Monday, May 30, 2011

May 30, 2011

hola familia, yes another week has gone by. this change is already over half way over. ahh. hermana knapp and I are praying that we stay together another change. it would be really sad to change right now with so many prospects. mom, I am doing good, really. Don't worry. my clothes are fine. the only complaint I have are my sore feet. my toes hurt. I think it is because of the streets. you will see when you come! I cant crack my toes anymore because they don't bend that far. I kind of limp when I get out of bed in the morning. but during the day I am good. 
well, we had some really great lessons this week. first of all. I was kind of freaking out about alejandra, the cutest 19 yr old girl. she had a baptismal date for the 28th of may but the week before she cancelled all her appointments with us and didn't call us back. I was so scared she was avoiding us. but then she came to church again yesterday, loved it, and then we had such an awesome lesson last night with her. for the first time she said that she really wants so be baptized. she said that every time she goes to church she likes it more and more, and that she really feels like she has received an answer. she even said that she wants to serve a mission like us! and this is coming from a girl who refused to go to church for practically 3 months because she was scared. it is incredible to see the change in her. and with this, her boyfriend is coming to church too. he was inactive for a really long time but is finally coming again. 
we finally found carlitos again. he is impossible to find. we talked with him about why he wants to be baptized. he knows it is true, but he needs to internalize what it means to be a member of the church. it is not just, yea, I'm a member now, my life will be so much better. being a member isn't a quick fix for your life. it is a new beginning with a changed heart. we know  more of what he needs now and what to focus on when we teach. he will be baptized, but when he is more ready. 
we had two families that were finally going to come to church yesterday, but they ended up not coming. I will tell more about them next week. they are so great. they have been progressing really slowly because they are very busy and we can't teach them usually more that once a week, but it finally means something more to them now. I hope they come next week to church!! sundays are so stressful. well at least in the morning, because we are running around trying to make sure everyone comes, but sometimes, it just doesn't go as planned.
well, I am running out of time. but as for the funny moment of the week. a couple weeks ago we ran into an inactive man who waved us down and told us that he wants to come to church again but has moved. so he gave us his address to give to the elders in his barrio. we were walking the other day and passed by him sitting with his friend in front of some mini market. beer in hand and quite drunk, he is like ´hermanas!!´ and continues to go on and on. he was way friendly before, and even more this time. in front of the market is a bunch of fruit for sale and he says ´what do you want, pick some fruit.  I can't do it justice, but we were like, no it's ok. we are fine. but he kept insisting over and over again that he wanted to buy us fruit. so we finally said. ok. one banana is fine, he was like noooo, you have to take this huge bunch of bananas. we tried to deny, especially since I don't eat very many bananas, but he was not going to let us leave without accepting and we were late to an appointment. all the the workers I am sure got a kick out of that. it was quite funny. so now we have a million bananas. anyways, got to go. I love you all so much. david, I forgot to wish you a happy birthday the other week. so happy late birthday! love you. 
hermana plummer

Here is an email from a missionary mom I got to know, before Whitney left for Paraguay.  She had a daughter in Paraguay, reached out to me and was there for me in every way - answering questions and giving love and support. Her daughter Shauna Sargent, came home late March.  Shauna took her parents and sister back to visit Paraguay last week.  Shauna's first area was Leopardi where Whitney is serving.  The Sargents had lunch with Whitney at a members home.  This is the message I got from Sister Sargent.
Jayne Sargent May 29 at 11:24pm Report
Hi Louise...Your daughter Whitney...or should I say Hermana ABSOLUTELY darling!!! We did have lunch with her and her comp last Sunday. I sat right next to her during our meal and was able to talk a bunch with her. She seems happy, healthy and loving her mission. She is working hard. I also passed to her the "mom hug" which I think she was grateful for. :) 

Our trip to Paraguay was amazing...a once in a lifetime experience for sure. To walk the streets where Shauna walked and meet her people was just incredible. We loved every minute of it. I'm so proud of our girls...this is not an easy mission in many ways. You just wouldn't really believe how the people live there. And, to think of Whitney and Shauna being mentally, physically and spiritually capable of serving there proves to me that they are strong young women. 

