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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, November 26, 2012

P-day at the Salto De Monday (mon-die-ugh)

hola hola,
Thanks for all the letters, it was like Christmas to see my inbox so full.

Anna Velasquez se bautizo!
We had a great baptism for Anna Velasquez on Saturday. I worked a lot harder to have more members there and it turned out great. Sorry for last weeks letter, I think I just needed to vent a little bit haha. But the bishopric and us are working great together. Anna´s family are all members. Flia Velasquez used to be the rock of Hernandarias. But somewhere along the lines they fell through. Anna's mom bore her testimony and all the women started crying, el espíritu era muy fuerte. On friday my district leader did the interview with Anna, after wards he told me she is the purest little girl he has ever met. She only has 9 years, but you really feel the pure love of Christ when talking to her. It's been a blessing to help her get baptized, she is reading in 1nefi 9 ahora, and her prayers are super sincere, praying for each member of her family and the kids in the streets. Hopefully we can reactivate the family, that would be a milagro worth fighting for. We passed by with a few members and talked to the grandma this week, we talked for a while and helped her remember all the hard work she put in to have a church building here. Before, when we just had a house to meet in for Sundays, family velasquez would take their vw van and round up members and investigadores on the west side while familia miranda (the other super awesome and still active family) would round them up on the east side. Those 2 familias are part of the reason why this branch has grown so much.
So we had a very interesting pday last week. I trust that my parents will not freak out and call the office when reading this, just enjoy it for the good laugh its worth.
We went to Salto de Monday (mon-die-ugh)
Beautiful waterfalls. First we went up top and paid a dollar to see the view in a public place, impresionante. Then Eder Bowers told us about a pathway to get to the bottom. Very sketchy and steep, but we went down and the view was even better. After taking several pictures, we went back up. The path is super narrow so I was the 4th one on the way up. On the way up I heard ahead of me a bunch of people shouting in Guarani. I looked up and saw 3 teenagers with big kitchen knifes and one with a make shift javelin. Immediently I did an about face and told everyone to run back down. The 3 ahead of me were robbed but not injured. One lost 100 mil, another 200 mil, and another camera, but no one injured. We all came down and said a prayer to see what to do. Then Elder Bowers, Graham and me went down the river to find another way up. We ran to the top and talked to the police. One cop came down to the bottom with us to talk to the elders still down there. The first thing the cop does when we get down there is take pictures of the waterfall haha. He said he had never seen it from below before and it was very cool. So we all took a pic with the cop. A bunch of other funny details to the story, but thats all for today.

