Monday, February 22, 2010

More Paraguay pictures

February 22, 2010

¡Hola Familia!

Greetings from the south!
Wow ¿what happened to February? It went by so fast! That card was sent about my second week. When I first got here they had us write a letter to our parents but I didn’t get mine handed in so it was sent late, but it’s good to know that it got there. And the price to send a letter is the same for any where else G200 + G800 + G4.000 + G4.000 = G12.000 = $2.70. Those shirts were after a windy day of work haha. And that picture of us eating is at a member’s house, la Familia Rivedos. And that house with the number 416 is our house, well if you can call it a house haha ¨our living quarters¨.
That baptism has been moved to this week. And we have someone else that is going to tell us tomorrow whether or not she wants a baptism date.
I have everything for the new email account going. And I am using it now but you just have to use my new email. And I didn’t bring any of the Christmas things, which I think was a good idea because I for sure would have been over weight.
But I would like to share a cool thing that happened yesterday. Sunday is the day that we usually have a member come out with us and work with us for an hour or two. It is usually one of two young men who are 18 and I believe they want to serve a mission. But yesterday I had an idea to go on divisions, so I would work with one of them and my comp would work with the other. I didn’t know how well this would work out but I went with someone who spoke a little English so with my bad Spanish and his broken English we went to go teach some lessons. After about 45 min of walking and doing some contacts we got a call from my comp. He said that he was walking by the church and there were people that needed to get into the church for a baptism of an 8 year old girl. So he let them in. Then as he left they were wondering where he was going. It turns out that the bishop was asked to direct and they didn’t have baptismal clothes and nobody to conduct the baptism. So he had to run all over getting clothes and conducting a baptism. If we had not gone on splits we would not have been able to get our goals, or teach our lessons. It’s a good feeling to know that the Lord watches over us.
We have a ward mission leader. He is going through a temple divorce, but he is still active. And we had our first meeting with him last Wednesday. About the ward mission plan, we have to get it done for zone conference Thursday. And while at zone conference I will be able to stop at the distribution centre and pick up some things there for cheap. All garments are half off so the people here can afford them.
I am finding some really cool things here in Paraguay that are really unique. Today I picked up a shoulder bag that is hand made is really nice I will send pictures next week. I got it for G35.000. And something else is something that I have been told is only in Paraguay is a kind of wood called Palo Santo which translates to ¨holy wood¨. It’s really cool because it has a natural smell to it and is heavy, well, for wood that is. I had someone make me a little cup and a pair of drumsticks. It is really cool. I am looking for someone who can make me a nativity set out of it. There is someone here that does it, but I have heard he has moved to the south mission, but I am still looking. And they have a design of tie that is made here I don’t know how to spell it but is (al-po-we) and is a design of tie that is only in Paraguay so I am getting some of those to send home. (They also have white temple ties in the distribution centre.)
Well I hope everything is good back home, all is well in Paraguay, But I am ready for winter!
Con Amor,
Élder Rodgers

Monday, February 15, 2010

Paraguay countryside

Elder Hanchett, Elder Rodgers, Elder Curtis

February 15, 2010

¡Hola Familia!
¿Comó estan?

Well, it has been a hot week here in Paraguay, getting up to 120F. Too hot I say. It has been a good week. There are animals that run all over the place here, cows, chickens, horses, frogs, bigger frogs, lizards, cats, dogs. I can really tell that this place is a 3rd world country, but that is okay. We are expecting a lot of rain this week. Today we had a downpour. The buses here (called colectivos because they ¨collect¨ money) are insane. They are old, broken down, some of them have holes in the floor or you can see the ground. The doors are left open and people can get on at any part of its route. It's a little scary going on it during rain storms because they don’t have windshield wipers so they just go by what they know. haha. We have a gate on the door of our house mainly to make sure people don’t rob us, and once and a while a huge grasshopper will fly in and land on one of our shirts and we will freak out haha.
That cat is from one of the families in our ward that we visit often and this is the last week of this change. My first change. There are 16 changes for each missionary. So after this I may be with my companion or I may change. But we are pretty sure we are not going to change.
I have the names of Gabriela and Victor, Gabriela Gonzalez Castro and Victor Andres Portillo Rojas, and their daughter is Nayara. They are awesome! I can already tell they are going to be strong members of the church. The bishopric ordained them and gave them the Holy Ghost. And also we have a baptism date for this week. So we have our fingers crossed for that.
My comp. and I were talking and he said that our mission has probably the highest goals of all missions. Our mission goal is to baptize one person every week! Which is really hard in this area.
That is really cool to hear all the other elders from our ward going out to serve missions too. My first month has flown by and I can’t believe February is already half way over!! I knew that our new mission president was from Buenos Aires, but I didn’t know his name. Oh and one other thing. I remember you mentioning about an Elder Curtis that was going to be picking up the missionaries from the airport. (I think that was his name) But I met him. He is one of the Assistants to the President. (Elder Curtis, Elder Maddox, and Elder Peterson (from Calgary haha) are the AP´s. But anyways, Elder Curtis is a great missionary, who was the trainer of my trainer! So technically he is my grandpa here in the mission haha. And last week we did a division with him so we were in a trio and that was a lot of fun. I will be sending a picture with me, Elder Hanchett, and Elder Curtis on my second day in Paraguay.
You mentioned if I wanted to have all my information on Facebook. It is all there but there are like 3 different mailing addresses. So if you want to go on there with someone that knows how to edit it, you can fix it up. And yes that is the right cable to send.
Well thanks for all your love and support. I love the work here it is hard but it is worth it. I love you all.
Con Amor,
Élder Rodgers

