Right now are teaching Francisca and Santos and Marta and Mauricio. Francisca and Santos have a baptismal date for Aug. 4th but are having some challenges with Franciscas health right now. Pray that all will be well. They are keeping their committments of reading the Book of Mormon and attended stake conference in Managua with us the morning after the night we met them. Marta and Mauricio are the parents of 5 children. We are trying to teach Mauricio the importance of attending church but it is difficult because he works in a Finca which is basically a piece of farmland.
In stake conference last week one of the leaders spoke about how the members of Nicaragua have been promised a temple. He promised that if the members can show the Lord they are ready for a temple by attending church, magnifying callings, and keeping the commandments, they will be blessed with one. Isnt it interesting that so many times we wonder why we dont have certain blessings when all we have to do is keep the commandment tied to that blessing and the blessing will be ours? Or course we need to remember that we receive these blessings on the Lords time, but if we keep our part, He will always keep His. I know as the church continues to grow here in Nicaragua and be faithful, a temple will be built here.
Sometimes I get frustrated here and feel inadequate with my abilities to help people come to church and follow through with their committments. But then I think of the Savior and how hard it was for him in his earthly ministry. He was rejected all the time and tried to help people see the blessings that could be theirs. This work is so important. Despite the rejection, we need to go forward with FAITH and believe that we have the power to be instruments in the Lords hands.
Some random thoughts: Grandma will be very happy to know that David Archuleta is serving in my zone. Well, not really, but he looks just like him and is from Utah. Tracting here has been difficult lately because its a party every day here celebrating with Saint James. He did something (dont know what). Fireworks and "bombs" go off at 4 in the morning, 2 in the afternoon, or 6 at night, anytime! We see horses dancing in the streets all the time. And I never thought horses could dance until I came to Nagarote. Try youtubing it. Maybe youll find something.
Remember the movie Lloyd? Remember the little girl that loves ketchup? I think that little girl was from Nicaragua because everyone here LOVES ketchup. Ketchup on pizza, ketchup in a Cup o Noodles, ketchup on crackers or drinking ketchup from a packet, anything goes with ketchup.
Sometimes we feel like our prayers are not answered. And sometimes they aren´t.....for a long time. But prayers are always answered. Like I said last week, I was a little bit nervous about how quickly Wilbur and Valeska were baptized. But they are making and keeping committments. The week before they were baptized, I said a prayer that the people that I teach and are baptized will recognize the change in their lives after they are baptized. 2 days after Wilbur and Valeska were baptized, we were teaching them about reading the scriptures. Wilbur spoke about how before we had come and taught them, they were always fighting but now they dont do that and have a lot of peace. I knew then that Heavenly Father had answered my prayer. They are changing little by little and Im grateful to be a part of their conversion.
I have really learned the importance of making and completing goals. We have a goal to contact on average 6 families and 20 people daily. We contacted Maria and Miguel on a Saturday night. We had already contacted 10 families that day and no one wanted to hear our message. Maria and Miguel had already been taught by Hermana Abrego and her former companion about 2 mon. ago but they had to stop teaching them because they werent keeping committments. When we invited Maria and Miguel to church for the next day they were excited to come and came! I know that when we make worthy goals and work our hardest to complete them, the Lord will bless us.
We had the chance to go to Managua for stake conference on Sunday. We were stuck in a huge traffic jam. But that was not a problem for the bus driver. He decided to drive on the side of the highway through the trees and take a short cut through a peanut field. We only arrived 20 min. late. I love the craziness of the traffic laws here.
So I have a nice tan now. Or at least if I was in the states people would think so. Instead people like to talk about how red I am. In fact the phrase they like to use is, "red like a tomato." People also think that I am really old here. I always thought people thought I looked young. NOPE. Someone asked H. Abrego and I how old we were. They thought she was 25. I said I was 30. They believed me. Yikes. So Im learning to love the appearance of being a 30 year old with tomato like skin. Oh Im humbled every day.
Every morning I wake up to the sound of karaoke at the local catholic church, roosters crowing, and dogs barking. Oh how I love Nicaragua. I love you all and I pray for you all every day. The church has been restored and we can bless the lives of people around us. Never forget the power you have to help and serve others.
