Monday, December 30, 2013

Christmas Day!

Julia couldn't call on Christmas day because the cyber cafe where she uses the computer from was going to be closed.  So she called Christmas Eve.  It was, of course, a little dramatic.  She told us she would be calling between 8-9am but she couldn't get through until after 11am.  The internet was really shotty and would go in and out.  We had to call her back a couple of times because we got dropped.  All in all, it was great to see her and talk(cry) to her.  She is doing wonderfully and we are all really proud of her. 


I'm so sorry I got cut off with the phone call and didn't get to say goodbye!! I honestly almost cried, I was so frustrated. The internet cut out and we couldn't get it to work to call you back. For the next hour all I could think about was how you guys were probably all around the computer trying to call me back or waiting for me to call, and how I wouldn't get to see your faces again for 5 months without saying goodbye to you. After that hour, however, I realized that there was nothing I could do. Focusing on these negative thoughts was really keeping me from feeling the spirit, and I just needed to let go and go to work. And you know what? That's exactly what I did. I started thinking about how great it was that I got to see all of your faces and at the very least share a small part of my testimony in Spanish. I finally got to see little baby Johnathan and talk (or cry) with (almost) everyone of my siblings. I got to see the faces of my mommy and daddy, and that was such a great comfort to me I really can't even begin to describe it. I know that I'll get to talk to you again in a few short months. For now, though, my focus is here in the work, and I am determined to give the people here the undivided attention that they deserve.

On a different note, Christmas is way different here! It's like 4th of July with even more fireworks. Everyone stays up late and they start eating dinner from 11pm to 12am, and then right at midnight everyone goes outside and sets of a TON of fireworks.  The were all so loud that it woke me up. It sound like Paraguay was exploding! Apparently the New Year is going to be the same exact thing.

The day after Christmas we had a huge mission activity. We ate food, played soccer, volleyball, a game with water balloons and towels, had an obstacle course, and then hiked up a big hill to a big monument (I honestly have no idea what the monument was for, we couldn't find a sign or anything). We even had a white elephant! I got a cute Santa Claus doll with the symbol that we use for baptisms sewn on the front. Sorry, I forgot to take a picture of it...

Also, I got your package!!! THANK YOU SO MUCH FOR THE SOCKS!! ...I never thought I would say that about Christmas gifts.... Honestly, it made me so insanely happy just to have my Christmas pjs that I probably won't wear until winter and to have my cute little stocking. I gave the other stocking to Hna Lino, since Hna Gonzalez got transferred. She absolutely loves it, expecially the little tinted lipbalm.

Anyway, that's how Christmas went. I love you guys, and I miss you so much. Thank you for being such a wonderful support to me and always motivating me to do better and try harder. My spanish is getting better and better and I'm getting more and more confident and fluid with teaching the lessons. I'm actually starting to feel like a competent missionary! I was starting to think that it would never happen! But I know I have my Heavenly Father to help me and strengthen my weaknesses. He really is helping me be stronger every day, and I'm finally starting to really see the evidence of it.

Love you guys with all my heart.

Hermana Jeppesen

P.S. Since I didn't get to talk to Hayden, will you please nicely kick him in the butt and have him write me an email? I really miss him....
Top of Cerro Lambaré with Hna Lino


From left to right: My "abuela" Hna Lossa, my "mamá" Hna Gonzalez, me, and my current companion and my "tia," Hna Lino

Monday, December 16, 2013

Birthday Week!

It was Ashton's birthday this week.  We shared with her pictures and she had a similar experience out in the field.  Such fun!

Would you make fun of me a lot if I started using the word "fetching?" I'm realizing that it's kind of unavoidable as an LDS missionary....

