Hey! How are you all doing? Thanks for all of the updates on the week. Your letters never disappoint, I was happy to get the weekly golf and boy scout update. I always get a good chuckle out of that. Well, Dad had a couple of questions this week, so I`ll go ahead and answer those.
So how many people attend on an average Sunday?
In the Costa Bonita ward, we have anywhere between 30 and 45 that attend church. In other areas that I have been in, the attendance has been a little bit higher. The stake that I am in right now is struggling a little bit, but we are on the upswing and are really excited. The members are starting to get excited and great things are happening. What is the attendance like the Conejo Canyon ward? I remember back in the days of NP 2 that the chapel was always super full.
Do you have many dinner appointments?
No, we have lunch appointments. Dinner appointments happen every now and then, a member will give us a little bit of food to eat real quick, but the meal appointments here are always for lunch. We have appointments about 4 days out of the week.
Are there very many youth?
In the ward that I am in right now, there aren`t a whole lot. In the stake there are a lot of youth. In my ward, Costa Bonita, there are about 10 - 15 youth that are pretty active.
Do you have someone who plays piano in your ward or do you get the opportunity very often?
There is no one that plays, but thankfully we have a super high tech piano/organ thing that plays church hymns itself. So Elder Snow doesn`t have to suffer trying to play church hymns.
I was looking on google maps at where yourchurch building is located the other day. I think you said it was on Americo Pico. There is a pretty large building in what looks like a fairly rural area. It looks like there is some kind of sports court next to the building. I also saw a Testigos de Jehova building up the street. So is that your church building or do you just rent out a portion of the building? Also, do you have many encounters with Testigos de Jehova in your mission?
Yeah, that building that you saw on Americo Pico is the church building. It`s the stake center so it`s really big, the entire building is the church, it has a lot of rooms. The sports court is the church`s too, most of the chapels have little cement soccer fields like that.
As far as Testigos de Jehová, there are a good number in Paraguay. We run into them pretty often. They aren`t super receptive, sometimes they will let us in. They are really great people and are very solid in their faith.
So I think that answers all of the questions for this week. We have been working hard and trying to get the members more involved in the work and work more with the leaders of the church. Yesterday we had a ward council that was really great and we got the list of 5-5-5 going. That`s a question I have for you, Dad. In the United States, are the ward councils working really closely with this new plan of 5-5-5. I`m not sure what it would be called up there, but it`s basically a program for ward council to help reactivate less active members. We`ve been trying really hard to put it into practice here and we had a really good meeting on Sunday. Elder Love and I have been trying for a while to get it going. The members here are so great. One difficulty, however, is that so many are 1st generation members of the church and are still learning. So sometimes we need to just give them a little push. They are so willing to help and to work hard, we as missionaries sometimes just need to point them in the right direction. So Elder Love and I are excited now because we have the Ward Mission Plan going and the ward council members are excited and know what they need to do to work hard.
This week had a little bit of disappointment as well, however. On Monday we passed by to teach Miguel Angel. He didn`t want to let us in and was kind of not wanting to listen to us. We talked with him a little bit and what happened is that one of his close friends and co-workers was talking with him and talked a little bit bad about the church. His friend was telling him that he was Catholic and that he can`t change and all that good stuff. So now he doesn`t want to talk with us. We`ve tried several times, but he won`t let us come in. So it`s been a little frustrating, especially because we know that he has a testimony that the church is true. We will continue to try to visit him, but it might not be his time yet to receive the restored gospel.
On an up note, we have found a couple of great new people this week. We started sharing with the friend of a member. The member, Sister Adolfina, invited her friend, Mariela, to church a couple of weeks ago and she attended. We were trying for a while to share with her and this last week we were finally able to. Mariela is really great. She has a husband and 3 kids. We shared with them and talked about the Restoration.We left a Book of Mormon and she has been reading a lot. So we are really excited to see how they progress.
We have found a couple of other really great people this week, sorry I`m running kind of low on time. I love you all so much. This week I have really felt the love of the Lord. I`ve been trying to become more humble and more Christ-Like. I know that He lives and I want to become more like Him.
Thanks for always being so great!