Monday, June 24, 2013

Fishing Analogy

Buenos Dias,

Wow, that is a long drive, I am glad you guys got there ok! (his mom and younger siblings drove to Utah)

I don't know how, but Paraguay is now really really cold.  I think I just got used to it being extremely hot, and now that its a little cold I am dying. (it was in the 60's that day)  Thank you for the hat and gloves you guys sent, they are saving me. 

I started reading Jesus the Christ a week ago and I am about in the middle.  THAT BOOK HAS MELTED MY BRAIN!  I now am reminded of how very little my knowledge is of the Savior and the depth of his words and parables.  All of the sudden things are starting to deepen - the symbolism and references used in His gospel.  Right now I am studying the sermon on the mount.

We really weeded out the investigators who will be progressing and those who probably won't. 

A good teaching experience this week that we had was with a lady named Ghilda.  She was a reference from a contact and we learned that her husband had died about 3 months ago and that she had 6 young children.  So of course a light-bulb went off in my head, DING: we are going to teach the Plan of Salvation, because she is probably having a lot of questions right now about God, and death, and the life after this one, and why bad things happen, and where her husband was, and if she would ever see him again.  So we got in the house and she told us right off the bat, "you guys will not be able to convince me to change my religion, but we can talk anyway."  And so we jumped into the Plan of Salvation and how God has made this wonderful plan so that we can live with our loved ones forever and have eternal happiness.  We asked her questions and she answered that she didn't have any doubts she would see her husband again, and that she knew where he was, and had no question that she would see him again.  And that was when we found out: She doesn't need Lesson 2, she needs something else.  It was already too late to try and teach the restoration or anything else, so we bore our testimonies about the Book of Mormon and Christ's love for us and left her with pamphlets and a commitment to read and pray about it.  Obviously the lesson was more complicated, but there was just something weird about walking out. 

That lesson helped us realize that unless we teach according to her needs or the spirit, nothing happens like it should.  The lesson gets taught, but the relevance isn't there for the person.  There are not desires to ask questions or keep commitments.   And all of the sudden we are preaching to a statue.  I like to think of it as if I am fishing.  Some times the fish like worms, and other times they like crickets, or power-bait.  It just depends on the desires of the fish.  Of course all of the bait would fill the fishes stomach, but he or she is looking for something specific.  God is the master fisherman and He knows just what type of bait is needed for each fish. That is why it is so important to be in tune with the spirit, because he will tell you what to teach and what questions to ask so that the investigator will be hooked on the feelings of love, peace, and happiness that Christ offers. 

We will try again this Tuesday and we hope to get another shot at finding her needs.

Also the dang shower exploded while I was using it.  It has been a very cold couple of days. hahaha. 

I hope everyone is doing good!


Elder Neifert

Tuesday, June 18, 2013

Full Potential

Wow, I will stop whining now about eating bad pizza.  Mom that is a humbling thing to deal with.  I'm sorry,  and just so you know I expect you to get right back up on that horse.  I'm just kidding, but that is a big fall.  (Elder Neifert's mom rode a shire horse (like a Clydesdales in size - around 6 foot shoulder height) bareback. She didn't quite nail her dismount and tore a ligament in her knee.) I'm sure that was a different experience at girls camp than usual, but knowing you I'm sure you made the best of it!  Can you still drive? You should for sure hide snacks in that thing. (referring to her thigh to ankle leg brace)

Elder Smith and I had a pretty good week.  We got 6/7 this week which means 6 days we met all of the teaching goals we set out to do.  Even when we got 16 new investigators, not a one showed up to church.  I think it was mostly due to Father's day, and maybe a little fault of teaching on our part.  All morning yesterday we went to our investigators houses to accompany them to church, (wake them up, and make them breakfast, and get them dressed...) but nobody wanted to or they didn't come outside.  We did however get one very sleepy menos activo (less active) to church - by creeping into his house and whacking him with a broom to get him up and going.  The sisters in our branch got a family to church, which was cool, and humbling as well.  They have been here for a week and a half and got more investigators to church than we have in a whole change.  BAAAHHUMMMBUUGG.   It's good for them and good for the branch, and for the family, and for the work in general.  It put a little bit more fire under our butts though to get more people at church.  It's tough not to compare yourself to other people, and its a bad habit that I have to get rid of.  But then again it does help with getting more excited in reaching your full potential.

  We are really excited for this coming week.  I have a feeling we will be having a lot more success as long as nothing weird happens.  Today for p-day we played American football with a little dinky ball.  It was extremely muddy and there were puddles everywhere and horse poop, but it was a big relief after a busy week.  We took a pic and I will get it sometime this week.  It was really funny because all of the people came out of there houses to watch us play.  There was about 20 kids watching us ... they were playing their ridiculous polka Paraguayan music.  Hopefully it will make it a little easier for people to let us teach them, knowing we are a little normal.

