Tuesday, April 21, 2015

Templos, Colectivos and Milagros

Hola familia,

Asuncion Paraguay Temple
As per usual I don't have very much time. But this week was awesome! I had the opportunity to go to Asuncion, the capital of Paraguay, to do paperwork for my passport. While we were there we got to visit the temple and then to the distribution center. I was almost more excited about this then the temple...almost. But not. It is so beautiful and so small! (Sadly, we didn't have enough time to do any temple work.)

During this trip I had two really cool moments in which I was able to see His hand in my life. The first one was that I had a feeling before we left our pension to bring my copy of my passport. I didn't know why I would need it but I did it anyway. When we were buying the tickets to come back, the elders asked me if I had mine. I was able to proudly say 'yes' and later realized that it was a helpful counsel and prompting. Not everyone had brought theirs and I was grateful to say that I was prepared por medio de <because of> listening to the promptings of the Spirit. It wasn't anything life threatening and the elders ended up not using it and getting a less chucci <swanky> bus, but I was ready. The promptings of the spirit aren't always life and death. Many times they are there to make our lives easier and keep us prepared! 

Hrms Moreno, Albach and Murphy
The other experience was when I was on the colectivo <bus>. There weren't enough seats for everyone and the elders got kicked out of their seats and had to stand. Needless to say, we switched them about two hours in because my knees were really hurting from sitting at that angle. But shortly after standing I realized we still had about 3 or 4 hours to go and I wasn't sure I could stand that long without falling asleep. It was the middle of the night. I said a simple prayer asking for the strength to do so or an opening. Literally, five minutes later a man sitting next to my temporary companion got up and let me sit on a random part of the bus he had been using. He was going to the same place but he was kind enough to give me his seat. To some this may seem common for men to do this...but in Paraguay....it is NOT!! It is really crazy when a man acts like a gentleman. I sat down and immediately gave thanks for such a timely answer to my prayer. Just about thirty minutes later we were able to sit in the comfy seats because a lot of people got off. The Lord is in our lives and he answers the simple things. 

Another shot
The other experience I had was with fasting. Our mission has made the goal recently to have at least one baptism from every companionship every traslado <transfer>. We fasted last week for it but I wanted to fast again this week to really know who we were going to be able to help realize this. So I was fasting and we had district conference and so we showed up that night and it was awesome, but then right after we got rushed by Hermana Lapierre (President's wife) and some elders talking about a man that had showed up to the church and stayed for the whole two hours and was really interested. We talked to him and he was really happy to know more. We are going to try to visit him. WOW! Answers. 

We were also able to place a date with an hermana named Gladys. She is a sweetheart and when we talked about the preguntas de alma with her she really was struck with the fact that we take the name of Jesus Christ in this church and how it really is his church because it has his name. I had so many moments in which I was made so aware that this is the Lords work but that he loves me and wants the best for me in the work! It is so great! I love my area. My companion is HILARIOUS and we have a great time together! We even made some Texas sheet cake for our noche de rama <family home evening>. Pretty chucci <fancy> right hurr... :) Remember who you all are and remember that the Lord does and will answer prayers!!! 

Hermana Albach

Tuesday, April 14, 2015

Mamani, Milagros, y Moving

April 13, 2015

Hermana Mamani from Peru
Hey y├íll. I don't have much time but this week was hard and great and crazy and slow and fast and really everything all in one. I am now with my new companion, Hermana Mamani and she is awesome!! She is from Peru and is the sweetest thing around. She is super funny and is always cracking jokes that take me a minute to know she is joking. Her smile is so great and I am so excited to be her last companion!! 

The beginning of the week I was still with Hermana Moreno and it was a bit loco because we had to find, pay rent, and clean and furnish an apartment for the elders that were coming into our area on Wednesday. Needless to say, we ran around like chickens with our heads cut off but we got it all done, thanks to a lot of help from our zone. They are gems!!! 

