Monday, April 10, 2017

Saying goodbye to Paraguay!

-This is Alex's last email. We are going to welcome him home in 3 short days to start a new chapter of his life and to say we are excited to see him again is the understatement of the century!  What a journey it has been for him, watching him grow and gain confidence and become a great missionary has been one of the most satisfying things his family has ever witnessed.  Thanks to family and friends for all the support and love you have shown him!!-

I would just like to express my gratitude for these 2 years I have served the Lord, when I began my mission, many things were not easy, getting used to being with someone 24/7, the food, the schedule, spanish all the time, etc. But I knew that as I would look more for the positive in things, I would learn and enjoy more. I had so many spiritual and special moments, that I can't think of one in specific, but luckily I wrote in my journal every day :) I can't thank my Heavenly Father enough for these 2 years, to be able to be a representative of Jesus Christ, and to serve the people as he would have. I was never perfect like Him, and I'm sure there are many things I could have done better, but I gave it my all, and I will never forget these 2 years. I know that the Book of Mormon is true, and that anyone that reads it with a sincere heart and asks God if it's true, they can receive a  testimony from the Holy Ghost. I know that things will be tough, but if I remember my covenants I can move forward, and I may fall at times, but through the Atonement of Christ, I will get up again.
I have a testimony of the temple, that families can be sealed to be together for the eternities, and that it really is the House of the Lord.
I know that Jesus Christ is our Savior and Redeemer, and it's what I have shared for these 2 years, he suffered and died for each one of us so that we can live with our Heavenly Father again. 
I know that through obedience, we really are blessed, there were many times when I questioned a rule of the mission, but living them and following them, I understood why we have commandments, and I understood in the Bible why it says "The truth will set you free" 
I love my family and I am excited to be with them again, and to now look towards the future and set more goals to progress and grow more.
I love the people of Paraguay, they are all my brothers and sisters, and I have never met people that are so nice and giving, many opened their doors to the missionaries and I know their lives have been blessed for it.
I know this church is true, I don't have any doubts, and I know Joseph Smith was a prophet of God, and that through him the true church of Jesus Christ was restored, we have a prophet and 12 apostles today that lead and guide us. It has been an honor to serve and I will always remember the best 2 years of my life serving as a missionary.

-Elder Spiro
View from the church in Centro

Alex's district

With Carlos, a member of his ward that his uncle knows

With Miguel, an investigator

Enjoying the hammock on the balcony

Monday, April 3, 2017

2 weeks left, safe and sound

Editor's note: In downtown Asuncion a few nights ago there were some  violent protests because of a decision their senate had made recently.  This decision was not received well by the constituents. As a mother of a son possibly living in that area and seeing the fires, destruction and even a death resulting in the protests and riots, I can tell you we were pretty nervous, wondering if Alex was in the same area. Here is the letter we received today. -Chris

Hey Mom,

So ya, the riots and stuff happened to be in our area, but I was on divisions with another missionary so no worries, but nothing happened to the other missionaries either, we were just told to stay inside our houses and unfortunately we were unable to watch the Priesthood Session of conference because it would have been too late to get back at night.  I really enjoyed conference anyways, I listened in Spanish but I still got a lot out of the talks, I really liked a lot of the 70`s talks, their insights are very interesting, hope you all are good, sorry to say that their won`t be any pictures this week because i forgot to bring my camera :( but next week for sure!

Our investigators are doing well, we weren`t able to visit them for a couple of days because of the problems, but Miguel was able to come to church, and he said one of the talks really touched him. We have been working hard and finding many new people,  I may not be here when they get baptized but I know I could at least plant the gospel seed in their lives.

My last interview with President Wilson went great, he asked me about some of my spiritual experiences in my mission and the hard moments too, but the lessons I have learned from those tough moments was the most important. He asked me about what my plans were after the mission and I talked about studying and going to college, and he talked to me a lot about getting married. He said the most important thing I should focus on is being sealed in the temple, and that the other things are important too, but I should have the Lord`s will before the wordly things. He told me something important, that no good job or studies can get me an eternal family, so I seem to have a lot of thinking to do.... haha

But anyways, this week should be interesting, and I have been told the Aguayo family from my previous area is planning on going to the temple to be sealed, so I will have pictures of that if we can organize things well :) Hope you have a great week, thanks for everything!!!!!!!!!!!

Elder Spiro