Posted by: elderwyatt | October 10, 2011

New City: Puente Kyjha

Hey everybody; we had an experience this past week that really increased my faith in the power of prayer.  This past week, we needed to travel to another city about fifteen minutes away in order to take out money from a bank ATM to pay for our monthly rent.  We arrived at the city (called Katuetè) got out of the taxi, and took out the money without any problem.

We then proceeded to walk toward the main highway to wait for another taxi to pass by so that we could travel back to our town, Puente Kyjha.  We had set up several appointments with people to teach more about the Savior Jesus Christ and didn’t want to get back too late.  Ten minutes passed.  Then fifteen.  Twenty.  Thirty.  Still no taxi.

Waiting and waiting, checking my watch over and over again and hoping that we could get back on time, I offered a silent prayer in my heart that we could get back to town on time to visit all the people that we needed to visit.  About a minute later a HUGE bus pulls to the side of the road.  The only thing bigger than the bus was the smile on the driver as he yelled to us “¡VAMOS AMERICANOS! ¡VAMOS!”  (“LETS GO AMERICANS!”)

As is turns out, the man was a Policeman, and the bus is used as some sort of prisoner transport sort of thing.  There were about six policemen on the bus and they just happened to be heading in the direction of our city, Puente Kyjha.  They didn’t even charge us; they just jokingly told us not to steal their women as we got off the bus.

Bottom line: prayer works!  Especially when you are on the Lord s errand.  🙂

I also wanted to take a second and thank everyone for the great words of encouragement in the little book sent around by Carrie Hurlocker and then my Mom.  I just got it in the mail this week and it was really awesome hearing from everybody!!  I’m such a slacker! I need to write more to everybody.I will: I promise.

Thanks for all the support!

Elder Wyatt

 

Here’s a few photos of the area that I’m in now.

Puente Kyjha streets

Panderia with wonderful Paraguay & Brazilian baked goods!

 

More of thecountryside

and even more of the countryside

 

 

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Posted by: elderwyatt | July 25, 2011

Benjamin Acéval

iMbaishapa!  (Guarani for Hello)
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Just had a change of place; I now live in a small town named Benjamin Aceval.  It is a beautiful area, but I wanted to share an experience with you all about my time in Luque.
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It has to do with a family from the church named the the Cartez family. The mom hired her uncle to build them a new well because their old one had dried up but after about a month of digging (and about six meters of digging), he stopped showing up to work.  Later, they found out that he wasn’t interesting in making the well, but he wanted to dig it for them to try to find… Gold!  When he realized that there wasn’t gold there, he stopped working.  So the family was left with a gigantic hole in on the side of their house.  A hole without water.  Elder Ruiz (my missionary companion) and I went to help them fill in the hole, and we didn’t quite finish but we did a good amount of work!  We wanted to take a few pictures from inside the well to remember.
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We really appreciated our time with the Cartez family because we spent a lot of time sharing with them about the Savior Jesus Christ and his teachings.  We talked a lot about families as well and how families can be blessed through applying the principles that Christ and his prophets teach.  One of the principles that we taught them and teach to many here in Paraguay is that God continues to calls prophets to lead and guide us in the world to help us strengthen the faith we have in Jesus Christ and to be able to follow Him.  I was really grateful for the time that I had in Luque and for the love that the Cartez family has for the Savior.  I’m also grateful for the love that the Savior has for me, and for the support of each and every one of you.
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Oh, hey, I went to an Indian tribe this past week.  There is a small group of people called Cerrito outside of the town that is part of our area.  The only problem is that they don’t speak Spanish and some don’t speak Guarani.  I don’t really know what they speak, but it makes missionary work a little difficult as we speak to a 12 year-old in Spanish who then translates to their native language.  It makes our time together pretty interesting!

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Notice that as you are all sweltering in the summer heat that down in Paraguay it is finally winter.  What that means is that we have a few weeks of cold where you wear everything that you can put on in order to stay warm.  This is then followed by a week of heat and then a bit more cold and finally it is hot again for the next 10 months.  It’s crazy to think that it’s summer in Kansas.

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Many of the men here leave the city and travel miles to work deeper in the country in the sugar cane farms.   We see a lot of sugar cane here.  A bunch of carts, trucks, you name it, will be filled completely with large stocks of sugar cane.  Every now and then we’ll get a good chuckle out of cows that sneakily approach carts with sugar cane and quickly grab a stock and run.  We see every now and then cows walking down the street with a five foot long sugar cane stocks sticking out of their mouths!
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Love you all lots, and keep in touch!
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Elder Wyatt
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PS.  I want to share an internet site with you all that I really like:  www.mormon.org   iVisìtelo!
PPS:  You can click on the pictures to enlarge them.

