Wednesday, October 30, 2013

Month #2 in the Field

Alright, month #2 in the field begins.

This week had ups and downs. Overall it was great. I can finally understand most of what the people say (the more gospel related the easier to understand, but the rest is getting better too), but talking is still pretty dificult. It´s okay, I´m getting better.

So last Saturday we had a service project- cleaning a river. Awesome right? well basically we just picked up garbage and leaves and stuff on the bank of the river, cleared lots of dead branches, and cut down a couple trees with machetes. And yes, I did use help with that last part. I´ll send pictures of that next week :)
There were tons of missionaries there. It was weird seeing all of them in jeans and t-shirts instead of skirts and suits. And it was weird to wear jeans. Haven´t done that for a while.

Also last Saturday we were supposed to have a baptism (Deisy´s sister Liz) pero right before her baptismal interview she changed her mind because she was unsure. Later she told us she feels like everything is moving too fast and she wants to know more about the church. She really likes the church and the book of mormon and everything we´re teaching her and says she knows it´s true, but just doesn´t want to get baptized yet. As she was telling us this and a few of her other concerns, I was just so sad because I know she knows its true and that it can help her so much, she just doesn´t realize how great of a blessing this can be in her life yet. But we´re going to keep teaching her, and we set another baptismal date for November 9 in 2 weeks, so hopefully by then she´ll be able to resolve all her doubts and know for sure that this is the true church and be excited for her baptism.fingers crossed! And she came to church Sunday so that´s wonderful. We actually had 3 investigators come to church this Sunday! So exciting!

So no more exciting dog stories this week, but I do have another wonderful story I think you will enjoy. So to preface this.. aqui in Paraguay, the personas greet each other either with a handshake or the whole cheek to cheek thing on both sides/kiss on each cheek (you know what I´m referring to-hard to explain in writing). As sister missionaries, we only do the cheek thing with women and handshakes with men. so now to my story. A couple Sundays ago we were at church. In our ward we have us and a companionship of elders serving. The elders have an investigator, a man about.. 40 or 50 years old, not really sure. Well, he likes to drink, and this particular Sunday he was slightly, a little bit.. yeah. So we walk up to greet the people (because you greet everyone here that you pass whether you know them or not because otherwise its just rude- it takes like 5 minutes for everyone to greet everyone else at the beginning of activities), and this investigator shakes my companions hand. Then i put out my hand to shake his. He grabs my hand with one hand and my shoulder with the other, pulls me in and kisses me on the cheek. The elder hurried and grabbed him and pulled him off and I was just flustered and walked away. Then I heard Elder Nelson saying "Don´t do that. Don´t ever do that, okay?" Later we were talking and he said he thought the guy kissed me on the lips and he was like "I'm sorry, I am so sorry!" haha, it was hilarious.

Anyway, I can´t remember anything else right now. I´ll write more about my exciting Paraguay life next week. I love you all! Keep writing me!! Be safe!

Monday, October 21, 2013

One Month In!

So again, no time. but I will tell some stories.

I got attacked by a dog in the street last week. I don´t know if I´ve told you yet, but there are tons of dogs here in Paraguay, who knows how many of them actually belong to people, But seriously they are everywhere on the streets and almost everyone has at least one. So last week my companion got bit by a dog, and so the next day we´´re walking down the street and a dog is following us and barking, so I turn to snap at it and try to get it to go away, and then I see someone pointing behind me. So I start turning to see what it is, and this huge dog is suddenly right there and tries to bite me. It didn´t get me but it got my dress so there is this huge hole in my favorite dress, and a bruise on my leg.. but no bite!! yay! the lord is protecting us! anyway, I´m hoping that's the only time I get attacked by a dog.
We got a lot of new investigators this week! hopefully they will actually read the book of mormon and pray. That´s the hardest thing- getting people to keep commitments. If they would do that, I know so many of them would gain a testimony and understand the beauty of the gospel and want to come. It´s just getting them to take that first step.
Anyway, out of time, and I´m sorry i didn´t send any pictures, I forgot my cord. But next week for sure! I also forgot my list of things I wanted to email about, so I can´t remember anything that happened this week. And I´ll start sending letters that will be longer, I promise!! I love you all so much!

