Friday, December 28, 2012

Dec. 24, 2012

Dear Family (Dad)
First of all, here's how this goes, I think we're gonna try skype, because that's the least complicated thing. So you guys can use my laptop if it's still alive, skype runs pretty well on there, and log on as rachel, because I think she already is my skype friend. And I'll log on as me tomorrow at about 7:00-7:15 PM here in uruguay. I'm gonna trust you guys to calculate that time difference, I think that makes it 4:00 for you guys, but I'm not 100% on that.
Well I'm pretty proud of Bekah, at our Christmas conference, the Presidents granddaughter sang a solo verse of I'm trying to be like Jesus in english, and I just cried, because she looked like bekah. Also she looked like Jesus. It was quite the moment. That's awesome that you got to break out the ax again, I was always a little disappointed at how awful I had gotten when we played in the nursing homes haha. Pretty similar to how I feel playing soccer once in a while.
Haha I appreciated those 12 days of christmas activities that mom sent me, most of the commanded? (sorry I can't think of the right word in english) activities were things like, "dedicate a few hours of your day to spending time with family" "Call your parents and tell them you love them". The point is, most of them were impossible for a missionary. But I did a few. Thanks Mom! And Happy Birthday, I got my first baptism on your birthday! His name is Justo, and he is a crazy old man that knows every single bible story without fail. So he was easy to teach, but also hard, because he wanted to teach us, and we were a bit squeezed for time. And we've got two lined up for next week. Happy new year!
So here's the real thing. I think I had a milestone moment in my mission. I found this mental key that has filled me with irrepressible joy all the time. So what I'm saying is, I just realized that my only goal should be to do the Lord's will. That's all Jesus did, and he's probably pretty happy right now. SO I've really focused myself in that, and the blessings are pouring everywhere. Sobreabundante. The thing was, I had desires and goals that came from me, an imperfect man, so I'm trying constantly to turn all of my desires, righteous and unrighteous over to the Lord, and he's making a lot more out of me than what I had planned. Since I had this realization, I've gotten quite good at spanish. I've felt bien clarito the spirit saying words through me to people. I wasn't struggling before, but now I'm flying.
I really miss you guys, it makes me a little sad that Ellie and Bekah will probably be unrecognizable when I get back! Also, an email from Grammy P just showed up in my inbox. Sorry, I can't answer that! Gotta have that obedience. But, I am really excited to talk to you guys as well. And the packages got here fine, the customs guys aren't too brutal, they just take a look, and I don't think they stole anything. And that peanut butter was such a miracle. I put it on everything. It lasted six days. And the candy canes lasted six days.
Glad you guys got my letters, I'm still trying to send Ellies and Bekahs, things got a little crazy for a while, but they should be off tomorrow. Sorry girls!
I was able to see my district from the CCM at the christmas conferences, they are all tearing it up. Working hard and learning a ton. I feel absolutely awful for elder Francis, he's gotta to have something big in the plans for later in life, because Satan is attacking him so hard. His parents have now separated, to add onto everything else, but I'm praying for him every night. He's a strong man, he won't go home for anything. And I heard a lot of talk that our mission president is walking around asking people to get ready to train. And like four of the guys that just got here from the CCM who recently had talked to president told me I was probably gonna train soon and just looked really sly. So that scares me.
All right, the spirit of Christmas is awesome, even when it's really hot. Christ really was born, he lived, he did miracles, he suffered and died for love for us(sorry for bad english again), and He lives today. That's it. Talk to you guys tomorrow night!

Monday, December 17, 2012

Dec. 17, 2012

Dear Family! (And others maybe)

The week was a good one. I feel like I'm learning some kind of life long applicable lesson every few days haha. This week I had a real aha moment with regards to what is going on here. Cause I'm trying my hardest to do everything exactly right, but honestly the only results we're having outside of our three stud investigators are straight rejection and borderline violence, haha. I think the missionaries that were here before offended all of the kids in this town, and apparently they sell firecrackers for christmas here, so that is just not a good combination of things. And again, sorry for the awful sentences, I'm really stuck halfway right now. Haha the other night I was verifying with the district leader, and I couldn't quite say something in spanish, so I switched to english and couldn't do it either! So let's hope I grow out of this stage pretty quick. And Mom! I already got the packages! I'm gonna open them today, and sorry I didn't already, but I gotta be as obedient as I can, I'm trying to rewrite the history of this area, But it's only been three days, so everythings probably okay. 

