Monday, December 17, 2012

2nd Companion

Dear Family,

My new companion is Elder Mejia from Peru!  He is an awesome missionary and has perfect Spanish and so I think I will be learning a lot faster.  He speaks ok English, too, and is a really good teacher. This week was a little slower than the others.... we had special changes and so Elder Bredsguard and I had all Monday and most of Tuesday where he ran around taking pictures with everyone of our members and investigators.  Then in the morning I picked up Elder Mejia in San Lorenzo and we went back too Yukury.  Our area is pretty big and it has been tough for me to remember all of the shortcuts to members and investigators houses.  We got lost like 3 or 4 times and once in the middle of the jungle in the dark... we trudged through a ton of spider webs and tall grass and then popped out at a house in the middle of nada and scared this lady washing clothes on her patio.  We had a Christmas thing on Thursday and we went to a hospital to sing carols to patients there.  We found one girl there who wanted us to teach her one day and we got her number so we'll be able to find and teach her.  Like three minutes afterwards we started getting a ton of text messages from her quoting scriptures and whatnot so I think she will be a good investigator.  We also did that invisible friend gift game and I got this blow up guy for punching. It looks like nacho libre.  We practice teaching him the gospel just about every companion study.  We went to visit Raquel and her family and talked about setting goals and how important it is to work together as a family towards them.  She wants to wait with her kids to be baptized for a couple of weeks so that her husband and she can work together to get married for the right reasons.  I didnt really understand, but hopefully their family will be baptized in the coming week and they can get married too.  It has been a good week though, and I think that I am going to be able to learn a lot from Elder Mejia.  I am trying to send the letters to you guys, but I think it will take a really long time due to the sucky mission mail chain of command.  None of our investigators showed up to church (like 13 people) and so we are a little sad about this last week but I'm sure it will be better this coming week.  I think that the President is going to send out a letter about when I am going to skype with you guys and so I will let you know hopefully a few days before Christmas.  I love you guys!!!!

Love,

Elder Neifert

Monday, December 10, 2012

Moving

Dear Family,
We had a really good week and got a ton of lessons in. We've been working really hard with Raquel and her family! We taught her the law of tithing and fast and explained how God has given us His promise that He will open up the windows of heaven upon those who keep this commandment. 
This is one of the toughest commandment for people to keep here. Out of our ward, I think there are like 3 people who pay a full tithe. She asked a lot of questions and we answered them with scriptures and shared a few experiences and then we asked her if she would keep the commandment of paying tithing. She said she didn't know if she was going to be able to pay her rent this month if she does, but she said, "I guess I will leave it up to God" and she is going to start paying tithing. Experiences like that where you are sitting in front of a house built out of mud and sand, in a chair made out of jump ropes and seeing a leap of faith like Raquel's makes you know that there is something behind what is being taught. I am so happy to be on a mission serving the Lord and feeling and seeing the miracles as the hand of God is stretched out to these people. There is nothing as awesome as seeing somebody you have met with all of the sudden feel something they've never felt before and you get to watch them change almost their entire life to grasp the thing they've been looking for.
We moved today to get back into our area and we found a sick house that has "Alianza con el Espiritu de Dios" (Alliance with the Spirit of God) written over the front door. I think it used to be an Evangelical church. We were going to get it like a month ago, but it needed a lot of work so the guy fixed it up and we moved in today. We showed up at the house with all of our junk in this guy's truck (who was the first high priest in Paraguay). All of these kids showed up and started helping us move stuff into the house. They were super funny and would take our stuff in the house and hide it. We bought some super good chupa chupas (lolliops) for them and we moved in the rest of the stuff.
Elder Bredsgaurd just got a call and we got special changed and so he is moving up to District Leader in Paso de Oro and I'm staying here in Yuqury in the same place. I don't know who my companion is yet, but it will happen Wednesday. DANG IT!!!!!!!!!!!
I haven't received a package yet. I am going to send a letter for you guys tomorrow I hope and I don't know when it will get there, but it has my Christmas present for you guys. I will Skype you guys and I think you need to make a new account for me and send me the info next Monday so I can use it. I don't know when we will Skype yet, but I will let you know when I know.
I love you guys!!!!!
Elder Neifert

Monday, December 3, 2012

Dear Family,

Thank you for all of the letters and prayers! I really am thankful for what a great blessing family and friends are!  

This week was a really good one.  We had a Zone Conference in Asuncion where Elder Zaballos came and talked about how important missionary work is and gave us some ideas about how we can be better.  The main message of the conference was purify yourselves and get rid of distractions.  And so Elder Bredsgaurd and I made a really big list of things we will work on getting rid of so that we will be focused and in tune with the spirit.  

 We made some awesome contacts that I know the Lord helped us find.  We had one lesson in particular where we met with a family and we taught lesson one.  The father was paying really good attention and just seemed like he was hungry for more.  At the end we asked him to pray and ask God if Joseph Smith truly was a prophet of God... and he prayed and then the spirit just hit us like a ton of bricks.  He said that he received his answer and we explained about the Holy Ghost and what significance this has for him and his family.  He didn't come to church yesterday, but we will visit him this week.   We also had 2 or 3 more situations just like that where the people were just prepared and had enough faith and desire that you could see the spirit working in them.  I just feel really blessed to be a part of this beautiful work.  This week has really strengthened my faith in how the Lord directs and leads his servants.  

