Monday, December 28, 2015

Week of New Year's 2016!

Hola Mama!

I still get to write to you this Monday, we don`t have PDay but the emailing schedule is still the same. It was awesome to talk to you guys too! The time went by so fast but I enjoyed every second! You guys all look happy and I am too! The time has gone by so fast and I have learned a lot. My Christmas was great, not the typical American huge Christmas tree but the little one I had and we had a nice day to rest and think about the real meaning of Christmas. But thanks for all the nice gifts you sent me, and my companion said he will be getting his package this week, so no worries. :)

Our week was not super productive, because almost everyone has been traveling in our area and if people are here in town, they are with their families and don`t want to talk much with the missionaries. But it's alright, we have been giving out a lot of Book of Mormons and have found more people that way. We had a Christmas dinner with the bishop that was really good, we usually don`t get to talk with him much so that was nice to have some time to talk with his family and enjoy some food.

Sorry that this email is short, but I`m glad you had a good week to and are working with the sister missionaries! Working with members is always a big help. I don`t know an Elder Shues in our mission, but I`ll ask around and try to find out. Good luck with your primary class! I hope you have a good year teaching all the kids, I`m sure they look up to you. Anyways, can`t wait to talk with you next week and it was super awesome being able to talk with you and the family on Skype!!!!


Love you!!!!! Mucho!
Elder Spiro

Elder Spiro's district after the last transfers

With his companion at the mission Christmas activity

A giant nativity scene

"something weird we found in the street"

With a member's cat (of course)

Not sure what is happening here :)

Service for some members


The bishop and his Family

Christmas morning

Skyping with his fam the day after Christmas :) :)

Finished Lego advent calendar set that we sent him

Monday, December 21, 2015

Excited for Navidad!

Hola Mama!!!!!!!!!!

Ipora, hande? I don´t know if that's how you spell that but it's Guarani, and it means ¨I´m great, and you?¨ Anyways, I´m very excited for Christmas and to call you and the family especially! I will be calling from the church here because it has wifi and the computer has a webcam. I will call on the 26th, the day after Christmas, anytime from the hours 5-9 my time here in Paraguay, sorry that its a big time table and I´m not sure what time that is in Arizona but hopefully that's ok for you guys. 

Everything has been good this week, they changed our PDay from this Monday and the next to Christmas and New Years Day, but we still get to write our families and do our shopping for the week today. It has been a little tough during Christmas to find people to teach because everyone is traveling, but we are doing what we can. We contacted a lady the other day and she told us she wanted us to visit her daughter, so the next day we visited their family with a member, and when we arrived, the daughter was angry and yelling that she didn´t want to talk to us. We started to teach her mom and a friend of hers, and slowly during the lesson, she listened more and more and eventually sat down and all three of them accepted a baptism date! It was a really cool experience, it shows me that if we are diligent as missionaries and do our part, The Lord will make up the rest and the Spirit will help the people want to hear and listen.

We haven´t had the chance much to visit Elias, because he has been traveling with his family a lot, but we had the ward dinner and he and his grandma were there and we talked with him a little. He has a lot of friends in the church now, and I can see him serving a mission someday as he progresses in the gospel. 

We also had our mission activity for Christmas, it was super fun and it was great to get a chance to talk to some of my old companions and the other Elders in my group. I have a bunch of pictures but unfortunately this week I forgot to bring the cable that connects to the computer, so I won´t be able to send them until next week :( But if you look in Facebook the name: Presidente y Hermana Wilson, you will find the facebook page for my mission president, and I´m sure he has a lot of pictures from the activity and from conferences and other stuff we have had on the mission, and I think I´m in some of the pictures.

Anyways, can´t wait to talk to you guys on Saturday, I´ll make sure to be ready to answer all of your questions. Hope you guys have a great Christmas and sorry that my letters probably haven´t gotten there yet, but thank you again for all the stuff you sent for me Mom, and can´t wait to talk to you soon!!!!!

