Monday, February 24, 2014

Every member a missionary

Once a year, our family will go out to a Chinese restaurant. Yep all 10 of us.  It is always so much fun with lots of food and great conversation and joking around.  This year is the first time someone has missed it. We had a ton of fun, but can't wait for her to join us again. 

Yaaay I'll be home in time for Chinese Dinner Night!! And yeah, I'm totally fine with not going back to that buffet....

That's so great that you had the missionaries over! Did you give them tons of references? Because you really should! Honestly, that's where we get all of our success is references from the members. It's SUCH a huge help, and even more so when we actually get the members to come out to lessons with us. It helps show the investigators that we're just normal people, their neighbors and friends, and they gain so much from hearing the testimonies of people who aren't the same missionaries teaching them over and over again. This week, we had an awesome experience with a family that we've been working with for a while. Remember Miguel and Karen Amarilla? On Wednesday we got a married couple, Hermano Aponte and his wife, to come to a lesson with this family. We watched the video of the first vision (which is AWESOME and super powerful), and then had Hermana Aponte share her conversion story and her testimony in Joseph Smith. The spirit was super strong, and you know what? IT WORKED. We FINALLY got them to come to church yesterday, after WEEKS of teaching! They got to meet a bunch of the members and make a few friends, and I really think that they felt the power of the Spirit. I can't wait to meet up with them and get all of their thoughts. Moral of the story: MEMBERS MAKE SUCH A HUGE DIFFERENCE. Seriously, get to really know and love those elders, and you guys will be so blessed to see the growth of the church through your combined efforts!!

As promised, the details of my incredible companion, Hermana Weeks:
From St. George, UT
1 sister, 2 brothers
Super smart kid who took AP classes and got awesome grades and stuff
very athletic, played volleyball and crosscountry in high school
wants to be a teacher in elementary school
has the most gorgeous, curly hair you've ever seen in your LIFE
Spiritual power-house, always says 20-minute prayers that make my knees hurt
very hard worker, but very goofy, so we get a lot of work done but we have a DANG good time doing it!
Kind of hilarious, and laughs a lot at my jokes to the point where she stops in the middle of the street half bent over.
eats a lot of dulce de leche (caramel sauce, aka DELICIOUSNESS)
really loves her family and is super tight with her siblings
has a brother that's pretty much exactly like Mia, and we are making plans for their betrothal.
One of her best friends is serving in Mesa! Keep an eye out for Sister Emily Brown!
We've only had 1 kind of half-argument, so that's a super success.
LOVES guayabas like crazy
Yup. My comp is awesome, and I love her a lot. I'm pretty much sure that we are going to be buddies forever

I miss too, Momma!  Thank you for all your love and support, and don't let the one-sided conversations get too out of control! Just like I need to focus on the work when I get really trunky, you guys can focus on the work going on at home. The ward needs you over there!

With all the love in my heart,
Hermana Jeppesen

Monday, February 17, 2014

Crazy Week!

So in the email we sent, we told her about how both Mia and Ashton's glasses broke and we are replacing them today. Her letter is as follows:

Iiish, that sucks about their glasses! I guess this is a bad time to tell you that my glasses broke and I need you to send me new ones....... sorry!

I know I promised to tell you more about Hna Weeks this email, but we had such a bizarre week that I have to tell you all about it!

A guy driving around our area in his car was blasting his own CD of Hispanic gospel music to advertise, and tried to get us to sing into his microphone. We did not. Nope, not even tempted a little bit. But he gave us a free CD, and yes, we did listen to it, and yes, it is pretty terrible. My favorite is the Gloria Polka.

On Saturday morning we went to an investigators house to have a lesson with her when from a distance we saw that she had visitors. Turns out it was someone paying her to kill a couple of chickens, and my companion jumped in and started helping her pluck the feathers! We got to watch the whole process of gutting and cleaning too. What's even better is that next week my comp and I are planning on buying some chickens of our own and learning the ENTIRE process of killing, plucking, gutting, cleaning, and cooking. I'm not gonna lie, I'm actually super excited but still nervous and grossed out to actually do all that MYSELF. I. Love. Paraguay.

Church on Sunday was a mad house in our branch. We finally had two investigators with us, but as usual none of the primary teachers were there and the Young Women's teacher was missing. This is nothing unusual. So we left our investigators in Relief Society and Priesthood to go start Primary until the teacher got there (thank goodness, because I have NO IDEA how to do Primary), and then I got to give the Young Women's lesson. After that we didn't have a teacher for the youth Sunday School, so we combined it with our Gospel Principles class taught by the amazing Elder Castro from Mexico. That guy is a spiritual GIANT. Anyway, we met up with our investigators for Sacrament Meeting, and then just about collapsed afterward. It's a little rough when sometime we feel like it's us missionaries completely running the branch, but we're working with everyone little by little to really fulfill their callings and support themselves a little more.