We were fortunate to meet Pres. and Hermana Callan. I mentioned that I was looking forward to meeting your daughter. Pres. Callan said that their companionship was good and that they were "good, solid missionaries"! Doesn't that just make you feel so good? 

Well, just wanted to touch base and let you know how wonderful it was to see Whitney. She is doing GREAT!!! I have pics that I will post soon. I'm still desperately trying to get my feet back on the ground.

Hope your week is off to a great start!!! I guess you'll be hearing from your missionary!!! Tell her hi for me!!


Monday, May 23, 2011

May 23, 2011

A friend of ours from GA, Kameron Allphin is going to the same mission as Whitney!!!  Amazing!!

Hola Familia!  this week was very busy, but also a week of blessings much needed. we were running around trying to make up for missing a day because we had zone conference on Thursday, which was so amazing. we were going to have more time on Thursday after the conference, but hna Knapp and I always have adventures with the collectivos. we have gotten lost so many times, but the Lord always gets us to our destination in safety. I learned so much during the conference. i think I was a bit more prepared spiritually because I was so much more rejuvenated than the last one. the last one was great too, but I just really had a special experience this time. the theme was  ¨lovest thou me more than these?¨ what Christ said to Peter in the last chapter of John. we watched a video of a talk that Elder Holland gave in the mtc in January. so hna Knapp had already seen it, but it was my first time. Elder Holland is so powerful. wow. he talked about how after the death of Christ, Peter and the apostles didn't know what to do. So they decided to go fishing like they always did before. after a whole night of not catching anything, there was a man on the shore who told them to try the other side of the boat. so they did and couldn't pull in the nets because it was so full. One of them said, ¨It is Him¨. Peter saw and jumped into the water immediately when he Realized it was Christ. Christ had fixed them breakfast and then had a little chat with Peter. and asks him 3 times, do you love me more than these? and every time Peter says of course, you know I do. and Christ says, then feed my sheep. I invite everyone to read this again. it is really powerful. Elder Holland spoke about how when He told them to leave their nets, He meant forever. This applies to the mission so much. When we received this call, we promised to leave our nets and follow Christ, why? because we love Him. There is so much more, and was such a powerful message. 
The rest of the week we have been trying to work with the members. it is always a challenge for some reason, but at the same time is sooooo important. we also had some really great lessons. so many people on the verge of really progressing. like la familia Encina. they are so great. we have been teaching them for a while now, but there is always so much time in-between visits, making it hard to keep up their energy to read the Book of Mormon and pray. But they were finally going to come to church on Sunday when their car wouldn't start or something, and couldn't come. i don't really know what happened. they were late, so hna Knapp called but couldn't understand anything, she was talking really fast. haha. we hate talking on the phone because it is so much harder to understand. they ended up not coming, which was a bummer, but 3 did come! the only thing better than seeing investigators in church is seeing one in the baptismal font. one chica really wants to be baptized, but her grandma, who has custody of her, wont let her because she wants her to got to her church. we are praying so hard and for a miracle. she was going to be baptized almost a year ago when hna Sargent was here, but like the day before, her grandma said no. I know it will happen soon though. 
speaking of hna Sargent, it was such a feeling of home to see her and her family yesterday. yes we had lunch with them and I got a big mom hug. so great to finally meet them. her sister reminds me exactly of Mollie. way tall with blonde hair. I was like Mollie visited me in Paraguay. loved it.
well mom, your Spanish through google translation is a bit weird, but I think they will understand you. send a note to hna Lozano from me that i hope she is doing great with life after the mission, but that we miss her here in Paraguay too. 
no we didn't go to the celebration, it wasn't in our area and we cant leave. hna Knapp was already in Leopardi when i got here. she had just finished her first change with her trainer hna Steadman. so this is her first area, and I am her second companion. oh and tell Kameron Allphin he is going to love his mission!!!! so awesome he got his call to the Paraguay Asuncion Mission!!!!  well, I got to go. mom I'm not sure I got the pictures of Zade.   hope you all are doing well. I guess it is finally getting warm there? it is still hot here. ha. love and miss you all tons and tons! oh and mom, thank you soooo much for the package. i got it on Thursday. so great. I will have to bake the cake for the next baptism. love you all. 
hermana plummer