Te Amo Mucho Mama!!!!!!
Elder Spiro

Alex is sitting on stage in front to the right. This is their zone's part of the program for the mission Christmas activity.

Mission Christmas activity

Enjoying the mission home ping pong facilities :)

Monday, December 14, 2015

Elias' baptism and ready for Christmas!

Hola Mama!

Its almost Christmas!!!! Wooo! I sent you guys some letters in the mail but they told me they might arrive there in a month :( Or more because its the U.S., but I`ll be praying that they get there sooner! Its a really odd feeling here to be honest, it's super warm but there are Christmas decorations everywhere and at nights all the houses are lit up, but I`m used to having Christmas in the cold. I guess Santa visits here with his shorts and t-shirt haha. Things are going great though, it is a little more difficult around Christmas time, everyone is working hard and not many people have time to stop and listen. But we are working a lot with the members and sharing about the real meaning of Christmas and there are some good videos that the church has released for Christmas that help a lot.

We also had Elias`s baptism! It went great, a lot of his family came who are not members and we had a ton of good food. I really felt the spirit, the power went out in the city so we had to start the baptism without light or air, but during the first talk all the lights came back on and the air, it was super cool. He came to church the next day with his shirt and tie, he is definitely going to serve a mission someday! 

We had another storm, it was crazy, we had to stay in the street under a little tin roof because it was pouring rain and the wind was blowing super strong too, but we prepared a little better so luckily our apartment only flooded a little :) To answer your questions, a lady in the ward washes our clothes, she is really nice and always is willing to give us food or help us with anything. The holiday for the Virgin of Caacupe is basically a holiday where people walk from the city of Caacupe to another city drinking and partying. We aren`t close to there, but the missionaries that serve there have to be in their houses at a certain time because it gets dangerous in the streets.

I`m glad to hear Abby`s last concert went well, I`m sure all the songs were amazing as usual, it's crazy that it's her last concert for Christmas, time passes too fast. We are coordinating with some members for the Skype call, I will most likely call you guys on the 26th, the day after Christmas, the mission also has the Christmas activity this Wednesday, so I`m very excited for that too.

All is good here Mom, thanks for all the emails and pictures, my companion is really awesome and is probably the best one I`ve had to this point, so it will be a good Christmas. Let me know if I can do anything and I can`t wait to hear from you soon and talk to you on Skype in a couple of weeks! 

I love you!!!!!!!!! Tu hijo,
Elder Spiro

Stormy skies

Christmas decorations up and ready for the holidays

Elias' baptism

In front of the church in Fernando de la Mora

Monday, December 7, 2015

New companion: Elder Gois de Lira

Hola Mom!!!!!
So finally I didn´t get transfered from my area! But I did get a new companion, and now I have to teach him all the area and introduce him to everyone, but I like it, its nice to switch things up and to have more challenges at times, but his name is Elder Gois de Lira, yes like that. He is from Bolivia, he is a really hard worker, he was in the army in Bolivia before his mission. He is cool though, he doesn´t know any English at all but by this point its not a problem anymore luckily :) 

We had a good week but one night we had this huge storm and a bunch of trees got knocked over onto power lines so we were without power for about a day and a half. Luckily we had water but in the morning, our floor was flooded with water! It luckily didn´t ruin anything but I guess we need to prepare a little better for the Paraguay storms.

We have worked really hard this week and are planning to have a baptism for a boy named Elias. He is SUPER smart, he knows and understands better than the majority of the adults I have taught so far, we were explaining what we do in church to him, partake of the sacrament, classes, etc. and he started to cry a little because he wanted to go and take the sacrament that moment, but he had to wait till Sunday. Our area is a little difficult because its a lot of city, but we have been discussing different ways lately to find more people and like you said Mom, to maintain the faith.

