Tuesday, April 30, 2013


Mi querido familia,
A lot of stuff happened.
I got pink washed (the sister missionaries took over the area) out of Arroyos y Esterros which I'm a little bummed about. Now I am in Concepcion,  which is pretty far out.  Once again, the first language here in Guarani.  My companion is Elder Glen Smith from Julian, California. He has just over a year in Paraguay and I am super happy to have him as a companion.  He knows a guy named Dustin Evenson who teaches 5th grade at P.G. elementary, maybe Grandma Whatcott knows him.  I think its his sister's husband. 
Our area is pretty chuchi (high class) for Paraguay standards. We have a grocery store called Yasy (yah soooo) which has been a huge change from living out of dispensas for two changes.  I honestly feel a little out of place with chuchi people.  Our house is a little apt, right in front of an ice cream store and over a hair cutting place, and its like a three minute walk from the chapel.
So this last week were the last days of Elder Lewis.  We spent a lot of time taking pics and visiting families. The Peruvian lady who cleans houses for the mission showed up and made us clean the house really well.  I got her to make us some Peruvian rice which she loaded up with fiambre(horse meat) yuuummmm!   I honestly didn't know I was eating horses until about a month ago.  So we cleaned the house really well and she made me let Gary Harold (the hairy caterpillar) loose.  
 I took a video with some members that I want to send but I don't know how.  I will upload pictures next week as well.  So we spent Monday and Tuesday packing bags and saying goodbye and cleaning up the house.  Wednesday: I got changes,  I sent Elder Lewis off to die in peace, and I spent the whole day in the office with a few other Elders going out to Concepcion and Pedro Juan until about 6 pm. Then we got taken to the bus terminal where the only bus would leave at 11:30 pm.  I found an awesome guy in the terminal who spoke English and was going out to Pedro Juan, we talked for like 3 hours about religion and I bore my testimony and gave him a copy of the Book of Mormon.  He promised to read it and also accepted the baptismal challenge.  We'll see where that goes.  I passed him off to the Pedro Juan Elders and he said he would email me if anything happens. Nothing has happened yet, I guess.
So I got to my area in Concepcion at like 5 in the morning and I did not sleep at all.  The rest of the week, Elder Smith and I spent a lot of time getting to know the area because he is a little new to the area as well.  We do have one investigator named Aurora, who I believe will get baptized on the 18th of May.  I presented myself to the ward Sunday and on the way up to the pulpit my dag-gone pocket caught the edge of the stand and ripped. That was awkward. I sewed it up later.  The branch here is super strong! We don't have to teach classes and Elder Smith said we don't give too many talks, or lead the music. It is going to be fun just focusing on missionary work, and finding people. 
On Sunday we got a call from the office that I had to sign some legal documents in Asuncion... so once again, we got on a collectivo at 11:30 pm in Concepcion and arrived in Asuncion at 5 am, and once again, I didn't sleep.  And we got stuck in the office again and there wasn't a cyber (I assume he means an internet cafe...?) that was close by so I couldn't write on Monday.  The good thing that happened: we found a restaurant that sold some good tacos.  So last night we got on another collectivo from Asuncion at 9:30 pm this time and got back to Concepcion at 4 am this morning.  I am tired as heck.  We did a few visits today and my brain was zonked. 
I am loving Concepcion. Elder Smith and I are going to have a lot of success.  He is the kind of companion I was praying for and I am sure we are going to work really hard together.
I love you, family! I already sent Rachel an email for her birthday.  She is old, and you guys are old, and I am old.  Good thing our spirits don't get old.


Elder Neifert

Monday, April 22, 2013

Antonio's Baptism!

Dear family,

This week was a good one.  My comp got sick for a couple of days so I had a lot of time to clean and read and watch church movies!   One kind of different thing that happened this week:  I contacted a pastor of an Evangelical church.  I just saw him on the street and so I contacted him... I told him I wasn't going to try and fight with him and that it was our mission to share with everyone no matter who, and he wanted to listen and so I started in... and right when I got to the part about how after the death of Christ and the apostles, the church's direction was lost, he stopped me.  He started rattling off scriptures that he had memorized and then ended up yelling in my face to never teach that kind of doctrine again and that I should repent and he was going to pray for me.  I showed him a few scriptures like Ephesians chapters 2 and 4 and also talked about how the authority of God is passed down and the structure of the church Christ formed, but he didn't want to listen after that. So we got out of there. 
When things of the world get in the way between man and God (or the Holy Ghost) - nothing happens, we're lost, we don't learn or progress.  And that is why I never plan to bible bash again. Because all of the sudden it becomes less about learning truths and more about who knows more, the testifier of truth (the spirit/Holy Ghost) is taken out of the picture.  

I also caught a funky looking caterpillar that walked across our floor while Elder Lewis was sick.

I am almost positive I'm getting pink washed: meaning that sister missionaries our going to take over my area. I'm not happy about leaving because I just learned the area really well and found all of the menos activos (less actives), but if its what the Lord wants - then it's okay.  