This week it was made painfully clear that our area is really hard especially as the elders took a good chunk of the area that houses our menos activos <less actives> and members. But the Lord is a God of miracles and I have felt and seen so many this week as I have fasted and been on my knees a lot. Our first day, I had so many times when certain people would pop into my head and then we went and they were there and we were able to visit them when usually they are never there. I know it wasn't random. I know it was the spirit. I also was able to find some antiguo investigadores <old investigators> in our carpeta de area <area folder> and also recent converts that are now inactive. I called them and they answered and we are actually going to be meeting with them. It is incredible. I know that this is the Lord work and that He will make a way for us to realize our metas <goals> and find those that need His love and gospel otra vez en sus vidas <again in their lives>. I really love this work. It stretches and tries us in many ways but it is so true and the joy that comes from it is lasting.

This Sunday in church as others were bearing testimony, I was reflecting on my own testimony and I was so touched to know and feel and have no doubt that this gospel and the power of the atonement and gospel in my life has truly changed it. Before the mission I was not perfect and I am still not but being on a mission has helped me to see the potential I truly have, who I truly am, and how much each and EVERY one of the children of our Heavenly Father are loved. I truly feel that love every single day for the people here in Paraguay. I have also come to know how much our relationship with our Savior is important. We need to come to know him. We need to recognize His hand in our life. And we need to know that the Book of Mormon truly testifies of our Savior on every single page. I love you all and hope you have a great week! Remember the Lord loves you, He knows you, He has a plan for you, you just have to ask with the intent and courage to follow the answer He will give you!! 

"So how can you see what your life is worth or where your value lies? You can never see through your eyes on earth. You must look at your life. Look at your life through heavens eyes."

Hermana Albach
I love the UVU blanket!

**I am hoping my translations of Kaitlyn's letters are correct. If anyone out there finds an error, please let me know. :) Mama Albach

Tuesday, April 7, 2015

Cambios, Cookies, and Conference

April 6, 2015

Hrma Baez

Hermanas Field and Baez
Hola todo <all around>!! This week has been the craziest week of my mission so far. Ok, maybe not but it has been reaaaaaaal different. We started it out with some awesome divisiones <divisions>. I went with Hermana Field to her area in Obligado -- AKA jungle paradise!! It is so beautiful out there and is all CAMPO <countryside>! I have forgotten how much I miss the outdoors and campo <countryside>! I have missed the stars. It was so awesome to be out there and smell the fresh non-ciudad <city> air!! Since it was so beautiful and I brought my work out clothes, Hermana Fields convinced me to go running with her in the morning to the track we had found the night before. It was great! So good to run again and push myself. You can only do so much in a tiny, little apartment. 
Their area is huge and we had to take a colectivo <minibus> for about 30 minutes to get to the part we would be working in. There I had the honor to meet and work with Hermana Baez who is in her 50's or so. She goes out every week with the hermanas and works with them. The ENTIRE day! She knows pretty much everybody in her area, and most of them are cousins or family. She is so humble and loving of everyone. Cross my fingers that at some point I can be in this area! 

Lamanitas and Nefitas

We ended our divisions by coming back into Encarnacion where we had our combined zone activity (noche de rama gigante). Each set of missionaries was in charge of acting out a Book of Mormon story and then we ended in the sacrament room and listened to "Rey <King> Benjamin" and the primera conferencia general <first general conference>. It was incredible. We had a war between the lamanitas and nefitas <Lamanites and Nephites> out on the basketball court, Mormon and Moroni and the gold plates, the tree of life. Todo <all>! It was an awesome activity!!
Hrma Sorensen

To top it all off, when I got home I was told that I had a surprise that I had to find in the pension. I searched and searched and what did I find!!! The secret ingredient to make snickerdoodles amongst other things in
my....PACKAGE!!! So happy!! It was so fun to see all the treasures! Thanks family!!! Thanks all the cousins who drew me pictures! Savannah, Jocelyn, Caden...etc. You guys are the best!!! 

Ahhh! Snickerdoodles
This week was a bit different because here in South America or really anywhere that is very catholic they celebrate Easter over the whole week. It is called Semana Santa <Easter week or Passion Week>. Meaning it was pretty dead as far as missionary work. No one was out or doing anything. Lucky for us an Elder had an incredible idea to show the videos, "Because of Him" and "Because He Lives" in the plaza and contact as missionaries. We did that every day in the afternoon and received a LOT of referrals and interest. It was so cool to go around and contact and really help people watch the video and feel of the spirit of our message of the Savior! This church is so true!!! 

