Monday, May 30, 2016

Week 24 - End of Transfer 3

Chocolate chip pancakes for District Meeting
So this week has been interesting for a couple of reasons. First it's the end of the 3rd transfer here in San Ignacio with Elder Thorpe. We've had a lot of fun together but we knew that one of us was going to be leaving this week, and we were both pretty sure it would be him. But let's focus on what happened this week in our area.

Tuesday was one of the hardest days of my mission. For the morning we cooked chocolate chip pancakes as a district before our district meeting, so that was awesome. Later after the meeting we got invited to eat lunch with a member, Hermana Mercedes. She cooks some of the best food I've ever tasted. However we burned almost 2 hours in her house, when we're supposed to keep them to an hour maximum. After that we took our Ward Mission Leader, Angel F., to visit some of our investigators. As I've said before, Angel is awesome and will go with us for several hours at a time. Tuesday he was with us from 3-6 and we didn't have a single lesson. In fact, the only lesson we had at all Tuesday was with Gregorio C. So we basically walked around from 3-9, with a break in Gregorio's house. It was a tough night...

Monday, May 23, 2016

Week 23 - A step forward and a step back

So this last Monday, the 16th marks my 5 month point in my mission, and this coming Saturday will make 4 months in San Ignacio. Wow has the time moved fast. It's strange how time moves here, because the days are long, the weeks are worse, and every month disapears in an instant. However I have seen a lot happen, and I have done a lot in these last several months, and this week was no exception.

Let's start off with the bad news, of sorts. This week we had the Law of Chastity lesson with Zuni. It wasn't intentional; we were teaching the 10 commandments and when we arrived at number 7 she asked for a lot of clarification, one thing lead to another and, boom, chastity. It went pretty well, considering she´s 23ish and lives with her boyfriend. However she didn't like the idea of not having sexual relations until marriage -- not because she doesn't like waiting or other typical reasons -- but because she is fundamentaly opposed to getting married. I don't know what it is, but for some reason she said, "I don't want to get married" more than 15 times in our 45-minute lesson. She also asked what happens if she doesn't comply, and we said she couldn't be baptized until that happens. Then she asked if we'd stop visiting if she said she didn't want to be baptized. We urged her to pray heavily before making that kind of decision, but we haven't seen her since, which is the bad news. Keep her in your prayers if you would.

We had an awesome lesson with Mariela and Alberto this week. When we first contacted Alberto he told us we wouldn't be able to stop by frequently because his suegra, or mother-in-law, didn't like religion. However this week when we sat down to talk, Mariela's mother and brother joined us for the whole lesson! I guess Mariela said somthing about how much she likes listening to us, because the suegra changed her mind completely and participated in our discussions! They didn't come to church this week, but they are reading, and they have really good questions, which means they're also understanding what they're reading.

Speaking of church, Francisca, our abuelita who was fighting for custody of her Grandson, came for sacrament meeting this week! We were going to visit her Thursday to remind her, but she made an emergency visit to San Juan, so we didn't see her until Sunday morning. However, she'd told us several different times that she was going to go, so we grabbed Angel and stopped by to pick her up. She was home, she was prepared, and she said she really enjoyed the meeting. She made several friends quickly, and recognized a few faces as well. We are excited to help her meet the goal of baptism the 18th of June, and I'm really grateful to finally have an investigator in the church. It´s taken a lot of work to help somebody progress this far, but God has taught me a lot in the mean time.

For my testimony I want to share a little of the talk I gave this Sunday. I spoke on a talk given in October of 2015 by M. Russell Ballard titled "God is at the Head". It is important to remember in these latter days of turmoil that God has always worked through prophets and apostles. Without the early apostles, we would have few of Christ's teachings, few accounts of the miracles He worked, and no account of the empty tomb and resurrected Christ. Without modern day prophets we wouldn't have inspired literature like The Family: A Proclamation to the World. We would be lost at sea without oar or rudder. If we have faith that God is guiding his prophets, we will be able to stay in the Good Ship Zion as Brigham Young counselled. We will remember that our boat has the divine destination of Exhaltation, and that it is impossible to arrive there by jumping ship and trying to swim alone. Trust the prophets, follow their counsell, and stay in the Good Ship Zion. I Testify that the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints is the only ship that will reach that divine trajectory. Stay strong, and stay in the boat!