I opened the Christmas box and I bought a little tree and lights to put the gifts under and I put all the snowflakes up too, but sorry, I forgot to take a picture of everything :( We are going to have our mission Christmas activity next week on the 16th, so I am looking forward to that and there will be a lot of pictures from for sure. I think I will call you guys on Christmas Day or the day after most likely, but I´m not sure what time yet, and we might call in a member´s house or here in the interent cafe (I´m hoping in a member´s house) but I will let you know this next Monday.

Thanks a bunch for all the updates Mom, I am sending letters for all of you today, so hopefully they get there fast before Christmas! All the pictures are great too! I hope you guys have a great week, it sounds super busy and I can´t wait to hear from you next week! Let me know if I can help with anything!

I love you!!!!!!!!!!!
Elder Spiro

Aftermath of a Paraguay storm

The district before transfers 

At the Meet the Mormons activity with the ward mission leader

Monday, November 30, 2015

A baptism and a some cleaning

Hello Mama,

There won`t be any exclamation marks for this email, because the keyboard I`m using is really bad, but I`m doing great and happy and healthy. It was the last week for this transfer and we had a baptism! (I found the button for the exclamation mark) And it went super well! There was a lot of people that showed up and we all felt the spirit there, and the next day I did the confirmation. When we walked up in sacrament meeting, the bishop asked me to do it, but because he had told us he was going to do it before I was a little nervous.  I remembered the words in Spanish and it all went well. 

I`m glad you guys enjoyed your Thanksgiving, thanks for all the pictures. I didn`t really do anything, because my companion is Latino but today we were able to clean the temple and I sat for a while in one of the rooms and thought about what I`m thankful for and about the mission and all, it was really cool, and I got to clean the baptismal font. Tomorrow we find out the changes for this next transfer and hopefully I won`t be taken out of the area again haha :) 

We are planning on having another baptism this week or the next for a boy named Elias, he is 9 years old but SUPER smart. He knew the word "restoration" when we taught him and nobody that I have taught in Paraguay so far knows that word, he was basically teaching us when we taught him The Plan of Salvation. Everything is good here, I learned that if I do everything possible that I can do and learn through the trials and struggles, the Lord will help us find the people that are prepared to recieve our message and will help us have success.

Thanks again for everything Mom, I got both of the packages you sent and I`ll make sure to follow the instructions for the Christmas one, and my plaque looks super awesome! I`ll try to take a picture for you guys for our Christmas photo, the weather hasn`t actually been super bad lately, its hot one day and rainy the next, but we still haven`t reached the middle of the summer yet. :( Hope you have a good week and I have a lot of pictures for this week but this computer is really bad and I don`t know if I`ll be able to send them but I`ll try! Can`t wait to hear from you soon and have an awesome week!

Te Amo Muchisimo!
Elder Spiro

Elder Spiro's zone

Guido's baptism

In front of the Asuncion temple

Monday, November 23, 2015

Happy and needing chicken recipes!

Hola Mama!

Estoy muy feliz y contento, espero que ustedes tambien :) Anyways, all has been good this week, not the most productive because not many people wanted to talk to us but it's okay, we are spreading the word around and planting the seed of the gospel in houses. We didn`t have a baptism this week but on Saturday we are planning on having one, the last weekend for this transfer! We are also planning a video for this upcoming Sunday and inviting everyone we can. We are going to be watching Meet the Mormons, and hoping to have a lot of new investigators and less active members and everybody come to watch! The ward leaders are very helpful in this area, because a lot of them are returned missionaries so they know how to work with the ward and help us missionaries too.

Thanks for all of your updates, and make sure to take pictures for Thanksgiving, I`m not sure what I will be doing, probably nothing because they don`t celebrate it here and my companion is Latino, so he doesn`t celebrate it either. I have been searching for turkey too, but I can`t find any. For Christmas, I think what I have to do is plan 1 hour during the week of Christmas when I will Skype you guys, the internet cafe they have here has a webcam, hopefully it works haha :)
Thanks for all the stuff you have sent though, I still haven`t gotten the package for Halloween but I`m sure it will be here soon!

