Monday, July 28, 2014

Last E-mail Home!

Dear family I will soon see with my eyeballs,

I hope you won't have to pull the Peter pan verification , "there you are peter!" hahaha. I don't think I have changed too much physically, just got good walking muscles.

Like a thief in the night my last day and final interview has come... it's funny how similar the minion is to the plan of salvation.  I am sure that when we stand before God and look back on our lives it will seem like a dream.  Scary and cool at the same time.  Better use your time wisely and not procrastinate the day of your repentance!

I gave my last talk in church and balled like a baby.  I can't describe how much I love being a missionary and proclaiming the gospel of the Savior Jesus Christ.  It has been a privileged to have his name on my chest and bear my witness of his divinity.  I just pray I will be able to continue serving him with the same feelings at home.

I love you guys and will be ready for some family hugs!

Elder Neifert

Tuesday, July 22, 2014

Matilda, Lehi's Dream, and the Judge

Dear Family,

We are working hard still! 

This week we did a ton of service cutting down a tree with Matilda (my machete) and building a house.  I am starting to say goodbye to people who I have taught and it is tough.  

We are still working with some of the same families, but we did find a judge who said she would like to be baptized with her whole family.  We will be visiting them a lot this week!  She said she had two other families who also would be interested in hearing us!

I did a division back in CaƱada with Elder Barrillas from Guatamala!  We had some crazy stuff happen.  We found like 3 families that hadn't been to church in years who seemed to have been just waiting for the invitation to come back.  We did a great family home evening as talking about the tree of life and Lehi's dream.  It made me think a little more about what the fruit really symbolizes and how Lehi felt as he partook of it.  The fruit represents the Love of God; but how has God shown his love?  Through sending His son to atone for the world.  So in the end, the fruit really is the atonement of Christ.  And when Lehi partakes of it, he explains that he was filled.  Which made me think a lot about what that could connect with, and I thought about the sacrament.  The sacrament also fills us even though it really is only a piece of bread and small cup of water.  His love can fill us to the point where there isn't any space or desire for evil or temptation... and we change.  It is something that people think takes a long time to obtain (change/real growth), but really it takes as long as it does for you to say, "I want to change" and mean it.  

I am freaking out a little to think that I will see you all in a week and a half.  :)  but I will forget about you guys until next Wednesday

I love you guys!

Elder Neifert

Monday, July 14, 2014

Love, Bad Apples, and Shocks

That sounds like a cool project you guys took on.  (Elder Neifert's Dad and younger brother took out an old water heater and replaced it.) I hope you will be able to get the new on put in quick. (or are you guys calling a plumber for that?).  I have had my fair share of puting on the plumber pants myself, I fixed 3 bathrooms and a few showers.  And I never walked away from a shower without being shocked at least once.  It's gotten to the point where I can't touch any 'touch screen' things without being zapped, so at the photo store I can't touch the machine... I just borrow Elder Greer's finger and poke it.

We are working hard with a few great people.  One investigator and his family are really into some bad apples and so we are working hard with them.  The investigator has now been to church for the 4th time and is looking to be baptized on the 20th of July.  We are working hard to help him make it without falling again. (by bad apples I mean drugs).

The recent convert mercedes kind of fell off the deep end because she got offended by a church member.  And she started to hide from us.  But yesterday we caught her, and in the lesson she just kind of told us that she wasnt going to be able to forgive this person and that she was tired of being obligated (forced) to do things.  So we felt impressed to remind her about why she started listening to us in the first place and what she had felt as a result of being baptized, and then the final question.  "Why do you think we want to talk to you so often? Why do you think we want to bug you every week so we can talk?"  and she went down a list of: "to bring me to church, to teach me, to make me read scriptures,....etc."

and we said no to all of her list until she finally asked us "why then?" and then it got quiet and the spirit just kind of filled the room and I was able to stutter out, "It's because we love you.  That's why."  and then she changed her opinion about a few of the things she was doing.  Hopefully she will come to a family home evening tommorow.  

It is amazing how powerful those words can be, when you say it with real intent and purpose.  I think that is really the foundation of the gospel.  It is what makes changes in the lives of people who want to be better.  Our love for God and our love for others is the source of true happiness and real growth.

I hope all is well at home,  and I hope mom had a good birthday! 

