Tuesday, April 29, 2014

Hola from Ità, where the crocodiles run free

Hello from Ità!

So I got transferred to a new area and I am now in Ita. It`s kinda like a small town out in the middle of nowhere. I`m not longer in the main city. Ita does have a little "main street" type of area that you would call "downtown" but it very quickly becomes campo (field/out in the middle of nowhere), so we`ve got the best of both worlds here.

Ita is beautiful and I already love it here. They actually have some sort of community clean up system going on here, so the streets are pretty clean and nice- a bit different than I`m used to. Oh and speaking of the streets, there are actually real streets here!! You know, like flat concrete streets with lanes and everything! (once you get to the outskirts of town you go back to the classic rocky roads of Paraguay, but we are usually in the city). It kinda reminds me of the United States. There is also a beautiful little lake thingy (called la laguna) with crocodiles in it!! I`ve only seen one once so far (and don't worry mommy, they are small and there`s a fence that goes all around the lake so they cant get out and DON'T run free- haha, tranquilo`pà :)  ) But we go running around the laguna practically every morning, so its great.

My companion is Hna. Walker. She is from New Jersey and she is amazing!! I love her so much already! But we are probably only going to have 1 cambio together because this is her 4th cambio here already (which will make 6 months here in Ita). She is so loving to all of the people and has such a strong testimony. I really love teaching with her. She is 20 years old, about to turn 21 in May. She is awesome! And other good news... remember Hermana Thacker (one of my companions in the CCM)? She is now in my district!! Super excited about that!

So our investigators here are awesome. There are so many prepared people here, its super exciting! and the members here are all amazing! I already love them so much!

So funny experience last night. We went to a house to teach an investigator, Victor, (the husband of a member). And before he didn't want to know anything about the church, but now his heart is softening and he really wants to follow Christ and go to church and get baptized (and he`s the one that keeps bringing up baptism, not us). So now to the funny part. We were over there to teach a lesson, and they have a parrot. So while we were talking to them, the parrot crawled up onto my shoulder. So I was just teaching with a parrot on my shoulder. haha its paraguay! and then later I felt super sick and almost fainted, so we called a member with a car to come take us home, and I went to bed and woke up in the middle of the night and threw up. So that was fun. Today I still feel a little tired and sick, but its P-day so we are gonna rest a lot. Apparently there is some bug going around. Who knows...

Anyway, I am tired and hungry, so I`m gonna end this now. But I love you all tons!!!!

Love, Hermana Urie

Sunday, April 27, 2014

The Perfect Investigator

¡Hola famila!