I love you all and hope you have a great week!
Elder Scott

Monday, May 16, 2016

Week 22: Mother´s Day Horario Paraguay

Elder Thorpe and Elder Scott with the Jimenez Family
The girls are marching in the Independence Day Parade
Wow has this been a long week. It feels like forever ago that I was writing about Día de la Madre. Things went so well this week, and we´ve seen so many miracles that I almost feel like 2 weeks have gone by. But I checked my agenda and it´s still only week 5. 

Let´s start off with Splits. The Zone leaders came to our area this Tuesday and Wednesday to do divisions with us. While they were here there was a lot of training and sharing of ideas, but we also had several amazing experiences. They showed up with probably the best news I´ve heard in weeks. Zuni Didn´t Move!!! She traveled to Encarnación last Sunday, but only for a few days. The Sisters of Encarn tried contacting her and she told them it was a misunderstanding. All of this was conveyed Tuesday morning, which made for an awesome start to the day.

Monday, May 9, 2016

Week 21 - Feliz Día de la Madre!

Mother's Day and Maipas Burgers
(not necessarily on the same day)
Wow has this been a rough week. It doesn't help that we spent 3 days outside of San Ignacio, but even with that in mind, things still went really rough for us. We weren't able to find a single new investigator this week, despite our best efforts. We also had difficulties finding our progressing investigators this week, so our numbers look really low, except in Lessons with Members. Our ward mission leader came with us to several lessons, so our numbers look great in that category.

Last Monday I was in Encarnación because of a mission wide leadership conference. All the zone and district leaders had to travel to Posadas Monday evening or Tuesday morning. I was on splits with San Pedro, a suburb of Encarn. It was a good experience to have a different companion for a short time, and I returned to San Ignacio with several good ideas.

Monday, May 2, 2016

Week 20 - Invierno Llegó (Winter has come)

Winter Dress
So this week marks the official start of winter here in San Ignacio. Which is very strange because I keep receiving pictures of my house as the frosts are disappearing, and things are starting to green up in preparation for summer. Meanwhile, It dropped to 5 degrees Celsius, which is around 40ish in Fahrenheit. Here's a photo of how we looked this Sunday in church (which has no heating) taken afterwards in our apartment.Other than that this was a very boring week. Because the temperatures dropped from summer to winter in less than 24 hours, nobody was prepared for it, including Elder Thorpe who bought those gloves this week after 18 months in the mission.

Tuesday, April 26, 2016

Week 19 - Record Week

Our zone just before transfers.
Four missionaries out, three new missionaries in.
So this week we broke basically every one of our goals. The Spirit of God was with us a lot this week, and we just had a lot of success. It's not really that we changed anything, but things just worked out really well.

For Starters, we gave a blessing of health to Zuni this week because she found out that (on top of her anemia and heart problems) she is rapidly destroying the cartilage in her knees and loosing the ability to walk. After the blessing, she could barely stand, and was "exceedingly astonished" as the scriptures would say. For the next half an hour we talked about the power of the Spirit, several experiences we'd had, and she asked us how long she had to wait until she could become a member! We laid out the baptismal requirements, including the interview questions, and promised her that she could feel this same feeling during her baptism, and when she enters in the temple for the first time. She was very excited.

Monday, April 18, 2016

Week 18 - Drum-roll please...

A loaded package of treats from
Bea's grandma in Brazil.
(Bea is Sam's foreign-exchange-sister)
This week marks my 4 month mark in the mission, with almost 3 in the field. It also marks the end of my second transfer here in San Ignacio. The results of the transfers are in and I got to find out what the Lord has in store for me. To give a little background, Elder Thorpe arrived in San Ignacio one transfer before me, making this the end of his third. We were pretty sure he'd be transferred (he also has 5 transfers left in his mission). We also thought that if he didn't go, they'd probably transfer me, seeing as how I just finished my training. We didn't think it very likely that we'd both get transferred, as a Whitewash would be very difficult for this area. Well the results are in. Can I get a drum-roll please?

Tuesday, April 12, 2016

Week 17 - Howdy Y'all!

Overall things went well for us this week. We had a few really good lessons and, as always, a few Miracles.

