been speaking sooooo much Spanish and it´s been so helpful. I even used subjunctive the other day without even thinking about it (and I think I even used it right!) And dad I loved when you sent me a letter that said "ojala" that is literaly my favorite thing to say in Spanish, I don't really know why. So as far as my visa and things go, I went to the travel office and they didn't know anythig. But I think I'm getting my travel plans this week! Then I'll know if it's come through! I can't wait to get to Paraguay! The MTC has treated me very well and I love it, but I can't wait to go apply everything I've learned en el campo. Also everyone complains about the food here but I like it. There are so many options so I can always find something to eat. Although my stomach has not been in a great place lately, but it's nothing bad at all.
The choir is so great! We get to sing in it as long as we're here! (But we are not singing in General Conference). I really like the song that we sang last week. It was a really cool rendition of Precious Savior Dear Redeemer, I loved it. Also we don't have this choir this Sunday because we get to see the Brigham City temple dedication! Tuesday devotional was so dang awesome! I believe the guys name was Elder Kaulliker from the 70. I honestly don't remember very much of what he said, but I recieved so much great personal revelation! Also we had a district devotional review with a member of the Branch presidency (brother pickering) and it was great. I always learn so much and feel so pumped and inspired after those. We sing called to serve every tuesday for the opening hymn, it's pretty awesome, I get choked up a lot during the hymns. They bring the Spirit so strong because they're simple testimonies of amazing truths.
So turns out big Jake Loitz is in my building, sleeps right under me! He has the weirdest district. Nobody is speaking the same language or going to the same place, I really don't get it. But I also see mrs. Jones a lot. It's nice seeing familiar faces. Yesterday I ran into brother Webb again. I love seeing him. He always gives me hug and makes me feel happy. He's a really great guy. Speaking of hugs I gave Jake Loitz a hug when I first saw him here.
Two things this week that really helped me spiritually. The first one is that I realized that I have been Way too uptight about things (big surprise right). So I was praying for help and I got some. Then I asked my teacher about the balance of not becoming a robot missionary but still being 100% obedient. He got really emotional and the whole district had a really good talk about this. Basically we can't do anything on our own, and it's only through the atonement that we'll ever be able to do anything. I was studying how Mosiah 3:19 and Ether 12:27 work together and my teacher brought up these same scriptures to help me. They're awesome (also use d&c 45:3-5). The other thing is I realized I really have a strong testimony of the Book of Mormon. My whole life I've always wanted a testimony of it, but I can't honestly say I had one. I never doubted that it was true but I just never really knew. But I used faith and for years I read it faithfully, I think I've read it through cover to cover probably 4 or 5 times, but I never knew. But now is the very hour that I need to know it, and I do! I know more surely than I really know anything that the book of mormon is true. I love reading it so much. It makes me so happy and it's so simple yet profound. I love that book more than any other book and I'm so grateful for all of the sacrafices that went into it. During the Sunday fireside that showed us the opening clip to the Book of Mormon musical on broadway and it literally made me sick. It was so disrespectful to the book and to all of the lives that went into getting us this book. Their point in showing us this was to show us all that the church did to make it a positive thing for us, it was actually pretty cool. It was a really awesome fireside. The book of mormon is true and Jesus Christ lives, I know this so strongly. I love you guys so much, have a wonderful week!
Con Amor,
Elder Hulsey

Friday, September 14, 2012

Email: (No Subject)