Elder Neifert

Tuesday, July 8, 2014

Inspired contacting, a song, and boxing moves

HELLO FAMILY, I am sorry I didn't write yesterday, I was in Asuncion for a concilio (zone leader council of the round table). IT LASTED 6 HOURS! There are a lot of things that will be happening in the following year that we discussed, one of those things is an open house/chapel program that seems promising. A really good friend of mine in the mission, Elder Gunther, wrote the mission hymn that was presented at the concilio as well. Guess who sang that bad boy... yours truly and my mountain man companion. It is a really great hymn and I will get a copy to show you all later. I am becoming aware of how little time I have left. That doesn't mean that I am trunky. It means I am thinking about how to budget my time and stuff. I want to try and go to Concepcion (8 hours away) to see the Valdez family who are going to the temple in September. We will see what happens. I think I will be begging president tomorrow at the zone capacitation. This week was a great one. A great experience we had was while we were contacting. We had just been rejected at a house and usually what we do is we jump a few houses to do the next contact, (because usually the neighbors all see us when we clap and hide... so we go to a house that hasn't seen us coming yet). But I felt impressed to just talk to the next door neighbor, so we clapped it. She cracked open the door a little and yelled out the usual "que dicen" (what are you doing here). And we told her our purpose and she stood there a few seconds thinking and then let us in. When we sat down and talked a little while she confessed something. She said "I really wasn't going to let you in, I was going to say that I was busy or that I was on my way out, but a voice told me to let you in. Something told me too." I was a little startled and so was my comp. We taught her about the power of the Saviors love and how he often times will call out to us to come to him. She said she would read and pray about the restoration pamphlet we left and we will be going back today to follow up. It is always good to know that we are not alone in this work. I did a division with an Elder Rada this week in Isla Valle. He is a Bolivian who is a convert. He is a boxer and showed me a wicked scar where he got stabbed. We worked really hard in his area and he showed me some of his boxing moves which I don't know if I will ever use. I am doubting whether I will be able to bring you back a sword, Aaron. Sorry. I got a letter today telling me not to or I might go to jail. Sorry. I hope everyone is doing good and I am happy to hear you guys got home safe! Have fun in DC mom! and HAPPY BIRTHDAY!!!!!!!!! Go drink a Slurpee for you and me! Love, Elder Neifert

Thursday, July 3, 2014

22 and Great Experiences

Dear Family, I had an okay week this week! We are getting really into helping members do their visiting and home teaching! We took up all of priesthood and relief society class time to teach them how to have successful lesson when visiting. We even did a role practice of meet and greet and commitments. It was fun and we will see the results this coming week. I am still chugging along, we are teaching a couple right now that are wanting to get out of drug problems and start a new life. IT has been amazing to see there sincerity to repent as they have been going to church regularly and reading and praying. I hope i will be here to see them baptized, but it will take a little time i think to set up their foundation for a new style of life. Marriage is one of those building blocks. I GOT THE PACKAGE!! You guys know me too well! Thanks for the birth memories and poems. I AM 22 baaaahhh! That's okay though. I met a Peruvian missionary today who is 26. We had a great experience this week with a lot of investigators. Mercedes is trying hard to get her family to accept the gospel and her sister said she wants to go to church to see how it is! The Torres family (recently reactivated) invited their neighbor to church too!. We have an investigator named Domingo (Sunday) who has been doing great. He is a little afraid about committing to baptism. He is about 23 and has a lot of friends who aren't the best influences, but he is working hard to get a stronger testimony to make that commitment. We are focusing hard on the power of The Book of Mormon, and the many truths we can know through its veracity. (I don't know if that's the right word.) I will keep working, fear not! These assorted nut bars and granola goods will get me too the end! I love you guys, Stay safe on your journeys and whatnot! Love, Elder Neifert

Tuesday, June 24, 2014

Two Baptisms!

Dear Family,

This week was a great week! 

We had a few baptisms - Romina and Mercedes!  We are working hard to keep the ward integrated in missionary work.  You would think with 10 returned missionaries in your ward it would be easy... not so chicken Joe. 

Luckily we had a good turnout for the baptisms and enough food for everyone! 

You guys wouldn't believe what we did this morning for p day.....

EXTREME HOPSCOTCH!  It was crazy.  Elder Richardson took a video and so I will try and send it next week, or I will just put it on my flash drive and send it.  Prepare yourselves for lava pits, monkeys, bum scoots, etc....

Spiritual experiences:
Mercedes is a rock.  She flat out told us that her goal now is to get a job to be able to pay tithing and help expand the Kingdom of God, and then go to the Temple.  WE HAVEN'T EVEN TALKED A LOT ABOUT THE TEMPLE!  Before her baptism we talked about if she would invite her family members to come too and she said that she already had but none were interested... but then she told us that she didn't care really because she wasn't doing this for anybody but herself.  She knew what the Lord wanted her to do and she was going to do it! 

