Monday, May 27, 2013

Week 17

So this week went by ridiculously fast thanks to once again a trip to Asuncion. When it is a good 7 or 8 hour bus ride each way, that tends to kill days in a week. This time we went in for a zone conference. It was my first and coincidentally the last for President Madariaga. It was really good. I especially loved the talks given by both President and Sister Madariaga, and the testimonies from all the leaving elders, President and Sister Madariaga were incredible. Definitely glad I was there.

After that we had time to kill, as our bus didn’t leave until night. So we walked across the street and Elder Anderson got some Burger King to eat. Then we decided to go check out a Catholic church down the road from the office.

Well, we missed our bus.  So, as we are standing there trying to figure out what to do, I see a Ferris wheel. Yup, a Ferris wheel.  So of course, we have to go check it out.   Luckily for us, it only costs 5 mil (or a little over a dollar for 10 times around) so Elder Anderson and Elder Anderl and I all go for a ride as Elder Plasencia takes pictures and video tapes it. It was way cool: one to be on a Ferris wheel again and two when you were at the top you could see all over Asuncion.  It was way pretty. 

 Ferris wheel in Asuncion

Then we walked to the Catholic church and checked it out and took some pictures.  It was way pretty.  I love old Catholic churches.  This one isn’t nearly as legit as the ones from England and Italy, but still way sick.

After that, we came home and jumped off the bus early so we didn’t have to get a taxi since we’re broke.  But it meant a long walk in the crazy fog mist.  Then we took a short power nap, since you can never get good sleep on a bus.  Then it was off to our lunch cita and a normal day.
That night was our Noche de Rama (branch night).  We had planned on playing volleyball and soccer, but the fog mist was crazy so not many people came.  But we ended up playing in the fog.  It was cool!  A couple of the members are pretty good.

So Thursday we had an adventure in the kitchen.   Memo to self -- don’t let Anderson be in charge of stuff in the oven.  Anyway, a couple weeks ago we borrowed a pan from a member named Mercedes.  We promised we would make her some peach cobbler and do a Noche de Hogar (Family Home Evening) with her and her family one night.  So Thursday was the night, and we made the cobbler, put it in the oven, started our studies, and then got to planning.  Then we remembered the visit.  Annnnnd, yup, the cobbler was still in the oven.  After 2 hours in the oven ,it was pretty black.  So I spent 30 minutes scrubbing it to clean the pan and we made another one.  This one we did not burn.  It was very good.  And we had a good laugh and a lesson about preparedness.  And yes, since we are missionaries, we did eat the burnt one.  Just not with members. Haha. 

The next day was Friday, and we had a great day planned.  But it got really foggy and misty and most everything fell through.  So needing a pick-up, we made homemade chicken noodle soup and some Rocklet sugar cookies.   Rocklets are like Paraguayan M & Ms but cheaper. Anyway, it was way good and a good pick-me-up.  Although after eating 100 cookies, our stomachs didn’t agree with us for awhile.  Haha.  But of course still worth it.
Rocklets candies used with the sugar cookies

I must be turning into a girl since I actually used my jacket this week and felt cold a couple times.  In Montana, this would be warm!

Also had some crazy drama on Sunday as our best recent convert and one of the most active people in the world was forced to move to Brazil to live with a sister by her mom since her boyfriend is a drug dealer apparently and is a bad influence.  So ya, that's depressing.  But it’s just another day in Paraguay.

Nothing crazy or worth writing happened today, so I’m gonna wrap this up with I love all you guys and keep your stick on the ice.
Elder Frost

P.S.  Anthony will be posting more pictures later this week.  Check back to see them.

Monday, May 20, 2013

Week 16

So for the first time, I’m probably going to include some spiritual stuff.  Yes, the mission is changing me.  No, I’m not weird… yet.  And finally, don’t expect this to be a regular occurrence.  These are pretty awesome visits and, therefore, deserve some time.  Now, the disclaimer is out of the way.

