Monday, December 15, 2014

Got Miracles?? Creo que si!

December 14, 2014

In the "Garden of Eden"
Hola!!! Yay, another week has come and gone! Now for the update from last week since my email was absolutely awful. My mom will probably post pictures of us in the ¨Garden¨of Eden. It was the house of a lady and after we greeted her she made us take pictures all over throughout it. This may or may not have been because she was just a little tipsy...or a lot. Esta bien. She was very sweet though, and we got some great pictures. We also got our first mango given to us by the abuelo <grandfather> de Familia Vera. It was REAL good. Hurray for mango trees everywhere! (Now, if they just had the dried kind like Costco...) That is really all that I left out for last week. Onto this week....whelp I hit the big 3 MONTHS in the mission. Halfway to 6 months baby! Crazy. The time is flying by...mostly. ;) So Hermana Dance was really sicky on Wednesday... good thing I know a nurse. :) We got her some medicine, sleep, and TLC and she is ALL BETTER! Yay!

So some cool experiences that happened this week. First with Laura and Sulma, and Carmen. Two different lessons but the same principle and lesson learned.
Plan of Salvation - Click on the link for more information
Both of these visits we were just talking with the women and getting to know them better when something they said highlighted a struggle they were having. Coincidentally...or not, it was with the plan of salvation. Laura y Sulma don't believe they will ever see their father again, who died 7 years ago. For Carmen, her mother died in a lot of pain and she is sad that she will never be able to talk to her again. For both we were able to sha
re the message of life after this, and the principle of forever families. It was awesome to see that just as PMG states. If you are listening and truly trying to understand you will not have to wonder what to say or what to teach. It will be given to you. In both of these cases it so clearly was, and because we were truly listening we were then able to teach with the spirit and the lessons were powerful. It was AWESOME!!! 

We also did a lot of contacting this week. AKA tracting. Which I will be the first to tell you is not my favorite. People here are super sweet and let pretty much anyone in, but this is frustrating as well because they are not usually ever serious about really hearing your message. This week though we found a couple of hidden and potential gems. Their names are Perla and Carolina. They are both in their 30s or 40s. Perla does not have a religion in her life right now but she has a relationship with God. We were able to share a little bit with her. Then with Carolina. She is a sassy one. First Paraguayan feminist I have met. She is a devote Catholic primarily because they worship Virgin Mary, and Mary is a woman. Haha made me laugh. We were able to discuss the importance of women to her and our roles. She even gave us cookies when we left after the second visit. She is definitely a gem. We have a fecha <date> for her, so we will see what happens this week. 
Hermana Dance and I at a Paraguayan Pizza Hut!

Lastly, my miracle of the week. We were up tracting in an area before we had another appointment, when I had the thought to visit someone that we had contacted into the week before, her name is Christina. We headed up that way and turned on the street that I thought was hers. There was a woman outside her house with her little baby. We stopped and began talking to her,  came to find out that the house I thought was Christina´s was in fact this ladies house. As we were talking a man walked past that I recognized as the son of Christina from before. The woman we were talking to waved at him and said, "Oh, that is my brother." I then realized that this young woman who also was named Christina was the daughter of the woman I had felt prompted to visit. The best part was that she was SUPER excited about our message. She thanked us multiple times for giving her a LDM and expressed interest in coming to church. We are very excited to see where this goes, but for me it was a great moment to see that even simple thoughts can be promptings from the spirit. I would never have realized the sweet spiritual experience had I not followed the soft voice of the spirit. The Lord is in this work and it was so great to see that so incredibly this week!

Hermana Gamarra
Now for some funny stories. So the Hermana's from a different zone stayed the night with us this week. During these short few hours they broke our extra bed, our toilet, and ate all our delicious Pepas. (A cookie here.) Kind of funny. Don't worry Hermana Dance fixed the toilet like a champ. The bed frame was a goner though. Next, we had lunch with Familia Gamarra this week in which she cooked us a HUGE slab of meat. We are talking like an 18 to 19oz steak. I took a picture of the bone so you could see. Ginormous. They love meat here. Then we had a crazy rain storm this week in which we were stuck at the home of Familia Vera for 2 1/2 hours. Yikes. Good thing they still love us. 

Oh, and then we saw a HUGE tarantula get eaten by a tarantula hawk. Good thing too because I was about to kill it after Hermana Dance shook it off her foot. Scary!! Oh and apparently there is this random bug that flies around and lays huevos <eggs> on laundry. Last week I found some of these little nasties on some of my clothes. Flicked the little guys off and all was well but had the heebie jeebies for a while after. So now whenever I am getting laundry off the line I am always thinking, No huevos, no huevos. Reminds me of the game show. No whammy, no whammy. Hahaha. 

