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.