Monday, March 31, 2014

Pig Tongue and Shangrilaaaaa!

Dear Family,

I ate Pig tongue!  We showed up at someones house to teach a lesson and it was somebody`s birthday.  They had roasted a pigs head and saved us the tongue to eat.  So they flipped over the head and with the tongue still connected and in-between its teeth they cut it out.  And then with a little lemon and salt we ate it.  It wasn't bad, but it did feel like a tongue and I will leave it at that.

This week was okay.  We are still working hard trying to help people draw closer to Christ.  Nobody showed up at church yesterday...I think due to the rain..(a Paraguayans worst enemy).  

We have been still teaching a lot about the Sabbath day and the sacrament.  The Seventh Day Adventists are still fighting us about it being on Saturday, so we are just trying to help them read more and more of the Book of Mormon.  It is that book that holds all of the pieces to the puzzle together, and the power it contains blows away doubts.

We had a great family home evening with the Acosta Family.  We talked about the prophet and apostles and how much preparation, and revelation goes into the messages they share,and then applied it to us and how we must prepare ourselves as well in order to hear what Heavenly Father is saying to us.  You know if you don't ask questions, you don't hear the answer.

Today we cleaned our house with a Peruvian crazy lady from the mission.  She knows how to clean, but she ruined our chances of going to Shangrila which is a restaurant we have been wanting to try out.  Next week we ride to shang gri laaaaaa! 

No changes for elder Richardson and I!!! So well be together until the beginning of May, I think! 

I hope all is well at home!   

Elder Neifert

Monday, March 24, 2014

Less Actives Returning

Dear Family,

It sounds like you guys had a good time at the Whatcotts!  

This week was a good one.  We had zone conference and I had to talk to the zone about how to plan and set goals more effectively.  That was fun.  We also did a ton of service...cutting grass with machetes and cutting down trees!  We cut down a 40 ft tree with machetes.  I have dubbed my machete 'Matilda' and Elder Richardson's is 'Sharkisha', Elder Gunther's is 'Darth Sampson', and his Brazillian comp doesn't have a machete so you guys can guess how wacked up his priorities are. We took a few pictures and I will send em next time.  I also blew up Elder Richardson's alarm clock trying to figure out how it works.  We forgot about the power difference and while trying to set the time it exploded in my hand.  No harm done to me, but we both were freaked out because our faces were right next to it.  

We had 3 investigators at church!  Romina and Graciella and Arnaldo!  Graciella and Arnaldo are 7th day Adventists and after about 4 weeks of visits they came! Also 2 menos activos (less actives) were reactivated and are going strong.  Adriana and Hermana Aquino.  

We are still working with the Rojas family and we will be having a BBQ at there house tommorow!  I am super excited! They promised that they would come to church after their newborn baby is doing better.  She was born like 4 days ago... and the mom is already up and cleaning the house and whatnot.  Those Paraguayan women recuperate fast.  

A great experience I had this week was teaching investigators and less actives about the sacrament.  We had been suffering about how to get people to come to church without us having to go out and drag them there, and President McMullen helped us out.  He said that the reason people do not come to church is because they don't understand the significance of the sacrament.  So we taught just about all of our investigators and menos activos (less actives) about the sacrament...reading from Mathew 26 and 3 Nephi 18 and D&C 11:13 about why the Lord instituted the sacrament.  It is truly a marvelous blessing to remember the love that he had, has, and will always have for us.  It signifies our commitment and love for him and can be a spiritually enlightening as we participate with a purpose.  We challenged everyone we taught to attend that Sunday so that they could show their love for the Savior and feel his love during the sacrament service.  And we had more investigators and menos activos (less actives) at church than we have for a while.  President McMullen is a smart guy.  It seems like such an obvious answer to get people to church teach them why its important, but it is something I definitely needed a refresher with.

Elder Richardson is doing well, getting skinnier, which he is pretty happy about.  We sometimes wrestle and he is a lot bigger than I, but I learned from the best.  I put him in the 'Figure Four' the other day and using the shroud of shadows I feel I can hold my own.  He is a great companion.

I hope all is well at home and that you guys are as excited as I am for General Conference!  

Elder Neifert

Happy Birthday Grandma Whatcott!  WAAAAAAAAAAAAHOOOOOOOOOOO!!!!! I hope you have a good one!   

Monday, March 17, 2014

Be Prepared

Dear Family,

That is awesome elder Hatch talked with Aaron!!!!  I hope they talked for a little while!  Does Aaron know who he is rooming with?  

You guys went to the Provo Temple? I thought Grandma and Grandpa worked at Timpanogas?  but that's cool.  It looks like a spaceship.  I went there every week at the MTC!  Did you guys see missionaries there?

I have been studying a lot about Joseph of Egypt too!  Isn't it cool to know that we are related to that great guy!  My favorite lesson from that story is how even when he was away from home, he didn't forget about the great principles he learned there.  He could have made many excuses to fall into temptation... nobody would know...when in Rome do as Romans do....etc  But he stayed true to who he was and the God he learned to love.   It's funny to think  that if he had fallen into temptation he probably would have been imprisoned as well, and without the company of the Holy Ghost he wouldn't have been able to interpret the dreams that would be his ticket out.

We played Basketball today!  It has been a while and my B-ball skills are suffering, but it was fun.  Elder Richardson didn't have any shorts so he wore my St.Louis cardinals pajama pants.  

This week we have been working a lot trying to help people keep their commitments as usual.  We found a couple new families to teach as well.  We have a few investigators that have baptismal dates and are progressing little by little.  VaƱia just finished 3 Nephi 11 and already has a testimony of God's love for us and The Book of Mormon.  She told us a story about how when she was younger she lived close to Brasil and she got mixed up with a drug deal... so people were coming after her to kill her. She ran away and got as far as possible from there.  She had nobody to run to and lived in the street for a few days and prayed constantly for help. A lady whom she never met took her in and gave her a place to sleep and food.  And she bore her testimony that she knows God loves his children.  It was cool.