I GOT THE PACKAGE FROM GRANDMA AND GRANDPA AND EVERYBODY ELSE!  THANK YOU!!!  It was really fun to read everybody's cards.  You guys knew exactly what I was hoping for!  I don't think the belly button lint made it, but I will assume it was somewhere in the tropical trail mix.  Thank you! Reading all of your cards really helped me remember how important missionary work is... and how much you all, and more importantly the Lord, expect of me!

I will start working on that year mark stuff.  I still have a few months, but it will be good to get started.

I love you guys,

Elder Neifert

Tuesday, June 11, 2013

...There's nothing more than what we are giving right now.

Dear Family,

This week was a little crazy and I ate some funky pizza.  But I recuperated by Wednesday, and we had to wake up at 4:30 AM to pick up the new sister missionaries at the terminal.  One is a Columbiana (from Columbia) and the other who is nuevita is a Guatamonteca (from Guatemala).  We took all of their bags on a horse drawn cart taxi and they seemed pretty zonked due to the overnight traveling.  I don't think they expected to have to ride in a horse cart.

The big thing that happened this week: we went as a zone to a little pueblo called Belen.  President wants us to see if there are enough fruits there to place missionaries and start a little branch... or find out if we should let it sit for a while longer.  So the whole day we just contacted everyone and anyone and handed out invitations as well to invite them to the church meeting that Sunday.  It was a really clean town and reminded me of the hidden valley ranch 'ranch' on the picture.  We found some pretty cool people and handed out a lot of fliers. On Sunday there was about 45 people at church! ...with 2 men.  hahahah.  President will decide whether it needs missionaries now or if we should wait.  It reminded me a lot of the Jacob 5 vineyard parable.  It was a cool experience and I'm really hoping they will open it.  

Elder Smith and I are not having the success we have been hoping for so far, but we will see what next week brings.  We are really working hard on critiquing our teaching and contacts and making sure that we do all that we can so there will be no guilt or wishing we would have done more.  We want to proudly say we've done our best and there's nothing more than what we are giving right now.  

I love you family!!   I hope you guys have a good week!
Elder Neifert

Monday, June 3, 2013

Bartering King

Dear family,

This week was a good one.  My companion got sick with some sort of cold and sore throat so we weren't able to work too much. On top of that, we had to finalize everything for the new apartment.  We got the news that the sisters are going to stay in the really nice apartment with all of the new things, but I kind of saw that one coming.  It was a long-shot for us anyway.  Dang it.  They better not be goobers. We did a lot of bartering with the owners of the apartment and we got the price down a few hundred Guaranis.  This morning I also bartered for a soccer ball.  We played soccer this morning and the ball exploded... so the Zone Leaders gave me money to buy a new one.  I went to the mercado and found some for like 45 mil and I then went to like 3 other places scouting prices.  We had to settle with a pretty bad ball, and the guy selling it tried really hard to take advantage of us.  He said his ball was like 100 mil and I started laughing becasue we saw the same exact ball down the road for 45 mil.  I got him down to 35.  I have been crowned bartering king. 

This week was the parade for the anniversary of Concepcion.  It is the biggest thing that happens here so there was not anyone in their houses or in the streets.  Everybody went to the venida (main street) to watch the parade.  It was televised, too, i think.  There are some pics on dropbox I put up.  To say the least it was a pretty pitiful parade.  It was just a huge line of students banging on drums.  No candy, no beads, nada.  I was disappointed.  There was, however, some guy carrying an American flag. We all put our hands over our hearts and sang the star spangled anthem. It caught a lot of attention.  hahahaha

Elder Smith and I are really working hard to find new investigators willing to keep commitments.  We came up with a new strategy.  We treat every body no matter who like an "8 cow investigator".  We noticed that a lot of people here, especially the poorer class, really dont get too many compliments or love and so we have decided to make an extra effort to pay them a lot more compliments.  A good example would be one of our investigators, Aurora.  She is pretty poor and her family is made up of really inactive members who dont want to keep any commitments.  They also treat her like she doesnt know very much.  When she prays out loud her mom cuts in and tells her what to pray for.  When we ask questions she usually gives us the "I dont know - why dont you tell me" response because she is used to people treating her like she doesn't know things.  So we have decided to give her compliments on how smart she is and how well she is doing for even the tiny stuff.  A lot of times I think people will be the label you put on them and be the person you treat them as.  Especially if you treat them as someone who has much more worth than the person they saw themselves as before.  We havent seen results yet, because we started doing that the last lesson, but we will see this coming week how it goes.

We did an experiment to see the quality of our water compared with pure bottled water. 

Not good, my man... not good.  Elder Smith and I are going to buy the 20 liter jugs from now on.  We haven't gotten sick yet from the water we've been drinking, but after the experiment we both are a little nervous.

I hope everything is going well with you guys.  When does Scott come home?  It has to be soon. 


Elder Neifert