December 22, 2014

Merry Christmas!

Woohooo!!!!! Christmas is this week!!!! I'm seriously so excited.
We had our Christmas Devotional last Friday night with another missionary zone. (I am in Zona Parana, and we did it with Zona Encarnacion). President LaPierre, his wife, and the Assistants came. We did a nativity scene and sang a bunch of Christmas hymns (like what we normally do with the grandparents and cousins, except it was with a bunch of Elders and Sisters haha). Then we watched the video of "El es la Dadiva" ("He is the Gift"). It was wonderful and lovely! I could really feel that the people who put the video together put in a lot of thought and spirit. After the video, we had the opportunity to take the sacrament. I didn't know that we could take the sacrament on other days of the week, but apparently mission presidents have the authority to okay that. It was so good to be able to think of the birth of Christ in the short video, and then right afterward reflect that through His life and death we can live again.
We also ate a Christmas dinner of rice and chicken, then had a few activities to play (they had plastic bowling sets, a giant coloring book that they wanted everyone to sign, and sugar cookies to decorate). We each even got a stocking with a new journal and candies inside! It was definitely a lot of fun and a great experience. 
We have our Pday on Christmas this week (we have permission to write our families today, but that's about it). So on Christmas, Hna Palacio and I are thinking about making something to give our neighbors, and we are trying to find out if we can go caroling at the hospital. But other than that, everything shuts down on Christmas- we’ll probably be at home most of the day. But I'm so excited to go caroling to everyone Christmas Eve!
"For unto us a child is born, unto us a son is given; and the government shall be upon his shoulder: and his name shall be called Wonderful, Counsellor, the mighty God, the everlasting Father, the Prince of Peace."
Isaiah 9:6 and 2 Nephi 19:6

I know that Jesus is the Christ, the Son of God. He really was born of Mary, a virgin, in Bethlehem. He is the descendent of David the King, He fulfilled the Law of Moses, and through His Atonement we can be changed, we can be saved.

Wish I had more time! I love you all!!!!! Have a very Merry Christmas!
Peace on earth, Goodwill towards men,

Hermana Simmons

December 15, 2014

Another letter from me

Life goes on, here in Obligado. (See web photos of Obligado here.)

We have been working so much with the Pintos family and Estefani­a lately, that we haven't had much time to go out and meet new people to teach. Now that the members are helping more with the Pintos and Estefania, Hna Palacio and I have been doing A LOT of walking and A LOT of talking and A LOT of searching, searching, searching. We know God has more people prepared to talk with us here, but the question is just a matter of finding them.

This week we will have our Christmas Devotional with Pte LaPierre and his wife. I'm super excited. It doesn't feel like the Christmas season at all with all this heat, although a surprising amount of people did actually put up Christmas lights (most people here in South America don't. They mostly just eat a ton of grilled meat Christmas day and set off fireworks at night to celebrate). But it's nice to be in an area where a lot of people like to celebrate Christmas.

Something that really has astounded me here in the mission is the number of people I have met that are just genuinely good. Sure, I've met a couple of shady characters, but so many people are just so wonderful! There's an older man named Severiano (I think I mentioned him before), and the other day he had an accident while riding his bike to work. He has a huge bandage covering his eye now and can't go out to work and does not know how he is going to be able to pay his rent and buy food this month if he misses a week of work. But as we talked with him, he just shared his testimony with us that he knows God will take care of him and that something good will come of this experience.

We shared 1 Nephi 17:50 "And I said unto them: If God had commanded me to do all things I could do them. If he should command me that I should say unto this water, be thou earth, it should be earth; and if I should say it, it would be done." With God, ALL things are possible!

Hope everyone is enjoying all their Christmas finals (hehe. That's one benefit of being in the mission... no final exams!)

Love you all!

Hermana Simmons

familia pintos!!!! aren't they lovely????

December 09, 2014

hello hello hello

Short letter week! I'm going to type fast so that I have time to send some pictures (If I can figure out this computer).
Hermana Palacio and I are spending our Pday here in Encarnacion because we were supposed to be crossing the border to Argentina today to do some immigration paperwork, but apparently the office Elders got confused because all the offices are closed. So we get to spend the day here in the "big city." I officially bought a sombrero!
More information on my companion! She is from Santiago, Argentina (well, that`s not actually the name. It's actually Santiago del Stero or Santiago de Estero or something like that). This is only her fourth transfer in the mission. She's great, but she gets really stressed really easily. Lots of times we have to stop to sit down while we are out working because she gets stress headaches all the time. I'm definitely trying to help her out as much as I can; I remember how difficult and slow the first few months of the mission seemed. But now I feel like the time is just flying by! I don't actually understand how I am almost at the halfway mark. It actually kind of weirds me out.
But anyway, that was our week! Exciting, right? We had transfers, which took up a whole day, then we went the four hour trip to Itapua Poty the next day, and then we had a baptism (a little girl named Estefania! She is awesome!), and then we both got sick and have been traveling. Exciting stuff haha.
2 Nephi 4 is absolutely my favorite chapter of scripture. Everyone should read this every morning to start every day. It's that fabulous.
 "27) And why should I yield to sin, because of my flesh? Yea, why should I give way to temptations, that the evil one have place in my heart to destroy my peace and afflict my soul? Why am I angry because of mine enemy? 
28) Awake, my soul! No longer droop in sin. Rejoice, O my heart, and give place no more for the enemy of my soul."
Have a wonderful, fabulous, marvelous, awesome, just all-around great week!