Let's start with Laura. Laura is an investigator that I met my second day in Paraguay. I couldn't speak the language yet, but I fought my way through the lesson without understanding much of what was happening. After that day, we never had time when she was home, and she was never home when we went to meet with her. For two months this cycle continued until this Tuesday. We somehow managed to find her and have a lesson. We asked her if she still had her Book of Mormon, hoping that in the past few months it hadn't been lost or destroyed by her 3 year old. To our surprise, she not only had it, but had been zealously guarding it, and reading it frequently! She said she reads it when she wants to feel happy or relaxed, when she's had a rough day, and sometimes even when she can't sleep. She still has quite a bit of lesson material to learn, but she seems super prepared already. Her baptismal date is at the end of May.

Monday, April 4, 2016

Week 16 - Week, um, 9?

This is Tañarandy (TAN-yuh-ran-DO). Every Easter they 
put up some giant portrait of the life of Christ, but with a fun catch.
Eh, Who's counting anyways... This week was General Conference, and also marks my trainer's final 6 months. Turns out Elder Thorpe gets to watch the next conference, and then jump on a plane back home. He's less than excited. I don't blame him though, he's had a lot of good experiences and he really loves the people here. I'm sure I will to.

Things that happened this week. Lot's of walking. However for the first time in a long while, we managed to receive a reference from somebody. Not only that, but we also contacted her in the same week! That made our numbers look really good. Her name is Cyntia, and she's great. She's a single mother with two kids, one 7 and one 2 or 3. She didn't have a whole lot of interest in religion to start with, but because her daughter is brilliant, loves reading, and wants to study the bible, she asked her friend to recommend a good church (she's not a fan of the Catholic church she was raised in). Miraculously she decided to ask an old investigator who thinks very highly of our church, but was dropped due to a lack of progress. Cyntia seemed rather interested and so we'll see how she progresses in the next few weeks.

Monday, March 28, 2016

Week 15 - He is Risen

We have had such a long week. To think that 8 days ago was the district conference in Pilar blows my mind. Unfortunately long weeks result from people not being home when they say they will. Which happened a lot this last week. On the bright side, my calves look fantastic! haha chiste no mas

However everytime we manage to find people to teach, we tell them about General Conference! We will be watching conference in our chapel via internet, and we have invited everyone we meet to watch it with us. Our session will start at 12:00 because we just had daylight savings time, and now we're only 2 hours ahead!

Thank you everyone who sent me birthday wishes this past week. It was really nice to read them today. To celebrate, Elder Thorpe and I baked a coconut cake, and tried to make vanilla frosting.

Wednesday, March 23, 2016

Easter - #Hallelujah

This is the message Elder Scott has been sharing this week.  While we had placed links to the video within the text of his letter, I felt it needed to be shared as its own post on his blog.  Please watch, and share the message of Easter and why we say #Hallelujah.

Week 14 - #Aleluya

This was the scenery during the bus ride to Pilar this week.
So this week marks the start of the Semana Santa, or the holy week leading up to the resurrection of Christ. This is the week when everyone actually attends the churches they say they do. They also make a lot of Chipa, which is a breadstick made with Mandioka starch and Queso Paraguayo. It tastes fantastic. As a missionary I will not be joining in the festivities of making Chipa, (though I may join in the eating part) but instead will be handing out Pass-along cards to promote the #aleluya video for easter.

This past week has been rather busy, again with us being unable to find people and doing a lot of contacting. However Wednesday we had a great lesson with the active wife of a less active member who live 40 minutes outside of town, and for that we don´t visit them much. However, they were home in the morning so we visited and talked about the temple and how they could prepare to be sealed. She seemed really excited, and greatly desired to receive those blessings, so hopefully she can animate her husband a little.

Monday, March 14, 2016

Week 13 - Miracles in San Ignacio #MilagrosEnSanIgnacio

"Today was a rough day for numbers. It almost seems like we can have either good numbers or we can have miracles. Well, today we had miracles" -My Journal

Wedding Day
Let´s start off this email with the events that transpired monday night. Gregorio´s papers went through! He had to ask the help of a couple different people, but by the end of the day he got it all taken care of. Now he only has to wait 48 hours before setting a time with a judge.
Wednesday was the day from which that quote is taken. We have an investigator named Zuni who has been making a bit of progress these last few weeks.