We also have been working a lot with Raquel and her family. It rained a ton on Thursday and we headed out to visit her and other investigators out there.  The streets were all under at least 4 inches of water and got deeper and deeper the closer we got to Nuevo Asuncion.  About a kilometer out the water was above the tires and the driver wouldn't go any farther because he couldn't tell where the road was.  So everybody started to get off the bus in waist deep water with all of their groceries and stuff - holding it above their head. We took off our shoes and started trudging through the water to get to Raquel's house.  It was awesome and way funny because we would be walking and all of the sudden you would step into a huge pot hole and fall over.  None of the houses had yards.  All you could see was the houses and the tops of gates.   We borrowed some pink flip flops and crocs from some members and got to Raquel's house.  It looked like her house was in the middle of a lake.  We had an amazing lesson with Raquel's family and her sister about the word of wisdom and went over the law of chastity again.  The whole family said they would keep both commandments and it has been incredible how  quickly their faith and testimonies have grown as they've kept commitments and really experimented with prayer and keeping commandments. The blessings  of living the gospel don't come without sacrifice though and it has been a crazy week for their family. Raquel's husband said he wants to marry her and learn more about the church.  On Sunday Raquel didn't know if he's really in marrying her because he loves her.  And now her boyfriend is mad at us for teaching his family about how important marriage is in keeping the family together and happy.  I feel like I am Doctor Phil.  I am sure that Raquel will do what is best for her family. Her baptism is being postponed along with her 2 kids and sister.

I love you all and I hope that my letter gets to you in time for Christmas!

Love,
 
Elder Neifert

I wont have transfers until after Christmas and I think I will probably be staying in Yuqury.  

Monday, November 26, 2012

Hello,
 
I had a way awesome week this week!!! We found this sweet Indian village!!!! I'm talkin' about naked people and wigwams!!! We were on our way to Nuevo Asuncion and we saw an Indian woman walking through the woods and we followed the same trail she took and found like 25 Indian Guarani families living in this community thing. Some had mud huts and others had houses made out of trash bags and sticks. We tried talking to a couple of different families but they didn't speak Spanish. We found out though they do carvings for a living of like armadillos and cocodrillos (Crocodiles).  My companion wants them to do a carving for him of the Cucapei (no clue what this is . We found some people that knew some Spanish and talked to them about the gospel of Jesus Christ and whether they would be willing to come to church...they said yes but they didn't come. We are going to be working more with them this coming week though and we're going to find someone to translate for us for the people that dont speak Spanish. 
 
We walked through the jungle looking for the road to Nuevo Asuncion and we popped out like 3 kilometers outside of it when a chipa barrero truck went by and he yelled, "what the heck are you guys doing out here?" We said, "We don't know! Where are you going?".  He was going to Nuevo Asuncion, so we hopped in the back with all of the chipa (chipa is a type of bread)  because there wasn't any room in the front.  It was like sitting in a oven and there were super bumpy roads. We ate 2 chipa bread rings and payed the guy. It was super funny because we hopped out really sweaty and smelling like chipa and then they sold some of the bread we were just laying on to a guy. hahahahaha.
 
We also have been teaching this awesome lady, Raquel.  After teaching her 2 days before, she read all the way up to 2 Nephi. We taught her about the law of chastity because she has 2 kids with her boy freind who lives with her.  She is making her boy friend move out until he decides either to marry her or leave. She has had some incredible spiritual experiences and her testimony of the gospel and the Book of Mormon is growing really fast. She came to church this Sunday and hopefully in a week and a half we'll have her and her two sons baptisms. The effect that the gospel has on people is amazing and I feel incredibly blessed to be able to see peoples lives change and be blessed as they find a testimony that Jesus Christ is our savior and that his word and sacrifice for us is what truly brings happiness in this life.
 
I love this work and I love you guys. Thank you so much for the letters Dad, Mom, and Jessi!!!!! I got a dear elder letter from you, dad, already. All of your letters are helping me a ton.
 
Love,
Elder Neifert

Monday, November 19, 2012

Gypped!

Dear family,

I got gypped by the dang computer lady and I tried doing email for like 30 min and restarting everything twice, so I only have a few minutes and will reply to more letters next week.

I am only supposed to write to family... I think that means everyone I'm related to.
Thank you for the letters Jessi, Fil, Dad, and Mom.

This week I did a division with President and his wife which doesn't happen very often. We went to a lady named Raquel's house who showed up at church last Sunday with her son, Alejandro. We watched The Restoration video with her and talked about the important role that the restoration of the gospel of Jesus Christ can have on our families and what it means to have a prophet who directly receives revelation for the church. She was super receptive and the spirit was amazing as she shared about what kind of things had prepared her to be ready to change her life around. She wants to be baptized right away but she is living with her boyfriend and so she'll have to get married first, which they want to do anyway. We also talked about eternal families with her. It made me think a lot about you guys - everybody in our family and how great and blessed we are. I love you guys.

And dad that's totally sweet, dude! doodly doodly doot doot! (Dad and the dog, Bentley, were on a walk and found a deer.... The deer was severely injured (like broken leg - not gunna make it) and needed to be put down. The dog obviously saw it and started to go after it. The part Seth is so excited about is that his Dad, who didn't have a gun on hand, ended up taking it down with the dog leash and a pocket knife.) I salute you my good man. You should make a kimono out of that deer skin and wear it to do your walks in the morning from now on.

Bekah - I love you a ton, I hope you had an awesome time at camp!

I will respond to more emails (Jessi's, Fil's, and Mom's) next time. I am sorry I dont have much time today, because I stink at computers

From,

Elder Neifert

Tuesday, November 13, 2012

Taking up His Will

Hola Familia Neifert,

HAPPY BIRTHDAY, DAD!!! I hope you had some good pie! 

It is really weird how when I think about home its super cold and the leaves are almost gone and then here its getting hotter and hotter.  Did you guys get my pictures? 

