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

Monday, October 12, 2015

A wedding and a baptism

Hello Mama!

This week has been super busy and stressful and awesome all at the same time! It has been rainy these last few days so it has been a little hard to talk to people because for some reason we don't usually have too much success in the rain, but we have been working hard and I'm glad I brought boots to wear! 

So our investigator named Laura got married and baptized this Friday! It was great, a lot of her family showed up and most of them were less active members in the church so it gave them a reason to come and for her confirmation on Sunday. I actually did the confirmation on Sunday, it was the first time I have ever confirmed someone, and I didn't mess up any of the words so I think it went well haha :) It was a really cool feeling as I was saying the blessing afterwards, I was feeling the spirit, and expecially as I was talking, the words were from the Holy Ghost. And it was such a great moment for Laura during her wedding and baptism, because she had been waiting years for it, the missionaries had talked to her before but her husband didn't want anything to do with the church, but now he was willing to get married for her to make this commitment and covenant of baptism, and we are going to try and talk to him next for sure.

Not much else happened this week, just trying to do my best and I know Heavenly Father will make up the rest. The weeks have been going by really fast and I have learned so much, not just spiritually but growing as a person. The members have been great in this area, always giving us food and helping us by walking with our investigators to church, I hope I'm able to gain some weight here before I go back out into the more walking parts of the mission haha :) And my Spanish has gotten a lot better, my companion speaks really fast in Spanish so that has helped, I've been trying to learn more phrases in Guarani, because the Paraguayans always love when the Americans speak in Guarani. We are planning another baptism this week, she has been attending church and we have taught her all the lessons, all she needs now is the baptismal interview. She is really cool, she attended conference and really liked all the talks and explained her favorite parts in all of them.

Anyways, I'm glad you all have been well, make sure to say hi to everyone in Utah for me, and take some pictures of the trees and of you guys too. I haven't gotten the packages you sent yet, but I think this Tuesday they will be here, and thanks for everything Mom, all the letters and pictures! Let me know if I can help with anything and I can't wait to hear from you next week! I keep you all in my prayers every day and night! 

Love you!
Elder Spiro

A photo of the whole district

Laura's wedding

Laura's baptism

Monday, October 5, 2015

Conference thoughts and a wedding to plan

Hola Mama,

I had a great week! And I'm glad to know that you guys did too! We worked really hard this week and encountered some miracles along the way! I really enjoyed conference and all of the talks, I have never been more focused on listening and taking notes than I was on Saturday and Sunday. There was an English room for listening, so all the American missionaries watched in there, and it was just a great spiritual weekend. We had a lot of investigators show up to watch conference, and I'm certain they felt the spirit! 

One of the talks that made me think of you Mom was the talk Elder Holland gave, I'm not ashamed to say I teared up during mostly the whole talk haha :) And I also enjoyed the talk by Elder Lawrence, where he challenged us to ask Heavenly Father in our prayers, "What is keeping me from progressing?" I can testify that especially as a missionary, that is a question I always need to be asking, to learn and to change, what is keeping me from progressing spiritually. I also enjoyed the talk on Sunday (I don't remember who, a member of the 70 I believe) but he challenged everyone to put a scripture up on the fridge each week to memorize and to think about, so I'll be starting that pretty soon.

One of the miracles we encountered this week was a lady who has been attending in the past and wants to be baptized, but first she has to be married with her husband and he does not want anything to do with the church. This week we were talking and he said that he would get married with her but only for her to be baptized, and that it's her promise with God, not his, so this week we will be having a wedding! We need to plan for it and everything! I will have more stories about that next Monday and how it went! Everything has been going well in the work though, we are finding a lot of cool new people and we are finding it difficult to have time to visit them all!

I'm glad you guys are reading the BoM and I hope Camille contributes a little, whether it's reading or saying the closing prayer. I'm glad you guys took notes and listened to conference too, its something I know I have needed to be better at and now I have the opportunity to do it. Make sure to keep President Monson in your prayers because like you said he was having trouble standing at the end of his talk, and thanks for all the emails and pictures! I love you Mom and hope you and the family have a great week! Thanks for your awesome example as a patient and loving mom, because patience is something I have been learning a lot about here, and I always think of examples you have shown of patience to me. Can't wait to hear from you next week and see how you're doing!

Love You!
Elder Spiro