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.

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