Monday, December 29, 2014

I hope your Christmas was awesome!!

Hola Everyone!

This post may be short this week because I want to send you so many pictures and there were a ton of personal emails from family and I wanted to respond to as many as possible because I LOVE YOU GUYS!!

This week was HUGE, with Christmas, missionary work, my first SKYPE call... I was definitely emotionally drained! Haha!  I was really grateful for this Pday to catch back up! 

But Wow, first things first, its crazy that we SKYPEd this week!!  It still feels like a little dream to me! Haha!  It was the best little boost ever!  And it got me thinking about family :) Even more than I already do! :) Ha!

Family really is so special, and family time is even more special :) Something that hit me really strongly during our SKYPE call was how family time is all the time :) Whenever we are together, that is what matters.  It doesn’t matter where, all that matters is the company :) I could go my whole life without another vacation if it meant that I got to spend the rest of my life in our home as a family!! :)  I got a little wave of home sickness at church on Sunday!  It was kind of funny, all I wanted was to sit in the living room with all of you guys, singing, dancing, playing games, watching movies, reading scriptures, telling stories and eating grilled cheese sandwiches... don’t ask me why about the grilled cheese!! Haha.  Family is all that matters, its all that’s important.  Families are the mode of Heaven.  Families are the link to receiving the fullness of happiness and fullness of the blessings that The Lord has in store for us in this life!! :) Families are a glimpse into the eternities! :) And are testimonies of the love our Celestial FAMILY has for us! :)

Life goes fast and the world, unfortunately preaches contrary to the precious truths and establishments of The Lord, but it is my prayer that families, all families everywhere and especially ours, can unite in the home.  And build an environment of love and happiness, true happiness! :)

That’s my rambling sesh for the day! :) I just LOVE FAMILIES AND LOVE THIS GOSPEL!

Christmas was basically solas but it was fun...  We started with Christmas breakfast. 




We bought 2 firework-bomb-things and set them off at our house.  Not IN our house! Haha!  But yeah, that was fun.  And then we had a zone holiday party where we had a gift exchange, white elephant style. That was great!   

A few pictures of our Zone




This is what happens every time missionaries want a group shot :D




Yes, the Elders are supposed to be singing around the Christmas tree, like the Whos in Whooville in the Grinch... it was supposed to be cute... it just turned out awkward and therefore - I love it!! :) Haha!



We bought Bay-blades and the Elders ended up dueling their bay-blades for EVERRR! Hahaha!!  I got a bracelet and earrings that were made from seeds... it’s actually like way cool! Haha!

But the thing that I loved most about this Christmas season is the mutual mindset that takes priority.  Everyone in some regard, in some way, is thinking of or being mindful of Christ.  It is that reason alone that Christmas has it's unique "magical" feeling... Not because of the gifts under the tree, the tinsel, the lights, the music, hot chocolate and good company... but rather, the gift that was given so lovingly and freely from someone who loves us so much.  Everyone says things like "If only it could feel like Christmas everyday" o algo asi... And I love that we can respond confidently saying that it CAN feel like Christmas everyday!  All we have to do is continue to remember that Christmas Gift, who is Christ the Lord! :)  In remembering Him always, we can always hold on to that special Spirit, that Light of Christ... :) And partake fully and in the abundance of that sweet and special Spirit.  Ojala que tu testimonio de Cristo te de la paz y fuerza para seguir adelante y estar firme en el camino de el :)

We have found a lot of new investigators, all of which we feel really good about! One of them is named Marcos Ojeda, he is 16 years old and is amazing!!!! He was a reference we had from our tiza en la plaza activity and he is truly someone that the Lord has prepared to receive the message of the restored gospel. We went to go and just get to know him and that turned into the whole entire message of the restored gospel. He now has been reading the Book of Mormon like crazy and is paying attention, like he recalls what is happening, who is talking, AND he is applying what he has learned to his own life!  It’s amazing!  We also taught him about the Book of Mormon on the second visit and he is just blooming.  You can feel his testimony and spirit growing so fast. The Book or Mormon coupled with real intent, really is the KEY!  I love getting to partake in this sweet work of sharing The Lords message!

