Elder Zachary Snow

Elder Zachary Snow

Thursday, August 16, 2012

Day 4 in Paraguay - August 12, 2012

We slept in a little on Sunday because we had arrived in Pilar quite late the night before (actually it was early Sunday morning!).  The breakfast was very simple at the hotel we stayed at: bread, biscotti, juice or coffee.  The juice here in Paraguay is very delicious and the bread and biscotti were flavored with anise.

When Zach served in Pilar, he spent a lot of time with the Suarez family.  The Suarez family was a huge help to the missionaries. They fed the missionaries at least once a week and Sister Maria did their laundry.  The family was also great at fellowshipping investigators. 
The Suarez family & extended family members
Brother & Sister Suarez are closest to Zach
Nelson is in front of Carrie & Dave
While Zach was still serving in Pilar, they had invited us to help celebrate their son, Nelson’s 9th birthday.  When we arrived, there was a typical Paraguayan asado prepared.  Asado is barbeque meats and the Suarez family served beef, pork and two kinds of chorizo (sausage).  The meal also included sopa Paraguaya (corn bread), mandioca (starchy root) and rice salad with mayonnaise and vegetables in it.  All of the food was delicious.
Rice salad and asado (beef and chorizo)

Sopa Paraguaya


The Suarez, Servín & Snow families with
Elders Holmgren & Calvert
The family was happy to have us there and we felt honored to be part of the celebration. Zach found out that Nelson wanted missionary items for his birthday, so he gave him a pair of “Elder Snow’s missionary pants and a missionary tie” which Nelson was very happy to receive.  Also in attendance at the party was the Servín family, who were baptized while Zach was in Pilar.  They are a very sweet and humble family.

After our meal at the Suarez home, we still had time before church started at 3:00, so we visited with a recent convert, Pedro, and his wife, Felicia, before church started. Zach taught Pedro while he was in Pilar, but Pedro wasn’t baptized until Zach had transferred. He was very happy to learn that Pedro had been baptized. Felicia is still not committed to join the church, however, she welcomed us and picked some mburucuya (Guaraní for passion fruit) for us to take. Everyone here has been so generous, wanting to feed us and give us gifts, even though they live in very humble homes and circumstances. Pedro is very enthusiastic about the gospel and wanted Dave to mark his favorite scripture in his Book of Mormon so that he could study it later.  I am so touched by these people!
Pedro, Elder Snow & Felicia
We still had time so we went to visit another recent convert, Jorge, where he works for a few minutes.  Jorge works at a hotel and has to work every other Sunday afternoon.  On the Sundays that he works, he attends the other Pilar branch which meets in the morning, so that he can attend church every week.  I admire his commitment to attend.
Dave, Carrie, Elder Snow & Jorge
We arrived at church and were greeted warmly by the members.  Dave and Zach went to the Priesthood meeting and left me to fend for myself in Relief Society.  There were just a few of us there and they could not speak English and I have extremely limited Spanish.  We waited and waited and I was beginning to wonder if there would be a meeting.  Each time a new sister came in they greeted each other and me with besitos (little kisses) given on each cheek, which is how the Paraguayan women greet and part with each other.   Finally, 15 or 20 minutes after the hour, the teacher arrived and greeted each sister before beginning the lesson.  Even after the lesson began, when other sisters arrived they all greeted each other during the lesson…no sneaking into the back row for them!  I could not understand the lesson, but I could tell the sister teaching was a good teacher as she encouraged the participation of all the class members.  In Sacrament Meeting, Elder Snow was put to work playing the prelude music and then leading the hymns to taped accompaniment and one hymn a cappella.  He was also asked to bear his testimony.  I enjoyed being in the meeting where I could feel the love the members have for the gospel and each other, especially knowing how much Zach loves the people in Pilar.
Dave, Carrie, Elder Snow & the Servín family

Pereira family with the Snows

After church we visited more members in Pilar.  Our first stop was at the home of Martina and Gabriela.  Gabriela was another convert baptism while Zach was in Pilar.  She is only eleven years old and very dedicated.  Many times she goes to church on her own and gets there by a 20-25 minute bicycle ride. 
Elder Snow, Martina & Gabriela
Next we visited another convert, Alan, and his sister, Lilian, who is also a member. 
Lilian, Alan, Elder Snow, Carrie & Dave
We also visited la familia Valenzuela (as Zach calls them), a young family with two daughters and a baby son.  The wife was baptized last September and the family is hoping to be sealed in the temple in the future.
Elder Snow with the Valenzuela family
We were invited to eat with the district president’s family, the Mendozas.  They also very warmly welcomed us.  They have been members for 14 years and have been a strength to the church in Pilar.  They showed us family photos and Presidente Mendoza played the guitar for us.  Hermana Mendoza served spaghetti with beef and a really delicious dessert.  The missionaries also eat regularly at the Mendoza home.  I really enjoyed our visit. 
The Mendoza family

Marcos & Mario Mendoza arrived later
It was a day filled with visits, good food and church meetings.  The love of the gospel that we all share binds us together and I felt love for these people in Pilar.

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