les amo mucho,
elder lafaye
la fe puede mover montañas

Monday, November 19, 2012

an interesting learning experience this week

Hola hola,
Thanks for the letter madre, I love hearing about mission calls. I dont know why, but every time I read where someone is going, I get the feeling "yeah, that's exactly where they need to go". I will try to wave to Derek across the river next time I'm in Encarnacion. Carlson my friend, you are going to be living the life in Long Beach CA. I read Kords letters from the mtc, I'm so excited for that guy. He will do great in the Philipines, I have seen a lot of success when I develop a deep love for my investigators, and no one can not love Kord Catt. Imposible!
So bad news with our family of 14. In our first lesson with Nilso he said he hasn't had work in a while. When he does get work it is for a few hours in the morning so he told us to come by whenever. But every time we have passed by since, his wife tells us he is gone working. So its great that the Lord is blessing him with trabajo, but it really impedes his progression in the gospel. But if history repeats itself, this is exactly what happened with familia Reyes. Whom I should be seeing in the temple in February, so excited!
First off, neither Valdomiro, Osvaldo, nor Anna (I´ll explain who is Anna in a sec) were baptized. Though I did have an interesting learning experience this week. Wednesday we had a executive committee meeting with the bishopric. Me bajaron la caña aful. (they dropped the cane on me big time). They had concerns on how I was doing the missionary work here, specifically baptism. They literally had a list of things to talk to me about. here it is...
1) since I have been in this area I have baptized 7, equal to how many this area had last year. Which is great, but 3 of the 7 are inactive already. The first counselor said I was condemning people when baptizing them to only go inactive.
2) my first convert here, José, was baptized with only one assistencia. When presidente Franco served a mission, his converts needed to have six attendances in consecutive.
3) Teresa had many assistencias at church a few years back, but none recently. So presidente Franco didn't know who she was when she was baptized.
4) I haven't planned the baptisms as well as I should have, apparently when the catholic church has a baptism, it is a giant fiesta. And I invited the members a day or two before the baptism instead of a week before, announcing it in church.
5) Then on top of all that my announcement of a miracle baptism of Anna this Saturday threw them for a loop. We found a menos activo family on wednesday who have a 9 year old daughter Anna who hasn't been baptized yet. Anna and her older brother regularly attend church, but I never knew she had never been baptized. So we invited her to get baptized this Saturday, the parents were all for it. Anna has the most sincere prayers that I have ever heard from a little girl, incredible. Since Wednesday she has been reading 1 Nephi every day. The bishopric asked me why I am doing everything so fast instead of taking my time.
I´m sure you can all see their point and even agree with them. But as to the condemning comment, I disagree. Someone who is baptized and then falls inactive in a short amount of time is not "condemned". 3Ne 11:33-34 goes something like this, he who is baptized in my name shall inherit the Kingdom of God. He who is not baptized in my name is condemned. It's important to know that condemnation does not mean sent to the fiery furnace forever. In the topical guide it explains that condemnation is anything other than celestial glory. Although the terestial and telestial kingdoms are better than we can imagine, they are nothing compared to the celesitial kingdom. Without being baptized either in this life or the next, sí o sí you can not enter into the mansions above. So like it says in Jacob 1:9 I must do everything within my power to save these people and baptize them so that their condemnation does not fall on my shoulders.
I hope these don't sound like excuses to you, it is just how I think about the missionary work. I know this has been a very strange letter, so sorry for those of you who think I am the type of missionary that baptizes anything that moves. But I really do understand the importance of baptism and the importance of my calling. 
Now with all that said we are still going to try to heed to president Franco´s council. The last thing I want to do is loose the support of the bishopric. His calling is to edify la iglesia in his area (including  adding more converts to the ward), the missionaries are a tool for him to accomplish his calling. So we will try to find a good balance between what president Franco wants and what Presidente Agazzani expects of us. I have definitely become more flexible in the mission haha.
With Pres. Franco
Well, let's end this letter on a happy note. Anna´s baptism is all set for this Saturday. Valdomiro and Osvaldo are preparing for the 1st of December, and Pablino (the dad of Jose y María) committed to the 8th. A big step for him. Pablino is a really funny guy, here's a quote from the other day when talking about the word of wisdom. "no soy un hombre malo, solo no cumplo con los mandamientos de Dios" he knows he needs to change but thinks he is a saint at the same time. Hard to explain this guy, you just have to meet him. 
Our oldest (time visiting) investigator is Rodrigo. It's been almost 3 months that we have been teaching him. He is great, really does want to come to church and be baptized. and last night we found why he has had lame excuses every Sunday for not coming. His wife Claudia goes to another church, and Rodrigo doesn't want to come solo. We expected this to be the reason for a while but he finally told us last night, it was a very sincere discussion. So we invited him to talk to her and tell her how important this is for him. They are a young couple who love each other a lot, so I think she will understand if he gains the courage to tell her how much he wants to know if this church is the true church of Jesus Christ. Claudia doesn't usually share with us but we are going to prepare an awesome lesson on temples for the next time she does. In the mean time we are watching a lot of movies with Rodrigo, (running out of topics to discuss), but last night he asked if we had a longer one about Joseph Smith, so we will be watching that one soon. I will have to hold back the tears when watching it with an investigator. Joseph Smith is the man, I always get emotional when talking about him. The type of person that could go through all of that has a lot of faith. I would say he was rivaled only by the brother of Jared. Someday I will give that guy bear hug and tell him how much of an inspiration he was for me. If you ever come across any books or journals written by him, I would love to read them. 
Today we are going to the waterfalls near Brazil with the district, should be exciting. I will send fotos next week.
les amo mucho, yo sé que estamos en la iglesia verdadera. 
abrazos y besas,
elder lafaye
la fe
Elder Fielding and a beautiful sunset

