Monday, February 25, 2013

Dear family,

I am better.  I just had the flu for a couple days.  I got the pic for you, mom. 

Sorry it took so long...I was sick and then we had changes.  If you don't like it, I can take some more, just let me know.  

I gave a talk in church about reverence. All through the talk the president's daughter was screaming and crying and dumped her water bottle all over the floor.  It was a little awkward as I tried to talk about reverence over a screaming girl.  Elder Hatch has 19 months in the mission and is a really funny missionary.  He went to BYU-I, too - the semester before me so we know some of the same people.  He has a pet alligator at his house named Derrell who just sits at the bottom of his pool. 
 Right now we are looking for investigators a ton.  But the set investigator we are trying to teach right now is a lady named Isabell, and also a guy named "Wilt the Stilt Wilter".  He is 16 and just over 4 ft tall and really skinny. He looks like he is 10.   Both of them have just gotten lesson 1 since I've been here (about the Restoration) and we are going to try really hard to get them to church this coming Sunday.  

The only bad thing about Arroyos is that we are an hour away from district meeting and 2 hours our of the mission office so we do a ton of collectivo riding and hitch hiking.  And the collectivos are extremely unreliable so we end up hitch hiking a lot.  Which is fun.  The drive in between here and Caucupe is super beautiful.  I will try and get some pictures today.  We had zone conference this week, too and we found out who the new president is going to be. There is also a ton of changes happening to the mission.  I think with the changes that will happen in June or July, if I am still in Arroyos I will be in the south mission.  We will see what happens.  I am still pretty confused about what changes are going to happen, but I sent you guys the email about it.  (See below)

I think the best lesson we had this week was with a lady named Limpia who is inactive due to having to work on Sundays.  So we talked about Mosiah 5: 9-13 and also how Christ wants to make us His and wants to write His name on our hearts to make our desires and actions His own.   It's when we are baptized and when we renew our covenants through the sacrament that He writes His name deeper and deeper into our hearts.  It was pretty spiritual, but she didn't want to change anything in her life and so we'll be going back again this week on Wednesday to talk about how when we put our lives in the hands of God that He will  deliver us from our burdens and worries of the world.  We will see how it goes with her.   

That's awesome about your home teachee, dad and Aaron! That is a tough situation that I have thought a lot about too.  Let me know how it turns out with her.  

What is aaron going to talk about?  Good luck buddy!  

I got a letter from Barb and the ladies club at Parc Provence! (Elder Neifert worked at an assisted living home before his mission and became great friends with many of his co-workers and the residents)  It was awesome!   I shared with all of my friends about each and every one of those ladies  and how many great times I had with them.  THANK YOU for the Letters!   

Here is a picture of Elder Hatch.

 Elder Neifert

The Mission President's Email mentioned above (translated):

Dear Elders and Sisters,
As you know Sister Madariaga and I finish our service in Paraguay in late June of this year. The First Presidency has called to our successors, to be the
President H. Garn and Sister. Pam McMullin (see brief biography attached)
who begin their service in early July 2013. would ask you keep them in your prayers from now on.
Additionally, the First Presidency has announced the creation of a new mission with head in the city of Posadas, Argentina, but that will impact both missions in Paraguay.
  • Mision Posadas Argentina take some districts and a stake in the current Paraguay Asuncion Mission.
  • Paraguay Asuncion Mission San Lorenzo take Stake and Districts Caacupé and La Paloma currently belong to our mission.
  • Paraguay Asuncion North Mission left with four stakes (Asuncion North Luque Luque Capiatá South) and four districts (Mariano Roque Alonso, Boqueron, Concepcion and Pedro Juan Caballero)
All these changes will take place on July 1 of this year. This means that the missionaries, to July 1, 2013, are found serving in the Stake or District San Lorenzo or La Paloma Caacupé will belong to the Paraguay Asuncion Mission (our dear sister "South Mission")
The Lord's work is accelerated, especially after the announcement of Pte Monson, on the age of the missionaries. This is a testimony that the play is directed by our Lord through his prophet. What a blessing to serve in this time with you. May the Lord bless us to persevere together until the end!
With sincere love,

President and Sister Madariaga 
New Mission President's Biography

Monday, February 18, 2013

2nd Area Arroyos Y Esteros

Dear Family,
That is super awesome Elder Christiansen came! (Elder Christensen attended the family's home ward this past Sunday, Feb 17th)  It sounds like it was an awesome Sunday.  Plus Aaron, Derek, and Caleb had to sing.  What did you guys sing?