Hermana Simmons

December 01, 2014


Happy First Day of December!!!!

This last Saturday Familia Pintos had their baptism. It was beautiful! The Dad (Doroteo), and his four kids (Diego, Cristina, Francisco, and Maria Fernanda) all decided to be baptized. Then Sunday in church they were confirmed as members of the Church and given the gift of the Holy Ghost. They really are wonderful, fantastic, spectacular people. A lot of their family came, even a sister who lives seven hours away in Ciudaddel Este! She drove the entire way on a motorcycle, carrying a cake to celebrate!

Transfers again this week! I'm staying here! Again!!!!! I seriously love this area. This will be my fourth transfer here. Hermana Garcia is going to Pilar. My new companion's name is Hermana Palacio. That's really all I know about her, I've never met her before. This Wednesday is when everybody changes, so we'll be packing like crazy tonight!

I am going to be reading one chapter of Luke every night as my "Countdown to Christmas." We've done it as a family every year for as long as I can remember, and it's always been a tradition I love! I'm excited to spend a little more time to be studying the life and mission of Jesus Christ.

"And we talk of Christ, we rejoice in Christ, we preach of Christ, we prophesy of Christ, and we write according to our prophecies, that our children may know to what source they may look for a remission of their sins." 2 Nephi 25:26

I know that through our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ we can all come to trust and have faith in Him and our Father in Heaven. We can repent and be baptized for the remission of our sins, we can receive the Holy Ghost as a guide, and we can persevere through times of trial and times of triumph. I love Him and am so grateful for this Christmas season!


Hermana Simmons

P.S. Most families don't celebrate Christmas very much, but I have seen quite a few Christmas lights. And one of the cities where we work, Obligado, is a lot more modernized, and they actually have a ton of Christmas decorations in the downtown area. It's just a little strange to be out walking in 35 degree heat and seeing a nativity scene or a giant fake Christmas tree.

November 25, 2014

Another week!

Happy Late Thanksgiving!

To celebrate Thanksgiving, we decided to have our Zone Meeting on Thursday instead of Tuesday. After the meeting, Hna Garcia and I made tacos and we all ate together as a zone. And yeah, that's about it. It's not a holiday that's celebrated outside of the U.S.- which I knew beforehand, but it was still weird to have the day actually arrive and not be eating turkey.

We went to Itapua Poty again to meet with this family. The dad and his four kids have all decided to be baptized this Saturday!!!!! The mom wants to wait and learn a bit more and be more sure in her decision, but the rest of the family is super excited and can't wait! They really are wonderful people and Hna Garcia  and I love them so much! The kids speak spanish, but the parents speak a lot more in Guarani. When we go, we try to learn new phrases and words that we can use. So now I can say "I know God lives." "Yo se que Dios vive." "Chekua nandejara oikoveja." Trilingual! haha nope, not even close. But it's fun to learn something new.

I finished reading the Book of Mormon in Spanish this past week. Yay! When I got to Moroni 10:3-5 I accepted Moroni's challenge. First, I wrote out all the instances in the scriptures and in my life where God has been merciful. Then, I wrote out what I believe to be true, and thought about my testimony. To finish, I decided to pray and ask God if these things were all true- if He really exists, if He really loves us, if the Book of Mormon really contains His gospel. 
And it is true. All of it. I know God lives; I know He loves us. I know the Book of Mormon to be the word of God. I know that it compliments and strengthens the Bible. I know God is merciful. I know that this is His true Church.

I love you all! Have a fantastic week!
Hermana Simmons

P.S.  I definitely want to read more of and about Isaiah. They really encourage us here to just focus on learning the Preach My Gospel lessons really well, and only focus on learning the doctrine that is relevant to our investigators. But so many times in the scriptures we are commanded and recommended to read and study Isaiah. Hopefully I'll be able to find some time here to start reading.

Yep, I am definitely going to try to send pictures this next week! But the place where we are writing right now doesn't have a USB connection spot, so I can't upload anything.

November 17, 2014

The Church is true!

Busy week!

We got to travel to an area called Itapua Poty this week! There is a family who lives there, and they have woken up at 5 am the past three weeks to make it to church (in Obligado, Paraguay)! They are super interested, and so we got to ride the three hours in colectivo out to where they live to visit them this week. The entire area is just field and farmland! I can honestly say that Paraguay is one of the most beautiful places I have ever been to! Parts of the trip all that was in sight were just rolling hills of vibrant green and bright yellow sunflowers! The sky was also a clear, clear blue with picturesque puffy white clouds. I'll have to try and take pictures when we go back!