Our investigator Mirtha, that I mentioned last week, is doing well... we are meeting with her tonight to figure out all of the details for her baptism! If all goes as planned we will be holding a baptismal service January 1st!

We had 11 menos activos in Sacrament Meeting this week (this is the sencond week in a row for these 11)!  So we are going to help encourage them so that they can go just a little further and stay active! :)

We are really focusing on The Spirit and ministering. It has been making ALL the difference!  The spirit is really able to guide and drive the day so much more when this is our focus! :) I love it!

Give EVERYONE hugs for me!!  I love you all! 

Merry Christmas and Happy New Year!
Hermana Fardos




Friday, December 26, 2014

Christmas SKYPE and a Special Holiday Message from Lauren

We, Lauren's family, enjoyed almost an hour long Christmas SKYPE with Lauren!  It was such a treat to see her smiling face and hear her cheerful voice and share our tender feelings about this incredible opportunity she has to serve The Lord and the people of Paraguay and recognize for a moment, all of the blessings we enjoy because of it!  




Moments after our call ended, we found a letter from Lauren waiting in the mailbox.  And with her permission in the beginning of the letter, we will share it.


My Beautiful Family,

Today I was studying in the Bible, in John.  And I found some things that I wanted to share with you guys.  I hope there is something for you to take from it :)... If not, feel free to share it with some one that might have a need for it :)  I was studying in John because: first, I want to get to know the Bible better; and second, I wanted to know Jesus Christ better.  So where is there a better place to read about the Saviors last months and instructions here on Earth?  However, in my study, I ended up getting something completely unexpected out of it - but it filled me with a love, gratitude, better perspective and strength.

In the world it is hard.  As members of the church with standards that are not ‘of the world’, it can feel hard...  To not have the largest group of friends, or maybe not have many friends at all...  To any and all of the struggles we face or find in our journey to keep the commandments of God.

John 15:18-20

“If the world hate you, ye know that it hated me before it hated you.  If ye were of the world, the world would love it’s own; but because ye are not of the world, but I have chosen you out of the world, therefore the world hateth you.  Remember the word that I said unto you.  The servant is not greater than his Lord.  If they have persecuted me, they will also persecute you; if they have kept my saying, they will keep yours also.”

The Savior was mocked, rejected, cast out, beaten, spat on... Jesus Christ came in to the world and his own received him not.  The man who came to this Earth for US, who offered us life – was sent to suffer and die.  No one knows or understands the feeling of ‘alone’ and ‘isolated’ more than Him.  We, like Christ, are here for a purpose – a very special purpose.  To learn and obtain all that we are supposed to obtain here on Earth, we are told that we must be ‘in the world’ but not ‘of the world’, and we can feel that at times.  Satan knows that.  And he is SO worried because of the testimonies which YOU hold.  So naturally he’s working so hard to brake you - so hard to discourage you, so hard to make you feel alone, without a friend.  But the thing that is so great about this life is that Satan can’t win!  He can’t, it’s impossible!

You ALWAYS have a friend – Jesus Christ!   He is the only one who understands your situation perfectly!  He is here to be your friend, he said it himself “Ye are my friends if ye do whatsoever I have commanded you” John 15:14.  The same Lord and Savior, Jesus Christ in the scriptures is YOUR Lord and Savior, Jesus Christ.  Search to know Him more, pray to recognize Him more, pray to love Him more.  He has walked your path all ready, and right now, He is walking with you every step of the way.  And in those hard times, he is not walking with you, but rather, carrying you, that you might find peace, comfort, and joy – everlasting joy!

Yes, it can feel hard, but that is only if we let it.  The gospel is not a weight, IT IS WINGS!  Flap those wings with faith.  Your pains and afflictions shall be but for a small moment AND they shall be for thy good.  Remember your goal, start your day with the end in mind - the Kingdom of God!

I can’t tell you how many mental breaking points I’ve had in my life – where I just wanted to curl up and cry.  But EVERY TIME without fail, if I remember my Savior Jesus Christ... if I recall what HE has done for ME... if I pray to have strength and buckle down to keep those commandments (or rather ‘blessings’), I find that I am no longer walking alone and stumbling...  I am FLYING and the wind under my wings is strong!  Christ is strong!  You are strong!  And I love you – HE loves YOU!!

