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Thursday, 5 April 2018

It's done I'm Home! and I'm Cold!!!!!!

So - this is it - finally after 18 months of serving the Lord and the wonderful people of northern Argentina and Southern Paraguay....I have come home. It was a long 28 hours or so of traveling but I was able to get off the plane in Lethbridge Alberta just before 1 pm on Wednesday.  One of the coolest things was - as my Dad was filming my plane coming into the airport - The SNOWBIRDS did a flyby over the plane. For those of you who don't know - they are the Canadian Aviation Precision flying team Equivalent of the Blue Angels - the U.S. team.  I guess they were making a fuel stop in Lethbridge, on their way to somewhere and just happened to fly over with their smoke streaming behind at the exact time I was rolling toward the gate. My Dad said it was like Heavenly Father was tipping his hat to me as ended my mission and got home.

It was a flurry of activity for the rest of the day - my family took me out for lunch, then shopping, then home to prepare for a celebration dinner with the local Magrath Missionaries and the Missionaries from my sister's YSA ward.  Then off we went to President Low's house (one of my Stake Presidency) to be released and then back home to finish the day with a movie with my family and then off to bed for much needed SLEEP! My parents documented some of the things and I've posted them below:


Me coming out the plane door (middle screen)

Missionary Celebration Dinner

Arriving at the Low's to be released

It's all done!  I'm released and the name tag is off (with President Low)


My LAST post out on the mission

ok - a little different since this week has been a little different as I get set to go home. Our Mission President - President Svec - allowed us to leave Encarnacion and go see Iguazu Falls since Hermana Read had never had a chance to see them. There were four of us Hermanas and a local member from Paraguay drove us there.  I have some great photos below.  Also after that we traveled to Posadas to finish off the last few days of my mission...where we watched General Conference for Saturday and Sunday. I really loved conference. I was able to get on the computer and then tomorrow I leave early in the morning - flying out from Posadas to Buenos Aires, then on to Houston, Texas, then to Calgary and then finally to Lethbridge where my family will pick me up. To be honest, when I get home -  I will only want to sleep.

Back where I started my mission 18 months ago


Posing by the Iguazu Falls


View below the massive falls


More fashion poses by the falls

It had rained recently that is why the water is sooo dirty




Some cool animal visitors at the falls



Driving on the road trip

The Delgado family

Herman Cata

Monday, 26 March 2018

Working for God in a different way (total Inspiration!)

Tuesday - in the morning we had a district meeting and some of the Elders showed a video from the church called "Hope Works" and it was very wonderful. The assistants to the Mission President called us and asked us to send pictures of each other, so as we did that the Elders made us lunch. When we got back to our area someone told us that there were doctors visiting from Oklahoma nearby doing free service. We felt inspired that we needed to go there - so we went, and as we were waiting a man came up to us frantically asking if we spoke English AND Spanish (which of course we both do) so then he said "come quickly" and almost took my arm off as he dragged us to a pretty Lady Doctor named Lacey who didn't speak any Spanish. We spent the rest of the afternoon translating for her with the locals who she was trying to help. These doctors were also religious (but not our church) so after they helped each person, they asked them if they knew Jesus and then we all said a prayer together. After all our help, Lacey gave us some M&Ms

Wednesday - we got a call that Adelaida had her baby finally - so we went to the hospital to see her...and her baby is so cute and small! After lunch we went to go find a new apartment because the one we were staying in has rats and actually is a bit in the Elders area. We were able to find one really good place and we sent the address to the mission housing office so they could approve it all 

Thursday - was weekly planning and then we were also able teach Marina with a local member and she was really happy to read the Book of Mormon with us - but she felt she wasn't able to find an answer she was looking for.

Friday - in the morning we did a quick lesson with a local contact and then after we found Agustin and some friends and taught them a small part of the Plan of Salvation. 

Saturday - we went again to Agustin with a friend of his (who is also a member) to teach the rest of the Plan of Salvation and invited him to be baptized in May. He accepted! and then his friend went wide eyed and said "He's going to be baptized ???!!!" He was so happy. We also got caught in a rain storm with a local member but luckily we were able teach someone during it so we weren't stuck outside in it.