It's so great to hear from home. I love the news. Keep it coming. Special shout out to Angela Busath, Melanie Cox, Crystal Robinson, Elizabeth Pyper, Jacob Curtis, and Emilie Cotton, from who I received letters this week! That really lifted my spirits. It was fantastic! 

Yeah mom, that's really interesting what you said about the language being a refiner, a vehicle for testimony. I'll maybe try to tone back the amount of words I use as I teach. I think I'm just confusing people right now. But they sometimes think I'm from a different south american country when I talk to them, and not the states, so that means my accent is getting better!

It's funny that you said that thing about tears getting harder to fight back, I've been thinking that too. And I've been hearing you sing that song in my head for a few weeks. But mom said something in the card she gave me to open the day I left that is probably the most inspiring thing I've ever heard. ´Serving a mission is not a sacrifice, it's a privilege. You get to wear the Savior's name on your chest for two years, and when you´re finished, it will have written itself on your heart.´ Every time I think that, I have to fight back the tears. It was funny, cause I didn't know that card had an inside till I was already in the field. At first I thought it was just the scripture from DandC. It was a nice surprise haha. And thanks to Halmoni for the email, that was good to hear too!

I think that I call you, I'm not sure when, I'll let you know next week on Pday, the twenty fourth.

Lately the Lord has been pouring blessings out on me. It's impossible to deny, really. During my personal study of the scriptures, the eyes of my understanding get opened a little more every day. I'm really starting to get what's important in this life. I'm sure two years from now I'm gonna look back at that statement and laugh, but for now, I feel it's true. And often when I read something in the scriptures, my perspective is drawn out beyond my mission, to the rest of my life, so I understand what the Lord has for me to do, and at times my perspective is expanded even further, to beyond this life, beyond this earth.

I can testify that this work is unstoppable like an army. I can testify that the plan of God is massive, meant for this whole world, but at the same time is personalized for every single one of his children. I feel privileged to be able to take part in this work.

Love you all!
Elder Pyper

P.S, Thanks for the capybara facts, ellie. I'll try to tame one if I ever go near Brazil. I don't think they live here in this area.

Thursday, December 13, 2012

Dec. 12, 2012

And a Happy new Year!
It doesn't really feel like Christmas at all. It's super weird to hear all this talk of papa noel and stuff, yet we're walking around drenched in either sweat or rain all the time. People have a few christmas decorations up, but it's not too crazy. Seriously, I'm not kidding when I say they're a few decades behind here. For instance, when I buy food, I have to walk into a small log cabinish type thing and give them my order, and they chop off the meat with a saw or something, it's just nuts. So, that's why we're writing two days late. The powers been out for a while after a storm we had. I actually was just thinking about that yesterday. This time last year I participated in like six of eight musical numbers in our christmas program at BYU haha.
It's not really that hot here, or at least the heat doesn't really bother me. I'd guess it's about 85 at the hottest, but these people are dying. They've never seen real heat. They don't have spicy food either. I've had to stop myself from laughing out loud a few times when I get warned of spicy things.
I am highly entertained by the missionary bear. That's pretty hilarious. Also, in other news, aka the things I wrote down in my agenda to tell you this week, I found a small note in my star wars journal after three and a half months of being away from home. It said "Bekah was here." Also, thanks for those premade letters, mom. I've already opened three. Hahaha. And I don't know if you sent stamps already, but If you could, that'd be great. I wrote ellie and bekah letters, but i haven't been able to mail them yet! I probably will on friday though. And who knows how long they take. Also, for my missionary journal, what are the names of the stake presidency?
So crazy. It feels like august still in my head. At night, and this happens quite often, cause it's impossible to sleep in our house till after midnight, I lay in bed and try to remember what I did before my mission. Sometimes when I see a piece of fruit I can remember the produce code for it haha! But mostly I just remembering hanging out with my family while I was in my wisdom tooth coma. Those were the days. And plus I miss batman. Luckily I have that little action figure you guys got me.
So here's how the gospel situation looks. I stayed here this cambio, and so did my comp. So we're in it to win it for another six weeks in El Carmen. I've been praying really hard that we can find a full family to baptize. That would do wonders for the branch. We just need some leadership, and some new member enthusiasm to share the Gospel. Our three investigators, Justo, Betty, and Washington are looking really good to be baptized soon. We also found an old Guy named Jose who may be baptized the same day or a week later. But these people actually read! They want to learn! They feel the truth of the gospel! I've never seen anything like it. So awesome. So we try to see them everyday, but they're a bit eccentric, haha, but it's been really interesting to watch the spirit smooth over their weird objections.
Not much else has happened. We're trying really hard to find new people still. My district leader went home, and the new one loves to speak spanish, so I actually never speak english at all anymore. Only here. And in my journal. I've reached a weird stage in my language, where I'm almost fluent, speaking wise. I don't really have to think about what I'm saying anymore, but my vocabulary is awful because I'm not understanding very well still. So, I'm sure that'll resolve by the end of this cambio, but it's so weird to be talking normally, and then just mentally hit a wall. Never had a feeling like it before. Like today, when I realized I didn't know how to say glass. Threw me for a loop. And I already forgot it. OH YEAH. Dad, you asked me how to say hiccups right before I got on the plane to leave to argentina. It's Tengo hipo. (I have hiccups) I've forgot to send that in like twelve consecutive emails. So, I'll talk to you guys on the phone in twoish weeks!
Love you all!