On Tuesday night, we worked with the familia Ojeda.  They are an amazing family.  The father has been a branch president, twice.  And ironically, the family was baptized by Jake Gertsch (Jake is a family friend who served his mission in Pedro Juan).  They are awesome, but for some reason they don’t come to church.  So Anderson and I didn’t really know what to do with them. But we decided to do a Noche de Hogar (Family Home Evening) about challenges and problems in our life.  We made paper snowflakes and explained how each cut or challenge makes the paper look a little ugly until you open it up and it’s way pretty.   It’s like how challenges actually make us better when we persevere.  I bore my testimony and so did Elder Anderson.  Then both Hermano and Hermana Ojeda bore their testimonies and said they were gonna come back to the church.  They cried, and it was just amazing.

The next day was Wednesday, and that is Mother’s Day here in Paraguay.  So like most things, if there is remotely a reason to not work or do anything it happens.  But, we still had a good work day and the ward was doing a big activity that night.  Well the missionaries were asked to do something, like a play or a comedy.   Ya, not gonna happen.  Haha.  So we decided to capitalize on the uniqueness of PJC (Pedro Juan Caballero) and wrote a message in the 3 languages spoken here and English and then we sang a song.  The message was about mothers.  Elder Plasciencia from Peru said it in English, Elder Anderl did it in Spanish, Elder Anderson did it in Guarani, and I did it in Portuguese, which was sweet.  That’s right, I speak Portuguese!  The Brazilian investigator that translated the message and wrote it for me said I had the tongue for Portuguese.  Then again she could have just been hitting on me. Haha  But either way, it went way good.  People did ask if I knew Portuguese.  
Anthony's name tag in the four languages he is using

The song was “Love at Home,” and we kept the same theme.  Elder Plasciencia and I sang the first verse in Spanish.  Then Elders Anderl and Anderson sang in English and then the third verse was mixed.  It wasn’t as bad as it sounds.  There was good food and music.  The young women did a play thing that was apparently funny, but I wouldn’t know since it was all in Guarani.

The surprise of the night was when Hermana Ojeda showed up.  She had like 4 presentations put together.  Nobody knew she was coming, but we weren’t gonna turn her away.  It was way cool to see them there, honestly.

Then we had some drama about doing a division, as the zone leaders thought we were meeting them and we weren’t.  Anyway, we ended up doing a division on Thursday so Elder Milne came with me in my area.  Which would have been fine, except on Thursdays we work the part of the area we never work.  That day the fog/mist was so thick I could see like 3 feet in front of my face.  So, of course, I got lost.  Then some normal visits turned not normal, and I panicked, and, ya, it was a mess.  But we got some good things done.  

Now for the next super spiritual thing.  Ya, 2 in 1 week -  I’m a stud.  Anyway, we’ve been working with Griselda, the mother of Rafa and Paola, two of our converts.  She wants to be baptized, but she just can’t quit smoking.  So we went there and just laid it all on the line.   We read a pretty harsh scripture about being an example for your kids and talked about eternal families, baptism and lots of things.  We literally attacked the smoking from every angle we could think of.   My Spanish flowed great; I felt inspired to say stuff, and it was nuts.  I asked if we could have her cigarettes, and she gave them to us.  It was amazing.

We also got real with an investigator about keeping commitments and with a Menos Activo (less active) about coming to church. It was a good day.   

Saturday was the day the Independence Day parade got moved to, so we decided to go and support our investigators and members there.  It was cool, like every school in PJC (Pedro Juan Caballero) was there and marched in it.  It was sweet.  Then we met with the zone leaders to try and figure out where our area boundaries were.  Then they told us about a tower you can climb up and take pics.  So we naturally had to go check it out.   Haha.  So we did a little exploring in our area before finishing the night strong.

Elder Anderson and Frost at the Independence Parade with some random people.

Then Sunday there was good and bad news. The good news first -  the Menos Activo, the investigator Griselda, and Paola’s bf (boyfriend) all came to church.  Yay!   Bad news, the Ojedas did not.  So we still have some work to do with them. 

Then we did some visits before introducing the country of Paraguay to tacos.  We made tacos for a family night with some investigators, and it was a success.   It did make me miss some beefy 5 layers though...or a 6 pack and a pound from Taco Johns... Ok I gotta stop now. Haha.  But that was pretty much it.

