Monday, September 28, 2015

Week of Sept. 28, 2015

Hola Mi Mama!

Gracias para todo! All of the emails and pictures, I love getting to read everything that is happening and all the cool stuff you guys are doing! Super awesome about the Utes win too! I'm sad I didn't get to see it but it's okay, I have been working hard and experiencing the blessings of being on a mission! The week cooled down a little thankfully and we have been visiting a lot of people and contacting new houses that we have never been to before, and we have been meeting a lot of cool new people that are interested.

For example, we were walking down the street and we decided to go down a little side street that we have never been to before and there was a super fancy house on it, and a bunch of regular houses. We usually don't contact the super fancy houses because the people are usually disinterested, but we felt that we should this time. So we clapped at the gate and a woman came out and started asking us a bunch of questions and telling us about her family, and about how her son had passed away just a few months ago, and she told us an experience that he had where he was sitting on the couch watching TV one day 'and he looked in the mirror to the side of him, and apparently he saw an angel, or a person with a very bright light shining around them walk past the mirror. She said that she has never told that to anyone but us, so we explained to her how she can see her son again one day, and tried to answer a bunch of her questions. We ended up giving her 3 pamphlets and she said she is going to read them and have a list of questions for us the next time we visit. So ya, things have been awesome!

My spanish has been getting better too, I'm trying to use as much time as I can practicing and learning more, so I can speak pretty well, just understanding is the problem. But its okay, I know its a process. The members help a lot too, especially with learning phrases in Guarani. There aren't too many members in the ward, but they are all super awesome and helpful. They want to help us visit investigators and they always give us food when we pass by, I'm really grateful for this area. 

Sorry for the shorter update, just a pretty normal week. But this Saturday and Sunday is General Conference! I'm excited and hope to take out as much as I can from it. Thanks again for all the updates and pictures Mom and the stuff you are sending! Let me know if I can help you with anything or do anything for the family. I love you and can't wait to hear from you next week!

Love you!
Elder Spiro

at a zone conference

The neighbor's dog that comes in the elders' apartment

Monday, September 21, 2015

9/21/15 A baptism and a feline visitor

First, HAPPY ANNIVERSARY!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! I hope you guys had an awesome anniversary and Camille and Abby cooked dinner for you guys haha :) And thanks for all the updates and pictures as usual!  That's super awesome what you and Camille did with the girl scouts and the Feed My Starving Children, I'm sure all those people in North Korea will be very thankful for the meals you guys put together for them, and I'm sure all those girls had a fun time helping. You guys seemed to have a busy week, and I'm glad you went to the reunion with your friends. That's something I have learned a lot here on the mission, is trying things outside of my comfort zone. Being here, having to teach people in a language I have never learned before (well, learned but never used) and living basically on my own (with a companion) and being surrounded in a whole different culture, is not the easiest but I have learned so much and I have enjoyed my time on the mission immensely, it's an experience and a blessing I will never forget :)

Things here have been going good, our investigators have been progressing and going to church, and I'm beginning to see my hard work being payed off. I'm always super tired by the end of the day, but happy and grateful. To answer some of your questions about what we cook in the apartment and how we email and stuff each week: it's kind of like this, every Monday we walk to the main street and walk to a place with a bunch of computers that we can use, then we go and shop for our stuff at the super market, which isn't very big. We usually cook stuff like rice and chicken, pasta, sandwiches for lunch, but it's better to eat with members, which is what we are trying to do each week. We don't really have a dinner, but people usually give us stuff to eat when we are visiting and on the streets there are always vendors selling empanadas and chicken sandwiches and stuff like that. Our apartment is nice, well at least compared to our last one, everything works, and the shower is usually warm, so no complaints :)

Everything has been great though, we are teaching a lot of part-families, where either the mom or dad is a member, and focusing a lot on how our families can be together forever, because that's something that is super special, to be able to be an eternal family, and no other church can offer that. It's important to have patience and love for everyone, this is something that we can't just rush into, and salvation is not easy. But everything has been great, nothing to complain about, other than the weather has been blazing hot lately :( And we also had a cat follow us back to our apartment the other day, and we fed it some chorizo (basically sausage) and he slept outside on the balcony during the night, but when we woke up in the morning he was gone :(

Thanks again for all the emails and pictures and updates. I love hearing about how and what you guys are doing. I keep you all in my prayers and let me know if there is anything I can do for you, can't wait to hear from you next week!

Baptism of a teenager named Diego

The elders had a skinny kitty visit them

Looking very tired, yet happy.  Kitty looks a little uncertain.

