Monday, January 28, 2013

Who you are is what matters

Dear family,
I don't have a ton of time to write, because I was fixing the pics so you can see them.  I think I fixed it. 
I hope you are getting better, mom! (She has the flu) The Lopez family, who I had Christmas with, their mom has Dengue!  So we went over and visited her this week. What a coincidence.  Dengue is a huge problem in Paraguay. Their hospitals are full of people who have it and a lot have to be quarantined and kept so there are a ton of people sleeping on the floors.  We are putting on mosquito repellant on in the bucket-loads so I think I will be okay. 
This week we had a bunch of lessons.  We ran in-between appointments and didn't meet too many new people.  Raquel is doing great and she brought her sister out to church with her family.  Her husband didn't come, though, and so his baptism is being pushed back again.  The Spanish is coming a little faster, I think, and I can pretty much understand everybody.  Elder Brown and I are getting along well and I am learning a ton from him.  We had a lot of incredible lessons where it seemed to be just what the person needed to hear in order to change some things around in their lives.  
Something I learned this week as I was teaching is that religion cannot be tailored to suit the wants and desires of people.  Its a place to meet the wants and desires of God. The true church of God is the one that shows us who God wants us to be and how to get there.  By the right kind of obedience to the Lord's commandments and teachings, we in turn become something greater than we thought we could.  That is a huge misunderstanding of religion, I think.  A lot of times we think of the rules or commandments of God as a checklist of things needed to get into heaven, but I don't think God will have a checklist.  I think it will be just you and him, and who you are is what matters.   And in the end the Lord's way is a lot easier and more rewarding than our way. 
I love you guys and I put more pics in dropbox of Aregua beach and other stuff.  The big building is the biggest hotel in Paraguay, I think.

Elder Neifert

Monday, January 21, 2013


Dear Neifert Family,
RAQUEL GOT MARRIED AND BAPTIZED!! It was amazing how things worked out. We thought we had everything set up for Saturday for the wedding and baptism. We got to the chapel super early to fill up the font, clean, and decorate. We got there and the whole entry into the church was covered in pigeon poop. The Bishop gave us the keys to the chapel but it was a chain of like 50 keys, so it took like 20 min unlocking the gates and doors. Then our testigos (witnesses) for the wedding dropped out, and then our baptism talks, and just about every member who said they would come called and said they couldn't. Then the guy who was supposed to bring the food didn't show up... BUT then the President of the mission called and said he was coming! It all worked out in the end  and there was an incredible feeling watching Raquel and her family come together to get married and then baptized! It was awesome when her family finally showed up to the wedding.  She looked like an Arabian princess because she put stickers in her hair and on her forehead. 
 President gave an amazing talk at the baptism along with another member. The spirit was amazing and you could feel how important of a step this was for their family. Raquel's husband isn't baptized yet, but we have a date set in 3 weeks! Then in a year, I hope they will get married in the Temple! This Sunday they all came to church and were confirmed! It has been a huge pay day for me and Elder Brown.

We found a lot of amazing people to teach this week too. On Sunday we were walking down our street and there were just a bunch of drunks hanging around.While we were walking one of them yelled out and said,  "Hey! Help me I really need you guys help!" So we walked over and he was super drunk but he was with his sisters and cousins and so we talked to them all the while he was crying and saying how bad of a father he was and saying, "Yo soy boracho" (I'm a drunk). His family was laughing at first and then after a while of him crying they started to cry too just because of how sad it really was. He was drinking his life away, his family, his work, everything - he knew it and they knew it.  So we set up like 3 different citas (dates) so we can come back and teach them. Then we started walking home and another drunk guy who was an old investigator found us and he took a picture of us with his camera and gave me a smelly hug.
I wanted to send a  THANK YOU to Grandma and Grandpa, and Aunt Cindy and Uncle Paul for the Christmas money! I think I will buy a house.  (he probably could with the price of things in Paraguay)
Also, thank you all for the Christmas shout outs!

I love you guys!!
Elder Neifert

That may have been the time I have felt the spirit the most on my mission so far.

Dear Family,

This week has been a good one. Raquel is going to be married and baptized the 19th of January with her kids! I HOPE!!! I am pretty sure.  Elder Brown and I are finding a lot of great people to teach and I am already learning a lot from him.  We had a lot of people at church again and 5 investigators!!!!! We are going to be super busy this coming week.  

Something awesome I studied this week were the books of Abraham and Moses.  I was thinking a lot about what kind of people prophets like Abraham or Moses were like before becoming taking up all of the responsibility of being a prophet.  God must have trusted these men a huge amount to give them the power to move mountains and preach his word and will to the world.  Right at the beginning of Abraham, in verses 1 and 2, it talks about what kind of person he was before becoming a prophet.

I shared this scripture for a family home evening and the dad, who is an excommunicated member working to make it back to the Temple with his wife, bore his testimony about seeking and desiring for things of God rather than things of the world.  The only things that really bring happiness and joy into someone's life are those things that are eternal. He is looking for a job with less hours and probably less pay to spend more time strengthening his family.  

That may have been the time I have felt the spirit the most on my mission so far.  