This week was pretty chill. Probably the highlight was with la familia Gomez. Remember Luzana and Monica? No, we still don't have permission for them to get baptized, but we had a really good time with them this week. Saturday was their mom's birthday, and Luzana asked us if we could come to their casa while she was at work and help them bake a cake for her. We made our way over, and as we walked in we realized just what a big deal this birthday was for these girls. They had completely cleaned and organized the small room where all of them sleep and straightened up the outside area where they spend most of the day. They bought a bunch of little balloons which we spent the next half hour or so blowing up, and even made a sign that read "feliz cumpleaños, mama!" As Hna Gonzalez helped them with the cake, they literally ran back and forth from the dispensa to buy ingredients, yelling and laughing and smiling as they went. Honestly, the love that was radiating from these chicas for their mom was almost tangible. Unfortunately we had to leave before Dominga, their mom, got back from work and I didn't have my camera to take pictures, but I really hope that she enjoyed the surprise.

On a spiritual note, if you have time, please read Joshua 1. I was having a rough day when I turned to this scripture and it really helped me a lot this week. God has promised us inheritances of our own, and if we push forward with strength and courage, we will obtain those blessings waiting for us. Honestly, I really enjoyed this chapter.

We found out transfers tomorrow morning. It's pretty much guaranteed that Hna Gonzalez will be leaving me. I'm really sad to me leaving my "mom," but at the same time I'm excited for the adventure ahead now that my training is OFFICIALLY OVER. Please shoot some extra prayers my way, because I'm just a tiny bit nervous for that... But IT'S GONNA BE AWESOME. Right? RIGHT. Also, I have not personally received the package, but if it's been signed for I'll probably get it tomorrow morning.

 Thank you for all of your love, support, and prayers. It is ridiculously appreciated.

With lots of love,
Hermana Jeppesen

Monday, December 9, 2013

She got it!!!!

We were a little worried that we wouldn't get an email because it was so late in the day.  She is 4 hours ahead of us and we usually receive her letters around 730am our time.  Today we got it around 200pm which is 6pm.  So glad it came and glad that she is safe and sound.

Aaaahahh, Christmaaaasss!!!!! Totally not at all trunky for Christmas right now....

Oh, and by the way... I GOT MY FIRST PACKAGE!! YAAAY IT DIDN'T GET LOST AFTER ALL! You have no idea just how happy that package has made me this week. Hna Gonzalez and I have been chowing down on the candy. She had never eaten candy corn before and just about ate 3/4's of the bag, she liked it so much. Also, the shirts are a HUGE relief and a lot more comfortable in the heat than the shirts that I had originally brought. I absolutely love them, so THANK YOU.

This week, I'll be completely honest, was a little rough. Hermana Gonzalez was sick two days in a row, so we couldn't leave our apartment on Thursday or Friday. On top of that, we had interviews on Tuesday with President Agazzani, which left us with very little time to make visits that day. Also, this weekend was a big annual celebration of the national virgin, Ca'acupe, and a lot of our investigators were out of town to attend the festival... Honestly, I don't really know a lot of details about the holiday, so you'll have to Google a bit more about that...

The good news is that the other elders in our ward had a miraculous baptism! The story follows thus:

Marco, 15 years old, stole some money from his aunt and uncle who he was living with, but when he realized that it was wrong and tried to repent by confessing and returning the money, they kicked him out of the house. That day, he contacted my companion and the sister trainer (on the day that we were doing splits) in the street and asked if he could go with them to the church. The Bishop took him in, and he's been taking the lessons from the Elders. During this time, he became friends with Mario, another teenager who lives with Bishop Hugo who has been taking the lessons and coming to church for a year and a half but never had the desire to get baptized. Sharing his new found testimony and his incredibly strong spirit, Marco convinced Mario to get baptised with him! What a miracle! Unfortunately, when the Elders went to get permission from Marco's aunt and uncle, they vehemently said no. Marco, however, has recieved a strong witness of the truth of the Gospel. Yesterday he told me his plans to hold out and stay strong until he's 18, get baptised, and serve his "2nd mission," the first one being the conversion of his friend Mario. The Lord really does prepare people and puts them in the right place at the right time to hear the message of the Gospel. I have full faith that in the Lord's own time, everything will work out for the good of this amazing kid.

