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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. dearelder.com 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 futb├│l (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.