Monday, May 27, 2013

(No Subject)

Email received May 27, 2013
¡Hola familia!
Hows life in the good US of A? This week was pretty sweet. Zone conference was a little bitter sweet because it was very spiritually uplifting and I learned a ton, but it was super sad to say goodbye to President and Hermana Madariaga. I really love them and I can really tell that they love me and all of the missionaries, it´s weird to me how they can care so much for us, I imagine it´s probably similar to being a parent just on a smaller scale, which is even a smaller scale of Heavenly Father´s love for us. President talked a lot about repentance and I didn´t even realize that I barely understand repentance until after that. It was cool (and on the plus side I still have a few more opportunities to see president and his wife before they go, but we will not be having any more interviews with him unfortunately). So today I got to go to Asunción because tomorrow we are having a special double mission conference and Elder Maynes from the Seventies is coming to speak with us and they decided to form a choir and word leaked out that I was in high school choir. The assistants called me and made me sing to them over the phone for an audition and I guess they were hurting for basses because they still asked me to join. I´m pretty excited because I realized that I should have done a lot better before the mission at looking for and developing my talents so that I can use them to bless the lives of others and I´m not saying I´m a talented singer by any stretch but I at least know how to follow along with the music and now I get to sing in a special choir. I´m pretty excited for this conference, it should be pretty uplifting.
So yesterday I had the great opportunity to attend a little while in a Pentecostal church (I have no idea if that´s and English word or not, sorry). Elder Williamson and I were walking down this street and a preacher came walking out of a church meeting and told us to come in. We were hesitating but then he grabbed our arms and pulled us in! He marched us right to the front of the congregation and made this lady get out of her seat so we could sit in the front row. Then they had us stand up and face the crowd and they all clapped for us! It was a pretty interesting experience. They do a lot of yelling amens and hallelujahs and they had us do a few other things too, I don´t want to talk bad about any other religions but it really just affirmed to me that our church really is true. We don´t have to yell or scream or anything to feel the spirit, we can just testify of truth and feel it. Haha but I didn´t realize it but I had been walking around with a copy of the Book of Mormon in my hand all day and when the guy marched us to the front I still had it, so at least it got some exposure in the other church.
So Juliana did not get baptized this week, a few of Diego´s cousins almost got baptized but they didn´t pass their interviews. We might still be able to baptize them this Saturday, we´ll just see how this week goes I suppose. But I´m still hopeful and we have some pretty awesome investigators. The better I get at the language the easier it is to develop relationships with investigators and members. There´s this one lady named hermana Toledo, her husband is the Patriarch and they take care of us pretty well. She reminds me a lot of Grandma so I love going over there. We also have this AWESOME family named la familia Cristalo, i don´t know if I already told you about them but they are super awesome. They actually do all of their reading and everything! It makes me really excited to be a missionary. The new house is pretty awesome. It´s a lot bigger and nicer and right in the middle of Capiatá. My sleeping patterns have really changed on the mission because I now fall asleep really easily but wake up like 3 or 4 times a night, but I think I prefer it that way because it´s easier to wake up in the morning. I also got really used to sleeping even when there´s a party and heavy traffic right by my window when I was in Luque so now it´s not a problem here in Capiatá. I´m a little nervous about changes next week because the way President was talking about them in zone conference makes me feel like literally anything could happen. On Monday I will know if I am staying in this mission, going to the south mission, or going to the new Argentina mission! It´s stressing everyone out, but I actually just feel really peaceful about it because I know that wherever I serve it´s where the Lord wants me. President said he had to change missions halfway through his mission and it was sad at first but then he got to know some really amazing people so it was a blessing. I know the Lord is preparing people for me to teach and meet and I can´t wait to see what the Lord has in store for me. I love you guys so much and I hope you can finish the week strong. I can´t believe I left before school started and now the school year is over... CRAZY!!!!!!!!!!!!! Be smart and be strong,

con amor,
Elder Hulsey 1
These are the sweet scripture cases I got for my Spanish scriptures. The mission nurse took a picture of me when I was carrying in some nice winter blankets at zone conference. Also I did not speak at it and I don´t think I am in any need of any more winter clothes, but thanks anyways!

