February 23, 2015

Goodbye Presidente Franco???

Happy Transfer Week!

Fun, short story. So today they emailed and called everyone letting us know who is changing location and companion. Long story short, Hermana Percival and I received a lot of conflicting information. At first we thought we were both staying, but now it looks as if we are both leaving to new areas and new companions. I'll let you all know what happens next week. But if I do leave, I'm not going very far. I'll still be here in Ciudad del Este, just a different part.

By the way, all of this Ciudad del Este area really used to be jungle. Pure jungle. We meet people who tell us that when they first moved here (40 years or so) ago, there was no city, it was just jungle-- complete with tigers and everything! I have seen (and petted)monkeys here, but no tiger sightings so far. I'll keep you updated.

We are in a very rainy season right now, thank heavens. Normally February is the hottest month of the year (getting up to 110, 120), but there has just been constant rainclouds. It is really humid and fairly hot (like 90) but nowhere near constant beating sunshine. I think Heavenly Father knows I would probably die if I had to walk around in all that heat. Tender mercies!

Update on Laura! She is still saying her prayers and reading the scriptures! She is involving her 8 year old son a lot in the discussions now so that he can also get baptized (if he wants to). It would be lovely if the two could be baptized together.

Helaman 5:9. If we could just keep Christ constantly in our thoughts, if we would just, literally, "always remember Him," we would be able to easily avoid temptation and overcome despair and sadness. That's because we would constantly be nourishing our testimony and reminding ourselves of how great and wonderful God is. The entire chapter of Helaman 5 talks about "remembering," but I liked this verse the most.

O remember, remember, my sons, the words which king Benjamin spake unto his people; yea, remember that there is no other way nor means whereby man can be saved, only through the atoning blood of Jesus Christ, who shall come; yea, remember that he cometh to redeem the world.

Love you all! Have a great day!
Hermana Simmons

Did I ever tell you that Presidente Franco is stunning? We were just watching the sunset in the jungle, and then we talked with a family about how much our Heavenly Father loves us and cares for us. I love my mission.

This is Cecilia. Her house overlooks the river. She is probably one of the smartest and most mature nine year olds I have ever met.

One of the families we visit had brownie mix boxes imported. We totally made brownies. It had been too long haha

February 16, 2015

hola hola

Happy late Valentine's Day!

This has been a good week. We had a lesson with a woman named Laura. She has been investigating the Church for a while now, but she has gotten a lot more serious about it lately. She wants to get baptized before the end of the month! The only thing is, she is not a huge fan of the Book of Mormon. We had a lesson with her about why God would give us the Bible AND the Book of Mormon, and the purpose of the BOM and how it helps us. It was beautiful to feel the Spirit testifying that God truly does love all His children-- in Jerusalem as much as here in the Americas, and in the past as much as today! Laura agreed to study the book and pray about it to know the truth for herself.

Friday night we were visiting with a family (well, at least the kids. The parents are super supportive and want their kids to go to a church, but the parents say they are "too busy" to go themselves). Anyway, the oldest daughter just broke up with her boyfriend, and Saturday was "Di­a del Enamorado" ("Day of those in love"). During the closing prayer, the younger brother (who is 13) was praying and he said "Please bless the children from all over the world... and all of the single girls." Hermana Percival and I had to use all of our self-control to not burst out laughing. I could not believe that this boy would use a prayer to annoy his sister! Oh well. Good news is that nobody laughed, and the older sister didn't say anything about it afterward.

I was studying Jacob 5 the other day and I loved the fact that at least 8 times the Lord of the vineyard says that it grieves him to have to lose his trees. Knowing that the trees are really representative of God's people, I loved verse 41 "And it came to pass that the Lord of the vineyard wept, and said unto the servant: What could I have done more for my vineyard?" There are times in everyone’s life where, despite the blessings we have received, we are disobedient to God's commandments and bring forth "wild fruit." But we can know that our Heavenly Father does all He can- ALL He can- to save and help us. If we only turn to Him and accept His help, He can heal us. His love is that powerful. I know He lives and I know He loves us.

Have a marvelous week!

Hermana Simmons

February 09, 2015

Is it true? Is it fair? Is it necessary?