This Sunday we talked with the family after church and shared with them how the true Church of Jesus Christ has been restored on the earth today- how God continues to call prophets and how the gospel blesses families. When we explained about the First Vision, and later about the Book of Mormon, there was just the sweetest, warmest spirit in the room.

I know that God loves us! I know He continues to be a God of miracles, a God of love. And that's why He has given us this gospel, to teach and help us grow. I know Joseph Smith was a prophet of God. He truly saw God the Father and Jesus Christ that spring morning of 1820. I know that we have a living prophet today to lead and guide us. I know God hears and answers our prayers. "If any of you lack wisdom, let him ask of God, which giveth to all men liberally and upbraideth not, and it shall be given him. But let him ask in faith, nothing wavering." James 1:5

The only way to know the truth is to ask God in faith!

Love you all! Have a marvelous week!
Hermana Simmons

November 11, 2014

Bishapa? (sp?) - that´s “how are you” in guarani

This week just flew by again! Here are some of the things that have been going on.
I was sick with I don't know what on Wednesday. That was frustrating. We still went out and did some work, but had to keep heading back to the chapel to fill our water bottles and I had to rest.
Last Saturday a man (he is in his mid 60s) went to the temple for the first time! He speaks Guarani and scarcely any Spanish, so meeting with him is kind of tough. However he is just the cutest little old grandpa I have ever met! He was able to go and do baptisms with the Branch, and in church on Sunday he was just glowing and so happy to have been able to go.
We all can press on in doing what is right! D&C 64: 33 "Wherefore, be not weary in well-doing, for ye are laying the foundation of a great work. And out of small things proceedeth that which is great." 
I love you all! Have a wonderful day!
Hermana Simmons


P.S. When we stay inside all day (like when it rained hard all day) we mostly do things that we have been wanting to do but never have time for. Sometimes we study a weird principle that we have questions on, or we clean the pension, or wash clothes, or cook a real meal, or hna garci­a teaches me traditional mexican dance (it´s awesome), or we'll sleep. We mostly like to catch up on sleep!

Also, we definitely never know what people are feeling or thinking on the inside. We have been working a lot here with a less active member who is only twelve years old and has attempted suicide three times now. She is better now, but we still worry about and pray for her a lot. All we can do is be kind and loving to everyone we meet, no matter what.

November 03, 2014

Hola Todos

Happy Monday!

Today we helped clean a house. I'm not sure we should have been cleaning without gas masks or those yellow toxic suits, but whatever. I'm not sure she has thrown anything (really, I mean ANYTHING) away in the past few years, but it was fun to hear the stories behind everything and see some of the pictures.

It has been raining crazy hard here this past week, and three days we had to stay inside because they cut the power and it was raining super hard. We got to go out for a few hours, but there really wasn't much we could do.

We went on divisions this past week, so I got to spend a day in Encarnacion (Paraguay). I also got to wear a straw hat because the sun is super bright and hot. Hna Craven lent me one, but I'm thinking about buying one of my own soon. Enjoy the attached picture haha.

Being in the mission I get a very good idea of my own weaknesses and shortcomings, and lots of the weaknesses and shortcomings of other people as well. I (like everyone else) absolutely loved President Uchtdorf's conference talk when he asked us to stop judging others just because they sin differently than we do. I found these scriptures enlightening as well "For whosoever shall keep the whole law, and yet offend in one point, he is guilty of all. For he that said, Do not commit adultery, said also, Do not kill. Now if thou commit no adultery, yet if thou kill, thou art become a transgressor of the law." James 2:10-11. God does not look upon ANY sin with the least degree of allowance. Whether I go about stabbing people with knives or whether I go about hurting people with words the result is the same. I am acting contrarily to God's will. My Heavenly Father is merciful, loving, and kind, but He is also perfectly just. We must always attempt our best, and then allow the repentance process to heal us when our best is not enough.

I love you all! Have a marvelous week!

Hna Simmons

Here is the Casa de Oracion where we have our meetings. It's next to a beer store. We're on the second floor.

This is what the language Guarani looks like. We have a few copies of the Book of Mormon in Guarani, but hardly anyone can read it. Most people speak Guarani and Spanish, but only read in Spanish. For whatever reason, Guarani is easier to speak but Spanish is easier to read.

October 27, 2014

Feliz Lunes!