I am finally writing a letter! My companion es sick & taking a nap, so I’ve got a bit of extra time.
So I said I’d write about one of our investigators from La Floresta – Leticia (Lety). She is AMAZING. So here’s the story.
Remember the story I told about how we found a girl on day as we were getting ice cream at Amandau (best ice cream place in Paraguay). She was the worker & she had found a pass-along card with a picture of the Salt Lake temple & started drawing it. Well her name was Lorena. We taught her once & then never could find her again (she got a different job). But we kept going back & trying to find her, but it was always this other worker guy – and finally he figured out she had a new job & wasn’t coming back, and he told us, so we invited him to church (yes – classio missionary response, right).
Anyway, a couple weeks later (we had talked to this guy in passing a few times now – really nice guy) but he hadn’t come to church yet. So we decided to pass by & invite him again (& get some ice cream while we’re there, of course). BUT, he wasn’t working that day – it was some other girl we’d never in anyway. And we started talking to her, got some ice cream & sat down, and she came & sat with us. And we started talking to her about churches & Christ, etc.
She said that she had been in the Catholic church growing up, but she left because she realized that in the Bible it says ‘Thou shalt not have any gods before me (God)” & that we shouldn’t make or worship images, which is what the Catholic religion does, so she left. Then she went & looked at a couple other churches, stayed for a while, but again, ended up leaving because she didn’t find what she was hoping to find in the church. Basically, she was searching for the truth.
We shared the message of the Restoration. She was prepared. It was amazing. In the next week we managed to go to her house & teach her mom a couple times, but we could never find her because she was always working at the other Amandau location, which is not in our area. But finally on day about 10 days after that first time, we decided, hey let’s go try again & see if Lety is working here today. So we went & we found her.
She was really busy at that moment so we sat down to wait, but people kept coming in for ice cream. And then we remembered that we hadn’t brought a Book of Mormon. Well, we lived really close, so we decided to go get it while she was busy with customers. So we left, come back, & sat down again. She was free now, so we taught her a little about the Book of Mormon, talked about church, etc. And then she told us that something strange had happened to her. The day before she has been working in our Amadau, and she thought maybe we would pass by (because the other worker guy had told us she might be working that day) but we hadn’t stopped by. And that night as she was falling asleep, she remembered us. So she prayed to God, and asked him, that if this church was really the right one, that we would come the next day at some specific time. Well, we did come that day – the 1st time a little too early. But remember that we left to get the Book of Mormon & came back – and that time it was at the exact right time. So she was like “Okay, I’m definitely coming to church this Sunday.”
That happened Friday night. Saturday we taught her again. And Sunday she came to church. She even called us in the morning and asked us if we were coming (because we got there a little later than we said we would). So she went to church, and that night we stopped by again & had another lesson with her & we brought a member. And he asked her how church was, & she said she really liked it – That she felt something that she’d never felt before in any other church or anything. She said she didn’t know how to describe it except to say it was a feeling of peace. And that she’d just felt so happy & peaceful all day. She also said that she knew that since she was doing the right thing that the enemy would be right there trying to distract her, but that she wouldn’t give in because she knew it was right – she knew where she was going. The lesson was so amazing and the spirit so strong. We invited her to get baptized on the 10th of May and she accepted.
She is really amazing and prepared. She basically bears her testimony to us in the lessons – how she believes in present day prophets & Joseph Smith, that the Word of Wisdom is good because those things (including coffee) aren’t that good for your body, that the Book of Mormon is true & necessary to clarify & support the Bible & because there were people here in America as well during that time & God loves us all, et.
I would not be surprised if she became a missionary. Seriously – she’s already inviting her family & friends to church! So perfect investigator – and I got transferred…
But I’m already in love with Itá (my new area) & the people here, and I have faith that she’ll be baptized, even though I won’t be able to see it.
But I’m out of time, sorry no literary endings. Love you!

<3 / Hermana Urie

Tuesday, April 22, 2014

Last Week in Paraguay....

¡Hola familia! ¡Les amo muchisimo!

Last week in Paraguay.... (haha)

So Jose Luis did NOT get baptized Saturday.. It was really pretty sad. We`ve been trying to help him so much these last few weeks, and yes he`s been making some progress, so we`re gonna keep trying to help him out, but I don`t know when he`ll get baptized. So Saturday we showed up a few hours before the baptism to make sure he was good and getting ready and, you know, remembered. And he definitely remembered, and was quite excited about it. However, he smelled like alcohol. And we`ve been having some trouble with him with the Word of Wisdom. He knows that he cant get baptized if he`s still drinking, and he really wants to get baptized, so sometimes he lies to us and says that he hasn`t been drinking for the last couple weeks. So we weren`t sure what to believe. So we just kept going with the plans and I was just praying all last week that he really had given up drinking and was changing his life and ready to get baptized... but also that if he wasn't actually ready, that God would do something--put something in our path to let us know or stop us so that he wouldn't get baptized unworthily. And he did. So after we talked to Jose Saturday we walked away and sat down a few houses down the street and just sat there for a few minutes. It was raining, so we just sat there and got wet. It was a really sad moment. But we couldn't just stay there so we got up and went to our other investigators` houses and taught them. Then we saw Jose that night again, and he had definitely been drinking a little bit. It`s just so sad how sometimes people let these things (like drinking or smoking or whatever) ruin their lives. Hopefully he will turn to God and let Him give him the strength to overcome.

Sorry for starting out so depressing. I`ll tell some happy stuff now.
So this week was Holy Week right. So basically everyone in all of Paraguay had work and school off Thursday to Saturday. You think i`m exaggerating.. I`m really not. The streets were fairly empty, lots of people had traveled to the campaña. Friday we were basically walking around a ghost town. Yeah, it was fun. And I guess in Semana Santa the Catholics don't cook or eat meat or anything? I`m not sure, but it has become a tradition in Paraguay that Semana Santa everyone basically just eats chipa and sopa paraguaya (that they cooked Wednesday of course). So Wednesday for the ward activity we made chipa! Yay! I have the recipe, I`ll share it at some point.