The Torress family came for the second week in a row! They are going to start to begin to prepare for the Temple as well.  We had a lesson about baptisms for the dead and the work that goes on in the Temple and how the gospel is being preached on the other side of the veil as well.  Sister Torress` mom had died not too long ago and so she payed really close attention.  At the end she said she wanted to share an experience she had... She had a dream the night before of her mom. Her mom told her that the time was close for the second coming of the Messiah. We talked a lot about that and they have more excitement than ever about the gospel.  A lot of times when teaching I think about the ancestors of our investigators... I fully believe that they are present and very interested in the repentance and progress of there family members.

Lately, I have been studying the book of first John and it talks a lot about how our love for God is really directly related to our obedience to his commandments (if ye love me keep my commandments).  It goes into it a lot deeper and I am still learning.  One of my favorite verses is 1 John 4:19 "We love him, because he first loved us".   The more we learn of Christ's love for us, the deeper and more resolved our desire will be to repent and show our love to him through obedience.  I love him, because I know he loves me.

 Still no package.

Stay safe on the trip to see Gagu and drop Jessi off... and visit Cody and his wife who nobody told me about.

I am enjoying the mission more and more!   


Elder Neifert

Monday, June 16, 2014

Last Transfer

Dear Family,

We are going to have another Baptism this saturday!  Her name is Mercedes.  She has a young daughter and is super cool.  She reads really well and has pounded through everything we have given her.  

Also, Romina is getting baptized this Saturday, too!  


I bet you guys ate some some for me! 

What did you guys do for Father's Day?  Besides eat pie.

Sounds like girls camp was sweet,  and I am sure you played a big role in that!  The Parkers!!! You always said you are going to hang out with Carla.

Changes are this week, but I am staying here in Luque with Elder Greer until the end. Which I am not thinking about, but am aware of.  

This week we had a lot of great people come to church!  After 4 years of inactivity, the Torress Family came!  We have been teaching them for about 5 weeks and they are making great progress!  The mom is reading The Book of Mormon for the first time and has just hit the Isaiah chapters!  (I pray she can fight through and make it out alive).  She is noticing a lot of differences in the family and has been really excited to finally get an understanding of the gospel.  So far her favorite chapter is 2 Nephi 4.  

We have an investigator named Domingo. I think he will be baptized this month as well.  We taught him all of the lessons and it is now just up to him when he takes the step to be baptized.  We think he is just afraid of making a commitment that he cant keep, so we had him read about when Peter walked on water and how when he started to sink the Savior was there to lift him back up again. 

I will keep looking for the package! 

I love you guys,

Elder Neifert

Monday, June 9, 2014

A Baptism and a Treasure Hunt

Dear Family!,

I had a great week!  We have a lemon tree in front of our house, so I made a weeks worth of lemonade.  We had a baptism! We found some great people to teach! We set a baptismal date with an investigator named Mercedes for the 21st of this month! 

I am having a great time in this area, because there is so much to do! We have an neverending list of less active families.  A while ago a bishop's store house was set up here in Luque and there was a big increase in baptisms, just about all of those people are inactive now.  So we are looking for them all.

This week we made a big map of our ward boundaries and are now pinning all members down by talking to the old people who know everyone.  It is like a treasure hunt.  

We are also teaching English on Saturdays to try and find more investigators and references.  

Elder Richardson and I found some short shorts and we didn't think he would fit in them...he did! 
I had a great experience on a division with Elder Wheeler.  We had planned to teach a Catholic family that night about priesthood keys/ the restoration, but they weren't home, so we felt impressed to just try their neighbor. We clapped and (like always) they peeked out of their peeky holes and out came a little fat Paraguayan boy.  (this is normal that the parents send there kids out to tell us no) But he just stood there.  So I asked him how he was and he didn't talk, and I asked him if his parents were home and he just stood there.  So finally after talking to him for about 3 minutes and him not saying anything, the mom came out to his rescue.  We told her we felt impressed to stop by and share a message about the family with her.  And she let us in.  We shared and she expressed to us how she was going through a rough time and that we had arrived at the moment she had been thinking about it.  The greatest part of the lesson was the end where we invited her to pray.  We got all of her children around and she offered one of the greatest prayers ever,  you could tell that she was thinking a lot about what she was saying and before the end she paused, and began to tear up, and then everyone teared up.  I don't know if I have ever felt the spirit so strong.  A mother with her children all around her, asking our Heavenly Father if he could keep them safe.  I don't know if they had ever heard there mom pray before.  It was great.

I am trying hard to not think about home and what is up ahead, and it is tough! But I will fight to the end! Fear not Mother! I will Fight! 

