Monday, November 24, 2014

My Cup Overfloweth...with Gratitude

November 24, 2014

Well with a title like that my whole email should be scriptural or something right? :) Nah..but there is definitely a reason for it that will be made clearer later on. To preface this week was very different but very good all the same. I had my eyes opened to some things good and bad. Isn't that what a mission is all about though? 
Well here it goes.

Monday - Well this day can be summed up in two words. Cinnamon. Rolls. Yes, you read correct. I made cinnamon rolls in South America. Just call me Iron Chef Paraguay. It was intense. Hahaha. But really they were actually pretty good, and I was way impressed with myself. I mean we don't have measuring cups, and I have NEVER made cinnamon rolls ever before, and all the ingredients were in spanish so I wasn't even sure if they were correct. Oh and our oven is in celsius. Like I said before. Iron Chef Paraguay for sure. :) Other than that we did the facials that we had bought earlier in Centro, and ate Chico 10s which is burgers with eggs on them. Weird but strangely good. Oh and shoutout to my Grandma Lybbert, she just turned 40 and looks great! Happy Birthday!!

Looks like the masks worked
Tuesday - HAPPY 20TH MADI LOU WHO!!! Anyways, this day we focused on getting me all ready with some nursing things. We also taught Juan Jose again, but when we tried to turn away from teaching him English and see if there was any interest after his attendance to church on Sunday. He didn't seem too into it. He believes in evolution and gaining all the knowledge he can. There was just a weird feel to it and neither I or Hna Chandler liked it. So we moved our next visit further in the future so we weren't visiting him as often. This day I also had a pretty incredible personal study where I was truly hit with how perfectly the Savior knows us. He knows the motive behind why we do stupid things, and why we do good things. If this is true, then why are we not all STRIVING every single day to stay close to him and ask for his help in overcoming our weaknesses because he is the ONLY one that understands our weaknesses, thoughts, emotions, and choices perfectly. He is truly the ONLY way in which we can overcome and change, because through him we begin to understand ourselves better. That may not make sense. Suffice it to say. The Savior is incredible and if I gain nothing more then a better relationship with my Savior on my mission. It would all be worth it because he truly is the WAY, the TRUTH, and the LIFE. (Click here to watch videos of Christ's life - a wonderful way to celebrate the holiday season.)

Wednesday - This day can be summed up in one word. Bianca. Bianca is a member of the barrio <neighborhood> that is engaged and getting married Thursday. She asked for our help and we ended up helping her basically all day. We didn't even get our studies. Kind of ridiculous but at least we did our part. It also made it very clear to me that I am going to try my very hardest not to be a bridezilla and to be grateful for every person that offers their aid when they don't have to. Gratitude is key. (Not to the meaning of the title yet...patience! :P )

Pooped! District and ZLs

Finally - a puppy
that is loved!
(This week's animal)
Thursday -Today was the day of Bianca's wedding so our whole night was spent at her wedding. Literally from 6:30-10:20p. It was NUTS. But before that we had lunch with the Lugen family and I was able to play with their cute little puppy. It was AWESOME! 

I was also able to play tic tac toe, and a paper version of battleship with their son Matias. He is my bud. P.S. The paper version of Battleship is way cooler. Back to the wedding. It was a hot mess. The judge left because Bianca showed up an hour late. Nothing starts on time here. Ever. Then they tried to find another judge for about an hour and finally left to be married by the judge at a different place. Then they came back and the festivities finally began at about 8:30. It was seriously nuts, and it looked similar to a Napoleon Dynamite prom. Good stuff. I have gotten lots of ideas for my future wedding. haha. Not really, but it was a crazy experience to say the least. We had fun though. 

Friday - Another kind of crazy day. We went and visited a less active family this day and brought a talk on strengthening the family and some coloring pages for the little boy. One of which was the one that said I will go to the temple someday. The mother saw this and started tearing up. She was pretty emotional the rest of the visit. Great news. She came to church on Sunday with her family and asked Hna. Chandler for a picture of a temple for their home. It is so AWESOME. You never how important a small thing is until it gives them a greater vision of something so important and huge. Always follow the promptings of the spirit. They are real and powerful.
Top right is our pension
Oh, we housed some other Hna's that were traveling back to their area from Posadas for the night. Experienced some power outages due to the crazy storm. 

