Monday, February 23, 2015


Hola familiaaaa! Como andan? 

Well, remember that little run-in we had with that guy who tried to rob us? Remember how I mentioned he actually turned out to be related to our conversas recientes?... Well, thanks to that little family tie, that story isn’t over yet. So, we walked by their house the other day on the way to a lesson and the aunt stopped us.  She asked us if her nephew startled us when he came out to talk to us the other day... we told her no, that he actually was apologizing... she then asked what for, and although a little nervous, we went on to explain the story of what had happened the other week. Her face dropped, and all she said was "Hhhhmmm, so that’s why he changed" and we were like, “Wait, What?!”  She then told us that a few days following our run in with him... he told his family that he needed to go, that he needed to get help and change his life... that he could feel, really feel the need to change - for himself and for his family. And now, for the last week, he has been at the hospital in rehabilitation, receiving treatment! I think we knocked some sense into that guy? Haha!... get it? Because I punched him! Haha!!... All kidding aside, it’s so lovely to hear that he recognizes the need and is seeking this change in his life. I am so grateful to know the direction his story is headed, and I am anxious to hear about how everything turns out for him.

As we make our journey over to their side of Maraino each week, we always pass by this huge property, all fenced off with this BIG huge gate that’s usually closed and locked up tight... one day we walked by and noticed way far off in the distance, they had a HUGE indian statue, and it looked crazy cool. And we said some day, we wanted a picture with it – it’s not every day you see a very cool, very giant indian statue - so we decided that si o si, a picture would definitely be awesome. SO, this takes us to yesterday, making our Sunday visits after church- we walk by and notice that the gate was open... we decided now was our chance, haha, so we walked right up the gate, down the long drive way and we finally saw a guy, and we told him we had no clue were to knock, but that we were hoping to take a picture with the indian. Ha! :)  He just gave a little laugh and said of course we could – thus, here it is, my picture with the indian!! :)

This week I have had a crazy deep desire to really just continue getting to know my Heavenly Father.  And better understand the relationship we have with Him (and had with Him before we came to this earth). The Father has chosen not to reveal many things to us concerning our pre-mortal life with Him, but I believe it’s because He doesn’t have to. Why? Because He, being a loving Heavenly Father... wants us to FEEL it, He wants us to personally EXPERIENCE it in our own special way! :) But how? Well, while He hasn’t revealed much of it to us in words, he has revealed much about the eternal pattern of families. And as we closely examine the patterns of eternal families, we can better understand and feel of our special, personal relationship with the Father:)

In God’s revealed pattern for righteous families, the birth of a child is the result of a conscious and loving choice. Knowing that our life is the result of a loving choice and a deliberate act can give us a sense of our great personal worth in mortality and that feeling can give us the encouragement and strength necessary to reassure ourselves of our divine potential and the confidence to proceed forward.

Our Heavenly Father also knows us individually, like an earthly father to their child... it is not important how many there are... each one of their children have a unique and special relationship to his or her father... and it is the same with our Heavenly Father. Knowing this pattern helps us understand that as spirit children we are known individually by our Heavenly Father. We are His beloved sons and daughters, whom He loves INDIVIDUALLY! :) He knows us by name, just like our fathers do here. In every scriptural account of God the Father appearing to His children, He always calls them by name. Why does He do this? I believe it’s to demonstrate to us that He DOES know and we belong to him and it shows us our familiar relationship with him. 

Although these things could be seen as such little things, upon closer examination, as we ponder even these little things, and think about our Heavenly Father and pray faithfully - He will personally reveal truths that YOU feel and you can know your divine worth to Him. The adversary works to use our mortal circumstances to pervert our perception of self worth and faith in the Father. But as we look to the Father for our worth, we will find it. 

I know that our Heavenly Father lives, just as surely as you and I live... He lives :) He knows each and everyone of us better than we know ourselves. He has been with us since we were spiritually begotten - He knows our names, he knows me and he knows YOU! :) He has many children, but his love for each of us is distinct and personal.  We are because He loved us - because He loves us, He is just waiting for you to ask so He can manifest this love to you!! :) 

I love My Heavenly Father and I love you guys :) Have an awesome week!!! 

Until Monday :)
Hermana Lauren

Tuesday, February 17, 2015

Walking on Sunshine!!

Hello Everyone!  :)

This week, this week... well basicamente its been another great week with a fun twist.

