Guess what Im in Nagarote right now(aka Im sweating really hard, but dont worry I puto n deoderant today)! I had to go to Managua to renew my identificaton card and President gave me permission to go visit the members in Nagarote and say goodbye. I LOVE IT. Its amazing seeing people and having all the memories come back. It was SO hard learning Spanish and adjusting to the culture here but it all seems so silly now. I LOVE these people so much. Its amazing how you can say “adiós” to someone in the Street, they say it back to you, you dont even know them, but your love grows. Thats pretty much how Ive been feeling today. I know that the Lord called me to serve here and in every one of my áreas.
We continue to look for the chosen families and the Lord continues to bless us as were trusting in him. While we still arent seeing many results the Lord is teaching me how to make realistic goals and accomplish them. Hermana Chinchilla got called to be a leader of the sister training leaders so she came and worked with me in Esteli this week. Cool huh? It made me nostalgic working with her again. But we worked hard and found 2 new families.
We have been using a book our zone leader, Elder Yardley, gave us to try to get more references from members. Its really good to be more involved with them. It has pictures on it and you ask them questions like “Do you know someone who likes to watch movies?” And then we write down the first person they say and ask directions afterwards. It hasnt been successful so far. For example we asked our rc anali if she knows someone who has had someone pass away and she gave us the name of the deceased person. But were working on it and I know the Lord will bless the members for getting more involved.
President just gave all missionaries a fresh copy of the book of mormon. Were going through highlighting all references to Christ and his attributes. 1 Nephi 21:16 has been on my mind a lot this week: Behold, I have graven thee upon thepalmsof my hands; thy walls are continually before me.The Lord really knows us and loves us. He knows our every pain, joy, and trial and will continue to go before us and prepare the way. I know this is true. We just need to continually trust in him and remember that he knows best. I know He lives and has a plan forus.
Well its super strange to think that Im going to be with you all in less than 3 weeks. I love you all and hope you all are doing well. Thanks for all of your love, support, and advice.
-So the way of greeting people is dift. Here---I make a kissing sound and put my cheek on the other persons cheek (have ben demonstrate). Obviously I only do it to women as a missionary. But yesterday I had some really awkward dodges as men that I contacted decided to try to greet me like that. I offended one of them.
-I had a man ask me and Hermana Chinchilla what types of sicknesses we had. We said we didnt have any and then he assured us that we did. All women have cáncer in lots of parts of their bodies. But dont worry I dont have it anymore because with his authority he has he healed us.In other words Im coming home healthy.
Look who came to District Conference! Friends from Ocotal! So happy to see them!
While I like the slogan " We love to see you smile" better, "Im lovin it" just applies to my attitude towards my mission right now. Its seriously the best. Despite many moments of difficulty at the end of the day and week, I have a million things to be grateful for and many miracles to confirm my testimony that THE GOSPEL IS TRUE!!!!
My companion and I are unified and having a really great time together! She isnt that afraid to contact or teach anymore is great because I feel like were sharing the weight---its wonderful. Were moving forward with faith....its been tough because none of the families were teaching are progressing. One of our families, Reynaldo and Marcia have gone to church 3 times but they dont understand how important it is to read the scriptures and pray every day and wont accept a baptismal date- but were working with them!
Our main goal in the mission is to help families be baptized and help them stay active. President Collado says in order to do this "Obedience is the price, faith is the power, love is the motive, the Spirit is the key, and Jesus Christ is the reason." Its been great applying this and helping us stay focused on the most important things. He said something about faith this week that I really love. "People with faith always focus on the future, while people without faith always dwell on the past." We can always change and be better on the future, why focus on our failures or things that havent worked out?
