So this was one of the best weeks I have had in my mission. I have seen so many miracles---personal and in the lives of others.
1.My Christmas packages came! So I know this one isnt so spiritual but I know that you parents, Brother Ben, and the Little Miami Relief Society would be happy to know that all the packages arrived. I had a lovely Christmas morning at 930 at night. Loved the creativity and the letters were so special. More thanks to come.
2. Well I dont know if I have told you but its been difficult to be with Hermana Ascencio. She is pretty socially awkward and seems to think that she knows everything and wants to lead the companionship and not be humble to learn anything. So this has been really hard for me and I have had a lot of pride in not wanting to be her friend but just try to work with her and focus on the people and not on our companionship. Well, as you know the love needs to start with the companionship. In our changes conference when President was speaking it was really nagging at me that I havent been loving her like I should and I realized I have been focusing more on her weaknesses than her strengths. The first part of the conference I was so frustrated because I didnt want to give in and act on the revelation I have been receiving lately in how I should treat her. In the second half I received 2 or 3 strong impressions from the spirit in how I should act and decided to actually act and make some changes I should have made weeks ago. I have such a testimony that the atonement changes our nature. While I am not BFFs with my comp. I have learned to love her and continue to love her more. All of this would not be possible without personal revelation and accepting the Saviors call to love and not judge. Im so grateful for this change and miracle in this change.
3. Claudia and Javier and Cesar and Yelva got baptized. So they were all supposed to get married and baptized at 5 on Saturday but plans changed a little bit. On Saturday we got up and went out to buy the cakes, decorations and set everything up. Cesar had just arrived from work at 10 in the morning (he had been traveling in the mountains all week). When we arrived at 3 to get Yelva ready, Cesar said that he wasnt ready that day but that we could do it the next day. We were frustrated because it has fallen through so many times but we set up to have the marriage at 7 in the morning and the baptism at 8 so they could get confirmed in sacrament meeting. Then we ran to Claudia and Javiers to straighten Claudias hair (first time in her life) and go with them to the church. They were ready because they are super pilas (ask ben what that means) and we got ready in no time. We got to the church and there were about 28 people there including a lot of her family to support her and a couple of members from Javiers family. They have such love and respect for each other and there was a special spirit at the marriage. Of course, they were shy to kiss each other and to feed the first piece of cake to each other they just dipped their fingers in the frosting to give that (dad would approve). We then were all going to walk to the baptism minus the older people who were going to go in taxi. But Elder Mich decided it would be better to flag downa giant truck and have everyone hop in the back (dont worry ddad its nicaragua and it wasnt even that far) and pay them bout 4 dollars. It was an adventure. There was such a special spirit at the baptism and Javier even shared his testimony. He has dropped his vices in such little time to follow the Savior and it has been amazing to see such humility. His family has been telling him its way to fast to get baptized but he knew it was the right thing to do and he had tears in his eyes when he spoke. He is such a humble man and trying to learn fast despite his inability to read. I love Claudia and Javier so much and they are already talking about how next year they have a goal to go to the temple.
The next morning at 7 Cesar and Yelba got married and baptzed. Yelba has waited since Decvember for this and I was so happy to witness it. I doubted for some time there that I would actually see this day but it really was a miracle and Im glad I could be part of it. When both of these couples were confirmed in church I felt so much joy and am so grateful for both of these families. Javier even payed his tithing after sacrament meeting. Miracles really do happen and people change when they are obedient and experience the love of Christ in their lives.
I sure love all of you and hope you have a great week.Thanks for all your love and support. H. Anne Pearson
Guess what? Super has the same meaning as it does in Spanish as it does in English. And I love that word so Im happy. And really, I am doing great. I have seen the church grow SO much here in Ocotal since I first arrived in December and it makes me so happy! When we first arrived only about 30 people were coming to church (members and investigators) and now there are 40-50 that come on a regular basis. When we arrived if Berman(14 year old teacher that has a firm testimony) wasnt there the Elders would pass the sacrament. Now there are about 4 or 5 other men that are consistently coming that are worthy to do it. We have also been so blessed this month with investigators exercising their faith and coming to church. The lowest number of people we have had is 5 and the most is 10 and we have had at least 1 family in the church every Sunday. I know that the Lord is blessing us and the members that have been so faithful in working hard to build up the church here.