Monday, November 12, 2012

the gift of Interpretation of Tongues

Hola hola
Teresa was baptized! She is Fernando´s sister. She is doing great. We have some great young women in the branch that are going to help her stay active. We still are trying to teach her other brother Osvaldo, he is a good kid but hard to find. Their dad is Valdomiro who was going to get baptized back in October but left the town and hasn't came back. Hopefully when he gets back he will see that his 3 kids are baptized and his wife is a faithful member.
I've had a few interesting experiences with the language this week. We found Nilso this week way out in the most campo part of our area. He is from Brasil and does not speak spanish. He understands very well but doesnt speak it. Generally I can understand the basic idea of what people are talking about when speaking Porteguese, but this time was different. To begin the lesson I prayed for the gift of interpretation of tongues, and man did God deliver. We taught the whole restauration and Nilso and I understood each other perfectly. He accepted a baptism date for the 24th of November and is excited to come to church with us this week. He has muy poco trabajo right now but believes that if he does what God wants, he will be blessed. Super humble and super prepared, and he has 12 kids to make it even better. On the way home I realized I received revelation. A few weeks ago we set a baptism goal of 5 for the month. After talking to Elder Bowers, he really inspired me to show my faith and raise my vision to the heavens. So we changed our goal to 13 converts in the month of November. Clearly to achieve this we needed to find a giant family. 2 of Nilso´s kids are too young to get baptized, so it would be a total of 12 with the parents, and Teresa who was just baptized makes 13. The lord inspires us to set goals that will stretch us to our limits and make us excercise our faith, and if we trust in Him he will guide us to accomplish what he has commanded. 1Ne3.7. In our weekly letter presidente Agazzani said ''somos llamados a tener éxito.'' we are called to have success. I have been studying recently about all the BoM missionaries who had a lot of success and how they achieved it. Incredíble. I have some pretty big visions for Hernandarias, and a big dream for my life. I love this work.
I went on intercambios with Elder Bowers again. I don’t think it was very effective because every time we work together it is like reliving the glory days of Guarambaré. But we did some good service for one of his best investigators. Most of the time in the streets we talked about what he is going to do with his parents when they come down to Paraguay, needless to say we got pretty trunky. I cant believe he is going home in January.

Okay I keep forgetting to talk about what I loved from conference, so here it is. 3.2.1.
Temple in Tucson, and missionaries leaving and 18 and 19 yrs old definately takes the cake as far as newsworthy. I wish I could have left on the mission at 18, I was not focused my freshman year of college. I will be a much better student when I get back.
I love the question from alm 5, can you feel so now. I think I will write a song about it with my guitar and try to bajar la caña in a song like alma does in ch 5.
If you find any shirts that say, ''I'm a Mormon. I know it. I live it. I love it.'' I want one please.
Nelson´s story of stopping the boys on the bikes made me so excited to go out and find some miracles. I love his slogan, ask the missionaries, they can help you. I want to show this talk to all my investigators.
Uchtdorf was increible. I call him Mr. October for his 2 puréte discursos. Numero uno- all about learning to live. The persuit of happiness = living the gospel. Life is not meant to be enjoyed in retrospect. We need to spend time with our loved ones and enjoy the journey, not focus on the race. 2ne2 says that we are here on earth to have joy. Me gusta eso, ''the ladder to worldly success does not equal one step in the staircase to celestial glory''. In the letter that our bishopric sent me they invited me to be the best I can be. Uchtdorf says discipleship is the path to the best ME. As we climb the stair case to celestial glory, God will mold and shape us into who we truly can become.
Uchtdorf numero 2. This talk was perfect for Paraguay. Some bishops are flying F18s (Utah with many faithfull priesthood holders), and others are flying piper cup airplanes (Paraguay with very few priesthood holders). When we don't have the brilliant turbine engines like the F18, it make take a lot of energy to get the propeller engines of priesthood started. But we are so blessed to be able to posses the priesthood.
Okay running out of time
Ballards simile about the bees was cool
I could relate perfectly to Elder Hawks marine bootcamp story.
Elder Whitings example of ''temple standard'' makes me often ask myself if what I am doing makes me ''temple standard''.
Christofferson was all about fortitude. Be men that woman, kids, and God can trust.
Elder Stevenson- what you see, what you do, where you go, will determine what you become
I loved Perkins spiritual guard rails of personal conversion and family relations. As we strengthen these 2 things, we will not fall and will arrive in the celestial kingdom.
Eyering´s talk was great. Lead your children to see and reach their potential. My Heavenly Father and my earthy father lifts me to soar with eagles and aim high.
bueno, got to go,
les amo mucho. cuidase
elder lafaye
la fe

