Im happy to hear that all is well in Loveland and Lehi and that youre enjoying the holiday season. Where do I start? Its been a whirlwind of a week and a half. As I said Hermana Rodriguez is my new comp. She is from Panama and she is almost 24. She goes home in February. Im really glad that she still wants to work hard and isnt super trunky because that would be hard. She has been companions with both Hermana Abrego (my trainer) and was just comps with Hermana Manning (MTC comp) so we have lots in common just for that.
Hermana Chinchilla and I both had changes from Nagarote. She went to Managua and I went to Ocotal. Elder Lopiano from Conneticut and Elder Mich from Guatemala (for the third change in a row) are my zone leaders now in Esteli. All of the missionaries from Ocotal (2 elders and 2 sisters) were taken out so Elder Perez, Kasper, Hermana Rodriguez and I are reopening the area. I will never complain here about feeling like I have contacted every house because the area is HUGE!!! Every Tuesday we go to Esteli for our zone meeting which is 2 hours and 15 minutes away.
Missionaries have only been serving in Ocotal for 2 years now so its exciting to be in an area where the church is so brand stinking new. There are only 45 members in the branch and 30 to 40 go every Sunday. The branch president is Hermano Chavarria. He and his wife have been part time missionaries for about 7 years helping the mission president where there help is needed. We live in the same house as them on the second floor. We have water about 2 times during the week because the water never rises to the floor. hahaha. I shower with cold water out of a barrel. Dad would be proud because I now take showers in 4 min. or less.
So transfers were on Dec. 5 and I basically didnt start working in Ocotal until Dec. 7th. And no.....Hermana Pearson is not being a slacker......we just had a few challenges getting to Ocotal. First, we had to stay in Esteli on Wednesday night and then had planning in the morning. Thursday we finally left for Ocotal at 1. Hma Rodriguez and I were so excited to start contacting and teaching. Then the police pulled the bus over and asked everyone to take out their papers. Turns out H. Rodriguez and Elder Mich both had expired identification cards(they were going to go on monday) and Elder Kasper has been in Nicaragua for 4 days so he didnt have any paperwork. So we had to take all of our suitcases off the bus and got detained on the side of the highway 20 minutes outside of Ocotal for about 3 hours. Then we had to go back to Esteli on Friday. We were excited to finally start working on Friday night.
Were teaching a really great couple named Cesar and Yelba. They have a 9 year old named Cesar. The first time we taught them we only taught him and he confessed to us that his wife was at a purisma. Purisimas are when Catholics walk down the street with a virgin Mary statue worshipping her. We invited him to church and told him to remind his wife. When we came the next morning the family was ready to go(super rare here). Unfortunately he couldnt go but Yelba and little Cesar loved church. The members were REALLY enthusiastic and happy to meet her and asked her when she was getting baptized. I really dont like pressuring people so I felt a little uncomfortable but Yelba is super pilas (means hardworking and AWESOME) and said she was getting baptized on the 22nd. We didnt even have to put a baptismal date with her because she decided it in the middle of church. We have worked hard with their family all week and Cesar went to church yesterday and loved it. They are learning hymns, reading pamphlets and the Book of Mormon together. Cesar has a little bit of fear about getting married (people really dont like committment of marriage here) so please pray for him because he knows the gospel is true he just needs to take a leap of faith. Last night Yelba was telling us all about the changes she has seen in their relationship and family since we started teaching them and she loves the gospel so much. It makes me so happy to see people embrace and love something that brings me and my family so much joy.
More details on Hermana Rodriguez.....she really is an answer to my prayers. While Im having a difficult time learning how to find the balance in teaching with her (she tends to talk a lot more than me) she is teaching me so much. She is really good at teaching effectively with the teachers and asking people questions to get them thinking when contacting....2 of my weaknesses. She cames from a difficult background. Her parents were both converts so she was born in the covenant but they ended up having lots of problems and her dad left. They didnt know where he went and ended up finding him when he was really sick and on his death bed. This was motivation for her and her mom to go back to church about 4 years ago and now she is on a mission and while she has been on her mission her brother has become active and his wife has been baptized. While the cultural differences are really hard (sometimes Latins dont like to get communicate and get annoyed when I do) I really love the experience Im having and am growing so much. I know that this gospel is true and changes lives. Have a great week before Christmas!!!!!