Also, Thursday night there was a HUGE rain and thunderstorm. Seriously, the thunder was super loud. It woke us up at like 11:30 or 12 at night, and it was LOUD. It sounded like the earth was being split open or something. Hermana Murguia was like "Hermana I`m scared.." So we listened to hymns until we fell back asleep. Talking to people I guess that`s a normal thunder storm in Paraguay, so that's fun.

And I`m basically out of time but next week I will tell you about cambios! (we don't figure out until tomorrow and then we change and Wednesday) Oh and we have an investigator named Leticia that is basically golden, but I don't have time to tell you about her today, so I`ll write a letter and send it.

Love you!!

Hermana Urie

Monday, April 14, 2014

Scarves and cigarrettes..

So this week has been fun. It`s finally starting to get cold!! yesterday we were FREEZING and wearing our jackets and scarves and stuff. It reminded me of October in Utah :) But today is sunny and hot once again.. very short-lived. But apparently that's how its gonna be for the next 2 months (hot a few days, cold a few days). And let`s be honest, its only really about 50 or 60 degrees, but compared to our 115 that we had from December to March, its pretty cold.

Answering mom`s question about cambios. You are right, it is about time for cambios, but not till next week on Wednesday (and I wont know till that Tuesday) so I won`t be able to tell you about it for 2 more weeks. But I have been here in La Floresta for 3 cambios now, the last 2 of those with Hermana Murguia, so I`m probably leaving and she`s gonna stay another cambio (but you never know). I`ve really come to love the ward here, so it`s gonna be sad to leave when I do. And we`ve been finding tons of awesome people this week that are basically golden, so I kinda wanna stay for them. But that's what happened right before I left Reducto (my first area) as well, so who knows. Igual, no mas. I`d also like to get to know somewhere new though. So I shall go wherever the Lord wants me to go and I shall do it with a smile and a cheerful heart.

So we are working a lot with Jose Luis this week. He`s having some hard trials comin his way. First of all, last week, his sister died. So he left for a couple days to go to her funeral. Apparently all his siblings have passed away now except for one brother, who has Parkinson`s. So we shared a little about the Plan of Salvation, but we didn't go very deep because he was leaving to go to the funeral and we were without a woman so we couldn't have a legit lesson, but we talked to him a little in the street. Then he gave us a pack of cigarrettes to throw away for him. That's happened a couple times the last couple weeks. The first time we caught him with cigarrettes, we made a trade- the cigarrettes for an apple. He agreed, and then later gave the apple to a little kid that was hungry. So good trade overall. Get rid of the cigarrettes and serve a child.
Then yesterday was some more drama. We were on our way to Jose`s house when we found him on the corner. He told us his son was over by his house and that we should go ask his son where Jose (himself) is, and see what he says. So we are like... "um okay, why not.." We went over to his son and his son`s friend and started talking to them. And his son started telling us how they have lots of problems in the family and the problems that he has had with his dad (Jose) in the past because of his drinking and such. We tried to tell him that his dad is changing little by little and that we just have to keep having faith and being there to support him and such. And after a while of us talking, Jose comes up and starts yelling at his son, so his son is basically like "I told you, you cant reason with him" and drives away on his motorcycle. And then we had to calm Jose down and try to reason with him and teach him about Christ and how to forgive and be an example and such. Anyway, crazy family drama. Jose knows all of these things. He knows what will help him and what he needs to do- he just has trouble actually DOING it. Though I guess that's how most of us are. That's probably why we learn the same things over and over again, year after year. We just have to learn to apply what we know. Those are the people that will be blessed and received into heaven (see 3 Nephi 12 or 13, don't remember which. But they are both great, so you could just read them both)

Anyway, I`m out of time. But I love you tons!

Hermana Urie

Monday, April 7, 2014

General Conference

Alright so, General Conference was AMAZING!! I did not want it to end. Though I guess it wasn't really so much of an ending as it was a 6 month interruption.. haha

