Monday, December 22, 2014

Week 99 - Almost home

The last one of these I will write from a packed Paraguayan cyber with a keyboard that doesn’t work and slow internet and computers that crash. It’s a great feeling. Ha ha. I am very excited to be going home on Friday night, so that will probably come through in this email.  But all-in-all, I’m doing good, and I wish the same for all of you.


This past week had some goodbye-this-is-the-end moments, and it really kind of hit home that it’s coming to a close.  It’s weird since this place, Paraguay, is all I really remember. The States seems more like a dream, and the more I think about it the more it doesn’t seem real.  Strange stuff. 


Anyway, it started on Monday.  We got up and headed to the office. I had my final interview with President McMullin.  It went well. He gave me some questions to fill out, and we talked about them for like a second then we talked about how I can continue to improve and how to make sure I don’t slide backwards.  It was all good advice.  He also told me to work on my emotions some more, and, ya, it went good.  We wrapped it up talking about my sister’s engagement before ending.  It wasn’t nearly as climatic as I imagined, but I liked it, and it went well.


After that, I had my Lion King circle of life moment as we went back to where it all began, God’s Pan.  Now for those of you who don’t remember, and I’m assuming that’s basically everyone, God’s Pan is a restaurant where you order food and they weigh it out and you pay.  But more significant than that, it is the location of my real first welcome to the mission moment, Elder Staker’s goodbye party.  So it seemed only fitting to have my own goodbye party there. It went really well.  Everyone that I would have wanted to come was able to come, except for Elder Luke.  That poor guy was stuck out in Filadelphia and couldn’t make it. But there were friends from all parts of my mission.  It was a really great time.  We ate and then spent most of the afternoon just sitting and talking and messing around.  I thoroughly enjoyed it!  And then I passed out my parting gifts.


To Elder Turley I passed down the tie that has gone several generations now.  To Elder McClelland I gave the other one of my boxing gloves.  And everyone there got a tie.  They seemed to enjoy it.  It was one of the best days of my mission. I was happy.


Then we did a normal rest of a p-day until the night when we went to a FHE.  That went well, but it was annoying at the same time.  It was with the Fernandez family who should be baptized and married.  But due to a fight aren’t.  So all we did was talk about love.  It went really well.  The annoying part was the Hermana who refuses to accept she was in the wrong and is playing it up for her friends.  When we arrived she was her smiley happy self and I asked her about her relationship with her husband and she said it was good and almost back to normal.  Ok, sweet.  Well, then her friends got there and she broke down in tears and went on and on and on about her husband not loving her.  It was tough to watch and quite frankly annoyed me.  So we talked some more about priorities and love and patience and basically everything you can think of.  Here’s to hoping it works (they did both come to church Sunday, so there is a chance).


Then on Tuesday we had a district meeting. I planned it out to talk about lesson 3 or the Gospel of Christ.  It went really well, and I feel like I helped them out and that they can teach the lesson better now.  There was a funny moment when in the practice I stumped the whole district and that threw them for a loop.  So we broke that down as well.  Then we took pictures with a little Christmas tree and that was that.


On Wednesday, it rained and rained and rained.  So ya, that was fun. It’s even funner in our house since every time it rains, we lose power.  Which isn’t terrible, except it means the fans are gone and our house gets hot.


Then we did some service Saturday morning helping remove rocks from an older lady’s house.  Then lunch at Pizza Hut.  And then the ward Christmas party.  We had chicken and rice salad. It was pretty decent; although, they made tons way more than needed.  Then we watched some skits and jokes.  All in all, we had a good time. Then we also watched Elder Christofferson’s talk from the Christmas devotional. I liked it.  One funny moment from that was when everybody was wrapping up eating, Hermano Arguello came around with a bag and collected everyone’s scraps for his dog.  It was highly amusing.


On Sunday, we had a normal day, and I taught Gospel Principles.  Then I realized it was probably my last time teaching that in Spanish.  Like I said, lots of weird this-is-the-end moments.  Well, that’s about it for the week.  