Tuesday, May 17, 2011

May 16, 2011 - two letters for today.

hola papa, thanks for telling me about your trip to marilyn and therons. I would love to visit when I get back. sounds like such a beautiful place. I love the canyon and to be out of the city. that is one of the reasons I loved going with margaret to their house in savannah. so quite and beautiful, but I love the different beauty of the mountains also. reminds me of when we drove through the canyons with doug and mom  on our way back from st george that one time. I loved it. I know you always tried to teach us kids how to work hard. I know I often resisted, but I am really grateful now for what you taught me and your example of hard work. there is a quote in preach my gospel that basically says there is no replacement for hard work. work work work. work in the mission is a bit different than on a farm, but the principle is the same. I am grateful for the work ethic that you helped me develop in school, and I know it is helping me now and will continue to do so for the rest of my life. please send my love to marilyn and theron! love you so much dad. 
your daughter

May 16, 2011

hola familia, hope you are all doing well. thanks for your letter lindsay. I got it last tuesday and was so excited to read it in the collectivo after our meeting where we get mail. give leilani a big hig from aunt whitney! I love all the pictures I get from my nieces and nephews. 
This week was mothers day and their independence days. yes days. they have two days of independence here. I was told it is because the battle ended in the madrugada or in the middle of the night, early morning. it is kind of ridiculous how many holidays they have here. every excuse to not work they take advantage of. so we sang their national anthem in sacrament meeting yesterday. it used really chuchi words that I dont know, so I didn't understand a lot. but it was really cool. 
This week was really rough. I cant lie. I have never been so emotionally exhausted and cried more this past week than I have my whole mission. R's little daughter passed away and it was a very hard week. Everything is ok now, after a rollercoaster ride.  We pray he can find peace and continue gaining a strong testimony of the gospel.
carlos didnt show up at his baptism on saturday. his mom changed her mind at the last minute. the font all filled and everything. but he just never showed. we called a family that lives near by to run over to his house to see what was up. they said that they were leaving out of town to visit his moms family. we knew it wasnt true, so we passed by the next day to talk to his mom. It is not that she doesn't like the church, but more that she is just a mom who wants the best for her children. as his mom, she sees in him a few things that we don't. she recognizes that he needs to prepare himself more to understand how he needs to act if he is going to make a decision like baptism. We don't doubt that Carlos knows that the chruch is true. He knows it is true and really wants to be baptized, but he needs to learn more about Christ, and how he needs to act like Christ in his behavior in the home. I feel a bit blind for not recognizing this before, but I know it is a blessing in disguise that she changed her mind. she is a single mom, with 4 chidren, who is trying to make ends meet. Carlos has to work to pay for his school and is only 14 years old. I know it is so hard for her to not be around hardly at all to be there for her kids and to protect them, but she is working 2 jobs just to try and pay the bills. Just started tearing up talking to us, and she told us how grateful she is that we are teaching carlos and for loving him. it was a really special moment. So, for now, he won't be baptized, but I know in a month or 2 it will happen, and maybe with the whole family. It was a bummer, but I know it is for the best. well, I have gone over my time, but that is what has been going on. there are so many miracles that we see everyday despite the difictulties, like how we found such a golden truth seeker that we are really excited to teach, and one of our investigators accepted a a baptismal invitation after such an awesome lesson on faith. well, I love you all so much. I know with all my heart that Chirst lives, that he is our savior and redeemer, and that heavenly father knows each and every one of his children. 
hermana plummer

Monday, May 9, 2011

May 9, 2011

Our skype with Whitney was the best!!!  Can’t believe it is over.  She is happy, well and loves her mission!!   Very hard to say goodbye until Christmas and a tears on each side as we hung up.  This was Mother’s Day but I’ll share her with the family on the Christmas call.  There were a few glitches in the way that brought on anxiety and tears in Bountiful and Paraguay as we prepared for the call as well as trying to make the call.  Whitney was over 2 hrs late, but it all worked out in the end

