18 November, 2010

Elder Cow?

Hola otra vez mi familia,

This week has been a good week again. Elder Gutiérrez already had 4 changes in this area, and so of course we had a change. He went to Cuidad del Este, and left 2 days ago. I now have a new companion, named Elder Vaca, or in English.... Elder Cow. He is from Ecuador.... the third native companion in a row. The other elder in the same apartment as us had a change as well. We now have two elders from Ecuador, and two from Utah. The other elder from utah has 3 changes, one more than me, and he is from Layton, his name is Elder Merrill. Anyway my companion has 1 year and 5 months in his mission, a little bit more than my last companion. He is a great elder so far, and speaks a little different than the people here, but for the most part I can understand him.

Also this week we had our zone conference with Elder Foster of the 70. He is the area president here in Paraguay, Argentina, and Uruguay. Him, his wife, and the callans all spoke to us during about 3 or so hours. Elder Foster talked to us about this mission. In the past 5 years or so in this are of the three countries, the attendance of members has decreased by 3000, but the baptisms have increased the membership constantly. The problem here is that we constantly are having oler members stop attending, and a lot of the converts stop going to church. We talked about how we need to start doind ward council every other week so that we can start keeping the members in the church, and keep the converts active. The president had all the stake presidents have meetings with the bishops to train them about ward council and everything, unfortunately our bishop in our ward was too busy to attend the meeting.... so we have to train him on how to do it. The other problem, is that he is not all the excited to start doing it. Anyway, we talked a lot about how much the mission is struggling, and that we need to start increasing the memberships and everything else here.

This week I have to know all the investigators and members and the routes of all the collectivos, and all that good old stuff after being here for 6 weeks. Our area is huge, and I still haven´t even seen about half of it, but I know where all of our investigators live, and all the members, and everything pretty well. It's kind of weird having to be in charge of it for now, because my companion doesn´t know any of the people, so i have to pretty much teach the lesson.

The investigators are doing pretty good for the most part.....

Miguel and Paula- They still have to get married before they can be baptized. She wants to be baptized, and he kind of does. The problem is that they don't want to get married. they have four children, so we can't try to seperate them either. Every time we try to bring up marriage, they start to argue, and say that they don´t want to get married until the other one changes. we have tried just about everything that we can think of to help them to want to get married, but honestly can´t figure out what to do. We are constantly praying for guidance that we need with them, and I know that if it is the will of the Lord, that we will find something to help them

Jorge and Ruth- They are a couple that we found more recently. Ruth is the cousin of the two girls that we baptized a little while back, and she attended their baptism. She told us she really liked the baptism, and that it was all really good. She attends some evangelical church, but hasn't been baptized. We have taught them a couple of times now. Jorge is Catholic, or in other words he attends the catholic church sometimes. He has told us that the catholic church does a lot of bad things that are against the bible, but that he thinks that they are the only churhc that teaches true doctrine. Of course we responded that the doctrine of a church is the things that they do and the things that they teach, not just the things they teach. We also told him that the true church of Jesus Christ should not have anything contrary to the teachings of Christ, or have any bad fruits (Matt. 8) Anyway we committed them to pray about the Book of Mormon (they had already read the part we had left earlier) Tee next time we returned they had done it, but they told us that they didn't feel anything. She however told us that she thinks our church is true, and that she feels good when we teach them and when she reads the Book of Mormon. I think that part of the problem, is that Jorge doesn't want to recieve the answer that the church is true, but we are still working with them to try and help them to gain the testimony they need

We have another one named Jonny, who has read and prayed, and is great. All we need to do with him right now is have him attend church. He works a lot, so it is hard to do that part, but we are trying to find a time that he can come to church when he doesn’t have to work. Other than that, there is a whole lot of new stuff that has happened. Everything is going really well, and I still haven’t been sick yet. Spanish is going fantastic, the president and Elder Foster complimented me on my Spanish during the zone conference, although it’s not really thanks to anything that I did. It really is amazing to see how the gifts of the spirit are manifested during our misisons. I cna not believe how fast Spanish came, and how much stuff I could remember from the little bit of Spanish that I had in Junior high. I have started studying Guarani now, becuase there is a book of Guarani in our apartment. But I haven’t learned a whole lot yet. It is a lot harder because you have to use your nose to speak. I hope that I can learn it before i’m done with my mission so that I can bear my testimony in Guarani.

Elder Ryan Griffin

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