Monday, January 27, 2014

Fruit is falling all around.....

Hola, Mamá!

How great that you got to give a talk in the ward! Have I actually ever seen you give and Dad give talks? Sing, yes. Talk.... I don't think I have. I actually gave a talk here in my ward two weeks ago. I was SUPER nervous, but afterwards a lot of people told me that I did pretty well and my Spanish really has improved A LOT. The power of the Holy Ghost really helped you understand and teach the doctrine, but I think in my case the Holy Ghost was backing me up and helping me share the doctrine in Spanish.

I'm sorry that Dad's feeling sick. Is he doing better? That really stinks!

It's funny that you asked me what I'm learning to cook here, because on Friday the Relief Society had a cooking class on how to make tartas (basically pot pies)! I'm really excited to try the recipes out when I have the time on some p-day or other. I would send you pictures, but I forgot my camera cord (again). Hermana Lino and I have also gotten really good at making spaghetti sauce from scratch, since pretty much EVERYTHING has to made from scratch here. Also, I've gotten to eat a whole lot of exotic fruit these last few weeks! People are always giving us mangoes because they have way too many, I've had mburucuya juice, which is really sour but SUPER yummy, and guayaba, which is just now coming into season. Seriously, there is so much fruit here that it fills up the gutters when it all starts to fall! We found a couple of avocado trees too, and there is currently a huge bag of limes on our table that we are going to make into limeade today. The grapes here are really different as well. they're like jelly on the inside, and you suck the middle out and spit out the skin and the seeds. The aren't at ALL like American grapes.

Transfers are tomorrow, so we'll see what happens. I haven't heard of any missionaries being left without internet, so I'm sure I'll be fine. Usually Pres. Agazzani keeps the hermanas closer to the city, but we have a TON more now, so it might change. He just opened up 5 now areas with hermanas in them. I'll let you know what happens next week!

I'm going to end this email with a huge "thank you" to you and Dad. I am realizing more and more how blessed I am to have you as my parents. Yesterday one of our less actives who is trying to reactivate pulled us aside right before sacrament meeting to tell us that his wife left him a few days ago, leaving behind her 11-year-old daughter. She was tired of the humble Paraguayan lifestyle and left for Argentina were she could earn more money and have a "better life". Sadly, this is the third time I've heard this story, too. There are two other brethren that we're working with whose wives have completely abandoned them and their families. All we can do is try to strengthen these members and encourage them to stay strong in the Gospel, despite the trials and temptations that come their way. At times it's difficult when those around us fall to the temptation of having a worldly life, but it's important to focus on the blessings that we have in our families and our homes. Thank you so much for teaching me that, Mom and Dad, and for really showing me what's important. I'm so glad that I don't feel like I ever have to worry about a situation like that. You both recognise the great blessing that is our family, and you really strive to share that with your children. Heck, I was studying the importance of family prayer the other morning and I almost started crying because that made me miss you guys! Seriously, though, thank you for doing your best to guide your children in the light of the Gospel. That alone has blessed us in SO MANY ways.

I love you guys, and I miss you!

Con cariño,
Hermana Jeppesen

      This is the mburucuya.

  This is the guayaba.

Monday, January 20, 2014

Transfer soon?


I miss hiking in the desert! Can you send me more pictures of the desert landscape? A lot of times I have to explain that my part of the US is different from the half that is FREEZING to death right now (btw, what are the details on that? I just here random things from the Paraguayans about it being -50 degrees or something), and it would be really nice to get to show them a picture.

There's another new movie for the temple? I don't know if I'll get to see it for a long time. In this mission we only get to do a session once every year, and we won't be going until June or July. Someone was saying that as missionaries our complete focus and dedication for 18-24 months is on the saving ordinances of the living, and after our missions we can worry about the work for the dead. I am really excited to get to go eventually, though, and even more excited to actually understand everything in Spanish!

As for the weather, man, you should see how tan I'm getting! I don't know if you can see it in the pictures because I'm still whiter than everyone else.... I have to make sure to use a LOT of sunscreen every single day, or I get scorched. Luckily the people here are incredible and are always willing to fill up our water bottles with cold water. There's a scripture in Matthew that says anyone who offers a cup of cold water to a servant of the Lord shall in nowise lose his reward. That is LITERALLY being fulfilled here.

As for transfers, we have one coming up next Wednesday, and chances are that I will finally be leaving my first area. I've been here in Ytororó 1.1 for 4 1/2 months (3 transfers) now, and I've really grown to love this ward. Then again, there is also the possibility that I'll stay for 1 more transfer, a total of 6 months here. We'll just have to see what happens next week! The sisters before were usually just in the more urban areas around Asunción, but we have SO MANY new sisters now that I think Pres. Agazzani might be sending more out to the rural areas as well.

P-days start out like any normal day at 6:30 am, and instead of working out we clean the apartment. We do our normal studies and then head to the cyber to use the internet so we can email our families, the mission president, and enter in our numbers for the week. Then we head to Ñemby to buy groceries (because we only have dispensas in our district and no real grocery stores), then come back home and SLEEP. I'll usually catch up on my journal, our teaching records, read, etc. Then at 6 pm we have to head out and get some proselyting in. Even on P-day we have to go out and teach! We never really get a "day off." Once every transfer, like today, we'll have a district activity. Today we'll be playing soccer. Again.