Saturday - The day of all days. This day is the reason for the title. This day changed my view and changed my outlook. This day made all the other "eh" days this week, and in my mission so far, worth it. But before we start, funny moment. A man that I will talk more about later on this day. Rosalino gave me a bracelet and was trying to find the right size and apparently I have man arms because the bracelet had to be so big. Hope that means something good. In Spanish he said, "sus brazos come un hombre". Haha. Got to love how blunt they are here.  Now onto the best part. So we headed to visit Lorena because we haven't seen her in a week and needed to see her in order to help her to church on Sunday. When we got there, she still wasn't there. So we headed on towards another lady but decided to take a different route than usual. 

At a crossroads, Hna Chandler happened to look up the street and was like, "oh this is Alcides' (less
Our area. School bus on the left.
active man) street." I am not the hugest fan of Alcides because the last time we visited he got on me for not talking more and etc. and so forth. Despite this, I felt really good about visiting him and checking up. So we headed over. 
We were visiting with a less active member that we had not planned on visiting but did. When we got there he asked who had sent us. Then he asked about our families and we told him that all of our family members were church members. He was telling us how blessed we are to have all the members in our families active members. We expressed our respect for his strength and courage. As I was expressing my gratitude for this blessing to him, we began to talk on how he could be the member in his family that starts his family heritage in the gospel. He began to tear up and as we ended he prayed. He thanked the Lord that we had been sent to him and had given him renewed hope and blessed us. The spirit was so strong and powerful. As he was praying, I was struck with how grateful I am for those members that stood strong in my family when no one else did. I was struck with the knowledge that I need to find out who they are because they have created an incredible heritage for me. My heart has been turned to my father. I think I finally understand that scripture a little bit more. I am sure there is more understanding to come, but this was a great moment. 

Ciudad Del Estes buses
Fast forward to a little later, we visited Rosalino ("man arms").  He is a paraplegic that is a very
strong member and is always turning outwards. As we were visiting with him, he had us come into his house for a minute to show us the shoes he has repaired and to give me my "man-sized" bracelet. As I looked around his home, I was humbled. Greatly. And I was again struck with how incredibly blessed I am in my life of comforts in the United States. This man is making bracelets, exchanging coke bottles, and repairing shoes and barely scraping by. Yet he is the happiest man in the world and looks for EVERY opportunity to share the gospel and those things that have brought him the most happiness. Yet I find a mission hard. I was so humbled and struck with how much this gospel is an equalizer but also an enabling tool to help us see our blessings more clearly when confronted with one that has less but is filled with greater happiness and joy. Truly this changed my outlook. I know a mission is such an incredible opportunity for me to love as the Savior loved and to work as the Savior worked. If these members can do it, I most definitely can. I want to continue on my heritage with strength. I want to make my ancestors proud of my decisions to live this gospel each and every day. Better and more strong. I love this gospel. See I told you, these moments were life changers for me. 

How cute are these girls?? (All of them)
Sunday - All the people we taught came to church! Alcides. Rosalino, and as I said earlier Familia Gonzalez. It was awesome!! Loved it!! Then we went on divisions for this day and Monday because my companion and Hna. Holmes from the other Hna. companionship in our zone are both finishing their missions this next Sunday. So since they have not been to Iguazu Falls, the mission is paying for them to visit the falls now. Because we are only allowed to cross over into Argentina from Encarnacion, Paraguay, they had to ride the bus and head to Posadas this day. So I am with Hermana Maya until Tuesday. She is from Mexico and is super sweet. Oh funny story from this day: We were in gospel principles and the teacher asked me to read a part of the manual and then to give my thoughts on it. It was about the second coming. Needless to say I was terrified, but don't you worry I answered all in Spanish like a champ...well sort of. Haha. 

So we have transfers this upcoming Monday and I am not sure where I will go or if I will stay. Because of the loss of so many hermanas this transfer they are closing some areas. So we will see. I know that I will stay in Paraguay for now because the other mission nurse is in Argentina but I am not sure where. I know that wherever I go the Lord will need me and will be best for me. 

