Monday, 5 March 2018

Month 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.

Tuesday, 27 February 2018

Week 2 of Last Transfer - a lot of indifference and some Feline fun!

Monday - we finally found a person that a member referred to us...she was always gone every time we had tried before. This time she was there but had very little time - BUT we were able to teach her most of the Restoration of the Gospel.

Tuesday - after lunch we met with Adelaida to teach her about the different Priesthoods and she seemed to understand very well. We also found 2 new people to teach - a Dad and Daughter. We taught them about the Restoration and they invited us to come back another day as well.

Wednesday - we were a little early to our lunch appointment, so we kept contacting. We were able to meet and teach a girl named Amelia....just a quick lesson on the Restoration. In the afternoon, we tried to teach an older lady but I have to admit, she really didn't seem interested and kept changing the subject. We were able to find Tamara, someone we had searched for for a while, and teach her for the first time. We were happy we found her but, truthfully, we weren't sure if she understood or took in the lesson that well because she was keeping an eye on her 2 yr old boy. The good news is she asked us to come back another day.

Thursday - in the morning we did weekly planning. We tried to meet up with Jessica but she had to reschedule and the rest of the day was mostly contacting new folks and making appointments for other days. The highlight of the day was we were able to have a Family Home Evening with a local member family and we did a spiritual lesson using M & M's.

Friday - after lunch we taught another elderly lady - she seemed to like the visit but wasn't really interested in our message. Later that day - we were contacting and we found 4 baby cats thrown in garbage in the street! We scooped them up and tried to find them homes, but no one wanted them, so we left them at a members house instead since we had to teach Pedro with the help of a local member- and that went really well. It was so spiritual, the member even teared up as he gave his testimony and Pedro's sister helped a lot too, explaining the Kingdoms of Glory. We went back to gather the cats and gave them some milk.

Saturday - we tried again to find homes for the furry felines, - we were able to find one a home but no luck with the rest. However, after lunch we were walking and another local church member saw us and said "oh you brought me a gift!" We had to explained the situation, and thankfully she offered to take them because her sister wanted cats. We were sooo happy!!! We also tried teaching another lady - she seemed indifferent BUT she did give us a reference address, so we contacted the house and the lady there was very happy to see us and we made an appointment to meet for another day.

Sunday - Sister Read gave a talk at church and it went really well. After lunch we went with Hermana Benegas to find someone to teach. A lady named Edith let us in and we were able to teach not only her, but her daughters too. We also had another lesson with Pedro again and invited him to pick a day to be baptized, then bring it to God and ask him if it is right.

P.S. - I still can't send pictures cause of the virus risk here....but here is a night time view from the air of Encarnacion that I got off Pinterest (I don't own the copyright to it - just using it for education purposes)

Monday, 19 February 2018

The Baptism that Almost Wasn't!!!!

Monday - we met up with the district leaders to go to Adelaida's for her baptismal interview and she did so well! The Elder said that she bore her testimony on everything he asked about.

Tuesday - in the morning we gave a young member some clothing for the mission. After lunch was just a lot of walking around and trying to find someone to teach...we found one girl named Camila and were able to teach her the Restoration and gave her a Book of Mormon. We were also able to teach Pedro the starting part of the Plan of Salvation and told him that we would be fasting for his wife and if he would like he could join us and he agreed.

Wednesday - after lunch we taught Jessica and after a long time and she said she had read a little in the Book of Mormon but didn't understand every thing. So, we tried a little experiment...we all wrote down a question and opened the Book of Mormon to find the answer and read the chapter together, I was able to find mine and Hna Read as well, but after some time Jessica looked at us and said "I can't find an answer". She told us that her question was if God exists "why is there badness and suffering in the world?" and we were able to help her find her answer and show her. Every verse we showed she wrote down and what it meant to her. Later that day we also taught an older lady (Victoria) about the Restoration too and she told us that just 3 days ago she wanted to know how Joseph Smith got to be the prophet (she had heard the missionaries before). Talk about timing!

Thursday - in the morning we did our weekly planning then went to lunch with a family, afterwards we started cleaning the baptismal font (getting ready for Adalaida's baptism in a few days) then went and contacted until the baby shower for Adelaida! She was sooo happy - we even made a cake with our blender that we had ha-ha...but it turned out really well even some of the local Sisters complimented us our creation. 

Friday - in the morning we 2 really short lessons with some contacts - one was an elderly lady and the other was a religious man who was really on interested in preaching to us but we invited him to just ask of God if what we taught was true. After lunch we taught Adelaida about the Articles of Faith with a focus on obeying the law. She told us she was really excited for her baptism! We also finally found the Familia Facu again but it was such a hard lesson because the dad was talking on the phone, the mom zoned out, daughter playing with the baby, and the son laughing the whole time, but when we talked about our English class...everyone was paying attention.