We have a zone conference tomorrow, so back to Asuncion again. Which makes it a short week, but that’s not a terrible thing.

 Love you all - take care of yourselves.


Elder Frost

Monday, May 13, 2013

Week 15

So this week we got to Skype our families for Mother’s Day.  And as bad as this is gonna sound, that kinda dominates your mindset for the whole week. It’s basically just counting down until you get on that camera.  So, not the greatest or most productive week for us, but still a good one.

Also I worked on my gangsterness by purchasing a real silver chain.   Yup, I’m balling.  Just gotta buy a 9 when I get back.  Ha ha.

Also I sang “I believe I can fly” by R Kelly. Ya, it was freaking awesome!  Although I will concede he has a better voice,  I’d like to think I did decent.  If I can get the videos uploaded, y’all will have to tell me what you think. Karaoke night is always a blast.  I’d been wanting to do that song forever, so it was even better.  

Karaoke King

Also this week, I caved into my natural instincts and homesickness.  Elder Anderson and I made brownies.  Then we bought ice cream and carried it back to our apartment.  Anyway, that night I may, or may not, have eaten half a pan of brownies and a half kilo (or 1.1 lbs) of ice cream.  Since there is no remaining evidence, it can’t be proven.  Ha ha.  But, it was so good.

We also did service for one of our investigators. The service was cutting up some trees and piling them up for them.   The weird thing is…they don’t have trees in their yard.  And then one day, these busted trees were lying in their yard.  Anyway, we look for any service we can do, since it breaks up the monotony of walking and preaching.   Plus we get to wear normal clothes. It’s the weird things that make you happy on the mission.  Ha ha. 
Service Project with Elder Anderson
Anyway, so I got the machete while Elder Anderson had the ax.  My job was to cut all the branches off.   No problem, except my machete was sooooo dull.  I was basically swinging it as hard as possible, hoping the branch would break.   Of course doing that means I can’t be accurate, as I found out the hard way, when I missed a branch and wrecked my hand.   My knuckle got destroyed.  Luckily the machete was dull or I wouldn’t have a finger.  Ha ha. 

Anyway, eventually we got a new one that was sharp and the work flew then.  It was pretty fun actually.  Then, one of our less active members made us dinner.  She is freaking amazing!  She is the nicest lady I’ve ever met.  She’s just awesome! 

Using a machette

Then Saturday finally arrived, and it was time to Skype.  It was like the best day ever, seeing and talking with my family again.  Just so, so awesome! 

Then on Sunday, we had a district conference.  The mission president came and so did a member of the Quorum of the Seventy.  It was cool to be able to actually understand a meeting for once as my Spanish finally is catching up to the rest of the country.   Also the Seventy told all the members to take care of the missionaries better, so we should get hooked up.  Aw yeah.   

Anyway, that was pretty much my week.  Gotta get an investigator to quit smoking, and we might have a baptism this weekend.  Cross your fingers.
The Elders of Rama 5

Love you guys. Take of yourselves.

