Well, let me tell you a little bit about the crazyness that is my mission life.....
Our power went out a week ago because we turned on the water heater for the shower and the little air conditioner in our bedroom at the same time. So, for the next 3 days we were totally in the dark... our little house was only lit with candles on various plates. Haha. I'm sure from the outside we must have looked like brujeria (witchcraft) or something because we had all the windows open, with candles and wax everywhere, and the three of us were all huddled on the floor around the candles... We were trying to use the light to study or write in our journals. I felt a little like such a gypsy! Haha!!
Anyways, I decided that I would just go play with the main brakers on the street and sure enough after playing with a few, we found ours and we had power... but only for one night. Sure enough, in the morning around 7:00, the power went out again - we didn't even have anything plugged in or turned on, it just went out... so we just continued again without power.
When we were approaching the 6th day without power, the guys from the joyeria (we live behind the joyeria or jewelry store) were kind enough to lend us a shop light, like a long extension cord with a light bulb, so we could have some light in our house! :)
Saturday finally came around and we were just so excited to get to church the next morning - we had so many great plans and were so looking forward to the many people who were planning to be there this week! But, sure enough, in the middle of the night (about 1:00 in the morning) I felt something wet hit my head... yup, it was raining!! It rained so hard that our house started leaking!! Haha! And the rain, the thunder and the lightning did not stop!!
Sunday morning, rain is still falling... We got ready and put our boots on (btw, Thanks Mom for the perfect timing of your packages! Haha! I totally needed those boots - big time!!) and we left for church... only to find that our normal route was FLOODED so bad! So, we decided to take some backstreets and see if they were any better... they weren't! We were going to have to swim either way!! Haha! So I climbed up the neighbors fences and told my comps "You guys.. We are going to church!!" And they were with me! They followed, and we scaled the fences until we got to a spot were we could hop off (it totally felt like a Hermana Indiana Jones moment). I went first to see were we could walk and after I took two steps forward, I stepped into the biggest ditch (you couldn't even see it), and completely fell in the water - up to my neck and waist-deep when I stood up!! After battling the rivers of Mariano for half an hour, we finally made it to church :) only to find that we and the Elders were the only ones there!! After waiting a little while, a few other families came and we had a very small, very sweet testimony meeting.
So, even though we had to scale the top of fences and swim through Paraguayan rain rivers to get to church, it was all great because we got to participar de la santa cena (partake of the sacrament). Being there after all that effort, it really hit me, just how important the sacrament is, and just how important it is to get to church... rain or shine, because that sacrament, representing the atoning sacrifice of our Savior, is there and it is waiting for us! :) And this made it the most special Sacrament Meeting I have ever been to in my life. Never have I ever had to fight and try so hard to get to church... it really just put it all in perspective for me - just how important and special the sacrament is! :) It's the most important reason to go, not to socialize, not to get dressed up and show off our spirituality... it's to renew the covenants that we have made with our Father in Heaven, and recommit to take on the name of Christ.
There's so much more to tell about the craziness this week, but I'm running out of time... I'll try to elaborate more during next week's update. I'll just paraphrase and tell you that this week I also ended up setting the jewelry shop on fire, then after finding a key, I entered without permission, put out the fire, and had to talk with the Paraguayan authorities... :) The good news is that I'm not in jail and I was able to share the Book of Mormon with them! :D The bad news is, I also didn't get to tell you all about our house getting flooded and EVERYTHING we own -- every book, every journal, every single thing got soaked!!
(drying out our stuff)
Oh, and I have now cut a field with just a machete!
At the end of the day, God is perfect and he never makes mistakes! :) So we will see what blessings or miracles take place because of all of this craziness!!
I love you guys so much and I love this gospel so much! I know that this church is the church of Jesus Christ and that we are in His loving hands and He will forever guide us, He will never leave us or lead us astray. We just have to give heed unto His counsel and seek His will :) I testify that the sacrament, is oh-so-important... to me, it is the most important moment and opprotunity we are given every week! :) I pray that every single one of us can continue trying to make that sacrament more and more meaningful.. becuase it can be. It is powerful! :) Pray often, read daily, and attend regularly.
I love you all!!
On our Mothers Day SKYPE this passed week, Lauren elaborated on her stories and asked me to share the details from the fire and flood mentioned above... The shop light given to the girls by the jewelry store had outlets (like a power strip) on it, so the girls tried to plug other items in, when all of a sudden, they heard a pop, the power went out again, and Lauren said she knew immediately there was a fire... so she got up and started looking around... when she looked at the jewelry store, she could see smoke start billowing up inside. She ran over and was going to try to climb in through a raised window so she could put the fire out. As she was climbing, she found a key, and it fit the lock. She entered the shop, but the alarm started to sound. A neighbor tried to help, and thought cutting the alarm wire would stop the noise, but, it's a jewelry shop... and their alarm system was wired anticipating a potential thief might cut the wire - so the alarm just got louder and signaled the police. When the officials arrived, they were able to explain everything... and although they set the fire, entered the store without permission, and cut the alarm wire... they were able to avoid an arrest, and somehow segued into a discussion about missionary service and coming unto Christ! :D
When the girls were returning home from a full day on Sunday (after all ready navigating the rain rivers in Mariano), they could see the water and debris had moved closer and closer to their little house. And when they finally arrived home, they were in about 10 inches of water. Outside of a small kitchen table, a desk, and beds; they have no furniture... so all of their stuff is on the floor. Their suitcases under their beds and their books and papers in crates on the ground... When they entered their house all of their journals, books, study material, etc was just floating. They were all heartbroken, but fortunately Lauren's companions are relatively new to the mission, just one and two changes each of them... but, Lauren lost 9 months, half of her mission's journals, studies, letters, inspirations and personal revelations that she had recorded. This was a hard loss. Fortunately for Lauren, she is Lauren... and being Lauren, she's quick to find any possible positive outcome, and she's also just as quick to forget the hardship of her challenges... and given a moment to just be her, with the help of the Lord, she will see miracles and this experience will not be wasted on her!
I am so grateful for this girl!!