Sorry that my letter is so short this week, this keyboard is tough to type on, and thanks for all the advice about what I`m going through with the work not progressing much. I have been thinking a lot this past week about it, and I realize I need to be more grateful of what I have, I`m here in Paraguay serving the Lord, I have an awesome family, my health, I`m learning a 2nd language very fast and able to teach in it, and every day I learn more and more how the Lord works in his timetable and will never abandon us and all of our trials are for our benefit, because when we are in our comfort zone all the time, we never will learn anything.

Thanks again Mom for all the updates and pictures and I just need one thing from you, if you could send me some easy recipes to cook chicken, pasta, rice, and easy stuff like that, that would help a lot because I want to start learning to be able to cook more types of food. Let me know if I can help with anything either and I love you and keep you all in my prayers and hope you have a great week, and say hi to everyone for me!!!

Love you Mama!!!!!!!
Elder Spiro
At a district activity

Splits with the zone leader

Monday, November 16, 2015

Week of 11/16/15

Gracias por all of the letters and pictures you have sent this week! Everything has been good here in Paraguay, not much new, just trying to find some people to teach and helping them progress. This area is very different from my other two areas, it is a lot more difficult to find people because mostly everyone is wealthier and they don't want to listen or they are working all day. And it has been super warm here lately so walking around in the city with all the concrete is not very fun. But it's all good, we might have a baptism this week, I´m not going to say yes for sure because I don´t want to jinx it but we are planning for it whether it happens or not. The problem is our investigator needs to have a interview with the Mission President because he had some stuff in the past that he did, but if he has repented and truly wants to change his life, we have faith that he will pass the interview!

The zone conference went well too, we went to the office and had the conference, it was really cool to hear from the Mission President and see what his vision for the mission is. He talked a lot about how important it is to have converts and not just baptisms, which is true because the people we teach are souls not numbers. There are a lot of new rules though, and it is difficult enough to even have a lesson!  We can´t have lessons with women if there isn´t a male that is 18 years or older present. And a lot of the time the fathers are working during the day and only the women are home, so we always need someone to go and teach with us that is 18 or older. The ward doesn´t always want to help, but it's okay, we are searching and having faith that we can find families to teach.

All has been good eating, the members always want to feed us and the food is generally good haha. The weirdest thing I have eaten on the mission so far is cow hoof soup. It's not as bad as it sounds, but it's not the greatest thing either. :) But I am grateful for anyone that is willing to feed us missionaries, because everyone knows that we don´t just eat one serving haha. We are trying to work with the leaders of the ward more, and planning a lot with our ward mission leader, we are going to have the movie night with the ward the 28th of November, we are going to watch Meet the Mormons and ask all the members to invite their friends.

I´m glad to hear that everything is good up there in AZ, I hope you guys are enjoying the cooler weather, I still can't get used to the fact that we will have a Summer Christmas here in Paraguay. Santa with shorts, just doesn´t sound right! I´ll try to send some more pictures this next week of me and our area, and hopefully the package you sent comes soon too, I´m sure it will be here any day now. Thanks again for everything Mom and let me know if you need anything and I can´t wait to hear from you next week!!!!

Te Amo Mama!! Tu Hijo,
Elder Spiro

I think Elder Spiro is missing his cats from home ;)

Monday, November 9, 2015

Week of Nov. 9, 2015

Hola Mama! 

Espero que todo esta bien con tu! I am doing awesome! Good job writing in Spanish, I have to admit it is hard to write in English, because my thoughts are in Spanish and I start to think in Spanish as I type so I always have a bunch of mistakes I need to fix at the end haha :) Things are great here, we are working hard and a lot with the members, every Sunday we have about 100 people attending church, which is among the most highest of wards in Paraguay. It's for sure something to get used to when our wards in Arizona have always been so big. I have been seeing the Mission President more often lately, because we are close to the office, and tomorrow we have a zone conference in the office, so a bunch of missionaries will be there. 

