Saturday, February 13, 2016

She's Coming Home!!

It's been 18 months since I've been able to hug on this girl!! Lauren's plans to extend her stay in Paraguay have been side-lined by complications from dengue and a high school spinal injury. Ed's on his way to Paraguay right now to pick up our sweet Missionary and bring her home!! They will be flying into Sacramento on Monday, Feb 8th, at 4:58 PM!! Join us as we welcome Lauren home!! I can't wait to get another one of these!!

HE'S GOT HER!!  She's doing great!!  In great spirits!!  The travel day will be tough, but getting Lauren home will be the best medicine!!  Monday can't get here soon enough!!

She's home!! Best hug EVER!!

Operation Frosting!!

No update this week, but received a sweet reply to a text from our nephew reminding us of a special experience before Lauren departed for Paraguay... 

It was a moment of doubt that she shared with her father, who immediately received a distinct impression - an image of Lauren surrounded by sweet and smiling children in Paraguay.💘 Ed shared the impression and Lauren set off to serve... When Ed reminded her of this experience in his email this week, Lauren responded...

"If I could wear a name tag forever, I would!!  My very first day in the CCM, I repented for even having doubted for a moment... This has been and will forever be my best and favorite choice I have ever made!!". 

Perhaps these are some of those faces her father saw, because they are, without question, some of Lauren's best and favorite treasures of the last 18 months!! 

Tuesday, January 26, 2016

My Last Change!!

Hi Everyone!!

Well, changes came to the mission... for everyone else but us!!  Hna Jara and I will stay in Asuncion for another six weeks!!  I couldn't be more excited!!  She is the sweetest little Peruvian!!  I love her, she's such a sweetheart and a doll!!  The area we are in is called 'Moroni' and it is FANTASTIC!!  It is so lovely!!  And the temple is in our area, and every Monday, we stop by to clean it! :) It's so special to go inside and help maintain and care for this precious place that others paid such a price to provide for us!!  Being inside, even to clean, you can just feel the Spirit and know that it is here, in the temple, families come together to be sealed for time and all eternity!  

On that note about feeling the Spirit -- this week I found myself thinking and meditating a lot on the greatness of God.  I was pondering about my relationship with my Father in Heaven, I was thinking about my resurected and perfect older brother, Jesus Christ; and I was thinking about the scriptures, and the temple... I was deep in thought and pondering the many blessings and miracles and mysteries of God.  Today I woke up early (because the wind outside was blowing so powerfully) and when I stepped out on the back patio, I looked up at the sky and was momentarily blown away at the sight before me... I looked up into the huge South American sky and there was no sky, just swirling clouds of gray and white and black with a hue of red sneaking through... It was awesome, just a marvelous sight -- and in the moment I was just in awe of our Heavenly Father... I couldn't speak, I could just watch, and as I took in the greatness and grandeur of it, a scripture came to mind... it is in Psalms and it reads...
 “Be still, and know that am God.” 11 

I can't tell you how many times I have read that scripture. Haha!  But in that moment, it just had so much truth and power to it, it was a living scripture and I witnessed it.  And I just wanted to share with all of you, that I know that God lives. I know that Jesus Christ, the Son of the living-God also lives, and sits on the right hand of the Father.  I know that they are in control.  I know that they love us and everything that the Father has done, since before the world was created, has been done for the infinite love He has for us -- and I know that whatever things happen in the future will be directed or allowed by Him, because of that infinite love. Trust in Him, love Him and be still and know that He is God. 

I hope in the craziness of the week, we all might be able to take a personal quiet moment to ponder and look to our Heavenyl Father. That we might look to strengthen our relationship with Him and the Son. That we might speak to them often and love them more and more each day.  We are Children of God, and our God is an awesome God!! :)

I love you all!!
Hermana Lauren Fardos

Some pictures...

I was able to see Silvanna!!  She is my sweet friend from Mariano Roque Alonso and is now serving as a local missionary until her call comes!!  It's so great to see her in a missionary name tag!! :D 

I got to visit Isla Bogado (my first area in Paraguay)!!...