Monday, May 20, 2013

(No Subject)

Email received May 20, 2013
Hola Familia!
Gosh I was just barely picturing Spencer in the DR and Emma driving (two pretty crazy but super sweet things!) and I realized I´ve kinda been gone a while, but it really doesn´t feel like it. I still try telling people I´m new but they tell me I´ve been here long enough to not be new (I talked to one of my zone leaders right before he went home and he said he still felt brand new, so I guess this feeling doesn´t really go away, but luckily it´s not that I´m nervous or lost and confused or anything,I just feel like I barely got off the plane and poof, now we´re 9 months down the road!) It´s kinda weird that things keep happening at home even when I´m not there. I´m glad Grandma is okay, let her know that even the best fall down sometimes. Happy birthday last week Emma, in a few years I can sing happy birthday to you in Spanish, Guaraní, and English (we do that at every zone conference, speaking of which we have one tomorrow and I´m super stoked for it!). So this week was pretty dang crazy, but we still had some success. First off Diego got baptized! It was on Saturday and that day and Sunday just happened to be the only days of the week where it wasn´t raining (coincidence, I think not). And what was even better was that Diego´s mom and sister and cousins all came to the baptism and confirmation in church the next day! They also all said that they also want to be baptized! There were some serious miracles that took place down here in the Paraguay with lots of prayers behind them. I thought I prayed pretty well before my mission but I noticed that now I´m pretty much always praying for something, whether it´s saying thanks for a miracle that just happened or asking for another one (usually both), but I honestly think that that´s how it´s supposed to be. Mom I´ve often thought about how you would want to bring all of the little Paraguayan kids home with you if you were here and I´m not going to lie, there have been a couple that I´ve wanted to send home. You have to love the people but realize that the absolute best thing that you could do for them is bring them the gospel and teach them how to live it. I always have to think about that when I see little kids or families struggling because really that is what the Lord has sent me here to do and that´s the best thing for them.
So one funny story that happened this week. We´ve been teaching this girl named Juliana, she´s Diegos sister-in-law. She´s come to church a couple of times now and is getting ready for baptism, but yesterday we went and visited her and she told us she doesn´t want to get baptized anymore. Elder Williamson and I got super scared and we asked her why. At first she said she wasn´t sure so we started trying to help her all of the reasons why she had wanted to be baptized. She finally told us that Diego told her that she had to get baptized in just her underwear and she didn´t feel very comfortable doing that! Haha Diego that little jokester! It was pretty funny and we explained to her that she will be wearing clothes when she gets baptized and that she has nothing to worry about, then she was all excited about baptism again. Haha. She should be getting baptized in a 2 weeks but we sure need some miracles there too.
Like I said this week was pretty tough because it rained Monday to Thursday (I don´t remember if it rained Friday) and the work really slows down in the rain. Then on Friday we moved into our new apartment (it´s a much nicer place than where we were living and all of us seem a lot happier for it). So that pretty much shot our day then we had Diego´s baptismal interview that night than it took all morning Saturday filling the font and doing a few other things in the new house so we just didn´t have a lot of time to work. I was pretty stressed out about everything but luckily Elder Williamson has a pretty good ability to not stress too much about things until we need to so he´s always telling me to just relax and not worry so much. So then on Sunday when we reported our numbers I realized they were still actually pretty normal for us so all the stress was in vain. That´s one of the biggest reasons I feel like I was called to Paraguay, it is a very stress-free country (the most common word here is tranquilo for crying out loud!) and I am definitely learning how to work hard without the stress, but it is a process. Also I may have been called here to introduce me to the wonderful ketchup they have here. I´m turning into Spencer because I put ketchup on all sorts of stuff now, the ketchup here is just so good (Elder Williamson puts dipping sauces to a whole new level. He puts barbecue sauce on everything, even his pancakes!).
Well I love you guys and hope that you have awesome weeks and that you can finish up the school year strong. It keeps getting colder and colder here so it´s so funny to me that you guys are entering into the heat, but luckily we´re getting our winter blankets tomorrow at zone conference so I´m set. Be strong and be smart and remember I love you and pray for you often.
con amor,
Elder Hulsey numero uno
Here´s little Dieguito at his baptisimal service. Also we were walking the other day to the cyber to send out some pictures of our new house to the Hna. Madariaga and these guys called us over to help them with this tree. They were just joking because they thought a couple of Yankees wouldn´t know the first thing about chopping down a tree but they didn´t know which Yankee they were messing with. I took the axe and surprised them all by knowing how to hack away at the tree! It was pretty funny and they were yelling at my comp to take pictures and since we were on our way to send some pictures he actually had his camera so he took one.