Another transfer has come and gone, and I'm still here in Obligado with Hermana Garci­a! Woohoo! We both love it here and love the Branch and all the people. Now we will have three transfers together in this area. We are going to try and make it four. But now I have probably just jinxed myself haha.
We have been working a lot with a man named Juan these past few weeks. He is a member of the church but has been struggling a lot lately and hadn't come to church, or been praying, or reading the scriptures for quite some time. But we really felt like we needed to start visiting with him, for some reason we couldn't forget about him. Anyway, the other day in one of our lessons he told us that just a few weeks ago he had been considering never going to church again, he felt that he was failing God, and didn't think he would ever be able to go back. But then he said really soon after he started thinking this we arrived and started visiting with him, and he always looks forward to the lessons because he feels something different when we are there. Then he told us that when he went back to church for the first time he felt that same feeling of happiness and goodness again! He has been working a lot to repair some of his mistakes, but he has a true desire to change and be changed by Christ.
Titus 3:2-4 My companion and I have been studying about charity and trying to develop a more Christlike love for everybody here. "To speak evil of no man, to be no brawlers, but gentle, shewing all meekness unto all men. For we ourselves also were sometimes foolish, disobedient, deceived, serving divers lusts and pleasures, living in malice and envy, hateful, and hating one another. But after that the kindness and love of God our Saviour toward man appeared," We can stop judging and criticizing others because we too make mistakes. We can start loving and helping others because we have seen the example that Christ gives us.
I LOVE you all and hope even more that you know that Christ loves you about a bajillion times more than anything we can imagine!
Have a marvelous week!

Hermana Simmons

October 20, 2014

heat and help

Short email this week!

It's hot. As in, "I have never sweated so much in my entire life, I didn't know it was even possible to drink 6 bottles of water and then sweat it all out in 6 hours" hot. yeah. It’s great. haha. But hey, I’m getting awesomely tanned and my hair is slowly becoming more and more blonde. Maybe all this heat will just turn me into a supermodel by the end of the summer haha.

Wow, and with the heat I have received such a strong testimony that CHRIST STRENGTHENS US. We can literally receive physical strength and be comforted as we pray for the help we need. When we humble ourselves and keep God’s commandments, we will be worthy to receive His divine power. There have been times when I thought I would not be able to keep walking, but when I prayed and asked for help, it is as if all of a sudden my entire mindset changes. I’m happier, I don’t feel so tired, I realize that I can keep going, and keep a good attitude at the same time.

"And thus we see that the commandments of God must be fulfilled. And if it so be that the children of men keep the commandments of God he doth nourish them, and strengthen them, and provide means whereby they can accomplish the thing which he has commanded them; wherefore, he did provide means for us while we did sojourn in the wilderness." 1 Nephi 17:3

Love you all!

Hermana Simmons

P.S. I ran into Elder Gallini!  Haha I don't remember how we are related (and neither does he), but his mom did let him know that he had a distant cousin or something here in the same mission.

Elder Josh Gallini
(son of Heidi Breinholt)

October 13, 2014

Another Week :)

This week we had interviews with President LaPierre, and they went well! It really is amazing how devoted he and his wife are to their mission, the missionaries, the people here, everything! Talking with them makes me want to do better!

Yesterday in our testimony meeting, nearly all of the members went up to bear their testimonies. We would have gone over time, but the Branch President thinks that the "one hour and ten minutes" of sacrament is fixed in stone, plus everybody was hungry from fasting, so he got up right on time to close the meeting haha. But it was great, the Spirit was so strong as everyone shared how they knew that God our Father lives and that we are His children, and that through His Son, Jesus Christ, we can be saved.

Also, we taught the Principles of the Gospel class to our one investigator who came and to a few other less active members. We asked one man to give the opening prayer, and he started to get nervous and told us he didn't think he could do it. We assured him he could, and just then our investigator, a woman named Flavia, also began to encourage him! She explained to him in Guarani that all he had to do was start with Heavenly Father, give thanks, ask blessings, and close in the name of Jesus Christ! It was great to see her share her own testimony of prayer! And in the end, Severiano gave the opening prayer and was so happy that he did!
Good news!!!!!! I talked with my old companion, Hna Tapia. She told me that she got in touch with my other old companion, Hna Gunter, who is still in Santo Tome. Mariela and Fernando, the couple who got married and then both were baptized, are both still very strong in the gospel! Mariela is a teacher in the Relief Society, Fernando received the priesthood, and a few of their children have decided to be baptized as well!!!!! Seriously, I am so excited and happy for them. They changed so much in the short time that I knew them, and their life just keeps getting better and better! Christ can truly change people! He can change us if we let Him!
Oh, and on Saturday Hna Garcia and I missed the bus from Trinidadback to Hohenau ("missed" is one way to describe it, "the bus drivers come up with their own schedules and change their minds all the time" is another haha) Anyway, we ended up walking from Trinidad to our apartment in Hohenau. It took us a little over two hours, and that is walking at a decent pace, and only stopping to rest once (for about 4 or 5 minutes). But hey, now we can tell all the members in Trinidad that they never have an excuse to not come to church, because it IS possible to walk all the way there.

I remember learning in Sunday School that the first law of heaven (or something like that) is obedience. D&C 63:5 "Behold, I, the Lord, utter my voice, and it shall be obeyed." God is completely loving, merciful, patient, etc. But He is also perfectly just. We must obey His commandments and turn our hearts over to Him to partake of His mercies. Obedience brings blessings, and exact obedience brings miracles!
I love you all! Have a great week! Sorry this letter is so long!

