Monday, December 26, 2016

Week of Christmas!!

[Hello everyone, Alex's mom here, during our conversation with Alex on Christmas he let us know that he had been emailed a date that he gets to go home from his mission: April 11. We thought it was the beginning of May, so we are pretty excited!!! Thanks to those reading his letters and sending their love and support.]

Hey Mom,
Thanks for all the letters and the gifts that were sent for Christmas, I enjoyed all of the cool stuff, I liked the temple reccomend holder and the Harry Potter shirt, and the mini basketball hoop will be used often as well haha. It was great talking to you guys, the time always goes by really fast in those calls, but it's cool to see you guys and see how much has changed. Camille seems so much bigger, her voice has changed a lot.
This week was great, lots of walking in the heat, but for good reasons :)  We have been working hard in the area, and we have been trying to work a lot with the members because there are a lot of returned missionaries and we have investigators that live close to their houses. So, with that family I told you guys about, the Fleitas family, we have visited them with a lot of different members and they have been attending church these last few weeks. They even came yesterday in the heat, walking when most of the members didn`t even come.
We have also been working with two young girls named Tatianna and Deisy, their uncle and aunt are both members that are attending church again and one of their sisters too. They live with their aunt and uncle, so they have been attending church but the aunt told us to pray a lot for their mom to be able to accept the gospel. She works for 2 weeks then comes home to visit them, but she needs to sign the permission for their baptisms so we have been praying a lot for them.
Not much else new, but we contacted another bus today. I am proud of my companion, he is talking a lot more and I would have never stood up in front of everybody in a bus and talked about the gospel in Spanish when I was in my training haha.
Hope you guys have a great new years, thanks again for everything and can`t wait to hear from you soon, Happy NEW YEAR!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!
Elder Spiro

The zone Christmas party

Christmas Eve dinner with some members

His {meager} Christmas presents from home

Skyping on Christmas Day!!

Advent calendar and ornament we sent

Monday, December 19, 2016

Week before Christmas!

Hey Mom,
Glad to hear you and the family had a good week, here in Paraguay we had a nice week too. We had 4 investigators come to church, but unfortunately none of them was Araceli, so she won`t be able to be baptized this Saturday. She had to watch her nieces at the last moment because her uncle had to go pick up his wife in the morning, and she lives with them so she had to stay to make take care of the nieces and the house. We won`t lose hope, we will keep visiting her and helping her understand more. 
The other 4 investigators all have a baptismal date goal, and they are progressing, reading, praying, and they will be going to a few activities in the church this week. So all is good, and this week should be very special with Christmas, I will most likely call on Sunday in the afternoon, so any time from 6-8 pm time here in Paraguay, I`m not sure what time it would be for you guys.
It was an idea that I have always had to "contact" a bus with a new missionary. I had done it a few times before in my mission (not in my training) but it was a cool experience for him. It's really not too effective in getting new investigators but it's a convenient way to spread the gospel. Because we take a lot of buses, we might as well make most of the time when we are riding.
The English class is going great, members and investigators are invited and there are a lot of kids and teenagers that come to learn.  It's a good way to introduce people to the church too.
We are teaching a family that is all ladies and 2 kids, the Fleitas family, they are all siblings and 2 of them came to church yesterday, 1 of them named Helen is pregnant but she still walked all the way to church, and they enjoyed the spirit they felt there.
Not much else this week, my companion is working hard to learn Spanish, and I have been trying to learn a bit more Guarani, but it is tough. It's a very cool language but almost impossible to spell and harder to pronounce, but my goal is to be able to bear my testimony in Spanish [wonder if he meant Guarani?].
Like I said, I will be calling on Sunday, so can`t wait to talk to you all then and I hope you have a great Christmas week!
Elder Spiro

Christmas lights in their apartment

Two weeks out for Elder Kjar

Monday, December 12, 2016

New Companion: Elder Kjar

Hola Mama!
Espero que tuviero una buena semana! I`m doing great! I feel excited with my new responsibility to train! My new companion is from San Antonio, Texas. His name is Elder Kjar, pronounced (Care) He is a cool guy, really chill and we are learning together. He is picking up Spanish really fast and Guarani too, I`m sure much more quickly than I had learned haha. I feel that I need to be an example as a trainer, it's really important to help him and give him opportunities to teach and talk.  Today as we came to the city to use the internet we contacted a bus, which means we stood in front and talked about the Gospel and handed out pamphlets/cards and noted down people's information to visit them. I thought it would give him a cool experience that he wouldn`t forget.
The area is going great, we had 1 investigator come to church, a girl named Tatianna. On Saturday we went to visit a less active family and we talked to a lady who was sealed in the temple but for a year she has been inactive and she kept saying thank you because she said she needed the visit from the missionaries again. She came to church with all of her nieces yesterday because she watches them while the mom is working, and Tatianna is one of the nieces who isn`t a member.
We are also working with Araceli, she wasn`t able to come to church so we passed by on Sunday and explained what the requirements for baptism and how she was feeling about everything, because she is always reading the Book of Mormon and praying and she marks down everything she reads, but she just doesn`t attend church. She said she wants to be baptized so we put a goal for the 24th of December on Christmas Eve.
There are some other investigators, for example the Fleitas family, they came to the English class we had during the week but were unable to come on Sunday for a soccer tournament for one of the kids. It will be tough if they have soccer tournaments every Sunday but they are very interested in the church and are always waiting for our visits.
Nothing much new, I will be able to call you guys on Skype on any day from 23-30 of December. Dad told me the 26th but I`ll let you guys decide and next week I`ll tell you when I`ll call, whatever hour is fine but I think in the afternoon it would be better. Hope you have a great week, thanks for the emails and pictures, tell Nicole congrats for me, and I`m always praying for you guys! Can`t wait to hear from you soon!
Elder Spiro
Meeting Elder Kjar from San Antonio

One week in the field!

Monday, December 5, 2016

Mabel's wedding and baptism

Hey Mom,

Thanks for the email and I got the other Christmas package this week, but I opened it on accident because I didn`t know that I had to wait haha, but the gifts still have their wrapping so I will wait for that. We had a good week, it was a bit warm this week but we ended it with a wedding and a baptism, so all is good. It's super stressful to plan weddings, even if they are simple but luckily a few sisters in the ward helped us decorate because I had no idea how we were going to decorate. We bought some balloons and they helped with the rest.
Mabel was really happy, and her family too. The water was super cold in the baptismal font but after the ordinance when we left the water I asked her how she felt and she said that she didn`t feel cold at all, that she felt warm and clean, something that she couldn`t describe. It was awesome to see how she has grown, she had a hard time giving up smoking but she said when she smells cigarettes now it makes her want to throw up. I am grateful to witness how the Lord works his miracles, so many experiences that I have had in my mission, and many more to come.

As I was writing this, I recived the information that I will be training a new missionary! We had transfers today, I am nervous but really excited, I hope I will be able to help the new missionary adapt to the mission. I don`t know what else to write haha, I feel shocked.

The area is going well, we are working with Araceli, she wasn`t able to come to church on Sunday but I know that she is progressing, she always reads everything we mark down, and she is always happy when we pass by and her sister who is a less active member seems to be helping her a lot too.

For the wedding and baptism, a member brought 3 of her neighbors that aren`t members, so we are finding lots of new people to teach. I am grateful that the members are willing to help us out so much.

Anyways, I hope you have a great week, thanks for the updates and I will let you guys know when I can call for Christmas, thanks again for the emails and pictures! Have a great week!

Elder Spiro

Mabel's baptism and wedding

Thanksgiving dinner!

A family that lives by the elders