The Paredez Family (7th Day Adventists) are coming along okay.  They still haven't come to church.  But they are reading The Book of Mormon little by little and praying for an answer.  We' ll see this coming week how bad they want to keep commitments and know if the church is true.  

The Rojas family is set on coming back, but due to the mom being extremely pregnant they haven't been coming for a little bit.  But they committed that right after the birth they will come back.

I hope the vacation goes good and that it is starting to warm up there!  

Love, Elder Neifert

PS Oh yeah and the Branch President, on Sunday, from the pulpit, gave me a surprise ten minute talk.  I talked about the sacrament and the atonement.  It was a good reminder to always be thinking of spiritual messages to share.  On the mission it seems that about 85% of the time we are winging it, and it is a definite faith builder as we pray and plead with the Lord to help us know what to say. 

Monday, March 10, 2014


Dear Family,

This week flew by pretty fast!   We had stake conference as well and we had 4 investigators who showed up and a menos activo (less active) family!  We are planning on a few baptisms in the coming 3 weeks I think! 

We had a few great experiences with Ruben (an alcoholic). We showed up and he was drunk and he invited us in anyway. We said we would just pass by with a prayer and he decided he wanted to do it.   

He blessed all of the organizations of the church one by one including , "bless the relief society, the elders quorum, the high priests, the youth, the bishopric",......and then he paused and then raising his voice said, "but most of all, Bless that Primary!!!" and he ended it!   It was cool.  I have never heard anyone bless all of the organization of the church.

That same day we met Ruben´s nephew who actually wants to quit the party life and start keeping the covenants he made at baptism.  He asked us if we could stop by 2 times a week to help him overcome his addictions!  

A cool lesson we had this week was with the Paredez family!  They are the Seventh Day Adventists who cannot get past the sabbath day commandment and misinterpret the scriptures.  But anyway we taught them the Plan of Salvation and about how there are missionaries teaching the gospel in the spirit world just like us. They asked us a lot of questions like, "Well what if they don't accept it there?", and "What will happen to us if we don't accept the gospel?" (those are the best moments in lessons because you know they have desires to learn and you know they are listening)  and so we bore our testimonies of the blessings of accepting the gospel and following Jesus Christ by being baptized and repenting of our sins.  The spirit was super strong and they finaly at the end were still doubting the fact about the sabbath day and I just told her, "You need to go to church on Sunday and feel the spirit that is there, and then we will discuss more about the sabbath day."  We left that lesson feeling good, and there is nothing I would rather be doing than missionary work right now.

Elder Richardson is doing great and we are working hard together.  

These pics are a few families in the area, (back when I was with Elder Haworth).

Love, Elder Neifert

Wednesday, March 5, 2014

Lots of Service and studying about the Sabbath

Dear Mother, Father, Sisters, Brother,

I am trying very hard to focus on the mission right now...but i am also super happy and thank you for doing all of that application work for me! 

Good luck on your talk mom! I know you will do an awesome job!  

This week went by super fast!  We did A LOT OF SERVICE!

Our house flooded due to a big rain storm and we were up all night Tuesday squeegee-ing it out.  The same night the ditch that takes away the bathroom water got buried beneath about 4 feet of dirt.  So in the morning, we helped the owner of our house dig a big 4 ft deep ditch by about 8 ft long and 2 feet wide.  All of the neighbors came out to watch us dig. ( Like they had never seen a white man dig before....probably haven't)  I hope I did the Caucasian race proud.  

Here is the ditch we dug. 

We found a cool frog.

We later were asked by a very old poor woman if we would help her gather sticks so she could make fire to cook for the week.   Little did we know as we accepted that she did not want any ordinary sticks.  I asked her as we hiked 2 miles through the rainforest past many fallen branches and sticks, "Hey what about these sticks..they look worthy of gathering" and she would look at me like I was dumb and say, "No, they are not the sticks that will cook well".

The sticks she liked were the dead ones that were still hanging up in the tree that had been drying for weeks.  So she, using her machete, chopped down a skinny, but tall tree and made a pole.  Then finding another branch with a hook shape at the end, lashed it to the pole.  Using that 12 foot hook we pulled down dead branches from the tallest trees, sometimes with me on Elder Richardson's shoulders and him jumping so we could hook these most prized and sought after cooking wood.  We then made stick bundles which weighed about 70 pounds each and carried them all back to her house on our backs.  She carried one as well - equally as heavy as ours.  It was cool.  Paragauyan women are tough jungle wilderness surviving females.  

The chapel flooded as well, under about 2 inches of water so we spent 3 hours squeegee-ing on Friday too. 

This week I also figured out some great scriptures to explain why the sabbath day has been changed from Saturday to Sunday

  I liked using Hechos (Acts) 20:7, because it very clearly states that after the resurrection, the apostles partook of the sacrament (obviously a sabbath activity) on the FIRST day of the week, Sunday.  John 20:1 speaks of Mary going to the tomb on the FIRST DAY (sunday), and finding it empty.  Then jump to verse 19, and its says that on the SAME DAY is when Christ showed himself to his apostles, and then jump to verse 26, Christ appeared 8 days later (hoy en ocho), which means that the next time he appeared was indeed the next Sunday.  which is also when they partook of the sacrament.  In revelations, it says that Christ is the Lord of the day of the Sabbath.  Common sense shows that clearly, the day of his resurrection, when they partook of the sacrament, and then continued the practice on SUNDAYS (Acts 20:7), that clearly became his day.