hola familia, happy mother´s day mom. I realized I didn´t tell you on saturday. how awful. I love you so much and can´t believe how blessed I am to have you as my mom and have such an example to follow. i am so glad you had a good mother´s day. and dont worry, I will be there next mother´s day, barely. happy mother´s day to all my sisters too. I miss you all so much and loved your letters and drawings from the cutest nieces and nephews in the world.
 I still can't believe I got to talk to you both mom and dad. I was sad I couldnt see dad´s face too, but to hear your voices was such a comfort. I was way worried when I couldnt get on the computers at 6pm, since I had no way to tell you what was happening - computers didn't have skype and they were all full with a waiting list. i had a few tears. can't lie, but was such a relief when I called from a members home and you were both able to get on. I loved every minute of it. I hope you both were able to get more of an idea of how it is here in Paraguay. it was kind of surreal for me. gives me mixed emotions. i was a bit homesick for a sec, but then I think about it and am reminded how blessed I am to have an eternal family. a reminder of how important it is for me to share the restored gospel with others. I am in contact with so many people every day, so many families, and I pray that I can be an instrument in the Lord´s hands to help a family enjoy the blessings of the restored gospel forever.
this weekend has been a bit crazy .ups and downs. we have some great investigators with baptismal dates and am so excited. we have the baptism of 14 year old carlos this saturday morning. we planned it for the morning so his mom could be there since she works every afternoon, but looks like she might have to work saturday morning too. I really hope she can be there. it would mean so much to carlos and be so great for her to know a bit more of how the church is. and hopfully soon be baptized too.
we have felt like we are in a bit of a rut with finding new people to teach, so we are currently trying different things out to get going again. dad, you asked about my spanish. well, I have reached the point where I feel comfortable talking. thankfully i understand a lot more, which still depends on the person. and apparently the paraguayos don’t have very good spanish, and they know it. I think a lot of it has to do with mixing in guarani, yopara is what they call the mix. but there is so so much more to learn. as a missionary, you get comfortable with gospel language, but expanding the horizons is such a broad spectrum of everything. it is coming little by little, along with the grammar.
please have hna lavaka in your prayers. i haven't really ever talked to her in spanish, so I dont know how it is coming along for her.  yes, time flies by and before we know it the mission will be over. I was thinking, wow, I really need to learn so much more really fast.
also, I mentioned I’ve gained some weight. don’t worry, I am not offended that you are concerned about my health. We have lunch appointments every day of the week and are grateful to these members who feed us.  The food we are served, the quantities they feed us, and the customs they have makes it really hard. my jeans still fit. It is definitely bothering me as you can imagine. hna knapp and I are working on it. one of our lunch appointments can't do it anymore because she has to work. a blessing in disguise. haha. she feeds us sooo much. ahh. we walk a ton, but we just have to find ways to eat less and more healthy when we can.
well, got to go. my testimony grows more and more every day of how true this gospel is, and am so grateful to know it. hope you are all doing well. miss and love you tons!!
hermana plummer

Thursday, May 5, 2011

May 5, 2011

We get to talk to Whitney on Sat!!!  We are soo excited.  Praying for composure to keep back the tears.
I have so much to tell. I think. we have been having so many miracles lately.we still have our trial days, but it just makes me appreciate more the small miracles the Lord gives us everyday. we didnt have a change, so hermana knapp and I are really excited to keep working together. our 14 year old investigator carlos finally got the permission of his mom to be baptized the 14 th of this month. hermana knapp and I fasted a lot and prayed even harder and the change of heart she had is such a blessing and miracle. he is so excited to get baptized and one day serve a mission! also, we have been working with the cutest 19 year old who knows the church is true but is really shy and has been so scared to come to church. she finally came on sunday with her boyfriend who is a menos activo. she is progressing so much and wants to come again this sunday and is going to be baptized the 28th of this month. we are also working with the mom of ruben. she is 83 years old. she doesnt hear very well, which makes teaching a bit difficult, but she is trying really hard to understand and wants to be baptized when she feels it is right. she is the cutest thing ever, and everyone at church loves her. I am trying to figure out this time difference thing so I am going to cut this short.I pray everything will run smoothly with the call. I cant wait. love and miss you all tons!
hermana plummer

Wednesday, May 4, 2011

Transfer week, so email doesn't come until Thur. But then my Mother's Day call and an email on Monday.  I'll be so spoiled!!
We are thinking she and Hna Knapp are staying together in Leopardi.