Sunday - we both gave talks at church and as Hna Read was talking Agustin came to church all by himself and sat down, and then some member kids came and sat by him. After church, we also taught Dilah...and as we were saying goodbye, she started crying and thanking us for teaching her.
 
Oh Good News! I found out that I have a cord that connects my camera to the computer so I sent photos  (some of them are of things you've already seen on the blog before - this time they are my own photos....not ones I pulled off the net)
 
 
Adelaida's Beautiful new Baby!

Famous Bridge over Parana River

Us driving on the bridge over the River


Encarnacion City Scape View

Me in the Encarnacion Sign (beside the heart)


Standing in a huge old tree trunk


Me standing by Hindu symbol?

Hermana Read with Hindu Symbol


Symbol by itself

Companions and Servants of the Lord

Our new SHINY apartment (No Rats!)

Just Before a Baptism

Another Awesome sign


I think my shoes are getting a little tired.....
 
P.S. with this coming week being the week before Easter (starting with Palm Sunday yesterday of course) some of the members have invited us over for their holy week dinners - they eat lots of Chipa which is a kind of cheese bread.

Monday, 19 March 2018

My second last post?


Monday - was a little crazy because we had divisions again but at the same time Hna Read had to go to Argentina with another Hermana and so we (the other Hermana and I) stayed and walked around the center of town doing some shopping (it was still our P-Day) for the other Hermanas ,ate lunch, and then Hna Read came back. After the p day part of the day -  I went with the Hermana Gonsalez from Bolivia and we went to teach one young woman but her friend came out to tell us she (the girl) was in lots of pain and couldn't so we asked the friend if we could teach her instead. Since she obviously wasn't doing anything - she was stuck with us :) but she really didn't seem that interested. Afterwards we turned the corner and met this one lady (Mariana)  who was sweeping her driveway. I thought she would just take the card from us and then tell us that she was busy...so I asked if there was another time we could pass by, and she said "why not now?" So we taught her and she was super interested and loved it all. After we left the house though Hna Gonzales was in awe and then told me she had been on divisions before and contacted that very same lady but she told them that they were just wasting their time and to go somewhere else.

Tuesday - we weren't able to teach anyone until the end of the day with Adelaida where we had a FHE with a member and us 4 hermanas. It was lots of fun and we laughed a lot as we played with rocklets (a kind of candy - see a pic below I snagged from the internet).

Wednesday - in the morning we ended the divisions and then went out contacting again. We were able to teach Edith about the Book of Mormon and we even invited her to be baptized and at first she said she already was...but then she asked us to explain why we asked her to do it again. After we explained it (about the proper authority from God) she agreed to be baptized in April. Then the Familia (family) Benegas invited us to eat dinner with them 

Thursday - in the morning we were able to contact and then in the afternoon we were able to teach Sabastian who came to church. His mom told us his dad is a little stubborn, and that he (Sabastian) went to church even thought he was sick. We taught them using the Book of Mormon to answer their questions and the Mom helped Sabastian find his answer, and it ended up being perfect for him 

Friday - we contacted a ton and we taught a family that all had Chinese names but spoke Japanese. We taught them about the Restoration and it went really well for them too, but they were the only ones we were able to teach that day but its okay because they were really good and interested

Saturday - at lunch we found the Elders in our area doing a service project for a member sanding tables down... so we sat down and helped them.  I felt like I was back at Inline-Ovals again (where I used to work in my hometown, sanding picture frames). After we helped the Hermana of the home cook. After in the afternoon we taught Edith again with a member and she said she had just opened the Book of Mormon to read it and read about baptism but hasn't felt like she has gotten an answer yet.

Sunday - we taught Mariana again even though she had about 3 or 4 of her sisters over...but she said but "its fine I want to listen to you anyways". Her sisters were very friendly too and they all had very good questions. We taught the Restoration over again and taught about the Book of Mormon and one of the sisters said she likes to listen but she won't be changing. On the up side, Mariana asked if baptism was the last step of listening to us and then said... "I can see myself taking that last step" (YAY!)
Image result for rocklets

Sunday, 18 March 2018

Caught by a Biker Gang!

