Monday, November 9, 2009

First Impressions...

November 4-9, 2009

-Shauna has been in Paraguay for almost a week now. She tells of her travels to Paraguay. Her favorite part was talking to the fam. They were stuck in Buenos Aires, Argentina for some unknown reason, for several hours, but scheduled another flight and made their way to Asuncion late afternoon of November 04. While waiting in Buenos Aires, a man from the USA approached them and asked them what mission they were going to. When he heard the Paraguay, Asuncion mission, he informed them that that was where he was headed. His son was being released the next morning from their mission and he was picking him up. He offered to take them all (9) to lunch at the airport. He had story after story and picture after picture that he shared with them of his son's experiences. It got them totally excited to get there.

-Of landing in Asuncion she says "flying into Asuncion was like a's like I was finally here! I couldn't believe how green it was looking out my plane window either!!"
President and Sister Callan were waiting at the airport for them. There were 16 new missionaries that arrived that day. The nine that Shauna was a part of, and seven who were in the Buenos Aires MTC. They had dinner, orientation and a quick interview with President Callan. She says..."I like him a lot." Then the Elders went to a hotel for the night and "us hermanas were able to stay at the mission home...which was way nice!"
President and Sister Callan

-The next morning she was assigned to her first companion, Hermana Casteneda from Peru. Here is what she says about her, and their living conditions..."She goes up to about my shoulder and knows two words in English...hello and bye. Seriously. We're serving in a part of Asuncion...I'm not even sure where. Someone told me 9k from the centro...but who knows! My area covers the Leopardi ward. That morning we took a 25 minute taxi ride to our apartment. Totally liveable, 2 bedrooms, 1 bath, kitchen and laundry sink. There is a little family owned store across the street from us that always has latin music playing and they're always just sitting outside talking. Love it!"

-Shauna admits that this week has been rough. Frustrating, difficult and lonely. She has questioned if she can do this for sixteen months. Mostly because of the language barrier. She says.."NO ONE knows english, not even my comp. I can't understand them AT ALL, and vice versa." It's been hard because she can't even share those frustrations with Hermana Casteneda since she doesn't speak any English and "I don't make sense in Spanish." She says that it's been discouraging and hard. She turns to the only one who can provide comfort..."I've really had to rely on the Lord and seek for help and comfort through prayer. It's definitely been a humbling experience."

-"Well, as hard as it's's been good too." The people are kind. They eat lunch everyday with members. She says, "They are awesome!". Out of one hundred people plus they've contacted on the streets, only two people have not stopped and listened.

-Her description of Asuncion..."okay, Asuncion is like a jungle, for reals. Not many paved roads in my area...most are dirt and rocky cobblestone. I see a ton of horse-pulled carts each day but most people seem to have motos, walk or have cars. Houses here are like nothing, (even the nicer homes) compared to a basic home in the USA. It's crazy. Horses and cows are often roaming the streets. I've seen a handful of parrots. When walking along the streets I hear a different latin song coming from each home. We clap at fences instead of knock at doors. There are TONS of Mango trees. Everywhere I look I can spot a Mango hanging from a tree. It's awesome...they'll be ready to eat next mont. Yay!! My first few days were hot, hot, hot!! and humid!! and it's still considered spring here. Eeeek! But these past couple days have been bearable for sure. Saturday night I survived my first rain storm...just a little one. The streets quickly turned into streams and we were walking for about a half hour in water that came up past my ankles. It was crazy!!"

-Shauna read her dad's mission journal before she left. She said, "Dad...I feel like I'm living your seems like am seeing a lot of stuff yo ohave told me about Chile!"

-They are teaching a lot. They are working with about fifteen investigators. Only four came to church on Sunday. Luiz, a man about thirty years old committed to be baptized. She says, "I hope it actually goes through...I can't totally tell what's going on or what's going to happen cuz of my Spanish. My comp does most of the teaching and I usually just smile, nod my head, testify, say the prayers, share a scripture, etc. which is good for a start I guess! It's cool though, although I can't understand, I can feel the Spirit and see it working on investigators!! People here seem to get excited when we tell them about the Book of Mormon and how there is a Prophet on the earth today. I can tell the Lord really has been preparing many people here in Paraguay!!"

