Monday, June 23, 2014

Goodbye to Faithful Servants

On June 18th, we said goodbye to a very special group of missionaries who had finished their full terms of service to the Lord and returned home to the United States, Guatemala, Honduras, and El Salvador. They left a great impact on those they have served and on us who were fortunate enough to get to serve with them.  We have high hopes for each one as they return to their families, school, work, and other opportunities to serve. We wish you very best and we will miss you!
Front row:  Elder McSwain, Elder Bayles, President and Hermana McMullin, Hermana Torres, Elder Hernandez.  Back row:  Elder Dickson, Elder Yauney, Elder Sorensen, Elder Mundo, Elder Duran, Elder Heslop, and Elder Escobar.

Sunday, June 22, 2014

New Missionaries Arrived on June 17

We were able to welcome five new missionaries from the Buenos Aires MTC:  Elder Macahuachi, Elder Panaifo, Elder Rios, Elder Cerron, and Hermana Bond.  We traveled to the temple grounds where we learned a little of the history of the Church in Paraguay and had a brief testimony meeting.  Back at the office, we taught them about their finances, health precautions,  home maintenance, sending and receiving mail, etc. The new missionaries also went on divisions with some of our other missionaries for a few hours.  The next day they were introduced to their training companions and traveled to their areas.  We are so glad to have each one!
Arriving at the airport
Elder Cerron with his trainer, Elder Vasquez
Hermana Bond with her trainer, Hermana Vilcahuaman
Elder Rios with his trainer, Elder Correa
Elder Panaifo with his trainer, Elder Harris
Elder Macahuachi with his trainer, Elder Orrego

Church donates wheelchairs to people of Paraguay

Since 2006, the Church has given about 1000 wheelchairs every year to needy patients throughout Paraguay, not to mention in other countries. One interesting experience I had recently was attending a small ceremony at the rehabilitation center next to our office whose patients were receiving 43 of them.  The Church gives the chairs to a local nondenominational group, "Fundacion Solidaridad", and they are in charge of distributing them.  They screen each patient to determine the need, find the right size chair, etc.  At a simple "Thank You" type of ceremony, the foundation's director mentioned how this moment of chairs being given to people to increase their mobility, and thus their abilities and their self-worth in life, really began in the hearts of the LDS people with their love and kindness in paying their donations.  There is a lot of administrative work to get the chairs ordered in Asia and shipped here, but it essentially all began with the LDS members.  I really appreciated his kind words.  I had often heard about the Church's wheelchair donations, but it was a great opportunity to be on the other side and see it happen.  Without the means to afford a wheelchair, and especially as they get older, handicapped people in Paraguay can become prisoners essentially in their own homes because they become too heavy for others to carry around. A wheelchair can make all the difference for a chance at a normal life - an education, social experiences, work possibilities, etc.