Monday, January 26, 2015

Rain, Wind and even Hail

Second Week in Concepcion

Hola Familia!

This week has been a pretty good one! I’m getting a lot more settled into my new area and meeting tons of new people and I really like it so far!

Tuesday was a pretty crazy day! So the night before we had a super random storm pass over us that had really strong winds, rain and even hail! When we woke up that morning we got a call from our zone leaders to cancel all of our plans and that we were going to be doing service all day and we had no idea why. Until we went and looked outside and saw that the wind had completely uprooted trees all around us and destroyed houses on top of that and just completely caused tons of damage all over the whole city. It was especially bad because the buildings and things built here in Paraguay are not at all the best.... so this storm caused so many peoples houses to get completely destroyed it was actually really sad just to look around and see. So we spent the whole day going around with our machetes and chopping up some giant trees that fell on houses, carrying all of them out to get picked up and just working really hard all day. It was such a cool service project because people would see us outside helping out and they would just join in helping us with it all. The people here are some of the nicest people too. At every house we went to either help chop up a tree that fell or build up their house again the people no matter how poor they were would always offer us something. One lady that had a tiny house that was really poor I remember went to the store and bought us (a group of like 14 missionaries) one little bottle of soda for helping her. It was just a really cool thing to see even though there was no way we could all share it, I just know it was a real sacrifice for this lady to use the little money that she had to feed her family and she used some of that to buy a soda to thank us for all the hard work we did. If there has been one thing I have learned in my experience here on the mission so far it is to be grateful for every little blessing that we have in this life. I often look back to my life back in the states and think about all the things I had that I just took for granted, like a roof over my head or having food to eat everyday until I was full instead of eating food until it’s gone then having to wait for the next time that there even is food. It’s really the little things that I have come to notice a lot more and how much these blessings mean to me in this life. I’m so grateful for the blessings that I have had so far in this life and love my Heavenly Father so much for giving me so much. I am loving this time in my life because I get to share some of these wonderful blessings that the gospel brings to others. Watching the gospel bless the lives of these people out here is one of the greatest things I have ever seen.

I hope you all have an awesome week and know that I love and miss you all TONS!

Elder Nyberg

1st transfer~ from Itaugua to Concepcion

Hola familia! 
This week has been insane! You are probably wondering what happened about changes and ........................................ Yup I got changed out to a city called Concepcion! The change has been completely different from anything that I was used to in my last area back in Itaugua. So I think I’m just gonna go over some cool stuff about my new area and my new comp!

So Tuesday morning we found out changes and it was crazy! Which then meant that I had the rest of that day to pack up all of my things and say a couple goodbyes to some of my miembros in Itaugua. I went and packed up all my stuff as fast as I could -haha and I have no idea how I fit it all in the little suitcases that I had. It’s hard to fit your whole life for two years into 3 little suit cases ya know?! -haha but somehow, someway we made it fit. The whole rest of the day was really hard for me. I went to say goodbye to some of my miembros that I was the closest to. I have no idea how but in the time of 3 months these people in Itaugua have legit become my family. They took me in from day one with me not speaking hardly any Spanish and we have just grown to become one big family. Goodbyes are never fun and I’m not one to get all emotional and that stuff but it was really, really tough just to hold back tears when I was saying goodbye to these people. One of my favorite miembros was Adolfina, she was the mom of the kid I got to baptize and I was super close to them. She straight up treated me like her son-haha I loved it. Anyway after I had to say all of my goodbyes and take pictures I went to bed because we had to get up at 5 the next morning so I could get shipped out to luqe then to Concepcion.

Wednesday was a pretty chill day. Everyone that has changes has to meet up at a city called luqe then meet your new comp and go to your new area.  For me it was a little different because the city I was going to is about 7 or 8 hours away by bus, there was just a group of us that were heading out and my comp was going to be waiting for me out there. The bus ride was super long and a little sketchy but I made it perfectly safe and without dying or anything -haha. So I meet my comp and he is super sick. His name is Elder Alulema and he is from Utah but he was born and raised up in New York City. His parents are Latino so he already knew Spanish super good and can speak perfect. He has only like 5 months left in the mission until he goes home so he knows sooo much stuff. He is a super funny guy and we have so much fun. He loves to joke around and I love it, it makes the work so much better. He works so hard too, he is just in the groove right now and it seems like nothing can stop him -haha. 

Okay a little about Concepcion! I kinda lucked out and I have the most civilized area out of all of Concepcion, my area is right in the middle of the town but its still Paraguay so it’s really not civilized at all -haha. One thing about all of Concepcion is that it is the hardest zone in the whole mission ha...... in the past year and a half there has only been one baptism in the whole entire zone..... Ok I’ll give you a little picture to help you understand Concepcion a little better and why it’s so hard. In the middle of this town clear out in the middle of Paraguay they have a giant statue like 200 feet tall, of the Virgin Mary which they pretty much worship. Everyone out here is hardcore catholic and most of them could never even fathom trying to go to another church besides the catholic church just because of how much of a tradition it is in their culture. Like if you ask anyone out here why they are Catholic they just say straight up it’s because my parents were catholic and their parents were catholic and their parents and so on. It’s more or less just a way of life than an actual religion. Another thing about Conci is the heat............ I got changed in the perfect time of the year just when summer is beginning to be one of the hottest city in all of Paraguay. The day before I got here my comp told me the norm for that day was 120 plus all of the humidity on top of that -haha.  All the missionaries here tell me if I can survive this summer here I can survive anything- haha. For sure the weather is really rough and its hard to work in conditions like this but it’s all good. One really nice thing is because this is one of the hottest places in all of Paraguay we have one of the nicest houses! and you’ll never guess what it has............. IT HAS AIR CONDITIONING!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! You guys have no idea how awesome this is from going to one house that had none to one that does! It’s sooo great! My comp was dying just seeing my reaction to walking into the Air-conditioned room for the first time. I was actually cold this morning when I got up out of bed- haha I was starting to forget how being cold even felt! The AC only runs in one room and that’s the one we sleep in but we moved a desk in there too so we can do our studies and everything. 