Received September 14, 2012

Hola Familia!
How is everything going?! Man this week has been quite the week. So I guess I'll just start with last Friday when I got a haircut. Man it was funny. When they finish up they get this super powerful vacuum and start vacuuming your head. After a little while it starts to hurt. Then as soon as it feels like your skin is about to come off your head they turn it off and send you on your way. The haircut turned out nice though, I like it. I loved getting all of the letters this week, especially from Adam and Maren. Adam I just realized this week that my teacher's name is Adam! This morning in the temple was so great. Elder Jenson and I did sealings (we're allowed to be proxy children and witnesses for these), and it was a blast. The names that we were doing were native American. My favorite girl name was "Good Haired Otter Women" (That made me think of the Otterstroms, pretty great), and my favorite guy name was "Crazy Horse or Worm" (It literally said that exactly on the card). Another cool part about the sealings was that the temple sealer served his mission in the Paraguay-Uruguay mission (He only went to Paraguay once for a mission conference though). But he did some of the sealings in Spanish for us and it was cool because I was pleasantly surprised that I knew what was going on.
So this week was really cool for me spiritually. Elder Jenson and I had been having a really hard time teaching good practice lessons for some reason. So on Tuesday night I prayed a lot for help, then on Wednesday I fasted and prayed a lot. The blessings that came are indescribable. We were able to teach a great practice lesson. It was a way cool experience. I had no idea what to say but for some reason I really wanted to say something. So I opened my mouth and words came out, I hoped they made sense, turns out they didn't. Our role player said he was really confused. So I opened my mouth again and more words came out, and this time he understood what I was saying. I was super confused while I was talking but Elder Jenson said it was good. And the help from the Lord didn't end there because the next day we taught another great practice lesson. Hermano Lee told us that he thinks the lesson was our best one since being in the MTC and he told us that we're really getting our role as teachers, it was awesome. I received so much personal revelation and testimony this week. I gained a big testimony of planning. When we plan then the Lord can use us in his way, which I've found happens to not be the way I planned a lot of the time.
That's awesome that Maren got to the movies on her own last week, I remember my first time doing that, it's awesome. And I'm sorry to hear about Emma's hand. I was thinking about when I cut my hand open and had to get stitches, no fun. But at least she was doing service and slipped in a puddle so she had a reason to get hurt. When I cut my hand it was because I was bored one night so I started playing with my Pocket knife (bad idea). So Mom my district is just the people in my class, and we found out this week that we might get a new member who is fluent in Spanish and is just waiting on his visa, I think that'd be pretty helpful. Anyways my zone (or branch if you will) consists of I think 5 districts, and they're all spanish speaking. Speaking of visas I have no idea about mine, but I'm really not worried. There's been a few Elders that have come and gone to Paraguay since I've been here and I'm pretty sure they haven't had any visa troubles so I don't think I will. i should find out about 10 days before I leave (which is approaching at a very rapid rate, YIKES!) I have both of my memory cards so thank you for those, I think I found a way to send pictures home now without having to send home the memory card, so I will possibly try that next week. I still am in choir, it's a nice break from normal MTC stuff plus it guarantees you a decent seat at the Tuesday devotional (Which are one of my favorite things they have here in the MTC). I don't know if we're singing in General Conference. My Spanish is coming along pretty well. We've been speaking a Ton outside of class and I think that's been helping, I'm getting a lot more comfortable with it. Also it turns out that someone in our ward was one of my teacher's seminary teachers in Wisconsin I believe. Small world, but pretty cool.
Well it's time for me to peace out and learn a bit more how to serve the Lord. I love it here and it's been my best decision ever to serve a mission. Elder Jenson and I realized today that it's Friday so people are all making their weekend plans, but we're here. But then we realized that we're totally okay with that, and for me I realized that I actually prefer it like this. I'm serving the Lord and receiving so many blessings from him that it's completely worth any kind of "sacrifice" that I have to make. I have learned so much about the Gospel it's crazy. I'm learning the simple doctrines so deeply, it's wonderful. I love you guys so much, keep writing it makes me happy and I don't have much time left in the States to receive mail so frequently so keep it coming. Stay golden
Con Amor
Elder Hulsey
P.S. Speaking of sacrifice I had this weird dream that we still did Animal sacrifice last night. All that happened in my dream was that i was trying to catch animals for some new apostles, it was weird.

Friday, September 7, 2012

Email: Halfway done already!?