Monday, May 13, 2013

(No Subject)

Email received May 13, 2013

Hola familia,
¿How are you all doing? It was nice talking to you guys on Saturday but I feel bad because I didn´t really know what to say. But we got really lucky because right after I finished talking with you guys a whole swarm of missionaries came to the cyber and all of the computers were breaking down, similar to what happened to us at Christmas. So Mom I was thinking about things I would want in a package (I still don´t think it´s necessary to send one every month) and a few things that I would like are soul inserts for my shoes (my shoes are holding up great but the inserts are wearing down), Peanut butter cups are always good also those marshmallow santas from Christmas time (I think they have them for other holidays too, otherwise don´t worry about it) and other candies like that are good. They also don´t have ranch or great peanut butter here, but I really don´t need too much food or candy. Also some deodorant would be nice (they have it here but it´s pretty weird and expensive, I just like the sticks a lot) and I love pictures of everyone and what you guys are doing and all (I still really want a picture of my Paraguayan flag hung up next to Spencer´s DR flag). But really I´m doing well here and at the moment I don´t need anything, these are just ideas is all.

So yesterday was a pretty crazy day and it seemed like everything was working against us in the morning. It started raining cats and dogs (by the way I learned that saying doesn´t make any sense to people in Spanish) and Paraguayans don´t leave the house in the rain (we had a whole 17 people in attendance at church on Sunday) and that made it hard because we have some investigators so close to baptism, they just need to come to church a few more times. So we went out and hiked through the mud and water to get to our investigators house to help them get to church and the member that they live with told us she wouldn´t go because of the rain. We wanted to bring Diego to church so he could get baptized on Saturday but we can´t bring him alone because he´s only 10. Anyways we finally were able to arrange for another adult (an investigator) to come with us so we weren´t in charge of the kids. We then had to wait an hour and a half for a bus (they supposedly pass by every 30 minutes on Sundays) in the rain and we made it to the end of the second hour of church. I was getting a little frustrated waiting but in the end we had 3 investigators in church in the rain and one of them, Diego, can now get baptized on Saturday, and the others the week after! Elder Williamson and I were talking and we realized it was a trial of our faith and the faith of our investigators and that all of the stressing and things doesn´t help. It´s humbling because you realize that you really can´t do anything but pray and rely on the Lord, but it´s also pretty nice that we don´t have to stress about the whole world, we just have to do what we´re asked and the Lord takes care.
Well seeing as we just talked I don´t have too much more to say, other than I love you a whole lot. Maren is the best letter writer, Adam is the best at getting things into the packages (I really loved the card he sent me of the dalmatian bunnies and I use the calender daily) and Spencer is the best at getting me emails (all of these are out of the kids of course). Eli and Caleb have good excuses seeing as they are little, Emma´s second best at getting me dearelders and Megan is a close 3rd (you guys need to step up your game a little. Haha I´m just kidding) In reality I love you guys all so much and you are all super awesome and supportive. I really do feel your prayers for me. I had a really cool experience with that in my first area. It was one morning during personal study and I was the only one awake studying and I felt so sad and so lonely. I started praying and all of the sudden I just got this super overwhelming feeling of love and I knew that at that very moment Mom was praying for me. I can´t explain how I knew I just did and I started to cry because I just felt so loved and supported and even though I´m not sad or lonely anymore, I can still remember and feel your love and support, especially through prayers. and it really does help a lot. Have an awesome week and we´ll be talking again in just about 7 months I think.

Con Amor,
Elder Hulsey

Hey these are just some cool pictures I was sent by my zone leader I thought you would like seeing as you´ve given over your sons to the Lamanites, Haha

Saturday, May 11, 2013

(No Subject)