This week was a whirlwind. There are now two new families that are members of the church in Nagarote. Valeska and Wilbur and their children Paola (8) and Fernando(3) and Maria and Miguel who are expecting a baby. I know I told you we were expecting Maria and Miguel baptism for Saturday, but Wilbur and Valeska progressed really quickly and were baptized the same day that Maria and Miguel were married and baptized. We went to the home of Wilbur and Valeska almost every day this week. Our zone leaders, Elder Fornellius and Elder Gallardo helped us teach a lot as well. A little about the family: Valeskas mom was a member of the church but past away 2 years ago. Valeska is the only person in the family that can read. Wilbur really wants to learn and I truly believe that as he prays and practices he will learn with the help of the Holy Ghost. In our lessons this week, Valeska was a little shaky and uncertain about getting baptized. But when I tried to speak Spanish and explain the importance of keeping commandments, Wilbur backed me up and started testifying to her about how we receive blessings when we keep the commandments of God. During their baptism, I felt so good. Wilbur wasnt able to read and sing the hymns but during the closing hymn of the baptism his head was bowed in prayer and I felt the spirit so strong. Both couples had family committments and said they werent able to attend church on Sunday. I was a little disappointed, but like I said, it is super difficult to help less active members and recent converts to church unless you attend with them. But on Sunday, after the sacrament was blessed, H. Abrego kicked my leg and said, ¨wilber and Valeska are here!¨ I was SO happy. We didnt have to go wake them up, remind them, or anything. They were late, but they were there!!!! Fernando and Paola were acting up a little bit so they were going to have to leave. Thanks to the animal crackers H. Abrego and I carry, we convinced them to stay and I entertained them in primary so the parents could attend the other classes. It was super hectic, but I was so glad that the family could stay for all 3 hours. We are going to have family home evening with them tonight and Im super excited to teach them about how this gospel is going to change their lives. These baptisms seem a little fast to me, but Im going to do my best to teach, set a good example and love them to help them become and stay active members of the church. Today, for Pday, my comp. and I went to Managua to buy them hymn books and develop photos for them.
I know that this church is the same church that Christ established when he was on the earth. This is a gospel for individuals. I know that every person can make a difference and that example is much more powerful than words. I know the Book of Mormon is another testament of Jesus Christ and will change your life if you study it and live the principles that lie within. Im learning more and more every day about the gospel and life. I love being a missionary. Its the best. I love you all so much!!!
Hermana Anne Pearson
The walk to Valeska and Wilburs home.
Shout out to A. Stapley and E. Lloyd- a baby doll arm that I found on my walk to Valeska and Wilburs home. Thought of you.
Maria and Miguel were kind of shy!
I've never looked or felt so white in all my life!
My bed with mosquito net in place....take that mosquitos!
The outside of my apartments
Hello. My name is Hermana Anne Pearson. I am 23 years old and Im serving as a missionary in Nicaragua. I know I´m too young to be having an identity crisis but here´s why....I don´t know my last name anymore. Here´s the problema. If I say it how it is pronounced correctly, I sound like a gringa and nobody can pronounce it or remember it. If I say it like its pronounced in Spanish it just sounds crazy. I just dont know anymore..... The mom wants details so Im going to give details! Currently, our most positive investigators are Karen, Maria and Miguel, and Jose and Fanny. Karen is a single mother of 3 boys. She seems to understand the lessons pretty well and she is reading the Book of Mormon. I have so much hope and faith for her and know she will come to accept the gospel but she just needs to come to church! Maria and Miguel have a baptismal date for this Sunday. Maria is expecting a baby and has attended church 2 times now! Miguel has attended once and he really liked it. They need to get married before they get baptized so if everything goes well, they are going to get married and baptized this Sunday. Jose and Fanny are our other investigators. I understand the importance of teaching the first 3 lessons of the gospel before baptism but I learned for myself how important it is to "teach people, not lessons" this week. We were planning on teaching them the gospel of Jesus Christ. At the beginning of the lesson I asked Jose if he had any questions. He got out his Book of Mormon and said, "Lets read!" We read 2 Nephi and they both had lots of questions. The spirit has an interesting way of teaching people. This chapter is not about baptism and we didnt mention anything about baptism, but after we read the chapter, Jose started asking questions about how we needed to be baptized. The Holy Ghost is the greatest teacher! Jose is praying to receive an answer but wants to have a dream witness to him the truth and were trying to help him understand that God doesnt always give answers the way we want him to. We are constantly teaching people so I cant write about everyone but we