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.
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