As for spiritual. Mosiah 23: 13-14. Who should you follow?? 
What does God want you to be?

¨The moment you start comparing yourself, is the moment you stop becoming what God needs you to be.¨ Such a great reminder for me and all. Be what God needs you to be, don't compare. You are you for a reason and YOU ARE SPECIAL TO HIM!!!! 

Hermana Dance and I -- LOVE HER!
Favorite New Quotes: Obedience is the price, faith is the power, the spirit is the key, Christ is the reason, love is the motive, joy is the reward. Unknown

God does not have distracting hobbies off somewhere in the universe. We are at the very center of his concerns and purposes. Neal A. Maxwell

The more we serve our fellowman in appropriate ways, the more substance there is to our souls. Spencer W. Kimball 

Love you all, hope the Christmas season is wonderful and you are all taking time to remember who it is really all about. He is the gift!!!

Hermana Albach

Wednesday, December 10, 2014

Dance, Dance, Romance...

December 9, 2014

**This is a day late because many latin countries celebrate the Catholic holiday called the Feast of the Immaculate Conception on December 8th. It is their belief that this is the date when the virgin Mary was conceived. Nine months later on September 8th, while we are celebrating my mom's birthday, they celebrate the Nativity of Mary. Interesting, right?

Hey all, 
This email is going to be really short because I have like no time left. So here it goes. There was no romance this week because....uh...we are missionaries. But my knew companion is Hermana Dance, and I want to just dance with joy because she is INCREDIBLE! We get along so well, she is so sweet and nice, we work hard every day. We come home exhausted, sweaty, and with aching legs. In three words: Real. Missionary. Work. The best part is that we are enjoying every second of it. Since she is new to the area I have been showing her around and we have been trying to make connections. Our area has been kind of dead so we are excited to start over and get to work. We made some really good progress with Familia Vera and Familia Ortiz. Both are less active families that we were able to visit this week. Familia Ortiz are all members except the father. We went and had noche de hogar <Family Home Evening> with them last night and played a game and then Hermana Ortiz brought out what looked like hot dogs. It was like 8:30 at night but, oh well, she had been so sweet. So I ate my first ever chicken hot dog, which I didn't know until after we left. We ate it in a bun with mayonnaise. They put mayo on everything here. It was super good, surprisingly. With Familia Vera we were able to talk to the father (who is also not a member) a little bit. We are going to focus on him and the son that is going a little wayward. We also talked with Elli who is a RM from the family but fell a little away because some of the members were very rude. But she is making great strides to return. I just love the people here. They all have crazy stories, but they all are so devoted to God in some way or another. Yesterday was a national holiday about the virgin Mary. It was crazy. Everything was closed. People weren't super happy we were out tracting, but it was worth it because the message we have changes lives and is such a blessing. Well, I am out of time and I know that this email is all over the place and not as good as previous ones. Just know that I love the Lord, this work is powerful, and you can come closer to God by following the simple things (reading scriptures, praying, attending church) then by any other thing! 

Love you all,

Hermana Albach

Wednesday, December 3, 2014

Craziness, Cookies, and Cambios

December 1, 2014
CHEEZ! Happy Thanksgiving, all!

Happy Late Thanksgiving everybody! Hope everyone enjoyed the food but more importantly being with their families. I love the holidays for that very reason, it gives you an excuse to be with your family more and to realize how much you love them. Luckily for me being in a foreign country was a blessing because it was 95 degrees and felt nothing like Thanksgiving. (Though we did make rolls and pizookies!) Quite the Thanksgiving feast, but it was memorable for sure. Starting this week, I think I am going to do my emails a little bit differently. The day by day is awesome but I just want to switch things up a bit. So instead I will talk about moments that happened. 

Gonna miss her!
This week was a lot different than others for the sole reason that it was Hermana Chandler's last week as a missionary. :( There was a lot of packing, last minute nursing training that had to happen, and we had our Apertura de Navidad <Christmas concert>. So the whole tracting and proselyting and actually doing work as a missionary didn't happen all that much. It was kind of sad, but we still had some good experiences. One was with Juan Carlos and Carmen. They were both home when we went to visit them which is super rare. Then Juan Carlos sat down with us and began talking, which never happens, and then Hermana Chandler was able to share her testimony. I felt the spirit so strong. I am not sure if they did or not but just as Nephi says, "the spirit brings truth UNTO the hearts of man." Not INTO. Entonces <then>, it is their decision whether to accept it or not but I will definitely be following up with my new companion. 