Monday, March 7, 2016

Week 12 - Transfer Week

View of San Ignacio from our roof.
This week starts off our transfers! One down, 1.8 years to go. Luckily my trainer and I are staying here, but one of our hermanas is being transfered to Argentina. I´m really glad I get to remain here in San Ignacio, because I love these people. I haven't had a lot of luck with investigators lately, but there have been some great miracles here these last 7 days.
First off, our small and insignificant one. The other day we were walking through Soreños, which is not our normal store, and we happened upon Worchestershire sauce! Elder Thorpe says that in all his misison he's never seen it. Not even in the largest stores in Encarnacion...

Tuesday, March 1, 2016

Week 11 - Clean Sweep

Let's start with the awesome news:
Elder Bednar did a training with around 8,000 missionaries in the South America South area. He was in Buenos Aires, and it was being broadcast all over Argentina, Chile, and Paraguay I think. He talked a lot about being an Agent and not an Object, and how we can help our investigators act as agents in their conversion. He also talked a lot about what it means to have faith. He shared the story of Israel crossing the river Jordan. They were told that the water would heap up to either side, and instead of waiting on the shore for that to happen, they walked into the river and hoped God would follow through. They had to walk the entire river in 6 or so inches of water, but as they looked back, they could see the water doing exactly as promised. Nothing happens until we get our feet wet. Until we take those first few steps. Even then, we don't get all understanding at once, but we have just enough understanding to take the next leap of faith, and only looking backwards can we see our spiritual progress.

Monday, February 22, 2016

Week 10 - My Life is a Bus Ride

I´m not even joking. Like, this past week I spent half the week on busses. It was terrible.

Asunción, Paraguay Temple
So Monday P-day, and I got to spend almost all of it in my area. Just after my last email, we jumped on a bus for Encarnación. Encarnación is two and a half hours South East of San Ignacio. Then when we arrived, we waited in the terminal for an hour before boarding the next bus out to Asunción. That´s a 6 hour bus ride which goes right through San Ignacio. That bus had problems with the AC being stuck in the coldest setting, and due to poor design, the air leaked around the vents, and it couldn´t be turned off. We were all freezing. That was an overnight bus, which put us in Asunción around 6 in the morning. Those of us that went had to do a little paperwork to make us legal in Paraguay. It wasn´t a lot, but I guess it can only be done in Asunción which is why we had the trip.

But we did get to visit the Temple while we were there!

Monday, February 15, 2016

Week 9 - San Ignacio

Happy dia de los Solteros!

Or in other words, happy singles awareness day! In an attempt to leave time to respond to other emails, I´m going to shorten this letter up quite a lot, because it takes too much of my time. So here are some of the most important things that happened this week.

Monday night and almost all of tuesday was spent in busses and at our zone meeting in Encarnación 2 hours away. Wednesday almost none of our investigators were home, except for Rotibio, who is the man we hauled a gas can for. We had a very very interesting meeting with him both good and bad. 1st off, he read half of the book of mormon in a week. Yeah this guy has dedication. However, he had 2 large problems, He doesn´t agree with the idea of  Christ coming to the Americas, nor that anyone except christ can be ressurected. So he´s asked us not to have discussions. However he still recognizes us as men of God, and wants us to continue visiting and chatting. Honestly we aren´t too sad about it. Any man who reads half the BoM in a single week, is bound to have big things coming his way. We´ll see how the spirit works in his heart this next week.

Monday, February 8, 2016

Week 8 - San Ignacio #MilagrosEnSanIgnacio

"A decent rainstorm" according to Elder Thorpe
My first full week down! Woo! The more time I spend here the more I love it! It is a lot more humid here, and also far hotter. I don´t think I've ever sweated this much in a week. But the country is basically paradise. The people are great, the food is great, the rains are fantastic... Just the other day it started dumping rain out of nowhere. The street next to the restaurant we ate at had room for 2 lanes and parking on both sides. At the strongest point of this storm, the whole street was flowing with water. Granted they don´t have storm drains here, and water flows until It hits a stream, river, or something along those lines, But the amount of rain that fell that day was impressive to say the least.