Tuesday, December 4, 2012

Dec. 3, 2012


That's totally fine. The back injury is a pretty good reason, I'd say. And
I'm glad you healed. The first transfer actually has one more week, and who
knows what's gonna happen. I don't. But usually you get at least two changes
in your first area. Or so I've heard. But honestly I feel like anything
could happen. I don't want to leave, I love it here. It's hard, but it's
humbling. And this week, I finally found out the full legend of my oro area.
Apparently this is the area that breaks missionaries. Some members in our
stake found out that I started my mission here, and they were astonished.
Anyway, it's definitely been a refiners fire for me. Honestly, the
relationship with my comp is still a bit rough, but it's just cause of the
language barrier, I think. He actually doesn't understand at all what it's
like. He thought I was shy, or scared of talking to people, but it's
actually just that I don't want to screw up the contact or destroy trust by
moving in for the kill too soon, but it's starting to become a nonfactor
because I'm starting to understand people. Anyway, I started just contacting
people which keeps him happy, I guess. I love my comp, but he's not really
the leader type. So I basically initiate all the contacts now. Good times. 

Ok, three items of business. One, the card works now, but I can't see how
much money is in my account, so, how much money is in there? Two, another
tidbit of advice for sending packages, apparently they leave it alone if you
write `"mission supplies´` on the box. And pictures of Jesus work as well.
But the last one made it through just fine, who knows? Also, I can't really
do anything with gum, we're not allowed to chew it outside the house, so I
probably have enough for my whole mission now. Thanks mom! Three, I opened
up a journal today to see what mom wrote in there when I was a baby, and I
found that I had written in there eight years ago on the day that bite sized
bekahs were inceived. I can't believe I recorded that legendary moment.

Thanks to rachel for all you do. I sent a letter to mom, dad, and rachel,
but ellie and bekahs should come the next few weeks, there was a mail
problem or something.

It's great to hear about things at home! Make sure to let me know about the
Jeeve's call! Tell the Alley's best of luck in the ole San Antone. And
Rachel, dang, go to college already. It's the best.

So here's how it goes. We actually got three investigators in the church,
and I think they're actually gonna get baptized. BAm. I didn't think this
was gonna be such a problem here, but the literacy rate is a little lower.
It makes keeping commitments difficult for people, because they don't like
to tell us that they can't read... But anyhow, these three read quite well,
so they've got that going. 

Dang, what else? I feel like the Lord is using this area and this companion
to make me rely on him so I can become who I need to be for later in the
mission. I feel different than I used to feel. I've been doing a lot of
seeking in my prayers, seeking answers to all kinds of stuf. And the Lord
loves to answer me through scriptures, which is delightful for me. This
weeks big spiritual lesson was found in DandC 10 2-5. So I've applied that a
little, and I'm feeling a lot more satisfaction. I don't have to be the best
missionary there ever was, the fastest to learn the language, have the most
baptisms in my first six weeks. I just have to do what the Lord wants me to.
I love you guys, and really feel the prayers. It hit me yesterday that I'm
probably not gonna recognize Ellie and Bekah when I get back. Don't grow up
too much, you two.

Well hey hey. I don't think I'm gonna be fluent in spanish in a month, but
it'รง won't be soon after. I have a hard time thinking in general, and
writing in english. It's so weird.

Also, how do you make sauce for pastas? Is it something that could be done
quickly? Or would I have to make a ton on pday and store it? There's not too
much premade stuff available in this town at least. It's seriously like the
1890's I think.

Ok, I think that's it! I love you all, and don't stop! Talk to you on the
phone in Twenty TWo DAAYS!

Ciao Ciao!
Elder Andrew "El Comportamiento" Pyper