13 December, 2010

Cockroache infestation

Well this week has been another difficult week, but a week that I have learned a lot.

On Tuesday, we had a district meeting, about an hour away from our area. We got on a bus, but it was the wrong one, so we sat on there for about an hour and a half, and then finally got to the meeting. After that we did splits with the district leader and his companion, who was in my district in the MTC. I went with the one that was in my district, and the district leader went with my companion. During the day, it started out clear and hot, then a cloud came, it poured for a little while, and then was sunny again. Then a little while later, it did the same thing, and finally did it again during the day. Three times of rain and then getting hot and humid, quite the interesting mix. We taught some really good lessons with a couple of the investigators from their area, and then the next day I returned to my area. During the week we only taught 25 lessons, but we found a lot of really good investigators.

One investigator we found is named Ramon. He is atheist, but not strongly atheist. He basically just doesn't really believe that there is a God. We talked to him, and left him with a Book of Mormon, and left him with Alma 22 to read. We told him to pray for confirmation that there is a God, and then to pray about the things that we had taught him. We still haven't had a chance to talk with him again, but we are going to go back there today or tomorrow.

Another family that we found is the Family Benitez. The husband had an accident with a machine, and only has 2 fingers on his right hand. He also can't see out of his right eye. Anyway, we taught him, and his wife, and daughter (in her 30's). At the end of the lesson, they asked us, "how can we get one of these books?" We of course gave them the Book of Mormon, and left them with the challenge to read it. After that we ended with a prayer, and the daughter prayed, while she was thinking of something she was thankful for, her dad said "and this book". I'm excited to return to see how it went with them today.

This week I've really been thinking a lot, because I have been so focused on the numbers. Sometimes I am just teaching the lessons, and doing the things to get a number, and nothing else. I have really been thinking about the fact that I need to focus more on the people. The numbers are to help the people progress, not the other way around. I also was praying for help this week, because I just have felt like I was doing everything in vain. Today during my personal study, I ran across a scripture in Corinthians that says something to the effect of "when you are in the work of the Lord, your work is never in vain" It really helped me to realize, that as long as I am trying to work as hard as I can, the things that I'm doing aren't in vain.

This week was the "birthday" of the virgin of Caucupe, on the 8th. The Catholics here worship the virgin Mary, and on the 8th, there was almost nobody in the streets or anything, because they were all in Caucupe to worship their dolls. It really is amazing to see the power that Satan has down here in Paraguay, that he can blind people into thinking that we have to worship the mother of Christ, and break the 1st commandment. The people here are really just blinded with ignorance, and our main goal is to help them start thinking for themselves....

Also this week we had a zone conference with President, and Hermana Callan. It was a really good conference, and I feel like I learned a lot from the things that they talked about during it. We also received calendars with pictures of all the Elders on it. Also I got some more name tags that I ordered a while back, so now I have one in Guarani.

We have had a problem with the cockroaches for a while in this apartment, and so we bought some poison stuff to kill them. They have this nest that is behind the counters, and we always find them when we get in the house after the day. We sprayed it all over in the spot that we knew where they were, not knowing if it was going to work very well or not. After that we were standing in the kitchen talking for a little bit. In literally about 2 minutes, the cockroaches started leaving from their nest, and we started killing them. After about 30 minutes or so of killing them, they finally all had come out (or at least we hope so). In total we killed literally about 70 cockroaches that came out of there, quite a nasty experience, but at least now we don't have to live with all those. I took a picture of it, but my camera battery is dead, so I can't send the picture that I took of it, but there was literally a pile of cockroaches by the end.

Well thank you for the support and the love that I always have from you all. It always makes it easier to work the rest of the week after reading your letters. I hope all is going well with you, and the pups.... and that you are all healthy and well. I love you all, and look forward to being able to talk to you for a little while on Christmas. Take care, and let me know about the time of calling next week.

-Elder Ryan Griffin

06 December, 2010

It is hot and getting hotter

Hey family!
Sorry that I wrote the whole letter last week in Spanish, I was going to write a letter to Taylor, and then to you, but I ended up not having enough time to do it. I told Taylor to translate it for you though.
This week has been one of the harder weeks of the mission, but also one of the weeks that I have learned the most about myself, and strengthened my testimony. I have been sick with a stomachache and a headache almost all of this week. We went out and worked every day of the week anyway. It was difficult working this week, because I didn’t feel very good, and didn’t have very much energy to walk all day. This week I started feeling how hot is going to be getting here. We had a day in the 40´s Celsius. I think that is like 104 Fahrenheit. On top of that the humidity here is ridiculous. Apparently underneath Paraguay is one of the largest amounts of water in the world, and for that reason, if it is hot, it is also humid. During the days that we are walking, my shirt gets completely drenched in sweat; it never even got this hot in Texas when I was there. Also the weather here is completely unpredictable, it can be perfectly clear, and then in literally ten minutes clouds come and it starts pouring rain. Other days when it looks like it’s going to rain, we bring our umbrellas, and of course those days it doesn’t rain. When it does rain, it is literally like a flash flood, and when we don’t have our umbrellas, it’s practically taking a shower with our clothes on. The streets always fill up with water, and there are literally rivers that we have to go through to get back to our pension.
This week, we were doing our personal study (Elder Merrill and I; my companion and the other one from Ecuador just talk during personal study) and the elders from Villa Elisa got a call, Elder Paledines(the companion of Elder Merrill) answered it and it was the president, he said he wanted to come and talk to his companion, and that he would be there in 40 minutes. Of course we hurried and cleaned up the apartment, and then started our companion study. President came in and talked to us a little bit before he left. Apparently Elder Merrill´s father has liver cancer, and was going in for an operation, and so president came to tell him.
Also this week it rained like crazy on the morning of Sunday, for the second week in a row. We had only 15 members that came to church, we started with only 7. Once again none of our investigators came to church, and so the 4 baptismal dates fell again. I don’t know if it’s a lack of faith on their part, or on ours, but we are trying everything to help them go to church. I think part of it is that we aren't teaching clearly enough the importance of going to church.
Anyway, now I am not feeling so sick, and at least I know that this week can't be any worse than this last week. Also we have a conference for Christmas this Friday with President Callan and his wife.
I love you all, and I will talk to you again next week. Hope everything is going well, and that you are all healthy and well.
-Elder Ryan Griffin