Received August 7, 2012

Hola Familia!
How's the greatest family this week?! Man have I had an awesome week! Today has been pretty good. Elder Jenson isn't feeling to great (I think he has the bug that's been going around here) but on the plus side I feel completely fine, no ear-infections or anything! Also we still went to the temple this morning and it was awesome! I learned a lot of new things and I noticed that whenever I learn something new in the temple, I always have a lot more questions after. That's a really good thing because it helps me have something to look for in the session. I loved the donuts you sent me, my favorite flavor of donut is glazed from daylight donuts and I was just saying the morning the package came that I really would like one of those. They came on Wednesday, the same day Davis (Elder Lundberg) came in. Davis and I study right down the hall from eachother and he sleeps on the floor right below me, also we have the same exact schedule so I see him alot (we played volleyball together in gym on Thursday). But anyways I thought he might like a donut to remind him of home, so I brought them down stairs so I could give one to him, but as I was walking to his room, herds and herds of different Elders pretty much attacked me for a donut. I gave them some but by the time I got to Davis' room they were all gone (don't worry, I made sure I ate one before I brought them downstairs). I thought it was really funny, I think there was an Elder from France, one from Hong Kong, and one from Peru. But as far as packages go, I'm doing pretty good pretty much everything, also I don't need any moleskin because I don't blilster (I sure hope I don't find myself eating those words in a few weeks).
I do not think I'm prepared to leave here yet! I have so much to learn still with my Spanish! I can't believe I'm already halfway done here! It's cool because the days are long, but before I know it it's time for bed. And the weeks go super fast, but when I look back on the week I did a lot. Time is a really cool thing here in the MTC. But as far as Spanish goes, I can pretty much stumble my way through saying just about anything I need to, but I have so much more to learn! We started subjunctive this week... Yeah. It's actually pretty easy, I just can never remember when to use it or how to properly conjugate the verbs all of the time. But it's cool because people won't come unto Christ because I properly conjugated a verb in the past subjunctive, they'll come unto Christ if I invite the Spirit. But the one piece of advice that I would give to anyone preparing to come here to learn a language is study and really know the Book of Mormon and Preach my Gospel in English before you come in here. That way when you come in here you will understand what you're reading in Spanish (or whatever language) a whole lot easier and you'll be able to learn faster.
Being a district leader is really cool, but kind of hard. I have to go to a lot of meetings (which I actually enjoy, I learn a lot from them), but I'm also supposed to try to keep enthusiasm and reverence up. That's really hard to do because what makes one Elder excited probably doesn't make another one excited.
Well family I love you guys a lot. I love this gospel a lot. It brings so much happiness and when you can share that happiness with others, your happiness only increases. My teacher told me that he's not worried for me to go out to the field because I have found joy in missionary work and he said that's the most important thing to be successful, so you don't have to worry about me. You all are in my prayers always. Keep writing me and keep choosing the right. I really love what Russell told me in his letter, "don't fret dog". I love that so much, life gets super intense and stressfull, but don't fret dog because the Lord is in charge and if you're choosing the right, then everything will go as its supposed to.
Con Amor
Elder Hulsey

Saturday, September 1, 2012

Email: The Outside World!!!