Saturday, October 19, 2013

Week 3 in Paraguay

Alright, again no time.
Conference was amazing and we got to watch it ALL in ENGLISH!! YAY!! and the Relief society session too!
Quickly before i forget.... Dad, happy birthday 3 weeks ago!! I always remembered like an hour after we finished emailing! Teresa happy birthday next Sunday!! and Catherine happy birthday the next week!! love you all, you are amazing.
We had the first baptism Saturday!! She was late, and I was totally like "no! she´s not going to come!" but she did. She really has been a miracle. She´s so ready and excited. We were teaching her her last lesson before baptism and she was like, "why didn´t you guys come a year ago? I´ve been waiting for you." (because she wanted to get baptized before but her dad wouldn´t let her and then she has to change some things in her life, but she did and has been waiting for missionaries to come ever since) I am so excited for her! She´s already learned so much. It´s really a miracle.
We also had our first Paraguayan rainstorm! yay! it was (mostly) in the morning so we didn't have to work in it, but its been muddy ever since and continues to rain off and on. Sorry i haven´t sent any pictures, i promise i will next week first thing!
 I´m out of time but i love you more than anything!! Have a great week!!

Monday, October 14, 2013

1st Letter - CCM

Beautiful Familia!! Oct. 7, 2013 (& Oct 14, 2013)
Alright, my first letter!
   So technically I’m in Paraguay right now, but I’m going to write about México because Mom asked about life in the CCM.