Hermana Simmons


Yep, It's definitely "primitive" at times, but the way I see it I only "have" to live primitively for a year and a half, while basically everyone here lives like this their whole life. I'm glad I get the chance to really see how blessed I have been in my life. I'm considering that one day when I have my own kids we'll have to do a "Mission Week" once a year, where we can't use dishwashers, washing machines,  dryers, toasters, microwaves, etc... Where everyone has to do their own cooking (from scratch), and the electricity gets shut off every once in a while and we take cold showers haha. 

Julia and Bernardo decided to not get married. In the end, Bernardo didn't want to spend the money (they really are quite poor), and we did EVERYTHING (honestly, everything) in our power to help them. So Julia couldn't get baptized. And now she thinks that she will never be able to get baptized (she has had several baptismal dates fall through), and so she thinks it would be better to just stop taking the discussions all together. It's pretty sad. She still has a strong testimony, but she is just letting Satan's sadness and disillusionment get the better of her. We are hoping that in a few days or weeks she will change her mind.

But, there are other people who are progressing and who are doing really well!

Also, not much has been said here about that new movie ("Meet the Mormons"), but it sounds great! I guess I just have to wait another year to see it with you all. I'm glad everybody is doing well! Love you!

October 06, 2014


We are in the rainy season here! The other day started out unbearably hot, so Hermana Garcia and I left the apartment without umbrellas. That was a mistake. About two hours later the downpour started. We were without jackets, boots, umbrellas, grocery bags to protect our books. And we were a 20 minute walk from the apartment (and that's in good weather conditions when we can walk quickly). It was actually pretty fun. We got completely soaked, head to toe. After a few minutes we stopped trying to avoid puddles, because honestly, it wasn't making any difference. We marched through the fields, on the pebbled paths, and muddy dirt roads (that had converted into muddy running streams) as if they were all pavement. But we survived, and in the process we met some other good people who also got caught by surprise in the storm.
General Conference was amazing! I didn't understand everything, but I did understand a lot. I can truly testify of the gift of tongues and the gift of interpretation of tongues, because Heavenly Father helps me so much. Even when I can't understand every single word that someone says, I do understand almost completely the message or idea that they are conveying. I especially loved the talk by President Uchtdorf and the talk by Elder Hales. It was also exciting to have some of the speakers speak directly in Spanish.

I loved conference, and I loved hearing the prophet! I know Thomas S. Monson is the living prophet on the earth today, and he receives guidance and direction for us. It is so important to give heed to what they tell us.  "Wherefore, the prophets, and the priests, and the teachers, did labor diligently, exhorting with all long-suffering the people to diligence; teaching the law of Moses, and the intent for which it was given; persuading them to look forward unto the Messiah, and believe in him to come as though he already was. And after this manner did they teach them. And it came to pass that by so doing they kept them from being destroyed upon the face of the land; for they did prick their hearts with the word, continually stirring them up unto repentance." Jarom 1:11-12

We need to always "prick our hearts with the word" by listening to the counsels of our prophet, and always be in the process of repentance!

Sorry I can't respond to any letters this week! We are a little short on time!

Love you all!

Hermana Simmons

September 29, 2014


Feliz Primavera! (Sunday was officially the first day of Spring here)
This week I think Heavenly Father really wanted Hna Garci­a and me to learn about free agency. We had scheduled the wedding and baptism of Julia and Bernardo for this Saturday, and so we planned on traveling out to Trinidad (where they live, about 20 minutes away in bus) every single day this week to support and encourage them. We truly love their family and want the best for them. We even fasted last Saturday so that this past week we wouldn’t have rain and Bernardo would be able to get to his work- and even though it was cloudy and windy all week, it only rained once and that was only for about fifteen minutes. It would rain at night, or in other parts of town, but where he worked and where they live it was nice and dry.

But in the end, Julia was not able to be baptized this week. They simply couldn't afford to pay the judge the fee for their wedding. It was really difficult for them to reach this conclusion, but we are going to keep visiting her and her husband to help them strengthen their testimonies and put their trust in the Lord. Please keep praying for them!
Really, that is pretty much all we did this week. We have been traveling out to Trinidad a lot, and I feel like all week we just talked about how we could help her family and we studied all the blessings that God has in store for His children. And is truly humbling to realize that if I, who have only known Julia for a few weeks, can feel so much concern for her and her family, how much more concern does God have for her? His love for us must be so unimaginably huge! His true "work and glory" really IS to bring to pass "the immortality and eternal life of man." He wants ALL of His children to come home to Him, it must be heartbreakingly sad when one of His children decides not to listen. It motivates me to be more obedient, more humble, more patient, and just a better person in general!

"For God so loved the world, that he gave his only begotten Son, that whosoever believeth in him should not perish, but have everlasting life.
 For God sent not his Son into the world to condemn the world; but that the world through him might be saved." John 3:16-17
I love you all! I know my Savior lives! I know my Heavenly Father loves me and you and all His children! This Gospel is marvelous, and God’s plan is wonderful!