Francisco!!  The first Paraguayan I got to teach and see accept this beautiful gospel!!  We bought him a tie for his baptism, and now he bought me this Paraguayan shirt!!  I love it, and I love him!!  Such a special man!! 

Above: My precious Zaya and Estigarribia families!!  I love them so much!!

And the rest below are a little Pday fun at Smuchis with Hna Jara, B, and Ashby!!

And yes, we have matching grey shirts with matching sweaty shoulder strap marks from our backpacks!! Oh, and sweaty wet hair too!! :D

Monday, January 18, 2016

The Last Week of This Change!!

Family!! :) 

Hello there!

Well, we find ourselves now in the last week of this change and getting ready to start with another :) We have some big plans this week to finish strong, and we are excited to follow up on them in the coming change so quickly approaching!

This week, I was studying a lot in the Book of Mormon and also the talks from our most recent General Conference. Of all the lovely thoughts and lessons learned and great scriptures found... the resounding theme I found for me was to not get caught in the thick of thin things. 

One of the best sources I found was the talk "A Summer with Great-Aunt Rose" by President Dieter F Uchtdorf.  It's so good!! (you can see the video by following this link 

It really is worth the few minutes you'll spend)  He talks about our personal path of discipleship and how it can be a bright path, a happy path, a loving path, and a rewarding path... when we let our faith burn bright in Christ and in the promised blessings of our Heavenly Father.  We can be like the painting of the pioneer girl.. with a spring in our step, cheerfully moving forward.

I have a tendency to sometimes get lost in the thick of thin things... I let the little things that don't matter suddenly become big things that matter too much. The misison has really helped me learn how to take a step back, prioritize things again... make sure that Christ stays at the top of the list... and then focus on the blessings that He has given me and the blessings He has promised me for obedience to His commandments. 

As we count our blessings and remember to breathe and excercise faith, we can do the impossible, we can enjoy the moments that seem impossible to get out of, and we can find sunshine even on a cloudy day :) 

Discover faith.  Let that faith lead to hope.  Let that faith and hope give you the confidence that one day everything will make sense, because of the Savior, all the wrong can be made right... Like Aunt Rose says in the story... it doesnt matter what is happening or has happened in the past... our stories can have their happy ending! :)

Take the necessary time to step back and simplify... to think of the things that matter most. Remember to count your blessings and to have faith in the blessings that the Lord has promised you! :) Serve others and love them, as you do... your stress, worries, anxiousness will all fade away and the bright path of discipleship shall shine before you and you can follow that path with a spring in your step and a smile on your face... you will keep stepping forward and grow in faith, grow in your love for God and fortify every footstep along your way to your happy ending!! :)

I love you all, I love my Heavenly Father and I love My Savior Jesus Christ!  The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints is His church and He sits at the head!! :)

Have a great week!
Hermana Fardos

Monday, January 11, 2016

Apartments, Prayers and the BEST Waffles Ever!!


Okay, this has been a really special week, with lots of special experiences. :)

First things first... Hermana Craner made us the BEST WAFFLES EVER!!  Seriously, too good to be true!! Haha!!  She is so kind, and they were so delicious -- we thoroughly enjoyed every bite!! :D

President decided that we, Hna Jara and I, should have our own house (we've been living with Hna Bringhurst and Hna Nuckles) to give us more space and freedom with our early schedule.  So, he gave us a budget and one week to find a house... so, the house hunting began.

It was kind of funny looking for houses as missionaries... we don't have GPS, or sophisticated smart phones, or really any type of "technology" to try and find a house... it just came down to knocking on doors, asking around, and following the spirit. Hna Jara and I found almost 15 houses in Asuncion... but all of them were outside of our budget.  So we went to the mission office and with Elder Zarabia's help, we began calling, working our way down a list of 30 different rental announcements.  We had no luck and we knew that our weeks deadline was coming up quickly -- so, we said a quick prayer, made the last phone call... and BOOM!  No answer... Dang it!