keep praying that we will be able to help people receive the restored gospel of Jesus Christ and let it change their lives! I have learned a lot from my companion, Hermana Abrego this week. She is an amazing teacher, so bold, teaches by the spirit and really loves people. The culture is just so different here and it has caused some miscommunications. I felt like she was frustrated with me this week and during weekly planning I asked if we could have companionship inventory where we talk about strengths of each other and ask where we can improve. I talked about all of the qualities about her that I loved and then asked what I could improve. She didnt open up. I pryed a little bit and we were able to work out so many problems that have come as a result of the language barrier and differences in how we need to be obedient. Most of the time in this culture people are very blunt and open but she is very closed. Im so grateful that we were able to communicate and I feel so much better. I truly love her and have a fun time joking around with her. She gets sarcasm! She is the only member in her family. She sister is inactive, her mom is a Jehovahs witness and her dad is Catholic. Her family has not written her the past two weeks and I feel so bad! She is such a strong person and Im grateful she is my trainer. I have heard that many trainers dont let their companion teach in lessons when they arent fluent but she lets me teach and it is so helpful in learning! Im trying to teach her English but she doesnt know anything. Any ideas of how to START in teaching someone English? She has 3 months left on her mission. Any ideas for simple FHE games that dont require a table? Just a dirt floor? More details.....We are in the Leon zone. Our district consists of two companionships of sisters in Nagarote and 1 companionship of elders in Mateare. Occassionally the elders come and help us find people or teach lessons. We eat lunch every day with the other sisters. Hermana Escudero is from Bahia Blanca Argentina and Hermana Vasquez is from Guatemala. Every Tuesday we take a 1.5 hr. bus ride to Leon for our zone meeting. Every Tuesday night we have "Noche de Hermamiento." H. Abrego and I are in charge of it and we share a short message and play a game. the rest of the days we contact and teach lessons. On Sunday morning we leave the apartment 2 hours before church to go and wake people up and help them get to church. Church begins at "9" this translates into 915, 930, 940......for a girl who likes to use her planner and try to be punctual this has been huge adjustment. I had the wonderful opportunity to see 10 people (3 families within the same extended family) get baptized yesterday! They all looked so happy and I was grateful to witness that. Mom. Im becoming you. Every day in comp. study we read Preach my gospel in spanish out loud. I fell asleep in the middle of the sentence. Que verquenza(how embarassing). It reminded me of growing up when you fell asleep reading to us and dad had to come and finish the story. I love those memories. The way H. Abrego and I always start our lessons is by singing a hymn and saying a prayer. Usually this goes well and people understand what is going on. Sometimes they dont. This week we taught a family how to sing a song and then started to sing. They proceeded to not sing, but read in a very monotonous tone, the words of the song. It was really hard for us not to laugh. We taught a woman how to pray. At the end of the lesson we asked is she would pray. She said she would and we were excited that she accepted. She asked if we could remind her how to pray and we showed her the model to pray in one of the pamphlets. She "prayed" with bowed head and closed eyes the directions for how to say the prayer word for word and everyone except us.....said amen. Haha. We all need to be missionaries whether full-time or part-time. The talk, "Missionary Work and the Atonement" by Jeffrey R. Holland is so good! Read it. He says, "I bear witness that He (The Savior) came from God as a God to bind up the broken hearted, to dry the tears from every eye, to proclaim liberty to the captive and open the prison doors to them that are bound. I promise that because of your faithful response to the call to spread the gospel, He will bind up your broken hearts, dry your tears, and set you and your families free." What a wonderful promise! I love this gospel and know its true. Open your mouths to spread the gospel and it will be filled!!! Thats all for now family! I love you very much!!!! Hermana Anne Pearson
Now that youve pondered that question for a second, I´ll share my experience. We have neighbors who have a parrot. I decided to try to speak spanish to him to try to get him to copy me. Well, he didnt. Instead, he preceded to imitate a pig. Seriously. It was strange. So I asked my companion if parrots speak Spanish here. Apparently they do. I just met one that was a little bit....different.
The focus in this mission is teaching and baptizing families. Its the greatest. Isnt that what life is all about? Our goal is to contact 6 families a day and so far we have done that. Were currently teaching a single mother of 3 children and a couple. I really hope they keep progressing and are able to come to church. Getting people to come to church is the most difficult thing here. We wake up 2 hours early every Sunday to try to help people come but its really difficult. The branch members are amazing and Im so inspired by their examples.