Hermana Simmons

There are so many people that struggle with things way bigger than what we can imagine, that we are never ever justified in judging someone because we have no idea why they are the way they are. The Branch President's son here is often bullied and teased in school. The kids say he smells bad and never showers, that he can't speak right and is always yelling. What they don't know is that Enzo is deaf in one ear, so he yells because he can't tell how loud he is speaking, he has speaking problems because his dad also speaks very slurred and difficult to understand, and his ear clogs up because it doesn't function properly and that's why sometimes it smells strange. People can be cruel; we all just need to be a little more patient and loving.

Thanks for your letter! I LOVE the pictures! I love and miss you!
Hermana Simmons

September 22, 2014

I love being a missionary!

Hola Hola!
This past week has been, in a word, loca. (If I were forced to choose another word, though, I would choose "purete", which is basically Spanish for amazing)

We have been meeting with a woman named Julia for several weeks now. She is so ready and excited to be baptized, but has been trying to save up money to get married as well. Hna Garci­a and I have been praying and studying a lot to help her for a while now, and we felt that the time was right and Heavenly Father would work miracles if we just set the goal and did all the possible (and impossible) to help Julia and Bernardo (her boyfriend) get married.

We all fasted together, and the miracles keep coming! First off, Bernardo has not been able to work the past few days because of the pouring rain. Since our fast, the sky has been completely clear and sunny! Second, it normally costs 300 mil guarani to get married on a Saturday, but we talked with the judge and she said it would be totally fine to knock the price down to only 250 mil. Third, Bernardo at first did not want to spend the money to get married. He said that they already had two daughters and were living together and he did not see the point in making anything official. But we talked to him about Heavenly Father’s plan for eternal families, and now he is working just as hard as Julia to help make this wedding happen! Ah! This week has been amazing.
On a side note, I found out that I am allergic to a bug here. I can’t remember what it is called, but I think it is some kind of mosquito. Anyway, it bit me right on the ring finger of my right hand, and my finger got super red and started to throb. The next day, it had swollen a ton. So on Sunday while visiting a sister, we showed her my hand, hoping to receive some advice on how to make it improve quickly. Without even waiting she told me she had the cure. She grabbed a bottle from her medicine cabinet and began pouring a little bit of the liquid onto my hand. It helped a lot! When I asked her what was in the bottle, she told me it was alcohol and marijuana! So that was probably the closest I have ever gotten to drugs haha.
I can’t believe that I hit my six month mark this week! The time has flown by! But I really do enjoy being out here. I love this area and I love all these people! In Mosiah 8:18 I found a scripture that I liked. "Thus God has provided a means that man, through faith, might work mighty miracles; therefore he becometh a great benefit to his fellow beings" I can truly testify that when we trust in God and have righteous desires, we can see miracles happen in our lives. I know that I am exactly where my Heavenly Father wants me to be, and I am so grateful for Jesus Christ and that through faith in Him I can serve these Paraguayans, because they truly are amazing!
love you all! Have a wonderful week!

Hermana Simmons

Yeah, I’m starting to be extraordinarily grateful that I am going to be in the mission for two "winters" instead of two summers. The "winter" here is not winter at all. And I can’t even imagine the heat that is going to start arriving come December and January. And I think God understands that I absolutely hate feeling sweaty and hot, so that is why I had to wait to start my mission in March, so I would only have to make it through one South American Summer!

Thanks for your letter! I love you!!

Hna Simmons

And thank you for the information! haha At least now I know not to waste any money buying those chia seeds. My companion and I bought some last week just to see what they were like, but we really don’t like the taste and didn’t want to be eating them for nothing haha.
Honestly, I don’t think my skin would be this bad, but it’s the fact that we give "besitos" every time we meet with people. Instead of saying “hi" or shaking hands or just giving a hug, people go up and do the whole cheek to cheek salutation thing. I'm so accustomed to it now I am worried that when I get off the plane in a year to say hello to everyone I’ll start giving besitos instead of hugs!
Thanks for your letter! Love you!

Hna Simmons

September 15, 2014


Feliz Lunes!
Well, summer is definitely coming. I thought that it was hot earlier, but now it is just getting hotter. And the natives say that this is only Spring. Woohoo haha. Bring it on, I say. Also, I am getting some fairly awesome tan lines from my shoes and my watch, and my hair has changed color. When people in the mission office see my passport photo, they don’t believe me when I say that I have not dyed my hair blonder here in the field. The sun just bleaches it a ton.
In further news, we have been waging a war in our apartment this past week. A desperate battle over the kitchen floor. We have killed five cockroaches in the past few days. FIVE COCKROACHES. And that’s not counting flies, ants, or other little bugs. Today we thoroughly thoroughly thoroughly swept and mopped and mopped some more. And then we sprayed bug killer all around the floorboards and doorways and everywhere. I guess the good news is that I am not so terrified of spiders anymore. Instead of running and shrieking away from bugs, Hna Garci­a and I run and shriek towards them so we can just kill them and get it over with haha.
This week a woman named Flavia came to church with us, and she also brought her boyfriend, which was amazing because we have not even been able to talk with him yet. She raised her four children alone and now owns a small kiosk and is living with her boyfriend. She is an incredibly strong person, and I really admire how receptive she is to the Spirit. Even though they live half an hour away from the church, she got on her motorcycle and drove out here because she truly has a desire to know and understand the truth. There are so many different churches and denominations here, and Flavia wants to know which of all truly comes from God.