The CCM was amazing. Seriously one of the best experiences of my life. I miss it so incredibly much! So Basicallly we studied all day. Haha. We woke up at 6:15 (companion choice, CCM norm was 6:30), had personal study, went to breakfast in the comedor (cafeteria), & then went back to our classrooms for 4 hours of: teaching our ‘progressing investigator’ – Jonathan (who was actually our teacher Hermano Lloyd), then class: language, teaching (learning how & practicing), studying the Book of Mormom or preach my Gospel – etc. Then lunch! Oh! I forgot! Gym was originally at night, but the 2nd week they switched our schedule, so it was right after breakfast (only 3 hours of class in the morning) We played volleyball almost everyday: me & my compañeras, Elders Robinson, Fox, & Jardine (from our district), & the other people changed a lot (some left the CCM, new people  came, etc.) It was so fun. I now love volleyball, though I’m still super bad at it.
   So after lunch, we had personal study, then language study (with companions – and/or elders in our district.) Which we usually did outside on the beautiful CCM campus, with the sun, gras, mountain views, birds, & constant honking & sirens. Oh how I miss that.
But really.
      Then we had class for another 3 hours: other ‘progressing investigator’ (Hermano Tapia – our other teacher (our afternoon teacher) – he’s a native Mexican & speaks very little English – both our teachers were absolutely the sweetest men ever. Oh & Hermano Castallenos taught with Hno. Tapia for a couple of weeks because he was training him or something. Hno. Castellanos was our first ‘investigator’ Ulisses the first week we were here); more language learning, & learning fundamentals or practicing teaching, and then TRC – where we taught other missionaries who sometimes pretended to be nonmembers, sometimes were just themselves. We only had TRC on Thursdays. The TRC in Provo has members volunteer & pretend to be investigators (me & Nessa volunteered there once), but Mexico rarely has people come in so we teach each other. Then dinner! Oh & on Wednesdays after lunch we had service project. (like sweeping & breaking the ‘C’ on the CCM sign… I’m actually surprised how quickly they fixed that.”
    After dinner… we wasted a lot of time, haha. It was back in the classroom for 30 min ‘Additional study,’ 30 min. ‘Language study,’ TALL for an hour (Language practice on the computer program “TALL”), then 30 min for Daily Planning Session. Since our schedule was mostly there for us, we spent most that time talking/spiritual thought as a district. Honestly we didn’t get tons done after dinner. The district just talked a lot. Some got more done than others. And the last couple weeks TALL didn’t work, so another hour to talk/learn. Wow, I miss elders so much! They’re so fun. I miss our elders. They were amazing! And I miss my trio. Trios can have so much fun. It’s a little hard to be in a trio, with 8 great elders you are with almost 14 hours a day for 6 weeks, & tons of other missionaries you see & talk to everyday – and then suddenly be in a companionship of two, & you only see the 4 elders in your district a couple times for a couple hours a week. I miss missionaries surrounding me all the time. The CCM is seriously an AMAZING place!! I really can’t tell you how much I miss it.
   P-day: every other week was the temple, which took out a good 5 or 6 hours of the day w/the bus time, waiting, & session (s) – but was amazing. We got to see the city & we sang hymns on the bus. WE did laundry, once played sports, Hna. Thacker got a haircut, took naps, took pictures, read scriptures, printed & read emails, then returned and wrote back later, cleaned, went to the tienda (store) on campus, the post office (again on campus), etc. Sometimes just relaxed & talked. It was a fun, much needed break. And our P-day was Tuesday, so after dinner instead of returning to normal day classes, we had devotional (every Tuesday) so P-day really was a great break if you had it Tuesday.
    Then Sunday (this is what mom actually asked about-realized that after I started writing the – sorry!)
6:30 – wake up (slept in a bit to normal time Sundays & P-days),
7:00 – personal study – at the casa instead classroom (but we usually ended up taking more time to look cute for Sunday)
8:00 – breakfast (all meals on Sunday are 15 minutes later than usual) in the comedor (but Sunday breakfasts were just HUGE juice boxes & cereal with warm milk – unless you came right after they brought out more milk, then it was cold – they also had apples & sometimes a sandwich of some kind – usually fair questionable. The workers didn’t work Sunday mornings – which is great! – but also meant breakfast wasn’t as extravagant). Sorry, more information than you needed…
9:00 – Relief Society – ALL Hermanas (English speaking) together in the auditorium. Hermana Pratt (wife of CCM Presidente Pratt) taught if every week. – It was always amazing. & in English. (:
10:00 – Priesthood/ additional study time for Hermanas. (This was when I usually wrote my talk for the week, wouldn’t have time to translate it to Spanish, and prayed I wouldn’t be called on to speak.)
11:00 – District Meeting (which we did as a zone, but the last week figured out we were the only zone doing it as a whole zone instead of districts & the last week we changed to only as a district :( - at least we only did that once before leaving It was more fun as a zone. Oh, and this was basically Sunday School.) – Also in English!!