P day was really fun today. We hiked up a mountain and went to this lake called " Tiger lagoon" with our district. Ill send pictures later.
I have had to switch the way I greet people. Instead of saying, "Hola" everyone says "Adios."
Culture shock: Women nurse their babies here anytime, anywhere. It may be in the middle of a lesson, or in the middle of Sunday school.
People LOVE to stare at my eyes here. I hear the phrase, "Que bonito sus ojos" a lot. Sometimes I wish I had color contacts. Or a blind fold.
Apartment situation: No we dont have a dirt floor. Yes we have lots of mosquitoes but thanks to mom, I have a mosquito net. I have fans which is nice because I sweat a whole lot. Carmen and Sobeida, the people who we eat with do our wash by hand once a week. Life is good. The gospel is the truth.
Its official folks. Im in my first area in Nicaragua....Nagarote! It has been a week of ups and downs. I was pretty confident about my ability to understand the language when I left Guatemala.....and now Im in Nicaragua where they speak a completely different language. Like I said, people with lisps should move here because no one pronounces the s. So sometimes its super frustrating to understand and I get frustrated. And then Heavenly Father gives me little tender mercies by letting me use my sense of humor. For example, I had one of those moments right before going to the bathroom at a chapel. While I was feeling frustrated, I started pulling the toilet paper roll and a little cockroach friend came scrambling down and almost touched my hand. So needless to say, as a public health major, I used the TP I brought in my bag. ha. So Im getting kicked off the computer right now but Ill right more in a bit hopefully
So.... where was I.....well Im in an area where we are in a very small branch (only 60 members attended on Sunday). Our main way of inviting people to hear the gospel is by inviting them to church but people have a very hard time accepting our invitation. But the people here are so amazing. They are so humble, friendly, and willing to listen to the gospel on the spot. Following through and keeping commitments is a different story but I know as we continue to work hard, and do what we´re supposed to do the Lord will bless us to find those that are read to hear about the restoration of the church of Jesus Christ. I have felt my testimony of the gospel of Jesus Christ reconfirmed so many times in this past week. This message is true.
I have experienced a definite culture shock and have been grateful over and over again for the comfortable circumstances we live in. Its truly humbling to see so much poverty around me. Ive been trying to send pictures but I still cant figure it out.
Every day a convert of 2 years named Carmen makes lunch for me and my companion Hermana Abrego and the other 2 sister missionaries that live in Nagarote. She lives with her daughter and 2 grandchildren. The cool thing is that my friend Kristen Lee (whose pictures I looked at before I left) taught them the gospel and they are still strong members of the church! Before I left Kristen told me she hoped I would get to go to Nagarote and its my first area:). We live in the middle of the village but lots of members live out in the forest. I love how green it is here. It is SOOOO hot. My new perfume is sweat. Oh and the Lord has definitely been blessing me because the beans dont affect me and I feel great. We eat beans, rice, and some sort of meat (one day i ate cow liver) every day. My companion, Hermana Abrego is from Panama and doesnt speak any English but wants to learn. Any tips on teaching someone English when you can only speak it in the apartment?
I was shocked and so sad when I read about Timothy Stansbury passing away. My prayers are with the Stansburys and our family. I feel like Timothy is like my little brother and I miss him so much already. Tell the Stansburys that Ill be praying for them during this difficult time. Im so grateful for the knowledge we have of the plan of salvation and that families are forever together!!!! I love all of you so much.
To answer some of moms questions....the blog for the Guatemala CCM doesnt exist because the church is trying to compile a website for all the ccms and put a link on lds. org or something. not sure when it will be up. I leave for the airport at 1 pm on Monday and have no idea what my schedule is like after that so this is going to be quite the adventure. I will be traveling with Hermana Manning and Heiner and 3 latino missionaries that are going to our mission. Im feeling a little nervous but mostly excited out of my mind. I have been praying a lot for Brad, Michelle, Will, the new baby and each one of you in our family individually. Even though we are so far away, the strength of our family makes me feel close to you. I love you all so much. Thanks for your testimony about the gospel in Nauvoo mom. It is similar to the feelings I have felt as I am reading Our Heritage this week before I leave the CCM.