It looks like you guys have been having busy weeks, and I´m glad to hear you all went to stake conference. Did Elder Oaks speak in person at the stake center, because if so that is awesome! We have been working a lot with the youth members of the ward, trying to reactivate a lot of teenagers to prepare to serve missions. The direction of the church is really good for a lot of the youth here because there isn´t a lot of adult support or supervision here in Paraguay and the kids only have 3 hours of school every day, so they have a lot of free time, we are making sure they are staying on the right path.

This week we are also having an activity in the church to watch Meet the Mormons, we had the same activity in my other area, Libertad and it went really well. Its great for new people and investigators to know a little more about the Mormon religion and to see we are people, just like everyone else. There is a part at the end about a missionary who leaves for his mission and it talks about the experience his Mom had growing up and all the trials she had to go through, it makes me tear up a little every time to be honest.

Anyways, sorry for the boring letter, not much new here just learning and trying to do my best by helping all others come unto Christ. Thanks for all your updates and pictures Mom, hope you have a great week watching Will and with the rest of the family too! I keep all of you in my prayers and thank you for your examples, I always think of you guys to help me motivate myself throughout the day.

Te Amo Mucho Mama!
Elder Spiro

Monday, November 2, 2015

Soccer Mania

Hola Mama,

Todo bien aquí en Paraguay, I am working hard and trying to get to know everybody here in my new area. There are a lot of members and a bunch of returned missionaries here. Except everyone is busy so we don´t have much time to work with them, only on Saturdays and Sundays. Everything is great, we worked hard this week but unfortunately didn´t see any of the fruits of our labors, none of our investigators came to church, but we are working with a guy named Guido, who has attended church and only needs a interview with the Mission President to be baptized. When people need an interview with the Mission President that means they have something serious they need to repent of, so we have been talking a lot with him these last few weeks about the repentance process and he told us yesterday he is ready to confess and repent and he wants to be interviewed! So we are planning on this week for everything. 

Thanks for your advice about the new area, its tough but I know Heavenly Father wants me here for a reason, or there is something I need to learn. But everything is great, the days are flying by fast, my Spanish is getting much better, and I have learned a bunch of phrases in Guarani too :)

To answer your question, they really don´t celebrate Halloween here, they had stuff in stores they are selling like decorations and some costumes, but I only saw 2 kids dressed up and trick or treating, and we didn´t have any trick or treaters at our door, so I don´t think its a very big holiday here yet. The huge events are the soccer games. Every year they have a big game between the 2 biggest soccer teams here in Paraguay, Cerro and Olympia. They played this Sunday, and ALL of Paraguay was watching, except the missionaries, we were out working. These soccer games are basically holidays for them. The people all go crazy when there are goals and there are super loud fireworks and people are chanting in the streets. Its not dangerous, so don´t worry Mom :)

Anyways, thats my update for the week, I still haven´t recieved the package you sent but I´m sure it will be here soon. Thanks though for everything, all the letters and pictures, its always one of my favorite parts of the week to hear from you and the rest of the family. Something I was studying this week was when Jesus came and visited the Americas after he was resurrected, and its interesting how he teaches basically the same things like he did in his ministry, but he adds more and explains more simply to the people of the American continent. Its chapters 3 Nephi 11 through 26 or so I believe. I realized how important it is for our investigators to read and pray though, because the spirit will be able to testify to them if they keep their commitments of reading and praying, and only through the spirit we can become converted.

Thanks again for everything Mom, and let me know if I can help with anything, I can´t wait to hear from you next week and I´ll keep you and the family in my prayers like I always do!