Oxcarts and Sugarcane

The Well

It’s Winter in Paraguay!
Benjamin Aceval
Hmmmm, that’s interesting.  Click on me to see what I see.

Paraguay Roads

Beautiful Paraguay

Me 🙂

Posted by: elderwyatt | June 6, 2011

Moo!

Dear Friends and Family,
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I had a really interesting lunch this past week!  It is called pata de vaca.  It is a soup with noodles, oil, and… a yep you guessed it.  Cow leg.  The dish I got actually didn’t have cow leg, it had two knees.  Two knee joints of a cow.  Have you ever wondered how much meat there is in a cow knee?  Just in case you’re curious, not a whole lot.  There is however a lot of cartilage and fat.
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Once I realized what I was eating, I made the decision to just eat quickly so that the family didn’t think that I wasnt enjoying the food.  Ummm, the plan sort of backfired when the mother of the family noticed how fast I was eating and said “Elder, there is more meat left over if you would like some more!  Here, I’ll take your plate and serve you more!”   She then took my plate and served me another knee and, this time, a cow hoof.   Just… delicious!
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Seriously though, the people of Paraguay are very generous and will give you whatever they have, and more.
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Love you all and pray for you always,
Elder Wyatt
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PS:  The cow grazing along the highway is a common sight in Luque.

Grazing Cow

(Very) Temporary Pet

Aaron: Luque, Paraguay

Posted by: elderwyatt | May 9, 2011

Moving Paraguay Stye!

iMbishapa!
I wanted to share a little story with you all – a story that put a smile on my face.
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A few weeks ago, we needed to find a new house to live because our old house had a problem with water.  We would never know if what time of day that we would have water to use.  Many days it would be evening or night before our water would work.  Well, we found a house that was perfect; it was close to the church and had a constant supply of water and everything.  However, we had no idea how we were going to transport all of our stuff from our old house to our new house.
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We live in an area where people don’t have cars or trucks that could help us move all of our belongings.  Anyway, we were thinking and thinking about what we could do to solve this problem and be able to safely and quickly transport our beds and luggage from one house to another.
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Then, one day in church, we were talking about our dilemma to a man who goes to church every Sunday.  His name is Hermano Jara.  He listened to our problem and said “Elderes, yo les ayudarè” (Elders, I will help you).
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This is a man who drives a carrito, a small horse drawn wagon, and sells all sorts of merchandise in the local market everyday.  He normally works every day under the hot sun to sell his goods in the center of town, but on this given Monday, he came to help us move.  With a bit of trickery, tetris skills, and a bunch of ropes, we eventually got everything loaded and safely transported over three trips.
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I don t think I will forget the kindness of Hermano Jara, nor the photo I took!  This is how people move in Paraguay!
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Love you all for all of your support and wish you all the best,
Elder Wyatt
After All the Rain

Moving Van - Paraguay Style (Click on photos to enlarge)

Posted by: elderwyatt | March 28, 2011

March 28, 2011

Hey everyone, I hope you are all doing great!  I just wanted to write a little bit to tell everybody what my life is like right now and to share a little bit about what is going on here in Paraguay.
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I moved in January and am currently living in a suburb of Asuncion in a city called Luque.  Right now, there is a ton of rain.  It has been raining non stop for almost three days.  Here in Paraguay, rain is common, but three days is a lot – even for Paraguayans.  The rain has caused us to make some friends with some critters that like to keep dry when it rains.  The tarantulas are out and about and we have seen a couple come out of the grass and the woods to find shelter from the rain.
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Local Friend?

The food in Paraguay is much different than I am used to…. lots of oil, rice, and meat.  When we eat at home, we usually just make sandwiches or pasta.  Look up Chipa on Google.  That is something that is actually growing on me.  When it is done right, it is actually really good.  The other thing is that the fruit here is amazing.  I love, love, love, the fruit here.  Bananas grow everywhere and are dirt cheap, as well as apples and a wide range of south American fruit.
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Paraguay Fruit Stand

Fresh Pineapple Anyone?

