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Ryan James LaFaye Tel 595 21-601-392
Paraguay Asuncion Mission Mission office phone
2881 Del Maestro c/Caballero
Barrio Herrera

Monday, July 30, 2012

!Ña Py Mi! (baptism)

!Ña Py Mi! (baptism)

Bernardino and his son Alan were baptized! It has been an incredible experience to see him progress from day one with all the ups and downs. I wish you could meet him, he is hilarious. I have been writing important events/ funny moments on a little calendar I bought. Every day when something cool happens I write it on that day for the calendar, about half the quotes on there are from Bernardino.
In getting ready for his baptism we asked him who he wants to baptize him, his reply "someone with the authority of God". good answer. I wanted Fernando to baptize him but he didn't feel ready to do it and he wanted me to. But he promised to baptize the rest of his family. Fernando´s testimony has strengthened a lot over the past 3 months since his baptism.

Unfortunately his daughter Angelica did not get baptized because her mom would not give her permission. Bernardino has 8 kids but is seperated from Angelicas mom, and she has the authority over some of the kids. The whole situation is a little complicated but for now she will have to wait a bit to get baptized.

It rained like crazy Sunday morning. When it rains in Paraguay, no one comes to church. When it's sunny we have 80 to 100. When it rains we have 10 to 20. Yesterday 15 people came, and 5 were investigators. One who came to church se llama Freddy. Our lesson last night was pureté, we were teaching him the gospel of Jesus Christ (faith, repentance, baptism, recieve the holy ghost, endure to the end). When I had just started talking about faith he interupted me and said, "im going to tell you something, I have been thinking, and I believe I am going to continue reading this book and be baptized in your church." We knew he was a golden investigator but we were still shocked dead because we never hear that from an investigator, especially someone you have been teaching for a week. We actually started to laugh a bit of how random and awesome it was, but then congratulated him for his decision and gave him a baptism date right there.

I dont know if you have been wondering about that amazing family I told you about on mothers day who was going to get baptized sí o sí. the next time we passed by something changed and they didn't want to progress. Some times things happen in the mission without an explanation. Several times have I seen someone who I was 100 percent sure they would get baptized, and then one day some thing happens or they talk to someone and they are not the same, it's a shame really. Well I decided to go back to this family after dropping them for about 2 months, found out the mom died in a car crash. They are pretty shook up about it, we tried talking about the plan of salvation with the dad but I think he needs a little more time before he is ready to accept us. This is a pretty depressing paragraph I know, but it will have a happy ending when he comes to know that he can live with her again.

Well got to go, much love y amor to all

Elder LaFaye

Monday, July 23, 2012

la iglesia verdadera

Hola hola

I recieved your package this morning, MUCHÍSIMAS GRACIAS! I almost forgot what peanut butter tastes like. Hmna Rita and her family always ask me to make them brownies, a missionary made some for them about a year ago and they absolutely loved them. every time we ask if there is anything we can do they either ask for us to cut fire wood or give them brownies, next time I can do both! (I think I have mastered the axe swing. (I have been learning all the tricks from our ward mission leader)
I have been giving a tie to all my male converts and a few members who I have become really close too so I was running out. So recently I bought 25 ties for a $1.50 USD each. Gonga of a deal.

We worked like crazy this week, and unlike last week we saw the fruits of our efforts. 7 investigators showed up to church. This is great by any standards, but we still feel a little down because there were 5 more who sí o sí were going to come and didn´t show. Domingo´s are always super tiring, unless they have a moto we go to all the investigators houses that have commited to go to church so we could walk there together. Although generally it is not wise to teach people super far away from the church, we have several fantastico investigadores that live 45 min walk to the church. We usually try to work closer that way it is easier for them to go to church but we have been teaching Bernardino, the dad of my recent convert Fernando, who lives out in the boonies. If he is not there when we have an appointment it is a waste of time to walk all the way back. So we have worked up a good pool of people that live near him to visit if his cita falls. It would be great to know how many miles I have walked each day.

Bernardino, his son Alan, and his daughter Angelica will be baptized by Fernando this Saturday. I could not be more excited to see his baptism, after 2 months it is about time! But he is doing great with kicking the smoking habit. In one of his prayers to end a lesson he gave thanks to God that he has been clean for 17 days. Even though every lesson with him is super spiritual, it is always really funny. Last week he told us he was talking to his uncle on the phone, his uncle asked him "I heard you are joining a church, que bien, which church?" He said "la iglesia verdadera" (the true church). He cracks me up. Our last lesson with him on saturday we went over the baptism questions for his interview, when I asked him if he has prayed to know if the book of mormon is true. He said no. This caught me by surprise because he always reads and has a good testimony. I asked him why. He said he didnt want to bother god with a easy question, how could it be that this book is not true? I then convinced him that God will not be bothered if he asks him a question that he already knows the answer to, so he committed to ask that night. Everyone at church loves him, he always goes around to give everyone hugs throughout church.

