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!!!!!

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!


Thursday, October 11, 2012

I made it


 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