Feeling a little frustrated with barely anyone being interested in our message I offered a prayer this week. I asked Heavenly Father if he could have someone call out to us and ask about the church, desiring change. Well this week we went to the houses of all our investigators before church----no one could come. My comp. and I said a prayer that the Lord would guide us where we needed to go to help someone come to church. We contacted every family that we saw going to church (on a street we dont usually take). After contacting one family, we saw a woman cleaning her porch and she called out, " Hey are you the Mormons"? Anxious to talk to her, I walked over, "Of course we are." She said, "I was baptized in the church last year in Virginia and havent been able to get in contact with the missionaries." Turns out that she, Isavena, was baptized in August and moved here in December. She went to church once but got a little discouraged because none of the leaders visited her. So she hasnt gone. On Saturday she was looking on the church website and chatting with someone to try to get in contact with missionaries....but no luck. Then we passed by her house Sunday morning. He didn't answer my prayer in the way I expected it, but he answerd my prayer and answered her prayer at the same time. The Lord knows us individually and is in this work with us. Im so grateful for this knowledge that God is our loving Father in Heaven and is aware of us. I love this work and love that I can be such an active part of it. You all can be too. Dont stop praying to have missionary experiences!!!!
Love you all,
Random fun moments
-sitting on the stairs of the bus for 2.5 hours at 5.15 in the morning.....call the night before to reserve your bus seat----recommendation.
-getting a requested "journal" from mom and dad. journal= blow pops, mentos, tootsie pops, gum, and 2 bags of starbursts. you rock parents.
-seeing another bus on the side of the road that had crashed because it hit a cow....dejavu???I didnt know that was a common thing....apparently it is in Nicaragua.
I really do love how my mission focuses on finding families. All missionaries should develop what I call the "family radar." You can be talking about anything with your companion walking along the street, but once a family comes into sight, we drop what were doing and go to talk to them. This week the family radar of Hermana Corzantes and Hermana Pearson has worked and we have found 3 new families!
None of them are progressing a ton but were working on helping them read the scriptures and pray so they are coming along. Can you please pray for them to all have the desire to come to church this week?
Marcos and Carla have 3 girls- 1 pair of 12 year old twins and a 14 year old that is adorable. The girls came alone to a plan of salvation activity that we had the other week and it really helped Marcos and Carla have an excitement to listen to us. They have both gone to church in the past because they were curious and entered. Their difficulty is that they both work at the hospital (Carla is a doctor) but they are willing to change.
Maria and Michol have a cute little boy and girl. We found them on a day where all of our appointments were falling through and feeling a bit down. But we were able to walk with them to their house and teach them right away after contacting them on the street. They are really willing to learn.
Leonel and Maria Christina and 4 children and all of them are married. When we entered their house Leonel was really sick. He is alcoholic but to the point where he desperately wants to give it up. He has had this disease for 12 years. Im loving teaching with Hermana Corzantes because she is learning to really teach with the spirit. We were able to teach about the gospel of Jesus Christ and how change is possible. When we taught them for the first time I pictured them as Christ would see them and had such a love. Wouldnt our perspectives of everyone be so much better if we saw them as Christ does- not their flaws but their potential?
Remember Federico, the investigator that I found with Hermana Chita? This man is amazing. He just found out he has cancer and he had his first chemo treatment on Friday. He was still at church on Sunday. He still needs a divorce and needs to get married to be baptized but there just arent any jobs or money. I pray that a miracle will happen so he can progress. I wish we could all be more like Federico, so willing to try to change and do what we can to come unto Christ.
It was SUPER hard to say goodbye to Hermana Chita when she left for Puerto Cabezas. She is SUCH a special friend and such an example to me.
Being a Training Leader is a wonderful experience but challenging. I go on divisions two times a week. I have to travel 2 hours to go to 2 of the areas. We have 8 sisters but they are all hard workers so its fun to work with them. I love helping them improve and seeing how every sister has something special to offer. Its fun learning from them.
I know that Christ lives and loves us. He wants us to work hard to be better every day. All we need to do is repent and let Him change us.
Just found out changes and I dont have any but Hermana Chita is the first sister in history to go to Puerto Cabezas. So I will be finishing off my mission in Esteli! Can I just say Im so grateful for the little blessings that Ive had through out my life.....for example......family dinners. I think I took those for granted! I was talking to all of the Latin sisters and none of them ever ate with their families growing up- only on Sunday. What a blessing it was to get to know the family better and pray together every day. Thanks mom and dad.