Also Antonio Got Baptized!!!!! Raquel's husband from my old area!!!!!!!! So I think they are going to start making goals to go to the temple in a year!!!!  I will forward you the pick Elder Brown sent! 
 From Elder Brown:  "thought you might want to see this, he made it man!! ill tell you the whole story when i see you next!!
elder brown"
We also found a really good investigator who I'm sure will progress! We contacted him and he is one of the most humbled people I have met so far, but I think I'm leaving, so I will leave him for the sisters to teach and visit! 

I read a really neat story in 2nd Chronicles chapters 34 and 35 about a king named Josiah who I think is now one of the best examples to me of faithfulness in the Old Testament.

I love you guys!  Thank you soo much for all of your support and letters and packages! 

Elder Neifert

Monday, April 15, 2013

No Coincidences!

I got the package!!!! Thank You!!!! I shared the sunflower seeds with the members yesterday on our way to district conference, and they loved them.  It was really hard describing what they were though.  Thank you for the vitamins.  I made a wall along my desk and I will definitely use them!

I have come to the conclusion that if Dad was from Paraguay and did what he does now he would be a "remedio juju man"! hahahaha. Which is very prestigious and respected here, so that isn't a bash on dad, it is more of a pedestal to step up on, and then step down because he's such a humble guy. 
This week was a really big traveling around week. We did a division again with Elder Baum and Elder Hokanson. I went with Elder Hokanson to a few houses of investigators and also to just contact, and an awesome thing happened. We headed over to this investigator named Armenio who was dropped a while ago... and then he came to church again... and so now he's and investigator again. So we got to his fence and clapped and he was on his patio sewing some stuff and he didn't respond so I yelled at him ( " Hola, que tal amigo!" ) and he looked up and said we could come in and talk. So we sat down by his sewing machine and I got to know him a little more and asked him about his family and how church was going and he just broke down and cried. He started in about how everything in his life was crumbling around him - his wife left him, his brother had to go to the hospital due to a heart condition, and his kids were making good choices.  And he said before we showed up he had determined to just give up.  On God, on church, on Christ, on his family, everything. He felt that  while he was doing the right things that bad things were still happening to him.  Sooo in his mind, that means that religion is not worth the time.  But because I was a different missionary and he didn't know me, he said when he saw me he couldn't tell me, "he quits".  He explained it in a kind of funny way, he said, "its like a guy was going to come to my house and I was really mad at him and I was going to kill him... and so I waited and waited and then a different guy comes in his place, I cant kill that guy,  I don't know him."
 I was a little lost because he mumbled a lot and was crying, but I kind of picked out what he said and made some connections.  I didn't know what to do.  And then D&C 122 popped into my mind and i shared it with him. The lesson went really well and he said he would give going to church and praying and reading another shot and we left with a prayer.  I walked out of there a lot more humbled and strengthened than when I went in. If I had not been with Elder Hokanson they might have lost him (not because I am a good missionary, but because I was a different missionary). It just so happened that we got stuck in Caucupe that day and that Elder Baum decided to do a division and Hokanson just decided to go visit Armenio that day, instead of the day after with Elder Baum (I assume Elder Baum already knew Armenio).  THERE ARE NOT ANY COINCIDENCES IN THAT!!! The Lord moves this work forward preparing and paving the way for the salvation of his children, and as long as we are good people who are worthy to have the guidance of the spirit with us we will be the instruments in his hands. It is the most amazing feeling I have ever felt. I love this work more than anything and the fact that God is going before and behind his servants is incredible.

Tuesday we hitchhiked on a coal truck:

On Thursday we went to the Temple!!! It was awesome! Everything was in Spanish and it was just as powerful as in English! The photos are of our district of 4 and also Elder Cristiansen who came with me from Provo (The Missionary Training Center).

We took a collectivo home and the next morning I woke up with hives all over. Apparently I am allergic to something and so we sent photos to the doctor and he thinks I'm allergic to my deodarant. DANGIT!!!! I guess I will be stinky for the rest of my life. No, I will try a differnt brand and see what happens. The hives went away the next morning so it wasnt too bad.
Thanks again for the package!!! and I am praying for you Jessi!!! (Elder Neifert's sister is due to have a baby in the next month or so).

Elder Neifert

This came as a separate e-mail:
The dog in the trail is the dog that ate the cat. His name is Perin. 

I found that cool toad on the road and he looked poisonous and it was tough to get him to flip over so I used a pencil.
A banana tree in my backyard. 

Elder Hatch and I got funny ethnic shirts for really cheap. 
A member named Veronica gave me an avacado heart that she carved

 The dish with all the food is a classic Paraguayan food dish with (sopa wasu, chipa, carne with a lot of fat, rice mixed with mayonaise, and mandioca.) 

The huge basilica in Caucupe with the virgin. 

The Herrera family and it was their little girl's birthday. 