Oh, and the scripture that helped me most this week was Phillipians 4:13. “I can do all things, through Christ which strengtheneth me.” I am memorizing this is in spanish for those hard days and moments. Because I know that the Savior understands me and my thoughts and feelings and emotions perfectly. So through and by his empowering love and strength I can overcome, and endure, and be strengthened in all things.  

Love you all and appreciate all the emails, prayers, and thoughts. Have a great Thanksgiving and enjoy the mashed potatoes in honor of me. 

Chao, chao,

Hermana Albach

Random Facts: 
-Mate is huge here. They give their 2 year olds mate <no idea what this is>, and they are never anywhere without it. Even the obispo <bishop>. 
-They have chipa (cheesy bread) everywhere, and they have little stands with it like every five feet.
Chipa stand

-They eat mandioca all the time. It is like a skinned potato but drier and more starchy. Actually pretty good, but very different. 

Fuzzy wuzzy was a...caterpillar?

A field in our area--beautiful!

Our pension (upper right)

Oh Kate! :)

Thursday, November 20, 2014

I've Never Been so Grateful for Mufflers...

November 17, 2014

Well with a title like that this email has GOT to be great right? Right...or so I think...but I am going to make you all wait until the end to understand the true and full meaning of it. So on with this email. To start off, this week has been very different. We had zone conference and a lot of random things kept popping up but it was awesome. Ok, enough pep talk for all y'

This is the market place. Brazil is there behind me...
the green trees across the river. 
Monday - Well after the craziness of trying to type on a broken-struggle-bus-keyboard we went to buy our groceries. During which time I bought the ingredients to make Peanut Butter No-Bake cookies (without chocolate or coconut) for a member that helped bring Lorena to church the previous Sunday. I was really worried to make them but they were DANG good! So good, in fact, that we bought more ingredients later in the week (according to Hna. Chandler’s request) so that we could make more for ourselves. What can I say? I'm kind of a big deal! :) Then we concluded this night by hiding all of our good food due to the fact that we were going to be having two sisters from a different zone staying with us for zone conference the next day. Apparently, here there is no such thing as we just hid the stuff we didn't want them to have. Pretty silly! 

Chandler and I rocking the zone conference
Tuesday - My first ever zone conference! It was so cool! Loved it! It was all in Spanish, and as it began I heard my name announced for the opening prayer. Did they ask me if I would say it? Naturally not, they just knew I would because I am such a spiritual powerhouse, or just wanted to laugh at my awful Spanish. Pero <But>, come to find out, I was allowed to say it in English. Greatest day ever! Then I actually understood most of the conference, and our presentation went really well and everyone was involved, thanks to the bribery of candy we brought. It was fun. 9 hours in total and I feel like I came away with a better idea and understanding of my purpose as a missionary. It is truly preparation for the rest of my life, and bring to others the chance to change and create a future for the remainder of theirs. Pretty awesome! It rained all day so at least we were inside. At the end they asked if we would do our zone conference at a different zone conference the next day. Woohoo!! They loved us!! At the end of the day we had our first English lesson with Juan Jose Palacio. He is awesome and SO polite. It was actually really interesting for me too, because I feel that principles in Spanish are becoming more cemented in. We all know what they say, if you can teach it then you know it! Blessings. It was the craziest thing with Juan Jose, we were walking down the street and he approached us and asked if we taught English. Crazy the miracles and tender mercies the Lord places in your path. 

"It's just a cow, Kate!"
Wednesday - Well we taught at a different zone conference and had to ride the bus there. I thought I was going to die. The people are so aggressive and crazy here, but surprisingly there are very few accidents. It is seriously a miracle. I met other hermanas and they were so sweet. Shout out to Anna Hone if she ever reads this. I met her twin cowgirl. Their voices were identical and I was totally freaking out the whole time because, if it closed my eyes, it was like talking to Anna (a friend from EFY, fellow counselor) from home. Crazy!! We also got another homemade brownie from Hna. La Pierre. Those things are the most incredible thing ever so the fact that I got two basically made my week… and my skirts not fit. Chiste!! <joke> They still fit! Then as we were coming back the creepiest thing happened. This bus driver honked as we were crossing the street and creepily waved half behind his curtain thing while driving and just stared. Yikes. I mean it is super normal to have men catcall and stare, but this man had reached a new level. Good thing he was crossing by. Hermana Chandler and I have just decided it is because we are so good looking due to the gospel. Must be a technique/blessing the Lord gives his sisters. Who knows? Okay, I'm just getting ridiculous now. 

