So this morning I was sitting with my companion waiting for the bus...when suddenly a fancy car pulls up and two young men start talking to us. I couldn't hear them very well and thought they were asking for directions. But then they looked right at me and said, "Can I have your number?"
Fortunately my companion jumped in and saved me. "We don't have a cell phone!" (which is true, it got pick-pocketed a week ago.) And the two creepy guys drove away.
Yep, I'm back in Paraguay.
Q&A from my mother:
1. How has your week been? Lots of traveling? Don't you have to cross into Paraguay through Posadas and Encarnación? So you had to go the long way around to get to your area which was really just across the river!
Umm, yes? I think you answered your own question...
2. On my weather app, it looked like Paraguay was a little hotter than Argentina. Is it?
Yes. There aren't as many trees here, so we spend a lot of time directly under the sun. My skin is now a lovely shade of red...I think I might need to invest in a sombrero.
3. And did you have a time change or not?
Yes, but not in the sense you're thinking. My area is somewhat dangerous at night, so I have a different schedule than other missionaries. We work during daylight hours and return to the pension around 7 for planning and studies. But Paraguay is on the same time as Argentina now.
4. Tell us about your area? Is it part of Ciudad del Este, or is it a separate town? Are there elders there, or just another set of sisters? Do you live with the other sisters?
I didn't realize how much I missed this country until I came back! I am very happy with my area. I live in Minga Guazú which is just west of Ciudad del Este. It is its own city but there's not much distinction between the two - like Reno and Sparks. There are only sisters in Minga, which is super fun! The other companionship consists of Hermana Dempsey, my former companion, and Hermana Runnells, who was in the MTC with Hermana Dempsey and in my zone in Eldorado. We don't live together, but they live only a block away from us and we see each other all the time. The four of us are having a blast!
5. Tell us about your new companion. Where in Paraguay is she from? Does she speak Guarani? How old is she? What does she like to do? Is she a convert?
My new companion is Hermana Gavilán from Concepción, Paraguay (north of Asunción). She speaks fluent Guaraní and is teaching me a ton! For the first time I have a companion who is younger than me, though not by much since she turned 20 in September. She likes to do everything (her words). Her family joined the church when she was a year old. She's a sweetheart!
Jaha ñamba'apo! My new favorite phrase in Guaraní. It means, "let's get to work!" President Ezra Taft Benson taught: "I have often said that one of the greatest secrets of missionary work is work!" The Kingdom of God isn't going to build itself. So let's get to work!
Those were the questions I sent her yesterday. (She had mentioned last week that she was being transferred to Minga Guazú and that her new companion would be from Paraguay, but didn't give any details). Here's a few more questions from today:
1. Any pictures this week?
My companion took some pictures, but I'm afraid to take my camera out of the pension because of pick-pocketers...
2. Are both sets of sisters in the same branch or are there two branches in Minga Guazú?
We are in the same branch. OH! And I forgot to mention they are building a new chapel right across the street from our pension (or rebuilding) so we are meeting in Barrio 2 de CdE (about 30 minutes away by bus). We have our meetings at 1 in the afternoon. The new building should be completed by the end of the year, so I might be here when it is finished!
3. What time do you leave your apartment in the morning?
We have an hour of personal studies in the morning from 8:30-9:30 and leave between 9:30 and 10:00.
4. You said you didn't realize how much you missed Paraguay until you came back. Do you like it better than Argentina, or will you feel the same way if you go back to Argentina after several months. What are some of the differences between serving in the two countries?
The food, for one thing. There are different flavors in Paraguay that they don't have in Argentina, so the first time I had lunch with the members it was like coming home. The accent, too, is just ever-so-slightly different. Somehow I just feel more comfortable here, maybe because Paraguay is my "birthplace." (meaning her first area)
5. Have you heard some Portuguese?
Yep, a little. There are a few members who are from brazil and speak Portuguese. But it's mostly Spanish and Guaraní.
6. What's different about Minga Guazú in comparison to Encarnacion?
Minga Guazú is a lot bigger. There's a lot more movement because it's just outside Ciudad and Brazil's right there. There's a lot more Guaraní. It's fun!