Monday - we got called in the morning by the assistants to our Mission President asking us to do extra divisions (splits) with other sisters in another zone that same day and all of our clothing was wet. Luckily the sisters couldn't do the divisions until the next day so then we took our P-day like normal wrote out letters home, went shopping, took a nap, and finally took photos with the gigantic <3 ENCARNACION sign (which I had posted earlier from the internet - see the post a few weeks ago).

Tuesday - in the morning we went to the bus terminal and met up with the sisters we were supposed to divide up with. Hermana Miranda and I went to Obligado (an hour and 15 minutes away from Encarnacion) and contacted a lot. Unfortunately , we didn't teach any of the people we had planned for, but we did have some unexpected success. As we were trying to visit one investigator Hna Miranda and her companion had met before - she wasn't home HOWEVER a huge bike gang came up to us. Okay - it was a big bike gang of kids - but all of us were asking us to come to their house and teach their families. Who are we to turn them down? So we went to many of their houses and taught quick lessons and as we were talking to one busy mom, she looked at us then looked around and said "Wow! you still have SO many houses that you can visit" and waving her arm around to show us. We just kind of laughed because we really had hardly walked and it was a small block but it was very interesting to me because even though I only have a few weeks left on my mission - I still have a lot of work to do! Anyways, later we tried to give away a card to an older couple that we found out were actually brother and sister.  I have to admit they were not happy to see us. In fact, they looked angry! The woman just didn't want anything to do with us but the man started going off about how it is not okay to have images of Christ (keep in mind that the card we were trying to give them did not have any pictures - just a question) "because no one has seen him", and then he starting talking about how his eye has a lot of problems and asked if I believed if God would heal him. So, I gave my testimony that God loves him and that if he has faith anything is possible BUT at the same time the pains and sicknesses are here for us to learn and to be strengthened by them. I don't remember all that I said but I do remember feeling really strong and I wasn't the only one - you could see his eyes change. Hna Miranda continued testifying and explaining...in the end they were really listening to us and were happy when we asked to say a prayer. They then told us when we wanted we were welcome to pass by again.

Wednesday - so we were going to go back to our area like normal (after our divisions) but then the assistants called us again, asking to stay another day and my companion, Hermana Read, would be with a different Hermana than the one she was with on Tuesday. So Hermana Miranda and I kept going - we taught a family in the morning that a local member had brought to church. It went well and the mom said that she would come to church.  We then we took a bus to teach another investigator who is getting ready to be baptized and when we taught about the Sabbath day...he kept saying "Wow - I didn't know that", "no one told me" "I am very glad to know this".

Thursday - in the morning we weren't able to teach anyone and at lunch we went to a restaurant (instead of having a lunch appointment with a local family) because is was another Hermana's birthday and she wanted all of us to eat together. It ended up being really good then the assistants called us saying we would all be switching all back to normal so we just had to wait for other sisters to get there so I could go back with one of them. As we waited, we made a cake for the birthday girl then we went back and changed back to our normal companions and Hna Read and I shared all of the crazy stories that had happened in the last couple of days.

Friday - we did our weekly planning in the morning and after lunch it was just contacting all day. It wasn't very successful though as really there was not one person that wanted to listed to us or our message.

Saturday - we were able to teach Cesar and his family with the help of the children of a local member that lived really close. He was really surprised at the testimony of these young children. After, we were able to do some short lessons on the street with random people but this is the last Sunday where a baptism could happen...so we were praying a lot that someone could come into our sphere of influence, that was ready to be baptized 

Sunday - at first it seemed like no one was going to come but then we saw a young boy sitting in front of us who had been taught before. He is a youth and his parents don't want him to get baptized yet but we are willing to work with him and we know that he is ready to receive the gospel.
 
