Monday, August 29, 2016

Fany and Adrian's baptism and wedding

Hey Mom!
Estoy muy feliz y con mucho animo para seguir trabajando en la vina del Senor! I`m glad to know you had a good week and I hope you enjoyed the Dbacks game, even though they lost by 13 :/ It looks like you are all well though, and studying and working hard.
I had a great week, we worked hard, it was a bit stressful this week though because we had to plan a wedding and baptism. But it all went great. The branch members helped us decorate and supported by bringing some food and a cake, so we are very grateful. It's nice to see our efforts are making an impact. We also had branch conference, and the church attendance was 108, when normally only 60-65 people come every week. Fany and Adrian, the investigators who got baptized are very happy, and their family is too.
Not too much else new, we had a guy come up to us during the week to ask for help, so we have been visiting him at his house these past few days, he has basically lost everything because of his drinking habits. And now he is selling his things for money to keep drinking. I feel really bad for him, he is always alone and when we visit he starts to cry because he wants to change but his addiction is very strong, we are going to keep helping him little by little.
Not much else new, I have been learning a lot personally these past few weeks, things are starting to be more clear for me now, things in the scriptures and teachings from the church that I have always accepted but never really knew what it meant. It's difficult to describe really, but I`ll give an example. The other day a missionary was quoting the scripture that says we are not of this world, that we are here in this world, but not of it. I finally understood that we are sons and daughters of a living God, that we chose to be here on the Earth to be tested, so that we could be like Him one day. He just wants us to be happy, He knows at times we will experience trials and problems, but we will never be left alone.
I hope you have a great week, thanks for everything and the packages you have sent, I haven`t gotten them yet but I`m sure they are on the way. I wrote a letter to Nana but I can`t find a place to mail it yet. Can`t wait to hear from you soon!
Elder Spiro
Fany and Adrian's wedding

The elders and Allan Torres, the branch president

Monday, August 22, 2016

Week of 8/22/16

Hola Mama,
Thanks for the pictures and email, its crazy to see Jake`s family growing up, I remember when I went over to his house almost every day to hang out with them. Emma and Larry look so big haha, just another example of how fast time goes by. I am glad to hear you are all doing good and I hope the chipa is good too! The Sopa Paraguaya is like a cornbread, its good with rice and beans.
All is well here, we will have a wedding a baptism this Saturday, we finally found a judge that isn`t going to charge us a ton of money and an arm and a leg. We went to visit the family the week before and we were thinking in changing the wedding and baptism for another date, but they told us they were confident that God would provide what they needed for this week! They had more faith than us haha :) We had found the family looking for some recent converts on a teaching record we had in the Area Book. We are also working with Elias`s little sister Leila, and to help with teaching young people/ teenagers we usually use a lot of videos or pictures/drawings to help them understand better. Its always good when they are participating in the lessons, when they can have moments were they can apply what they learn from the lesson into their lives. At least that is what we try to gain when we read scriptures with them.
The weather is becoming a little more warm now, so we are entering into the summer. Lots and lots of water and sunscreen. We still have to wear long sleeve white shirts because of the mosquitos and dengue. But all is well, to tell you the truth I am running out of new things to add, when the time comes to write you all, I forget the spiritual/crazy experiences I`ve had during the week. They are all written in my journal, so I`ll just have to note stuff down before I write you guys.
Thanks again and I hope to hear from you next week, y tenga una semana pora (Guarani) y lleno de felizidad y bendiciones!
Elder Spiro

With Allan Torres, the branch president.  He is serving a mission in Peru in a couple of months.

Monday, August 15, 2016

Brenda's baptism

Hola Mama!
Gracias por su email and all the pictures too, I`m glad Dad had a great Bday and you all had a good time at the Shakespeare festival, its crazy that a year has passed since the last festival, I still remember the email you had sent from last year, a lot has changed since then.
I had a great week as always, we had Brenda`s baptism and it went great! I had the opportunity to do the confirmation. We had the baptism Sunday in the morning before the meetings. A lot of members came and showed their support for Brenda and her family, because her family is now attending church again. It was a little stressful getting everything set up for the baptism, though, because on Saturday we were filling up the baptismal font, and we were filling it with warm water, but it turns out the warm water is super dirty, so we had to drain it again, and clean haha. The drain is super slow so we had to take the water out with buckets, and when we were filling up he font again the water for some reason stopped coming out, so we had to wait until the morning on Sunday to fill it all the way again.
But everything went well and we are now working with that family I talked about last week. They attended church again on Sunday and are now preparing for their baptism and wedding. We are just looking for a judge to marry them. They are a very nice family, and are showing their desires every week by attending church.
Not much else new, the weather is getting a lot warmer now so I am drinking lots and lots of water during the day. I have been talking to Jake, who just got home from his mission, it's crazy how fast time is flying by, he told me it's a little tough to adapt to the world after he got home haha.
Hope you and the family have an awesome week, I`m glad to hear the U.S. is doing well in the olympics, how is the cooking foods from different countries going? You should make something from Paraguay and send me a picture when you make it! I reccomend Chipa Guazu or Sopa Paraguaya. Always keeping you in my prayers! Can`t wait to hear from you next week!
Elder Spiro

