Tuesday, August 27, 2013

Ricardo, Graciela, and Andrea

HAPPY ANNIVERSARY!!!! 30!  (Elder Neifert's parents have their 30th Anniversary this Tuesday (27th)

That is an awesome missionary experience!  That's awesome you recognized the opportunity, Dad! (Elder Neifert's dad had an interesting opportunity to share the gospel, invite the missionaries over, and bear his testimony about his conversion)

 THANK YOU, GAGU for the various hygienic items!  I was in need and you knew just what I needed!  I have already put them to good use!

This week was a good one!  We had district conference and capacitation (?) with the Mission President!  He talked about ward council which was just what we needed and the whole conference was based upon forgiveness and repentance!  Once again it was exactly what the district needed.  We will see what changes happen as a result!  

We got a new rule when the Mission President came in.  The rule is we cannot teach women without a man over 16 there.  It is a very tough rule to keep, but I have found that it is actually a blessing because if we want anyone to progress 99% of the time, the whole family has to be in the same boat.  + the image of missionaries will go up.  

Ricardo, Graciela, and Andrea are progressing little by little.  We taught them the word of wisdom this week and it will be a big change for their family.  Both the parents smoke big time!  DANG IT!  They are ready to change, so we are going to start pumping in strategies and ideas for them to quit.  They are the most intelligent people I have taught so far and just about every lesson they have questions prepared and are ready to learn.  Its a huge testimony about the necessity of reading The Book of Mormon and conversion to the gospel.  Through the scriptures we suddenly find hundreds of ways in which ordinances and commandments bless our lives.  It is a big light in the middle of our week to teach them!  

I got big pretty hard by the familia Francos' parrot.  Every time we eat with them, I try and woo their parrot named Poncho so that he can perch on my shoulder while I eat.  And I guess somebody gave him some bad nuts that morning and he bit me.  It brought down my parrot taming confidence.  Just about everyone has parrots down here and I have tamed my fair share of them.  Poncho, though, will be the black beauty of parrots for me to tame.

We also found this awesome guy named Claudio while we were contacting!  His mom died 2 weeks ago, and he was reading in his Bible and praying for some help when we showed up.  We taught him about the healing power of the atonement and the Plan of Salvation.  It was an extremely spiritual lesson and he committed for baptism, to read, and come to church!

I will be looking for the package, mom!  THANK YOU!

Changes are today and I think I will be staying here and getting a new companion.  We'll see though.....

Elder Neifert

Monday, August 19, 2013

Sleeping in Pews

This week we had a Zone Conference with President in Santani, which is 4 1/2 hours away. The only collectivo left at 11:00 pm so we traveled through the night, and spent the night in the chapel there.  I made a bed out of the pews and I froze.  The Mission President spoke to us about menos activos (less actives) and we analyzed Alma 5.  It was super inspirational, especially because Elder Smith and I were running low on teaching ideas.

We weren't able to baptize Jose and Antonio this week due to a change in ward boundaries, so it looks like they will be baptized in rama 3 (3rd branch) instead of our rama (branch).  I think we will still go, just because we taught them all the lessons /the spirit taught them and we were there.

Also this week - our lock broke in the door.  The key wouldn't turn the lock.  So I tried turning harder and harder, and .... I broke the key in the lock.  So we had to have a carpenter come and put in a new lock. 

We have as of today one sheep.  Ricardo and his family.  So maybe 4 sheep.  Ricardo is the lawyer and he came to church yesterday!  He participated the most out of everyone including the members and seemed to just light up as he learned and got questions answered.  The only problem is his wife and two daughters. They are the shyest clams I have met here.  We have tried getting members there with us 3 times now and they keep on falling through because the members call us at the last second to cancel.  But we will try again with other members and other luring techniques.

That's about all this week,  also we are singing in a Paraguayan choir next week.  I don't know if all the practice in the world would make it a good sounding choir, but it will be fun.  I hope to take a video maybe to show you guys.

I hope all is well on the home-front.

Elder Neifert

Monday, August 12, 2013


Dear Family,

That is an awesome experience!  I have super man as my dad!  I hope your muscles are hereditary! (Elder Neifert's dad helped move a piano and had an awesome experience)  

We had another baptism on Saturday - a woman named Agueda.  Elder Smith and I taught her for about 3 weeks and then gave her to the hermanas to finish teaching her.  It was cool. I had to sing a duet with the sister missionaries, which didn't turn out the way we wanted hahaha.  But the spirit was there, so its all okay.  

Elder Smith and I have found a lot of golden people all of the sudden.  We got contacted by a guy on the street who saw that we spoke English and said "What's Up?"...  and so we started talking.  He showed up at church and we are starting to teach his family!  He is extremely smart and is a lawyer.  The gospel just clicked with him and he mentioned that he loved how simple the church organization is and how much it made sense to have a restoration of the true church! I LOVE THAT GUY!  He has just blown through everything we've given him to read.  His wife told us she is noticing differences happening to her husband.  