Thursday - We were tracting a ton this day and tracted into this crazy mean grandma lady. All I had said was that were were missionaries from the LDS church and she started yelling and came up to the gate and continued yelling/talking in a really gruff voice. Hna. Chandler handled it like a champ
Ginormous anthill
though and, come to find out, she had had a really bad experience with a Mormon member that was super rude. By the end of our five minutes talking to her, she was wishing us suerte <luck> and really sweet and smiling. At least we were able to leave her with a better impression of the church then when she started, but boy, was it a bit freaky because I couldn’t understand everything but I knew she was not happy. Tender mercy of a companion that speaks the language really well. Then we visited Lorena, the lady who came to church last Sunday and gave her a Book of Mormon to read and pray about. She told us her daughter LOVED church. She may just be the key. We are going to follow up with her this week. Then we taught Juan Carlos and Carmen. Carmen is so stinking cute and Juan Carlos is funny but man is he stubborn! We taught this lesson with a member of the ward, Ana, she is sweet and preparing for mission. It was really cool in the lesson when we asked Carmen if she had received her answer about the restoration that we had taught her about the last time and she told us of this dream she had.  She saw four men in suits headed outside the temple and she shook one of their hands, the man had white hair and BLUE, BLUE eyes and she could feel the power in his handshake and she knew it was the priesthood. She took this

dream as an answer because she knew they weren’t priests from any churches here. It was crazy but super cool because no one has white hair and blue eyes here. Juan Carlos, on the other hand, was super stubborn and blamed his age for not being able to change and believe, but we will keep trying because through the power of the Atonement and our Savior change and a fresh start is never out of reach or impossible. 
Some of the homes -- I am SO blessed!

Friday - I had RICE AND RAISINS! I promise my mission is not focused on food, but this was an epic moment. For any of you that truly know me, this is the greatest thing in the world. I am obsessed with this. It all happened because our lunch appointment fell through and we were dropped off at the store by her after she told us she had something to do. So I found raisins and bought some rice. Downside: the rice had bugs in it so I picked them out and stored it in a safer container, and figured that if they happened to make it into my rice they would be boiled and killed anyways. <Insert a picture of mom cringing> Welcome to Paraguay! Don't worry none of them have made it and I think I got them all out. Then that night we taught Juan Jose English again and he agreed to come to church this Sunday! We were so surprised but so stoked and we gave him homework of reading a passage of the Book of Mormon in English and using the LDM <Libre de Mormon> in Spanish to help him translate. Trying to find any way to throw the gospel into our English lessons. It is working… maybe. 

No complaints back home about
doing laundry ever again!
Saturday - I did laundry throughout the day whenever we were home for lunch or all the morning. It was crazy. Refer to the pictures. Then we had the primary program practice in which I became all the children’s best friend by bringing bookmarks they could color and having coloring things. (Thanks mom)!! It is always humbling to me how well they speak Spanish as kids and how much I don’t. Good to know I have room to improve. Then I waited there for 2 1/2 hours for it to be over after which we headed out tracting. We met a cow and naturally took pictures…because, I mean, it was a cow. Naturally that has to happen. :) Then we visited a less active family and Lorena again. All in all it was a good, productive night. 

Primary Children of Cuidad Del Estes
(and very familiar looking chairs)
Sunday - JUAN JOSE CAME TO CHURCH!! Say what??? Yes that is right! He came to church it was awesome! He was in all three hours of church, per his request during our lesson on Friday with him. It was crazy awesome! He got to see the primary program and the ward actually fellowshipped him. We teach him again tomorrow night so we will see then if he has any intrest in actually learning about the gospel tambine or solo ingles. Who knows? My scripture study this day was super awesome. I read Alma 17-21. Man, power-packed missionary scriptures, right? The main thing I took away after reading Aaron’s account was that it took him being put in prison, stoned, mocked, spat upon, and a lot of effort going to all gatherings and striving to share their message before they were blessed with visible success in the numbers or people prepared to hear the message. It was after all they could do...the Lord requires the same for his missioanries now and of me. I have to be willing to work so hard and give so much, and as I do so, the Lord will see my dedication and love for the work and bless me in turn. So cool to know that it is normal for it to be hard, but it is also normal to expect blessings and the presence of the Lord as we turn to him and leave our burdens with him. The Lord makes all things possible! All we have to do is turn towards him! Oh, and I also learned that LOVE is what opens doors. Read about the time Ammon was almost killed by Lamoni's father but then beats him and is able to ask for whatever he desires and all he desires is for his brethren in jail to be freed and for Lamoni to retain his kingdom. That is what opens the door to the king wanting to listen more to the message. Love is what it is all about and man do I love these people. They are so humble and so in need of this message and love! 

