Monday, March 31, 2014

Week 61

Well, I got changes. And it’s going to be quite different.

I got changed from the city in Capiata, well Anahi to be exact, and dropped off in the middle of the jungle - literally. There are more dirt paths than actual roads.  And yes, I’m using roads as in Paraguay roads.  It’s at least a 30-minute bus drive to get to the closest thing I can call a city. I need a machete.  It’s pretty intense.

I also got a new comp, and we are whitewashing the area - meaning that both of us are new here. His name is Elder Alvizures, and he’s from Guatemala. He is also going home December 17th, so we are decently old together.  Therefore, I don’t think we will be comps very long, but we will do our best while we are here. But I’ve got to start with Monday since that’s how I do these things.

Last Monday was a bit of a train wreck in the morning, as we walked all the way to the ruta only for Elder Wolfgramm to call and say we need workout clothes.  So, back to the house, then back to the ruta, and then to Elder Wolfgramm’s house, while we waited to play rugby. Well I needed a haircut, and Elder Wolfgramm has a machine, so he cut my hair.  It actually looks pretty good.   I guess he used to cut his brother’s hair before the mission. I am glad it was free though. Ha ha.  Free is always good as a missionary.  Then rugby got canceled, so we went to Pizza Hut.  But we got there late, so we dropped that idea and we just went to the food court inside.  I got some Chinese food that was really good, but not really filling.  I am on a budget so I was looking around for something to eat to fill me up, and then I saw a movie theater. Bingo!  I got movie theater popcorn.  Although I got seriously distracted by the movie posters and forgot to order buttered popcorn.  The girl also gave me a discount which may or may not have clouded my vision.  But it filled me up and was pretty good.  I can’t wait to go to a movie for real again. 8 months, heck ya!  Anyone wanna be my date... ha ha.

 So it turns out I was wrong last week when I said that the strike was in Argentina.  The strike was actually here in Paraguay, and it turns out Paraguay strikes happen all the time and people just use them as a holiday.  It was nothing big or bad or scary ha ha.  But it did prevent changes from happening until Thursday. 

So we did a noche de hogar with the Famila Avalos, who may just be my favorite family in Paraguay.  We watched the movie Families are Together Forever, and it was a super scratched disc so that sucked, but they liked it.  Hopefully the husband gets converted.  Then we ate peach cobbler I made.  They loved it.  Shout out to Elder Anderson for teaching me to make that one. It’s really good.

Then we got changes.  I owe Elder Wolfgramm the aforementioned cobbler, as I told him if he got me the news on changes faster than my actual district leader, I’d  make it for him… and he did.  So I found out I was leaving, which meant a day of goodbyes.  It’s weird how in one change really of working there were a lot of lives I touched. Freddy Gonzalez, a less active guy, actually teared up.  And my soccer boys were pretty devastated.  So were some of the other families. I’m glad I left my mark here in Anahi, even if it wasn’t with a ton of baptisms.

Then we had a dinner with the Familia Zorrilla, where they all wrote in my book and it was really good.  It was tofu empanadas, but they were awesome!  Who knew tofu could be so good? 

Then the shock at changes as I found out about my new area.  Like I said, it’s straight jungle -- like out of The Testaments.  And we are whitewashing, so that is really hard.  (Note:  Whitewashing is where both Elders get changed into an area at the same time – and neither have been in the area before).  But I can see some potential here, and my comp is really chill.  We have gotten along so far, so that’s a plus.

One last crazy story is that on Sunday, the floor broke in the church.  The tile began to crack, as the humidity got under the tile into the cement. The people were freaking out. Only in Paraguay.

Love you guys, and have a great week.


Elder Frost

Monday, March 24, 2014

Week 60

So, I’m feeling old and fat this week.

Last weekend, two of my friends from college got engaged.  So congrats to both Madi and Lauren, and I wish you the best.  So then I got to thinking about all my friends, and there is a surprising amount who are married, have kids, have graduated college, or are about to graduate. Then there’s me.  A soon to be 23-year-old college freshman.  Man, I love my life. Ha, ha.  Also, the jokes about my panza (or stomach) have now spread to the whole ward.  So yup, it’s diet and exercise time for Elder Frost. I gotta get ready for hot tub season once I’m back home. (Note:  Anthony will be back in December….not exactly hot tub season).

On Monday, we were in San Lorenzo and it started to dump rain.  So, we went into the big old Catholic cathedral there.  It was really cool.  I think the old Catholic cathedrals are really well built and cool to see. I’ve got some pics, but it’s Paraguay and my computer is being slow so that will have to wait ‘til next week. 

Also on that day my comp had an adventure.  He managed to exchange a busted speaker to a guy on the street, only to leave the bag on a bench and lose it, only to return to the same guy and buy a new one.  Ouch!  It was quite the experience for him. 