Anyway this new transfer is going to be really good for me and I can’t wait to get to work here and do the best that I can out here. My comp and me work really well together and I think we can make a big difference to the work out here in Concepcion. I am super grateful for this opportunity that I have in this area to learn and grow tons. I can already tell after this change I am going to progress so much more and learn tons! I hope all of you are doing great back home. I miss and love every single one of you!

Elder Nyberg
                                                    Saying Goodbye to a family in Itaugua
                                                    Saying Goodbye to a family in Itaugua
                               Area: Concepcion Comp: Elder Alulema

Monday, January 12, 2015

First Baptism

Hola familia!

This week was super great and I can now officially say I’m DONE with training! This week was the last week of the change and you are probably wondering where my new area is or if I got changed................................................... weellllll I don’t get to know till tomorrow -hahaha so you guys are just going to have to wait another week. This week was really special for me and i had one of the coolest experiences so far on my mission so I’m gonna share a little about that. 
This was on Saturday, and it is really starting to get summer down here... Just from walking around outside for a little bit my whole entire shirt was drenched in sweat.... yeah pretty nasty huh -haha. Like even at night when its almost 10:30 at night I’m still fully sweating, and its probably stays in the high 90¨s with the humidity outside too. We have to drink soooo much water ha. But Saturday was a really special day for me because of my first baptism! Well technically it was the Hermana’s investigator named Bi-too but still it the best. It was super cool because out of all the elders and even the branch president he chose me to baptize him because he really looks up to me and he loves being around me its so awesome. Not going to lie i was pretty nervous i was going to say the words wrong or mess up his name (the people down here have 4 names in their full name -haha) but it went perfect! This kid is one of the coolest kids too, so rad. His mom just recently got baptized and she loves me so much too –haha. she calls me her son. It’s like I’m legit apart of their family now, I love these people soo much! One cool thing that happened was after we got out of the font and went back and were changing. I asked him how he was feeling. Just how he answered it was super cool, he was tripping over words and then paused for a bit to try and think of how to say it but then he just said it’s some thing indescribable. Just the best feeling he has ever felt. This day was seriously the greatest experience for me. Just seeing how happy the gospel makes Bi-too and his family makes me so happy. I love this work. All this hard work and difficulties we have, all the blood, sweat and tears... well mostly sweat;) that we put in are ALL worth it when you get to see someone exit the font a new person.  
I love you all and miss you all tons! 
Elder Midsize(Nyberg) 

                                                First Baptism: Bi-too
                                            Bi-too & Elder Nyberg
Elder Hathaway & Elder Nyberg

First Christmas in Paraguay

Hola familia! 

This week was super great. Not a ton happened because of it being Christmas and all but it was definitly a super good week!

So Christmas Eve all the missionarys got to stay out till 11 at night to hang out with members or do some more visits. So me and my comp went over to the familia Rescalde and they made us some super good chicken with chorizo and tons of fruit too. It was soo good! We pretty much just chilled with them for a while because they have tons of kids and their probably one of the coolest familias here. After that we all went over to the zone leaders house and had a slept over with all 6 of the Elders in our district it was way fun. 

Christmas morning I opened some of the packages I had and was loving all the American food I got! American food down here is worth like straight up gold to the other missionaries -haha. After we all opèned our presents we went to the church with all of us plus the hermanas in our district and had a giant french toast breakfast with hash browns and eggs too. If it wasnt for the hermanas all of us Elders probably would have ruined all the food when we tried to cook haha. The hermanas are super nice and helped us a ton. But we all had like 6 pieces of french toast a person and we were completley stuffed. Then the SKYPE CALL!!!! It was super cool to see all you guys and talk! I loved it! It was the best time for sure! the time went by so fast. It felt like a 10 minute long conversation and then it was already time to end but it was great.  just for the record it's almost impossible down here to find internet fast enough for a good skype call and thats even if you can find a good computer with a webcam haha but with all of us elders down here in my district we pulled it off! After that we went out to go do visits and walking with tons of french toast in your stomach in the heat isn't the best combo so me and my comp. si o si (yes, oh, yes) it felt like we were both gonna throw it all up- haha but we made it! Its like a tradicion down here to give everyone tons of ensalda de fruita on Christmas so we got some of that at every house and it was heaven. The fruit is soooo good down here! but that was about our whole Christmas day finishing it off with some lessons about the real meaning of Christmas to families in our area it was a really awesome time.

One little thing I learned from this Christmas being away from home and all is just how important it is to have people you love around you at Christmas time. We all celebrate Christmas for the birth of our Savior and this time of the year is all about being grateful and sharing among the people around us. God gave us the greatest gift of all, his Son Jesus Christ. Now that we have this gift and knowledge of our Savior we should be the ones to share it with all of our loved ones around us. And it really doesn't mean a whole lot if there is no one around us to share this gift with. I was really glad that I got to spend my Christmas with some Elders around me and the people here because they have really turned into my family away from home. I hope you all had the best Christmas ever, I was definitly thinking about so many of you guys at home. I love you all TONS! 

Elder Midsize(Nyberg)