It is finally starting to cool off just a little bit here.  While everybody in the northern hemisphere is preparing for spring and summer, we are finally preparing for fall and winter.  It gets dark here around seven or seven thirty at night now, and the temperature isn’t quite so breathtaking anymore.  Only the mid 80s on a good day!
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In my service as a missionary, my job is to help everybody come unto Christ.  In doing this, my own faith in Christ has grown a ton.  Although we walk miles a day, sweating all day long, I am just really happy. I know that this comes from the Spirit of the Lord, this happiness.  It is a gift that the Lord gives to all that seek him and follow him through keeping his commandments.  I see this happiness in the people that I work with as well.  People who have troubles and challenges in their lives that also have this happiness in Christ because they are following him and keeping his commandments.
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I love you all and thank you all for your love and support.
iQue tengan un dia maravillosa!
Posted by: elderwyatt | January 10, 2011

iFeliz Año Nuevo!

Our "Christmas Tree"

iHola Amigos y Familia!

This week, things have started to get pretty hot here.  The official beginning of summer for us, I believe, was around Christmas, so we have been opening doors, turning on fans, and drinking a lot of water.  Nobody here uses thermometers, but if I had to guess, it is well over a hundred degrees by mid-day.

I forgot to mention in my last update that on Christmas day, I hit the four month mark on my mission.  Man, time has gotten away. So much has happened in these four months as well.

Christmas Banquet

Christmas BBQ

I am continuing my work here in Paraguay day by day working with the people.  My biggest challenge continues to be the language.  I have probably already mentioned before that there are three separate and distinct languages spoken here: Español, Guarani, and Portuguese.  In our work, the relationships that we make with people are absolutely critical.  We can´t help people better their lives if we can´t communicate with them.   Therefore, it is my biggest and most important “desafio” as they say in Spanish to learn to converse with the people.

One of my favorite quotes has really helped me out on my mission and I would like to share it with all of you.  It says “your life is defined as 10 percent of what happens to you, and 90 percent how you choose to react to the other 10 percent”. In my opinion, I think it is really important to remember the important of our own personal choices, as well as the concept that we form our own sense of happiness and accomplishment.  This little saying has been in my head quite frequently throughout these past several weeks and it has helped my through some pretty stressful times.  It is something that I will remember and try me best to practice throughout my life.

I love you all, and am so grateful for your support!

Elder Wyatt

 

PS:  Here’s a picture of the gentleman, Eduardo, that gave up drinking.  He and the woman he’d lived with for years, were married!

Marriage

Posted by: elderwyatt | December 27, 2010

Christmas Miracle

 

The Border

iHola todos!

This past week week was Christmas, and I would like to share an experience that I had here in Paraguay with all of you.

As missionaries, we help teach people how to find peace, happiness, and hope through Jesus Christ and how to make good/healthy decisions in life. Well, here in Pedro Juan Caballero where I currently live, we have been working with a man named Eduardo and his family.  Eduardo is a very humble and loving man, but he has had a problem with drinking for the majority of his adult life.  His wife told us when we first starting teaching them that he has drunk every day for the past twenty years.  She, and their 4 kids see him drunk every single day.  My friend and I took the time to get to know him and his family, and really thought and prayed about how we could help this man and his family.

The decision that we came to was to teach Eduardo about our message concerning Jesus Christ and the power that we can have when we learn and keep his commandments.  We taught this man, who had never prayed on his own, how to pray to our Heavenly Father in the name of Jesus Christ.  We taught, encouraged, and prayed with him as well as on our own for him and his family.  We, as well as Eduardo, prayed for him to have the strength to give up drinking and to focus on how to have a more unified family through a solid faith Christ.

Well this week my friends and family, we saw a Christmas miracle.  We saw a man who had drunk every day for over two decades quit drinking “cold turkey”, so to speak.  At one point, he became so violently ill from withdrawals that he and his wife needed to spend all the money that they had to go to the hospital to buy medicine.  Nevertheless, Eduardo beat the bottle.  He has been sober now for over two weeks!

I know that the power of Christ was working through him, helping him change his life for the better.  It was extremely hard for him: physically as well as mentally.  But I saw a man shaking, under intense pressure from withdrawals, smile and sing hymns with us this past week.  The power of Christ is real for all those who are willing to do their own part to grow, learn, and follow him.

This is a great example of the type of work that I do as a missionary.  There is, in my opinion, no work in the world that is more important.  I know that the lives of Eduardo and his family will never be the same; that their lives have been elevated through Christ.  Im am grateful for the part I play as a missionary in the healing process in the lives of people.

I love you all, enjoy your letters, and will update again real soon!  I have been horrible about writing updates, but from here on out, I plan to write something every week.  I hope to be able to here from everybody more in the future as well.

iLes amamos!

Elder Aaron Wyatt

The Jungle

Thanksgiving Dinner

Posted by: elderwyatt | October 3, 2010

5 Weeks

ﺃHola Familia y Amigos!