Then, as we are now in the rainy season, we had a lot of rain both Tuesday and Wednesday.  I hate the rain. My shoes are old now, so my feet get wet. Life sucks!  But the weather is really nice when it’s not raining now.

Also I had my first encounter with the church cleaning lady.  I wasn’t expecting much, and I was actually not looking forward to her coming, since I was told she steals.  Well, she didn’t steal from me, but maybe that’s cuz I spent the night before hiding all my stuff. Ha ha.  She is actually a pretty cool, funny lady though.  So it was a good time.  Although after 4 hours of cleaning my house, I was glad she was gone.  The house does look a lot better though.

Then on Thursday, we talked with the Hermanas and found out they had a baptism for the weekend.  So like the good missionary I am, I offered to help in any way necessary. I was expecting to give a talk or make brownies or something.  Nope.  It turns out the Hermanas are cold hearted.  They made me do all the font work, which means about 3 or 4 hours of draining, cleaning, and filling the font.  So on Thursday, we drained it.  Then on Saturday, we filled it and cleaned it. 

Also on Saturday, we had the chance to do some service.  So we got a new Young Mens president, and he is getting the young men to do service every Saturday.  So we go and help out.  This last week, it was moving this giant motor/piston thing for Hermano Bardales.  It was interesting to see how Paraguayans move.  Let’s just say I wouldn’t hire them anytime soon.  That being said, it did work.  It just looked incredibly sketchy and was an accident waiting to happen.  They put 2 boards under the thing, then a table under the boards.  But the table wasn’t even, so they stuck 2 boards underneath the table to make it flat. Then the motor got slid out to the table before the boards were pulled out and then stuck under the middle of the table to make like handles. Then the whole thing got hauled to the new location before being picked up and set down.  It worked, but it was quite the endeavor.

Then we ate chipa and drank Sprite and then went back to finishing the font work.  That got done in time for the baptism.  The baptism went really well. 

After the baptism, we hung around and practiced singing a hymn with the Young Men for Sunday.  We can’t sing. Ha ha.  But we try hard.

Then, we had a dinner cita with the Famila Zorrilla.  They are an awesome family that we are working with to reactivate.  We baptized their niece Belen.  The aunt has wanted to give us food forever, but she doesn’t have a lot of money and has a lot of mouths to feed.  We have a lunch cita every day, but she kept asking, so we set up this dinner cita.  She cooked a delicious chicken and rice thing and I made brownies, which they loved.  She even asked for the recipe. Ha ha. They are brownies I’d never serve in the States, but they are cheap mission brownies and I gave her the recipe anyway.  It was a really good night.

Then we sang on Sunday, and it went about as good as you could expect from 7 tone-deaf guys. Ha ha.

Today we were supposed to find out about changes, but the Argentina transportation system is on strike.  So the airport is closed, so changes are on standby.  The wait to know is always the worst part.

But I gotta go. I love you guys and hope you have a great week.


Elder Frost

Monday, March 17, 2014

Week 59

So we had a pretty calm p-day last week. Elder Wolfgramm and McClelland were busy, so we were by ourselves.  So we went and ate. I got Quiznos and then frozen yogurt.  So good!  I also began my health kick as you can see. Then we decided to go in and explore a different supermarket.  And it was worth it. I scored Kraft mac and cheese and snack packs. Who says I’m a grown up? Ha ha. So that was really legit.

Then at night, we had a cool family home evening with the Familia Avalos. They are a legit family.  Every time we are at their house, I feel like I’m home in the States. Their family is like a good, normal family, and their house is pretty nice.  They even ask us to wash our hands before we eat.  Crazy!  So we had planned on showing them the “Family is Forever” video.  But, we couldn’t get it.  Then we were gonna show “Testaments,” but they wanted to be outside so no TV.  So, we winged an activity about Lehi’s dream.  But Elder Beus and I both thought and imagined it different ways, so it was awkward.  But it went well.  They understood and we had a good lesson and then good food as she made sopa and pizza. Pretty solid night. Hopefully we can get the dad baptized. He is such a good guy that the members joke that becoming a member of our church would corrupt him. He gave us 2 of his work shirts.  So I can now pretend I work for ANDE (the electric company), pretty legit actually.

Then on Wednesday I hit my year mark in country.  How crazy is that!  It doesn’t feel like I’ve been here a year or that in like 10 months I’m home. So weird.  We didn’t do anything special for it, but still a landmark of the mission.

