Ba´e la porte chera´a (Not sure if it is spelled right but it means what´s up in Guarani)
Well it has been a pretty sweet week getting to know the area and my new companion. We have to walk a lot in this area cause there is one big neighborhood and then a few smaller ones far away. The Elders before have contacted every house here like 5 times, so we are trying out some of the other neighborhoods. It is weird to have an American companion after over 6 months of Latinos. It is fun to be with someone who has had a lot more similar experiences and we have a good time together. Today in our zone meeting we were super pumped cause we planned one of the coolest meetings of my mission. Here the church is super small in some places. Two areas have less than 20 members that go to church and ours has like 30. The topic of the meeting was helping strengthen our groups or branches. So we played the newlywed game with the missionaries to get to know us better and then talked about how our relationship has a strong effect on the members. Then we had a discussion about the challenges and ideas to strengthen the church here and at the end we did a practice where a superhero member moved into the ward because of our fervent prayers and we had to ask him about his conversion experience and got to know him to figure out who he was and then asked for a reference with his conversion experience fresh in his mind. It was way funny because when we did the demonstration and the beginning the Elder was Spiderman and when I figured it out I said "I have always said that with much power comes much responsibility" and everyone started laughing and we used it to receive the reference of his friend whose father had recently died in a terrible accident. It was fun and I think it will really help the missionaries to realize how to better involve the members in the work by using the Spirit.
The area is beautiful. It is like 45 minutes away from the city part and there are some way pretty views. (But I forgot my connector to download photos. Sorry..) The missionaries before were working way hard so there are several recent converts we are working with, though some of them have some pretty serious problems. The Velasquez family was way prepared to get baptized and President LaPierre had done their baptismal interview and was way excited about them and they got baptized, but haven´t come to church in two months. We went to their house and Elder Ollerton doesn´t know them super well either so the thought came into my mind to just start to share with them about my life and gain their confidence. I talked about a few of my funny experiences before the mission and we were all laughing and then I talked about my family and shared about Jace. I got choked up a little bit when i told them that as a five year old I always wished that he would get better when we crossed the cattle guards. But we talked about eternal families and the huge blessing they have to have found the gospel. They opened up more and we are going to help him dig his well on Saturday. I hope they come back.
We also had a sweet experience when we showed up at a house and the daughter of a member who doesn´t want anything to do with the church and who I had never met was sitting with some kids doing a school project. We shared them about the cool story where you fold a paper and then rip it and a cross comes out. I´m not sure how to explain it, but she loved it and is another step closer to accepting the gospel. Bu the coolest thing we did is have a meeting with the active members and we were going to just talk about all the problems and say what we needed from them, but right before I felt impressed to just introduce topics/problems and let them talk about it and come up with their own solutions. They left a lot more excited and we had way better ideas than what we could have thought of. If the members really follow through there is going to be a huge amount of success here.
I´m loving life down here and I am way happy! I love you all!
Con amor, Elder Hawk