Zone training

Splits with the zone leader

With the branch president, Allan Torres

Brenda's baptism 8/14/16

Monday, August 8, 2016

Elias' baptism and a visit to the temple

Hola Mama!
Todo tranquilo pa, I`m glad that you are all doing good and had a good first week of school, and you are enjoying the Olympics, it would be cool to see Paraguay win a medal, I haven`t seen any advertising for the Olympics yet here. Glad to hear other young men will be serving missions, I don`t know those guys, but I`m sure that they will learn a lot. 

I had an awesome week with a lot of great experiences.  On Saturday in the morning I had the privilege of going with a convert of my first area in Paraguari named Felicita to go to the temple. I went with my trainer Elder Chalco because with him we baptized her. She went to the temple to recieve her endowments. It was such an awesome experience, and we saw her son Josue who we also baptized, he went to do baptisms in the temple. I was physically exhausted after an we had to make it back quickly for Elias`s baptism because it was the same day! We got back an hour before the baptism started and we had a great service, a lot of members showed up and supported Elias. His Mom Leonida, who is also an investigator, came and was crying and thanking the branch for the support for her family, I think it was one of the most spiritual baptismal services I have had in my mission.
And, on Sunday, we had 6 investigators come to church! A family came that we had found earlier on in the week, the grandma and the dad are baptized, but the mom and the son aren`t. The grandma can`t walk very well but she made the effort and they all came to church! They are very humble and willing to listen to our message, and we have plans for their wedding and baptism this 27th of August!
All in all a great week, we are seeing the fruits of our labors, with obedience and patience, I am seeing the blessings we have received and can receive from the Lord. I am doing great, I hope you are all well too. Brenda is going to be baptized this week, right before the meetings on Sunday because most of the leaders have an activity on Saturday, so we`ll see how it all goes.
Thanks for the emails and pictures Mom! Always praying for you and the family, have an awesome week! Go U.S.A.!!!!!!!!!
Elder Spiro

Burning trash in the backyard

With Elder Chalco and Josue at the Asuncion temple

Visiting the temple with his trainer and converts from his first area

Elias' baptism 8/6/16

Monday, August 1, 2016

Week of August 1, 2016

Hola Mama,
Estoy super bien y feliz, tuvimos una experiencia muy espiritual este semana y vimos los frutos de nuestro trabajo. First, we also got the call today for transfers, and I will be staying in the area with my companion so I am happy for that, the transfers pass by faster and faster each time. 
So we had 3 investigators come to church, Elias, Brenda and another lady who doesn`t live in the area but was visiting her mom who is a member. 
So the situation with Elias was that he had been attending the other church of the guy who payed people to get baptized, but Elias wasn`t sure of what to do. We hadn`t talked to him in a few weeks, to give him some time to think and not pressure him. So this week we went to the church and had a lesson with him there, we watched the video of the restoration and then we all went to the chapel and we talked about receiving an answer from God if the things we teach are true. We all knelt down and then we asked Elias to offer a prayer and ask God if what we had taught was true and to wait in silence after his prayer to pay attention to what he felt after. So he offered the prayer and I could feel the spirit very strong and I was wondering if he could too. After a little silence, we asked him how he felt, and he said he felt something in his head whisper as he finished his prayer and he felt a sense of peace. He stood up and told us he wanted to be baptized! It was a testimony to me of the power of the Holy Ghost, it isn`t the missionaries that convert people, it's the Holy Ghost.
He attended church on Sunday and we announced his baptism for this Saturday, and Brenda attended church with her family too. The only thing that she needs is the signature of her mom for her baptismal form, but their family said the mom will sign it this week (she lives in a different part).
We are working hard and are now seeing some of the fruits of our labors, the guy you talked with (Allan) is our branch mission leader, he goes with us sometimes to lessons and is waiting for his mission call, we think it will arrive this week!
Not much else new, glad to see you and Abbey and Camille are enjoying your time before school starts.
Our area has a river, but its not very big at all, the area is called Colonia Thompson, maybe that will help you find it better. It is close to Ypane and Nemby.
Hope you have a great week, I loved the kayaking pictures haha, can`t wait to hear from you soon!
Always keeping you and the family in my prayers!

Elder Spiro

Some pictures with Elias and Kevin, a member in the branch