Now to the moment you have all been waiting for..the explanation of the title!!

Random Paraguay Stuff-
'See' you next week!
-No car, motorcycle, or anything has a muffler. It is SO LOUD all the time. I think I am going to be deaf. Crazy!! It literally sounds like gun shots everywhere at times! 
-We taught a lesson with a guarani speaker and he spoke to his mom in that language and it is the COOLEST sounding language. Look it up on in one of the newest talks from conference. So hard to read!! 
-Kids, when given coloring things, focus and just color and color in the lines and seriously get quiet. That is so weird for me. Total and utter concentration during the whole thing and were so respectful of all my coloring crayons. I was sure they would break one. Not at all. Crazy!!
-Look up the word estreƱimiento...haha nursing language. I think it makes more sense in Spanish.
-Dogs are treated horrible here and are so sad. Makes me sick to my stomach daily!! Grateful for how we love our pets in America!! They are not loved here. They are STARVED for attention. 

Well that is all the time I have for now. Hope all is well with all of you! Love you all and appreciate your love and support! 


Hermana Albach 

Monday, November 10, 2014

Torrential Rain, Wicked Lightning, and Tender Mercies for days...

Torrential Rain, Wicked Lightning, and Tender Mercies for days...
2-months into this adventure!

Wow!! The last week has flown by!! Here I am again writing this email. Apologies now because this keyboard doesn't believe in a lot of the keys especially the space bar. So that is why it is all sorts of crazy!! Lets start it off then!!

I understand Hna. Chandler's concerns!
P-day Last - I watched 17 Miracles and it was such a kick in the pants in reminding me to work harder and to count my blessings. They sacrificed their lives and I am only asked for a year and a half. If they can do it, so can I. Good reminder. Oh, and it was in English! Tender mercy!

Tuesday - Such a crazy, awesome, adventure-filled day. It rained like crazy but we went out tracting anyway. I found out Hna. Chandler's greatest fear during this. We were climbing hills of mud and climbing/sliding down them. Her biggest fear is slipping and falling. We conquered it though (mostly, kind of) on our adventures. We also saw another monkey and it performed for us. Our lucky day and perfect timing because we had just finished talking to a lady that was not happy to be listening to us. Another tender mercy. 

Then that night walking home after a lot of lessons and tracting, I saw a field of fireflies. SO COOL. Also heard the crazy sound of tons of frogs and then almost killed a baby frog but Hna. Chandler saved it. Then Hna. Chandler was chased by five BIG sapos (toads). It was so funny. Oh, and I of course,  picked up the baby frog but didn't kiss it because what is the use of a Prince Charming if I am on a mission? Maybe after, I will come back and kiss 'em all. :) This day was good because we worked so hard and laughed just as hard.
Another beautiful sky after a storm

Wednesday - I did the patriarchal blessing color study for personal study and it opened my eyes a lot. (First, in color 1, you mark the counsel and warnings; second, in color 2, mark the descriptions about you; and finally, in color 3, mark your gifts and talents.) I have so much to work towards in my life and what better preparation than a mission. We taught bunch of people today during tracting, one of which was a 16-year-old girl with a new baby. It was so sad to see what she was bringing her daughter into. We will keep trying with her.

Thursday-We had a zone meeting and it was scary. I was separated from my companion and in a group with a Sister Training Leader (STL) -- they are known to be a little intense. It was different but ended up being a good experience and I was able to learn as we did a practice lesson. Not with the STL, thankfully, but with another hermana in my zone. The Spanish still is hard but I have hope it will come. Then that night we taught Fatima and I was SOOO excited for this lesson! It was so sad because then she basically dropped us during the lesson but we are going to keep dropping by because we both feel that she knows it is true but is too scared. 
"Hey baby! I love you!"

