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.