I will try and get better pictures of common stuff to give you guys a better picture of where I am and what I write about.

Monday, April 8, 2013


Dear Family,
This week blew by pretty fast! I had another division with Elder Ingold on Tuesday. It helped a ton because he had been in Arroyos about a year ago and showed me a ton of new places to visit and gave me a lot of references. We walked out to presidents house and the familia dominguez's dog, which is a huge pit bull, started following us. He followed us for about an hour and a half out to presidents and then to a few visits with people and families on the street on the way back. We showed up at an inactive member's house who I had been looking for for a really long time and so I was really excited to finally meet him. I knew that we needed as much of the spirit as we could get with us so he could get back on the right path.  We got all of his kids and his wife together and we sat in their little house to teach them.  The dog followed us in and wouldn't leave. The wife started with a prayer and while she was speaking their little baby cat named Michi (meechee) came in and sat under Elder Ingold's chair.  .... and then the dog saw it. He jumped under the chair and went nuts. We heard some hissing and then some crunching and their little girl saw it all. The prayer stopped and I grabbed and pulled the pit bull out and the hermana reached under and pulled out Michi. Poor, poor Michi.  The hermana lifted him up in the light and declared him dead and threw him out the door. So we had our lesson and it went really good! ...but we have to get them another cat, DANG IT.

We saw conference and I loved it! (Elder Neifert is referencing General Conference - The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints holds a world-wide broadcast every 6 months. The Prophet, Apostles, and other leaders speak. For highlights and links to full talks click here)   There were so many things that I liked and it is going to be really awesome when the Liahona (the international monthly magazine that the Church puts out) comes out in a few months. We saw it in Caucupe and so did the members from our branch. We missed Priesthood session though, so I'll have to wait until the magazine. My brain was exploding from how well each talk complimented the one before it and the one after. There was definitely themes and I felt the power and truth of the need for those messages.  I wish I had a bigger brain because I felt amazing during the conference.  I know the talks were extremely important and powerful, its just hard to apply all of there suggestions when I cant remember all of them.  It really brought to my mind how important it is to focus on learning things precept by precept and line upon line. I made a resolution to focus on one or two suggestions until it has become a part of me and then move on to the next few.  We'll see how it goes.
I haven't gotten the package yet but maybe tomorrow at district meeting! My clothes are fine and my shoes are holding out good. They have zapateros (cobblers) here who can fix them anyway, so I think I will be fine for a good while.

I forgot about Grandma's birthday! HAPPY BIRTHDAY, GRANDMA! I knew it was on the 29th of March, I just didn't remember a week ago.

I love you guys,
 Elder Neifert

PS -  I'm going to the temple for the first time on Thursday!  I'm really excited! It has been too long and I know it will be a different experience this time as a missionary.

PPS - Sorry, I forgot.  The mission is going to change after Pres. Madariaga leaves, which is in June, I think. If I'm still in Arroyos by then I will be part of the south mission. We'll see. After next change, that will be 3 transfers in Arroyos, which is usually how long missionaries stay in an area... so I think I will change areas before, but who knows. God, that's who.

Monday, April 1, 2013

Hitchhiking with Nuns...

This week was the Semana Santa which is like Christmas here for Catholics. It is also when everybody makes chipa (a bagel looking bread).  It is okay sometimes and others it is like eating a rock  and we tried everybody's chipa. Every house we contacted:  "Hey Have some Chipa!" 
 "Okay, Que rico!"     We would have to cookie monster it half the time because it breaks apart really easy. 
 It was pretty tough getting into houses this week and a few of our investigators didn't want to talk to us anymore. It is almost funny when we walk around because the people who don't want to talk to us see us coming, then they make like babies and head out as fast as possible.  I have seen ladies over 250 pounds run away from us. Well if anything we are getting people exercise.  We have a couple promising investigators who we've been teaching for about 3 weeks, but they haven't come to church due to their parents and other family members.
I also got to hitchhike with a couple of nuns this week.  I did a division with Elder Baum in Caucupe and going back to Arroyos we were sticking out our thumbs for about 30 min when some nuns pulled over! It was awesome! We talked about Paraguay for a while and I started to ask more religious questions and I could tell they didn't want that... so we talked about other things.  They were extremely nice and run a school in Arroyos. That is one thing to cross off of my bucket list!  Elder Baum asked them about their children. (Oh, Elder Baum!)...It got weird after that.

Elder Lewis was sick this week so I had time to study and clean. He is definitely ready to go home. He already has his bags half packed.
On Sunday I gave a talk about repentance (I talked about Alma's conversion and also 3 Nephi 18:25 and D&C 58:42 ) that I didn't know about until 5 minutes before sacrament meeting!  I also directed the music, passed the sacrament, and taught the Young Men and Young Women class. It was a full day at church for me. WE ARE SO EXCITED FOR CONFERENCE! We've invited so many people!   We'll see who shows.

I love you guys!
Elder Neifert