I have been reading a lot in Alma lately. I absolutely love the discourse he gives in chapter five, and this week I really want to study more the questions he puts to the people. These scriptures really are inspired and, to me at least, hit me directly in the heart. It is a chapter I like to read again and again because I always have a lot of room to improve, and the questions Alma poses are really the questions that matter. "Have ye walked, keeping yourselves blameless before God? Could ye say, if ye were called to die at this time, within yourselves, that ye have been sufficiently humble? That your garments have been cleansed and made white through the blood of Christ, who will come to redeem his people from their sins?" Alma 5:27
Love you all! Have a marvelous week!

Hermana Simmons


Yes, and definitely here in the mission field I see the whole spectrum of missionaries. People who use any type of anything as an excuse to not work, and people who refuse to go back to the pension until they contact "just one more" house. It really depends on the person if we let the mission change us. I have been reading a talk titled "The Fourth Missionary" by Lawrence Colbridge (or something like that). It is fantastic, and I definitely recommend you all to read it. Because it doesn’t apply just to being a missionary, but the type of person we want to become. If we want to serve the Lord unhappily and with resentment, or wholeheartedly witholding nothing. When we keep the commandments because we truly love God and want to please Him, we will receive the blessings promised. But if we do not give our hearts and minds over to God, in the end it will be as if we had not kept the commandments at all.

Love you!!!!!

Hna Simmons

September 08, 2014

Hey hey hey

Well, this is going to be short.

Transfers have come and gone. And I am staying here in Obligado with Hermana Garcia! Woohoo! We have officially made it one of our companionship goals to get healthy and lose weight this transfer. We walk a lot, but we eat way too much arroz con leche and way too little fruits and veggies. The pounds have added on. It’s fantastic haha. But we know we will feel better and be able to focus more on the work if we are eating right and exercising. God gave us the Word of Wisdom for a reason!

Since it was our last P-day as a zone, we went to a fancy restaurant and ate a buffet! Then we went and played volleyball on the beach, across the water from Argentina. Probably not the greatest idea to eat so much and then go run around in the Paraguayan sun, but igual no mas. It was fun and we enjoyed it.

A HUGE shout out and thank you to the Mahler family! haha I got 3 letters from you this past week when our zone leaders went to Posadas and picked up the snail-mail. I loved reading them and seeing all the pictures!

One thing I have loved about the mission is how much I have learned to love learning and working! There are so many people around me and everyone knows so much, I am so grateful that Heavenly Father has given me this opportunity to learn and grow. Whether it is learning to cook traditional Paraguayan food or the steps to Mexican folkloric dances (Hna Garcia is the best!), I am always learning!

But the greatest learning experiences are always when I am reading the scriptures, sitting in church, or in a discussion with an investigator. The Spirit really does teach and testify when we are ready and willing to learn! God truly grants us knowledge and gives us the energy and help we need to make it through everything we face in life. "let us labor diligently; for if we should cease to labor, we should be brought under condemnation; for we have a labor to perform whilst in this tabernacle of clay, that we may conquer the enemy of all righteousness, and rest our souls in the kingdom of God." Moroni 9:6

This life is our time to develop our faith, to trust in the Lord, and act in accordance with the knowledge He has granted us. When we do our part, God does the rest. And in the end, and we look back, we realize that God really was doing everything all along and He just let us have the privilege of being the instrument in His hands.

I hope that this makes sense.

I love you all! Have a great week!

Hermana Simmons


Malena progresses, but her Mom has noticed how much Malena is interested, and has become a bit more set in her Catholic traditions. Before she wasn’t so Catholic, but it seems that since she has rejected the lessons she has become even more against having anything to do with us. Which is sad because Malena has so much potential. Hopefully when Malena is older she will remember the missionaries and try to take the lessons again. 

And yes, it took us 6 hours to get to Asuncion! it was long, but it was definitely worth it!

Luckily we haven't had to address anything with same sex marriage yet. But I`m sure it will probably come up sometime in my mission.

Thanks for the email! Love you!
hna simmons

September 01, 2014

I am running out of subject titles...

Wow, thank you to everyone who wrote me letters this week! I promise I will try to do better next week at responding to them all!

This week we had a multi-zone conference of the missionaries here in Paraguay. I loved all of the activities and messages that were shared. Honestly, I felt God´s love so strongly not just for me but for the people here in Paraguay and Argentina. I left the conference with a lot of desire to just go out and work!

Hna Garci­a and I have been visiting with a girl named Malena. She is 14 years old and has a lot of interest in learning more about God and about Jesus Christ. The other day we felt impressed to share some scriptures about the Atonement of Jesus Christ. As we read and discussed, I could feel the Spirit begin to fill the room. Malena began to cry and it was hard for me to speak as I was sharing my testimony of Jesus Christ. I could just feel so strongly that every word being spoken was true, every word in the scriptures testifies of things that have actually happened and as they really are.