After we contacted her, we contacted the two referrals she gave us. They live in a tent by a field. While we were walking up, there was a whole field of men playing soccer and they yelled in English, "Hey baby! I love you!" Hna. Chandler said all 30 of them were staring at us so we almost didn't go up to the tent but decided to anyway. We met Rayna and Nestor: mother and son. Their house burned down so they are living in this tent. We taught them and invited them to church. They accepted! They were so sad because they were so destitute. I am so blessed. Then there was a crazy lightning storm that night and we got ice cream to celebrate Hna. Chandler's 17 month mark!! Hurray!!

Friday-All day rain. I finally brought out the "babushka" rain coat again. This day was great because I took all the nursing calls which is scary because they are usually all in Spanish. But one of them this day was Elder Ah Quin who was in my MTC district. It was so good to talk to him even though he was super sick. Tender mercies are all around us.
The "babushka" coat

Saturday- We taught sweet little Crame this day. She is so cute and agrees with everything. It is just her husband holding her back. She prayed just like we do at the end of teaching her about the restoration. Then we went and visited crazy-card-lady-Lorena and invited her to church and she accepted(!!) and so we planned out for the Lugen's to pick her up the next day. This day we also had the primary program practice which Hna. Chandler plays the piano for because no one else plays in the ward. Yikes. I'm scared for when she leaves. :) Then another hermana in the zone shared a great experience with me about how hard her mission was but then the mission president noted how the greatest thing was seeing the change she had wrought in her companion's life. Success can be so many different things in the mission but if you are serving the Lord then it is always going to be the right kind of success. Awesome day!

View of the church building from our flat
Sunday-LORENA CAME TO CHURCH!!! It is a miracle. My companion and Hermana Holmes before me had been trying for 22 Sundays to get her to come and she came!! It was so awesome! I was so nervous because I couldn't really speak to her but I tried and then I prayed like crazy to have her feel the spirit because she doens't have a religion and every church she has been to has felt wrong. So hopefully she felt right about ours. We will find out when we visit her this week. It was so awesome. Sunday was a great day for me. I know that I can do this work and that it is so worth it. Still hard but worth it. I know that I can be an instrument in the hands of the Lord if I just give him my all. He will make it all possible. Sunday was good.

Sorry this email is a bit more disjointed then usual. Suffice it to say it was a good week. I learned a lot and I know that my Savior is there for me. I know this work is hard because it is worth it. The only things in life worth having are not easy. They are worth it. Such is this work. The reason it is hard for people to accept at times is because it invites change and change is hard. But it is the change that makes all the difference. It is coming closer unto our Savior that brings the greatest happiness.  If you want to know how I feel about this work and how I have tried to handle it. Read Alma 31:27-38. This has become my example. If I can just be like Alma and have his faith and pray to be what the Lord needs me to be then I know it will all work out for the best. 

Love you all - hope you have a fantabulous week!!
Hermana Albach

Random Paraguay Stuff
A beautiful home in Cuidad del Estes
-We light our stove with a spaghetti piece lit on fire.
-Tons of different Tang such as guarana just like Aunt Karen said.
-They eat Halls cough drops here like they are candy. They consider them mints. It's nasty. They are at the front of every store like the candy is in America.
-They have super loud music here all the time. I might be deaf when I get home
-SO MUCH RAIN this week but not very much thunder. Crazy lightning storms.
-They don't fill up their own gas, like Oregon.
-Mint chocolate chip ice cream is much better in the USA but chocolate is better here.
-Dad would fit right in. All the old men wear jean shorts…made me laugh!

Tuesday, November 4, 2014

Monkeys, Pigs, Almost Bears... OH MY!