-The Caballero family is quickly becoming one of her "fave" families. They are new members so they stop often to visit them. She describes them as..."The dad is like straight from the jungle. They have three kids and one on the way. Their house is like in this jungly area and they are always outside just chilling on chairs and tree stumps. They all speak Guarani as their first language, but all know Spanish too. Their little five year old boy is like a Guarani Kaleb (Shauna's nephew)...he is SOOO CUTE. He'll always come up to me and smile and whisper something in my ear, but I don't know what he is saying! I really have a soft spot for all the kids down here. They are so sweet."

-Shauna lists several "random" things that she thought we would all want to know...
  • She gets mail on Tuesdays. She received a few dearelder letters when she arrived. She wants anyone who uses dearelder to write her to date their letters so she will know when they were written. ( is a free service. They copy the letters and get them to the pouch mail. They need to be in before noon on Thursdays. The letters then leave on Tuesday morning and are delivered to Paraguay on Thursday. She would receive them the following Tuesday. So it's about a 10 day service. Did I's free?)

  • They get packages every six weeks or so.

  • No problems with the water. Most people filter it and keep it in big bottles in their frig. The church supplies a big tub of water each week to their apartment.

  • No big bugs yet. "So BG"!! She does have 10 mosquito bites and she's going to "bust out my insect repellant!!

  • She is keeping her hair in a ponytail because of the heat and humidity. Her blowdryer remains in her suitcase. "Ha."

  • Her ipod is a treat to listen to, since she couldn't use it in the MTC. She can't use earphones, but has tiny speakers she is using.

  • People can't say the name Sargent. She says, "It's kinda funny. So mostly everyone will say Sargenta...said... Sar hent a... and they'll always salute me!!"

  • They love to see the pictures she took with her of the family. They all comment on our eye color and height!

  • She was called on by her Bishop to bear her testimony in Sacrament meeting. She said, "I think the people could understand about half of what I was saying! Everyone just sat there smiling at me though! They are so nice!"

  • The best news yet..."don't have to wear nylons...yay!!"

  • They walk around with big umbrellas to keep in the shade. "Gotta love it."

  • No blisters...yet!! It kind of surprises her because as she says..."we have walked, and walked, and walked!!" Sounds like a Primary song-doesn't it?

-Shauna's daily routine includes..6:30 rise and shine, get ready, work out etc. 8:00 personal study 9:00 companion study 10:00 language study 11:00 leave apartment for appointments, tracting, lunch with members 9:30 return to apartment and plan for the following day 10:30 bedtime. She says, "the days seem to go by pretty fast!"

-This morning, her pday, found her cleaning the apartment, studying, washing clothes by hand and hanging it out on the line to dry, emailing and grocery shopping and writing letters. At 6PM they hit the road going to appointments and tracting.

-Shauna says, "I can't describe how I feel about it. It's hard, but good. I can see how people say a mission is the hardest thing, but the most rewarding. There have already been a lot of ups and a lot of downs. Tomorrow morning, and each Tuesday, we have a district meeting from 10:30-12:00. I'm excited for it and to see some other missionaries from the states. ha! I know I should have a better attitude about Spanish right now....that's what I was called to speak...and I'm's just HARD! This seriously has been "prob" the hardest week of my life!"

-She concludes with "well fam, I love you lots and miss you all very much!!! Know that you are all in my prayers each day and that I think of you often. You are all the best! Thanks for your support and love!! Have a fabulous day!!!!!!!! LOVES!!!!"

1 comment:

  1. WOW. I am so excited for her omg!!!!!!
    It makes frustrated for her that she is having a tough time, being the only english speaker. oh man...but, if anyone can get thru this it is Shauna. i love hermana sargent so much/my bff forev :)