I got changed.  I am now in Arroyos y Esteros which is like an hour out of Caucupe! The basilica is ginormous and every year thousands of people here walk to Caucupe to see the virgin. My new companion is Elder Hatch from Glendora, California which is really close to LA.  He has been out 19 months on his mission right now! I think that he is a really good missionary. I get along with him pretty well, but he already has 4 changes in Arroyos y Esteros so he'll probably get switched out soon. This next change is only 4 weeks,  so I will probably have a new companion soon.

 Arroyos is really far out on a highway in the middle of nowhere.  It has a ton of farms and sugar cane fields. It takes a collectivo about an hour and a half to get to Caucupe and it is the most beautiful drive I've ever been on. There are some crazy big hills that just stick out in the middle of some fields that I will take a picture of later. Aroyos has a branch of about 30 people on avg. and the President's family makes up half the branch.  I gave a talk to introduce myself and the handed me another talk paper for next week on reverence, which is a really good topic because reverence is a fat issue here. I will let you know how it goes.  I was sick this week with the flu, so I don't have a lot to write about because we've been stuck in the house. WHICH HAS AIR CONDITIONING!!!!!!!!! it feels so nice.

I hope your Indian presentation goes well mom, and that your leg is all better.   I hope all the best for you Fil and the LSAT!  I KNOW I DIDN'T SEND THE SUIT PHOTO! I will send it tomorrow after zone conference.

I LOVE you guys,
Elder Neifert

Here are some new photos from Elder Neifert: 

 Saying goodbye to friends in Yukury:

Tuesday, February 12, 2013


Dear Family,
How was Aaron's Birthday?

I will get you that picture next Monday. Sorry... I've been looking for a sweet background with palm trees or a lizard or something, but I will for sure get it too you in a week.
I think I'm good on Sunscreen. if needed i will buy some more here... but I sweat it all off in like 5 minutes of being outside.
I think we are at the peak of heat right now so were on the down slope. From what I've heard, it starts to get better in late March.

That's awesome, DEREK!!! I'm super excited for you!  (a friend from his home ward gave his talk and will be leaving for his mission to France this next week.) 

I started The Book of Mormon over again and it is incredible what I missed the first time! It is really crazy reading verses of scripture that collaborate with what iI just read at the other end of the book. I learned about a sweet pattern this week between Moses and Jesus Christ. Just how Moses freed the Hebrews from bondage and took them through the Red Sea and then to Mount Sinai, Christ has saved us from the bondage of sin by taking us through the waters of baptism and then to the mountain (Temple) of the Lord so that we might gain exaltation.

Today is changes (transfers) and so we will see whether I am staying Yukuryr or leaving.  I've been in this area for 4 months, so I don't know whats going to happen. 
Elder Brown and I found some incredible people this week. We found a lady named Maria, who spoke with missionaries 7 years ago on a collectivo (bus). The missionaries eventually baptized her brother and now 7 years later she wants to be baptized! We walked into the lesson and she flat out asked us what she needs to do to be baptized. So her baptism is on the 23rd of Feb. She is an amazing example of what seeds every one of us can plant in the lives of others. It might not grow instantaneously, but give it a little time and all of the sudden the conditions are right for it to start growing.

Another person we found yesterday is a lady named Rosana. We had been talking before we met her about how we could improve teaching people instead of lessons and so we focused really hard on just teaching her specifically to her needs. The lesson went amazing and she opened up to us that she had been searching for a church that would be able to "fill her," and that she had gone to an evangelical church and switched to Catholicism because of her spouse. We were able to talk about how the church of Christ does exactly that, it fills us. Just like Christ said if you will drink of my water and eat of my bread you will never hunger or thirst again. And how it is only in his true church that HE PLACED on the earth that we can be filled. She committed to be baptized and read and pray to know if the message we shared was true. Also she commented how talking to us made her feel good because it was a discussion not a sermon. She was able to express her ideas and views and that made her feel good. We will see what happens on Wednesday, but I know that she felt the spirit really strong and that because we listened and applied the lesson according to her needs, she wanted to make commitments and keep them. The Lord prepared her and blessed us that we could talk to her with her needs in mind. After the lesson I had an incredible feeling thinking about how much the Lord had done for us and for her so that she could accept and apply the gospel of Jesus Christ.