November 3, 2014 

Thumbs up!
Well here I am again just spending my hour of P'day in the Cyber (pronounced seeburr) and, boy, do I have a lot to tell you. Number one thing to tell you: Yes, it is very hard here but I am going to make it. Thank you all so much for your prayers and emails and thoughts. They have been felt. I am beginning to fall into more of a routine and see the beauty of this experience fully. I mean, there were so many things in just one week that's happened.  Just think...I have a whole lot more weeks. Its awesome. Sorry you saw the crazy emotional and struggling side of Hermana Albach. But let’s face it…it's real and any missionary that says it isn't hard in their first two transfers is probably lying or superman in disguise. :) 

Mission planner
Entonces <Then>... last Monday - After I finished my time at the cyber we ordered pizza that was HAWAIIAN and watched the movie Legacy in our pension. It was in Spanish but that is ok because I was just decorating my planner. I sent my mom pictures so you can see. Pretty relaxing and now I get excited every time I pull it out to write something in it. Then we had our studies that night. It was so great and so refreshing to have time set aside to receive revelation and to feel of God's love for me. It is always there and I needed it. So many things stood out to me but one to remember is what I was fighting for and why I was here. In Alma 43:48, it talks about how they began to fear and shrink but that Moroni helped to rally them up by helping them remember what they were fighting for. This helped me to remember my purpose here is one of a kind and of the utmost importance. I am fighting each day to bring others closer to Christ. What greater cause could I ask for?

NOT a tan!! Welcome to dirt roads.
Tuesday - We changed it up this day and went to see Dario, a potential baptism, in a different area then I had been in up to this point. It was like a mile or two away. Long walk when you don’t know where you are going, but now it seems pretty close. Then we visited a less active member, Alcides. He lives in a very poor part of our area and when we visited him it was super hot but worth it. As we were visiting with him, something I had studied in personal study the day before came back to my mind and I felt that I needed to share it. So I did. It was totally in broken Spanish but it was what I felt needed to be said. No one tells you how scary it is at times to follow the promptings of the spirit -especially on the mission- but I do know and want all to know that they are worth it. Did it bring him to tears and change his life, probably not, but each time I take courage and follow the promptings the Lord, he gains more and more trust that I will follow and answer when he calls. Oh, they also had a well right in their front yard. That was pretty crazy and new for me. This was also the night I had my first taste of granola cereal. Amazing and took me back to the tastes of America. Good way to end my day.
Cuidad del Estes roads
Granola: Taste of Home

Wednesday - Oh this was a good day! We were able to visit Fatima again — I wrote about her last week. At the end of our lesson last week she said that when she returned she would give us our BOM back. Then this lesson happened. First off, we showed up and she was there. That never happens here! Like ever. Usually you have a great lesson and go back and they are never there or won´t open the door again. Not only was she there but she read the passage we gave her. Not only that, she read the passage and had questions about it. It was awesome! She is the sweetest girl. She has a 2 year old daughter that lives with her mom and she works her. It is super sad here in Paraguay that you are considered weird if you haven't had a baby by the time you are like 16. She is really put together though and has great questions. I felt the spirit so strong teaching here. 
Tracting with chanchos

Then we went and visited Lorena down kind of near Alcides. It was so sad to see how in poverty she is and how she treats her children. I am so blessed. So. So. Blessed. Anyways, this visit was crazy but cool because she told us this story about how she was a card reader and had seen a demon in her closet, and then she was super poor and this lady had come up to her and asked if she would read her cards for 100 mil which is like 20 dollarsish. She said no and then the lady told her if she didn´t that she would be blessed and then we showed up that afternoon. So cool. We are trying to get her to come to church so that she can feel the difference and finally stick to a baptismal date. It was at her house that I actually saw the chancho (pig) and I couldn't help but think...¨Chancho....can I borrow some sweats....¨  So great. Needless to say I had to take a picture. They have wild life running all over here. We also went with some members to visit a possible contact and I was so humbled by this because their car door is broken, windshield shattered, and they popped a tire taking us back. The members here give everything they have and I am so grateful and blessed to see such Christlike service. Oh and cool thing, the zone leaders called that night and were talking with my companion and asked if I had been in the intermediate class at the MTC because my Spanish was so good. Ego booster for sure, even though I know it is nothing close to that good. I'll take what I can get though. 
Cold enough for a sweatshirt?

Ciudad del Estes - after a storm
Thursday- It got cold here. We were walking back from an appointment and suddenly I felt cold air. It was crazy. I had not felt cold air (minus A/C) since I had arrived. It was a crazy storm that day. Nothing we planned worked and everything fell through that day, but at least we had a delicious lunch with a member family. They had this pink rice that I was scared of with vegetables but it ended up being pretty good. 