Email received August 31, 2012
Hola Familia,
So this week I did it, I busted outta here! I had to go to Smith's grocery store with Elder Mull to pick up some stuff for his Diabetis and holy smokes was it weird being around non missionaries (I can only imagine how weird the feild is going to be). So this week has been quite the week. But first off I have seen Elder Mortenson, he's doing quite well, his companion seems really nice and excited. I have not seen Elder Rivers though, but I am sure I will soon. I think that''s awesome that you guys might go to the canyon for FHE, I love doing that so much. I have such a nice view of Provo Canyon here, I wish I could go there so bad, but it''s cool. Also You asked me if I wrote Emma''s letter on a non P-day, the answer is of course not. Do you really think I would break a rule?! I got her letter last friday night so I quickly wrote her one back before I wen to bed, I just sent it a little late. So Mom as for your questions, I love Sundays so much. We get to sing hymns and relax, it''s super nice. I haven''t had to speak yet but I''ve always got my talks prepared so I''m not worried about it. Our branch president (or one of his counselors) normally tries to make a visit to the residence halls once a week and talk with us briefly. Last night the one I talked to is a retired radiologist. That seems like a cool profession, maybe I''ll look into it someday. So the reason I go to the temple so early is because the MTC schedules your temple time, I personally would prefer to go later but it''s also cool in the mornings. We get to eat delicious breakfast in the temple cafeteria so it''s all good.
Alright so now why this week was so amazing. So we had to get a new District Leader and this time around, the branch presidency decided to pick the best looking Elder in the district to be the leader, so I was the obviouse choice ;). But in reality they called me as district leader and I was super nervous. I''ve never really thought of myself as a good leader, but I know whom the Lord calls He qualifies so I was really banking on that. Well the first couple of days did not go very well at all. Everything I tried to do kinda backfired. I was struggling with that so I was grumpy. On top of that I got a really bad cold this week where I just felt clammy and tired and like I could barely move. My motivation was kinda gone (but I never wanted to quit, I just wanted something to change). I wasn''t really geting along with anyone and then I realized a few things. 1. I hadnt been reading the Book of Mormon as much as I had. I had been pretty busy studying other things. I know for a fact now that there is special power that comes only through reading the Book of Mormon and that it can make us happy and strong. I was reading in 1 and 2 Nephi about Nephi being a leader over his brothers and it was so easy for me to apply that to my life. I really felt like Nephi so I was reading about what he did and it helped a lot. Whenever you're in a funk, read the Book of Mormon. 2. I really learned the power of studying the simple truths of the Gospel. I am a firm believer that if you just study the simple truths: Faith, repentance, baptism, the Gift of the Holy Ghost, and Enduring to the End, then you will know and learn all that you have to in order to be able to make it back to live with our Heavenly Father and be happy in this life and the next. 3. The last thing that I really want to say is that I gained a very strong testimony of the power of conciously deciding to have a positive attitude. On Tuesady when I was super sick and not geting along with anybody, we taught an inverstigator named Nicolas and it went awfully. I was not getting along with anyone and I was having an awful time. so that night I decided that I would just always have a positive attitude while I'm serving my mission. I'm a missionary for crying out loud! I'm bringing people the happiest message so I should be happy. So I prayed that night that no matter what happened I could just be happy. It was amazing because I fell asleep that night with a smile on my face, and the next day everything was just so good. I was so easily able to forget about the bad stuff about people and see them for the good qualities that they have, and it was so much easier to get along with them. We taught Nicolas again and this time was a million times better. he was interested and we taught him about nothing that we had prepared for, but that he just had questions about. the spirit gave me so many words and phrases and scriptures to use, it ws awesome (same thing happened with Ronaldo this week too. I think we'll be able to commit Ronaldo to baptism tommorrow!). A concious effort to have a positive attitude goes such a long way, I can't even describe how great it is. Also one other random thing is during the Tuesday devotional, all of the missionaries sang How Firm A Foundation. Holy Cow was that powerful! I started crying in my seat because when all of the missionaries were singing, the spirit came so strong. I'm getting a little teary eyed right now just remembering how amazing it was. I can't wait to sing more hymns. Also there's this way cool hymn found only in the Spanish hymn book, I don't remember what it's called but it's number 88 in the Spanish book, you should try to find it, it's awesome.
Well my time is up. I love you guys so much. I love the MTC so much. Being a missionary is awesome and I've grown and learned a lot. Keep praying for me and I'll keep praying for you. I love praying for my cousins on their missions because when I do that, it reminds me why I'm here and how we're all trying to further the Lord's work. It's awesome, keep being amazing.
Con Amor,
Elder Hulsey
P.S. Dad have a wonderful birthday on Sunday, have a big piece of carrot cake for me (I know that's the cake you're going to request).
P.S.S. Remember big Charlie from my dorm? He came in this week, he lives on the floor right below me, it's pretty fun. We're going to take a big picture by the map with everyone that we were friends with at Snow on Monday, I'm pretty excited.