This week I read a really awesome talk called "The Fourth Missionary"  and it really changed the way I taught and looked at my purpose as a missionary.  I don't know if you guys can find it, but that would be an awesome talk to read for anyone going on a mission.  I think the main thing I took from it is that the only way that we can reap the fruits of being a missionary is if your heart is in it completely.  You can't learn anything if you don't give your heart into the work, because otherwise everything you do will be biting a bullet because you would rather be somewhere else.  If we give our heart over to God he gives us new desires, a new purpose, a new driving force that over time changes us into a completely new person whose will becomes aligned with the Father's.

So I tried focusing on giving all I had to the Lord and his work and placing my will to the side and taking up His will. 

After that ward blitz in Nuevo Asuncion, we had a lot of people who wanted to hear more and so we spent a ton of time out there this week.  Nuevo Asuncion is in the middle of nowhere and a lot of the people don't speak Catellano(Espanol) only Guarani.  There isn't anything there, but really poorly made houses and farm animals + poop canals.  We met a ton of people who wanted to know more about our church and a couple who just wanted to be baptized on the spot without knowing why or what role baptism even plays in salvation.  We did a lot of explaining and inviting and invited about 30 people to church!  Its nuts how many people had been prepared for us and wanted to hear and learn more about the gospel.  We also have a ton of in-actives out there and we spent a lot of time trying to get them to church. 

We also found a couple of people who are super prepared to receive the gospel and we had some incredible lessons with both of them.  One guy's name is Hugo, he is really curious about the Bible and the Book of Mormon and had some really deep questions about God and his plan for us.  We talked for a while and he expressed how the only people that he would trust to really guide him to know God's will is a prophet of God!   I almost jumped the gun I was so excited! I was going to just yell out, "THERE IS A PROPHET AND HE IS CALLED OF GOD TO DO THAT!!!,"  but I held it in and started talking about prophets of old and who a prophet is and does. I shared scriptures like Amos 3:7 and others from the Book of Mormon.  We shared the first vision and he said he would read and pray to ask God if it was true. 

We also found a whole family who all really want to know more and we taught them on Saturday about what the restored gospel of Jesus Christ means for us and left her a plan of salvation pamphlet.  She read the whole thing and came to church the next day with her son Alejandro.  She came with a ton of questions and we answered some and then taught her more about how she can receive answers for herself through the scriptures and prayer. She can receive a testimony of what is true through the guidance of the Holy Ghost.  Then we went to sacrament meeting expecting some sweet talks and surprise surprise -  it was the primary program that day.  It was nuts and kids were running around and crying all over the place.  She said she had a good experience, though.  Hopefully, we can have a great lesson this week and she'll come to church.


I love you guys!!!!

Elder Neifert

Monday, November 5, 2012

Dear Family,

THANK YOU FOR THE EMAILS!!! AND LETTERS!

I got both dad's and Derek's letters this week!  And they are 3 weeks behind everything.

The money here is in Guarani's and I get 850mil a month.  Which was way funny to say, "I'm about to drop 50 mil on a banana bushel," but it has gotten a little old.  I have a debit card they gave me but right when I get reloaded with money, I go to the ATM and cash it out. 

My new place is okay... it doesn't leak!!!  But we are in it with 2 other elders and we have all of our stuff in a tiny room.  1 bunk bed, a table, 3 armoires, 3 chairs, and 2 fans because we don't have air conditioning.

We didn't do much this week, Elder Bredsgaurd was sick with what he thinks is a bug he had about a month ago that has resurfaced.  We went to the hospital and they had to run some tests - so we stayed at the office elder's house which is super chuchi (super fancy).  It had air conditioning in every room and had hammocks so we spent the night and studied all day. After they got all they needed for the test, we had to hang out at the office for another day waiting for results. So we studied and  watched church movies.  And then they called and said  the results wont be back till Tuesday, so we took a collectivo home and went back to work.  The next day we had an awesome day planned and a lady showed up who worked for the mission and made us clean our house all day.   And then I had chi vi vi wasu (shee vee vee Waa soo) (I have no idea what this means) and so we only taught a couple lessons Saturday, but they were good lessons. Sunday was awesome! We had one of our investigators show up for church and were going back today to teach him more!  Also we had a ward blitz on Sunday and the whole ward went out to visit less active members and eat lunch together in Nuevo Asuncion.  We found like 7 people who said they wanted to be baptized!!!  Elder Bredsguard and I are super excited for this week! 

I uploaded pics.  I hope you guys can see them.

I love you guys and I hope you are getting better, Mom!  And keep up the missionary work, Dad! That's awesome!

I will think about Christmas box stuff! I hope you guys had a good Halloween!


Thursday, November 1, 2012

Hello Family,

ELDER BEDNAR CAME!!!!! It was way different than everybody expected!  We had a big conference down in San Lorenzo and both the North and South missions came.  We woke up at 4 in the morning and got there at around 7 taking collectivos (from what I can tell- a collectivo is a bus.) all of the way down. (Which so far is my favorite thing about Paraguay (I always think of Brother Goerring when I take those... behind all of great people and spiritual stuff.))  We had a big question and answer session for 3 and a half hours!  It was awesome! I think the main messages he wanted to share with us is that we need to teach people not lessons and that people are agents not objects.  Also that the spirit is the teacher not us! He said, "Do you really think that somebody is going to change just about every aspect of their lives because a 19 or 20 year old boy from the United States tells them too?"  Also he talked about how we shouldn't be playing the game of 'guess whats in my head' with an investigator. We need to ask questions really looking and listening for what they are feeling or thinking about (which is way harder than it sounds).  His wife spoke, too and there were some really awesome testimonies afterwards.  Then we took some really packed collectivos home and it was like 95 degrees outside. I felt sick and slept for an hour and then we went out and worked.