Monday, February 1, 2016

Week 7 - Milagros En San Ignacio #MilagrosEnSanIgnacio

Hola Amigos!

This is the last shot of our MTC dorm room before we parted ways
I made it to my first p-day here in the mission field! The story of how long it took to get here has been posted on my Blog, I think, but i´m not sure it mentions that we flew to Posadas. After I arrived on Wednesday I was introduced a little to the Posadas Area. It`s very beautiful here. It´s much more humid, but because of that, everything is greener here than anything i´ve seen in any part of the US. Again, a few of the pictures will be up on my blog. I got my first taste of missionary work that night, as I went out with one of the APs to do some street contacting. I don´t understand a word of what´s being said, but I did manage to tell people who we are, and give them a pass along card. The AP took care of everything else.

Wednesday, January 27, 2016

MTC Photos

Today we received Sam's SD card in the mail with MTC photos and thought we would share a few, including this video of the missionaries enjoying the snow:

This explains the earlier picture that has all of the missionaries covered in snow. There were several missionaries from warmer climates who weren't used to this much snow.

Tuesday, January 26, 2016

Travel Day


January 25

Sam called us Monday afternoon from the Salt Lake Airport.  They had left the MTC at 8:30 am to take the Front Runner train to the airport for a 2:30 pm Delta flight.  As we were talking, we pulled up the flight information and found there was a one-hour delay - which would cause them to miss their connection to Buenos Aires in Atlanta.  Sam said there were 40 to 50 Argentina-bound missionaries on that flight.

We later called the church travel office and learned that the plane departing Salt Lake had to be swapped out with a smaller plane.  There would be 30 fewer seats than tickets sold.  They said some missionaries would make the flight and others would fly out on a redeye flight and join the group in Atlanta.  They weren't sure which group Sam would be in.

Saturday, January 23, 2016

MTC Week 6 - 48 hours and 3 minutes

Holy cow, I'm almost there. I leave the MTC and the United States in 48 hours! Honestly though I'm so ready to leave the MTC. It's been great to be here, and I've really learned a lot, But at the same time, I've put on 10 pounds and learned almost all of the grammar lessons. There isn't much here for me anymore. So good bye Utah, Good bye snowy mornings and terrible drivers, and Hello tropical jungles and humid days. 

Saturday, January 16, 2016

MTC Week 5 - T Minus 10

I'm within the last 10 days of my stay at the MTC! which means that Travel plans came yesterday! I will be leaving on January 25th at 8:30 from the MTC. My flight takes off from SLC atn2:20 pm, and from Atlanta at 9:00 pm. I will be arriving in Buenos Aires at around 9:00 in the morning local time. from there I have no idea how I'm getting to Posadas, but I imagine it will be by several busses. I'm flying Delta, flight 1117 to Atlanta, and 101 to Argentina for those of you who want to track the flight. It feels really strange to know that I am within 10 days of leaving the country for nearly 2 years. The MTC has been really great, and I've learned a lot because of my stay here, but I am SO ready to leave. Argentina is going to be a blast. I can't wait to get out into the field and start helping actual people. Plus having a trainer who already has some idea of how to teach lessons is going to be great, because the learning curve when neither of you understand is rather steep.

Saturday, January 9, 2016

MTC Week 4

Hola amigos!

This week has been a really crazy week due to the new year. Every time the semester changes, our teachers schedules change, and so they need to rearrange what times they can teach us. Occasionally their teaching assignments will change. This year however, while all of this was going on, Someone decided to change all of the branch assignments and student schedules as well. Unfortunately for the missionaries, none of this was conveyed to us... or even between departments apparently. Our teacher waited 3 hours for us to show up to class because we thought we had a service assignment and gym time. Then our TRC member and investigator appointments were all scheduled for different times than we were told to show up. So our poor teachers had to completely rewrite their schedules around their BYU classes, in order to match things up. But finally at the end of the week things are back on track.

Also this week we had a devotional about trials, where we learned that God will never give you a trial simply to impede your progress. Every outcome will help you to progress. And if you are aligned with the Lord, and if our God is for us, then who could ever stop us? (name that song). The devotional review that followed was really cool because several people bore their personal conversion stories, and we talked a lot about times when we were all helped through trials. Devotionals at the MTC are so cool.