Love you!
Elder Spiro

Elder Spiro is thrilled to get this jersey made for $10.00 

Monday, October 26, 2015

New Area: Fernando de la Mora and new companion: Elder Zapata

Hola Mama, to be honest, this change was not what I expected, I was taken out of my area again! Only 6 weeks! I only moved one town over, to a city called Fernando de la Mora. It is even the same district! So two new Elders are in Libertad and they have no idea where to go.  I went on divisions the other day with one of them to show them around. It's really weird that I got taken out of an area only after 6 weeks to be moved to another area in the same district. My new area is cool too, the members are very nice, and we meet in the stake center. We have lunches all this week, so I'm grateful for that. Its just a little sad, because I was just getting to know the members in Libertad and we had another lady who we were teaching and is planning to be baptized this next week, but that's how it goes sometimes I guess.

My new companion's name is Elder Zapata, and he is from Peru too, like my first companion. He is cool, he doesn't know much English but by now I understand Spanish pretty well, and I'm helping him learn English. Our area is very close to the city so there are a lot of fancy houses, and this area hasn't had very much success. But I'm going to work hard and do my best because I may not know the reason I'm in this area, but I know Heavenly Father knows and I know there are people waiting for our help. I'm sorry if this letter will be a little short, it is raining very hard today and the internet isn't working very well.

Anyways, I hope you guys are doing well, thanks for all the emails and pictures, and I'm glad to hear that you guys have been reading the Book of Mormon every week, I hope you are all learning together and having a good time reading as a family. Let me know if you need anything from me, I'm going to try and send something for Christmas (i know I keep saying that I just haven't had much time to do anything) :) Sad to hear the Utes lost! And I can't wait to hear from you next week, I keep you all in my prayers and all of your emails and letters motivate me every day! Thanks for everything Mom!

Love you lots!
Elder Spiro

Some elders from Elder Spiro's old district. Also, his new companion, Elder Zapata

Monday, October 19, 2015

Betty's baptism and friends in the area

Hola Mama!

¿como estas? ¡estoy muy contento y feliz! Ok, enough with the Spanish, my week was great! Thanks for asking! We had another baptism, for a lady named Betty. She was raised Catholic but we have visited her these last few weeks and she has been attending church and decided to be baptized! It was awesome getting to teach her, we had been visiting her with a member named Sister Lugo and the first time we visited her, Sister Lugo bore her testimony and cried and it was a really spiritual moment. I believe that is what helped convince her to attend church for the first time. And after, she attended conference and told us she really enjoyed it and felt really peaceful while watching it, and her granddaughter also came to conference, and enjoyed it as well, but she is really shy and is nervous to talk to the missionaries. But we will be visiting her family for sure, because she has a lot of kids and grandkids. We also found this other family yesterday, who had investigated before but not much, and we talked to them for about 2 hours, the husband told us this experience he had where he and a friend of his who was a pastor had to cast out the devil from someone, it was a crazy story, and I didn't understand all of it because he would speak in Guarani at times, but I understood most of it haha :)

Anyways, everything has been good here, I got the letter you sent, it got here pretty fast, but the package not yet. And to answer some of your questions, no the cat hasn't come back. I will most likely be in this area for a while, so I will be able to visit my converts a lot. And we have a mail-type system in the mission, where we can send mail to other areas. So I am able to send mail to my other converts in Paraguari, which is cool. My companion is cool, but he has been in this area for 6 months, so he will most likely be leaving this Wednesday, when we find out if we are leaving our areas or not. Our district is cool too, every week we have a district meeting where we talk about our investigators and have practices and stuff. 

Pretty short update this week sorry, but thanks for all of the updates and pictures! I'm glad you are becoming a big Utes fan (hey Alex, already was!-editor's note), Dad needs someone to cheer with while I am gone, and I'm glad you guys had a good time in Utah. The pictures look really nice of the campus and I'm excited to go there after the mission, and NAU looks nice, I think would be a great college for Abby. Thanks for all you send me every week Mom, it means a lot. I wish I could send more, but the lack of time :( Keep up the reading in the BofM! And tell Camille she needs to send me a summary of what you guys read every week! Haha, thanks again Mom for everything and can't wait to hear from you next week!

Love you!!!!
Elder Spiro

The church in Libertad

Some members that the Elders visit

Betty's baptism