I am happily and delightfully overcome thinking about Casey and Austin and Bridger and Michael and their graduations from high School! I hope you know, all of you, Austin's buddies included, How much I love you! I am excited for you and glad to hear of the success of such a big step. Keep working hard, and keep your goals now fixed on the University Graduation!
First and foremost: I'M STAYING IN PARANÁ! The transfer calls always give me a little anxiety, but I will be staying. I love this crazy jungle city and the people in it so much, it was comforting to know that my time here won't end (for now). I will have the blessing of continuing in the work in my beloved Paraná. Hermana Rasband and I are just the best of friends so we're delighted to have another transfer together. But Elder Vergara is leaving, and I feel like He's my brother, so I'm sad! We've served 8 months in the same district and seeing my Chilean friend leave to another zone is hard, but I'm grateful for many life-long Friendships God has blessed me with on my mission. Hermana Reyes and Hermana Aragon, also dearest friends from Chile and Mexico, recently finished their missions and I miss their wisdom and company. I'm striving to learn to just love and accept the time I'm blessed with each of these powerful children of God.
It has been one of the best weeks of my mission. Last Tuesday we had a "Choqe de Fuerza," which basically means several companionships from the zone band together (under the direction of the zone leaders) to contact and teach up a zone in just one area of missionaries, for a few hours. Well, we had the blessing of getting our Area picked for the choque de fuerza. Hermana Rasband and I made sure to prepare, we copied our area map and labled the green-colored section of the map "SUPER VERDE" so that each of the companionships would have a proper guide. In this particular region we have very few investigators and few members and less actives . . . we don't have much of anything and feel that the church has some need of growth here! We assigned a few former investigator adresses to each companionships to give them some basis. At 5pm we 6 companionships of missionaries set off into The area and began our work! It gave me such an excitement to know that we were all working diligently at the same time in our area, raising our voices and sharing the gospel. When we regrouped the majority of the missionaries had contacted a couple good call-backs (people that asked us to return), but our Zone Leaders Elders Topham and Vergara had a downright miracle. They encountered Susana and her 5 kids. Susana recently separated from her Husband and is living in a tiny home her Mother formerly lived in, it had been partially burned in a fire beforehand. She and her children listened eagerly. Susana and 3 of her Kids accepted a baptismal date for 28 June. We are delighted to be able to teach them and are grateful for this miracle from our SUPER VERDE choque de fuerza.
Thursday was Consejo de la Misión, We always have consejo at the beginning of the month for all of the zone leaders, assistants to the president, and Sister Training Leaders. This one was particularly special because it was President & Hermana Giulianis' last Consejo.We will miss them so much! Hermana Giuliani offered a beautiful testimony about how her responsibility as Mission President´s wife, as told her by Sister Nelson, was to make us, the young missionaries, Disciples of Jesus Christ. She expressed that the only way to do so was becoming a Disciple of Jesus Christ herself, and how the mission field has taught her to lose all fear and trust in the Lord. He never left her alone, she was always protected and always in good company, no matter how much work or service she has been required to offer. President offered a fantastic talk about Sacrifice in order to become true disciples of Jesus Christ. He shared a line that I hope to have engrained in my mind forever and ever. "The Gospel of Jesus Christ is Service." He then went on to say that God gives us each callings at different times, and our responsibilities change with every calling, but our Obedience is always required 100%. That brought me such peace. I will not have to arise at 6:30 every day for the rest of my life to be a good Disciple of Christ. I need to obey the commandments and stick to my responsibilities in whatever Calling God Gives me, and I'm gonna stay FIRM IN THE FAITH. I appreciate the counsel President always gives, every Consejo answers my prayers in my different concerns and needs of my heart. Whether I'm concerned about how to help the Hermanas of the Mission, how to help my investigators, how to better work wtih the Ward Members in Paraná, President always offers me counsel that allows me to find the answers I seek. Revelation is real!
I wish ever to have more time to tell you the miracles and tell you all how much I love you. Please know that you are in my heart always, that I think of you and pray for you often, and know that God is keeping you well while I'm away. Thank you for the examples you are to me. Boys, keep strong in your Summer Goals. Sacrifice brings forth the blessings of heaven. I hope you'll each add to your summer goals reading the Book of Mormon in Entirety. It is one of my summer goals to read it completely in 3 months, I hope you'll join me, Mom, Dad, Austin, Tyler, Jordan, and Corey.
Con amor que no quepa en mi corazón, y un abrazo gigante de SudAmerica,