Elder Frost

Monday, May 6, 2013

Week 14

So this week, I almost died.  I don’t know what else to say really, but I guess I should probably explain.
So as I’m pretty sure I wrote last time, I was pretty sick on Sunday and Monday and my head just killed.  My eyes were on fire.  I was running a fever over 100 and my bones hurt.  These are symptoms of dengue.  But, I didn’t feel like I had dengue and by just resting I thought I would be alright.  Well, I was kind of right.  
On Tuesday we had to walk into the centro from our house; it’s like a 30-minute walk, and, ya, I was dying and I hurt.  But, we had to go in for a district meeting.  So we go, and I’m basically passed out with my head on the pew in front of me, and I just start feeling hotter and hotter.  So I decide to take my temperature, and it hits 39.5 Celsius, which I knew was hot, so I didn’t even wait for it to officially settle down and beep.  So, I drop the thermometer stumble out of the room, fill up my water bottle with cold water, and get a paper towel wet to put over my head.  I get back into the meeting room, lay down, pop 3 or 4 ibuprofen, chug half the water, put the towel and the cold bottle on my head and face, and try to cool down. And, of course, my clueless district leader just keeps going on with his lesson.  My comp asks if I’m alright, and I say no I’m dying, but we finish the lesson.  Then as everyone is leaving, we decide to calculate my temp, and at this point we decide we are going to call the mission nurse.  So, 39.5 is 103.1 back in the States - which is pretty dang hot!  Anyway, my comp gave me a blessing, and we called the mission nurse. 
The first words out of her mouth are, “You have dengue.” But, I think, na, she’s just gun shy since like 10 percent of the mission has dengue.  Either way, she says, go to the hospital and get the test.  Yikes. I do not, did not, ever, ever, ever, want to enter a Paraguayan hospital.  Anyway, we finally get there, and I’m pretty sketched out.   The building is not terrible, but still.  We finally find the room and are filling out the paperwork when we notice that the nurse that just entered with a mop is mopping up tons of blood off the floor.  And I’m like, oh crap, I’m going to die or get H.I.V.  Those are my options, but I’m so hot and felt like dying. I said, oh well, let’s do this.  

So the doc gave me some hardcore ibuprofen stuff, and they shot me up with some pain killer, and that hurt!  She didn’t stabilize my arm, so she had to push crazy hard, and it freaking killed.  Tears started welling up.  Like my comp said after, it looked like she was pushing hard enough to inject a brick.  It hurt!   Oh, and then it turned into a giant bump and is currently a nasty bruise.  But, back to the story.  
So, I’m starting to feel better under the drugs.  So, we go and get the test.  She was fine -- stuck me pretty poorly but it was safe and unsketchy.   Then we waited for a couple hours for the results.  The results came back and said negative for dengue. Yay!  But, my blood was all screwed up. My platelets and white blood cell counts were way bad and everything else was bad.  The doc said he was worried about it, but was gonna send me home and to come back in 48 hours.

So we go to the pharmacy, and she asks if we want the medicine for my nausea in liquid form so I can shoot it into my veins.  And we were like, people do that?  Apparently yes, it is common in Paraguay for people to take their medicine by injection. 
Anyway, Wednesday I literally slept all day.  We didn’t even leave the house.  Thursday, we go back to the hospital to take another test.  This time nothing sketchy, except the bag labeled biohazard was leaking all over the floor.  And some lady literally died.  Well, I think she died.  

Anyway, then we waited for the tests. They came back negative again, and my blood was returning to normal. So we called the mission nurse.   She basically said due to my blood results she thinks it was a false negative for dengue.  So for the church’s official records, I have had dengue.  Which means, if I get it one more time, I will most likely be sent home since the 3rd and 4th times you get dengue you most likely die.
Anyway, to celebrate this good news, we stopped at a sick pizza place, ate pizza, and watched European soccer.   It’s like the first real restaurant I’ve been in in forever.  It was nice.  

Friday we decided to work at night since we had cabin fever, and with my pills I felt pretty ok.  We did a sweet plan of salvation lesson with an investigator.  And then with the Arguellos, we did a sweet activity to incorporate the restoration.  It’s called flour tower or something like that.   Basically, you pack a cup with flour, turn it upside down, and play Jenga. Each person takes a turn cutting a chunk out of the floor representing an apostle dying or something being taken away or changed from Christ’s church.   And, there is a candy on top, and when it falls, the loser has to pick the candy up using only his or her mouth.  It is pretty fun.

That basically wiped me out though. So Saturday we didn’t leave the house again.  And, it rained all night, so nobody came to church, which sucks.  So, after church we went around and heard everyone’s excuse for not coming, which always is dumb.   But, ya, that was my week - pretty crazy.
I have a wedding in like an hour, which will be my second wedding.  So that’s kind of cool.
At the wedding of Hector and Grisela

And I’m feeling way better now, so that’s good, and I’m super excited to Skype on Saturday for Mother’s Day.
So, ya, that’s about it.

Love you all and take care of yourselves.

Elder Frost