XOX

Hermana Fardos


Monday, December 22, 2014

Merry Christmas!!


Okay, I can't believe I will LITERALLY SEE you this week!...  Yay for SKYPE!   This week we had some huge events.... I really don't know how I am going to remember to share it all...  but let's start with the AWESOME activity that we had this last Sunday!!!!



Our ward has SUCH ganas (desire) to help us in la obra missional (the work of the mission) - they are amazing! The only problem is that sometimes they don't know how.  We, as members, find oursleves at times not knowing how, or we get a little nervous, or we think that missionary work has to be this really big thing like going out and knocking on doors to find people... but it doesn't. :)  Hermana Valenzuela and I spent the last week at our lunches sharing D&C 101:50 with the members and talking about missionary work... but we felt like there must be a better, more effective and faster way to share this with all the members.  So we talked with our leaders and we put together a "CCM de Mariano Roque Alonso" And during the second hour of church, we had a mini capacitacion (training). We started by talking about the work and how we recognize the desires of the members to help in la obra missional (the work of the mission) and that we were so grateful for it and how what we are doing today is helping make sure that we all can truly magnify our callings as member missionares.  We showed a few video segments and showed how members and misisnaries can work together and form the perfect team. And then the Elders in our zone ran them through practice "missionary moments" so they could practice and get all the awkward quirks out - so when we have a real opprotunity to share a small portion of our testimony or invite someone to church or a ward activity, we can do it without fear! :)  It went over SUPER well! :)   Everyone was totally embracing it and we all left with a goal as a ward!! :)  Everyone has this calendar with a space for a friends name, and we as a ward are going to pray for a specific person every day so that we can figure out how to invite them and have missionary moments and know WHEN to act.   And this next Fast Sunday, we are fasting with our personal reasons, yes.. but also with a Ward goal of finding these people that The Lord has prepared and our waiting for the message or the invitation! :)  It was so happy and I loved seeing these parents, teenagers, and grandparents all jumping at the chance to act on their desires to help the work! :)  It was a really cool experience and it really stregthened the realtionship between the Missionaries, Leaders, and the Ward! :) 


We also have this investigator named Mirtha, she is going to be baptized the 1st of Enero (January) and it was Mirtha's birthday!  She lives all by herself, (her closest family living 6 hours away).  She is 28 and doesn't really have many close people to spend time with.  So early in the morning we ran to her house and heart attacked her doorway with over 60 hearts! :)  And then, when we had our scheduled "lesson" with her at the church, when she arrived, she was met by ALL of the Young Single Adults with cake and cookies and soda! :)  She cried, it was super sweet!  But even sweeter than any of the cake or cookies, was the testimony meeting we had at the very end.  Everyone bore there testimonies about their personal conversions and at the end, we all kneeled and Mirtha offered the sweetest, most sincere prayer I have ever heard! :)  It was so special, we were all able to feel The Spirit so strong, and Mirtha was finally able to really connect with people her age :) who are members and will support her throughout her journey! :) 


Keep on making awesome choices! I love you all so much!  OH!!!  and MERRY CHRISTMAS!! :)  It's crazy how fast the time has been going in the mission! Wow! I have no words!  I love you all and I LOVE this gospel! :)

XOXO 
Hermana Fardos

Monday, December 15, 2014

A New Week! :)


Helloooooooo,

Oh, So much to say!... Let's see if I can remember it all!  Hahaha. 

First things first, WOW ITS HOT! Like really really hot!  Hahaha!  I don't thnk there is a word that can accurately describe the heat here... it's unreal... and we aren't even even officially in summer yet... Summer doesn't start for another week!  But it's great!  Haha!  I am just waiting for my super awesome tan lines and velcro strap marks.... I can't say "He sido una misionera" (I have been a missionary here) until I am complete with tan lines and all!!  Haha!