Lessons like that one make everything worth it.  The spirit was super strong and I am really hoping that the wife or the kids don't get in the way of the dad's progress.  We will see tomorrow whats going on.   

We are also teaching Jose and Antonio who will be baptized this coming Saturday!  They both have 14 years and are twins.   They have the best prayers of all time.  Elder Smith and I have been extremely blessed to have people who are progressing!  

Something interesting I learned this week is about prayer.  Prayer, I have found out, is like a measuring device of how much faith and dedication you have to the Lord and His gospel.  In my prayers I am able to see where I am lacking and where I am doing well.  One of the most powerful scriptures I have found is in D&C 42:14.  All things are done by the spirit and if we have not the spirit, what the heck do we have?  Somebody who is not focused on whats important, who is easily taken into temptation.   And how do we obtain the spirit? By the prayer of faith.  Which faith is shown only by obedience.  Its like a big circle.  Faith, obedience, spirit.  

In all of my mission I have asked for lots and lots of blessings, and I cannot think of one that the Lord hasn't delivered. 

I will be sending some baptism pictures next Monday I hope!

Elder Neifert

Monday, August 5, 2013

ROCÌO got Baptized! / 1 Year Lessons Learned

ROCÌO got Baptized! 

This week we worked super hard on preparing Rocìo.  She got home from the chaco and she had read a lot of The Book of Mormon and wanted to be baptized.  It was the most spiritual baptism I have ever attended.  

Rocìo is 11 years old and lives with an inactive member.  She is an orphan and has only one sister who is living with this bum out in the middle of nowhere. So Rocìo is pretty much alone family wise.  We reactivated the inactive member first and then we began to teach Rocìo, and she just took the scriptures and ate them up.  When I asked her why she wanted to be baptized in the Church of Jesus Christ, she told me because she read The Book of Mormon and felt in her heart that it was true.  I prayed extremely hard that she would feel the love of her Heavenly Father during the baptism.  During the service we sang ''How Great Thou Art'' and she started to cry while still smiling and singing, and then I just got flooded with the love that God has for each and every one of his children.  The most beautiful thing was the pure intentions of Rocio´s heart/desires to show her love for Him through baptism.  The Lord answered my prayers and I feel like I have a lot more purpose behind why I am here in Paraguay.  

I really don't feel that I have been in the mission that long.... and I am absolutely sure that I am not the greatest teacher in the world, but the Lord has made up for my weaknesses and faults and I have a sure testimony of His reality and love.  

Some of the things I have learned in my first year in the mission are...

- Jesus Christ is the Savior of the world and loves us more than we can understand.
- Our Heavenly Father is a father who sees us as we can be and is ready to forgive if we let Him.
- The spirit is real and can fill the holes and heal the scars left behind from sins.  
- In order for people to change it is extremely important that they have a knowledge of who it is they want to be more like.
- Every once in a while even a blind squirrel finds nuts.
- A study of the scriptures changes behavior and thoughts faster than any other method.
- Prayer is truly a personal communication between us an our Father in Heaven.  He has never left a prayer unanswered when I have asked with faith.  
- Speaking Spanish is a lot tougher than I thought.
- I think I understand a lot better now the role of the gospel in a search for happiness
- Obedience equals power.  If you want to truly help someone grow closer to God, you need the spirit as a constant companion. He is always the one who should lead the lessons.
- It is very hard to teach someone, until they know how much you love them.

I am sure there is more than that but I think that is good.  Some of the things I want to improve on in the last half of my mission....

- I want the spirit more prevalent every day and listen for and understand him.
- I want to finish memorizing all of the scripture mastery.
- I want to love people more and find more ways to show it.
- I want to be a more powerful teacher.
- I want to perfect my Spanish
- I want to be an uplifting influence to every one I come in contact with.
- I want to baptize a lot more people.  Not for me, but for him.

There are probably a lot more goals I could put down, but that satisfies me.  

Another sweet thing I figured out this week:  Israel Gonzalez got baptized! He is in my first area! He is the husband of Carmen, my first baptism.  So THAT IS A COMPLETE FAMILY WHO WILL GO TO THE TEMPLE IN A YEAR!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!  Elder Bredsgaurd and I taught that guy a ton.  Apparently he just woke up one day a few weeks ago and decided to be baptized!  

That is all for this week.  I am so happy right now.  This whole week has been a week full of happy things!  (except for a funky pita pocket I ate.  When people make burgers or lomitos or burritos or pita pockets they lather that baby with garlic whip.)  

I hope every body is doing well and I am happy Jessi found a crib.   (Elder Neifert's sister's family found housing in Colorado Springs)

Elder Neifert