Yesterday evening was the BEST, though! I found out that 1.) Our area is HUGE 2.) There is, in fact, a big abandoned zoo that is creepy as all get out, and 3.) You meet all sorts of people while contacting new areas. We decided on a whim to contact a really huge house because it was one of the rare ones with an actual doorbell. As the guy who lived there came out and started walking to the gate I saw that he was wearing a shirt that said Wyoming, and shouted out in Spanish, "Hey, where did you buy your shirt?" He replied, "My sister bought it for me in the US," IN PERFECT, AMERICAN ENGLISH. Holy crud, you should have seen our jaws drop! We seriously flipped and yelled, "DUDE, YOU SPEAK ENGLISH!!!" Turns out his dad has a crazy story of being a Paraguayan politician who got banished and then married an American and then they lived in Sweden where they had two kids and now they are all back and happy living in Paraguay. He let us in and we sat and got to know the whole family and ate really yummy cookies with real M&M's and talked about how crazy Paraguay is. Although they said they wouldn't come to church, we're are welcome whenever we want to come back and eat more cookies and zucchini bread and other yummy baked goods. It was pretty much the most awesome, random moment that I have ever had here.

Yup. That's my crazy week. I will make sure to write about Hna Weeks next time, unless we have a whole ton of even crazier experiences this week.

I love you guys!!!!

Hermana Jeppesen

P.S. No, I did not actually break my glasses. But I got you there for a second, right? Haha... Ha.... I love you, Mom!

Monday, February 10, 2014

Such a good week

OH MY GOODNESS I TOTALLY FORGOT ALL ABOUT THE OLYMPICS!!! Make sure to cheer extra loud just for me. I'm right with you, Momma, I get totally stoked too. Dani said there are 2 Paraguayans. What sports are they in?
And yes, there are many more bugs to worry about. Please see the attached picture below. That doesn't even include the GIANT black moths. I love Paraguay.
Yay for Hayden! At least he's got something for now. I'm sure something more stable will turn up. Tell him I pray for him every night.
The work here is fantastic. We are working SO hard with a couple people who really want to get baptised. One nees to get married first, and the other just needs to come to church a few more times before she's ready. The people out here are so fantastic, though. They are incredibly humble. Honestly, with most of the people we've learned how to teach in a way that is really simple and easy to understand, otherwise it gets a little difficult. It doesn't help that my companion and I are both American and they don't always understand our accents.
We had an AMAZING experience last night, though. We've been teaching a small family, Miguel and Karen with their little baby Benjamin. Miguel comes from a very Catholic background and has also taken a lot of discussions from the Jehova's Witnesses, so he is very versed in the Bible and has a lot of questions about the more profound doctrine. He reads every thing that we assign him in the Book of Mormon and always has questions for us when we come back, which is GREAT, but he still hasn't prayed to know if it's true! I started bearing my testimony to him that if he really is searching for the truth, he has to read the Book of Mormon, attend church on Sunday, and most importantly pray to Heavenly Father. Then, as if someone completely took over my mouth, I pointed at him and saidvery boldly and firmly, "But you are looking only with your mind, and not with your heart." Holy cow, Mom. I felt chills all the way down my body. For a couple of seconds it was like a fire inside my chest. It was so bizarre. And you should of seen his face! He was completely shocked! The conversation continued, and my companion stepped in and bore her testimony of the importance of sincerely searching with the heart in almost perfect spanish without pausing once to think of the words. She seriously had the gift of tongues in that moment. We wrapped up the lesson, said a prayer, and freaked together as we walked home. 

Mom, I have never felt like that in my entire life. I got to witness firsthand as God took two of his very humble servants and spoke through us. He literally in that moment put the words in our mouths and guided our speach. There is so much truth to the promises of the scriptures that he will help us and guide us despite our weaknesses. I now KNOW that I really am a tool in the Lord's hand, pushing forth his work in this part of the vineyard. Mom, I know this is the only true church in the earth today. I feel so incredibly blessed to have the constant companionship of the Holy Ghost. Sheesh, Mom, I feel like a freaking missionary, and it's AMAZING.
I love you guys so much. I hope I'm making you proud. We tell people all the time that the reason we go by our last names is because we not only are representing Christ, but our families as well. I'm so proud to have the name Jesucristo AND Jeppesen on my name tag.
I miss you guys a ton. Enjoy the beautiful weather while I suffer here in the crazy heat of Paraguay!
Hermana Jeppesen

There were 4 more of those same spiders on that web. To give you a reference, including the legs it's a bit bigger than my fist. I almost didn't sleep that night.

Monday, February 3, 2014

Transfer Day

I will TOTALLY email Grandma Vicky.(Her great grandma is sick) I'm warning you that it will make this email much shorter so I have time.

Mom, you totally jinxed it. I got sent out to a city called YpacaraĆ­, which may not be the MOST rural area in the mission, but is way more rural than my last one. But be assured that I will always have access to the internet. There are guayaba trees, which I recently found out is guava, all over the place, so we never have to worry about going too hungry when we're out proselyting all day.

Also, THANK YOU GUYS SO MUCH FOR THE PACKAGE! I was completely surprised by it and it made me so happy!!! The chocolate was a HUGE blessing too. Yes, it got melty, but it is safely stored in the fridge now ;)

I hope everyone feels better! The flu totally sucks. At least it was only contained to three people (for now).

I'm sorry I can't write more, I'm out of time. I love you so much and I'll send you more pictures next week!!

With love,
Hna Jeppesen

My district, amazing investigators and recent converts (the baptism pic is from the elders, they weren't actually our investigators), my new companion, GIANT KILLER WORMS THAT ARE FREAKING EVERYWHERE, the amazingly beautiful area of YpacaraĆ­, and more fun stuff.
Oh yeah, and I TOTALLY used that bathroom.