I want to give a shout out - best of luck and congratulations to my sister and to Kolton Mahoney who both got engaged this past week. I wish you the best and future happiness.


Love all you guys.  It’s been quite a ride.  Thanks for sticking with me. Take care.

Elder Frost 

Thursday, December 18, 2014

Week 98

Wow, another week down and another closer to the end.  I don’t have a ton to say this week as Paraguay is refusing to let me go quietly and promptly made me sicker than I have been since the beginning of my mission.  We couldn’t even really leave the house from Monday night til Saturday.  It was bad. 


The start of the week was quite an adventure though as Monday was the Virgin of Caacupes birthday. What this means is basically the entire country shuts down.  Grocery stores, restaurants normal businesses, everything.  All the catholic people do a trek of sorts to Caacupe to worship the virgin there.  It’s nuts.  It’s also quite a pain when you are trying to have a normal day.  In fact we couldn’t find anything open or anything to do in Luque.  So we got together with a couple other missionaries and played some basketball.  It was fun but we are all terrible.  Apparently the ability to shoot a ball is one of the first things to go.  We started shooting threes but no go.  Then free throws.  Not better.  Finally we just chose teams.  It was fun but quite sad to watch I’m sure.  After thoroughly wiping yourselves out, we decided to go eat. 


The only place we could think to eat that would be open was shopping Pinedo so off we went. It was pretty packed since it literally was like the only place open.  But we ate and it was good.  I got a sandwich at Quiznos and fries. I enjoyed it.  I’m so ready for states food all the time. 


After we ate we sat and just hung out for awhile and then we started wandering around the mall since there was nothing better to do that day.  We found some cool shops and checked out the new additions they had done.  And we had a funny moment as our group got split up into two groups.  And only one group had cell phones.  So we each wandered around looking for the other for awhile.  It got to the point where I stopped by the grocery store and asked the checker lady if she had seen a group of gringos like us.  She said yes and everybody laughed and pointed us in the right direction.  Eventually we found them did some last minute stuff before heading out. We went back to Luque and managed to find an open cyber and that was about it. 


Our FHE got canceled which was probably a good thing since we had some drama getting home. It turns out Elder Singer had left the keys to our house at the basketball court so we were screwed.  We called the elders over there and they found our keys but it’s was too late to go get them.  So we had a problem.  Our dueno (Note:  a “dueno” is translated as the “owner”) managed to create a makeshift key out of an allen wrench.  It was impressive and also kinda sketchy to see just how easy someone could get into our house.


After that we played poker and called it a night. 


We had a zone meeting on Thursday and I had to get our keys so we canceled district meeting and went and got our keys.  It was such a relief to have them again. 


Then like I said we were super sick so we just alternated trips to the bathroom and tried to survive when the electricity and therefore fans went out every so often. 


On Thursday we managed to pull ourselves together to go to the zone meeting where we talked a lot about obedience.  Then a surprise - a new way of doing numbers starting in January. It’s a change I’ve been wanting my whole mission, so it figures it would start right after I leave.  Basically what happens is now we only report the church attendance how many recent converts are still active and how many people we are reactivating.  It gives more freedom to work how you want as long as you get the results for those numbers. I love the idea.  I think it’s going to help a lot. 


Then some recovery days before priesthood conference on  Saturday.  It was good.  Nothing too fancy.  There was a big focus on missionary work.  Then on Sunday we had testimony meeting, since we didn’t the week before.  They called the new bishopric as well.  I bore my testimony as well since I figured it would be my last time in Paraguay.  It went good and all the members congratulated me on going home.  What part of 2 weeks is a long time didn’t they get, ha ha.  But I hope it does go fast.


I’m ready to be home and see all of you again.  Love you and take care.


Elder Frost



Monday, December 8, 2014

Week 97

Well, it’s now official.

  1. I am in my last change.
  2. I will end my mission with 3 areas.

That’s right.  This past week we had changes, and we got the news that I am staying here in Yuquyry for a 7th change. I got here in March.  I will also stay district leader, and Elder Singer will be my comp. Elder Turley and Elder Garner are staying as well.   In fact, only Elder Martinez left the district, and he was replaced by Elder Smith.

