Hola familia, hows it going? Como van con las preparaciones para la navidad? We`re preparing a full down here for la navidad. Sounds like you guys had a busy week, I had an interesting one but a pretty great one. So I finally got really sick! It was funny because last Monday or Tuesday I was telling Elder Ellefson that I`m made of steel and that I`ve never gotten hit by the double headed dragon, and that at this point I probably won´t get sick because I´m totally used to everything... boy was I wrong, haha. On Thursday night I was having a hard time sleeping because every time I moved I thought I was going to throw up, but I also thought that was all in my head. Finally around 4 am I just decided to go to the bathroom and see if that would help me feel a little better and as soon as I stood up I realized that was a good idea. I barely made it to the bathroom on time. Then for the next hour my insides were coming out of both ends of me! It was the first time I had thrown up in years! Then I cleaned everything up and took a shower and went back to bed around 5:30 and slept another hour. Then the day of Friday I had a fever. The fever went away though but I still don´t really feel like eating anything. Don´t worry though I´ve been talking with the nurse and I`M FINE, I´ve still been able to go out and work so I´m doing a lot better. Anyways the other super funny part of the story was then on Saturday for lunch some members made us the exact same rice with chicken and tomato sauce that I had thrown up the day before, yummy! Haha it was quite a weekend. Haha when I was explaining to Elder Ellefson how I had thrown up and such but not to worry because I cleaned it super well and sterilized the whole room super well he told me, "I guess that´s how you know you´re really a grown up, when you have to clean up your own vomit" haha it was so true. Luckily it´s super easy to clean up here because it´s all tile floors and the shower just sticks out of the wall so I just had to turn it on and rinse all of the vomit down the drain then just sterilize the floors really well. Sorry for all of the nasty details I was just super pumped that I finally got sick! I was expecting this months ago. Don`t worry about the mosquitoes because I`m actually really good about putting on bug repellent and as far as sunscreen goes... yeah we`re not going to talk about that. It`s better that I don`t use it because the smell of it makes me think of the pool I lived at, I mean worked at, before and fun happy summer time memories. But don`t worry because I invested in a nice sombrero that keeps me safe from the sun and I wear that all the time so I`m fine. Elder Ellefson has the exact same skin as Dad so he´s really good about putting on sunscreen everyday. He´s doing a lot better, doesn´t seem to be missing home as bad anymore which is great. His language is coming along. I got really blessed because I had a Latin trainer and the Lord blessed me so much to be able to just remember what I had studied about the language. At this point I´m focusing a lot on getting my accent really good (it´s hard because Paraguayans have a pretty funny accent that I don`t necessarily want, I this point I`ve kinda developed a half Mexican half Paraguayan accent, we´ll see where we go from here) and learning new words and phrases. The people love if I can say little idioms in Spanish like "it´s a piece of cake" or "be careful, he´ll talk your ear off" and fun little things like that. Also I don`t study guaraní but I´ve learned enough just from talking to people to be able to trick people for a little while that I speak it (I understand probably like 12 percent of what they say in guaraní but it´s enough to where I can just kinda guess at some way to respond and it´s a lot of times an acceptable response). I didn´t get the package that President Harris brought yet but I´m planning on going to the office as soon as I finish writing then I will go to the office and look for it. That`s cool that you guys got to see a pic of Elder Hulsey in the DR, I still haven`t seen one yet. He really is a great guy and I know he´s doing an awesome job in the spreading of the gospel out there in la República Dominicana. Also last week I told Megan the wrong day about los reyes, it´s actually January 6th.
So we had some super cool experiences this week with that family we´ve been working with. David, Rosa´s boyfriend, has really opened up a lot more to us and seems like he really wants to progress. Rosa came to church on Sunday! But David didn`t because he had a little too much beer on saturday night... but this week we´re going to talk to him about the word of wisdom and rosa says she´s si o si bringing him for next week so that should be really cool. They´re a super awesome family and I`m super excited to see them continue to progress in the gospel. The gospel truly does bless families. Something that Elder Ellefson has really helped me to recognize are the blessings of church attendance. I`ve had a pretty solid testimony for a while now about the blessings of the Sacrament which is the biggest and most important reason we need to attend church each week, but Elder Ellefson always points out just how good it feels being in church on Sunday. I never really appreciated just the calm and peaceful feelings you can have in church if you go in with the right attitude and if you look at it as a blessing to be able to attend the Lord´s true church on the earth every sunday. There´s always craziness happening around you with children and you get busy trying to prepare and teach classes and talks, but regardless of all of that we have to opportunity each week to completely set apart 3 hours or our time to worshiping the Lord and we can be 100% confident that there is absolutely no better use of those three hours at that time. We can go in and feel the Spirit and just feel peaceful. A lot of people use the excuse that Sunday is their only day off so they want to rest, well what better place to go and relax than the church! Others say that they want to spend that time with their family, but there is nothing that will bring more family unity than worshiping the Lord together, and that includes going to church. Elder Ellefson also always points out to me that the church is the same everywhere and that he loves that. That you can feel the exact same Spirit in the USA and in Paraguay and in Argentina and wherever you are. It´s a cool way that binds each member of the church throughout the world. We can all know that we all feel the exact same way as we happily attend our church meetings every sunday. I´ve really come to view it as the blessing it is rather than the chore that I thought it was. I´m super grateful for all of my leaders who worked so hard to help me have positive experiences growing up in the church, it´s different being on the planning end now. There are some amazing leaders down here that have taught me so much, but you also find others that it´s like pulling teeth to get them to fulfill their calling and I was always super blessed to have leaders and teachers that I felt like weren´t there for obligation but rather out of love. I invite you all to really try and focus on the blessings of being able to attend the true and restored church every single week and to invite someone else to be able to participate in the same blessings with you, you´ll notice that you enjoy it even more. I hope you all have a wonderful week and we will talk next week so prepare yourselves... Haha.
Elder Zachary J. Hulsey
P.S. so we´re doing our branch Christmas party next Friday (a little after Christmas) and they want us to prepare some kind of traditional american dish. If you could send me some recipes for next monday of some traditional american dishes that would be easy to make that would be great. Maybe things such as mountain man breakfast or some of my favorite casseroles that I used to like or maybe home made mac and cheese or spaghetti or tacos or stir fry (I know those things aren`t necessarily american but that's fine) that would be great thanks.