We went back out to work and continue searching, but we were a little discouraged... we were struggling to find a house, and everyone we contacted was rejecting us or making crazy commentaries, we felt like we were just wandering aimlessly through Asuncion.... and we were exhausted! 

So, we found a little shade on a street corner, sat down and offered another quick prayer.  Once we finished, not even 2 minutes later, a car stops right in front of us... The gentleman asked us "Are you guys looking for Bishop's house?"...  We were so surprised... we asked him if he was a member and he told us he was and proceeded to say "You look like you could use some cold water and quick rest... my wife is inside, why don't you join us for a few minutes?".

We accepted his kindness, and they sweetly recieved us in their home.  I'd say this couple was in their mid 50s, and it turns out that their oldest son is one of the bishops here in Asuncion, and that their younger son lives in Mariano Roque Alonso... and they are the Suarez family!!!  Like MY SUAREZ FAMILY!!  Adriana and Miguel Suarez!!!  They were such a special family for me -- their two little girls were just precious... Seriously, I considered them family.  And now we were sitting in the grandparents house!!  It was such a special connection! They offered us cold water and ice cream and we shared conversion stories.  We finished with a scripture and a prayer and went back on our way. 

Once we left the house, I seriously just started crying. My comp was so confused! Haha!!...  Because I'm not one to cry... but I was just so overwhelmed with gratitude -- the Lord had heard our prayer and responded so quickly in the most unexpected and personal way!!

... So, on that same street corner where we asked for a tender mercy, we were able to thank the Lord for His quick and kind response... and for showing us that our Heavenly Father is mindful of us all -- He does hear our prayers in the very moment they are offered up to Him, and He puts people in our path for a reason! :)  Still on the same street corner, after we had offered our grateful prayer of thanks, the phone rang... it was Elder Zarabia... the house we were trying so hard to find... ended up finding us!!  One of the real estate agents called with a house for us... 2 blocks from the temple and right within our price range!! :D

That little story may sound silly or insignificant, even like it could have just been a coincidence, but for me, it was so special, and exactly what I needed in the very moment I needed it! I was so grateful for how quickly the Lord answered my prayer, I was so grateful for the timing of it and the strength it gave me when I most needed it, and I am grateful that Hno. Suarez listened to the Spirit and followed the prompting to stop and inquire if we were okay. 

I know that the Lord answers our prayers and that so many times He will answer our prayers through other people like YOU!!  Many times, that subtle impression to call a friend, to hug a family member, to bring dinner to a members house, or just smile and say hello to someone on the street... Your small act of kindness, might be a big and meaningful tender mercy to the person on the recieving end. 

Thank you for all the smiles that you share, all the hugs you give, all the notes you write and all the prayers you offer up on behalf of others. They are important and they matter!! You matter!! :) You are all so very important and you can all be powerful instruments in the hands of the Lord. 

Keep doing what you do and making the world a better place!! :) 
Hna Fardos

Monday, January 4, 2016

Happy New Year EVERYONE!!

2015 was a whole calendar year without our Lauren as she has been serving in Paraguay! We are so grateful for the many blessings we have received on behalf of her service and willing heart. We are also oh-so-grateful for our many new treasured friends in Paraguay!! But we are so very excited for 2016 and the promise of Lauren's return!! 



Okay, its' still weird to think that just the other week I saw your lovely faces. You guys are the best! :D

HAPPY NEW YEAR TO EVERYONE!  This week when I was studying I came across another quote from Elder Jefferey R Holland (you can never have too many elder holland quotes :)!!) 

“The past is to be learned from but not lived in. We look back to claim the embers from glowing experiences but not the ashes. And when we have learned what we need to learn and have brought with us the best that we have experienced, then we look ahead; we remember that faith is always pointed toward the future.”

And that's what this last year now is for us!! :) Isn't it so exciting to know that we can now apply all that 2015 taught us and just make 2016 the best year ever :)!!! I  am so excited!!