Also within the past 7 days, I made it into a special performance choir. They sent out a survey to the MTC choir and selected 20 people who had choir experience outside of high school. So now I get to perform a medley of primary songs about missionary work in front of ALL the new MTC presidents and Temple Site Coordinators. Also at that meeting, President Nielson will be speeking. That'll be TuesdayOn Wednesday we are performing More Holiness Give Me for the same group with different speakers. I'm so glad that the Lord has prepared me for these opportunities, because this choir is freaking sweet. 

I love the MTC, and while my lessons have their ups and downs, I've grown really close to the Elders and Sisters in my district. We had an activity where we got to put on an investigator persona, and then teach each other lessons. It was so much fun, and I love my district. I testify that the Lord will prepare a way for the work he needs done. If you go to him humbly, he will make your weaknesses a strength to you.

Love you all, and thanks for the support!

Reflections of the Provo Temple

Provo Temple in Winter

Sam showing where he is and where he is going.

Sam's companion crashed in the classroom.

Saturday, January 2, 2016

Week 3 - New Year's Eve

So I've been here long enough that days and weeks are starting to blend together. I'm pretty sure this marks the end of week 3. Anyways, this week has been a huge learning experience for me. I've had several more lessons with the TRC investigators, and with teachers pretending to be investigators,and on Thursday we started something new. We get to teach two 20 minute lessons to members, in Spanish. It's safe to say, I think I'm getting the hang of this "teach by the spirit" thing.

Happy New Year everybody! Hope you all did something fun to ring in the new year, because missionaries really don't get to. Holidays in the MTC really just mean something to write your family about, and a day or two where we won't get mail delivery. The most we got to do was throw a party at 10:00 when the ball dropped in New York. We were told we could stay up as long as we wanted provided we didn't wake anyone else up. Unfortunately 6:30 doesn't come any later on New Year's Day, so everyone was asleep by 11:30. Yep, we party hard here in Mormon Central.

I've been asked about the others in my district, so I'll tell you a little more about them. Elder Noble is from the Houston Texas Area. My district leader, Elder Bezzant, is from an unincorporated county near Denver, Colorado. His companion, Elder Horton, is from Simi Valley, California. Elder Cassel is originally from La Quinta, California, but has recently been living in Downtown Salt Lake. His companion, Elder Meek, is from Cache Valley, Utah, and he is cousins with Stephen Meek from Studio C. Hermana Sanchez is from Lake Havisouz? City, Arizona, and her companion, Hermana Kingsford, is from Gilbert, Arizona. The two of them were recently called as Sister Training Leaders for our branch. Hermana Foutz is from the San Francisco area, and her companion, Hermana Schickedanz, is from Portland, Oregon.

I'm running out of time, so I need to wrap this up, but I'm so glad to be in the MTC! I got to host the incoming missionaries Wednesday, which was a lot of fun, but more importantly, My group is no longer the new ones! I did run into Sister Nipko already, and we marveled over the number of people going to Argentina in the next month. The Lord truly is hastening the work down there. I'm excited to get to the point where I feel fluent in the language. Thanks for the emails, and everything you guys have done to support me!

I want to end with the spiritual thought of the week. During our lessons we learned a lot about what it means to have a real conversation with God during prayer. For example, if you say you're thankful for the day, and move on, you aren't really talking to God, you are reciting at him. A real conversation means you would explain the same way you would to a friend. Don't generalize to God or assume he knows what you're talking about. Gratitude means a lot more when you specify exactly what it was you liked. It works the same way with God.

I want you all to know that God means it when he says, "I will make weak things become strong", because I've had numerous opportunities to make terrible mistakes, and to learn from it. My weeks here in the MTC have taught me a lot about how Christ taught, and how he wants us to teach. It's really amazing to be here. Also if you haven't seen the Church's new videos on their 12 step recovery program, you should go watch them. They are really heavy, but they are also very real, and very powerful. When the church puts a discretion advisory on a video, you know it's going to be good.

I've got to go, but I love you all, and pray for you. God is there, and he does love you. Remember, being accepted as you are, is the worlds way. Changing, learning, and improving is God's way of saying he wants the best for you.

Buenos Tardes!