Last week I had to travel to Asuncion to fill out some paperwork with a couple other missionaries, so I got to visit the temple there! It is absolutely gorgeous!

Also, in Asuncion they have a McDonald's, a Burger King, and a Pizza Hut. But rather than just being little fast food places on the corner, these restaurants look like palaces here. They are HUGE! And they are also a little expensive since they are brands from the U.S.. It was a little funny to see how fancy everything was, but it was fantastic to be able to eat a "real" American pizza for the first time in a few months!

I know that Jesus Christ lives. He is the Son of God, and our Savior. Through His atoning sacrifice we can repent and return to live with Him and with our Heavenly Father. My invitation to all of you is the same invitation extended by an ancient prophet in the Book of Mormon "And now, I would commend you to seek this Jesus of whom the prophets and apostles have written, that the grace of God the Father, and also the Lord Jesus Christ, and the Holy Ghost, which beareth record of them, may be and abide in you forever. Amen." Ether 12:41

I love you all! Have a fantastic week!
Hermana Simmons


And it sounds like everything is working out well for everyone right now. It´s weird to think that life just goes on, even though I´m halfway across the world. It seems like everybody is already so different, and I haven´t even been gone that long! You all look great! Thanks for the photos! I love and miss you!!!!


That is something that I have definitely wanted to do more here on my mission, is learn more of family history. We talk a lot about the temple and the ordinances, and the other day it hit me how terrifying it would be to be a member of the church but not be able to be sealed to a family member. That happens a lot here where only one person in the family will be an active member, and they want the blessings of the temple, but they can´t force their family members to get baptized and worthy to go to the temple. I don´t know why but it just reminds me how lucky I am to have been born in the covenant, to have the ability to choose a future husband who can take me to the temple, and have the opportunity to help all of my ancestors also partake of those ordinances. 

And random thought on the temple distance. A few sundays ago one of the sisters got up and bore her testimony about the temple. The nearest temple is in Asuncion, which is about 6 hours away from here. She bore her testimony that the people here are so lucky and blessed to have a temple so close!!! It really made me think. If this sister here in Argentina can feel so incredibly lucky to have a temple only 6 hours away, and within the borders of her own country, then how much more effort do we need to put in to attending the temple when it is only 6 minutes away! It reminds me of the saying "where much is given much is required"

hna simmons

Myself and my travel companion, Hermana Craven, at the Asuncion temple.

August 25, 2014

This Week...

This week was an exciting week of animals!

1) We visited with a woman who has a ton of huge trees in her backyard, and there are a ton of little monkeys that love to play around up there. While we were talking with her, one even came down and started playing around in the dog house at the foot of the tree!

2) There are parrots everywhere here! I got to hold one. It was fantastic.

3) There is a lizard that lives in our apartment building (not actually inside our apartment, but out in the hallway). He only comes out at night. I'm not sure why I felt like this was an important point to clarify, but I have already typed it out and it's not worth erasing.

Also, we often have to ride public buses to get from one of our areas to another. These buses want to make as much money as possible, so they always let as many people on the bus as will physically fit. This week my companion and I got on the bus (not realizing how full it was), and had to stay standing up front, on the stairs that lead up to the bus. Then more people wanted to get on. Rather than telling them no, the bus driver and his assistant asked my companion and I to take a seat- on the dashboard! It was awesome. So for about 25 minutes Hna Garci­a and I had a front row view of the road because we got to sit up front right next to the driver.

Sometimes I feel like I get into a routine of just doing things without real purpose behind them. I have been working a lot lately on trying to put a real sincerity behind all that I do. Faith without works is dead, but I think works without faith is empty. Mosiah 4:10"And again, believe that ye must repent of your sins and forsake them, and humble yourselves before God; and ask in sincerity of heart that he would forgive you; and now, if you believe all these things see that ye do them."

I love you all!
Hermana Simmons


Alayna has been filling me in from time to time with updates about "pre-mission" people. it's interesting to see what everyone decides to do with their life once they´re "grown up". my companion turns 21 this upcoming week and we both think it is the weirdest thing that we are both (well, i'm almost) in our 20s. we both still feel 17 or 18. and it's weird to think that taylia is 14! and in high school! and going to stake dances! you'll definitely have to keep an eye on her and keep her out of trouble. i'm pretty dang sure that the boys are going to be all over her because she is so dang cute and funny. so make sure you and mom keep her on a short leash (haha don't tell her i said that)
love you all!

ummmm.... yeah. my mosquito bites have mosquito bites. (i totally wish that was just an exaggeration, but unfortunately it's not).  And yeah, that was basically my first "official" sight-seeing trip. but honestly, all of paraguay is so gorgeous that everyday just out tracting is awesome.

Our investigator Malena has pet parrots. They are stinking cute.

It is very green here. Also, i have no idea why everything is so crooked in this picture- my head, my nametag, etc... haha