This week we had Zone Conference and interviews with the President - and this was a really cool one.  Our trainings or capacitaciones that they normally hold, turned into little life prep classes.  Elder Calderon (one of the asistentes.. from Utah)  started by telling us that changes are coming up and pretty soon we will have new companions... Hermana Valenzuela and I were like "Dang, they already know changes... one of us is going to go" and then Elder Calderon continues.. "Yes, a new companion.. a big strong and beautiful man who holds and honors the priesthood"...wait, hold on, hold on, hold on... what did he just say?  Turns out he was talking about after our missions!!  Haha, and not literally about changes next week!  He's not just talking mission, he's talking about the bigger picture:) 

We ended up focusing on mastering the art of goal setting.. personally and in a companionship... with the ultimate goal of mastering it now so we will be able to live it after the mission and throughout the rest of our lives.  After all, it is through setting goals... and REACHING them that we can reach the full potential that the Lord sees possible in every one of us!  It was really cool - I loved the guidance they gave.  I've currently got a few personal goals and we will see how those go... so far so good!! :)

They also talked about how, yes, we are here in the mission to serve and help other people come unto Christ... but, we are also here to help ourselves. This is a beautiful and dedicated time that the Lord has given us as missionaries to develop good habits, live them, rub out our rough edges, and turn these nice "goals" and "ideas" into a real way to live and becoming our best self.  And I really liked that. The mission is a beautiful thing, you get to see other people come unto Christ, and you yourself get the privilege of coming to know him even better than you did before... if you take advantage of it!  :)

I am so grateful for the mission.. I am so grateful for you guys:) I love you all. Keep moving forward in faith, keep letting your beautiful lights shine forth :) I love you all!

Hermana Lauren Fardos

Monday, February 9, 2015

Hermana Muhammad Ali...

Well, this week was kind of random and crazy and maybe a little of everything else in between!  Haha!!

To start, we had to say goodbye to the lovely Sara Samaniego who just left for her mission in Brazil this week.  She is one of our best friends and her family is so solid. Her parents are both returned missionaries.  Hermana Samaniego washes our clothes and they feed us every Tuesday.  They are so great, and I’m totally going to miss Sara!!  She’s going to be awesome in Brazil!!

Saturday we went to the temple for a special ward activity where the Missionaries walked around with all the menos activos and investigators and explained what happens in the temple.

We spent the last week without any fans, because all 3 of our fans broke!! Haha!!  One broke when a fan blade flew off... one of the wires broke on the other, and the 3rd emergency fan overheated and kind of blew up a little...  Ha!!   But, worse than no fans was 2 days without electricity, which naturally implies no AC... That called for some desperate measures.  So we took cool showers in our PJs and went to bed completely wet... we didn’t get much rest but managed to stay relatively cool thanks to a miracle "breeze" that came in (with the mosquitos) and essential oil towels Mom sent (Thanks Mom)!!  The bummer was that the power only went out after we came back from the temple on Saturday, so when Sunday rolled around and we couldn’t go out and buy anything to prepare without power!!  Haha!  Thankfully we had gas and water and enough fresh food remnants from the week that we were sustained on our own version of a vegetable quiche – it was really yummy! :)  We did everything with the limited light of our propped up flashlights...  It was quite an adventure, but, I am glad that was yesterday and we can leave it as a "memory" now!  Haha!  The power is back, so we have an air conditioner and a cold fridge, and we are up and running again here in Mariano!! :)

So, there’s more to share about yesterday... Sunday wasn’t just an adventure... there was definitely a little crazy that kicked in too!!  Haha!!

Our ward in Mariano starts at 8:00 AM and it‘s about a 25 minute walk, so, normally we leave a little early to walk by a few investigators or menos activos...  just to give them a little support to go to church.  Yesterday, we decided to go by a recent converts house, so we left just before 7:00 AM to have enough time to wake them up and help get the kids ready if we needed to.  :)  We weren’t even 2 blocks away from our house, when we saw a group about 6 guys walking up.  We get approached a lot, guys making comments or cat calls, so, we prepared to just ignore them, look straight ahead, and keep walking. pasa lo que pasa.  As we got closer it became clear that some of them were drunk, and that’s not really anything new either... but when they started talking to us, one asks us why we never talk to them, "por que nunca nos hablan... nunca nos hablan ellas" and for a moment it all seemed pretty harmless and we keep going, but as soon as we are almost out of the clear.  The last guy is lingering back a bit - and he is obviously intoxicated... to the point where he´s barely walking.  He stops right in front of us, so, we try and walk around him and then he began to corner Hermana Valenzuela and she couldn’t get around.  Struggling to fight his state of drunkenness, he reaches for Hermana Valenzuela’s bag - and has it in his hands and says with liquor coated breathe, "tu celular, dame tu celular"...  she kind of stood their with her hands on her bag too... as I am telling the guy "sueltelo, basta basta" and trying to get him to leave...  but he didn’t move...  So, without even thinking I just went straight out and punched the guy in the shoulder!... I didn’t know what else to do!  He wasn’t listening and he wasn’t leaving.  So, after I gave him my hardest punch to the arm, he let go and ran off to catch up with his friends. 