Typical yard in CDE
Friday- Happy Halloween!! It did not feel like it at all but Hna. Chandler and I made pancakes and american syrup to celebrate. Yay!! We saw Fatima again this day and she was leaving somewhere so she told us to come back later. We were worried she wouldn’t be there later but she was. It was awesome. We had another lesson with her and found out that she had read the next passage we gave her right after we left last time because she couldn't wait. But at the end of the lesson she said she couldn't commit to what we were teaching but that we could still teach. We know she felt the spirit but we think because her parents are catholic ministers and her boyfriend is JW that it is just too scary. We have hopes so keep her in your prayers please!! She is so ready if she will just open her heart to accept it. We passed the old men that always say, ¨¨Que guapas¨ (what beauties)...I heard frogs this night and it was crazy the high pitched croak they have. I did my laundry for the first time in a bucket. All grown up and saving china now...knowing how to do my laundry by hand. The find of the day was real american pringles...soo good. Oh and the funny story of the day was we were walking back from an appt and talking and these guys kept saying ¨hoy hoy hoy¨ and here that means "today" so I was really confused until my feet stuck into some cement. We totally ruined their sidewalk and awkwardly walked away not knowing what to do. But now the sister missionaries have left their mark 'literally' here in CDE. Hahahaha. I was dying and Hna. Chandler was SOO embarrassed! Good times. 
Hna Chandler

Saturday- We made french toast. Tasted great. I´m the champ for sure. We had extra syrup we had to get rid of. Or at least that was my excuse... :) At lunch with the Olivera´s I actually understood most of what was being said. It was a good feeling. Then that afternoon we went with the Lugen's to visit a hermana that just had surgery. I sat in the back of the car with their son Matias who is 8. It is so humbling to realize that the little kids speak better than I do and that I can hardly understand them. He was super sweet though and we had fun talking. At the hermana's house we visited, we saw her tumor they had removed in a tupperware container of formaldehyde. Oh, the things we see here! It is crazy....and gross at times. While we were talking to her a chicken just started walking in her room..I think it came in from the outside. I am SO BLESSED. Then we were walking back from the members house after she drove us back and we ran into President and Sister LaPierre. It was kind of cool to see him and let him know I am doing alright. 

Monkey business
Sunday- I SAW A MONKEY!!! We may or may not have taught the girl a lesson so that we would feel ok about asking for a picture of the monkey. She didn't seem very interested but hey it paid off. Kind of. I mean everyone needs to hear the gospel and we planted a seed for sure for later. In sacrament there was a member of the Seventy. He bore a beautiful testimony of the Savior along with his wife. I only understood about half of it, but the half I understood was great. :) We had a lot of great lessons and just had a good time tracting and getting to know each other better. My two new favorite scriptures from this weeks studies are D&C 34:11 and 1 Peter 5:7. They bring me strength and comfort. Read them! They are great. 

Oh and today. We went to Centro so that I could send some letters which is surprisingly expensive but necessary for birthdays and such that are coming up. Then we had Burger King and I bought a smaller bag for 11 dollars. It is a crazy busy shopping place and reminded me of the place in Ensenada but with less English speakers. As in none. :)

Other random things I did:
-Cut my hair....whoops. At least it will grow back, right?
Haircut :)
-Member said I should talk more...awkward
-Had my first nasty meal...corn mash

Last but not least is my list of random things they do here that I thought would be interesting to share.
-It is so hot here. All the time. I am never not sweating. Except for this week.
-I pull a string to flush the toilet. Weird.
-I am whistled at everyday by men or blatantly stared at. No such thing as respect for woman here. 
-We only have A/C in one room; thus, we do everything in there. 
-There are not bed bugs. HURRAY!!
-The milk is actually good. Raisin Bran (brain) every day
-Push-ups and planks are hard on tile when you get sweaty. Slip and slide.
-The hawaiian pizza is good here.

Well that is all for the week. More to come next week. I love you all and am so grateful for all the love and support. Keep serving your Savior and remember to follow his promptings because you just might be his answer to someone else´s prayer. This gospel is true, the book is blue, and I am going to make it through and through. 

Love you all, 
Hermana Albach