Five weeks into this grand adventure of mine, and I finally have the opportunity to share with everyone my experiences as a missionary for Jesus Christ!  I am so grateful for technology and this ability I have to remain a part of your lives.

In the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, young men (usually between the ages of 19 and 24) are strongly encouraged by the leadership of the Church to dedicate two years of their life to teaching the gospel of Jesus Christ.  They are sent to nearly every corner of the world to invite others unto Christ and to live His teachings.  We also spend a significant amount of our time serving others in facets outside of church settings.  Normally, this is physical labor-type service such as helping people move, volunteering in local clean-ups or whatever is needed for the people in their area.  As most of you probably know by now, I have been given the awesome opportunity to serve and teach the people of Northern Paraguay.

But before I set sail for South America, it would probably be nice to learn the language, right?  I took 3 years of Spanish in school, but that just isn’t enough to cut it!  So here I am in Provo, Utah, at the Missionary Training Center.  Until October 25, I will be here refining the language and practicing the skill of teaching.

However, I am not alone!  There are 2500 of us here right now preparing to serve missions, and worldwide the Church currently has more than 50,000 missionaries serving and teaching children of God.

 

Since being here I have met missionaries heading to Argentina, Chile, Brazil, Uruguay, Paraguay, Bolivia, Guatemala, Panama, Honduras, Ecuador, El Salvador, Mexico, just about all 50 USA states, England, Sweden, Norway, Germany, Italy, Poland, Russia, Bulgaria, South Korea, China (Hong Kong), Japan, Australia and the Pacific Islands.  Just to name a few.  

I have two teachers here:  Hermano Schwartz y Hermana Ampuño.  That latter is a native from Ecuador who speaks English fluently but refuses to speak it to us, in order to help immerse us in the language.  She is very kind, yet still has a very intense and fiery personality.  When she was a young girl, the missionaries from my Church met her and her family, and taught them about Christ and His gospel.  She testified to us how much happiness it brought into her life and the lives of her family.  Now, as a teacher for missionaries, her passion for teaching is fueled by her desire to train young men to become like the missionaries that changed her life, sh that others might be given the same blessings she was given.

Hermano Schwartz is from Phoenix, and he served a Spanish speaking mission in Texas.  As his last name gives away, he is not a native speaker, but he speaks fluently because of his mission.  Compared to Hermana Ampuño, he is very laid-back and calm, which is nice sometimes.  The two offer a good balance of teaching personalities.

Some not-so-good things about training to be a missionary at the MTC: 

  1. Every lunch and dinner is centered around chicken.  Chicken sandwiches, chicken salads, fried chicken, roasted chicken, chicken soups – Ahg!  I don’t know why, but are fed so many of these birds!
  2. Daily time spent sitting in class = 10+ hours daily.  That plus 8 hours of sleep = one inactive missionary!

 

Some good things about training to be a missionary at the MTC:

  1. Being around so many dedicated and focused people
  2. Learning about the entire world and its cultures through the people who will serve in countries throughout the world.
  3. Feeling the love of Heavenly Father and His son, Jesus Christ.
  4. Feeling the desire to help and love others, grow.

 

Until later, friends and family!  Thank you for your prayers and letters of support. 

Here is my mailing address one more time for everybody.

Letters reaching me BEFORE October 25th

Elder Aaron Matthew Wyatt
MTC Mailbox # 368
PAR-ASUN 1026
2005 N 900 E
Provo, UT 84604-1793

Also, here is a link to my Church’s website that explains more about missionary service as well as a great synopsis of my faith, www.mormon.org.

Posted by: elderwyatt | May 18, 2010

Concerning Hobbits…

Growing, up, Dad and I always read together.  One of our family favorites were the works of JRR Tolkein.

In a letter written to Frodo Baggins and his close circle of Hobbit-friends, Gandalf the Grey offered the following advice.

All that is gold does not glitter, not all who wander are lost

At the time, the young Hobbits had been traveling immensely alone, venturing into strange and foreign lands largely without help.   They had constantly depended on help from their older and much wiser wizard companion.  However, they had been left alone for over a month – navigating through perilous forests filled with monstrous creatures.

All nerdiness aside, there is, I believe, a lesson that can be learned from this piece of advice.

I see the next several months ahead of me, and they are riddled with enough travel to rival a National Geographic Photographer.  Emporia. Utah. Back to Emporia.  Jayhawk.  Topeka.  South Dakota.  Utah.  And finally, Paraguay.