I loved reading about marks mission, its interesting to see all the differences between our missions. Paraguay is definitely the best mission in the world, but it is cool to hear how it is like in the states. If you get any from tyler send them over, I'm really interested in how its like in Asia. I'm sure Korean requieres much diligence in personal language study, so I'm soooo glad im not over there. The only reason I know Spanish is by reading the Book of Mormon, talking with everyone in Spanish, and having the gifts of the Holy Ghost. Not sure why but I just don't have effective language studies.

much love y amor,

elder lafaye

Monday, July 16, 2012

Committed to baptism

Buenos días,
Breaking news: Bernardino (Fernando Villalba´s dad) finally committed to a baptism date!!! we have been teaching this guy for just over 2 months now. It has been a lucha, he is one of the most busiest Paraguayans ever. Always working or doing something for his kids so we only get in one lesson with him per week, 2 tops. He has such a great testimony of the gospel. the challenge for the past few weeks was getting him to recognize that he is ready to be baptized. We have had some amazing lessons with him, I'm not sure if i have told you about some of them. In fact I have no idea what I wrote last week so if I repeat myself, perdóname. There is a story in Acts 8 in the biblia about Felipe the apostal who baptizes this guy after talking to him for just a little time. It's a great example of how you don't need to know everything in order to get baptized, you just need to have a testimony and the desires to follow Jesus Christ. Bernardino has been saying that he is not ready and wants to know more before he takes that step. So we read this story but printed it out on paper in huge font so he can read it, and then changed some words to apply it to him (Felipe to Fernando, and the eunuco to Bernardino, the name of the city to Encarnacion, etc.) I felt like a Catholic priest while changing the words, pero igual no más it turned out great. Then we showed him his registro of every time we taught him to show that he has learned just about all we have to teach an investigator. In the end he wanted to get baptized in August which is forever away and he is ready to get baptized now. So I told him how much I care about him and I want to be there to see his baptism, and that I will be transferred in the beginning of August. Thankfully I have such a close relationship with him and Fernando, because it worked! He committed for the 28 of July. It's still in two weeks but at least we have a goal to look forward too. Now he has 2 more kids who will get baptized with him, Angelica 13, Alan 11. Tamara 9 has a different dad but lives in the same house as all her hermanos, so we will have to talk to the dad to get permiso. There is a 15 yr old girl Jessica and 17 yr old boy Christian who haven't came to church yet, so we will focus on them after Bernardino and the gang get dunked.

The cabin looks great, I will get there just in time to lay on the couch. Caleb looks so much older! Randon, exciting news on the NAU bball team. Feel free to tell the coach how awesome I am so I can fill your spot when you leave for the mission. But really, bendiciones cómo asi no viene frequentemente, tiene que aprovechar.
Give it all you´ve got, God will give you more.

Presidente Agazzani is the man. He has so much energy and fire for missionary work. It's like this, president Callan recieved the mission in shambles, he got it up and running good and steady, now president Agazzani is going to take off the training wheels and this place is going to explode with baptisms. He is of Italian descent and talks super super fast. He reminds me of the guy from My Cousin Vinny.

I recieved the notice for the package you sent me, I should get it next Monday. Don't worry about the water filters, the bottled water I have is good so I'm fine. And please don't send anymore packages, I know that they are pretty pricey to send and there's not really anything I need. I feel bad for asking for the peanut butter, I will definately enjoy this one but you dont send any more packages, just keep the good letters coming!