Monday, February 8, 2010

Elder Rodgers and local kitten

Banana Split

Elder Rodger's apartment in Kennedy

February 8, 2010

Hola Familia!
Well it has been a good week. We have been teaching some great people. We expect to have about 4 people at church this Sunday that are good investigators. This is my last full week in this change before transfers, so there bay be a change after this week. So this is my last for sure week with Elder Hanchett.
And now for your questions. Yes, in that picture it is a cat just born. And the bananas came from the back yard and my companion baptized Gabriela and I baptized Victor. I have their names but I left it in my house. Sorry! And right now he has the Aaronic priesthood. Our house is about an 8 on a scale of 1 to 10. I have seen some houses that look like sheds. Our house is pretty good. Our house is three rooms - our study room, then our beds are one room over, then the last room is our kitchen and our bathroom. We don’t really have a floor its kinda dirt. We bleach our water. I have had no problems with electricity. I have everything that works. There are times when we don’t have any power in our house, then we can’t get our fans going and it gets really hot.
I have a couple things to add to that package that you are sending. An iPod cable so that I can add some more music that I got from my comp’s music player, those “Who is your Hero” cards that I had above my door when I left - the ones with pictures of people in the book of Mormon.
Don’t worry about the pouch. Just use the regular address that you have sent those past letters. That address will always get to me. I haven’t figured our Dear elder but all I know is that it takes a while to get to me. I will be getting my mail at District meeting tomorrow. And also the office elders are sending you a copy of my passport in the mail. So keep me informed. I had my first fast Sunday here. We have permission to drink water just because it is so hot. And the people can not sing. Sacrament meeting is painful during the hymns.

Well I love you guys thanks for you support.
Love you guys
Élder Rodgers

((the pictures with the banana split were from today and I found them kind of funny))

Tuesday, February 2, 2010


Mega Mango

February 1, 2010

Hola Familia!
Well how is the weather there? How is life? It is hot here, always around 30-35C., but I’m not complaining.

Let me answer some questions you sent. Yes, that was a mango, and I do use the sunscreen that I have. It's just that we are in the sun all day. I will get temple clothes and baptismal pants here at the distribution centre. I will get slippers there. I have been told they are very cheap.

The money system here is interesting. Everything is in the thousands. The 1000 coin (1000 Guaranis) is about the same as a dollar (but not in exchange rate), then the 5000 bill, 10000 bill and they call them for example 10000 = 10 mil (mil in Spanish is thousand) so 1 mill can get you a water in the street or an empanada. And 100 mil is worth a lot. But! 25 American Dollars is exchanged for 117000 or 117 mil which is a lot. I have a Visa Card here that I use to take out my money. Every month I take out 800 mil. I use 100 mil for groceries every p-day so the money in my personal visa is going to be used to buy things that are going to be for me (that the mission money is not to be used on). (If that makes sense)

I’m not sure of the last name of Victor and Gabriela. Sorry but I will find it this week. Their daughter's name is in Guarani so I need do get the exact spelling so I will send it next week as well.

I don’t have to learn Guarani but people ask if I know how. I am going to try and learn it after I have Spanish down. I know a few words but not much. It’s a weird language haha. Lots of people speak a language that is a mix of Spanish and Guarani, called Jo-pa-rah (that is how it is pronounced. I don’t know the actual spelling, so people will be speaking Spanish then throw in some Guarani words.

We have lunch appointments Thursday, Friday, Saturday, and Sunday with members and the food is not too bad. Once and a while there is something weird but nothing revolting.

We pay our laundry lady 60 mil every month so about $12 haha so that is a great deal. We take a bus in to the city of San Lorenzo and go to a grocery store there. The buses here are wild. They are like a roller coaster ride.

We have been teaching some cool people. We have two baptismal dates for this month and one other that fell through because they didn’t come to church. And we have one lady who was at church on Sunday, that we are going to invite to be baptized this week when we go back to visit.

I just got your reply to my first email last week and tomorrow during district meeting when we get our letters I am expecting to receive your reply to the second email haha so it does take a little while to get to me but not too bad.

Well Paraguay is probably one of the best places on earth. We had someone in our ward clean our back yard this morning because he needed work. And now we can walk around back there and we found orange trees, grapefruit trees, lemons, bananas. So I am excited for this next week with this new found fresh fruit haha.

Well I am having a great time here. I have a great companion to start off the mission, and am having a lot of fun and working hard. I love you guys.

Con Amor
Élder Rodgers