Hey everyone!
So have I told you yet that my area, President Franco, is like being in my own personal soap opera? There is so much DRAMA amongst everyone. There is gossip everywhere, and it is really hard to get people to just worry about themselves and not be all up in everybody else’s business. Sometimes we feel like we are more of a cleanup crew trying to sooth hurt feelings than actually out helping people. I have been trying to think of ways to get rid of the gossip. Unfortunately, people just love to talk about other people- and normally what they talk about just tears others down. So anyway, long story short, don't gossip. It just makes a mess.
Last night we left our apartment at 10pm to go wait at the bus terminal to take a colectivo to Encarnacion so that I could cross the border to Argentina and do some passport paperwork in Posadas. We got to the bus station at 10:40ish, and we had to wait until about 2am to get on the bus because the bus we were going to take broke down about an hour out of the city and we had to wait for them to fix it. We finally got on the bus at 2, it didn't actually leave the station until closer to 3. Then we had a five hour bus ride all the way to Encarnacion. We got here and it turns out they had accidentally sent my passport to Asuncion instead of Encarnacion. So I couldn`t cross the border and do the paperwork. We basically spent 10 hours traveling for no reason, and we have to go back to Ciudad del Este today without doing anything. woohoo haha. The great thing about a mission is that it has taught me to be able to sleep in any situation (like a jam packed, bad smelling Paraguayan bus).
Today's scripture goes along with the gossip theme. Mormon 9:31 "Condemn me not because of mine imperfection, neither my father, because of his imperfection, neither them who have written before him; but rather give thanks unto God that he hath made manifest unto you our imperfections, that ye may learn to be more wise than we have been."
So yeah, it is pretty easy to pick out everybody else's faults and weaknesses. But instead of tearing those people down or just chatting about them with everyone else, we can just be happy that we don't have those same weaknesses. We can know that God will hold them accountable for their mistakes, just as he will hold us accountable for our own. Gossip is BAD. I don't actually think I can stress this enough, but it destroys people and ruins lives. God loves all His children and I know that He doesn't want us idly blabbering about other people`s problems.
Anyway, I hope you all have a lovely, fantastic, wonderful week!!!!!!!


Hermana Simmons

February 02, 2015

I'm OLD!!!

I turn 20 years old today. That is just weirding me out.
Okay, moving on. This week Hna Percival had to go to a Sister Training Leader's meeting in Posadas (a 6 hour colectivo ride, ugh). Luckily I got to stay here in Ciudad del Este. I am here with two other sisters whose companions also went to the meeting. We walked around centro and have been enjoying being in a trio instead of just a companionship. It's different to be with two companions instead of just one. 
For my birthday we went and ate at the Burger King here. If I haven't already told you, Burger King, McDonalds, and Pizza Hut are pretty big here and in Encarnacion. But they are built like palaces. They are American based companies, so it is super expensive and kind of a fancy place to eat. I never thought I would see people "dress up" to go eat at Pizza Hut.
This Sunday we had our testimony meeting. One of the ladies in the ward has been worried about going to the temple. She wasn't sure if she wanted to make all of those commitments and just totally dedicate her life more to God. But she had a dream about her family and shared her testimony with us that she knows God has made a way for her to be with her husband and son for all of eternity, not just until death do they part. She doesn't want to spend forever living alone, she wants to be with her family and said that she will do anything to be able to achieve that goal. 
I LOVE in 2 Nephi 31:10 " And he said unto the children of men: Follow thou me. Wherefore, my beloved brethren, can we follow Jesus save we shall be willing to keep the commandments of the Father?" There are so many people who are willing to say "I believe in Jesus Christ" or "I know Jesus Christ lives." But how many people are actually willing to live according to that testimony? Am I actually living what I know or feel to be true? I love the scripture in John 14:15 that says "If ye love me keep my commandments." If we truly love God, we won't just say it, we will live true to our beliefs. Not only say, do. Not only do, BE. This life is our time to become who Heavenly Father wants us to become. The only way to do that is by keeping His commandments.
I love you all! Have a wonderful week!

Hermana Simmons

the twenty year old viejita

There's a burger king here in ciudad del este. we may have splurged to go out for my birthday haha.

i may have gotten a little sunburnt my last week in obligado

we didn't have light for a few days. so at night when we wanted to wash dishes we got creative. we also had to do the same thing when we baked some pancakes.

this is from a REALLY long time ago. when we were heading out to the christmas devotional. i just thought you would all appreciate another picture of me in my sombrero haha.

last district meeting in obligado.

last day with hna garcia a few months ago

Hna Palacio and I were the first missionaries to cross on the Argentine paraguayan train that they have that crosses over the river. woohoo.

this is basically all the members feed us. meat. meat and rice. more rice. would you like some mayonaisse? but that's okay. we took this picture at a super cheap buffet we found. the chicken is really good and we basically make a chicken salad and actually eat lettuce.