Monday was an interesting day as well.  I got both my flight plans and my final interview packet.  One of those is more exciting than the other.  I’ll let you guys guess which, ha ha.  I like my flight plans; although, the long layover in Miami will suck.  It means more time for me to eat Cubans, yum.  (Note:  A Cuban is a sandwich made with ham, roasted pork, Swiss cheese, pickles, mustard, and sometimes salami on Cuban bread).   And then I just hope I can get out of Minnesota with good weather.  Keep your fingers crossed.  The packet is pretty standard stuff. 

Then we had a bit of a recuerdo buying day.  We went shopping in Asuncion where we bought a whole personal pizza for 25 mil or like 5 bucks.  The best deal I’ve seen for pizza since the States.  Then we found a shop that sells like all the arts and craft stuff I’ve been looking for my whole mission.  Another thing I’ve come to realize is I didn’t budget enough money for my souvenirs, and I should have spread it out over my whole mission instead of mass buying at the end.  Lessons for the future I suppose.  That just means I’ll have to make that return Peru/Paraguay trip with my dad. 

Then we wandered around Asuncion looking at stuff.  We found a shop with a drawbridge (it was sweet), a legit Mexican restaurant that we might go to for my goodbye party, and then my gelato place from PJC.  It was soooo good.  I’ve missed gelato.

The next day was changes.  The zone leaders asked us district leaders to speak for 15 minutes on a topic then they’d talk and then they would finally give us changes news.  Well, I was complaining about how nobody actually pays attention, since they just want to hear changes news.  So I joked that I was just going to go up there, say a couple sentences, and sit down.  Well, Elder Luke heard me and called me on it.  And you all know Elder Frost isn’t gonna back down from a challenge or a bet, Ha ha.   So I went up, told them that the zone leaders wanted me to talk about doing visits with members but nobody was gonna pay attention anyway, so I’d keep it short.  I told them doing those visits will help.   I wished them luck about changes and then sat down.  Not my finest moment, but I drove a couple points home and the look on Elder Luke’s face was worth it, especially since when changes did come Elder Luke got the death penalty.  In other words, he got sent out to Filadelfia.  Now, I wouldn’t mind visiting Filly, but to go there as a missionary, in the middle of summer, is brutal.  So everyone offered him their condolences.  Then we ate a final meal with him at the patio.  Then we said goodbye and realized it would most likely be the last time I saw him until the States next summer. 

Then we had a week of service.  On Thursday, we painted the Herman Adrianas house.  It needed it.  Sadly Paraguayan painting is terrible.  It’s always way too watery, and this time was no exception.  It was quite frustrating.

Then on Friday, service was canceled as we had to have marriage counseling with the Fernandez family.  That basically amounted to terrible news.  They were supposed to get married and baptized this weekend.  Well, now that is off.  They had a fight last Thursday night.  He called her a “p” word, and she has gone ballistic about it.  She swears she won’t marry him.  We believe it is an issue with cold feet and Satan working his hardest to stop this, but we are optimistic that we can fix it.  Pray for us and for them.

Then on Saturday, we had a sick day.  Nothing is worse than having a fever in a Paraguayan summer and then losing power and air. Horrible.

Sunday became a recovery day, and now we are here.

I love you guys and have a great week.   Soon I will see you face-to-face.

Love ya!

Elder Frost

Monday, December 1, 2014

Week 96

I had a really good week. There were definitely moments that weren’t, but as a whole it was a good week.


It started on Monday when I was finally able to get my haircut. I’d wanted it cut for awhile, but due to some circumstances (zone meeting) I couldn’t get it cut until last Monday.  We went to this guy in a warehouse which isn’t as sketchy as it sounds, ha ha.  He does a good job.  Well, while we waited, I looked at all the signs on his shop.  A big thing at haircut places in Paraguay is to plaster famous people’s faces all over it.  Well, he had one of Beckham and you all know I’m a big fan of Becks, so naturally I choose that one. Ha ha.  He cut it well and it looked good, but it was just missing some of that Latin American flash.  So I got steps, Ha ha.  Now before anybody freaks out, technically it is not against the rules. It doesn’t touch my forehead, ears or collar, and it’s not shaved or spiked. :)  Plus, I look dang good with it.  The compliments came raining in during the week. 