Something that has been really fun about my new area is that it is so much more city-like.  In Isla Bogado the way to encontrar (find) someone to teach was sooooo different because everybody was outside of their house drinking terere (cold water mate infused with herbs) and we would pass by and talk to them and teach them and that's how you found investigators... Tocar puertas (touching doors).  But here in Mariano, like I mentioned ITS A CITY! and there is this huge plaza in the center of our area located right by the main roads.  So, while Hermana Valenzuela and I were sitting there planning one day, we decided that we wanted to do something fun, something new to find people, real people with real interest.  And we wanted to encorporate El es la dadiva, the church wide "He is The Gift" video - because ITS AMAZING!  If you haven't had the chance to watch it... WATCH IT!  :)  ITS THE BEST 2.5 MINUTES EVER!! and after you watch it, SHARE IT WITH EVERYONE!!... its just so special!!  Any whooo, back to our planning session... We came up with the idea to come to the plaza with a bunch of chalk.  And draw a chirstmas tree, a BIG one in the plaza, and invite people to come and write the things that they are grateful this christmas season... and after they wrote it on the tree, we would have ALL of the young single adults with us, and they would have their smart phones and they would have the video pulled up, and we would then invite the people to watch this little 2 minute video... We would share a quick and sincere thought with them - and, finally, we would ask for their contact information so that we could visit them one day soon and talk more about the Gift that is Christ...  So, after coming up with the idea we called our lifer missional (missionary leader) and he gave us the thumbs up.... and Tuesday we did it!!  It was AMAZING!!!!  So many people came and wrote on the tree, so many stopped to watch the video, and within an hour we had 30 references... THAT'S SO HUGE!!  Granted, some of the references didn't live in our area - but thats OKAY!  Because they are references,... Wait, nope, sorry... I don't like that word... they are SOULS!!  They are souls that other misionaries can visit and share this Great Gift :) The plan of a loving Heavenly Father and a loving older brother, Jesus Christ!  And that's fantastic!!




Something that's really been extremely emphasized this week by a member of the Seventy, President Monson, Our Mission President, and leaders - is the importance of having spiritual experiences, with emphasis on how we can have them through keeping the commandments... and specifically, by reading the Book of Mormon.  This emphasis on the Book of Mormon really has made me think a lot about that gift.   I think often times we underappreciate the value of this book, and all that was put into keeping the records safe and preserved for us. There are so many prophets who layed down their life that we might have it.  It was written to testtify of Christ, to put to an end of all the confusion stemming from the variety of interpretations of the Bible on it's own.   The Book of Mormon IS another TESTAMENT of JESUS CHRIST :)  given FOR US :) How amazing is that!?!
And how does the it help`us recieve spiritual experiences?  Because reading it with intent gives us access to the Spirit so we can recieve personal revelation!!  Answers and insight revealed to us... How amazing is that, The Lord promises us that if we will sincerely ask Him to answer our questions, and we do our part and take the time to REALLY read these sacred words, we WILL find our answers!!  :) Our loving Heavenly Father WILL talk to YOU!!  I love that!

I am so grateful for so much this Christmas Season!  Please know that I am grateful for every one of YOU!!  You are ALL so special and I love you all so much!! 

Keep reading the Book of Mormon :) and if you haven't had the chance to read it, I ask you to give it a try now :) Read it, and ask your Father in Heaven if its true...  Ask Him who can not lie, and who has promised to give you the answers! :)  That's the greatest thing about the invitation of Christ... to come and try it out for oursevles.  You don't have to believe my words, The Lord is ready to help you, so that you too can have a testimony, and receive your own witness of the blessing of the Book of mormon:)
I love you all!!

XOXO Hermana Fardos!




Monday, December 8, 2014

CHANGES!!

FAMILIA!!! 

Wow!!... (or for TJ... FAAAA!)!  its been one crazy week here, that's for sure!

Lets just start by saying that this last week was cambios (changes), so naturally everyone is a little anxious because everything is going to change, like the dynamics of your zone and such. Hermana Curi and I were pretty chill because we figured nothing would happen because I've still got to finish my training, Right?!... WRONG!... I was the only one who recieved a cambia!  So, I went back home, packed up my stuff and left first thing the next morning...

So, I didn't have much time to say goodbye, but I was able to see Hermano Fransisco.  


And of course I had to see my family!  I love them!  They were the hardest to leave.  Before I left, Maria (the Mom of my two girls, Antonella y Jacquelin) began to cry,  and when I hugged her, we were both just weeping... I couldn't help it - They are so special!!