The rest of this week was pretty interesting. Beatriz is having some major doubts because her son doesn't want her to get baptized. Honestly, it's a little frustrating to see these people feel the power of the Spirit testifying that the message of the Gospel is true, and then tell us that they changed their minds and don't want to be baptized. We are planning on really working with Beatriz this week to figure out what her real doubts are.

We did have an amazing experience in the street two or three days ago, though. We visited a lady that we had contacted at her house way before to see if we could come in and teach her. Unfortunately she was busy at the time, but we stood there and talked for a little bit about her garden, family, etc. We shared couple sentences about how we know the Gospel really blesses families and that our families can be together for eternity, and then offered a small prayer with her outside her house. As we said "amen" and looked up, there were tears in this woman's eyes and such a strong feeling of peace. All she said was "gracias," and we said our goodbyes and went on our way. I don't know exactly what was going on in her head, but I know for a fact that she truly felt the Spirit in that moment. It was really humbling to see how we got to be tools in the Lord's hands just with a few sentances and a simple prayer. I absolutely cannot wait to go back and teach her more!

So that was my week. Ups and downs as usual. I wish I could send you pictures from this week, but I forgot my cable for my camera. Sorry! I love you all and hope you guys have a wonderful week. Please keep praying for me! You guys are in my prayers every single night.

With so much love,
Hermana Jeppesen

Wednesday, January 15, 2014

Birthday Week

This week is called birthday week at our house.  Three birthdays; mine, Noelle's, and Deans, in that order.  It can be crazy but lots of fun and lots of cake.  Julia wrote to wish us a happy birthday and report on how things are going. 

MOM, FELIZ CUMPLEAÑOS!!! Te amo muchísimo! Weren't you sick last year, too? You just have terrible luck with that, don't you? But seriously, Mom, I love you so much. You have been such a wonderful example to me and I really have learned an incredible ton from you. Thank you for your constant love and support. I wish I could give you some sort of gift or take you out to lunch, but alas....

I'm keeping this short because I want to email Dad and Noelle really quick as well.

WE HAD A BAPTISM THIS WEEK! Yaaaayy!! Anicris, the most adorable, sweet, loving 9-year-old ever, was baptised on Saturday and confirmed as a member and received the Holy Ghost yesterday. Her mom is working really hard to be worthy to get baptized in 2 weeks, including kicking out her abusive, cheating boyfriend and giving up smoking and drinking, but she has SUCH a strong desire to follow these commandments and has already made HUGE progress. Honestly, this week I really got to see how the spirit works in people's hearts and changes lives. Beatriz is so proud of her daughter, and tears were rolling down her face as she watched her daughter receive that beautiful gift of the Spirit.

I'm so sorry this is so short, Mom. I'm incredibly glad you had a great birthday, and I'm sending you lots of love from Paraguay!!

Con amor,
Hermana Jeppesen

 Anicris and Beatriz

Monday, January 6, 2014

Happy New Year!

Yes, el Año Nuevo was very loud, but I was so tired that I just slept right through it. Two nights ago, however, was our neighbor's birthday and they BLASTED the music until almost 5am. Needless to say, I was VERY tired the next day...

Yes, there is a siesta hour here. Also, it is pretty rude to interrupt a family when they are eating lunch, kind of how it's rude to interrupt dinner in the US. This makes it really difficult to contact and teach people during the middle of the day. Walking down the street it like a ghost town. This doesn't mean we aren't productive though! We usually find an investigator or a less active to teach. We just need to be patient some days.

Thanks for sharing that thought about Moses with me! Isn't it so cool when you can make those connections and really apply the scriptures to your life? Every scripture study that I have with my companion, we manage to revieve some kind of really great revelation for ourselves and our investigators. I cannot express how much I am really coming to love the scriptures. There is just so much comfort, peace, revelation, doctrine, EVERYTHING. One hour of personal study every morning never feels like enough! There is so much that I still need to learn!!

MILAGROS EXISTEN. We've had a bit of a dry spell for about two months with progressing investigators and baptisms, but guess what? Two of our investigators, Beatriz and Anicris, mother and daughter, finally came to church together yesterday! Anicris finally has come to church enough times to get baptised this Saturday, and her mom is going to get baptised two weeks later. YYAAAAYY!!! It was so great to see how much Beatriz really loved church on Sunday, since it was her first time going, and I could see just how much she really was filled with the Spirit. I am so excited to watch and actually HELP them grow and learn more about the gospel. WOW, I really do love this work, Mom!

We don't have to worry about snowy days, you're right, but we FINALLY got air conditioning in our apartment this morning. I can't believe how much I took that for granted in the US!! Now we only have to suffer from the heat during the day, but we'll be able to sleep at night! ;D

I love you so much, Mom. I really am doing so great out here. I do have days where I really miss you guys, but the more I work the better I feel. I think about how I want to make you proud and it motivates me to work even harder and keep trying. Thank you all for being that wonderful motivation for me.

I love you guys!
Hermana Jeppesen

This is a wheelbarrow that a member turned into a grill. I thought Dad would like it ;)

Hna Lino with our landlady, Blanca;

All of us with Blanca and her daughter, Eli

My comp and I goofing off