Speaking of my new companion, I now know who she is. Her name is Hermana Dance and she is from Las Vegas. She and I will be staying in Ciudad Del Este (CDE) for the next transfer. She is actually a Hermana Leader trainer. So I know there is so much I am going to be able to learn from her. Also I heard rumor she is all about those Jillean Michaels videos, so I am probably going to start working out for reals. Kind of excited. Anyways, so there is that news. Back to my week.

"Do Not Touch!"
So we visited a lot of members and less actives that Hermana Chandler wanted to say goodbye to. She has been here since May so there are a lot of people she knows. One of these visits was with Familia Gamarra and it was very sweet. We were both able to bear testimony of the power of the LDM <Book of Mormon> in relation to the family and the power that it can bring. We were able to then take some pictures. During which we saw the same white caterpillar from the week before. I simply asked what it was called and the mother freaked out. Come to find out the caterpillar is poisonous and dangerous. Whoops...good thing we didn't touch it when we took pictures of it the week before. 

Our night de navidad was really cool. It was fun to have a christmas program of sorts and to be able to sing. Then there were two baptisms following and that was really special. They were the first I
have seen on my mission so far and they were awesome. It is so powerful to see someone entering into a covenant that will change their live forever if they will strive to live worthy of it. 

 Our chapel in CDE
During the week I was also able to have some pretty great and powerful personal studies. Best parts of the day at times. The main thing I learned and was really taught this week was the importance of meaningful, powerful prayer and how I can make each and every prayer count. There is a section in PMG that talks a lot about this. Some of the things I learned were that I need to take time before I begin to pray to contemplate, meditate, and think about what I am going to pray for and what the spirit and Lord want me to pray for. Just as the spirit should be a part of our daily decisions and actions. The spirit has a place in prayer. We should be striving to listen to the spirit to know what the spirit would have us pray for. That was a new idea for me, but it makes perfect sense. As we pray for those things the spirit directs we are aligning our will with our Father in Heavens and are even more likely to receive those blessings he is willing and ready to send. I know that the Lord wants to bless each and every one of us, but he also will ALWAYS give us our agency. Entonces <Then>, we must exercise our agency, follow the spirit, and ask the Lord having faith that we will receive. Prayer is so important. My favorite source to learn more about prayer is in the Bible Dictionary. If you have never read it before, give it a whirl. It is powerful! If any of you are feeling that your prayers are lacking in some way, open up a PMG and the BD and learn how you can change. I know that I have a whole new view of prayer. It is something to be taken seriously and to do sacredly. Prayer is powerful and purifying if we approach it with the predetermined mindset to change and receive fully.  

Sorry, my thoughts are very scattered right now. Suffice it to say that I love this gospel. I love my Savior. I love this time of year and the focus that it puts back on him. I love the blessing it is to be on my mission and to see my blessings daily. I am grateful for so many things. This last Sunday was Hermana Chandler's last day and her testimony was so powerful. She was such a great example to me and I hope to be able to work hard until the end so that I have no regrets. 

So some more Paraguay fun facts: -The dogs eat ants. They lick them right up. Craziest thing I have ever seen. 
-There are mango trees EVERYWHERE...which means there are poisonous white caterpillars everywhere tambien <also> because they grow only on the mango tree.
-Also there are trees here that are just flower trees but they are huge. So beautiful.
-They burn trash here. So it always stinks kind of. Good thing I have a strong stomach #nurse
-All the primary children love me because I brought stickers and pictures. They all swarm me on Sundays. But Nestor is my favorite. I even got a picture with him!! So cute! #ifeelloved 

Now for a new portion of my email. The crazy and funny nursing calls I have received in the last transfer. 
-Whether a girl should put a bandaid on a scrape or not, and then after she put neosporin on and it kind of oozed she called to see if that was normal. #goodlaughs
-Only one dog bite so far, but it was like a TINY little dog. 
-I was called and asked about a canker sore and when that would go away...not by a sister this time. It was an elder. 
Those are just some. I will have more to be sure. Good times! Nursing is good. 

I love you all and am so grateful for your presence in my life. I hope all of you stay safe for the holidays. Until next week!! 

Hermana Albach

*Below are some pics from around our area. I especially like the murals (well, most of them) that they paint along their fences and buildings.
Coca-Cola 'truck'
One of the homes here
Downtown CDE

Another cow on a lease :)

I love this one below. It's a beautiful tribute to the Savior's life. The message at the end reads: Inner Peace is the Greatest Happiness in the Life.