Then we had quite the day on Thursday. It was a zone conference and so that always basically kills your day. But at least this one didn’t make me want to kill myself.  It helped that before we went there we went to McDonalds and ate with Elders Wolfgramm and McClelland. They have a sweet big mac deal right now where it costs 7500 Guarnai (approximately $1.69 U.S.).  So I got that 10 piece nuggets and an Oreo McFlurry.  Also while we waited for them to show up, the TV had Pokemon on, so naturally I watched.  Ha ha.  Yes I am 22 years old, but again who says that is grown up?  Ha ha.  Then the zone conference went well.  We learned some stuff.  And then…a bit of an adventure.  So I tried taking a bus back to our house or rather a route I never take, but a member told me works. Well, apparently 2 buses of the same number pass by there but end up in different areas.  So instead of getting dropped off on our doorstep, we got dropped off 4 kilometers away with a box of Book of Mormons, our winter blankets, and our backpacks, and on top of that we were in our suits and it’s still in the Paraguayan summer.  Not a fun walk back. Very hot!  But we made it.

On Saturday we did service for a member family, and it was good to get my hands dirty again.  Although I’m older and wiser now, so when the blisters started I switched to raking instead of using the machete to cut.  The others weren’t as lucky. But then it started to rain, so that died.  But not before she gave us banana bread and lemonade. So good.

Then on Sunday we had a less active lady come to church with us. She was the town drunk just a couple weeks ago.  We have been teaching her. When we showed up at her house, she was ready to go.  Not only was she ready to go, but she was listening to hymns. Crazy.  So that was really exciting.  Then after that, we did a visit with the Hermano Martinez.  Like always, it took hours - but it was worth it as she could turn into a cool lady to visit.  We also gave her a blessing for her surgery, so that’s always a really good feeling. I also ate two milk-based dessert things this week with the Familia Zorrilla.  The first one was milk, white corn kernels and sugar.  The second was rice with milk.  Both were pretty good actually.  And I ate a lot better this week and did harder workouts so hopefully that will make a difference, and I’ll look good by the time hot tub season rolls around and I’m home.

Love you guys. Take care and have a good week.

Elder Frost

Wednesday, March 12, 2014

Week 58

First of all, I am sorry that this post and last week's post were delayed.  There was a computer issue.  But now that it has been fixed, I can post this weeks as well as last weeks blog.

So, I had a pretty good week except for the one big negative -- I’ve gotten fat. 

So I’ve known my body has pretty much gone to crap, but I’d been lying to myself saying it’s not that bad.  Well, the past week everybody and I mean everybody has made a comment about my panza, my stomach.  Therefore I’m on a health kick and workout kick so hopefully that dies.  If you have any good advice, please let me know. I’d prefer to not be thought of as the fat missionary. Ha ha.

On Monday, we went to Asuncion to take care of some business. I forgot how long it takes to get there and how much it takes out of your p-day. Luckily, I had a package and we went to TGI Fridays for lunch so that made it all worth it. We accidently jumped on the wrong bus to get to the office but we made it there anyway somehow someway.  Then Elder Wolfgramm gave me terrible directions on how to get to TGI Fridays but like I said we did make it and the Jack Daniels BBQ sauce steak and brownie obsession was definitely worth the trip. It was my last meal. Ha ha. I promise I’m going healthy.

Anyway, I also got a sick Valentine’s Day package from my family that was all TMNT (teenage mutant ninja turtle) themed. Yup, my family knows me well and loves me.  It was so good!  Especially the gummies. I love gummies.  Also hanging out with the boys at a restaurant is always a good time.  

The weather is also starting to get nice, so that’s awesome.  Unfortunately, that also means it’s starting to get rainy, and I hate the rain.  We had one rainy day this week, and it didn’t turn out terrible so that’s a good thing.  I even busted out the trenchcoat again. Oh, boy here we go.

I also had to do a division this week -- maybe the worst division I’ve done.  Not because of the person, but because every visit fell through, so he had me walking around in the sun all day not really doing anything.  I got chaffed hard core.  It was terrible.  I do feel like the one visit we did though I was able to help him understand and break through his doubt.  He is Brazilian and teaching him made me feel right at home back in PJC.  It was so cool!  I can also still understand most of my Portuguese.  
The next day we did service for our bishop, helping him build a roof.  I’m so much more impressed with how Paraguayan houses are now that I have seen the tools they have to work with.  I didn’t know the Flintstones were ahead of their time, but in Paraguay they are.  It was really good helping the bishop out, even if I did get sunburned.  We also talked with him about his military service, and that was really cool. 

Also, I got in trouble this week.  Well, more like my reputation as a lone wolf, rebellious missionary grew.  There was a zone activity on Saturday to help out a different zone, but I had things more important in my area and so we didn’t go.  Apparently it turned into quite the story.  Gotta love mission gossip.

