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.

Monday, 22 January 2018

2nd Full Week in beautiful Paraguay

Tuesday -  we had consejo de lideres (leadership council) in the morning and they talked a lot about obedience and reminding us that it is summer and to use protection. They also changed and made some new rules...but then we had McDonalds for lunch 😮! (couldn't do that in Argentina) In the afternoon we were able to listenn to the Devotional of President Nelson - and there was a part where he said we need to continue with the end in mind. After the session, we were able to find Vanessa and taught her about fasting and she said with the pills that she has to take, she can't fast so we were trying to find another way. She did agree to read 24 chapters in the Book of Mormon in 24hrs, but she hasn't chosen a day yet.

Wednesday - we talked to 44 people in one day and we were able to teach a lesson to a really devout lady of another religion. She said the closing prayer to end our visit and asked God to help us find our way on the right path and not be so confused. It was nice to be prayed for. Funny part was...after we left she was saying a "cleansing prayer" for her house.

Thursday - we have been trying many times to find Familia (Family) Torres but they have never been home. We tried in the morning and again no one was there so we walked across the street to sit down for a bit and after awhile a lady came out and started cleaning the front porch then saw us and went back in. The thing is, we didn't see her face very well but she didn't look like the mom or the daughter of the we were thinking that maybe they left for vacation and this other lady takes care of the house? We were a little disheartened though because almost no one has been accepting us this whole time. Still, we had hope and carried on, passing by 2 kids outside playing - and one of them stopped us and said "oh did you come to talk to my mom"? So, we went to teach her and the little boy took my hand and showed me my seat then as we were teaching he just hugged me and then again as we left too, it was so sweet!

Friday - in the morning we had a district meeting and we had to try and use the cards we have been given with questions to teach the Plan that God has for us. Actually, that was super fun - we ended up killing it! Then we had to run to our lunch appointment but it was really good...Hna Benegas makes everything home-made and made a butter that was so yummy! In the afternoon she went with us to teach one of her friends and Adelaida about the Book of Mormon then gave us some juice to drink and crackers to eat at her house at the end of the day. 

Saturday - we got caught in the rain after lunch without jackets or boots or an umbrella and we were walking back. A family invited us into their porch out of the rain and so, never looking a gift horse in the mouth, we took the opportunity to teach them and gave them a Book of Mormon and asked to come back another day. We later went to the Branch President's house to give them cookies we had made and shared a scripture with them.

Sunday - also rained and very little people came to church but it was still nice. We were able to teach the woman who we were scared to enter her apartment building the week before. She was really happy to see us and admitted "I was scared you might not come because of the rain". We taught her the Restoration of the Gospel and gave her a Book of Mormon which she was shocked at but very grateful that we were giving her the book. We later had the opportunity to get to know Dilah and she told us the experiences she has had with faith and prayer.

Monday - well today we ate at pizza hut (loving the fast food we couldn't have in Argentina) but almost died doing it because there was a huge storm and the lightning was really close to us so we didn't use our umbrellas and ran to the Super 6 - like a supermarket - and then to pizza hut. It was funny, the server looked at me weirdly because I wanted Alfredo sauce and pasta he said no one asks for that...but I did. 😮 I keep getting asked what the weather is like down here - it has been raining every day so far but the humidity makes it worse for the heat. I keep telling everyone here that it is below zero back where I am from, and all their jaws drop haha.

P.S. sorry there aren't any pictures -  the computers here aren't recognizing my card from my camera. I will have to see if I can get that corrected. Below is just a couple internet shots .... which I don't own or have any claim to....just providing it for educational purposes
Image result for paraguay, encarnacion

Image result for paraguay, encarnacion

Not that we are counting but my companion (Sister Read) said that after today...we only have 9 p-days left....WOW!

Tuesday, 16 January 2018

Brand New Area/Country - lots to do so just a short post

As I posted last week - I'm in a new area AND a new country - Encarnacion, Paraguay....kinda just across the water from where I served previously in Posadas, Argentina.

Still getting used to the area so just a small posting this week.....I'm also still trying to recover from being sick just before I was transferred. My new companions - Hermana Read was saying that I probably had mild pneumonia but don't worry I'm all good.

Like I said - this area is similar to Posadas because it is really close but it is different too.  One big difference is Argentina doesn't allow big international companies like Mcdonald's to come and set up shop but Paraguay does. My living conditions have also changed - we live in a house and we have a microwave and the beds are bigger and better, and everything is really cheap.

