Monday, May 27, 2013

Last Zone Conference with President Madariaga

Dear Family and Friends,

This week was a good one.  Those bus trips to Asuncion are fun but they are really tolling.  Its a seven hour trip and there are ladies in the dang bathroom every minute through the night.  Elder Ohara is my Zone Leader.  I don't know if you guys remember, but he was in my first district and my DL (District Leader) for a while.  He is a good friend on the mission.    Anyway we had the last zone conference with President Madariaga!  It was pretty powerful.  He talked about how missionaries really need to focus on the doctrine of Christ in every single lesson and contact.  That is the key to success and your investigators keeping commitments.  A lot of time we teach about the restoration, the plan of salvation, or the gospel of Christ, or anything without first explaining the reasoning behind it all. That reason is to repent and be baptized to return to the presence of or Heavenly Father.  An example would be: we explain the word of wisdom to an investigator and just say something like, we know you will receive blessings of health and strength and you will be able to feel of the spirits guidance and presence more consistently as you follow this commandment.  This commandment was revealed to us so that we can purify ourselves through repentance and be ready for baptism in order to live with our Father in Heaven after this life.  It was a really inspirational conference and I really felt the love and care that President had for us and the love that God has for us.  Elder Smith and I have already put it into practice and it has helped the quality of our lessons a ton! 

We will see what happens on my birthday.   I accept your challenge of conatcting 21 people. (His sister suggested he have a goal to contact 21 people on his 21st birthday).  I will let you know what your inspiration brings about.  I have some super exciting news.  There was a guy I met in the terminal about a month ago (click here for the story) and I talked with him, gave him a Book of Mormon, and challenged him to be baptized.  GUESS WHAT?? In two weeks, he's getting baptized out in Pedro Juan!!!!!!  I got the news and I got SOOOO happy!!! Joy just flooded into my body.  The guy is a genius and speaks like 3 or 4 languages.  It just boosted my contacting testimony a bizzilion times over.  YAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAA! YAYAYAYAAAAAAAAAAA!! 

We found an APARTMENT! por fin! (finally!) it is extremely chu chi (fancy)  and Elder Smith and I are really happy with it.   We bargained down the price a ton so it's not too expensive.  I will send pics when we move in. 

Thank you for the Birthday and Christmas cards and things!!!! It was just what I needed! Thank you for the notes. I laminated them and taped them to my wall.   THANK YOU PRIMARY!!! I loved the letters and pictures you sent!!!!  Jacob Shepherd - yes, there are quite a few attractive women down here, but they are your sisters, and it will be a while until you will be on the wife hunt. 

I am having a blast in Concepcion!  We are finally seeing some of the fruits of our labor and I think we will have a couple baptisms this month. 

I hope you are all doing well!!!!


Elder Neifert

Tuesday, May 21, 2013

Birds, and some thoughts on Eternal Families

Dear Family,

I am super excited to hear about Eliza!! That is about all of the news that is cool.  We have been searching for a house this week a lot, there are sisters coming in a few weeks and President has been pretty worried about it and so we put the gear into "super turbo AstroTurf" and looked for houses a bunch.  And we have a few options and I think we will be signing a contract this coming Wednesday.  Something kind of funny: we were teaching a family that is pretty poor and all of the sudden their kids come around the corner of their house with a toy toucan in their hands that is beautiful, and I thought, "Dang, they must have more money than I thought - buying a super nice stuffed animal." Then I looked a little closer and it was a dead toucan.  Hahahahah.  That's a little better than a stuffed toy!  It was still really nice looking... I didn't have the camera with me but it was the classic black with and orange and yellow beak. 

This parrots name is "Pancho".  He likes to bite, but I picked him up for you guys.  I tried picking him up with a towel but he wouldn't get up on until he pulled the rag away and found my flesh.  He bit me like 4 times and broke Elder Smith's skin on his fore arm.  Just about every other house has parrots here, but they are all malo (mean).  This guy was nicer than normal... said the lady who owned him. I don't think she was right.
If you can't tell from my smile, I am hurting.

Tomorrow we will go into Asuncion again to have the last Zone Conference with President Madariaga!  I'm sure it's going to be amazing!  I will write about it next week!

About Eliza (the new baby):

WOOOOOOOHOOOOO, She made it!!!!!!!!!! That  is Awesome !!!!! I'm so excited for you guys!!!!!

Congratulations, JESSI, CODY, EMMA, AND ELIZA!!!!!!!!!!!!!!
I had an epiphany this week that I want to share!  As we were contacting my companion started using a new approach for when we meet a mom or dad with kids. We would say, "We believe that if we do as the Lord asks in this life - that you will be able to be the mom of your children not only in this life, but in the eternities forever."  It worked!  There is a special kind of love that is between a parent and a child. To be able to share that love forever is something incredible and beautiful.  I cannot imagine how happy you guys must be to have a new member of the family for forever. She is going to be my niece forever, and I cannot wait to meet her!!!!!