Right now were preparing two families for baptism: Yelba and Cesar and Claudia and Javier. You already know about Yelba and Cesar. Their son got baptized about a month ago and that had a baptismal date back in December. Cesar hardened his heart and didnt want anything to do with us at the end of January. Then on Feb. 7th, we arrived at the house to teach Yelba and her son, and he was there waiting to listen. He accepted the invitation to be married and baptized and set his own date for this Saturday. Please pray that all will go well for them. They really want to change, its just been a rough road.
Claudia and Javier are amazing. This family is so special to me. Claudia is 33 and Javier is about 40. The thing about Javier is that his mom left when he was about 5 and his aunt chose to raise him. He doesnt know how to read. He and Claudia have been together for 16 years and live with his aunt that raised him, Rosa, and a lot of other members of the family. When we come over, everyone pulls up a seat to listen (they love the hymns) but Claudia and Javier are the most positive. They are such humble people and so willing to change. Heres an example, this Sunday, before church, Claudia told me that she and Javier could only stay for about an hour because they had to go to her moms house soon. At the end of sacrament meeting, President Chavarria challenged all the members to not leave immediately after to their houses and to stay for all 3 hours. I saw them turn to each other and whisper a little bit. They stayed all 3 hours. I was really impressed at their willingness to be obedient to the leaders as they are still not even members. If all goes well with Javier not smoking, they will be married and baptized this Saturday.
Omar still hasnt accepted a baptismal date but we know he will get baptized soon. He just doesnt want to rush into it. He comes to every activity and meeting without fail. Were trying to teach him by the spirit to know his needs.
This week we found Mari and Dora through contacting. Doras husband got killed 12 years ago and Mari seperated from her husband 6 months ago. They live together with her two boys, Joel and Marzito. They have been great missionaries as they introduced us to their neighbors and another woman, Marta Lucia, that lives in the elders area.
Alot of members from Ocotal are going to the temple open house in Honduras this Saturday. Our recent converts, Aura and Byron, Eric, and investigators, Mari and Omar are going to go. It should be a really great experience for them. Too bad we cant go!
Im so grateful for the Chavarrias and all they have done to build up the church here in Ocotal. Missionaries taught and baptized Hermana Chavarria about 48 years about and Hermano Chavarria 46 years ago. Yamilett their daughter is living with them for a bout a month to help Hermana Chavarria as she fell and has a hard time doing the cleaning. 2 of Yamiletts children have served missions and they are such faithful members. Its so amazing to see how the work of the Lord allows missionaries to follow the spirit and find families like this one and changes lives. I hope that 40 years down the road, the same thing can happen with people I have found and taught with the help of the Lord. I know that this church is true and that the Lord blesses us when we are obedient and put our trust in him. Pray for my investigators this week, pretty please with a cherry on top.
PS Be sure to give mom a lot of love.
PPS Congrats to the Cutlers and their mission call!!!
How ya doin? Someone told me this week that I "have all the milk in my teeth." Its a Nicaraguan phrase that means Im young. In other words, Im sick of making up email subjects and that was what I chose to write.
So this week I learned a lot about letting go of pride and being more charitable. It has been a struggle but when I start to judge others and look at their weaknesses, Ive learned to instead look for strong points and try to love more. If youre having the same struggle, try it. It works. Oh and a whole lot of prayer too.
We have been teaching one of the families that came to church last week named Claudia and Javier. They are really positive. They are pretty ineducated but about the most humble people I have ever met. Claudia is about 32 and he is 40. They met in the street and have been together for 16 years. Javier has the struggle of smoking but he has gone from smoking a pack a day to only about 7 and on Sunday he didnt smoke at all. They really loved church on Sunday and are learning fast. When we come to their house the whole family loves to listen along with friends that come over. On Friday night when we came over one of their friends (who has been taught the bible extensively by Jehovahs witnesses) sat in on the lesson and started bashing the doctrine and Book of Mormon a bit. At first I was a little nervous this would influence Claudia and Javier and put doubts in their minds. But it didnt. As I didnt argue and just testified, he was quiet and Claudia and Javier were agreeing with nodding of their heads the whole time. The spirit is the greatest teacher.
