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.

Zuni is progressing well enough. She's still reading and asking questions, and we're still teaching her as often as we can find her. Unfortunately she wasn't able to make it to conference. Despite our constant reminders, she forgot about the Saturday sessions. We went to pick her up for the 4:00 session, but she refused because she hadn't bathed that day and told us she'd come Sunday if we came to get her. Sunday she had to travel to Itauá again and couldn't come. We were greatly saddened by this news.

We've managed to find a few other people to talk to but the majority of our week was traveling. On the bright side, Tuesday I was in Argentina doing paperwork for my DNI (Argentine Identification) and finished it all. It's valid for 2 years which means I'm an Argentine citizen and won't be losing time to paperwork in Argentina for the rest of my mission. However between that, and Conference, we lost a lot of time this week.

The storms here are amazing

Conference itself was fantastic! We had to show up early both mornings to set everything up, but we watched Music and the Spoken Word while we waited, so that was fun. We only had the one computer which means we could only show it in one language. On the bright side, I actually understood most of what was happening, and have almost 10 pages of notes. Personal favorites: Holland (always), Patrick Kearon (on refugees), and Ballard (on family council). Fun fact on General Conference. Elder Christofferson does his own Spanish translation for conference. His Spanish is basically perfect, and because it's his talk, they let him write and speak the translation.

Fun Fact about Paraguay: the Bible here is ridiculously expensive. Like, what could be considered minimum wage is 70,000 Guaranies a day. I receive 800,000 to cover a month's worth of expenses. The Bible costs somewhere between 1,000,000 to 5,000,000 depending on quality and where you look. We've decided to try contacting by offering people a free digital copy of the bible through the church application. I'll let you know how that goes next week. We've been trying to brainstorm other effective ways to go contacting, so I'll let you know what else we come up with.

It's all made of Seeds! Seeds and Corn Cobs. The whole thing is probably 50 ft. tall, and just as wide. Unfortunately we didn't get to see the whole thing, because they were in the process of taking it down 
when we visited.
I want to briefly bear testimony of what was said at conference and offer some counsel. First of all, when 75% of the conference talks are on strengthening the families, it's a good idea to listen to their advice. Something is coming in the next few years. I don't know what it is, but every time the church pushes a message like this it's in preparation. Prepare your families. Hold Family Council in your homes. Live worthy of the blessings of the temple, and help every family member to do the same. Do not let a night pass where you don't take your spouse by the hands and pray together. Be the father your children need. Love your parents for everything they've tried to do. There is no greater work than that which happens within the home, and no greater joy than being a parent. Brothers and Sisters, I testify that these great men have given us the counsel we will need to brave the coming storm. I testify that as you follow these steps to strengthen your own family you will notice a closer bond, a more peaceful home, and a happier life. God wants your family to succeed, and he will not leave you solo. I promise each and every one of you that if you look you will notice the power of God pushing you forward. Seek and ye shall find. Knock and it shall be opened unto you.

I love you guys a lot, and I want everyone of you to succeed. Look for God's help in your lives. And have a great week.

Elder Samuel R. Scott

Close up views of the Easter Christ mural

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