In my life (and I’ll bold enough to say our lives as well), I go through so many experiences that pile up – often chaotically at best.  School requires papers to be written, tests to be completed admirably, constant attendance etc.  Adding family and friends to the mix, along with a job, and you have the makings of a life that may appear jostled and unfocused.

However, “all that is gold does not glimmer.”  Things are not always what they seem to be.

At times when I feel that my life has lost a sense of direction, I’ve found that it is important to take a minute to reevaluate what is important in the immediate sense, and what is vital in a long-term sense.  A General Authority (which one? At midnight, I cannot remember) spoke about this in conference last year.

I would further this advice with my own thoughts by saying that I need to acknowledge the fact that achieving long term goals often requires jumping through some short and sporadic “hoops.”

It is easy to define one’s life by the seemingly great and grandiose events that took place during their life, but I would claim that most of the influential lessons I have learned have come from the conglomeration of smaller experiences – AKA sporadic “hoops”. In another life, when I was way too involved in High School for my own health, I learned valuable people skills every afternoon in play practice and my work in Student Government.  A month each summer directing a department at a Boy Scout camp – of all places – has provided me with some of the best knowledge on how to

Are you a wanderer?

work with and lead people.  One evening a week with the missionaries helps reaffirm my testimony of the Gospel of Jesus Christ.

These short experiences have sure taught me a lot.

While right now, my upcoming grandiose goal/event is my mission, I need to remind myself  not to wait for big life events to learn and to grow.  Between now and the end of August, there are quite a few hoops that may just prepare me for my life ahead. These hoops will take me to diverse places and, one could argue, are largely unrelated to each other.  All of them, I trust, will help me grow in some capacity as I wander from place to place.

Indeed, though I am not lost, I am a wanderer.

And I wouldn’t have it any other way.

Posted by: elderwyatt | May 14, 2010

Where is a Map?

On Saturday night, 24 April 2010, President Elliot called me at home to tell me that my mission call had been extended and that it was in the mail.

Religiously, I checked the mail everyday after I returned home from my chemistry class at Emporia State, however, for four days, the mailbox was filled with nothing but the usual junk (did you know that 100,000,000 trees are cut-down each year to produce the paper for junk mail in America? Picture clear-cutting the Rocky Mountain National Park four times every year!)

On Friday, the  29th of April, CJ Good and his wife Julie were at our house, helping us remodel our 1st floor.  After talking with them and my mom for a few minutes, I picked up my backpack, slung it across my shoulders, and left for chemistry.  On my way out, I noticed a package next to our mailbox full of mail.  The package caused the mailman to deliver the mail hours early!

This was the day that I found a packet addressed to “Elder Aaron Matthew Wyatt” in the mailbox.

Mom, with the camera of course, sat next to me as I read:

“You are hereby called to serve as a missionary in the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints.  You are assigned to labor in the Paraguay North Asuncion North Mission. You will prepare to teach the Gospel in the Spanish Language. “

The difficult thing was I still had to go to class! It came literally fifteen minutes before my Chemistry class started.

That class was, without a doubt, the hardest class I have ever sat through. Dad called me half-way through, and I ran out to the hall to tell him the news.

Of course, I called Cory and Christopher, along with Grandma as well.

Some Information on Paraguay

It is often called “El Corazón de Sudamerica” or, “The heart of South America.”  It lies southwest of Brazil, in the center of South America, and is one of two landlocked countries of the continent.

It’s current government is fairly stable; however, the country has suffered numerous military coups and some pretty scary governmental shake-ups in the recent past.  Paraguay operates on a Constitution written in 1993.

The mission in which I will be serving includes the capitol city, Asunción, and the entire area north and west of this city.  This area is the rural portion of the country, comprises two-thirds of the overall space, and is extremely underdeveloped.  Take a look at the map, and see the single major highway that traverses across the entire north-west region.

The people of Paraguay, along with many other South Americans, are renown for compassion and friendliness.  Sadly, they suffer from rampant poverty. In the rural portions of Norther Paraguay, 1 in 2 people do not have the means to provide for themselves and their families.  The country has been identified as the second poorest country of the entire continent (second to Bolivia, which is right next door).

Even in the midst of such staggering poverty, the vast majority of Paraguayans receive nine years of education – courtesy of the government.  School age children are required to receive this education by law.

Because of this, the literacy rate in Paraguay exceeds ninety percent.

All-in-all, it appears that the people have suffered, and currently are suffering, difficult times. Nevertheless, they are extraordinarily gracious, friendly, and remarkably intelligent.

I am very anxious about my mission, and I sincerely hope that I can provide some stability and happiness to the lives of these people.

Until then, voy a esperar y orar.

-Aaron

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