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! :)

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