Good to hear from all of you. Sounds like you have had another busy, yet fun week! I´ve been working hard as usual. Mom mentioned that the weather in Newbury Park has been kind of weird lately. It´s been weird here too, but from what I gather, weird is normal. If that makes sense. It will be super hot for a long time then all of a sudden there will be like a thunderstorm for an hour, then back to super hot in the blink of an eye. Last Friday, I was in a different area called Republicano (I go to different areas on exchanges sometimes, I don´t know if I´ve told you that Elder Bonilla is our district leader) and the weather was ridiculous. It was hot and humid and we were walking around. Then these crazy clouds rolled in and there was some gnarly lightning/thunder. We went to a less active member´s house and as soon as we walked in it started hailing! The kids all ran inside yelling hielo! and granizo! I looked outside and it was hailing ice like the size of golf balls at least. It was kind of lucky timing because we had just been walking for about half an hour and as soon as we got in it started. It was raining pretty hard and the gutter systems here are bad so when it rains the streets flood super easy. At least it´s a little cooler when it rains. But I´ve heard of it flooding up to about the knees. The bummer is after the rain ends and the clouds go away, it´s twice as humid and still hot. I just spent a lot of time describing the weather, haha oh well.
We haven´t had a baptism since the one my first week, but we are hoping to have a couple in the coming weeks. We have one scheduled for this Saturday and I´m pretty confident he´ll make it. I´ve said a little about him before, his name is Eduardo and he is definitely what you´d call a golden investigator. He has read the Book of Mormon, Doctine and Covenants and Pearl of Great Price in a little over a month. He is super smart and really likes to read, which is a miracle for Paraguayans. I can definitely see how the Lord prepares people to receive the gospel. He always asks super good questions and wants to know more. We are working hard to make sure all goes well and he can be baptized this week.
Another good investigator we have is named Juan Ramon. He already has 2 assistances (2 times attending church - from Spanish verb "asistir" meaning to attend), investigators need 3 to be baptized. So he just needs one more assistance at church and we´re hoping he´ll be baptized on the 13th. He is awesome as well. He told us this week that his mom doesn´t really want him to get baptized. He is 55 and his mom is like 82, but she´s super devout Catholic. We actually went and visited her a couple weeks ago, she was very very nice but very resolute in her faith. She gave me a little Catholic picture thing of Jesus. I didn´t really know what to do with it so I just said thank you haha. But I´m really hoping and praying that Juan Ramon will continue to progress so that he can get baptized.
Another investigator that already has assisted church 3 times is named Cristian. He still has to give up smoking. A couple weeks ago he was smoking 3 packs a day. Now he is down to 1 cigarette. Hopefully he can completely stop soon. Smoking is a huge problem here, especially since cigarretes are so cheap. It´s like 1 mil for 10 cigarretes, which is like 20 cents. Or 30 cents for 20 cigarettes. I think it´s a lot more expensive in the United States.
He also has to either marry or kick out his girlfriend. We´ve been teaching her too, but she hasn´t been progressing lately. She is very stubborn and is convinced that we pray to Joseph Smith and won´t give up that belief. Kind of frustrating, but we´ll keep working hard and praying for her.
I don´t have much time left, but I´ll answer a couple questions.
So how is the teaching going?
It´s going well. I really need to improve though. I can say a lot of things, but I really need to improve on teaching with clarity. When learning a second language, sometimes you focus on just saying something that sounds kind of right. When trying to teach it very clearly and use different types of words that are more understandable, it becomes more difficult. But I´m improving.
Are you feeling comfortable teaching all of the discussions yet?
Yeah, since that´s all we did in the MTC, I feel really good with discussions. But in all honesty, it´s rare that we teach a set discussion or lesson. About 6 months ago, the Mission Department came out with these 8 lessons to become better teachers for the missionaries that focus a lot on the needs of the investigators and teaching with the spirit. So we have really changed our teaching approach to just help the people in any way we can. So that means less set lessons and more lessons by the spirit on whatever gospel topic that will help them the most. Then we teach the lessons to the ones that are progressing towards baptism and make sure that we teach everything. So to answer the question, yes, I feel comfortable with the discussions, but to be honest, we don´t teach them a whole lot. Lots of principles and commandments.
I´m about out of time. But I love you all lots. Hope Mason feels better and everyone is well. Sounds like you´ve had a good week. Love you all!