Hrma Moreno - So adorable!
Then we topped it off with General Conference. It was incredible! Cool story: Right at the end of Elder Packer's talk it started to rain really hard and it cut off our feed. We all went into the main salon and said a prayer with everyone that the Lord would stop the rain and that we could continue watching the broadcast. I am sad to admit but I didn't really have that much faith it would work. I know miracles happen but I don't believe they happen in my life. Boy was I proven wrong and humbled. The rain didn't stop immediately. After the elders ran around like crazy finding a solution and after time it stopped and the broadcast was available again. It was also after I excused myself to the bathroom and took some time to cry and ask for forgiveness and that the Lord could help me with my unbelief. I KNOW the Lord answers prayers, I KNOW that miracles happen, I KNOW they can happen in our own lives. I KNOW that the Lord can help our unbelief and bless us with strength and ability to believe! I KNOW faith is something we can and always should be strengthening. I am so grateful for all the talks in conference about faith and the strength and humbling that came from it. The Lord knows how to help us and how to truly succor us! If you are struggling to see the miracles or hand of the Lord in your life, I urge you to pray to be able to see it and then to LOOK, SEARCH, and RECORD his hand in your life when you find it! I know He is there, and I KNOW THAT MY REDEEMER LIVES! This was made so clear as I stood to sing with everyone in the world during conference. Oh and for those that are wondering, I was able to watch it in English but when the native Spanish speakers started speaking, all the English missionaries ran for the other room to listen to him in his native language. It was awesome to be able to understand and feel the spirit of the messages they had to share.

So.....it is that time of mission life again! Cambioss!!!! <transfers!!!> So I will be staying here in Encarnacion but Hermana Moreno will be heading to my old area in Ciudad Del Este. We are super sad but excited for each other at the same time!! I am going to be with Hermana Mamani from Peru! This is her last transfer! We are going to work ourselves to the ground!!! It is going to be awesome! I will let you know more about this cute Hermana when I meet her!!! 

Love you all and hope that all is well! Remember the Lord loves and knows you! Remember we must truly come unto him to be healed and strengthened! 

Hermana Albach

Notes from emails to mom:
Package joy!!! So Hermana Moreno hid my package in one of my suitcases because I was on divisions when she got it. She told me I had a surprise but I just thought she had bought me a bow or something. So when I found it I just started squealing and jumping and dancing around everywhere! It was awesome!! Oh and that is my snickerdoodle dough and cookies!! They were SO GOOD! Cream of tartar! Amaaazing!

Hermanas Field, Palacio, Sorenson, Albach,
Watts and Moreno (L-R)

Total class!
FOTOS!!!! My cute comp and I at district meeting and our whole district!! Oh and the ladies!! Silly me....that is classy right?? --> 

Comments about Conference:
My district
"Yeah general conference is especially incredible on the mission, for sure. Except it was ALL about marriage and families, well at least Saturday was. Guess I will know where to look after my mission for advice!! I loved Elder Nelson's talk about Sabbath day worship and Presidente Eyring's talk about fast offerings. It has been so hard on the mission to see the poverty and struggling and not be able to just take all of them to America and give them all I have. But his talk helped me realize I can really help the members in my rama <branch> and area by giving a generous fast offering. I am going to give a big chunk of my monthly amount because I know I will be blessed, but more importantly, I can bless those that I truly love and am closest with!" 

"Oh and I have to go but here is an awesome experience I had reading my scriptures yesterday during personal study!! So an experience I had as I studied the part of the Savior's life when He was resurrected on Sunday in all four gospels was when he talks to Mary Magdalene... She doesn't recognize His voice until He calls her by name. We truly need to learn to hear the Lord's voice as He calls us by name. He speaks to all of us in a different way as we learn to recognize that we can truly respond and know our Savior just from our names being called. It was pretty awesome for me!