Funny story! Halfway through writing the previous paragraph the power went out in the cyber that we were using, so I had to wait until we got home to borrow the computer of the lady that we live with! Hence my email being later than normal.

On another note, my training is almost over, and we have transfers in one week and two days. It's pretty much garaunteed that I'll be getting a new companion and my "mom" will be leaving me! Please keep on praying for us!

I love you guys, and I hope your holiday season is going fantastically. Yes, I do get to Skype you guys on Christmas Day, and I'll send you more details when I find out all of the rules and regulations and whatnot. Can't wait to see you guys!

With LOTS of love,
Hermana Jeppesen

Hmmm... where did these AWESOME glow in the dark glasses come from?

Our 6-year-old neighbor, Liz, loves to come over and visit us every single day.

Monday, December 2, 2013

Fun in the.....Rain?!

Julia's e-mail came late today. I was hoping that all is well and then Dean reminded me that they are in Paraguay.  I am glad that the Spirit calms my heart so I don't go to ballistic.

Hola, Mamá!

I love you, Mom, and I miss you too.

So this is what happened this week:

On Tuesday our zone traveled to Asunción for a special zone conference with Presidente Agazzani and a member of the 70 whose name I can't remember. He's from Argentina, and since the accent is so different I had a hard time understanding. I got a lot from when Pres. Agazzani spoke, though. I learned in a completely new way how the Atonement applies to me in my mission, and that just as it was painful and extremely difficult for Christ to accomplish this act, so will my mission be difficult and painful at times. The blessings, however, are innumerable.

Wednesday was awesome as far as the work. TRABAJAMOS A FUL.

 For Thanksgiving I made mashed potatoes from scratch and ate some beef jerkey that you sent me in my last package. I gave some to Hna Gonzalez, Blanca (our landlady), and Liz (Blanca's granddaughter) and they said it was really yummy but super spicy. As for the day itself, it started out great, but after only an hour or two of trying to visit investigators we had to turn back home because of a super fun storm. I'm sure it would be a different story if we had a car or all of the streets were paved, but since we are 100% on foot and the streets had completely turned to mud, there wasn't really much we could do.

The next day started out the same with the ominous signs of a storm, so we decided to run out and make at least one visit to the girls we were wanting to baptize this week to see if their parents had finally given them permission. Halfway to their casa the full storm hit, so we trudged through it the best we could. The good news is that neither of us got hit by lightning! But we did get soaked through. Unfortunately, when we reached their home we found out that the father doesn't want Luzana and Monica to get baptized until he gets to know the church better. We are sincerely praying that he and their mom will be able to come to church soon and see how awesome it is.

It's really funny that you mentioned that you got sick and threw up Friday night, because so did I! I think it was a combination of the weather, an empanada that I shouldn't have eaten, and the fact that I ate WAY too much that day. Whatever it was, I ended up staying in the casa with a sick stomach all day Saturday. Luckily, Blanca, Liz, and Eli (Blanca's daughter) were super awesome nurses and took care of me all day.

On Sunday we went to church, had a long lunch with Hermana Lugo, and went back to the casa to do our daily studies. Once again, the storms came back and we found that we had no power or water in our casa when we got home. As it got later in the evening, we found out from a call from our zone leader that our entire area (we share our area with the ZL's) was blacked out! We couldn't do anything! Liz ended up coming in and spending time with us for the rest of the evening. The power didn't come back on until the middle of the night, and we didn't get water until about 10 am this morning.

So, yup. It's been an interesting week! Hopefully next week won't be quite so hectic.

I love you I love you I love you. Please keep sending me pictures! I absolutely love them! And please tell Hayden and Mia to email me this week!!! I really want to hear from them.

Please keep my companion and me in your prayers.

With LOVE,
Hermana Jeppesen