I am now in the area of Mariano, its a lot closer to Asuncion and its waaayyyyyy different than Isla Bogado... Mariano is a city...  a total city with neighborhoods and everything - And our house is WAY chuci!  Its actually like a small house, its so cute - I love it!  My new comp is awesome too!  Her name is Hermana Valenzuela.  She is from St. George, Utah - and her Dad's family is from Mexico, she actually lived there for a while so she speaks Spanish really well!  She has a year in the mission and we are all ready having a great time together (We went bowling! So fun!)! 



I have to admit, I'm a little stressed at times... just because I need to get to know a whole new area that's WAY bigger than my first, and I have to start all of my relationships over again.  And yeah, it was hard to leave the beautiful people I totally love in Isla Bogado, but you know, it made me consider the purpose of the mission.  We are here to help other people find this life changing gift that The Lord has given us... to help all of God's children remember that which they already knew (they have just forgotten it for a while).  In Isla Bogado, I got to witness that change that gift brings... I got to see the lives of people change SO MUCH because of the message of Jesus Christ.  And that's whats its all about.  I have met the most beautiful people and I feel so extremely blessed.  I am so extremely blessed to have had the time to work with Hermana Curi!  She has taught me so much and its so cool getting to apply what I have learned in a new area with new people and get to know more and more of the beautiful people here in Paraguay!

I hope everyone is doing well at home!!  HAPPY BIRTHDAY AUNT FER!  And a shout out to Tanner and Natalie, just wanted to say I'm really proud of you two!!

Take advantage of this Christmas season to focus on Christ and accept the gift that He is!!  And that He has to offer!!  Remember that it's Christ-Mas... which basically means MORE CHRIST! :)

I love every single one of you!  Keep on keeping on... Keep on praying, keep on reading your scriptures and keep on going to church... :)  It's the little things that make all the difference!!

XOXO! 
Hermana Fardos

Monday, December 1, 2014

Just Another Day in Paradise!!

Hellooo Familia! 
Hmmmmm, it's always so hard to focus in on one thing to write because I just want to share everything!! :)  But, if i had to pick one thing to share with you... it would definitely have to be the progress of the family Haedo Zaya (the family of the girls baptized last week)... THEY ARE AMAZING!


We have had a few lessons with them this week and our very last visit was so special.  Maria and Antonio (the parents of Antonella and Jacquelin) now have 2 church attendances under their belt. :)  And they are loving it!  Maria, the Mom, has a testimony like no other, and A, the dad, has the desire, he is just working on the personal witness part.  Anywhoo, back to the last lesson...  We sat down and taught them about the word of wisdom - This lesson has become so important for us as missionaries here in Isla Bogado, because if members or investigators are not keeping the word of wisdom... we have found that their progression is kind of put on hold.  So we knew that sooner or later we had to have this lesson with them.  And when we finished, we extended the commitment challenge and guess what... NONE OF THEM HAVE ANY SORT OF PROBLEM WITH THE WORD OF WISDOM!  They are so prepared and as if that wasn't a big enough miracle and blessing, at he end of our lesson Hermana Maria shared her testimony with Antonio, about how she knows without a doubt that this is the true church! 
It all started when we were talking to Antonio about the tools The Lord has given us so that we can recieve a personal witness - and also, how he can recognize the answers and promptings for what they are.  As we finished talking about how to recognize your own personal witness, Hermana Maria shared that when Antonella and Jacquelin were being confirmed a week ago Sunday, she was sitting there praying so hard to know if this church was true and if she should join...  she continued sharing, as soon as she finished praying and opened her eyes, all she could see was "el blanco" and when she saw all the white, she knew that was her answer and this really was true!  She knew that this is what The Lord wanted for her.
Not only did she share it with her husband, but also with her older daughter, Jessica, who came back from work early. Jessica is 19 years old - And is now one of our newest investigators!! :)
Hermana Curi and I are busy busy busy with planning for the wedding, and other than that we are just working, working and working! :)  Its such a blessing to be here!  :) I love you all!
Keep on Being Awesome! :)
xoxo
Hermana Fardos