Saturday - THIS WAS THE CRAZIEST DAY OF ALL! In the morning, we did our studies in the church so we could fill the baptismal font with water but the water was coming out at about 2 drops at a time and cold! So we left to contact and eat, then we passed by for Cezar again and his wife was there this time so we taught the Restoration again to the both of them and he remembered really well...and was even explaining somethings to his wife. The topic came up about baptisms and so we invited them to come to Adelaida's to see how we do baptisms. Later, as we were cleaning the church and finally the font filled up Pedro texted us asking to come teach his we said that we would come by 3 pm but he was in the center and asked us to come by at 5 but were to be with some local sisters at that time getting ready for the baptism so we asked for 4 and went at 4. His wife was friendly but you could see that she had her wall up, as we taught the Restoration we tried to focus on the Priesthood and the blessings that it brings and she knew so much about other churches history and she agreed about the Great Apostasy. After the lesson we ran to the church and finished everything up and then the Branch President asked who was going to get Adelaida!!!??? We thought his wife was going to, but she was in another city even though we did confirm with her about picking up Adelaida so another member went to get her.  Horrors, they came back and told us that Adelaida wasn't home! We were crushed but another Hermana said "nope we are going to find her!" and left then the district leaders said "lets say a prayer" and then left to go contacting. Some members started to leave because it was getting late but then she came! and the baptism went ahead! After an Elder andI  sang a song called "Mas cerca Dios de ti" (translated it means Closer to God). It turns out she got busy planning a surprise birthday party for her own Grandma and didn't realize how late it that's why she almost missed her own event.

Sunday - we were worried about how Adelaida was going to get to church but luckily the wife of the Branch President got back and zoomed off to get her and she was able to get confirmed. Pedro and his wife (Patricia) also came (she had admitted before hand that she was dreading the fact church was more than an hour) but she stayed and even participated in all the classes.

P.S. ok I have had some questions about what my "health plan" is on my mission.  So...Sister Read and I work out every morning except Sunday and Monday and we only eat fruit and veggies outside of lunch (because it is usually an appointment with a local family who feed us), and if we do well we can eat a bit of junk food (like a chocolate bar) after lunch on a cheat day. We also drink lots of water. Also, I am working hard on my chin ups (even though the video I sent my brother for his birthday last week doesn't show it very well).

Also, here are some more pictures I wasn't able to publish before....they are from when a bunch of us missionaries got together to sing some Christmas Hymns. Enjoy!


The Heat continues....16 months and 1 week

Tuesday - In the morning we did service for the Hermana Cata (a local member) and then ate lunch with her. Afterwards we contacted a bit until we met up with a member to help teach Adelaida but to our surprise her grandma sat down too so we taught the Restoration in Guarani (the local native dialect) AND Spanish (well my companion read off Guarani and I spoke Spanish) and then she left to keep working. We kept talking to Adelaida and she agreed to get baptized the 17! That is so much more early than what she had said before of March 31!!! That was such a huge answer to our spiritual fast. We then went with another member who wants to go on a mission to teach Pedro the Book of Mormon because he hadn't been able to read it yet.

Wednesday - in the morning it was sooo hot and we were just sweating and walking to who knows where. We did find a lady that ended up crying with us and we were able to teach her...but she didn't seem too interested in our message. We also taught Adelaida about the day of rest and keeping it holy. Then we started English classes and Pedro came as well as some youth and it went really well. 

Thursday - in the morning we did our weekly planning but the rest of the day was just contacting new people...we did find one family and they are quite affluent (wealthy)! To be honest, a lot of the people we are teaching are people who are well off financially, or young teenage boys, but this family was really well off and they really liked our message (at least it seemed so) I don't know if the dad was really listening but he liked it.

Friday - in the morning we had a district meeting and we had to wait a long time for the bus but luckily the district leader as well had to wait for the bus. It was really good because one elder at the meeting talked about diligence and Hermana Read and I felt we really needed it because it was so hot this week, Plus, week 5 is always so hard during the transfer, but his talk was really good for us. After the meeting we taught Adelaida again about tithing and fast offering...and at first she had a hard time but then when she learned where the money goes she agreed to do it. On a personal note, I have lost 13 1/2 kg and so my pants don't really fit anymore but a local Sister said she would fix it for me so I gave her my pants.

Saturday - was hot in the morning again, but then in the afternoon as we were teaching a new person (Ceazar) and his son, it started raining really hard so we couldn't leave for a bit, then we went and got our rain stuff from our apartment and just went out contacting.

Sunday - both Adelaida and Pedro came to church! Pedro said that his wife will be home on Tuesday. Adelaida went home early, but in the Relief Society meeting, the ladies planned a baby shower for her and talked about her baptism.  After church we taught Ivan and he had lots of questions and said that he loved the Restoration and he agreed to be baptized 24th of March. We also taught Edith ( a reference from a local member) and we just got to know her because she seemed a little skeptical of us but the invited us to come another day anyways.

