All is well here in Paraguay. We've had an eventful week, complete with a visit from an Apostle and an exciting encounter with a crazy preacher.
The other day we went to visit a lovely sister in our ward who has recently come back to church. We arrived at her house to find that she was already entertaining a guest - namely, her boyfriend's pastor. We sat down and began to make polite conversation, looking for common ground to build on. Oh, you try to help people build good values and come closer to God? So do we! All was going well...until I pulled out the Book of Mormon. Our friend started off on a long-winded tyrade about how only the Bible is the word of God. Have you ever read the Book of Mormon? we asked. No, he hadn't, but he had studied for years in the University and knew everything there was to know about God's word and knew that the Book of Mormon wasn't true. Finally, he said, "I invite you to pray that the Holy Ghost will bring light to your minds and help you know the truth." Funny, that's exactly what I did . . . .
I pity the man. Despite his prayer that we would turn from our "misguided beliefs," I walked away from that encounter with a stronger conviction than ever that the Book of Mormon is true. It contains the word of God. It testifies of Jesus Christ as our Savior and Redeemer.
In contrast, we had a very different experience on Friday when we had the opportunity to participate in a special conference with an Apostle of the Lord Jesus Christ. Elder Dallin H. Oaks came to visit the Argentina Resistencia Mission, and our mission was invited to participate in the satellite transmission of the conference. I loved watching on the screen as Elder and Sister Oaks shook the hands of every missionary in the Resistencia mission. I loved to see the love and respect Elder and Sister Oaks have for each other, evident in the compliments they paid each other in their respective talks. I loved Sister Oaks' message about using time wisely. And I loved Elder Oaks' message about personal revelation. When he stood up to speak, he explained that when he speaks to missionaries, he never prepares a talk, but rather lets the Spirit dictate his comments. He then proceeded to explain different types of personal revelation. I walked out of that meeting feeling spiritually edified. What a precious experience!
I hope you are all well! Love you all!
Q & A
1. What kinds of interesting modes of transportation are there in Paraguay? Do you see many people on bicycles? Mopeds? Motorcycles?
Mostly motorcycles, a few people have cars....there are actuallly a lot of people with horses and wagons, which is quite a sight.
2. Did the missionaries rent a small bus when they went to Asunción, or were there other passengers with all of you? (See last weeks post about 20 missionaries going to Asunción for paperwork).
The trip to and from Asunción was on a normal bus, but while we were in Asunción we rented a small combi that seated all the missionaries.
3. So who went to Asunción? Was it mostly Americans, or do the native speakers also have to do paperwork all the time?
It was mostly Americans.
4. Did you meet new people (besides the brand new missionaries) on the trip to Asunción, or do you feel like you've met most of the people in your mission?
I met a few new missionaries, but I think I've met the majority of the missionaries in Paraguay by now. But I don't know any of the missionaries in Argentina; it's like we have two different missions.
(Because Hermana Watts is in Encarnación, she and her companion meet the missionaries who are going into Argentina and give them their passports, and then they collect the passports as the missionaries come back into Paraguay, so that may be why she knows most of the missionaries in Paraguay).