Monday, November 5, 2012

Crunchy peanut butter with my name on it

Hola hola,
Random cosas. Weird dream last night, it made me a little trunky. I just came home and dropped my suitcases off in the door way. The first thing I did was walk into the kitchen and open up the cabinets. I saw a line of crunchy peaunut butter jars with my name on it. Litterally my name was on them haha.
I recieved the letters from Tyler and Bracken. I loved reading about their mission. Tyler's story of the BYU Hawaii basketballplayer is great. Too bad he was never able to see his baptism. I have no doubt Tyler is where he needs to be, he sounds like a stud missionary.
Bracken cracks me up with his mix of really spiritual experiences of praying in the sacred grove and then moving to his section of USA politics. I need to take a trip to the arboleda sagrada some day. And it really impresses me the insight Bracken has into the race between Obama and Romney. Just from reading his letter it seems like Romney and his running mate have it all set to take all the way. (not sure what macro and micro economics are, but sounds very convincing). And I loved his "happy" analogy. "what the heck is a happy?" -Bracken
Hola abuela! Gracias por sus cartas. The challenge to read the 4 standard works in a year is a little intimidating, but very impressive when accomplished. I have read the Book of Mormon several times now,
the Pearl of Great Price and New Testament once, and have started on the Doctrine and Covenants, but I will wait for the Old Testament until after the mission. I love your commitment to convince abuelo to serve a mission. I think I will serve a few missions when I am older. I would love to serve the Lord for 6 months with my wife in a foreign country. I will pray that they open up a couple mission to work a gold mine in Alaska :)

Mi compañero, Joseph Fielding es de Rigby Idaho. We are in week 8 of the 12 week training program. Amazing how fast training flies by. I really wish I was as dedicated to learning español as he is. He read the dictionary every night before going to bed. He understands perfectly. He knows the gospel really well, I sometimes have to hold him back a little bit when he starts teaching our investigators deep doctrine or using big words like the Abrahamic Covenant. In the lessons he is doing great, in the street he is still trying to break out of his shell. We had a great comp study this week. I tought lesson 1 to him being over the top animated with a giant smile on my face the whole time. Then I had him do the same. It's amazing how much of a difference a simple smile can make while talking to people.
I learned the Paraguayan version of rock paper scissors this week. It's called ha kem bo. And there is actually 4 items to throw out, rock, paper, scissors and and hole (made by doing the okay symbol).
Interesting style, the hole beats rock and scissors, paper tops rock and hole, rock beats scissors and  scissors beats paper. I thought it was a little flawed because the hole and the paper have more power than
the other 2. So I decided to add another element to even the odds. After much thought I decided the perro (dog) would be a good fit. The dog eats the paper and fills up the hole. The rock scares the dog away
and the scissors give him a hair cut. Now they are all perfectly even with 2 strengths and 2 weaknesses. When I told my discovery of a 5 item ha kem bo game to my companion he told me I had been beaten by Sheldon from the Big Bang Theory with his rock, paper, scissors, lizzard, spock. But I like mine better.

Anyways back to the mission. Pablino, the dad of José Maria and Maria José finally came to church yesterday. We hit a wall with him for a while, not knowing what to do. But then we started passing by with the primary leaders and it completely changed him. Not only is he super excited to come to church, and José and Maria have made some good friends in the primary. our branch is not very big but half of the attendance is little kids so we have a good primary. Now the only problem is giving Pablino a baptism date. He does not want to rush it. So we asked him when he wants to get baptized, he said around Christmas. A little farther down the road than we´d like, but its a fecha.
I am not sure if I have told you about the family Arsemania yet. Italianos son. Family of 7, golden. Our second visit we taught the restauration. The first visit I gave Fransisco (16 yr old son) the pamphlet to lesson 1 and told him to read it before we come back. When teaching the restauration we asked Fransisco  questions and he began teaching the lesson to his family. Incredible. Impressive how well he taught the apostasy and the restauration. The only problem was the transition, not that I blame him. It was something like this "after jesus and the apostles died, the church fell and their followers were confused and became divided into their own churches, then one day a boy saw a light brighter than the son in which God and Jesus appeared to him."
k tengo que irme.
much love y amor,
elder lafaye
la fe