I don't have the package yet, but I will keep looking!

Have a safe move to Colorado, Jessi and Cody! I hope you like it there!

Elder Neifert 

Pics of the baptism of Josias Ovelar

Monday, May 26, 2014

Building a House, Romina's Temple Trip, and Hugo's Catching On!

Hey family,

It has been cold!! I dont know if I am just a wimp after a really hot summer or it really is that cold, but I have been wearing my long johns for 4 days straight, and making ninja masks to keep my face warm during studies.

Our air conditioner doubles as a heater, so that is better than last year!

We have been working a ton - doing a lot of divisions all around the zone.  

We helped a guy build his house today.  And I helped put up a telephone pole (coconut tree trunk) so he could run the electricity to his house.  It only took about 10 min to do that. :)  We just grabbed the trunk, stuck it into the hole, put the dirt around it, and that was that.  He got on a latter and strung the wires.  It was just funny how simple it was.  some people just use barbed wire to hook their house up to the electric wires. (they glow at night).  

Romina went to the Temple Saturday!  That was good news this week! 

We are working with a few great families that are keeping commitments.  It was great to hear from the Torress family - they started reading their scriptures again after a year and a half! The mom said she is finally putting puzzle pieces together about the restoration!

There is a guy named Hugo we are teaching. He knows a ton about the scriptures.  At church he (knowing he wasnt baptized yet) said, "The sacrament is only for those who are baptized right?"  It caught me by surprise, but it was great he caught that!  His mom is about to start chemo treatment because her cancer is super bad right now.  So, once again, without us even saying anything he asked if we could bless his mom.  So we did, and it was great.

Thanks for sending all the pics and videos!  They made my day!  I hope all works out for you guys Jessi and Cody!  


Elder Neifert

Monday, May 19, 2014

Mercedes + Pictures!

Dear family! 

It was great to talk to you guys! CONGRATS AARON AND CODY! You made it to the end!  Now you are going to start again doing something else! 

This week went by really fast.  We have been working a ton, with way more people to work with than time allows.  The cool thing about Luque Centro is that our ward has 12 returned missionaries in it!  So getting to have members present in all of our lessons is easy.  I started the New Testament again in Spanish and I am soaking it up.  

Elder Greer and I played volleyball today with the zone and it was great.  Lots of smack talk...using a scriptural basis.  So Aaron - Alma 41:15, the first part.

We are teaching some great smart people.  A lesson we had this week was with a lady named Mercedes.  The first lesson I asked her why she was so willing to talk to us and she said, "Well, I feel like the gospel is all about leaving behind the old me and becoming a new person.  I have done a lot of things I knew I shouldn't have and I know that to be happy I need to understand the gospel." 

Talk about a broken heart and contrite spirit!  There was an awesome spirit in that lesson.

I hope you guys are doing great! I will pray for you guys, Jessi and Cody! (Elder Neifert's brother-in-law graduated from school and was looking for a job. He has since found one!)  

aquino fam sitting in chairs,
paredez fam, + yolanda
salcedo fam

Monday, May 5, 2014

Luque 1b

Dear Family,

I am excited to see you guys too!  That will definitely be a party with everybody over there!  (Elder Neifert's Grandparents, Great Aunts, Aunt and siblings will all be in town for mother's day)

This week was a great one! We had a family come for the first time to church!  It was awesome that the members made them feel comfortable too.  

This transfer is over and I am headed to Luque 1b. with Elder Greer from Benson, Arizona.  He is the other Zone Leader, so I am out of the Training PROGRAM!!!!!!!! 

It will be a different and it gives Elder Greer and me more time to think about the zone instead of other stuff.

There is a less active sister who Elder Richardson and I have been visiting who got in a moto accident last week.  so we`ve been calling her and sent her things to read in the hospital and finally today we went to visit her.  (by the way her husband left her a month ago).  She learned today that her leg was infected and they would have to amputate it this coming week... She was really calm about it all and bore her testimony to us that she knows God will take care of her.  It was a humbling experience.  It would be good if you all could pray for her, her name is Adriana Alvarez.

There was a funny lady this week who, as we clapped at her house, just yelled out, "I dont like you!" It was funny.

We had more people this week at church than any other week and the Rojas family showed up to give their new baby a blessing.  Dad still didn't come but his wife said he was about too, just his brother showed up last minute.

That is sad about Gene Motley. I am sure that she has lots of people like you guys to be with her!  

I will call you guys Sunday at 5 pm my time! 