This week, we as a mission are starting to read the Book of Mormon, cover to cover, again - with plans to finish before the next General Conference. I am currently in 2 Nephi and have just been loving it!  We are reading, placing a special emphasis in looking for the themes of "faith" and "repentance and baptism". It has been really special to study and see how this has been the message of the prophets since Adam. The invitation has ALWAYS been for us to exercise our faith and REPENT and be baptized, that we might be made perfect and whole through the merits of Jesus Christ. 

I am so grateful for the old as well as modern prophets that we have been blessed with, who continue inviting us to accept that loving and pierced hand that is always extended towards us.

Isn't it so special to know that here on the earth, even TODAY, we have an authorized servant of God, holding the Lords priesthood authority who is ordained and worthy to excercise such power? Isn't it lovely to know that the Lord's prophets, even Thomas S Monson, recieve direct revelation from the Father and converse with Him, like you and I talk face to face? Isn't it beautiful to know that the Father has done all this for us? That we might walk in the light :)

I am grateful to have a living prophet... I know that the windows of Heaven are not shut, but rather very much open. I know that the priesthood keys are here on Earth - allowing me to grow closer to my Heavenly Father and prepare myself with my family, for the eternities. I am grateful because I also know that the doors to revelation are very much open as well, allowing me, a daughter of God, to recieve His divine inspiration in my life. I am grateful for the prophet of God here on the Earth, and I sustain him, Thomas S Monson, as our prophet. And I am grateful for a Heavenly Father that continues invting us to come unto Him and to come unto Christ :)

To make this year the best one ever, I am going to keep myslef more centered on the Lords path by hearkening unto the words of his servants, the prophets!! :) I know that we will all be blessed if we do, because He tells us in the scriptures!! :)

For behold, thus saith the Lord God: I will give unto the children of men line upon line, precept upon precept, here a little and there a little; and blessed are those who hearken unto my precepts, and lend an ear unto my counsel, for they shall learn wisdom; for unto him that receiveth I will give more



Hermana Fardos


Merry Christmas EVERYONE!!!  

Mom, Thank you for feeding the missonaries on Christmas Eve... It is so nice getting to spend that time with a loving family who just has that special Christmas Spirit and I know that you guys were that family for them.  Also, your cards and candy canes arrived and were distributed to all of the missionaries by Santa Bryant along with some other goodies!!  Haha!!  I know all the missionaries here in PAN and all who have passed through the ward back home have your name written in their journals and on their heart. You are a doll and I love you!!

The SKYPE was amazing!!  I so appreciated seeing you guys and all the talking that we did!! :)  Seriously, Best Present Ever!!  

This week we worked hard... You guys already got the update over Skype, Haha! But we are planning this week to see if we can't pass by during the lunch break and share a small video of Christ to get them excited for the new year!

Can you belive that we are about to be in 2016?  I am preparing myself with plenty of white out because I know it will take me a few weeks to get used to writing 2016 on my papers!  Ha!! 

I am so excited for this year and all that it will bring.  I know that starting it with the Lord will bring us the most joy.  And recently I have thought of goals and accomplishments I would like to reach in 2016... :)

Here are a few of them
   - Finish the mission with honor and work till I drop
   - Say thank you more
   - Smile often
   - Look to make others smile as well
   - Count my blessings at the end of every day (I have been doing that the 
     last 3 months and has made such a difference for me :)!)

I know that my list will just get bigger as time goes on... But this year I will work my hardest and my best to show my Savior that I cherish His life that He so freely gave for my sake and also for my brothers and sisters. I hope you are all able to take some time this week to look back and see how the Lord has blessed you this year!!  I hope you all have a wonderful time brigning in 2016!!  Start it with Christ, He is anxious to be by your side!! :) 

I love you all so much!
Hermana Fardos

OH! And here is a beautiful quote that I heard this last week, that I just want to share with you all! :)

"It takes broken soil to produce a crop, broken clouds to give rain, broken grain to give bread, and broke bread to give strength. It is peter weeping bitterly who returned to greater power and strength than ever" Elder jefferey R Holland

Accept that broken bread and recieve the strength it can give this year! :)