So this week has been lots of searching, teaching and working. We had divisions with the Hermanas Lideres Entrenadoras (sister training leaders) and I went with Hna. Whitmer off to the beautiful Fernanado de la Mora and Hna. Murguia stayed here with Hna. Cortez. We learned lots and then decided to really be super diligent the rest of the week, so this week was basically awesome :) 
We`ve been working a lot with our investigator Jose Luis this week. Oh and we figured out that his name is not actually Jose Luis, it`s just Jose. But he wants it to be Jose Luis, so he just tells everyone that that is his name. He`s quite a character. One day last week during a lesson with a member, the member was talking for quite a while, and Jose Luis just started saying the closing prayer. While the member was still talking. We were like "um, hermano... okay" so we all bowed our heads and let him say the prayer, and then we shook their hands, said thanks, and left. Haha awkward. But he came to conference yesterday, to both of the sessions. Showed up all by himself!! So that was basically a miracle. And then between the sessions he saw that the hall and the bathroom were kinda dirty, so he just started cleaning the church building. We were like "Hermano, you don`t have to do that, people come and clean every Saturday." Haha he is super funny! He`s a really good guy, and wants to change his life and is super excited for his baptism! He is still having some problems with the word of wisdom that we are trying to work through but he`s coming along. With Christ and his atonement in our lives, we really can overcome anything. We just have to put our trust and faith in him, and really develop that personal relationship with our Savior.
I love the gospel, I know it is true. 

So... to finish up the rat story. haha.. After we slept at the hermanas` house, the district leader and his comp came over with a member to try and find and.. you know.. dispose of the rat. But they couldn't find it, so they just set up rat poison everywhere and a couple rat traps. And the next few days we didn't see the rat, but we heard it and saw rat poison slowing disappearing, so it was eating it, but not dying (this rat is intelligent and evil and cannot die). And then one day we noticed that the door that goes out to the balcony had a small hole in the bottom of it, and there was a big pile of little pieces of wood next to it. So apparently it got desperate to leave (because we never leave the windows or doors or anything open anymore so that nothing can get in, which also means nothing can get out). So I guess it wanted to leave, and it decided to eat and dig and scratch it's way out.. I told you, this rat is nuts. Anyway, since then we haven`t had any more rat problems :)

Love you tons!!!
Hermana Urie

And here`s the door the rat burrowed through... fun fun

My awesome district (well, from last change, sorry still a little behind on the picture thing..)

My wonderful district (the current one) at the temple!!!!!! 

Temple and palm trees!! (I`m pretty sure Paraguay used to be an ocean or beach or something-- it's the only thing that explains all the palm trees and sand that is everywhere)

Us with the Hermanas Entrenadoras!

Wednesday, April 2, 2014

¡una semana mas!

¡¿Quien esta animado para la conferencia?!  umm.. yo
Seriously, its like a kid at Christmas, i cant wait till Conference!

Anyway, this week...

So the rat story made short..
The rat/mouse we took out in the nightstand actually must have been Gustavo and Carlotta`s baby (named Ruiz :)  ), because we found Carlotta (not as big as the one, but not as small as the other) a few days later running around and making the place hers. Seriously, she ate our bread, Hna. Murguia`s big doughnut (all of this THROUGH the packaging), left her little rat poop everywhere, including on the Books of Mormon, etc. etc. So the night we figured out she was still there, we got all scared and decided to both sleep on the top bunk, just in case.. Then the next night, as Hna. Murguia was washing dishes, the rat ran out from behind the dishes about 2 feet away. She screamed. Loudly.  
Anyway, we tried to scare her to get her to jump out of the window like Gustavo, but she wouldn`t do it! She just kept runnin around the kitchen (with us huddled on the counter with the broom screaming... the neighbors downstairs must love us) until we just got to such a frustrated, emotional state, and something was broken in pieces on the floor, and we had lost the rat when it ran around a corner and had no idea where she had gone in the house. So we decided we couldnt take it anymore, so we grabbed our emergency bags and took a taxi to the Hermana`s house at 10:30 at night and slept there.. yes very dramatic.. anyway, the rest of the rat story next time. I`m out of time..

Sorry there wasn`t much spiritualness this time.. but lots of pics!! We do have an Investigator, Jose Luis, that we are working with a lot right now. He`s basically awesome and totally wants to change his life and get baptized and everything, we just have some word of wisdom problems to work out. He`s super funny and introduces us to ALL of his friends and tells us to share with them. He`s a pretty unique character. 

Anyway, that's all for Hermana Urie`s adventures in Paraguay this week. I promise more spiritual mission stuff next week!! love you tons!!!

Hermana Urie

3. Goodbye to Hermana Lossa :(  (..two months ago.. sorry i`m a little behind on the whole picture thing... :) ..)

Junior`s baptism!! (8 Febrero 2014)

snakes... they were on their way to be sold and eaten.... `nuff said.

Valentines Day!! (left to right: Hna. Cortez(sister training leader on splits with the other hermanas in our ward that day), me, Hna. Hinkson (one of the other hermanas in the ward), and hna. Murguia (my companion!!))