Also, met a really cool guy on Sunday.  He was waiting to talk to a member, and he talked to us instead.  He is from Africa and speaks English and has a crazy story of coming to Paraguay.  Basically his country was placed on sanctions, so they went around to all the embassies hoping to get out of the country, and Paraguay was the only one that accepted him.  So, he came and now he’s been here for years.  Crazy.  Also we finally got to meet the Hermano Diaz and did a good lesson with them using a box activity about faith and eternal life.  Thanks Elder Anderson for teaching me that one.

Love you guys. Take care and talk more next week,


Elder Frost

Week 57

So I finally got to play rugby. After years of thinking I’d be good at it and wanting to play and watching games, I finally did. Elder Wolfgramm had scholarship offers to play rugby after high school and his comp Elder McClelland has a ball and several other kids had played before the mission, so last Monday we played. I love it. I’m seriously kinda depressed I didn’t live in Utah or Cali or any other state than Montana growing up so I could have played. It wasn’t a full contact game or even have the right number or players, but after Wolfgramm helped explain the rules and I had played for a little bit, I seemed to get the hang of it and played well. He said I was a natural and would have been really good. Dang it. I did "accidently" tackle Elder McClelland once which lead to both of us getting busted up and bloody and covered in red dirt. That stuff is a pain.

We played on Monday at a zone bbq thing in Capiata. I’m glad I showed up an hour late since the food wasn’t even close to being ready on time. They bought a bunch of hamburgers and sausages but they didn’t have a grill, so they made a makeshift one that took forever. Poor Elder Lubomirsky spent the whole day trying to cook these things. He eventually did, and they were good, but man it was a process.

After we ate, we played some volleyball and while I’m not my dad, I feel like I hold my own out there. After that, we visited Belen, our investigator, to keep her on track for her baptism on Friday. She is ready. So pumped. And then we had an FHE with the bishop’s family that I set up.

I made a bunch of friends playing soccer with the youth Wednesday nights with Elder Stopper, but they all live in the hermanas half of Anahi 1. And they have been ducking the hermanas, so I cornered them last week and made them commit to this FHE. So they came, and we ate empanadas and cake and watched the restauration video. It went really well -- except one of the youths that came is very immature and kept distracting everybody the whole night. Besides that it was a great night.

Tuesday was an interesting day. We had some really great visits with Belen and with an investigator named Irma, but in the middle was this one random contact that talked to us like 3 hours and we could never get a word in to share our beliefs or to try and escape. Finally some friends and his wife came over, and we were able to teach a lesson. There was one cool lady there. She teaches philosophy at a Lutheran school in San Antonio and has lived and taught all over the U.S. She was so cool. She kept correcting us on our Spanish and in this cool sassy Mexican English action said it’s "what I do". Anyway, we felt inspired to give her a Book of Mormon, so maybe the visit will turn out to be good.

Then that night we saw Irma, who was a contact the week before, and was straight up hard core Catholic. Well, we came back as a follow-up, and she had completely changed and was willing to keep all our commitments and just changed. We had a sweet plan of salvation lesson with her where we talked about eternal families and her dead husband. So sick. Then on Wednesday night we started a division. So I changed the location of the meeting to a supermarket called Superseis instead of a supermarket called Stock because I knew how to get to Superseis but not to Stock. Well, it was late and rainy, so we jumped on a bus I didn’t know and asked if he went to Superseis in San Lorenzo. He said yes. Well, a good while later, I saw a Nike store that I knew was not anywhere near where we needed to be. So we jumped off at...Stock. Yup. Haha. So then we had to walk a ton to get there and meet up.

After that, the division was good. I went with Elder Moncada, a new guy from Chicago but his parents are from Guatamala so he speaks perfect Spanish. He’s a really cool dude. He also convinced me to try to go to Northwestern for grad school as Chicago is a sick city. We had a really good time, including finding an awesome lady. So like all divisions, your plans fall through. Well, I began running through all the names I knew around there. None of them worked out. I literally was on the last name of my list -- a person I’d never met. But we went, and she is awesome. She gave the most amazing prayer -- thanking the lord for bringing us back into her life and sharing our message with her and her family. I’ve never been so excited after a first visit.

We ended the division, and then on Friday we had the baptism of Belen. She is the most prepared 11-year-old I’ve ever met. She is the niece of a less active member here in our ward that moved here from the country for school so we began teaching her, and she was pure gold. It was a joy teaching her. And it was really cool that her cousin was able to baptize her. For once, nothing went wrong during a baptism; although, I did have to clean the dirtiest baptism font I’ve ever seen and I’m sure I got some weird disease that will make my feet fall off.

Then this weekend was stake conference, which went well. That was basically it for the week. Baptism weeks are always hectic, and a stake conference weekend makes it even more so. This next week should be way more relaxed, and I’m excited. I love you guys and wish the best for all of you. Take care.


Elder Frost