Wednesday, January 15, 2014

Elder Zach Taylor - January 6 - 12

Much has improved this week!

First of all, funny story. My companion and I were standing out front of one of the members houses this past Monday night waiting for the member to come out so she could show us the house of one of the less actives in the branch. Just minding our own business.. when this rat comes flying out of a tree and smacks my companion in the shoulder. He freaked out a little bit.. it was a good time.

Also one thing I forgot to mention about my apartment. Since I'm living in a town that has a bunch of German people, who are generally taller, the shower head is high enough for me! Who´d have thought I'd find that in Paraguay?

I've also got to know some of the people here a lot better, which is making me feel more happy and optimistic. There's a family of less active members that we´ve been visiting called the RolĂ­n family. The mom's name is Nancy, and she lives alone there with her 7 kids. I LOVE visiting them. They're so funny and just make me laugh every time I go over. And my companion is really good with kids, so they just love having us come over. Nancy is quite an amazing person. She has her huge family and works every day, including Sundays. If she goes to church she only has time for Sacrament meeting, which is at the very end. Usually when we go talk to a less active its because they don't understand why church is important. Nancy is different.. we went to go visit her yesterday and she came out of her house with her Book of Mormon. She had been reading one of the chapters in Alma and as soon as we sat down she just started talking about how true the Book of Mormon is. She told us of all the blessings she's recieved from Heavenly Father, and even told us ¨Could you imagine how blessed I'd be if I went to church??¨ It kind of surprised me. Then the question came to mind ¨Then why in the world dont you go!?¨ She actually did come this Sunday for Sacrament meeting. I'm hoping she continues in her faith and finds the means to attend all of church with all of her family.

I had been thinking a lot about their family. The little kids always get embarassed when their mom asks them to pray or read a verse in the scriptures. I had never really thought about it before, but I realized how important it is that we start those habits young. I felt thankful to my parents for always making the whole family wait for my little brothers to pray with our family every night, for making us go to church every week, for stressing the importance of those things. I've seen a lot of families with little kids that just don't want to pray or go to church, and the parents just let them. I've seen when they get older that since they don't have those habits, its even harder to do them when asked. And I've heard awful stories about people here that have just fell off the deep end in life because they weren't built on that foundation. A family based on gospel principles is the only way to be truly happy. I'm thankful to my parents for raising me the way they did, and I know I'm going to do the same thing when I have my own.

I also had a cool experience with another less active family. Their names are Miguel and Romilda. Miguel is kind of in a tough spot with work right now and has been worried about it. We went to their house on Wednesday just to talk about church assistance. They told us the usual thing, ¨If it doesn't rain¨ or ¨If God lets us, we´ll go¨ (which is completely ridiculous, why on earth wouldn't he let you go?!).. I'll tell ya these Paraguayans have some pretty lame excuses sometimes. But I opened up my Book of  Mormon and it fell open to a scripture I had marked. I felt prompted to have Miguel read it, so he did. I also had him read another right after when Christ tells us to not worry about how we´ll make it through tomorrow, just look for god first in your life and he´ll give you what you need. After having read, I could see a distinct change in his attitude about the church. It wasn't much, but at the end when I invited him again to go, he gave me a definite yes. And he went, along with his wife. It was a witness to me that the scriptures do have power to change people, and it is so important that we read them.

We had 36 people in attendance at church this week, compared to our 13 last week. I know we've been blessed for the small efforts we've been making.

All in all, this week was a good time for me to appreciate all that I had and have, and the ways the Lord has blessed me in my life. Being here has filled me with desires to live as close to God as possible, because I've witnessed the difference it makes in peoples lives. Hope you all have a good week! :)

Elder Taylor 

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