I can´t believe big Spencer and Travis are leaving this week, it seems like just yesterday we were playing basketball todos juntos on the court and now we´re all in the Lord´s army! How awesome is that! I´m loving my new area a lot, even though it´s really tough. The people are super nice and normally let us in, but all of the less-active members use the same excuse and all of the investigators have theirs for why they don´t go to church. This last week we focused a lot on helping less-active members come back and capacitating the branch leaders. It´s been really cool and I´m making lots of new friends. There´s a family that recently got baptized that wants to give me dinner on Friday so that´s how I´m planning on spending my birthday, doing this work that I´ve grown to love and eating with this family. Also now that I´m in the city I live close to Pizza Hut and they deliver to our house so I might get a pizza! It´s really hard for me to imagine that I´ve been a missionary for almost a year, I still feel like I got here yesterday. I´m learning a lot about how to receive revelation and it´s been a really great experience. In the MTC I was a disaster and I was so stressed and I worried about every little thing but over the course of the last year I´ve learned a lot about stress management and making sure I do all I can do (without procrastinating), writing things down so I don´t forget, and leaving what is out of my control up to the Lord and letting him control the results. It´s amazing how much stress is avoided that way, I wish I would´ve realized that years ago. Also my district is really awesome and works really hard so it helps take a lot of stress off too. I´m glad big Boo-boo is okay, people here drive so crazily but there´s hardly any accidents (that I´ve seen). The only one I was a part of was on a bus in my first area and we were going super slow tyring to drive past this garbage truck but we totally drilled it. It was a Sunday on our way to church and we had an investigator on the bus with us and we all had to leave the bus through the back door and walk across this giant pile of smelly garbage. It was pretty gross but the lady went to church anyways and had a great experience. My companion is doing a lot better and my Spanish is getting a lot of much-needed help. Being with Americans I got pretty confident but being with a Peruvian I´m realizing that my accent needs a lot of work. But it´s good because I get to teach my companion English so it helps stay nice and patient with one another.
I´ve been learning and growing so much here, it´s been a super great experience so far that I haven´t regretted one bit. Sometimes I feel kind of down like if what I´m doing is even making a difference, but then something always happens that makes me feel really peaceful or the Lord will help me realize how to help the people in another way. I´ve been finding a lot of comfort in the scriptures, especially the Book of Mormon. We always joke (but it´s kinda true) that the Book of Mormon is talking specifically about Paraguay. It´s a wonderful country with awesome people, but a lot of times you can definitely see their laminate background poking through. I really like studying in Alma because those guys are my heroes. I didn't really appreciate the Book of Mormon of it´s stories very much before the mission, but Ive really grown to love and treasure that book. The truth is I don´t think I really understood how to use it or apply it very easily to my situation, but I´m learning now. Also I´m finally understanding how great of a resource Preach my Gospel is! I didn´t really appreciate that amazing manual before, but now I´m really learning how to use it and it´s amazing. All of the tools are there for us, we just have to figure out how to use them (it´s really not that hard, you just have to study looking for answers instead of just reading pages). The mission has taught me so much in the last year and I can´t wait to see what the next year holds for me. I´m turning old this week (I always tell the old ladies that I´m going to be 20 soon then I´ll be old, that always makes them laugh) but for the first time in my life I´m really not wanting time to move any faster than it already is, I´m really happy where I´m at and I´m glad that I get to keep doing this. Have an awesome week!
Elder Zachary J. Hulsey