August 05, 2014

I finally made it to Paraguay!!!

Okay, a lot has happened this past week. I will try to be brief and answer all the questions I have been getting this week.
I am currently in Paraguay, near the Parana River. My area covers a couple of cities (Hohenau, Obligado, Trinidad, Bella Victoria, Los Colonos). We live in Hohenau, but the church is in Obligado, so technically the name of this area is "Obligado Paraguay".

Something unique about Paraguay is that it is the birthplace of chipa. Chipa is a cheesy breadstick that is about one of the most delicious things that a person can eat. And the Paraguayans eat it about every day haha. In the collectivo terminal there are dozens of vendors just walking around with baskets full of chipa, or other homebaked products, trying to sell their items.

Also, the Paraguayans have a very distinct accent. Imagine a person speaking Spanish with a perfect "Spanish" accent, but with a very American "R" sound. Most Spanish speakers do not emphasize the "r" (they pronounce it almost as a "d" sound), but here in Paraguay, yes they do emphasize the r. It's hard to explain, but it is one of the most unique sounding accents that I have ever heard. I had to restrain myself from bursting out in laughter the first time I heard the people around me speaking.

Yes, they speak Guarani here. Probably about 80 or 90 percent of the population knows Guarani, but everyone speaks Spanish as well, so it is not as if I actually have to learn Guarani. But my companion and I have been learning a few words and phrases for fun. 

My new companion is Hermana Garci­a. She is from Mexico and started her mission the exact same day I did! But she has more time in the field since she only stayed in the MTC 12 days because she already speaks Spanish. She is very good with the people and super nice. We have been focusing on improving my spanish and trying to teach her some basic english.

This area is basically a dream for me. Santo Tome wasn´t awful or anything, but Obligado is amazing. Our apartment actually has a microwave and a blender!!!!!!! And nobody lives below us so we can actually do some real excersizing in the mornings! Plus, my area is so big I get a little bit of everything- Obligado is like a really nice city, Trinidad is very calm and similar to Santo Tome, Los Colonos definitely feels like I am in South America. But everything is beautiful and the people here are super friendly. 

Something that lots of missionaries here talk about is the "humble hammer." Meaning, that basically for a year and a half or two years being a missionary, God is constantly reminding us how much we depend and rely on Him. There is absolutely now way I (or any missionary) can survive and enjoy the mission if we are not wholly devoted to Him. Jacob 4:7 "No obstante, el Senor Dios nos manifiesta nuestra debilidad para que sepamos que es por su gracia y sus grandes condescendencias para con los hijos de los hombres por las que tenemos poder para hacer estas cosas."

Love you all! Have a fantastic week :)

Hermana Simmons

ps- haha sorry i dont have my english scriptures with me and i don't have time to look up the scripture online. can you just erase the spanish verse and replace it with the english one?

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