Monday, April 25, 2016

David is Baptized!!!

David was so excited for his baptism!  We went to his house and helped his mom make empanadas and cake to share at the baptism.  Yrma makes empanadas for a living, and they are some of the best empanadas I've tasted!

Pipo, Yrma, David, Arnaldo, and Mia - David's mother, brothers, and niece.  Arnaldo was able to baptize David, which made the evening all the more special.  Arnaldo's wife, Carmen, was called out of town suddenly to attend to the medical needs of her father, but we know she was there in spirit.
Eli and Cinthia Jahnel (two awesome girls in the branch who just returned from missions to New York New York and Florida Tampa, respectively), David and Arnaldo, and the missionaries :)
After the baptism - we are so grateful to everyone who came to show their support for David and his family!
Seated (L-R): Pte Miranda, Johan, friend of member, Alberto, Fernando, Dana, Magi, Lucas, Dylan, Cristina, Sandy, Ale
Standing (L-R): Arnaldo, Yrma, Pipo, yo, Hna Rigtrup, Antonia, Salustiana, Ana, David, Sandra, Antonia, Dany, Tomás, Alcides, Eli, Cinthia, Camila, Mia, Zuni, Salvador 
Our last night together, celebrated with ice cream :)
Finding our new companions in the terminal
tripped on a wire and tore my shoe . . . 
my companion did my hair this morning :)
My crazy companion!  She's really awesome :)
The gospel is incredible!  It has been such a treat to witness changes in David and his mother during these last few weeks.  The gospel really does help us to be more kind, more happy, more grateful, more selfless, more pure, more Christlike.  I am grateful for the Savior, for His mercy and grace, that help us to overcome our weaknesses and become more like Him.  We are children of God with so much potential! 

 And if children, then heirs; heirs of God, and joint-heirs with Christ; if so be that we suffer with him, that we may be also glorified together.

I know that this is true!  I love you all.

Hermana Watts

Monday, April 18, 2016

I milked a cow! (and other adventures in Paraguay)

It's been a fun week. Some items of note:

1. I milked a cow!

I was on divisions in our area with Hna Newell, and we went to visit some of our investigators. Right when we sat down to have a lesson with them, the grandmother said, "Oh, I didn't realize how late it was! The sun's already going down! We need to go milk the cows. Do you want to come with us?" And we were like, "Sure!" So we piled in their small car and drove out to their farm where they keep their cows and we got to help them bring the cows in for the night, clean their stalls (I don't think I'll ever get the smell out of my shoes) and milk the cows - it's harder than it looks. They gave us a bottle of milk as a gift - it was actually pretty good, once we boiled the bacteria out of it. The only sad part was that neither of us had cameras :(

2. Hurricane Hernandarias

We watched the storm clouds roll in and had just enough time to leave the bikes in our pension and grab our raincoats and umbrellas before our next lesson. The rain started as we were walking. The wind began to blow and the thunder began to rumble - the storm was fierce! Worse, the person we planned to visit wasn't home. We huddled under a covered parking space until the storm blew over and our friend came home - then the power went out and we had to teach by candlelight. But we survived!

3. The Relief Society Dinner

The relief society planned a dinner last Friday which had an impressive turnout. We met three investigators and several less-active sisters through the activity. Thank you, members, for inviting your friends!

4. Stay tuned . . . there could be a baptism soon :)

Love you all,
Hermana Watts

Photos - silly faces and pancakes

Monday, April 11, 2016

A Dessert Contest . . . who is the genius behind this idea?

We had to drop an investigator this week, which was a crazy experience. I can count on one hand the number of investigators I have officially dropped. . . definitely not my favorite part of the mission. When my companion suggested it, I was really reluctant because I'm always afraid that by dropping an investigator we're giving up on them and denying them salvation - but we both felt that it was right. Actually, dropping investigators is a huge act of faith, because we acknowledge that, even though we are representatives of the Lord, we are not the ones in charge. We trust that God has a plan for each of His children, and sometimes the best way for a person to progress is without the missionaries breathing down their necks all the time. Let me assure you that this was not a decision we made lightly. It required a lot of prayer and faith to confirm that it was truly what the Lord wanted for this investigator. We had a lot of doubts, but we moved forward with faith. The experience became miraculous when, during the lesson, we were given the exact words we needed to say so that all of us, both missionaries and investigator, were able to feel the assurance that this was the correct decision. This is the Lord's work, and He does guide it, if we are humble enough to let Him.

In other news, we organized a branch activity that took place last Friday - a talent show and a dessert contest. It was super fun! The idea was that each organization of the branch would prepare a talent to present, and after the talent show we would have a dessert contest. Anyone who wanted to participate could prepare a dessert, and then everyone would taste all of the desserts and vote for their favorite (with a prize for the winner). The prize went to Yrma, the mother of David, who prepared this lime-cream-and-pineapple-deliciousness. David sang with us, "I Am a Child of God," and my companion played the guitar. The Relief Society did a traditional Paraguayan dance, and the Primary kids also had a cute dance. A lot of people came and we all had a great time.

Also, we had fun welcoming home two sisters from their missions last week - one from New York New York South and the other from Florida Tampa. Their English is perfect!

This is God's work, and He is hastening it. This is His church. The Book of Mormon is true, the prophet is called of God, and Jesus Christ lives! I know it is true. I love you all.

Hermana Watts

Monday, April 4, 2016

Christmas for Missionaries! (a.k.a. General Conference)

HOLY WOW!!! WAS CONFERENCE AMAZING OR WHAT! You may have heard that General Conference is like Christmas for the missionaries. You would be mistaken. General Conference is BETTER than Christmas! It's like Christmas and Easter and Birthdays all rolled into one! It's a veritable spiritual feast!

I hope that each of you had the opportunity to watch at least part of General Conference and feel the Spirit bear testimony of the beautiful truths of the gospel. We have a prophet on the earth today, and twelve apostles, who receive direct guidance from the Savior Himself. And they speak to us. Is that not the sweetest message you have ever heard?

If you didn't get the chance to watch conference, here is the link:

Some personal favorites were Gary E. Stevenson, who talked about priesthood keys; Mervyn B. Arnold on going to the rescue; D. Todd Christofferson and his tribute to fathers (love you Dad!); Dieter F. Uchtdorf, who gave us hope that we can be rebuilt; and Jeffrey R. Holland's encouragement to just keep trying. Please take some moments to review the words that spoke most to you.

I know this church is true. I felt it strongly as I listened to our beloved prophet and apostles and other leaders of the Church. I know that the Savior lives. This is His church and His kingdom upon the earth.

Hermana Watts


Zone Conference with the Zona Porä (last Wednesday)

This sister from our stake recently got her mission call to Fortaleza, Brazil.
Hna Rigtrup, Hna LaPierre, Hna Watts
General Conference in the Stake Center:
Hermanas Nilson, Ehlert, Martinez, Newell, and Watts
My face when I spotted members from Minga down the hall!
Aline and Jessica, members from Minga Guazú.
  P-day Activity:  My comnpanion and I went to the Itaipú dam just outside of Hernandarias.  It's the largest in the world and generates electricity for both Brazil and Paraguay.

We found Elder Sanders and his parents - they are from Uruguay, and he just finished his mission in Asunción.  They are doing a little sightseeing on their way home.