Afterward, Hermana Valenzuela and I just kind of paused looking at each other - like, what just happened???  And after a brief moment, we just continued on to go and get our family to church.  

We got to their house and woke them up and found out that they were headed out of town, so they couldn’t come with us :(  But, we left them with a little thought and a prayer! :)  And then, as we started to leave to make our way to church, just as we left the house, one of their relatives comes out after us saying "disculpe, disculpe hermanas" (Excuse me, excuse me, Sisters)  AND IT WAS THE SAME GUY WHO JUST TRIED TO ROB US!!  He is extended family to our recent converts!!  (We can call that a small world moment!)  :P   He approached us and took our hands, begging us to forgive him... he said the guys he was with were bad influences and he really hopes we can forgive him.  He kept apologizing and Hermana V and I just kept telling him that he was forgiven, that he is totally forgiven, and that he should go and have a great day, but stay clean from things like that.  Turns out, he wasn’t a bad guy, he was just caught up in bad things and wanted to be part of this "gang" and so, como su "iniciatory" (for his initiation) he was told to rob us.  

All this took place, and we still made it to church on time!!  Haha!!  But, yup, we were definitely ready for a little nap!  Haha!

Don’t worry Mom, we are on the Lord’s errand and we are protected!

I love this work and I love this mission. This work is so inspired and I couldn’t be more grateful to be here!! :)  I love you all :)

Take care! :)
Hermana Fardos

Monday, February 2, 2015

Mis Queridos! Hola Hola Hola!

This week has been awesome!! :)

The General Relief Society President AND The General Young Women's Second Counselor came to PARAGUAY! And we got to go hear them!!  They spoke in English and used translators, so we got to hear the message twice! With the double re-itteration, it gave us double the time to truly soak up what was being said (there was no chance we could miss anything!)!  Ha!  I loved the foundation of their message... We are daughters of a loving Heavenly Father, He is literally our Father in Heaven!!  He loves his children, and he loves YOU!  We live in a world that is hard!  It really is, and we are attacked with false principles, deteriorating standards, temptation and sin every day, and in order to remain strong, we must fill oursleves with The Spirit so we can't be crushed by it... And the way to be filled with The Spirit is to READ the scriptures, say your PRAYERS, PARTAKE of the Sacrament, SERVE others, and ALWAYS be worthy to go to the temple!  They continued breaking down these five points, but for times sake, maybe I will take picures of my notes and send them next week to anyone who wants them!  :) 

They spoke with such a sweet spirit, they spoke with such love, The Spirit was so strong -- it was overwhelming to see all of these beautiful young women gather in this chapel so tight that there wasn't room for even one more person to stand.  These young women here in Paraguay really are inspiring and so motivating, I love them so much!!  I also got to run into a few girls from Isla Bogado and that was probably one of the happiest little reunions in my life!!  :) I almost forgot just how much I love them - until I saw them!! :)  It fills my heart!

Life is good!! :)  I really am on cloud 9!  The work of the Lord has the sweetest taste... Just like the fruit of the tree of life (o sea el amor del senor) is so sweet to the taste!!  :) The teachings of Christ, the holy scriptures, prayer, the sacrament, holy temples - EVERYTHING we have testifies of a loving Heavenly Father.  I have such a strong testimony of every little bit of this gospel, and I just feel so compelled to share with all of you!!  The foundation OF EVERYTHING we know, everything that is good, that comes from our Heavenly Father is built from a foundation of PURE LOVE, more genuine and profound than we are even capable of understanding!! :)  I would encourage anyone who doesn't yet understand why we have certain commandments or standards - to pray to their Father in Heaven to understand and to feel His love for them!   If your desire is genuine, He WILL pour out his love for YOU and you WILL be blessed with a better understanding!  Because once you feel His love, The Spirit will testify to your soul and He will complete you and you will KNOW His love for YOU!!  :) 

Our Heavenly Father and Jesus Christ love us, they love YOU!  Don't ever forget!!  :) I love you all!

Until Monday,
Hermana Fardos