Elder Neifert

Monday, April 28, 2014

Temple Trip

Dear Family,

WE WENT TO THE TEMPLE!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!,  Lets just say the new things there exploded my brain.  Walking out of there we all said, "I finally get why we go to the temple!".

We had a great testimony meeting as a zone afterward and we did a musical number. "If You Could Hie to Kolob."  there is a professional pianist in the zone and he did a sweet arrangement that left the mission president's wife in tears.

We had a great week! Romina is finally getting her head straight about what she really wants in life and this morning declared that she is going to prepare herself for baptism.  It has been a long process for her to get to this point! When she said that it felt awesome.  What we taught about was based upon DyC20: 37 which is the requirements for baptism.  I asked her about what she should feel like before she can be baptized.  She said, "I should have repented of my sins and be changed!".  and then we asked "How are you going to do that?"  ,"Through praying, reading, and going to church",  BBAAAAMMMM.  That is someone who understands the gospel.  I feel like too often we wonder if we truly have repented of our sins, questioning whether the atonement is really playing a role in our lives when often we just need to look at how we spend our time, thoughts, and efforts.  If you are truly praying with real intent, treasuring up the scriptures, and attending church wanting to become more like will without a doubt be changed/repentant cleansed from sin.

A lot of crazy stuff happened as well this week... We dug a trench again, and fixed a dirt driveway... while digging I found a white oval rock that looked cool.  So I picked it up and it was smooth and then as I squeezed it a little it exploded on my face.  It happened to be a snake egg.  All of the Paraguayan kids thought it was funny.

Elder Richardson is doing great, he has dropped about 30 lbs.  Happens when all you eat is lunch and walk around all day.

We have been finding some great families in our area and getting a lot more help from members!  We had about 2 families who were inactive show up for church! 

I finsihed The Book of Mormon again in Spanish this last week, and I am starting on Jesus the Christ in Spanish.  

Love, Elder NEifert

RACHEL!, HAPPY BIRTHDAY!!!! whenever I think about your birthday i think about you and you are cool, and funny, and a great sister! 

I need to send you a picture, but you will have to wait until next monday when i have my camera cord!  HAPPY BIRTHDAY!

Monday, April 21, 2014

Easter = Chipa?

Dear Family,


This week was full of great stuff.  Because it was "la semana santa" there was a of traditions going on. Really just a lot of chipa.  Chipa is a hard cheesy flour based bread that you bake in a tataqua (brick oven) on top of banana leaves (its not that good).  We made some chipa with the Britez family and we also cooked one of their ducks, a pig, and 2 chickens.  

But everybody makes every house we went to they loaded us up with more chipa until it just got ridiculous, and we cookie monstered (pretend like you are eating it but its really just crumbling in front of your face) as we walked home.  I am not sure what chipa has to do with Easter.

We found a great family this week who were less active and they came to church last week! They have 5 priesthood holder possibilities!.  

We are going to the temple tommorow and I am freakin' out about seeing the new temple movie!  I have only seen the old old one so I am pumped.  The whole zone is doing a fast so that the work will progress and that is cool you all are doing one too!  

Elder Richardson and I tromped around in the rain a ton this week visiting people. He fell down in the mud twice and it was super funny.  We both have gone into a haiku poem phase where we make up sweet haiku`s.  No stomach problems this week and we are back at 100%.  

Some great things I learned this week that have inspired me are a talk by Elder Eyring titled "Come Unto Me". and might I recommend it to you all.  It opened my eyes a little wider about how we can know the atonement is taking affect in our lives.  Also I found another scripture that I like a lot in luke 9 vs 62: "No man having put his hand to the plough, and LOOKING BACK is fit for the kingdom of god."  It helps me think about the commitments and covenants we make with Christ and how only when truly committed and resolved progress is made.  There is so much work to be done, and it takes committment to do it.

We did a trek to the Temple, walking with members from the chapel in Yukyry to Asuncion.  I think it was like 10 miles.. easy peasy for a man who walks all day every day... but for a lot of the sisters in the branch showed up with flip flops it was tough. Not suprisingly half way through the trek when the rain started that it was the men who wanted to quit and take a bus, and the wemon in flip flops who said they would rather push forward. We sang as we saw the Temple "I Love to See the Temple" and there was a great feeling.  Arriving being soaked we finshed the trek to the Temple super happy and spiritually filled.  

I will let you all know how the Temple goes and the musical number we are singing.  Hopefully I can get a video of it!

Elder Neifert

Monday, April 7, 2014


Okay.. we got c´s candy suckers and were excited,
We found a tarantula by our door,
We killed a pig,
went to the soccer museum ....again
The president of south america football

General Conference group photo.