This is a quick video I had a local member send to my younger brother who just turned 16!
(in spanish I said "like not even" after trying the pull up - in case you can't understand)

16 Months!

Monday - we changed companions so Hermana Read and I are companions again and the Hna Suarez and Hna Nieves are companions. After our P-day we taught Adelaida about the Book of Mormon having answers to all her questions and it was perfect because she had lots of questions that we were able to answer with the scriptures.

Tuesday - in the morning we had our interviews with Pres. Svec then a few of us with Hermana and Pres. Svec ate lunch at a sandwich place called Gosh (it is so yummy see pictures below) afterwards we left and started to contact near the university that we have in our area. We talked to one girl (Jessica) and she was really happy to see us! She said she was questioning if God really exists and asked us to come back another day as well. We also contacted a group of girls and a guy studying and the guy (Enzo) asked us to come back another day as well. Another lady gave us ice cream, which was awesome.

Wednesday - we had divisions and it was a struggle to get the girls to come...because they had their interviews with President Svec in the morning, but after lunch we were able to get started all together. I was with the Hermana Castro and we taught a lady who was sweet but then near the end she looked at us and asked "why do you use bracelets and rings when that's a sin?" She then said "I´m just asking because I want to learn" but then would keep saying that she was a sinner too ha-ha. We then met another woman who told us that her religion doesn't let her talk to us...but she accepted a card from us Also, as we were contacting her, a guy (Pedro) in his car stopped and watched us. As we passed by, he asked what religion were we then asked for a card as well and told us that he lived in Buenos Aires when he was 15 and had listened to the elders back then AND read a bit in the Book of Mormon and wanted to know more now. He was also really impressed the Church had girl missionaries, so he gave us his number and directions to his home.

Thursday - we had the conference and made little bridges out of materials and the Pres. Svec put hymn books on top to see how many each bridge could support. Ours wasn't very strong...but it wasn't the worst either.

Friday - we tried to find one person Hna. Read had contacted during divisions but we could not find him and no one knew who he was. So, we started contacting instead and another man came out with his little daughter and said "Do you guys want to enter?"...and we were like "yes!"... so we sat outside and invited his other daughter who is 16 yrs old and taught the Restoration of the Gospel and then they asked us to come back another day when the wife and son will also be home. We then taught Jessica and just as we were going to start her friend came (Cecilia) so we taught her too and focused on the fact that God does exist and he loves us so much that he restored his church. I have to say there was definitely a light in their eyes!

Saturday - in the morning we did weekly planning and after lunch no one really accepted us. The good thing was, we were really excited with our lesson with Pedro (who we met on Wednesday) at the end of the day. We taught him the Restoration and he seemed to comprehend it really well and asked really good questions. He thinks when his wife gets back from her trip she will follow him in this and accepted baptism and to go to church

Sunday - Pedro and Adelaida went to church and both commented how good they felt and that they are going to be active in the church!

I am on a health plan (to get and stay healthy....a workout plan) but I get a cheat day every week if I do well and it is really easy.

I haven't been able to send many pictures from Encarnacion (Paraguay) because of the risk of computer viruses here.  Below is some pictures I wasn't able to include in a blog some time ago...hope you enjoy!

Saturday, 3 February 2018

A bonus missionary message to home

Just before Christmas I received a request from my Bishop back home.  He was wondering how I was doing and had a little favour to ask me.  Below is an edited version of what he asked and my response back:

"Hello Sister Barton A very Merry Christmas to you! How are things going for you down in Argentina? ... I have a favour to ask of you. We are having a youth discussion...for all the youth and their parents to talk about missions. We are going to discuss the new standardized missionary questions so the kids have an idea of what sorts of things so they will be better prepared when they come to see me and the stake president. I am emailing all the young Elders and Sisters from our ward to ask if they would share a neat experience from their mission and what advice you would give to the youth to prepare for serving a full time mission.

"the Lord will work through you, but it's not just giving you might and strength - but your mind and heart as well.  Those are the only things that God can not and will not take away from you. I thought that being a missionary would be feeling like a super hero or an angel but it's not a huge power that you feel but something softer...that you might not even recognize if you don't pay attention. Once my companion and I were walking and had nothing to do. In the moment I admit - I didn't feel any urge to "clap" a door (that's how we notify folks in a home, we don't knock at the door but we stand at the edge of the property and clap to get their attention) but still, I went ahead and picked a place even still. A sweet old lady let us in and listened to us. She also shared she has lots of problems with her health, so we didn't think she would progress much. Anyways, we left and time went on - my companion was changed and I was now in a trio and working 2 areas. We had so much work to do so we only focused on the most "important" people (or those we thought were the most important, the Lord has other ideas). One night we received a call from an Elder in another area saying 8 weeks ago he had sent a reference to us...but we never got it so he started to give us the directions and the name of the person, and in the end it was this sweet old lady that we had taught without knowing why! This elder had talked to her on the phone and said she wanted to be baptized. I am not in that area now but she has a date set to be baptized and as well as her daughter-in-law! The mission is the but the greatest thing that you will ever do. I am so very grateful to my Heavenly Father for calling and sending me here to help ME change and be the daughter that He needs me to be."

