Wow what a week, lots of trials but lots of experiences gained too. That´s crazy that Caleb is getting his mission call this week! It wouldn´t surprise me one bit if he joins me down here in good ol south america, da gusto aquí. So I hope big Threeli had a great birthday yesterday, I have to get used to telling people that he´s 3 now and that megan is 14 when I show them my fotos. Latin people love fotos so much, it´s so funny. They are always trying to find a way to show you their fotos, I love it. So they do celebrate Valentines day here, I´m just not really sure how yet so next week I´ll let you know, but I think it´s pretty much the same as in the states. Changes we´ll find out any minute now so I might be able to let you know whats going on depending on when we get them. I love Maramburé so much and I would be a little sad to go, but I´d also love to get to know a new part of Paraguay so whatever happens is cool with me.
So like I said, this week was pretty full of trials and real life seemed to hit kinda hard, but I learned a lot and found a lot of places that I need to improve. I don´t really want to go into details now because I´m trying to keep a positive attitude and be more filled with love in my heart, but I´ll share one funny thing that happened. So due to a series of events out of my control our power got shut off this last Tuesday morning. We had district meeting then my companion organized a division and went to another area. So we didn´t have lights, fans, cold water in the fridge (because the fridge didn´t work). So the 4 of us that were in the house (my companion for the day and the two other Elders we live with) brought our mattresses outside and put on tons of bugspray and slept out there! It was fun because we stayed up late telling stories (the rule is lights out and in bed by 10:30, it doesn´t say anything about not talking). It was pretty good and during the division we contacted some pretty solid people that I believe are going to progress.
Another thing happened that really helped me to realize the Lord´s hand in things. Again without going into detail a recent convert Nidia has experienced a lot of trials of faith since her baptism. They have experienced tons of sickness and. But last week when I had my division we went to visit Nidia but she wasn´t home, so the next night I went with Elder Morinigo. We got there and we found Nidia just a wreck. We talked with her and I gave her a blessing of comfort, she still hadn´t talked with anyone else about what had happened. She ended up having to move to an area that isn´t ours, but the area where she moved is perfect. Sergio and Nidia were taught first by an Elder Giron and his companion, but then they moved into our area and we finished teaching them. Elder Giron didn´t get taken out of his area for a long time and is still there now, and Nidia is moved right back into his area! So she´s already comfortable with him so it´s working out really nice. She decided she´s going to keep attending in Marambure and they told her that´s fine. She also came to church on Sunday even though she´s experiencing so many hard times! She´s so great and has so much faith!
So this week one of the things that I learned is the difference it makes having the Spirit present in the lessons. We have kinda got into a habit of just teaching and not focusing so much on helping our investigators to feel the Spirit. So I set a goal to invite the Spirit more in the lessons. I had a hard time at first because I wasn´t sure how. We always share our testimonies and teach the doctrine, but this week I learned the importance of personal experiences. We were sitting in a couple of lessons where at first I thought that there was no way that these people will understand anything that we´re teaching them, because that happens a lot. But when I shared some personal stories and specific examples of the blessings that I´ve received everything changed. When Elder Bednar came and spoke to us a few months ago (That´s crazy that I´ve been here for a few months! I passed my 6 month mark but I still feel brand new, Cayden Brown passes his year mark this month and he told me he still feels brand new too) he told us repeatedly that the Holy Ghost is the teacher. I realized that what we say isn´t really that important, it´s what they feel and what the Holy Ghost tells them. This family for example totally changed in my eyes and I could tell that they really could follow Christ correctly if I just help them recognize the Spirit. Our lessons were so much more powerful and when it came time to extend invitations it was a completely different experience. Instead of us trying to convince them to come to church, they were asking us when it started because they wanted to go and feel those feelings more. The Holy Ghost can work miracles and it´s so cool being able to have it work through you to bless others, that´s why you´ve got to make sure you´re worthy to be here before you come out. I don´t know how many people, if any at all, I´ve actually helped here but I have received so many blessings for my service that it´s unbelievable.
I love you guys so much and I hope you have a great día de amor and a wonderful week.
Con Muchísimo amor,