Monday, September 14, 2015

New area: Libertad and new companion: Elder Lopez

This week has been busy, I got transferred again to a new area, they area is called Libertad but it is in the city San Lorenzo. We live in an apartment, I like the apartments more than the houses, its cool to have a view over the streets and we have a big window on one of the sides of the apartment. My new companion is Elder Lopez, he is from Guatemala, he is really cool and a hard worker, he also speaks a lot of English. I'm surprised, but he told me that in Guatemala a lot of people speak English and he is always listening to English songs in the apartment and asking me about different concepts of the language, so its cool.
My new area is awesome, it is really close to the mission office so we will probably see the mission president a lot. The ward is cool too, lots of members and a lot want to feed us which is in my opinion one of the most important parts of an area :) 
My training is officially finished! I am no longer a new missionary! That means that I have 2 hours less of study now and now I have the opportunity to train and to be a district or zone leader, but we'll see. My training went by so fast, its crazy how fast the mission has been recently, everyone tells me it gets even faster. I'll just have to use my time wisely I guess.
This week we had a baptism of a investigator who only speaks Guarani! Luckily, his friend is a member and is able to translate what we teach him. He is really awesome, he was wearing his suit and tie and we went to pick him up and walk with him to church, but he had already left and walked by himself! And this week we have another baptism, we are teaching a teenager and he plans on to be baptized.  His parents are not members, but we talked to them and they gave us permission and the mom says her goal is for all of her kids to be baptized. We were talking to her about how her family can be together forever, and be sealed in the temple, but her and her husband are not sure about marriage.  I have faith in them, a lot of the times people don't realize the great blessings we can receive when we make these covenants with God, especially in the temple, I have to keep trying and explaining better in Spanish haha :)
I have been also trying to use the Book of Mormon a lot more when I'm teaching, I realize how much power it has, so many of our problems and questions can be answered through the teachings in that book, everyday study of it, I encounter new things and lessons to learn. I love reading chapters with the investigators and seeing them work out their problems while they read. I can't say this enough, I love how the gospel can change the lives of peopleand how I have the opportunity to help in this sacred work.
Thanks for the emails and pictures, I really enjoyed reading everything, and I hope you had an awesome birthday Mom! I will be sending some letters soon so hopefully they don't take months to get there. Thanks again for everything and I can't wait to read the emails next week! Let me know if I can do anything for you or the family!

Elder Lopez and Elder Spiro

The elders' apartment

Elder Spiro's first baptism in Libertad

Monday, September 7, 2015

New area and new companion! Reducto, Paraguay

Hola Madre, first I would like to say Happy Birthday! I know its early but I just wanted to say it and tell you I love you, and thank you for everything you have done for me, and all the support you have given me in my life and so far on my mission, Mom, you are an inspiration to me and I'm always thinking about how I can be more like you, loving and kind to everyone. I'm sorry I can't be there for your birthday and I want to send you a package and one for Dad for his birthday, but I found out we can't, because people almost always take the things inside of them. But I'm going to at least try and send a letter. And hopefully it will make it to you, I'll just put a bunch of Jesus stickers and church stuff on them.

Anyway, all has been good here, I got transferred out of Paraguari, a week early, because we have changes next week for everybody, but we'll see I guess. I am now in an area called "Reducto" it is closer to Asuncion, and it is way smaller than Paraguari, but they have a ward here and everyone is really nice and helpful, we actually have members that want to go out with us on our lessons to help, which is super awesome. I am kind of sad though, because I'll never get to see my converts again, and all the people I was working with, I won't get to see if they progress or not, but its ok, I can send letters to them through a mail system we have in the mission. I am also not in my training anymore, yesterday was officially my last day! So, now I could be training someone else or I could be a district leader, or just a regular missionary, we'll see!

My new companion's name is Elder Morales, he is from Honduras, he is really awesome and I have already learned a lot from him. He might be my companion again this next change, or me or him might leave, but it all depends on the President of the mission. I'm liking this new area and companion so far though, and I'm ready to work hard and do what I need to do to strengthen the ward and help more people!

I'm glad you guys had a good time reading the Book of Mormon, don't worry about reading a ton every time, just reading a chapter or two and then discussing it as a family. I'm grateful for all of your prayers for my investigators too, and I want you guys to know I pray for you all and what you are doing, I hope everything is good with school and work, and I love all the pictures you send! I love you and hope you have a great birthday Mom! I can't wait to hear from you next week!

Alex' new home in Reducto

Elder Spiro and Elder Morales