Email received May 6, 2013

Hola familia como están!
Oh man I can´t believe Spencer Harris is home already! Just shows to go ya that the misión passes way too fast. So sorry if this email has a lot of spanglish because the computer has automatic spell checker...this could be an interesting email. So that´s sweet about Ethan and Brennan, I live with a Mexican Elder from that same misión I think so if they want to know anything have them just ask me. So about skype this week, I will get on at 3:00 Paraguay time and I believe you guys are 2 hours behind me but maybe just check at 12:00 to be safe. If for whatever reason we miss I will have to come back to the cyber at 5:00 my time so that Elder Williamson can talk with his family because his dad Works until 5, but I really want to talk with Spencer before he leaves so we´re just going to try to work close to the cyber and come in twice. We will have 40 minutes to talk. Happy 21 year mark home mom! Gosh I really do not want to ever come home. It´s really a great time being on the misión because you can always be feeling good. That´s not to say that everyday is just perfect and that everything goes right on the misión, but for example last week was a bit tough, but because of all of that I was humbled by the Lord and was able to learn a lot of really cool things from the Scriptures. If you work hard and keep the rules then you don´t have regrets and you have the Spirit, what more could you really want? There are so many cool promises for missionaries too (like never being confounded before men... super awesome!) it´s just such a great time. I really can´t believe that in two days I hit 9 months in the misión! the time really just goes so fast, I still remember stepping off of the plane in Paraguay and everyone was only speaking Spanish. I remember in the Argentine airport we were having baggage problems and there were tons of Latin elders and for some reason I thought that they all spoke English so I asked one to translate, turns out they don´t all speak English. But it was fine because I was able to talk with the lady anyways and it all got straightened out. I also remember for some weird reason I don´t think I actually believed that Paraguayans don´t understand English at first because our first night President took us to this restaurant and after we ate he told us all that we could go get an ice cream and we had to tell them what flavor we wanted. I remember I went up and couldn´t think of how to say the flavor that I wanted so I just asked for it in English and the lady just looked at me really weird. Then one of the Assistants to the President that was with us told me dude you´re in Paraguay now, they don´t speak English. I remember that night I was super nervous that I was going to get a Latin trainer, I thought that would be impossible because the language just seemed like it was going to be so hard to master, so of course the Lord saw fit to assign me with a Latin trainer. That was probably one of the best things that could´ve happened to me because I was forced to use the language and I learned how to communicate and rely on the Lord. The Lord doesn´t set us up for failure, but He also doesn´t let us get away with not working hard. I studied and learned and realized that I actually knew more than I thought and that I don´t need to ever worry because the Lord takes care of His missionaries. If anyone is nervous about the language tell them it´s not necessary, the people will not understand you at first (most likely) but they´ll appreciate your efforts and feel the spirit anyway. Don´t worry about the practical things like being able to buy things in the grocery store because these things just work out. My first day I had no idea what to buy and I don´t think I understood how much money the cashier asked me for, but I was able to read the Price on the screen and gave her some money and she gave me a receipt and it all worked out nice. I used to be so afraid of not understanding people and of them not understanding me, and I´ll admit it is frustrating when you don´t know what´s going on and if the people keep telling you that they don´t understand you, but things always work out. I´ve never had to go hungry and I´ve managed to stay out of trouble so now I just have to work on improving my language everyday, but I don´t have to be afraid of talking with people. I can´t tell you how many contacts I did in my first área where I offered someone a card, they said some stuff that I have no idea what, I awkwardly smiled or laughed and offered the card again and told when and where the church was and left, and guess what, everything was okay. You just have to have faith, not fear, and the Lord will always deliver. Well that´s enough of my soapbox for the week.
So we had one investigator in church yesterday named Ruben. He´s a joven and he came with these other two young men (one is less active so it was awesome that he came back with a friend). We had taught Ruben before and had a super sweet lesson about the power of the scriptures so I was really glad to see him in church. I´ve probably said this before but it gets me every time because the Paraguayans are super funny, anytime they come to church they literally look like they want to kill themselves the whole time but the next day when you go and talk with them about church they just smile and tell you how much they loved it and how they want to come back next week. Also for some reason they have a really hard time smiling in pictures, they always look super down and depressed, they are a really funny people. Like I said it was a tough week last week but we still had some great success and we got permiso to baptize Diego! He just needs to come to church one more time and he´s ready for baptism. We also have been teaching this girl named Marta (I think I told you about her last week, we had a really cool contacting experience with her) and she is progressing awesomely. She couldn´t come to church because the whole family came into town to visit the step-dad in jail, but she told us that way in advance and she told us that she isn´t scheduling anything else for this Sunday because she wants to come to church and she is the first person I have ever heard say that.
Well I´ve got to be going now, there´s lots to do. I love you and I can´t wait to talk on Saturday! I´m going to send home some pics of our house and some service that I did. I got to do service on my división with my zone leader named Elder Haderly and it was awesome! He is almost exactly like one of my biggest heroes Elder Samuel Reber so needless to say we got along great, I had a great time and learned tons! It was kind of funny because he accidentally disturbed this huge nest of hornets and they attacked him, so the hermano that was there just set fire to the branch and burned those suckers down! See you on Saturday!
Con amor,
Elder Hulsey