This week we had the opportunity to go to a conference with Elder Ochoa. It was incredible. We learned lots of amazing things but what was the best part is what the spirit taught me. For example, I had the feeling to study the atonement more and every day I have studied it every day since then and it has been incredible. I have so much more love for the people and for myself. Read Mosiah 4:19-20----its amazing. And the talk by Linda K. Burton - Faith in the atonement of Jesus Christ written in our hearts.
Sorry for the lack of details mom but I only have time to share my testimony. I know I say every week some of the same things, " I know Joseph Smith is a prophet," or " I know the Book of Mormon is true." And I do. I know that the restoration of the true church of Jesus Christ took place. Christ chose Joseph Smith to receive the power and authority to restore the church and to give the world evidence of this authority, the Lord commanded him to translate the Book of Mormon. And because of this, the world can now have a complete and full knowledge of the Lord Jesus Christ's sacrifice- his infinite atonement- for each one of us- I KNOW its true. I KNOW Christ suffered for us- to make us clean, whole, happy, NEW- to save us from the effects of sin. And what does He ask us to do to receive this cleansing? REPENT. Leave our sins and keep the commandments of God. When we do this- we will truly be free. I know Satan tries to get us down and tell us were not good enough- that we will never measure up- but its not true- every child of God can change and become new. Im so grateful for Christ and his atonement for us. I hope you can all apply it in your lives this week. I love you and Im thinking about you!
So mom, it was nice and all that you got me some snow shoes for Christmas, but would you mind sending me some mud shoes? Its raining like crazy here and the crocs just arent cutting it. Really you would all have been laughing pretty hard at me Friday and Saturday. One of our areas is really hilly and paved roads dont exist so I was walking around ( or attempting to do so) with 2 inches of mud caked to the sides of my shoes for quite a while.
Vilma was baptized on Saturday! It has been incredible seeing her conversion. I have never seen someone so prepared for the gospel and ready to change. We went to her house on Monday to confirm the time for the baptism and see if she had any doubts or questions. All she said was, " Im more than ready." Her mom has diabetes and this week has been in horrible health and she has had a cold as well. She shared with us that she knows that these are just trials and that Christ will help her get through them.
The day of the baptism was a bit interesting as the electricity went out and so did the water. Thankfully the pressure of the water to fill up the font is good and it only took a half hour after the water came an hour before the baptism. Lots of the family of Vilma and also of Maico and Blanca(the family of Hermana Chita) were there. We the sisters sang a special musical number "Lead Kindly Light" and the spirit was really strong. It was so wonderful to see all of these wonderful people ( and future leaders) enter the waters of baptism. The crazy thing is that right when Vilma (the first one to be baptized) was entering the water, the lights went out so everyone had there cellphones out for the baptisms, and then the lights came right back on!
Im continuing to learn so much from President Collado. The bar in the mission has definitely been raised and obedience is improving, along with the way were being taught to teach and find people. We were challenged by the area authorities to pray with our companion to know what area we should work in this week. I have always heard stories when missionaries look at a map and feel they should work somewhere but have never had that experience...until this week. I felt that we should work in an area but didnt say anything to Hermana Corzantes. I told her we should pray about about area. After the prayer, she said the area I was thinking of. It was so neat. Were working hard to find new families in this area- Alfredo Lazo. Elder Ochoa from the seventy is coming this week.
President Collado said something I really like this week---" Intelligence is man´s capacity to solve problems." Its so true. Were all going to have trials that are really hard for us to go through. But what attitude are we going to take? I read some really good talks this week about how we can feel accepted by the Lord in our weakness and how to go through trials---from the last general conference---"Being accepted by the Lord" and "Beautiful Mornings." Really the key during trials is to NOT FEAR and trust in the Lord. Im so grateful for the eternal perspective we have with the gospel. Im also really grateful to be a missionary in Nicaragua. These people, even if they dont have a religion, believe that if it werent for Jesus Christ, they wouldnt be here. I love how so many believe....our role is missionaries is just to help them see how they can convert this belief into FAITH and act in the savior. Im so grateful for the Savior and his love for us! I love all of you and miss you.