Much love y amor,

Elder LaFaye

oh i almost have my camera fixed, should be sending pics next week

Monday, July 9, 2012

Oatmeal is delicious

(I told Ryan that we had the local missionaries over for dinner last night and asked him what he has been eating lately. So part of this is his reply to that. Cassi)

hola, hola,
That sounds like an exciting sacrament meeting, not that there are boring meetings, but I'm sure Keaton and Ian were stud missionaries. It is weird to think that I'm almost halfway through the mission. I can remember vividly coming off the airport seeing the assistants waiting for us at the end of the tunnel, that image is somehow engraved in my mind.
I have a member working on my camera to get it fixed, hopefully he doesn't delete all the fotos. I recently got some 5 gallon water jugs to have clean water. I have had a sour stomach for the past 3 months from drinking the water here. Here's my basic diet, breakfast- pancakes or oatmeal. lunch- pasta, beans and rice, ham cheese sandwhich, or oatmeal. dinner- oatmeal. My comps always give me a hard time for eating so much oatmeal, but with yogurt and bananas it is delicious. The yogurt here is super liquidy like milk.
In some aspects I am pretty jealous of US missionaries. Dinner w/ a member cada dia (we usually have 1 or 2 each week, but its usually flavorless rice or noodles), always a walmart close by, a hot shower in the mornings, to have a car seems like a dream. I wish I could know how many miles we walk each day. To be in a 3rd world country has its sacrifices, but the people make it worth it. The members and investigators are amazing. It's crazy how strong of a relationship you can build with these people in just a few months.
Last week we had the weirdest contact ever. My comp went to shake this guys hand that was walking towards us, but he totally ignored him and walked by. So I said suerte and carried on my way. A few seconds later he shouted back to us to come back. So we came back and talked to him a little bit. After introducing ourselves and what we do he invited us to his house, so we walked a good 15 minutes to his house and sat down to teach a lesson. We started to teach lesson one, the Restoration, but something didn't feel right. Halfway through explaining profetas, Elder Schouten cut me off and asked an inspired question from God. "after totally ignoring us at the beginning, what changed your mind when you called us back to talk to you".... super quiet. ... "I need God in my life. I have a lot of problems that I can't handle on my own, I have made many mistakes that I can't forget, and I know that Christ can help me". Sergio is 19 yrs old, loves the gospel. Every lesson we end up talking about the atonement of Jesus Christ. Yesterday we taught him as well as his 3 sisters who had many questions about why there are so many churches. I love those kinds of questions. They accepted the invite to church rapidícimo. But with every golden investigator there is a gigantic obstacle. You never have an easy baptism. We almost lost Sergio to la iglesia belen, so we had to fight a bit. But we have the truth, so its easier for us to win.
We have had some incredible lessons with Bernardino, Fernando Villaba´s dad. Him and his 3 kids are all ready to get baptized, but he has one doubt that we are having trouble with. He doesn't think that he is ready to get baptized, he wants to know everything first. He has a testimony gigante and wants to get baptized. We have taught him everything there is to teach. but he still wants to know more. We used a story from Acts 8 where the apostle Philip baptizes an eunuco.

(out of time. I'll finish Bernardino's story next week)

much love y amor

Elder LaFaye

Monday, July 2, 2012

the amistad of the members


Graciella and her daughter Mariella were baptized on Saturday! I'm not sure if I have told you much of their story. They live with Victor, a less active member. The missionaries have been teaching them on and off for a few years now. We re-activated Victor who is now a faithfull member coming every week for the last month. We finally convinced both of them that they need to get married, so we held a marriage last Wednesday. That was an extremely long process, going into Centro to obtain all kinds of documents and setting up the marriage, but in the end it all worked out. Graciella has a slight handicap (but not enough to not need baptism) so it was really hard for the missionaries to teach her. We finally made progress when Victor became active and helped her understand. 1, he knows her well and knows how she understands things. 2, he can teach her in Guarani which is way easier for her to understand. So now we are helping them prepare to make covenants in the temple for next year. 

Well as far as numbers go its been one of the best weeks of my mission. Along with the baptisms and a marriage, we had 8 investigators at church, 30 lessons, 16 new investigators, and 18 baptism invites. Numbers aren't everything, but they are a great way to see how your area is growing. What I love about this week, is that we have many at church so we have people lined up to baptize the next 3 weeks. We are teaching a bunch of lessons w/ members so our investigators can feel the amistad of the members, we are finding many news which means we are not only focusing on the investigators we have at the moment, and we are inviting almost everyone to get baptized. This mission has the goal for every missionary to baptize every week. At first I thought it was nothing more than a dream, but en verdad it is very realistic.
Quick question, did Ian or Keaton ever become assistants to the president? I can't believe they came back already. Que rapido pasa el tiempo. 

I am still working on fixing my camera, I will hopefully send the fotos of Graciella/Mariella´s baptism as well as Fabio´s next Lunes.

Hey, remind me to write you about Sergio y Bernardino next week. Sometimes I forget all the things I want to tell you about. I have met so many incredible people down here, I love it. 

Much love, kisses, y amor,

Elder LaFaye