After that we went out to Aregua to play soccer out there on the sand.  Well, that was the plan.  We ended up getting on the wrong bus that dropped us off in the middle of nowhere, so we had to wait for another bus.  We ended up being 2 hours late, but we played for a bit.  I love sand soccer. 


Then Aregua is famous for its clay stuff, and they were having a nativity sale so I wanted to look and shop.  So we did that.  While I didn’t buy a nativity, I did buy a painted shingle and a scene of the last supper.  Both look pretty legit.  I’ve been trying to take my dad’s advice and buy things that I’ll actually be able to put up in my house in the future instead of having to hide my treasures in a box. (Note:  Some of Anthony’s dad’s souvenirs are in a box – they are too funky to display.) 


At night we had an FHE with the Fernandez family where we taught lesson 3 of the gospel to them.  Each missionary took one of the parts and taught it.  It went well.  I drew a picture of a gate and a path and a star symbolizing eternal life.  It’s an image I always draw in the back of the pamphlets.  But since I didn’t have any, I drew it in the sand.  It was funny because after I did it everybody else took some time drawing in the dirt ha ha.  Just like kids in a sand box.  After that we did a 3-legged race where we had to run sit and pop a balloon and run back.  I took dead last and fell on top of my kid ha ha.  It was ugly.  But everyone else just picked up their kid and ran, so they cheated. Ha ha.  That’s my story, and I’m sticking to it.


On Tuesday I finally got to do the district meeting I had been planning.  I wrote gladiator quotes on the board picked some of my favorite scriptures to share, and finally we had arts and crafts time.  It was awesome!  We were talking about lesson two -- the plan of salvation -- and it’s a long lesson.  People always forget parts, so I took something I really liked about Elder Anderson and turned it into the lesson.  He had these circles with pictures of the parts of the plan and when we explained it, we put each circle on the ground.  It was a great teaching tool.  So I cut out circles and we all drew and colored our plan.  It went really well.  Sadly our brunch of omelets still didn’t happen as we couldn’t get the stove to work.  It’s been nothing but a pain ever since I decided to do it.  So we scratched that idea and moved it to lunch on Thursday for Thanksgiving.


So on Thursday we went and ate in the chapel and played ping pong while we waited.  I made my dad’s hash browns, and we all brought stuff for omelets.  It was a good time and even though some omelets turned into scrambled eggs, everybody ate plenty and left full.  That’s the whole point of Thanksgiving, right?  The turkey doesn’t matter. Ha ha.


Then we had canceled service plans on Friday, so that became a normal day.


Then on Saturday we spent all day in the church helping the Hermana Acosta prep for her daughter Patricia’s 15 (Quinceanera).  We showed up at 2:30 like she asked, but of course, she doesn’t get there until 4.  Then we help her cut buns and put sauce and hamburgers and lettuce and tomato on them.  Then we got one to eat.  But she was worried about the number, so we couldn’t have two.  Naturally 4 hungry missionaries all snagged seconds that we hid in our pocket before sneaking outside to eat them. Ha ha.  It turns out we didn’t need to worry as instead of 100 people as she thought, there was less than fifty.  It was still a good time, and we ate and drank our fill. 


Although people really wanted us to dance, nobody did.  We did sing and bob our heads a bit as they played some 50 Cent.  Good times.  Elder Turley was the star of the show as he kept crashing photos (photo bombing) when posing with people. They loved it!  Not all was good for him though as one mother freaked out on him when Elder Turley and Elder Garner were swinging her daughter back and forth.  The girl loved it, the mom…not so much. Ha ha.  Another funny moment for Elder Turley was when he pulled down the decorations early, and they landed on top of the Hermana Acosta. 


Sunday was a pretty normal day; although, we did lose water and power again. 


And one more week is down.  Almost home.


Love you guys and take care.


Elder Frost