This church is not led by men thinking about the Bible a lot and making a good assumption about how we should follow and partake of salvation. IT IS TOO IMPORTANT TO ASSUME! Revelation is necessary, directly from God, giving us the directions we need to obey Him and do His will. If we don't receive revelation directly from God then who are we following? I have felt the spirit of God telling me of the importance and truthfulness of this work, and I know it is led by Him.

The pictures are that blue lake I told you guys about and me and elder Mejia our last day, and
a typical house in Paraguay that we are contacting. (fake contacting, nobody was home.)

(Will update with pictures later - for some reason it won't work)
Elder Neifert

Monday, February 4, 2013


HAPPY BIRTHDAY AARON!  You are getting old, and I am old.  I hope your surprise birthday at Hardees arena in Chesterfield is a good surprise.  (his mom was trying to throw a surprise party, but he found out)

Dear family,

We have been super busy teaching lessons.  We cannot get to everybody we want to teach.  Its an awesome problem.  The only problem is that like none of our investigators came to church.  It is crazy how things pop up when you want to do what God wants.  We had one of our investigators saturday night who had to go out and look for his daughter who didnt come home from a party until like 9 in the morning.  And then another fell and had to go to the hospital. And another had to go pick up her husband because he got in a car accident.  Coincidence?  I dont think so. 

I have an awesome story I want to share with you guys.  We went to visit an investigator who we have been teaching for about 2 months.  The day before her husband had just lost his job. She has cancer and is waiting for test results.  She needs more treatments, and she works going door to door trying to sell manicures.  They live in a really old beat up house that is falling apart, they have an infiltration of ants in their house, and they have 4 young kids.  That day she just broke down in front of us.  She was telling us about all she was going through when her two youngest girls came sprinting across the road with their shirts full of coco´s and humongous smiles.  They yelled, "Hey we found some coco´s! Look what we found!"  Coco´s, in Paraguay, are little coconuts that fall from the trees here.  They are all over the place.  People sometimes crack them with rocks and eat the inside but they aren't awesome... they are everywhere! They are the most common thing in Paraguay.  Plus they don't taste that good.  Their mom told me about how her girls loved finding coco´s and smashing them and eating them. ¨to them, it is better than money.  Its the greatest treasures of all time, to find cocos. ¨she said.  It was amazing to me how they found joy and fun even when they knew their mom had cancer and their dad lost his job, but the circumstances that we are in don't effect how we respond.  They found a way to be happy.  It was an awesome lesson that we had with our investigator and we read Mosiah 24 about how Alma and his people overcame their trials.  Those girls were stuck in my head this week and I wanted to share that with you guys. I don't think I will ever have a good excuse to complain or be depressed after seeing that family.

Also, this week we ate some crazy weird things.  The bishop's wife cooked up some jungle bird that only comes out at night.  It was super gamy and overcooked.  I spit out about 3 bullets because the bishop hunted them about 2 days before with a shot gun.  We also found these really awesome inactive members that have cows.  I don't like regular milk... and she handed me a warm thick glass of milk, full of floaties. I almost puked.  It was straight from the cow - with the smell of being straight from the cow.  To be kind I will say that it was funky.  My companion chugged it down super fast and then the lady who gave us the milk just stared at me, waiting for me to finish it.  It took me about 10 minutes of taking tiny sips and waiting until the floaties wafted to one side so I could drink.  She told me about three times, ¨Hey, you don't have to drink it¨ and kept saying to my companion, "I don't think he likes it,¨ but I told her, "No, I like it. I'm just savoring it."  I don't know if that counts as a lie, but I couldn't tell her it was gross.

I hope you guys are all doing well! Thank you for your emails! HAPPY BIRTHDAY, Aaron.  Break up 5 people holding hands for me at your party.

 I am going to send some stuff home in a little bit.


 Elder Neifert