 We had a baptism this week set up, but our investigator didn't pass the interview and we are having second thoughts about what steps he has taken to know The Book of Mormon is true or that we have a prophet today, or even if God exists.  That is the biggest problem I think that people have here in Paraguay.  They all say they believe in God and Jesus Christ, but don't understand or care to understand why they believe in either of them or what it means.  It is really tough teaching someone when you can't find out where they are to start with.  Btt that is where inspired questions come in and where letting the Holy Ghost be the teacher helps them have a stronger desire to learn and grow closer to the Savior and Heavenly Father.  

Thank you for the letters Dad, Mom and Jessi and for sending the address! 

And congratulations, DEREK!!  That's awesome!  You are going to love the MTC and France!  Something I had wished I had done before coming out on a mission is have a stronger knowledge of the scriptures. Something that's helped me now is thinking about problems or doubts people have and find scriptures to help.  Same with Preach My Gospel.

Elder Bredsgaurd and I caught  a snake on our way home yesterday! I have a picture... And he stepped in a big cow turd this week!  (There are a ton of cows that wander around everywhere.) 

We have moved from the really leaky house into a better one.  The pictures are of the leaky one.

I also went on a split with another new missionary who was from Guatemala!  I was really worried that I wouldn't be able to help at all because my Spanish really isn't that good yet, and Elder Bredsguard translates for me all the time.  But it worked out and I was really blessed so that people were able to understand me and I could converse with Elder Lopez really well! 

I am really slow at typing, so my letters aren't as long as I want them to be...that and I don't have very long, but I love you guys!!! Thank you so much for the letters and updates.  MOM! Did you score?  You must have scared the kids you were playing with really bad!!!  I hope you get better soon!!!  (Elder Neifert's mom teaches 4th grade and injured her leg playing a ball game with them recently.)

I cant figure out how to do pictures. Sorry.
Love,
Elder Neifert

Monday, October 22, 2012

Week 2

Dear Family,
Thank you for all of your letters! I forgot my camera at home, but I am going to have a ton of pictures next week. Elder Bredsgaurd and I had an awesome week. We had another baptism this week - Noelia's nephew! He is awesome! He knows the answer to almost all the principles of the gospel and comes to church every single week. In our last visit with him he prayed and asked that we all could stay on the right path because satan wants to kill us. Hahaha... but that's serious. We are planning on having three more baptisms next week with Cilvio and Ramona and David. Our lessons this week were awesome as well and we have been teaching around ten different investigators. We have been teaching the Fox family tree and it just keeps on getting bigger and bigger! They all live pretty close to each other and so we have been teaching aunts, nephews, grandparents, kids.... all because they have seen the changes that Noelia made in her life and how blessed their family has become from being baptized and following Gods commandments! 
I went on a split with the Zone Leaders so that they could have the baptismal interviews with the investigators. I was with Elder Thompson all day on Wednesday. He has three weeks left until he goes home and he speaks really good Guarani! We took some collectivos (? I don't know what this is - Jessi) over to his area near Luque and we went to an area that he hasn't been tracted yet. We made a lot of contacts and taught a family that didn't speak Spanish, only Guarani. I didn't understand anything, but I bore my testimony about Church and they acted as though they understood. It is really tough teaching people who only speak Guarani 1. Because I don't understand it and 2. Because they don't know how to read. So teaching is all done by them listening and us fumbling with the language. Elder Thompson said they'd come to church though. 
The next day Elder Bredsguard and I had an awesome lesson with a guy named Johnathon who works in publicity somewhere. He has a really bad smoking problem and he expressed how bad it was for him and his family and how he was looking for a way too stop. We taught him about the restoration and what kind of help the Savior can provide for us as we rely on him to carry our burdens. We gave him a pamphlet to read through and we've been having great lessons all this week and invited him to come to church. 
This week we invited like 10 people to come to church and they all said they would. But Saturday night and all Sunday there was a huge rainstorm. Everyone lost power and our roof and window leaks so my bed got soaked and water drops hit me in the head the whole time. Elder Bredsguard sleeps like a rock, so while he slept, I was locking all the windows and trying to keep everything dry. That morning we left early with our rain jackets and umbrellas and tried to round up all the investigators who said they'd come to church. We got 2 and there were 27 people at church total! Elder Bredsguard and I taught our investigator about the priesthood. It was a great sacrament meeting and the bishop gave a talk about what lessons we can learn from our kids and how his own son has blessed his life. It was an extremely spiritual talk and it was exactly what everyone needed to hear. After church, Elder Bredsguard and I went contacting and we had family night at the Lopez's house.  Today we are going on a hike with the Fox family to see a this legendary rock where supposedly Christ stepped. 
Sending letters from Paraguay cost 15 MIL which is a lot and I have been told that I really should only be keeping in contact with family so I will try and respond to any letters through email. If you guys are sending a package I don't need anything in particular. Whatever you send will be good. I will let you know if I do need something later though. From what I hear if you put Saint Mary stickers on the seams of the package the chances go down of it being stolen or ripped into.
Elder Bednar is coming this week and we are going down to the south mission to hear him speak! I'm pumped to hear what he is going to tell us! It is probably chastisement, but I don't care!
Just from the last two weeks of being in Paraguay my testimony has grown so much about how this Gospel can change people and that The Book of Mormon is the word of God. Having the opportunity to share this message with so many people has been the most faith building experience of my life! I know that God loves each and every one of his children! He wants the best for us and has provided us a plan to live with him again! I LOVE YOU GUYS!!!!!

Love,
Elder Neifert

Monday, October 15, 2012

Yukyry - 1st week in Paraguay


Hey Family!
I am serving in a place called Yukyry (you can find it on Google maps by typing in: YUKYRY, CaaguazĂș, Paraguay) which is like the most jungle part of the mission! It is awesome! the people are amazing! We clap outside their gate and almost everyone lets us in and we teach like all day! Our house is the worst house in the mission, but it is really awesome at the same time. It is horribly made and it is tiny. We are looking for a new house though. I have pictures and will try to send them. I don't know if I can here. We are in a computer shop right by the street where we pay per hour too use it. 
The food here is pretty good. There are dispensias everywhere which are like convenient store booths. I went to a couple ladies houses for lunch and one gave us airline food with napkins from the airline... which I have no idea how she got. The other is a chef who works for 2 weeks straight and has one Sunday off. Her food was amazing!!! She made us some chicken with shell noodles underneath and some really good sauce over the top.

My companion is Elder Bredsgaurd from Arizona. He has almost been out a year and is a really good missionary!! I am really lucky to be his companion... We have so many investigators and he is a really hard worker and walks fast everywhere we go.

The flight was LOOONNNG I sat next to a guy working at Illinois University and he put in his earphones and left them in the whole time! Even when he ate! So I talked to him for like 5 min at the end of the flight about baseball... it was dumb. The flight from Argentina to Paraguay was horrible. I Almost barfed like 4 times and the people next to me were freaking out.  I couldn't speak Spanish to them, or I felt like I would throw up. But I didnt - false alarm.  I had motion sickness for that whole day of meeting my comp and president and going to the Temple which is a beautiful Temple.
Anyway, me and Elder Bredsgaurd took a taxi to our area and the roads here are horrible - most are just dirt with sharp rocks underneath. Then we went out and worked. We met with the Fox family and and talked about the plan of salvation - it went really well. While we were teaching, a chicken walked right in the middle of everyone and nobody cared! There are so many chickens here. I hear a rooster call at least 3 times a minute. And at night they all make a ton of noise. The people here are way funny, too. We stopped a guy on the street and asked him his name and he said, "Super Gallo," which is like super rooster! HAHAHA - it was awesome.

WE ALSO HAD 2 BAPTISMS - two days ago! Noellia and Carmen! I baptized Carmen! It was awesome! The people here are super poor - like their houses are made out of trash bags half the time. It's really humbling seeing how happy they are with so little. We also talked with this guy in the ward named Axel Lopez and I am almost positive he is going to serve a mission! I love it here! Even though my Spanish sucks (which is also really humbling), it is amazing participating in lessons that you know that they know that our message can change them and that they can know it's true through prayer and asking our Heavenly Father. The best part about Paraguay is the buses!!!! They are nuts. They don't stop half the time and because the roads suck they are really rickety and crazy. The owners decorate them in crazy ways and drive super fast. Something else that is awesome about Paraguay is that everyone is always blasting music.

A couple days ago we went to like the outskirts of our area called Nuevo Asuncion and it's like a 30 minute bus ride north, I think. Anyway, there is a Guarani reservation here and the people are really funny. We clapped in front of a woman's house and she said that she "accidentally locked herself in her house". Everybody has some ghetto gates here and it was locked.

Church was awesome! I bore my testimony and a ton of other people did too. The bishop is amazing! He bore his testimony about how families can be together forever and that through the atonement of Christ it is possible. His 6 month old daughter died a week ago and my companion said it was super hard on their family, but their dad didn't even cry as he buried her. It is a really sad story, but the faith of the people here is amazing. We are also working with a woman named Mada whose son is getting baptized on Saturday. His name is Adam and he is the most awesome kid ever! He is nine and knows about everything we teach him. His mom has a drinking problem though, so we are trying to get her over it and be a better example for her son. It was super sad on Saturday when we had the baptism - he couldn't come because his mom was drunk and he wanted to take care of her.  He knows it's true and we are working really hard with his mom.

We are finding new people too teach everyday and my Spanish is getting a little better. I can understand what people are saying most of the time.

I love YOU GUYS! Thank you so much for the letters and prayers and I hope everyone is doing well!



 HAPPY BIRTHDAY, BEKAH!

Thursday, October 11, 2012

I made it

Hey,

 I made it. Paraguay is amazing.  I will write you guys on Monday with my new companion and hopefully send pictures.

Saturday, October 6, 2012

Leaving on the 8th!

Dear Family,
 
A ton has happened this week and I am in meetings all day today doing infield training stuff.  I also got my shots today and those babies are costly.  They gave me a paper to send home because they said insurance might take care of some of it.  Anyway take the money needed out of my account, por favor. 
 
I GOT MY TRAVEL PLANS!!! I  leave on the 8th of October at 10am! We are flying from Salt Lake to Dallas, to Buenos Aires Argentina, and then up too Paraguay! So the flight leaves from Salt Lake at 2:15pm and I get to Paraguay at 7:20am on the 9th. I don't absolutely need anything now.  And I am packing to figure out if I need to drop some weight.  I will let you know how I'm doing on weight tomorrow probably. I think I will be able to call you guys in between 12 and 1:30 on the 8th but it might change.  I will try and write tomorrow!!!!
 
Love Elder Neifert

Saturday, September 29, 2012

Happiest Feelings

Dear Family,

Yes I've gotten the letters from dad, and Aaron and everyone else and they are awesome! I hope you don't mind, but I share a lot of the insights and quotes sent to me with my companion and other elders in my district. And I also got the Package of cinnamon rolls and other delights and they were real good. I also got a package from the Whatcott's which also had some goods that are just what I needed. THANK YOU!!