11:50 – Sacrament Meeting (as a zone/branch) The only meeting on Sunday in Español (mostly). We usually had 6 speakers – sometime more if there was extra time. They didn’t tell us who would speak until we started. Fast Sunday is wonderful because no one is nervous that they might have to speak 5 minute talks Our topics included: Restoration (week 1), resurrection (week 2), fast Sunday, the sacrament, don’t remember week 5, & the Atonement week 6 (I was sure I wouldn’t speak, didn’t prepare a talk went quite well though & was almost all in Spanish so yay! So I talked twice, Hermana Mills talked twice, Hermana Mills talked twice, & Hna. Thacker didn’t talk at all! There were 4 in our district that didn’t speak at all actually. Oh yeah! Week 5 was Charity. I actually wanted to speak that week. Charity is my favorite topic like ever. It’s so beautiful. But later that week I gave the spiritual thought in district at the end of the day & used some of that material I’d prepared to share about charity & Christlike attributes. So Bueno.
1:00 – lunch (Sunday lunch was always AMAZING & always had ice cream).
2:00 – class w/MTC Presidency. A.K.A. naptime. More people slept during this meeting than any other meeting all week long. Afternoon, right after lunch – bad time. I fell asleep hardcore during this the 1st 3 weeks, then I stayed awake most the time the last 3 weeks. This is all English speaking missionaries in the auditorium. Almost always President Pratt, but sometimes other Presidency member. It was like another Sunday School for the whole MTC – this is where he talked about not during tie swaps (see earlier email about tie swaps). Great lessons but hard to stay awake. He often told us to hit/elbow our companions to wake them up for really important parts of the lesson. Hilarious. & in English
3:00-4:15 – study time (in the classroom – so just talking to the elders) / Interviews w/Branch President. We met with him twice during our MTC stay.
4:30 – MTC Devotional – YAY! Usually devotionals (Sunday & Tuesday devotionals) were previous Provo MTC devotionals that the CCM has on DVD. Those were always members of the Quorum of the 12. A few times we had life devo.’s by Elder Holland. He’s absolutely amazing & so powerful. Again in English the live one was once both (he spoke Spanish & someone translated) – the only devo. That the American & Latin missionaries had together.
6:30 – dinner. Then additional study time until the movie at 8:00, but we usually went straight to the auditorium to get good seats (same for devotional). If you aren’t there at least 15 minutes early you don’t get good seats. So we went early & saved seats for our whole district to sit together. This is when me & Hna. Mills would sing with whoever was playing piano. The piano was up on the stage (and a baby grand, so it sounded good). It was great. Once after, Presidente Pratt thanked us & said we had the voices of angels. (: Sometimes, other missionaries would come join us. Usually the same elders everytime, but not always. It was so fun to get to sing. And Hna. Mills is an amazing singer so we sounded good too!
8:00 – The MOVIE!!!
    Each week we watched an LDS movie, basically what we looked forward to every Sunday. Haha, no it was all amazing!
    The movies we watched during our stay were (again in English): The Testaments, Legacy, the Joseph Smith Restoration movie, The John Tanner story/movie, the one with Parley Pratt (& some guy in Italy – cool story), the Stonecutter & Faith in Christ (both in the same week – short movies). I feel like I’m forgetting one, but that’s 6 movies, so maybe not. The movies were all so good! Loved it. It was in the auditorium & we always sat by our district. I miss my district! My compañeras & all those great elders! But it’s okay because we’re planning a district reunion after the elders all get back.
Well, that was my life for 6 weeks. I miss it more than I can explain. I had so many spiritual & fun & funny & learning experiences & got so close to those people. It was some of the best weeks of my life. I wasn’t as homesick there, but I think that’s because we weren’t really on our missions yet so it didn’t feel real. It was like after those 6 weeks (that went by WAY too quickly) we were just gonna go back home, so I wasn’t missing anything that much (I still did, but not as much).  But coming here to Paraguay, I realized, I really am not going home for another 16 months. But as I’m spending more time out here, understanding Spanish more, getting used to the culture & everything, & getting more invested in the work, it’s getting easier & times is starting to go by quicker. I can already tell that the last year of my mission is going to fly by.
Well, that was the life in the CCM. In the next 3 weeks or so, I will write down funny & spiritual (etc.) stories from the CCM, as I remember them, and then send that letter in a few weeks when it’s done. Then I’ll start writing about other things that are happening here in Paraguay that I don’t have time to email about (because as you can tell – I have basically no time to email after emailing the President & reading emails/copying to print in a Word document.) The stories from here are fewer, but probably stranger as well. I’ll probably send a letter with those things every 3 weeks or so.
So that’s it for this letter, more info than you probably wanted,… too bad. More to come… I love you so so SOO MUCH!! Miss you like CRAZY!!!! Love/Your favorite missionary, Hermana Mary Urie

