Email received January 20, 2013
How´s everyone doing? Last week was quite an adventure. I went out all around Paraguay and it was soooooo cool. Paraguay is such a pretty country. It was a ton of fun getting to go and visit all of these places and all of the missionaries. I got to talk for a little while with this one elder from the Dominican Republic and it was super cool. They have such a fun accent. It was a really cool trip because it was basically like 18 hours in the car getting to pick President Mcmullin´s brain about all sorts of things. My companion and I had made a little deal with him a little while ago that if we don´t write him, then he doesn´t interview us (which is funny because whatever we would write to him we just tell him in person, and we have interviews all of the time, they´re just not scheduled formal ones). Anyways this car trip was kinda like an 18 hour interview. He told us all about how to be a bishop and a dad and a husband and how to manage your time and have happy and successful children. The trick is organizing your time and planning out in advance. Also one of the biggest things he showed us was that family always comes first. He said his family always has a trump card in anything that he´s doing. It was super cool listening to that and it made me super happy to be a missionary and not deal with all of that stress yet. It was also fun traveling because I got to do some fun divisions. We found some super cool families for other missionaries to teach and it was really fun teaching with them. We ate really well because president bought all of our dinners and he´s not a big fan of just getting a couple of cheap empanadas on the street. We went to some really good places. We stayed two nights in a hotel and one on our cots that we have for when we traveling.
Trinidad does have a ton of slaughter houses, but at this point I´m mostly used to it. During the siesta though when it´s a million degrees outside and all that meat is just sitting there cooking...haha it has quite a smell. I love Trinidad so much though. It´s a little tough being there now because we don´t get to spend very much time working in it (just a few days a week) and there is so much potential there. But we´ve been putting a big focus on helping the members to do visits even when we´re not there so that work still gets done even when we´re not there. We´re making great progress with some of our investigators. We have this one that is super excited to get married and we´ve just got to work through a few more things and then they´re set. We did have one pretty sad experience though. We have one investigator that´s had a rough background but was really shaping up and changing. But some things happened and he got arrested on Saturday night. We kinda laughed about it and went to visit him today in jail but when we got there it was super sad. I guess they´re really not treating him well and he´s pretty shaken up about things. He was just crying and it was really sad. He might get out in about 10 days and we´re going to try and help him more. He´s a great guy just had a rough lot thrown at him. On a happier note though Elder Dickson and I had a super cool experience that just increased my testimony even more about obedience with exactness. We got into a lesson with a young couple (a man and his pregnant wife). They were super friendly and let us right in and it turns out the lady had actually talked a lot with missionaries before (she requested that we sing praise to the man to begin). After we sang that the guy started asking some great questions about if the prophet in that song was Joseph Smith and why he was so great. He also commented about how we´ve lost some things because of all of the times the bible was translated. So we started talking about the Book of Mormon and we thought they were just going to eat it right up, but quite the opposite. We tried presenting it to them in a variety of ways and using it to respond to their doubts and they were just having none of it. The guy just kept rejecting everything we were saying. Finally at one point he told us that we didn´t even know this stuff for ourselves and that we´re just following because our parents are members. We stopped him right there and explained to him just a bit of what the life of a missionary is like and about how if I weren't convinced I wouldn´t do what I do. We then bore the purest testimony we could about the Book of Mormon and he couldn´t really say anything against it, but he didn´t really accept it either. So in our mission we have a rule where we invite the head of household to offer a kneeling prayer at the end of every lesson so since the lesson had pretty much come to an end, we knelt down and invited him to do similarly and to pray with us. He knelt down and offered a fine prayer and when he stood up his whole countenance had changed. Him and his wife were both completely surprised and he started telling us that what we did was super symbolic of the Savior. He told us that it took a lot of humility to do what we did and what we do and that as we knelt down and prayed with him he realized that we really were convinced of what we were doing. He said we deserve his respect and that he is going to read the Book of Mormon and find out for himself that it´s true like what we´ve done. He also invited us back for this Saturday to come and teach them again. It was a strong testimony to me to always keep all of the little rules. I´m having a great time and I´m super happy and safe. I hope you have a great week.
Elder Zachary J. Hulsey