Something I learned this week is about the Holy Ghost's role in the gospel! It is everything! When teaching investigators the only reason they want to know more is because the holy ghost was present. When I watched a talk by Elder Bednar, he said that everywhere he goes he asks converts what was it that made them want to know more about our message after the first lesson. He said every single investigator would say, "I had no idea what those two missionaries were talking about but I felt something good as they spoke that made me want to invite them back because I wanted that feeling again." The gospel isn't new to anyone because it has been around forever! When sharing it I get one of the most happiest feelings in my life.

I do not know exactly when I'm flying out but It says on the computer OCT 8 at 10:30am, but since I have not yet recieved my visa or gone to the embassy to sign paperwork I'm not exactly positive as to when I'm leaving. I will let you guys know as soon as I do.

I think i have enough cash and I will be cutting it close on the luggage weight...we'll see. This week I will weigh my stuff I think. And I think it is a good idea to send those shoes and sheets straight down to Paraguay.

Just use the 1 nephi 17:13, por favor. (For his missionary plaque)

I got everything I need, I think, but I will let you know if I think of something!

HAPPY BIRTHDAY, GAGU!

I love you guys!

Elder Neifert

Sunday, September 23, 2012

I LOVE BEING A MISSIONARY!

Dear Family,

Being at the MTC is incredible and a lot happened this week.  I got the assignment to be a District Leader and so I have had to go to a lot more meetings and conduct interviews and stuff.  It is a tough calling, but it is a good learning experience.

The language is going pretty good and Elder Pack and I just taught our first 40 min lesson! It was going great until I prayed for "Ashley" instead of "Kate". (CURSE YOU MARY KATE AND ASHLEY!!!  I think that is what threw me off.)  I was saying the prayer and I had forgotten her name and while I was saying the prayer Ashley just popped into my head.  I felt pretty dumb when my companion told me after the lesson, but it's all good.   There is so much to remember when teaching and preparing to teach lessons.

The way I prepare and  teach changes at least 3 times a week  because of all of the new insights I get from other elders and scriptures and teachers.  I think the main things that you want to plan to do every time when teaching someone is number one praying for the holy ghost before and while you teach and prepare a lesson based off of the needs of the investigator.  There is more than that, but those are the two I am working on the most.  I was thinking about an awesome comparison to this: it is kind of like how the brother of Jared (Book of Mormon, the Book of Ether Chapters 1-3) had to prepare those stones before he brought them before the Lord and the Lord touched them.  I am sure the brother of Jared just didn't pick up any rock and take it too the Lord.  I am sure he polished and prepared the rock.  It is just like how we need to prepare to teach other people.  We need to do all we can to prepare for the investigator and then our Heavenly Father will be willing to include His hand in our lesson.

 I LOVE BEING A MISSIONARY!

Love,
Seth

Saturday, September 15, 2012

Faith like a seed

Dear Family,
I am already on my 6th week! It is amazing how short of a time I feel like I have been here.  I was running with my companion to play volleyball at the sand pit and I saw all of the Haywoods and Alex! They don't look like at all what they used too look like! I visited with them for a couple of minutes and I am really excited to have someone I know here!  One of my roommates got sent a box full of Martinelli's and Salsa so were having a fiesta today! I am so happy to be at the MTC - every day I learn something new and I am honestly really excited to study every day.  I have been reading in Alma and especially in chapters 32-34. I have almost every verse marked up with notes. The devotional this week was one of my favorites so far.  It was given by Elder and Sister Carlson on Tuesday.  Elder Carlson was a general and in the Pentagon on September 11th when it was hit. Both of them talked about the incredible sacrifice that the armed forces make in order to keep us safe! One of there big messages was DON'T FORGET SEP. 11th! Elder Carlson also talked a lot about obedience and the connection it has to becoming truly converted and gaining a testimony. Obedience doesn't inform God of our goodness, it transforms us! Something else he said that was really important is how to become a successful missionary. 
There are 3 things: 
1. Develop Christlike Attributes 
2. Study the Missionary Program / PMG (Preach my Gospel) and the Scriptures 
3.  Reliance on the Holy Ghost.
 He also talked about how a missionary should only measure his success by how many times he/she - while teaching someone - feels the Holy Ghost helping them teach.  That way the missionary knows that the investigator knows what they are saying is true. The number of times that happens is what measures success.
Elder Pack and I taught what I feel like was our best lesson yesterday. We are teaching a guy named Angel who is a taxi driver who works all day and all night to feed his family... and he wants to be a barber. Anyway, we have had a tough time getting him to church and also to follow through on commitments. So this lesson we taught an object lesson so that he hopefully understand the importance of Faith in Christ. We gave him a seed/ acorn I found and talked about how our faith is like a seed in that it needs to be fed and put in the right places in order for it to grow - which he understood perfectly.  Then we went into a lot more depth in the scriptures about how he can develop his faith by going to church, reading scripture, and strengthening his relationship with God through prayer. At the end of the lesson he committed to be baptized! Every day we are supposed to center all of our study on our investigators and I read about Alma and Amulek teaching the Zoramites and how Alma related that story to them. Right after reading that story, I knew that it was what Angel needed to learn about.
I got the package you guys sent! Thank you for the cards, nuts, granola bars, and coat.  I put the drivers license in a safe place! Thank you for the stars, too. one of my roommates took a bunch of Astronomy so we have like 10 constellations! I will take a picture and send it next email! Also congratulations to Todd and Rosie! I can't wait to meet Kyle!
From,
Elder Neifert

Saturday, September 8, 2012

I hope I can be just like Alma...

Dear Family
 That's awesome that Aaron's team won and he scored a goal!  And Bekah cheered in a football game! Write me more about it Aaron and Bekah.