I love you guys! Give Eliza a hug for me!


Elder Neifert

Monday, May 13, 2013

Mother's Day Skype

Dear Familia,
 I just figured out how bad my english is.  It was really tough to think of words with you guys.  I think half of it was shock of seeing your faces and moms beautiful mother self.  But it was awesome to be able to talk the short time we had.  I honestly felt afterwards like my brain was melted.  There's so many things I want to show you guys and talk about, but you are not here and so it would be really tough to explain things.  Anyway, this week was pretty good, I think that these last few weeks have been the hardest I've worked in a long while.  We just have a lot of things to do and Elder Smith is more than willing to work - so its been great.  We haven't been able to talk with Beatrice because she just hasnt been home, but we'll try and get a hold of her this coming week.  We still haven't had anyone at church yet who is an investigator - which is weird as heck because we've been working a really hard. The results will come - I'm sure.  For some reason our old investigators are just not keeping commitments even when we have awesome lessons and do everything we can.  I think we will be dropping some people. 

It was awesome to talk with you guys!!!! I expect an email from Aaron.  Sorry, I wasnt able to figure out the gmail chat, I also figured out how slow my techno skills have gotten. I had to humble myself before Jessi and ask her how to do a video chat, she told me to click on the button shaped like a video camera.  DANG IT!!!!  I guess that stuff isn't really important right now for me anyway. 
I love you guys!!!! I will pray for you Jessi! (Jessi had her baby the evening this was sent, hence the e-mail got posted later than usual... SORRY!!)

Elder Neifert

Monday, May 6, 2013

Working until it's time

Well hey howdy ho family,
I am really excited to talk with you all, but I am in a pickle because I am only allowed to call either Monday the 13th or Saturday the 11th.  The Cyber makes you pay to use the computers and none of the members have them.  I think Saturday would be better when nobody is working, but then again I don't know if you will be on your way to Omahaving a baby.  (haha...I couldn't help it)  (Elder Neifert's sister is having a baby in Omaha, NE soon).   I'm going to check my e-mail at 2 PM our time to see when we should Skype.  If you guys are good for two on Sat, I will skype right then and if not I can wait until Monday.
This week was fantastic!  Elder Smith and I worked a lot and found some really great investigators.  It rained a lot here, too, and so we trudged through it for a couple of days.  We got the news that they will be dividing our area and putting sisters in the other half.  So we did a lot of looking for an apartment or house for us.  The division of the area isn't until June so we have a little time.  We saw some pretty shabby options though.  One lady showed us her house that had water stains about a foot up the wall and we asked if there was water problems or flooding.  She said "no..." I guess it would be a good place to live..... Is my name Horacio Poopenheim?!
 So the search continues.....
A big lesson I learned this week was how important it is to keep working until it is time to go home - no matter what.  Like I said before, we got drenched this week and it was a lot colder than usual.  It was like 8PM or so and I didn't have my umbrella and it started pouring down really hard.  We needed about 10 more contacts to reach our goal. We had already met our lesson number goal.  We got under a overhang of a dispensa and waited for a little and the rain was letting up. I think we both had thoughts of just calling it a day and going home, but we decided to keep contacting houses in the rain.  We got rejected three or four times and we had to yell at people from outside their gate because the rain was pounding.  We got in a couple houses to invite people to church and give them a short talk about lesson 1, but they didn't want to hear more so we got kicked out in the rain again.  Then at the last house we contacted, there was a big guy, without a shirt on, watching TV right by his door.  We clap and ask him "how's it going" and he waves us to come in. So we walk in, and I reach out to give him a hand shake and he just says, "Hey - go sit over there," pointing at some chairs on their patio.  So we sat down and had no idea what was going on.  That doesn't happen very often. We hadn't even introduced ourselves and we were sitting on his porch.   Suddenly, out popped 14 year old Beatrice Torres with a big smile and a Book of Mormon in her hand.  She talked with missionaries, briefly, 3 months ago and they didn't have any folletos (brochures) with them, so they gave her a Book of Mormon.  She had already started reading it and told us she knew it was true.  I was speechless.   She asked us questions and we introduced the Book of Mormon a little bit better.  She was turning 15 in two days so she couldn't make it to church, but she said she would the next week. She also said that she would be baptized if she learned more and received a witness from God that what we taught was true.  I have never had such a blast of investigator excitement in my whole mission.  It all came about because we felt the need to work until it was time to go home, no matter what, and the Lord guided and blessed us in finding one of his precious daughters who had been prepared to receive us.  It made me think about the scripture that talks about, "there will only be a witness after a trial of your faith." 
That is all for this week!

I hope you guys are doing well and I'm super excited to talk on Sat or Mon!

Elder Neifert