¡Saludos de Paraguay!
The mission continues to be a wonderful experience, teaching me one lesson after another. I got to travel to Asunción on Friday to do more tramites, which was an adventure. We got to go to the temple grounds, but it was pouring rain so we didn't stay very long. We left Thursday around midnight and got home about 2am Saturday morning - it was exhausting! But we had a great time. Can you imagine some 20-odd missionaries piling into a large van and traipsing around the city? Good times :)
This week I learned a little bit about God's plan for us. He truly does know better than we do what we need. Last Monday, we planned a noche de hogar (FHE) with the elders in our branch for a menos activo family in their area. We made brownies and were on our way out there when the elders called and informed us that the family had cancelled. Not gonna lie, I was pretty upset. I mean, we had gone to all the trouble of making brownies for this family! But there wasn't anything we could do about it. Hermana Nethercott and I changed our plans and started walking to visit some other people in our area. As we walked, we passed a young man selling lomitos on the street. Behind him was a woman holding a baby - supervising, I guess. (Lomitos are the closest thing Paraguay has to tacos - they have meat and lettuce and tomatos and garlic sauce all wrapped up in a kind of pita-bread-tortilla-thing. They're delicious!) We continued walking for about a hundred feet before Hermana Nethercott stopped and said, "You know, a lomito sounds really good right now." So we turned around and walked back to the lomitos stand, ordered our lomitos, and struck up a conversation with the woman. We found out that she had moved to Encarnación within the last month and begun her little business selling baked goods and lomitos. It was actually their first day selling lomitos. And before she moved, she met the missionaries. She didn't just meet them, but she was friends with them. She knew several sisters by name, and she told us how they would come and she would teach them how to cook. Her husband came in and we got to meet him too, and they said we could come by whenever.
Can you imagine? Our appointment just happened to fall through, and we just happened to be walking down the street on the very night they opened their lomitos stand - all of these things that are too perfect to be coincidence. God is truly great.
How have you seen the hand of God in your life?
Q & A
1. You've mentioned Sister Training Leaders in your emails. Tell us more about them. Are both members of a companionship STL's or just one? Are there STL's in every district, or do they cover more than one district? What are their responsibilities? (We didn't have STL's when I was a missionary).
Usually just one member of a companionship is a Sister Training Leader. Our STL, Hermana Field, is the only STL in the zone, but our district is the only district with sisters, so she only covers our district. They go on divisions at least once per transfer with the sisters to show us by example how we should go about missionary work, and they call us at least once a week to see how we're doing. They are sisters we can look to for advice and counsel and leadership.
2. What has been the most difficult thing about your mission thus far?
The most difficult thing for me thus far is probably inviting people to be baptized. I love teaching the Gospel and talking about doctrine and helping people feel the Spirit, but asking them to make these huge changes in their lives me cuesta mucho. (translation: it costs me a lot, or it's really hard for me) I guess I'm just so afraid they'll say no that I can't bring myself to talk to them about it.
3. What food do you miss the most? (On my mission we never had cheese. I really liked Japanese food, so I don't know that I missed it that much, but it was kind of weird not to have it).
I really like Paraguayan food, so I don't miss too much of American food...occasionally I remember things and I think, man, that would taste really good right now, too bad it doesn't exist here, but then I just eat chipa and it solves my problems. Haha. I do miss not having to cook for myself, and sometimes I really miss your salads.