  I don't have too much time but I would like to get the newsletter because I think I get more time out in the field, maybe.  HAPPY BIRTHDAY EMMA!  And thank you, mom, for paying my tithing for me!  Thank you, dad, for the jerky!
This week went by really fast.  For devotional we had Elder and Sister Kopischke from Germany.  She gave one of the best and funniest talks I have ever heard.  Sister Kopischke didn't know much English, but she was extremely excited to talk to us... and in her frusttration of not finding the right word she pulled the pulpit up and it almost fell! Her message was about how we need to give the Lord our whole heart and how the holy ghost is a language that everyone understands - so even though we will struggle with the language, as long as teach true principles and we are worthy and willing to be guided by the spirit, the spirit will bring power to our words it will bear a witness to those we teach.  Elder Kopischke also gave a great talk about the missionaries that were in his mission (he was a president of a mission in Germany) - almost every missionary he has come across could increase their success if they would come to better understand the atonement of Jesus Christ.  The most important part of our message as missionaries - that the investigator needs to understand and feel - is that the only way we can return to God is if we truly repent. That means making a change of heart and mind, being born again, and becoming clean through the atonement. And he also talked about how when we repent we must taste the bitter in order to taste the good.  In other words we need to feel the separation and pain of sin so we can fully feel the joy of being clean.  As we invite  the investigator to repent, we strengthen their relationship with Christ and provide a foundation strong enough for them to endure to the end. 
I went to a really good workshop on baptism and why baptism is necessary. It is a lot more complicated and deep than I thought. I dont have much more time to write so I am going to sum up stuff really fast. 
Elder Pack and I taught a lot of investigators and also members in the TRC (Teaching Resource Center).  And it seemed like this week was focused a lot of recieveing revaltion from God through scripture and prayer.
Something cool I learned as I studied was that the Book of Mormon doesn't in any way overshadow the Bible (New Testament and Old). It only enhances it. Through the Book of Mormon and guidance through the spirit we are able to find answers to our personal questions.  The Book of Mormon teaches that prayer and revelation are key to solving particular problems....
Something else really awesome that I studied this week was Alma chapter 29! God is willing to answer our questions and wants to give us the righteous things we seek after. Alma desired to be an angel proclaiming to the world repentance and to come unto God! The Book of Mormon and the works and writings of Alma has been proclaimed to all the world and has brought me and millions of others unto repentance. I hope I can be just like Alma in being an instrument in the hands of the Lord to "bring some soul unto repentance; this is my joy" (Alma 29:9).
I hope everyone is doing well! and I'm praying for you guys!
From,
Elder Neifert

Saturday, September 1, 2012

Friday, August 31, 2012

Dear Family,

Sorry about the short letters, I will try and beef them up.

I had an awesome week that went by really fast! I don't feel like I have been hear for 4 weeks already! Alex Haywood wrote and said he was coming on the 5th and I am really excited! I haven't met many people I already know. I met sister Goerring's sister I think. She is going to Italy! My district changed a lot this week - 2 of the Elders left for the Dominican Republic on Wednesday so now my district has 8 Elders.

We finally got teachers that will be around for the rest of the time I am in the MTC! So far I've had 14 teachers, because school is starting up so a lot of the teachers left. So we had substitutes up till this week. Hermana Runyon is one of my teachers and she served her mission in the northern part of Argentina. She said that just about every day she could look across the river and see Paraguay! Most of the Paguayans she met were maids who crossed the river to work in Argentina. She said it looked beautiful so I'm really excited to work down there. One of the substitutes (Hermano Black's) brother just got back from Paraguay and his advice was to try and teach the people as simply as possible and try to use a lot of object lessons because the education in Paraguay is sucky. Many people can't read.

I have gotten used to the food and meal times. I have the same meal times as Scott had. Breakfast at 7; lunch at 11:30; and dinner at 4:30. My roommates are loaded with candy, cinnamon roles, and chips. They are from Utah and their parents drop off stuff for our whole district every other day so I'm okay after dinner.

Something awesome about the MTC is that in the dorms they have holes behind these metal plates that I believe are there in case they want to install a socket, but they are used for hiding stuff in. Missionaries who leave for the field hide treasures in these holes or in the ceiling panels or air vents and they are called Narnia holes. I have found a vent full of 20 bags of chips, a sticky hand, a shield made out of a desk top, Nerf guns, 4000 stickers, etc.

I have heard of some weird stuff people hide too like and Easter eggs full of toenail clippings or a bag of lint. There are some awesome relics too - like in a ceiling panel I found a bunch of signatures of missionaries from the 90's.

Elder Pack and I are getting a lot better at teaching people in Spanish. We have two new investigators: Angel (which is a guy!) and Gabby. We taught both the first lesson and it went really well.

I hope everybody is doing good!

From,
Elder Neifert

Friday, August 24, 2012

My Purpose... in Spanish

Hello family!

Thank you for the letters! I had a really good week...

Elder Neil L Andersen came to speak at the MTC on Tuesday! It was amazing!! When he walked into the room everybody stood up out of respect, and before I could even see him, I could feel what kind of power and love this man had for the gospel. He had some really great quotes and insights about missionary work! One quote that I really liked - he said to let the Lord shape your back to bear the burdens placed on your shoulders. He also centered a lot of what he said on "our purpose as missionaries". Which is something that a lot of the missionaries have memorized... and it is kind of weird, but I have memorized it in Spanish and I cannot say it word for word in English yet. The purpose is to "invitar a las personas a venir a cristo al ayudarlas a que reciban el evangelio restaurado mediante la fe en jesucristo y su expiacion, el arrepentimiento, el bautismo, y la recepcion del don del espiritu santo y el perseverar hasta el fin." (translation: “Invite others to come unto Christ by helping them receive the restored gospel through faith in Jesus Christ and His Atonement, repentance, baptism, receiving the gift of the Holy Ghost, and enduring to the end.")

