So its a given for most people that Im from the US here, but an investigator this week asked me if I was from Mexico. And the next day she forgot where I was from and said, "You're from Mexico right?" Have you ever met a Mexican with blue eyes? I haven't.
So to answer some of mom's questions.... there are about 40ish people that come to church every week. The church has had a branch in Nagarote for 15 years and there are about 3 families have been in the church that long. The other strong families that always come have been in the church for about 2 years. There are only 3 active complete families (husband, wife, kids) and the rest are single women, single men, or single women with children. Some of the single women and men are so inspiring. They never make excuses for not coming to church and are there every week. One example is Felipa. She is 85 years old and can't walk very well (she looks about 95 so Grandma and Grandpa you really look young for your age). She can't read and asked us to help her fill out her tithing slip this week. It was 5 cordobas (about 25 cents). I love the people here!
We had so much hope to bring families to church this week and had about 5 families committed but weren't able to bring anyone because they all had excuses---someone went to visit their grandma at the last minute, another had a family member get sick, the water went out so people couldnt bathe before church....the list goes on. Satan is really good at making people do good things so they can't experience great blessings. We were a little bit frustrated after church and then we got stuck in a huge rain storm and walked through a river up to our calves in the middle of the street. Then the rain left and the hot sun came out. Then the sun left and the lights in the street went out when it was dark. And we laughed the whole time (okay maybe not the whole time but most of the time.....). We had a trial of our faith, but I know if we keep working hard this week we're going to see miracles! I love the quote that dad sent me from Elder Cristopherson, ¨"There is, however, a level of faith that not only governs our behavior but also empowers us to change what is and to make things happen that otherwise would not happen."
Im excited to watch general conference this week and hope you all are too. Love you all a whole bunch!
HOLA! Well dad made a comment about the ants that I wrote about last week and said, "at least the ants arent in your pants." Unfortunately, his statement was incorrect and this has happened about 2 times. I know, TMI. Well its about 80 to 90 degrees here every day so its definitely not feeling like fall. But as a reminder of this season Hermana Chinchilla and I ate caramel apples last night (and caramel covered oreos too.....thanks mom). So I love Nicas(ppl from Nicaragua). They are so kind and loving and always accepting. Most of the time, even if people arent interested, they will listen to us, because to them it is a sin to reject the word of God. Others dont like to reject us bluntly so they do things like run into their house and hide every time we pass by, lie and say that someone is not home when we just saw them enter the house, or give us an address that doesnt exist to come and visit them at their house. This keeps things very interesting and lots of times make us laugh. We havent been successful in bringing any families to church for 2.5 months but yesterday Juan Carlos, Juana, and their 2 yr. old son Danny came to church! Having investigators and recent converts come to church is one of our biggest challenges here. I was so happy to see them come even though they only stayed for sacrament meeting. They are not married but really want to change their life and Im hoping we can continue to help them learn the blessings that the gospel of Jesus Christ will bring into their lives. I really have seen some miracles happen this week. They seem small but they are huge to me. Background information....before my mission 2 returned missionaries from Nicaragua Kristen Lee and Michelle Crosland both showed me pictures and raved about how much they loved their missions. A couple of weeks ago I thought how great it would be to have the names of all their converts so I could find them again and help them rediscover how enduring to the end will bless their lives. Well I never did it. But this week we were contacting and met a man named Immanuel. He told us we could come visit him and also told us that his parents were married in our church and baptized. When we came back the next day we met his dad-Marcelino. Marcelino talked about how Hermana Crosland had taught him and his wife before their baptism and Hermana Lee had visited him for some time after Hermana Crosland left the area. We shared the message of The Restoration with them and the importance of taking the sacrament. Marcelino testified of every principle we taught and shared his feelings with his son. It was amazing to see the power of his testimony. Im hoping that we can teach Immanuel and his wife and help Marcelino and his wife come back to church. I know that I was called to serve in Nicaragua for a reason. I love Nagarote and I love the people here. These people are so humble and so often are struggling day to day to find work to pay for rice and beans for their family. We are so blessed to have what we do. I pray that we can work hard to follow the spirit and do everything we can do to love and serve others every day! I sure love you all and pray youre doing well. The church is true and our Savior loves each one of us! Love, Hermana Anne Pearson Yesterday, one of the members invited a friend to church. They forgot to explain that we dont clap after talks. He only clapped after the first talk. We laughed pretty hard after sacrament meeting. Im starting to forget how to pray in English. Hermana Chinchilla likes to correct me. Yikes.