Well the internet connection is not working well....time is so short....I willl try to send pictures next week. I hope everyone had a great week and is working hard and loving life. I know I am!
We're working hard to find more families to teach and having a lot of difficulties with finding the families we're teaching at home. But we're praying the Lord is preparing a great family for us to teach.
Vilma is getting prepared for her baptism this week. She is the sister of a member in our branch and we found her as a reference. Her faith amazes me. Pray that everything goes well.
Well its been a busy day and a busy week. I hope you all remember the importance that each one of you has for Heavenly Father and for so many others. I love the quote Ben sent to me: "Trust in the Lord, do your best, then leave the rest to him." Its so true. We just need to work hard and do His will and He will be happy and bless us. I love Hel. 10:1-5 when Nephi had this realization. I know this gospel is true and am so grateful for this knowledge. I love you all and be ready for a longer email next week.
Love you all,
PS Random fun fact: There is a place here called "Jalapa" and the people from there are called "Jalapenos." Cool huh?
Arent we so lucky to have the knowledge that families can be together forever? Thinking about it makes me teary. No Im not trunky. Just grateful to be part of such a wonderful family. So many missionaries come from broken homes and so many of our investigators and people we meet here have so many problems in their homes. I know our family is not perfect, but Im so grateful we have the gospel at the center of our lives. Thanks for all of your examples. Im so grateful for all of your examples---especially of member missionary work----so grateful we can quicken the work of salvation together.
We planned and had the baptism of 8 yr old Jesnat Anali Blandon Moreno. She is what I call the Nicaraguan version of Hannah Stansbury because physically she reminds me of her and her personality is identical----super cute, energetic, spiritual and happy. The only difference is that she knows how to ride a unicycle (so Hannah, youll have to learn that soon so you can be twins). I dont know if I have told you about her but she is the granddaughter of a less active, Magda who I found with Hermana Henderson about a month ago. Magda is basically her mom and Im so excited for them to both be active in the church. We had the baptism right after church which was perfect because lots of members and investigators were there to support them.
We have seen so many miracles in member missionary work this week with Vilma. She is so prepared. She accepted a baptismal date for August 24th. This gospel is changing the lives of the Corrales family. She is not even a member but she is already a missionary. This past weekend, her brother, who is an alcoholic got really sick because he got really drunk. He called her for help. She told him the only way to get out of this was God and invited him to church. His wife goes to an evangelical church but said she would listen to the missionaries if it would change her husband around. They both showed up to church on Sunday along with Vilma and her daughter and granddaughter (who live in Ocotal). Hermana Corzantes and I had such an amazing lesson on the word of wisdom with Vilma. We knew she had an addiction to coffee so we were curious to see what would happen. When we got there we asked how she was doing. She said, " A little sad because I have to give up my vices." When we started the lesson she explained how after she had read the pamphlet the day before how the Lord had helped her. She prayed to him and the next morning she only drank a tiny bit of coffee. She accepted a priesthood blessing to receive more strength. Without knowing it was inspired, the day before, I had given her the talk on obedience and the talk on faith by Elder Holland from this past general conference. These helped her understand why the word of wisdom is so important and she believes its true and will bless her life. I wish I could express all of the miracles I have seen taking place in this woman. She is amazing.
How is your level of hope right now? Sometimes I have to reevaluate my hope level and see if I really believe that good things will happen when it seems impossible. I love what James E. Faust said: "Hope is trust in Gods promises, faith that if we act now the desired blessings will be fulfilled in the future." We just need to have faith and act and the Lord is obligated to fulfill his promises----we just need to have an active hope that he is moving ahead of us preparing good things. I read Jacob 5 this week and being a missionary has made me LOVE this chapter. The symbolism is amazing. Read verses 21-23 and 75. Maybe you feel like the Lord has placed you in a position that seems horrible or impossible but really there is always an opportunity to grow if we accept the Lords will and dont seek to counsel him. I know the were not in this work alone and the Lord is with us. The Lord loves us so much. Im so grateful to be a missionary for Christs true church. I love you all so much!!!