 My new companion Hna Read is really awesome! She is from Michigan U.S.A., is also a readhead,  and has the same time in the mission as me,  She is really spiritual and we have made the goal to have baptisms every week (pray for us) but it will take 5 weeks to get there.

In our new area - there were missionaries here before but they took them out and put us in, I really don't know why.  However, we have seen lots of milagros (miracles) already - like on Saturday lunch was canceled for Sunday so we bought some food to make like a stir fry then on Sunday, after church, we were getting to know a local Brother and he asked us if we had lunch? We said that we were going to cook so he gave us the directions to his house and said to wait like an hour and come over and he made lunch for us and his family. It was really yummy (empanadas)! I don't think he has a ton of money - he isn't poor - but he and his wife are young, have been married for a year and a half and have a 7 month old baby. They don't even have a table but they gave us food charitable.

Another amazing occurrence was when a older Sister from the area said she had some references for us so we thought like 2 or 3, instead she ended up walking all the afternoon with us and contacting people with us.

Weather-wise - it has been raining but it is great here none-the-less.

Sorry - no pictures this week but below is my daily run-down (except I couldn't do Saturday or Sunday, again, sorry)

Monday - was a little crazy getting all ready and stuff but we taught Diego and he said the sweetest things, like he promised me he will get baptised and thanked me for the work that I had done so that he could have this knowledge 

Tuesday - we went and found an old investigator and got to know her - she showed us all of her pictures from when she turned 15. We taught about the importance of prayer and the Book of Mormon, we were also able to teach the Flia Sanabria but we especially focussed on Yanina and Aaron and they promised to come to church the next sunday and really showed progress by praying.

Wednesday - we were told we had to be in the Mission Office early but someone would come get us from the terminal, because Hna quiroga would be training and I needed paper work done. In the end I already had the paper work done but I acompanied a new missionary instead (who doesent even know where her first area will be) to do her paper work so she wasnt alone. That took most of the morning then I went back to the terminal to wait for a Hermana to go to Paraguay with her. We waited together for a member to take us over the border. We took lots of photos in the car ride but I forgot my camera in the house so next week I´ll send them. We then waited for a bit in the terminal in Paraguay, Encarnacion for our companions, Hna. Read and I went to our area with Elders and a local member. There was a church activity that we went to for a bit to get to know the members, then went and bought some stuff - unfortunately, I still had pesos and needed guaranies (The guaraní is the national currency unit of Paraguay) so Hna read had to buy everything.

Thursday - let me tell you when you are in a white wash area (where both companions are brand new and have no knowledge of the area at all) there are not many lessons being taught but a whole lot of contacts being made. In the morning we tried to find a young girl who the sisters before us had taught but we weren't able to find her, then we bought some food to eat lunch. After lunch we were really lost trying to find the houses of those who the sisters before had taught and luckily we were able to find all the houses, but only one was home but she is named Adelaida and she has a baptisimal date set. We went over the Restoration just to help her remember, but she remembered really well. We also taught about the Book of Mormon. Because we are both so new to the area - we were so lost that a member at the end of the day (when we weren't lost anymore of course) asked "are you lost?" "no, why?" "because you have passed by here about 20 times!" In our weekly planning we made goals for our last 3 months and we will be working to have baptisims every week but it will take time. Then we planned for a talk for the next day

Friday - in the morning we had a district meeting and found out that we planned the wrong topic so we quickly planned the right one in the bus, then after wards we took all day contacting and finding people and we even taught some kids on the street

Saturday - we taught Adelaida about the gospel of Jesus Christ but we made little feet cut-outs that lead to a picture of Christ and she really seemed to enjoy that. She even said she read the Book of Mormon. We had a meeting with a member to show what we have been doing. We saw a big apartment building and it was open and we were sure that it wasn't supposed to be open so we slowly went in and walked up the stairs and Hna Read said "remember Elder Uchtdorf's talk...Last floor, Last door?" Well for us it will be first floor, first door! But once we got to the floor all the doors were open and in the first one it seemed like a naked man was there and we were really scared to clap. Still, we settled our nerves and did clap (that's how we get home owner's attention - we don't knock remember) and he looked (luckily had shorts and a T shirt on) and sent his wife to talk to us. The first thing that she said was "wow you guys are so pretty. Who are you?" and then we introduced ourselves and she told us to come back the next Sunday

Sunday - we did a whole lot of visits with Hna Benegas and she was bringing us to all of her friends and neighbors. We were only able to teach one lesson but it went well with 3 elderly ladies and they didn't seem super interested...but were very happy with what we shared.