Como estan? Well as you well now we had changes this week. I was nervous and excited to get a new companion. But now Im just HAPPY! My new companion is Hermana Chinchilla from Heredia, Costa Rica. We were roommates in the CCM in the Guatemala and were companions intransit from Guatemala to Nicaragua. We both freaked out (in a good way) when we found out we were companions. She has studied English since she was 9 and worked in a Marriott hotel before her mission so she is practically fluent in English. Its so cool because we have a secret language to speak when we dont want people to know what were talking about and I have my own personal dictionary with me all day so Im learning how to express all sorts of phrases in Spanish. Its really fun! And then we speak English when we are in the apartment so she can improve her accent more. She is such an amazing person. Her whole family are members but theyre converts. She started going to church when she was 12----went to seminary and church and was basically an active member but didnt get baptized until she was 21. Now she is 25 and serving a mission!
While Im really excited to be Hermana Chinchillas companion, the night of changes I was really nervous. I was really intimidated to teach her the area (I barely knew it by myself), be senior companion (talk on the phone in Spanish and all that jazz), and have to prioritize who we were going to teach, etc. With all these negative thoughts entering my mind and wondering how Im going to do this, I knew I had to pray for peace and comfort and the ability to do this. The next morning I woke up and I felt a little bit better but still nervous. Through out the day we worked really hard contacting, visiting members and investigators and trying to find our way around. By the end of the day I felt great. We have been working really hard. I really have a testimony that faith is a principle of action (aka hard work) and that the Lord magnifys those that are called. We're learning a lot together.
We're having a really hard time committing families to come to church but are going to work really hard this week to commit people to come! Were teaching a couple of families and hope people can progress soon. I know this church is true and that Jesus Christ lives and answers our prayers. When we have struggles we need to do all we can to find answers in the scriptures and through acting and the Lord will answer our prayers!
LOVE YOU ALL!!!
Meet Hermana Chinchilla! So happy to be with her!
PS Ants in Nicarauga are SOOOO smart. I put the oreos mom sent me in a plastic bag. They chewed through the plastic bag and 2 rolls of oreos and 1 granola bar wrapper. They got into my vitamins in a plastic bag this week too! And I found a couple in my peanut butter. HOW DO THEY DO IT? Im going to outsmart them. I will.
I have a problem. The Jehovahs witnesses in Nagarote go contacting every week. They wear skirts and always have umbrellas. So we look like them and people think we are Jehovahs witnesses and dont want to talk to us. Sometimes I wish I was wearing a white shirt and black pants like the elders. And yes, everyone, except for members of the church, think that Im 30 years old. Alas.
Things are going better here in Nagarote. We have found some more families to teach and are now teaching 4 families. I still dont know them very well so Ill let you know more details later. We have transfers on Wednesday and my companion was already told that she is leaving the area. So Im going to have a new companion (my step mother as they call it in the mission). Im sad/nervous/excited all at the same time. Change is hard, but good.
We have struggled with some of our recent converts lately- helping them see the importance of taking the sacrament every week by attending church. I tried to explain the importance of the atonement and how we can be forgiven of our sins every week by taking the sacrament and had an aha moment. Sometimes I think we focus a lot on how the atonement only saves us after this life. While this is true and very critical to understand, I know that we can be saved through the atonement of Jesus Christ every day. With his sacrifice in mind, any sacrifice that we need to make to come closer to him is possible and worth it. I know that Jesus Christ lives and is there for us in every waking moment. We just need to work to have this knowledge with us on a more regular basis.
I know that this gospel is true and that we can truly change and become more perfect every day by living the principles of the gospel of Jesus Christ.