Im so happy to hear about all the news in the family! Congrats to Lizzi and Jeremy, Matt for graduating, Jen Lloyd for the new baby, and all of the other exciting news. I feel so grateful for such a tight knit extended family and hope everything is going well.
Okay drum roll for the most exciting news of the week.......I got to see Ben, AGAIN!!!!!!! Sorry to say its because we both snuck out and met in a sketchy alley and both feel really terrible now. Psych. We both had the opportunity to go to the oldest stake center in Guatemala to hear Elder Maynes from the 70 speak to all the missionaries in the city of Guatemala. If I had been sitting with all of the CCM missionaries I might not have seen him because they were all in the back but thankfully my companion was asked to give the opening prayer so we were in the front. I turned around and saw him and we both flipped out. I came up to him and gave him a big hug. We both realized how sketchy this must to look to surrounding missionaries and received some dirty looks from some elders so we quickly turned around and started saying Hermanos, Hermanos! And pointing to our tags. I got to meet one of Bens best friends Elder Morgan who was so funny and some others as well. We got to talk for about 30 minutes before the meeting started. It was so wonderful. When I went to give him a hug goodbye we both wondered if we should because missionaries around dont know were siblings. We decided in the end that we would but Ben being a little hesitant, we experienced the most awkward brother sister hug ever seen by man (David Vance and Kyle Olson, you would be so proud of us). It was great.
I had a really neat experience this week sharing the gospel with one of the security guards. Hermana Hardinger and I were waiting to eat dinner with Hermana and Elder Brinton, a senior couple that lives in the building next to us. While we were waiting by the door, Hermana Hardinger said, we should go talk to that security guard. For a second I thought, no.....all the missionaries and their mom (ok maybe not their mom) have talked to the security guards that work here. But I decided to go do it. We visited with him about his family for a little bit and then asked him if he was going to a church right now. He said no. We then asked him if he would like to receive a Book of Mormon that is another testament of Jesus christ like the bible and explained that we believe in both books as the word of Christ. He said he would. We told we would return right before he got off work to work with him. When we came out, we came out at the right moment because he was leaving work early. He was also leaving with another security guard that is investigating the church right now! It was perfect. We gave the book to him and he was very interested. His name is Teofilo. Pray for him! This gospel blesses families!!!
Had a great moment this week. I told one of the other hermanas, while talking about my family, that Brad was 225 years old. Didnt know that was possible but did it. Brad you look good for your age.
If any of you have the chance, I would love to see pictures occassionally!!!! LOVE YOU ALL!!!!! We also went proselyting on Monday. It was hard to understand some people but overall a really amazing experience sharing this gospel with the humble people of Guatemala.
I was just given thecalling of coordinating sisters a week ago. I dont have tons of responsibilities every day. Just little ones and look for ways to serve the sisters. . I heard an amazing quote this week. * Dont pray for lighter burdens, Pray for a Stronger back. Remember Ether 12. 27. This Monday I get to go contacting in the city for 3 hours! The nerve wracking thing is that Im going out with my companion that doesnt speak much Spanish. The comforting thing is that I will have the Holy Ghost to help me speak. But Im still nervous to not have a latina companion! So far I have seen the Lord help me though so it will be great. Dad asked about the culture shock. So far the only thing that has been crazy to adjust to is the layed back latin culture where the schedule gets changed all the time and people are late. even teachers at the CCM. another thing is the touch barrier. there isnt one. The sisters are amazed that I have a magnet nametag and will reach inside the very top of my shirt to look at it. hmmmmm.....not something im used to. but just the culture. Elder Martino that is a part of the area presidency came this week and it was AMAZING. He really motivated me and taught me how to be a better missionary and I could understand most of what he said in Spanish. Its getting easier to understand most of what people say here in the CCM. On the streets its a different story. While contacting by the Guatemala temple the other day, my companion and I ran into an investigator---Byron. He talked about how he was so excited to get baptized and how he had a firework inside of him. I asked him if I could share one of my favorite scriptures with him. Mosiah 2. 41 to help give him strength before his baptism. When I opened my scriptures to share them he wanted to use the ones he just bought at the distribution center instead. The way he opened that book and smoothed the pages down as he turned them was like he was handling a precious baby that he might hurt. It really made me appreciate the sciptures more and their words of comfort, strength and salvation even more. Im sending you a letter soon. and Ill write more about that experience. I love all of you and just remember.....the gospel of Jesus Christ is the greatest news!!!!