Monday, July 27, 2015

Elder Spiro's First Baptism

Hi Mom,

Here is my update for the week, thanks for sending me a pillowcase and other things and the music, for now I'm ok with the scripture case I have, because I'm trying to find a really cool one while I'm in Paraguay. Everything has been great, the work is draining, but very rewarding. Lots and lots of walking but I don't mind, and I had my first baptism last week! It was such a cool experience, it was so fast though! I'm excited for the guy I baptized though (his name is Buenaventura) because he wants to serve a mission too! So we are going to help him start preparing for that, and we are going to have him come and teach lessons with us too. We did a lot of preparing this week for the baptism, we made a special presentation for him with all of his pictures from his childhood with music in the background, and we sung a special musical number for him. It was a really cool experience, his mom came to see the baptism and she was crying when the presentation was showing, the spirit was definitely there. And she is Catholic, so it was the first time she has been inside a Mormon church.
Baptism of Buenaventura Lopez

We have also been working hard with another family, and they are going to get baptized next week, so I should have some more pictures next Monday of that. They live super far away though, so we take a bus to their house (they call them collectivos here) and then to get back to Paraguari, we have to walk 2 hours because there is no collectivos going back. But they are an awesome family and the mom has been searching for the truth her whole life, and she told us she is very grateful that she found it and her kids can also be a part of it. Her husband unfortunately died, so she has been very interested in the temple and doing baptisms for the dead.

Elder Spiro's district

In Asuncion with some toucans

I haven't had any crazy experiences unfortunately, we were walking past this house and this huge rotweiller (I'm not sure how to spell it) came running up to us but luckily there was a gate in between us, nothing much crazy other than that.
After a long day's work, muddy but happy

Thanks for sending me pictures mom, I really enjoy them and all of your updates about the family. I'm glad your lesson went well, I agree about the New Testament, I have been trying to read all the way through the Bible and there are a lot of cool stories in the New Testament, and I'm glad your primary kids are great too. I don't need anything else for now but thanks for asking, I can't wait to hear from you soon and I love you and keep you in my prayers every morning and night.

Love you to the moon and back,
Elder Spiro

Monday, July 20, 2015

July 20, 2015

Hi Mom,

First of all, I think I forgot to thank you for the picture book that you sent me through the mail, so thanks a bunch for that, I look at it every night when I am writing in my journal. Also, thanks for the songs you sent me in your email. I actually found a bunch of church music on so don't worry about sending me any, and if you could send me those books you found, that would be awesome too. If they are big, don't worry about sending them though because it will probably be really expensive. Dave's mission experiences would be awesome as well. Also, if you could send me a pillowcase because I forgot mine at the MTC so I've been using a blanket as a pillowcase. Sorry to ask for so much, thanks for everything mom.

This week has been a good one. Not the most productive, because it rained a lot and people don't usually want to talk when its raining, but great nonetheless. We had 5 investigators show up to church on Sunday, which is awesome as well! 

We are planning on baptizing one of our investigators this Saturday, he is the one in the pictures. He is so excited, he is always asking about his baptism and what time it is. We also gave him a white shirt and tie to wear for Sundays, and we brought him a cake because it was his birthday this week. It was really awesome, he shared his testimony after he blew out the candles and he was crying and thanking us for helping him change his life around. The spirit was felt all around for sure. And on Sunday, he went around with us to some of our lessons. It was so awesome, he had a scripture he wanted to share and he bore his testimony in a few of the lessons, he is already a missionary! 

We also went to Asuncion this week for interviews with the new mission president, it was cool to talk to him. He doesn't speak English at all, but it's ok because I understand a lot more now. We also have to go to Asuncion this week for a test, basically just questions about how our training has been these past few weeks.

I hope all has been well for you in Arizona, I'm sure its really warm. I know summer vacation is almost over, so you'll be back to watching Will soon, I'm sure he has gotten bigger since I've seen him. If there is anything you need from me, feel free to tell me, like if you want me to write my emails in a different format or something. I love you mom and I keep you and the rest of the family in my prayers every day and night.

Love you,
Elder Spiro
Elder Spiro's apartment 

An investigator and his mom.  Celebrating his birthday.

Morning view from the elders' apartment

Elder Spiro's work desk

Monday, July 13, 2015

Helping people and personal growth

Hey Mom,

This past week has been awesome. I still haven't had a baptism yet, but this next week and the week after we should definitely have some. It is so cool to see our investigators progressing. Especially the ones who are making big changes in their lives. For example, we have one 25 year old who has always had a problem with smoking and in our first visit we talked with him and his mom, and they were crying and telling us about how he wanted to change his smoking habit. So, we have been teaching him and he has been coming to church, and we gave him a picture of Jesus to put in his wallet to look at whenever he was going to buy cigarettes. Now his mom has said he has stopped smoking completely! She loves when we come and teach and always makes us food. She isn't interested, but she loves how the gospel is helping her son. And I love it too, it has been so rewarding to help someone change their life.

My Spanish has also gotten a lot better, I understand and talk more in the lessons too, and my companion has always been super helpful and encouraging, and supportive when I share my testimony in the lessons.
I also gave a talk on Sunday for 15 min. It went well I think, everyone was complementing me on my Spanish after and saying how well I could speak for just learning for 2 months.

We did get a chance to meet the new mission president, we traveled to Asuncion this week and had a big meal with a bunch of the other missionaries. I believe we have a personal interview with him this week. And I got the package you sent! It was so awesome looking at pictures of all of you guys (not so much the Oreo pictures) :) And don't worry about sending too many, because everyone always usually gets letters and other stuff each week.

I hope you guys had a good week with Abbey's b-day, it sounded like she had fun. Anyways, hope to hear from you soon and I will send some more pictures when they load on the computer soon.

Love you,
Elder Spiro
One of the member's homes

The view from the Elder's apartment

Monday, July 6, 2015

Fireworks and Bulls

Hey Mom,

I'm glad you guys had a fun 4th of July. We didn't do much, I only noticed it was the fourth when I was writing in my journal that night. Me and the other American Elder talked a little about it and some of the stuff our families do when we celebrate. They don't celebrate the 4th here of course, but they are always shooting fireworks off because of the soccer games that are constantly being played. Paraguay was playing Brazil and Paraguay won in a shootout and all the people were yelling in the streets and a bunch of fireworks were going off, it was a cool experience.

I haven't gotten any of your mail yet, but we are going to visit the mission office on Wednesday for an interview with the new mission president, so we will get mail then. I'm glad you got my letters, I numbered them at the top right corners of the paper, there should be 4 letters total. 

This week has been good, 5 of our investigators showed up to church! Here it is super difficult to get people to show up because our area is really big and the church is usually far from their houses and most people don't have a car or motorcycle to travel around. And our church on Sunday usually only has about 25-40 people each week. The lessons are good, I still don't usually say much because it is difficult to follow the fast conversations in Spanish, and the people usually mix in a little Guarani as well. But, I help where I can and they seem to understand me when I do.

Yesterday when we were walking around, we walked past these cows and some bulls, and I guess one of the bulls saw my red tie I was wearing, and started to run towards me and my companion. Luckily, he was tied up to a tree and we were safe, but it was kind of scary, and we laughed about it afterwards.
I got pretty sick on Friday with a fever, so we stayed at our apartment pretty much all day and I slept for most of the time. I feel a lot better now, so don't worry too much Mom. 
Anyways, can't wait to hear from you soon and I keep you all in my prayers every day, I think I figured out how to send pictures too so I'm going to try to!

Love you lots,
Elder Spiro