Thursday, October 10, 2013

Week 2 in Paraguay

I have like no time again, so this is gonna be very short and sweet.

The members here (at least many of them) are amazing! There´s a family with 4 teenages kids 15-19 years old, and they are all planning on missions and so excited and already sharing the gospel with their friends. They are so energetic and love talking to us. All the members are so helpful. And the people here in Paraguay are such a beautiful people!! And so amable.. friendly, sorry. So the good thing is: everyone will talk to us. The bad thing is... everyone will talk to us.. even when they aren´t at all interested or open to our message. So we spend a lot of time talking to people who end up refusing to accept anything we say, but they are usually very nice about rejecting us, so I guess that´s good.
Also, we found a girl this week on the street, and she wants to be baptized! She´s already gone to church many times and learned quite a bit, she just couldn´t get baptized before because she was underage and her father wouldn´t give her permission, but now she is 22 and can decide for herself so her baptism is hopefully going to be this saturday!! (fingers crossed that it all works out!) This will be my first investigator to get baptized! Can´t wait. She´s adorable, I´m so happy for her!

Also, one of my favorite things about Paraguay is how we clap at people´s houses. No knocking (well, usually), just standing at their gate and clapping for them. I love it. I think I´m going to continue doing that when I come home and see if it works... probably won´t, but I will still try. Oh, and I want to get a motorcyle. Everyone here rides motorcycles and I now want one. Oh, haha, and riding the colectivo is a wonderful experience that everyone should have. It´s the bus system here. It´s nice because there are no bus stops. You just stick your arm out like a hitchhiker and they always stop and pick you up and drop you off wherever along the street. However, to keep the system fast, they don´t come to much of a stop like ever. It´s not unusual to be half way on or off the bus and it will start moving again. A bit frightening but you get used to it. And they don´t mind packing the people in either. But yeah, its fun.

I have no more time, but I just want to say that Conference was freaking AMAZING!! And yes, I actually stayed awake for the whole thing! It was so great! If anyone missed any of the sessions or talks, go back and watch them ahora! (now!) Seriously.

Well I love you all! Have a good week! Talk to you soon!!

Hermana Urie

Friday, October 4, 2013

First Week in the Field..

Alright so I have a ton of awesome things I seen here that I want to tell you about and basically no time to tell them. So to sum it all up in one paragraph:
Paraguayans are awesome and so, so nice, but I can`t understand their accent AT ALL. One man told me I`m going to be fat in 6 months, which wouldn`t surprise me considering I`ve basically only eaten meat and bread since getting here. I saw a HUGE frog on the street; I see chickens and cows on the street; and I saw a dog dying with its blood and guts all over the street. So pleasant experiences overall. It`s absolutely gorgeous here. Everything is so green, the dirt is red, and the houses are colorful. The kids all love me because I`m American, but a couple of them call me elder, and one of the Paraguayan women accidentally called me elder as well. What is this?! do i just have a manly face or something? Empanadas are amazing. I haven`t had to eat anything very strange yet. I`m exhausted all the time and keep falling asleep during lessons, but hopefully when I start understanding better my mind won`t wander and that will happen less. I accidentally said "no tengo hombre" instead of "no tengo hambre" ("I don`t have man", instead of "I`m not hungry"... oops..). On Friday, we got lost for a while. My area is called Reducto. My compañera is from Peru, but speaks English pretty well. She`s been here for a little over one year.
Oh, and we met a midget. So overall crazy fun.

We have one investigator with a baptism date in a couple weeks, and we`re starting to teach a couple other people. We whitewashed the area (meaning there were no sisters, and we`re replacing elders in this area, so we`re both new to Reducto). So we`re still trying to get to know the ward and the neighborhood and find people to teach, but it`s coming along. Well time is up, so I got to go.


Hey, I am in Paraguay! Alive and quite well. We are going to be here at the mission home for the rest of today and we're staying at a hotel tonight. then we get assigned companions and areas tomorrow!!! I can't wait!
We traveled for a total of 32 hours. If I never had to fly again, I would be completely okay with that. I guess the next 17 months is long enough. There's not really much to report from the last 2 days besides the contacting we did in the airport. I was feeling sick most the time so I only talked to 4 or 5 people, but as a group of us hermanas, we gave away a total of 9 El Libro De Mormon, a few pamphlets, and lots of pass along cards. And I shared a scripture and bore my testimony to a lady. While a few people were not very interested, some people really were. The Lord truly prepares people!