On Monday, we went to downtown Cuidad del Este. It is actually the most city I have ever seen here in Paraguay. My companion needed to look for some stuff, and so we went there to look. At the same time we did a lot of souvenir shopping because they have everything out there. It was super hectic downtown. We had people walking all over, so it was a lot of dodging, and avoiding trying to get around. Basically on all the sidewalks there, there are stores on one side, and the street isn't even visible because on the other side, there are stands with various different things to sell. It kind of causes a maze effect, and is super confusing, because it kind of just forces you to go a certain way, and you can't see the streets, so it's really easy to get lost. We don't know downtown at all, so we were just wandering aimlessly to try and find some cool stuff to buy. I got some pretty cool stuff, and got some good practice on my bartering skills. I bought a jug with leather work on the outside, with a cup, that the guy said was 120 guarani. I told him I'd buy it if he included one of the metal straws (used for drinking terere, which is about 7 guarani) He agreed, and then I told him I only had 100 guarani, so he just sold it to me for that anyway. Then I bought a leather work cup thing, and a wallet that was supposed to be 50 guarani. I got her to put my name inscripted on it, and got the both for 40 mil. Later I got some napkin holder, and cup placers that are leather, it was 45 mil, but I got it for 35. Then I got some of the Paraguay jerseys, set at 150 mil, bought for 100. I saved overall 100 gaurani (25 dollars or so) It was pretty fun going around and seeing all the different little things that they have here. I did some pretty good shopping. Hopefully I don't get a change now, because I won't have space.
We were looking for a suit for my companion, and we entered into a store. It had an escalator, and every floor had different things. The first floor was a bunch of jewelry and stuff. Then we got on the escalator, and the next floor had electronics, it kind of turned into a nice little surprise as we are going up, to find what the next surprise was on the next floor. The third floor had a restaurant with sushi, and a guy playing the piano..... strange... Then the last floor, they had some clothes. We found some suits, and they seemed pretty nice. We go over and ask the lady how much it costs..... 1,800 .... dollars. Wow. Yeah, as you can imagine we got out of there pretty quick. On the way back, we saw a pen that costed 200 dollars, and a watch that cost 1000 dollars. Yeah, we're not going back there.
We had changes on Wednesday, my companion and I both stayed.
Basically the whole week it rained off and on, so it made things a little tougher, but we kept trudging along, with mud, and rain. We are really starting to teach with the spirit a lot better now. We are having super spiritual lessons with almost all of our lessons, and we are seeing a lot of people who have been prepared of God. On Tuesday, we taught a family that we just sat down with. We had the spirit there strong, and I have realized that the spirit makes it so that people aren't just luke warm, they either accept of reject. As we taught this family, the spirit was there strong, and we invited them to be baptized. Immediately, the father stood up, and walked away, saying no.
The very next lesson, we sat down with another guy, and once again, had the spirit there strong, and we could see that he could feel it. Regardless, he rejected it as well. We told him that if he wanted to know the truth he had to ask God. He stood up at that point and yelled something at us, and went storming into his house. My companion and I looked at each other, stood up, and left. It's sad to see that people are willing to reject what they are feeling so much, simply because they want to follow their traditions. It makes me feel a lot of anguish for them, because I know what they're missing out on.
On Friday, we taught some really good lessons as well. We went and taught two new investigators in the morning. We had a good lesson with them, and they seemed really sincere. Later, we taught a guy named Ramon. We got into his house right as it was about to rain, and we sat down, and taught him the restoration. It was a really spiritual lesson, and he even admitted that his church is false, and isn't the same church as what Christ formed. He accepted a baptismal invitation at the end. Later, we sat down with a reference that we had from a member. We started teaching them, and it was a super spiritual lesson. I could tell that they were feeling the spirit, and so I asked them, what are you thinking right now. The responded: " I don't know." Then I asked How do you feel right now? There was a long pause as they sat thinking, the spirit was burning strong, and then the wife spoke up and said: "I don't want to change churches." I replied, that's not what we asked you, I asked how are you feeling right now. Another pause, and they responded, no we don't want to change churches. I felt my heart just drop, and we left them with a prayer. It is really sad to see that so many people feel that spirit so strongly, and then are willing to just throw it out the window.
Later in Friday, we had one of the best lessons I have ever had. We went to Juan Ramon, who we had previously taught at a member´s house. When we went for the return visit earlier in the week, he told the members that he is catholic and doesn't want to change. We went to his house regardless, and he let us in. We sat down, and started talking to him. Right from the start of the lesson, the spirit was already there, and it just got stronger as the lesson went on. We testified to him about how he could come to know for himself, and he asked us some really good questions. We could tell that the spirit was directing him, as well as us. It was really just a lesson of the spirit. At the end of the lesson, the words came out of my mouth. Juan, Satan will attack you with even people that are close to you to try and get you to doubt our message, but trust what it is that you are feeling right now, and God will help you. After I said that he replied, well you are right there, I have already seen that happen.
We had a couple of other really spiritual lessons in the week, and really I just feel even happier now. We are feeling so edified by the spirit, and seeing his spirit work trough us. We are both really excited, and working hard. My companion and I get along really well, and we are really seeing miracles. As of right now, we still don't have anybody lined up for baptism, but regardless of if we have baptisms or not, I feel happy that I am becoming a better servant of my Father. I feel so grateful for the testimony and knowledge of the gospel that I have gained in my mission. I will never be able to work hard enough to pay Him back, but as long as I feel like he's pleased with me, I know I am doing all I can.
I love you guys, and hope all is well back home. I want to ask you guys a favor, please don't talk about home to me. I want to stay focused on the mission, so I would really appreciate it if you guys can help me with that. Thanks a ton, and I love you all. Cuidense!
Elder Ryan Griffin