Email received January 7, 2013
Hows everyone doing? did you pass the year new good (that´s a direct translation from Spanish, ¿pasaron el año nuevo bien?) New years here was interesting, but first off, changes. Elder Morinigo and I are together, and the other Elders that we live with are together too, so changes didn't really affect us. Most of the changes that happened were pretty small, a lot of people changed companions but stayed in the zone. But Cayden Brown joined the zone! We played soccer this morning then had lunch, now he´s sitting right next to me in the cyber. That will be a lot of fun I think. We normally play soccer as a zone on P-days then sometimes we do stuff together, then we always have district meetings on Tuesdays but the two districts in our zone have their meetings in the same chapel at the same time so we always get to see the people from the other district. It´s great, my zone is awesome!
So for new years we went to a huge bbq at the bishops house. They had every type of meet you can imagine and just tons of food. The problem is that the people here eat dinner at like 10:30 or 11 (tell Spencer they follow T-bone´s eating schedule), but the bishop was nice enough to let us eat at 9:00. Our rule is home by 10:00 if you´re in a lesson or something so it worked out good. We were supposed to keep our normal schedule but that´s almost impossible for the holidays. But it´s cool, we talked to the zone leaders and we were home around 10:30 I think so we were good. The streets were packed all night long and they were covered with people selling fireworks! Fireworks are a little more tame here. They don´t have big lights, they´re just loud, but it was still fun. They will sell fireworks to anyone too, even to like 6 year olds, and the kids think it´s super funny to throw them at us and yell at us to cover our ears (and it really is funny because the fireworks don´t do anything but the kids just love it). It´s really fun. There was this one firework though that was so loud that it set off a car alarm! But yeah so the next day, January 1st, there was literally nobody on the streets! Everybody was sleeping (most were sleeping off hang-overs). And on top of that it was a bit of a rainy day too! It was so weird to not hear or see anybody except for other missionaries going to district meeting. We tried going out and just visit a less active family but they were asleep. So we went with the other Elders to a member's house and they made us little smokeys and a lemon pie! It was the first pie I´ve had in Paraguay (I miss pie a lot).
The rest of this week was a little weird. Elder Morinigo was sick and and one of the other Elders we live with got some jungle virus (not contagious) this week so him and his companion had to go to the hospital. They´ve been there for a few days and I´m still not sure how he´s doing, but I think he´ll be okay. Oddly enough I´ve been pretty healthy. No major stomach aches or head aches (just the usual) so I´m glad I´ve been so blessed. So we weren't able to go out every day but on Tuesday I got a Liahona in English with the talks from the last general conference so I was able to read all of those talks. I learned a lot, it was pretty great. But my companion is interesting when it comes to how he cures himself! We went to this random lady who sells weeds and sticks and he bought some and put water in it and started drinking it! It didn´t work, but he told me he bought the wrong ones so we´re going back today to buy different weeds. As a joke I call it his brujeria (witchcraft) and he just laughs and says we´ve got to buy a different witchcraft. Haha also the bishop´s wife had all sorts of remedies for him (like putting this water-flour mix on his stomach) it´s funny. We went to this pharmacist and the Bishop´s wife said you just tell the guy your symptoms and he´s got something for you, but he only speaks guarani (so that means his medicine is a little sketchy) but that all of the missionaries should go to this guy because he hooks it up. They were getting my companion all of this stuff and they felt bad for me, so they bought me chocolate milk and cookies. But yeah we´ll see if the brujeria that we buy today will make him better, haha. It´s fun but I think that when I´m sick I´m not going to let anyone know.
So this week even though we couldn´t go out and work very much we still had 4 investigators in church! We had a family (not married yet) and that was great, then we had our investigator that´s progressing the most, Joni (Johnny), too. Johnny is awesome! He´s Antonia´s son and he´s 16 years old. He came to church last week and I didn´t think he really liked it, but I was praying the whole time that even if he didn´t understand some of the things that he would feel good and recognize his good feelings. When we went and visited him this Wednesday he had read the pamphlet we left him twice and he perfectly understood the importance of the priesthood and the restoration! We gave him a Book of Mormon and he´s been reading it faithfully. He´s super excited about the church. He got a little backpack that perfectly fits his Book of Mormon and pamphlets that we leave him and he carries that around! We asked him if he´s been praying to know specifically if this church is true and he told us that he´s been trying to be super specific. He prayed to know if Joseph smith was a prophet, if the angel Moroni really showed him the gold plates, if he translated them, super specific! He´s scheduled to get baptized on January 26th so I hope things keep going smoothly with him. We´ve got a couple of pretty great investigators, it´s really nice. Things are going pretty great in good ´ol Marambure B.
Well my time is almost up. With all of the time I had to study this week I learned a lot. Perhaps the most important thing that I realized is that I need to live up to my potential. For example I´ve got faith, and I would say that I use it too, but not as much as I could. One lady turned two dried sea-biscuits into a pot full of food because of her faith in Christ. I realized that I´m doing good, but I can be doing so much better in developing the Christ-like attributes (luckily there is a whole chapter about that in Preach My Gospel). I love you guys so much, keep studying and increasing in testimony and more importantly conversion (see Elder Bednar´s latest conference talk).
P.S. I´ve hand written a couple of my friends but I can´t email them (rule from Pres. Madariaga). So if you could just forward their letters through dearelder that would be best then I will hand write them letters. Thanks.