My companion and I have also been teaching two new investigators! One of them, when we first knocked on the door, talked to us through the crack in his door and spoke really fast Spanish so it was really tough to keep up. He asked a question about if we were Jehovah's Witnesses, which in Spanish has a word that sounds like testify in it... so I thought he asked if we were there to testify of Christ and so I said, "Yes!"... and then he slammed the door. We knocked again and cleared up that we weren't Jehovah's Witnesses, but it was kind of funny.

Something else that was really awesome about this week: I feel like my Spanish has gotten a ton better! I can teach a lesson without saying, "umm" or "uhhh" half the time! I still am pretty bad... but not horrible.

I also taught a guy from South Korea who spoke Spanish which was insane because he still had a South Korean accent and he was also partially blind. The lesson went great though and we taught him about the restoration of the gospel and the importance of families.

One of my teachers that I worked with in a workshop is Cap Sanders! He said to say hello.

Any way I love you guys and I hope you are all doing well!!! I sent some letters home that should be there in a couple of days, I think.

From,

Elder Seth Neifert

Friday, August 17, 2012

Dear Family,
Friday is actually my P-day. It was just different the first week. In my district I think there are 5 of us going to Paraguay, 2 to the Dominican Republic, and 3 going to New Jersey. All speaking Spanish.

In answer to your question, "Are they all seriously workers or are some still growing up?", I think they all know how to work but there comes a point after 5 hours of study that everyone doesn't look grown up anymore. They are good missionaries and I believe we are all working to be the best missionaries possible. Yesterday after studying for a really long time we took a break and had a chair race around the building... and also a caterpillar lap where we all get in a chair with wheels and only the front person is allowed to use his feet to pull forward and the rest of us have to hold onto the chair in front of us and pull and push . It looks awesome.

At the MTC [Missionary Training Center] they have some amazing devotionals and videos of talks... I honestly don't think we could see them anywhere other than the MTC . Elder Evans of the 70 and his wife came for the devotional this week and it was definitely the highlight of the week. I also saw a really good talk by Elder Bednar. We got our fake investigator Jorge to commit to baptism! I don't know how we did it because when Elder Pack talked - I had no clue what he was saying and I am guessing it was the same for him about me, but I asked him and he said yes.

The food here looks great! it is just that you feel weird afterwards. The vegetables are really good; it's the main courses that are funky. DearElder.com is the best way to get letters to me because I get them next day! I can only email once a week so it will take a while for me to respond. The investigators are all either actors or teachers from the MTC. I will send some pictures next week because I forgot my camera today.

I love you guys!



Elder Neifert

Saturday, August 11, 2012

First E-mail Home

Hey Family!

I am having a great time at the MTC! My companion is Elder Pack from Orem, Utah. He is an awesome comp. In my "residence" (its not called a dorm or apt. or crib, out of respect I guess...) we have 6 elders and 4 small closets, so it is pretty tight. I have the top bunk over Elder Pack and I have to jump and climb pretty high to get up, but it is good exercise. I had a sort of hang up with my shots and they need me to have all of the dates for my tetanus shot and my MMR shot along with any other dates for shots that you can give me by next week. I thought I had all the paper work but I guess not... you can just email me the dates they said. The classes I have here are amazing! I can feel the spirit super strong. Especially when we teach investigators. We taught investigators as a big group at first in English, but yesterday we taught our first Spanish investigator in Spanish. It was okay, but it had a lot of quiet time in it as well because me and Elder Pack had to ask each other what words meant. We set up an appointment for today so we will see how it goes! The food is good in that I can eat as much as I want, but it is also a little weird and I cant figure out what it is. The days are long because they keep us so busy studying and going to devo's and classes but it is amazing how much Spanish I have already picked up! I feel like I have learned more Spanish in the last 2 days than all the last 2 years of Spanish I took in high school. I hope everyone is doing great and that you're having fun starting school. I love you guys!

From,
Elder Neifert

Wednesday, August 8, 2012

Letter from the MTC Presidency

Elder Neifert entered the MTC this afternoon. We got to talk with him before he left and he sounded excited and ready to serve!

He received the following the week before his arrival in the MTC:

Dear Elder Garrett Seth Neifert,

Congratulations on your call to serve! We are excited about your arrival at the Provo Missionary Training Center next week and are grateful for your decision to serve the Lord. We would like to share some important information about your stay at the MTC.

This will be your MTC mailing address:

Elder Garrett Seth Neifert
MTC Mailbox # 310
PAR-ASUN 1009
2005 N 900 E
Provo, UT 84604-1793

Please share this address with those who may want to write or send packages to you while you are in the MTC. Please pay particular attention to the following items:

1. Your service begins the day you check into the MTC. Remind your family that complete separation from loved ones is part of the sacrifice that families and missionaries contribute to the work. For this reason, you should ask your family and friends not to attempt to see or visit with you while you are at the MTC, not even during your temple walks or at other places near the MTC.
2. All missionary mail must come through the US Mail or commercial delivery services. These services should not be used to send pizzas, fast foods, ice-cream, or any items that will spoil if they are not refrigerated within 24 hours. Missionaries are not called out of class to receive packages, nor do they have access to a refrigerator. For security reasons, we cannot accept any items delivered by hand.
3. Communication with family can be done through your missionary email account on your weekly Preparation Day. Communication to you from friends should be through letters mailed to the above address. We cannot accept telephone calls for missionaries.
4. Families and friends should not visit missionaries as they depart to their field of labor, whether at the MTC or at the airport.

Please do not reply to this email. If you need to communicate with the MTC, please call 801-422-2602.

Sincerely,

Provo MTC Presidency