Today we got a member to take us on a tour of Aregua and the Blue Lake!  IN HIS CAR!!!! I think for every car in my area there are about 300 people, so for us to go in a car was crazy.   We went in this super old catholic church, then climbed a hill that is really famous in Aregua ...



 and then went to this really old train station

 ...and then the  Blue Lake... that is really brown.  People hyped up that lake a ton and when I got there, it was brown just like every other lake. BUT it was one of the most beautiful parts of Paraguay I've seen so far.

I love you guys and thank you so much for the great pictures of everyone!!! I'VE BEEN OUT 6 MONTHS!!!! It doesn't feel like it.

Elder Neifert

Wednesday, January 9, 2013

Jan 7th

Dear family!

We had changes again and so I am with Elder Brown now. This change was really big because we split Yukuryry (pronounced Ju-ki-doo - we discovered this in our Skype call with Elder Neifert) in half and so now I am in area Yukryry A! It was really nuts during changes because they had me split the area with Elder Breadsguard and we got 3 new missionaries who were coming into the area. So most of this week I was showing the 3 missionaries around the area and meeting with members. We all live in the same house in Ita Angua.  Elder Brown is from Lydon, Utah.  The other new Elders are: Elder Ramos from Argentina and Elder Rodriguez from Columbia.
I didn't get to teach that much this week because of the changes, but I am really looking forward to working with Elder Brown.

This Sunday was really awesome, we had 100 people at church!!!!! It is usually at around 50-60. We had a ton of inactive members come that we visited and a lot of investigators! The priesthood couldn't all fit in the room!

  I also got sprayed by milk.  I was sitting behind a kid named Dillon who had a bottle and he dropped it behind him and sprayed me. It was warm - that's all I have to say about that.

We also taught this lady named Gladys, who konked me in the head with a mango. We contacted her at her house and she wanted to get me a mango from her tree... so she used this super long wooden pole and poked one.  We were standing out from under the tree and I wasn't paying too much attention because her mom was giving me weird looks... and the mango fell and hit a branch and deflected into my head. And that thing was hefty.  The weird thing was that she acted like nothing happened and just went back to her chair and sat down as if it happens all the time.  Luckily it didn't explode, it was just super squishy - so I chucked it after we left.

Those mounds I was standing on are termite mounds.

My scripture study is different every morning. I try and study up on something that I am going to use that day or something I feel would help the most in teaching or being a better missionary. I think that the most important thing for me as I start studying is to have a specific purpose that I pray for help with. If I don't start off studying with a prayer for help, I feel as though I'm not getting what the Lord wants me to get out of it. When I study without a purpose in mind or a subject in mind, its pointless and I lose interest in what im reading. I wish I could read conference talks, but I am still looking for a copy.

I love you guys and I'm sorry I didn't have too much to write about lessons or working.


Elder Neifert

Saturday, January 5, 2013

December 31st, 2012


 It was really great to talk too you all! I love you guys and I miss you all a lot.  I hope your Christmas was sweet.  We had asado with the Lopez family which is like a huge barbeque. We ate it with a fruit salad I made!  Christmas in Paraguay is awesome.  Its like the fourth of July, except with music blaring everywhere.  Everyone eats outside in their front yard until 12 and then they light off fireworks and blast their music as loud as possible! Another thing about Paraguay - everyone has a huge stereo system. Some people here might live in a a trashcan, but its a noisy one with really nice speakers.  And they place the speakers in their windows so everyone can hear. The fireworks are nuts! They aren't like the big ones in the states, they are just little bombs that make one big boom.  Every house also has a nativity set that they work on forever... here is a picture of Hermana Lopez's.

 They are way cool.   I wasn't able to fall asleep until around 3 because of the music blasting and fireworks.  I think some of the neighborhood kids were throwing them at our house.  I bought them chupa chupas and they stabbed me in the back.

We had a burger fiesta with the district:
and I got your package!!!!! THANK YOU!!! I am super excited and it was way funny to elder Mejia's reaction at getting a stocking with toothpaste.  

And, mom, that princess ball is just what I needed to feel the Christmas spirit.  (The ball is an inside joke.)

We had sort of a tough week numbers wise.  We found a couple new investigators that I am excited about.  And Raquel and her husband set a date to be married and baptized!  We had some awesome lessons with her and her family.   Her sister took a collectivo for two hours to come and talk with us about the scriptures and God.  It was a really powerful lesson and she accepted the invitation to be baptized. 

I have been blessed a lot in speaking Spanish and also knowing where to look for people and what to say to them.  One example out of a ton is that we were doing contacts and we weren't able to find anyone who wanted to learn more or come to church and so I offered a prayer asking Heavenly Father to help us find two people who we were able to teach who would want to know more. The next house we clapped at we taught two boys who asked us questions and we taught them about prophets and how we can receive answers from God about the restoration.  They accepted the baptismal invitation and hopefully we will teach them a lot more this week.  I am not even able to fathom how much the Lord has blessed me and how much he loves his children. 

I love you all and hope you have a great new year!

Elder Neifert

Here are a few pictures Elder Neifert sent this week as well: