Monday, June 29, 2015

Catching up with Hermana Shakira?! Haha!!

Okay Family... 

Catching up on the last few weeks...  So much to share!!

Last week, well, it was a good one... Let me just apologize ahead of time, that I wasn't able to send photos then (sorry Mom... I love you :) !)  We were sending our updates from the terminal in Asuncion getting ready to travel 8 hours, returning to Pedro Juan Caballero.  We had to come to the office to go to migraciones (we go every now and then on Pdays to make sure that we are here legally in the pais and stuff.... because if we aren't, we will have some problems :) haha!) and basically the terminal Ciber wasn't very high tech and the photos had to be put off for another week.  But, these photos are taking forever to load, so I'm not going to be able to send all that I had intended.  Here's a small handful to hold you over Momma!!  ;) 

But anyways, back to last week... 

We had the Area Seventy come, Elder Gonzalez.  I had the privilege of meeting and talking with him a few times in Mariano, but this time he came to speak to all of us as Mission Zones and Wow, was his talk powerful!  He spoke for about 4 hours and those hours really felt like 4 minutes.  One of the points I really liked was when he talked about tithing.  I would encourage everyone to go and read D&C 29:34 and ask yourselves... How is tithing a spiritual law?  What is it's purpose and What are the spiritual blessings?  I promise that as you do, and you look for the answers... your horizens will be widened and you will come to love this commandment more than ever because your understanding will be greater!! :)

While our time with Elder Gonzales was wonderful, that isn't really what I wanted to share with you!! 

Back to MIGRACIONES... So, like I said... WE WENT TO ASUNCION!  Oh how I have missed Asuncion!!  It felt good to be back!  When we arrived at the office, we found out that the back chapel was going to be used for a funeral and it wasn't just the funeral of anybody, sino... de la familia Rios... a very sweet and dear family that is from my branch in Mariano Roque Alonso. Their grandfather had been fighting with his health for years, it kind of reminded me of Tata.  It's hard because even when you know you have to prepare yourself to say goodbye... you are never really "prepared"...  They were so surprised to see me and asked what in the world I was doing there -- and I told them it was a tender mercy, a gift that I was there because my companion was going to be spending the whole day in migraciones in Asuncion. Who knew that this migraciones trip was so inspired... Inspired, so, that first, my companion can legally be in Paraguay to serve... and second, so I could be there to love and support my beloved Rios family during this tender time.  It was a lovely service and especially special for me to be able to participate... all of us missionaries from Distrito Mariano were there... Elder Silvera, Elder Calderon, Hermana Mera, Hermana Bringhurst... the whole team!  Even Carpio and Caicedo stopped by the office today!!  I got to sing a special number with Silvana Rios and her younger sister and the Spirit was so strong.  Then we had a few other special numbers as a missionary choir.  It was a very emotional day for this beautiful family. But it was so lovely to feel of the strength that came through the Spirit.

The Spirit can give all of us comfort, its a distinct and different warmth. It is a strength that is not ascertainable left to man alone.  It is a companionship more reliable than any other, it is the way that our Heavenly Father communicates to us.  It is a celestial gift given to a terrestrial world - to remind us of our Heavenly Father, who is cheering us on, and remind us of our divine purpose. To give us further knowldege and understanding, so that the mysteries of our Heavenly Father cease to be secrets and enlighten us with strength and knowledge. 

I hope we will always look for the Holy Ghost. May we call on him in prayer... look to recongize his promptings as they come... discern those good feelings and good ideas for the genuine inspiration that they are.  May we always look to be worthy of his consistent and constant companionship -- and be grateful for this heavenly messenger sent by our Father to help us!! :)

So, this week THERE WAS A WEDDING AND A BAPTISM!!  :) The Elders have been working with a lovely couple, Ramon (investigator) and Gessica (member), for the last little while, and last Saturday was Ramon's turn to get baptized!  But before he got baptized, we had a wedding!!  There was a lot of wedding prep, but it all turned out really well!!  The service was so special!!  (and if that doesn't get you excited for your own wedding one day.. I dont know what else will)!!  Haha!!. 

So here is the lovely little Luana, the flower girl, :) and our bride, Gessica!  We got to do her makeup and help get her ready -- she looked beautiful!! :)

I figured it was time to get you a picture of my District while it's still my District (because there are changes tomorrow... I know, right?! Time is just flying by?)!   Let me introduce them to you... starting from the left, top row: Elder Vallejos (Argentina), my companion Hermana Anazca (Peru), Hna Anderson (Utah), Elder Watson (Nicaragua), Elder Jacobson (Arizona), Second Row, starting from the left: Elder Gomez (Brazil), Hna Dunagan (CALIFORNIA!! :)!!), and me in my old lady dress, Hna Fardos (California)!

My District Leader, Elder Jacobson, is really creative and super good at making pretty things out of nothing. So, I told him he should make me something, like chopsticks!!... he asked how... I said, I dont know... out of 2 branches or twigs or something... and he totally did it!!  And they are so cool!! The only thing is. I can't eat with them... becuse they are just way too pretty!!  Ha!! 

I was exchanging emails with a friend who recently returned from his mission.  And there are a lot of missionaries here that will be going home soon... I believe that returned missionaries have such a special power... an influential power.  They have had their whole 2 years or 18 months to serve the Lord as best they can and by the time the end of the mission comes... that is when they really have come to fully embrace HOW to be a missionary.  And next thing you know, they are home and get to apply this great new chapter of learning experiences that they have had and it just speaks with such power... Their glow, their work ethic, their goals, their smiles and good attitudes... it's powerful stuff!! :)  I know that will continue answering many prayers and questions that people they encounter may have... they continue serving as a force for the Lord.

The mission over here is going great. I love it here so much... it's probably the best choice I have ever made in my life. The learning experiences are endless, the love you feel for others is infinite, the friendships are eternal, and the mission as a whole is priceless.  This is my 3rd time training and I am like 100000000% sure that the trainers learn more than the trainees!! Haha!!  It has helped me grow so much!

Tomorrow there are traslados and we will see what happens, Im pretty sure we are just staying here:) but you never know? Haha!! 

I only have like 2 more seconds on the computer but just know that the family is most IMPORTANT!! :)  The famly is ordained of God.  Our families can be eternal and they should be!!  It is the best and most central part of Heavenly Father's Plan of Happiness!! :)

I love you all!  Take care my sweets! You are all beautiful!!

And Mom.. Thank you for the birthday box!!  The selfie stick? Yeah, that is the best thing EVERRR!!   Thank you!!  :)  And just for fun... one more photo, when I was Hna Shakira for a day!! Haha!!, my Comp braided my hair the other day and this is what was the result...  Ha!!  Made me laugh!! :)

XOXO Hermana Fardos

Monday, June 8, 2015

A Birthday, Graduation, and Anniversary!! So Much to Celebrate!!

Hello Family!!

Okayyyy, Well today... I forgot my camera, yesss I know... How on earth did I forget my camera?  But, I did... so the photos will come next week!! :)  

I was hoping to introduce you to my companion, Hermana Anazco, 20 years old, from Peru, but since I don't have my camera to share pictures of her... I'll tell you all about her next week!!

There is so much to celebrate at home this week though...

Let me start by saying Nick! You aren't my little brother anymore!... you are officially a man child. I can't believe you're 17! You are going to look really good in a missionary plaque one day!! :)

Natalie! Holy COW!!! You are almost a woman! Congrats on your graduation! What a big mile stone!  I wrote you a letter the other day, I'll be sending it this next week... so keep an eye out! :)

Mom and Dad!! Happy Anniversary!! 24 years and you have all of forever to look forward too!! :) I love you guys so much! Thank you for being such a great example for me! :)

This week has been a great week, but for right now, I want to take a moment to share and focus on a question that the Relief Society President asked us the other yesterday...

She asked:

"By a show of hands... Cuantos han entrado en los cielos?"["Who here has entered into the Kingdom of Heaven?" nobody raised their hands, she was the only one] and then she continued saying..."You dont know?.. The Temple, my brothers and sisters, the Temple is our little piece of Heaven here on the Earth".

I loved that thought, and it really made me think :) We are so amazingly blessed, our Heavenly Father loves us so much, that He has given us temples!  He has given us a little bit of Heaven here on Earth... We have access, real access to the literal House of the Lord!

May we always take advantage of the blessing that it is to have temple so close to our front doors. Let us always live worthily to enter in and may we always have an up to date recommend to go in.

Thinking along those same lines, thinking about establishing Zion and tasting of the celestial joy that here awaits us. It made me think also about one more place were we can taste of this fruit celestially sweet, this place where we can go and learn more about our persoanl reationship with the Father by observing the righteous family patterns, this place that every single one of us have access to... but every single one of us have to ut in the work to build it up to be Zion. Have I given it away yet? Our homessss!

In the scripture guide (in the very back of the book of mormon) it reads 

Hogar (Casa De Familia or Family Home) 
El Hogar debe ser el centro de las actividades familiares y del evangelio - or -
Home should be the center of family activities in the gospel.

The family is ordained of God, our homes house sons and daughters of our Heavenly Father :) We too can establish Zion in our homes and we should! We need to :) Our homes should be a home of order, a place of love, a house of prayer, a place of refuge, a safe haven. And if we strive to make our home, a home where the Spirit of the Lord can reside. Our very walls will be blessed with His Spirit, from our techos (ceilings) will spill out a celestial love from Him on High. May we always strive to stay in Zion :) meaning in BOTH the temples and in our homes! :)

I love you guys so much!  Have an amazing week and know that I LOVE YOUUUUUUU!!!!

Hermana Fardos (Lo)

Monday, June 1, 2015

Learning, Learning, and Learning Some More!!

Wow, okay... another big week! 

Let's see... There's so much to share, I'll try not to forget anything!! :) 

FIrst things first...a few shout outs...

Taylor Davis...WELCOME HOME!!  I can't believe how quickly those two years flew by!! Thank you for choosing to serve and for serving so diligently!! 

And Shout out to my AWESOME FAMILY!! Thank you for the love that came in the mail!!  It is getting really COLLLLLDDDD here -- So a special THANK YOU for the warm winter clothes!! It was so very needed -- and the Wild Roots Trail Mix (Coastal Berry Blend) Yum!!... let's just say I am a warm and happy camper!  AND MORRIS FAMILY (besos to you guys!!)  Thank you for the hug in a box!!  You guys went above and beyond!!  I love you!! :)  

I am very grateful to be out here in Pedro Juan!  

My dear Luana!!

Enrique Fernandez was baptized this week!! :) When we arrived in Pedro Juan, we had a few investigators who had baptismal dates... So, we hopped right on the teaching train  and visited them all so they could still be baptized by their goal dates. And this week was Enrique's turn!  What a special kid he is!! He is 12 years old and understands the gospel so well.  He lives with his Mom and his brothers and sisters. His mom has been a less active who has fought hard to come back, and now she is back!!... Her testimony is so special, her sweet love to follow Gods plan inspires me to be better and love this gospel as she does!! Their family situation is tough, but they are doing so well, and they are fighting so hard for it!!  They amaze me!! :) The baptismal service was really sweet, we had a very small turnout... the people we thought were going to come didn't (the weather wasn't so great and most people here don't go out in bad weather). But it all played out so beautifully, because everyone there was there because they needed to be!!  Maria, the 22 year old who was baptized by her husband last week, bore her testimony on baptism and her husband, Jerson, gave a lovely talk about baptism and the Holy Ghost.  Afterwards, the President of Relief Society stood up and extended a warm welcome to Eenrique and also to his mom.  She offered comfort to his mom, she encouraged his mom, and she let his mom know that she was so very, very, very welcome in our Branch.  Enrique offered the concluding prayer and at the end, there was not one dry eye in the church... everyone was touched!!  In that moment, I learned even more that Dios es eprfecto y nunca se equivoca, Our Heavenly Father is perfect and does NOT make mistakes. 

Enrique's little brother :)

President McMullin and his Assistants came up for a Zone Conference (they were all actualy able to stop by Enrique's baptism, which was special!!) and we had interviews with President.  I am so very grateful for my time to talk with him!  He really is an inspired leader and a great example -- and he & Hermana McMullin are such a very special team!!  I aspire to a marriage like theirs!!

Our Heavenly Father is real -- He has a body of flesh and bone.  We are literally his spirit children and when we are baptized by somebody with the Lords authority, we become His children once again, we become His children bajo el convenio (under the covenant).  We are created in His image, and one day, we can come to be even as He is... perfect and exhalted.  May we all follow the Lord and help lift and strengthen the feeble knees!! :) We are all brothers and sisters -- let's help one another and lift from a position of strength!! :) I love you guys so much!  You all amaze me!!

Keep on keepin on!!  Oh, and by the way... Soy miti miti... y quiero que todos sepan (I am half and half... and I want everyone to know!)! :D Haha!!
Hermana Fardos