A week of Divisions

Monday - it was raining well...more like "spitting" out so we decided to walk to the shopping center BUT as we were walking it got worse and worse. We crossed the bridge and, as we were half way across, the lightning was snapping really close to we started to run because of how dangerous it was. Thankfully, we made it safely to the Super 6 (grocery store) and bought our stuff. We were soaking wet - walking around the store. That evening, we had a FHE (Family Home Evening) with a local family and just reviewed the importance of the Restoration and the Book of Mormon and invited them as a family to read a bit every day

Tuesday - in the morning we just spent most of the morning contacting new people but we had 20 minutes left til lunch and finally 2 ladies let us in and so we taught them something really quickly then went to our lunch appointment. After, we started a special fast for our district to be able to have baptisms in February. We made a pass by Adelaida's home and taught about following the prophet and also gave her the talk from President Nelson from the last conference. Then we taught Vanessa but she had to leave after a bit but her friend was there and continued to listen....which should have been good, but we needed a lot of patience because he was trying to play the "tough-guy" card and act like he didn't care about anything. We would teach something very clearly and then move on and say something such as "Joseph Smith received the priesthood" and he would ask "what is the priesthood"? (after we had just explained it) then we would say "a power from God". Again, "what is the priesthood? What's that?". There was a time though where we were talking to Vanessa and he had to go pay for something and then he ran back to keep listening. At the end of the day we were able to teach Natalia and Natali (the daughter) about the Restoration using a tower of cups to demonstrate, and they understood really well and both seemed to really enjoy it.

Wednesday - we took a bus in the morning to get to the area where our lunch appointment was because we had never been there before, but we got off kind of far away so we contacted as we walked a bit and kind of taught a woman named Roxana. Unfortunately, she really didn't seemed interested. As we were eating it started to rain really hard but luckily we had brought umbrellas (this time!) and boots. In the afternoon we went to visit Vanessa but she wasn't there but the boy (Aselia) said that he had prayed and got an answer so we asked how and he said "by praying"... then said he would be back but had to go out to get his hair cut, but his brother (Anderson) and his wife (Maribel) and their 3 little children were there and so we were able to teach them (Aselia never did come back) 

Thursday - in the morning we started the divisions with the sisters in Ayolas. My companion Hermana Read went with Hna Nieves to Ayolas while Hna Suarez stayed with me in my area. I cooked "papas a la huancaina" for lunch (potatoes Huancayo style - boiled yellow potatoes covered with an even yellower spicy and creamy cheese sauce, and accompanied by hard-boiled eggs and black olives - see below for a pic - not mine of course). We then we stayed for a bit in the apartment because Hna Suarez can't walk a lot because she has problems in her knee. Instead, we made cards for the local members and such, then we visited a less active member for a bit and then headed off to visit Vivi who we accidentally found her new house after contacting her a few days before. When we stopped in, she said she was busy and couldn't visit - but kept talking to we taught something small and said a prayer and left.

Friday - we contacted in the morning and found a family who were interested in hearing the message - so we taught them and they said the missionaries taught them before but never came back. The mom (Vilma) was super nice and gave us a water bottle. After lunch we stayed in the apartment again because her knee was really hurting. The elders called me asking me to organize where all the sisters will stay for the conference that we were going to have next Thursday, then the assistant to the president called me and asked me to take care of and wash all the table cloths for the conference. So, while Hna Suarez was putting her leg level - I washed the clothes by hand and put them outside to dry and made a bunch of phone calls.

Saturday - the sisters in Ayolas were suppose to come back today but the called saying that they tried to wave the bus down - but it passed right by them and they tried to run after it but it kept going. To top it off, there weren't any other buses until Monday. We weren't able to get a lot done while we waited, but we were able to teach someone close to the house.

Sunday - I had to give a talk at church so I chose to talk about service. After lunch we tried to go visit Vivi who lives in the big apartment building but she wasn't there and neither was any other person. So we went to visit the Familia Benegas and see if they needed help with something...but they said they were good.
Here's what papas a la huancaina SHOULD look like

The Super Six (SuperSeis) in Encarnacion
 P.S. My Family keeps telling me what the winter is like back at home...I should be coming home in April, I am very sure that I will die, it never even got down to zero here in the winter and I was so cold.