A shot from a park in Obligado I snagged off the net (sorry, still can't send pictures
 
 P.S.
Things are coming together for my coming home - during my recent interview I had with President Svec (my mission) he showed me the flights to get me home and gave me permission to send it to my parents right then and there. I am very happy I only have to take 4 planes to get back home to Canada. On my very last week, we will be going to Cataratas on the Monday (to see the Iguazu falls since my companion Sister Read has never seen them) and then on the Tuesday we will fly out. I bought a beautiful skirt last week to come home in and then today just for fun I tried on some jeans and a blouse and realized I have lost a LOT of weight and I am just a little worried about going home and not fitting any of my clothes some are really baggy and stained from the red dirt that is everywhere. Also - it is summer and hot here...so I really hope it isn't cold when I get home (my Dad is continually complaining about the snow lately).

Monday, 5 March 2018

Month 17....my last one!

Tuesday - we had to wake up super early in the morning because we had to take the train to cross into Argentina for consejo of leaders (Leaders Council), we were so tired!!! I did however really like talking about the scripture Alma 26:31. After the council was done, we took the train back "home" but we had some company as some sisters stayed with us over night because they were from a part of Paraguay that was a lot farther away.

Wednesday - after lunch we went to find a person a local sister had given us as a reference. It took a while of clapping (the local way of "knocking" at someone's house) but they did come out. The cool part was - as we were waiting for a response....a guy on his motorcycle stopped and asked us if we could visit his wife for him because some missionaries ( possibly from another religion) talked to his wife previously and she felt really happy. Who are we to turn an unexpected reference? So we went to there home....she was a little busy (wasn't expecting us) but she asked us to come next week instead. It was still amazing because we had the reference not only from a local member BUT also from some random guy on his motorcycle. How often does that happen? We ended this amazing day by teaching another women (who was also a reference), she didn't seem to want to listen to our message but she instead she wanted us to be her friend. We could feel, however, that she had listened to the message before and felt that it was true but just is putting up a wall with us right now.

Thursday -in the morning we wrote a talk we had to give for a local conference. In the afternoon we had to buy 23 L! of juice for the conference and then the Sister missionaries from San Ignacio came to have divisions (splits) with us. It didn't start off very well though as we didn't know where they had gotten off the bus so walked a ton around our area trying to find them. Thankfully we were able to meet up and after I was able to go visit Adelaida. She said that she had been missing us...we were able to talk about temples and family history work.

Friday - we had the conference and our talk went really well! We learned a lot about using the Book of Mormon more as we are teaching. Then the sisters from Pilar came back with us to have divisions as well - I was with the Hermana Suarez and we were able to teach a lady named Edith. I have to admit it was a challenge because she wasn't paying much attention. After that lesson we just contacted for the rest of the day.

Saturday - before lunch we stopped by to see Cesar and his family. Cesar was there but he told us his wife and son were out but would be back later. The best part was he gave us some cake to eat that HE had made and it was sooo good. After lunch we were able to teach the family (the wife and son had returned) and they said they were reading the scriptures a bit...and so we taught about the Book of Mormon. The wife and the son were really nervous to read because they are not the best at it but they read for us anyways and did it really well!  They promised they would read more as well. After, we texted Pedro to remind him about church the next day but he told us that he wouldn't be going - we didn't really understand the reason though so we are going to try and touch base this coming week .

Sunday - it was a little disappointing as no one came to church even though our goal was to find someone who would. The good news was the elders were able to have an investigator at church. After we were able to teach Dilah and the fact that she saw us trying to save some baby cats (read last week's blog) really touched her heart and she said she had started reading the Book of Mormon and that she had missed us the last week. We also had a Family Home Evening with a local member family that wants us to teach the girlfiend of their son. She lives in the area overseen by the elders so we will see how that goes.
 
Here are some pictures I haven't shown you yet. One is our Mission President and his wife standing by the pop-sickle stick bridges we had made (I blogged about it a while ago). There are also some pictures of when we all got together and celebrated the birthdays of all the missionaries with birthdays in February, March and April.  I was sitting in the perfect spot so was in every picture.
 






This last picture I'm sitting waaaaay in the back on the left hand side - the third from the end, sitting down.