This week we came to visit little Cesar that got baptized and Cesar his dad and Yelba were there. Cesars heart has softened a ton and he wanted to listen to us again. He came close to accepting a baptism date for this Saturday. Were praying that they can do it because they know they have to but its just hard for Cesar to completely give his will up to the Lord.
Omar continues to come to church, mutual night, and any other activity we have but is having a hard time accepting a baptismal date. He knows the Book of Mormon is true.
Well Im doing great and Ill write more next week (on Moms BIRTHDAY!!!!)
Hey gatos (it means cats in spanish and anyone with clear eyes is called a cat here so youre all gatos now)
How ARE you? I hope youre all doing great. A lot has happened this week so lets get going......My week started out staying Monday night in Sebaco with all 8 sisters in my zone. While it was fun to be with all of them, Im reminded why I dont like sleepovers because they have nothing to do with sleep. But I love all of the sisters. We had to get up at 330 in the morning to catch the bus to Managua for the conference with Elder Amado at 8. I learned so much! Here are some of the highlights....
1. Personal revelation- He focused A TON on this. At the beginning of the conference he talked about how it didnt matter what he said during the conference. What mattered was what the spirit said to us. He challenged us to pray in our hearts continually through out the conference that the spirit would teach us something new we needed to know or change to be more effective missionaries and better people and write down these impressions. In the middle of a thought he would say, "Are you still praying? If you stopped praying, youre not learning what youre supposed to learn here." He said the most important thing we can do in any meeting we go to is write down the impressions of the spirit and act on them.
2. He said we need to be really grateful for hard companions because with them, we learn how to develop virtues that we never would have developed without them.
3. We had to report our stewardship to him- about how many baptisms we had in each area and our percentage of retencion of recent converts. After he saw the results he thanked us and said that reallly the results dont matter. He said what matters is that were giving it our all and that the Savior is pleased with the work that were doing.
4. He talked about how many times we are going to be called to positions where we dont think we are ready. He said when he was called to be one of the seventy he didnt feel ready. He explained that when the Lord calls us to a position where we feel inadequate, we need to look for what the Lord is trying to teach us.
5. Whatever problem we have in the mission field- with members, investigators, recent converts, we just need to teach pure doctrine and these problems will start to improve.
6. Without repentance, missionary work would never improve, we need to constantly reevaluate and be humble enough to change.
7. You think your mission is hard? Think about the mission that the Savior had.
Well there is a glimpse of what I learned and I hope they help you too. He was really funny and so inspiring. Its amazing the experiences that I get to have as a missionary.
After the conference on Tuesday we went to work hard. Confession: Its really stressful training. My comp. has come to the mission field with lots of ideas of how everything needs to be perfect. While we need to strive for perfection always, its really hard in a "nucleus" of the church where it barely has any leaders to work with. Hermana Chinchilla and Hermana Manning are training as well, and fortunately I have been able to talk with them. Im working hard to know how I can love her and help her reach her potential. She is a really hard worker with lots of strong opinions. To answer moms questions...she is not that easy to talk to and were trying to find things we have in common. She has lots of strange ideas (example: she believes in the myth that a baby will die if it looks a person thats been in the sun all day) so Im trying to learn how to work hard and have fun with her. Ive learned a lot these week about how the Lords answers are always better than anyone elses and how charity is the most important thing.
Last week was a really hard one. We had to drop a lot of families that werent progressing and started a fast on Saturday to find more families and bring families to church. We really didnt have much hope in bringing a family to church as we hadnt had success in committing very many. But we saw miracles on Sunday. We invited one family early in the morning that wasnt that positive and they arrived right at 9 and then through out the church meeting 2 more families arrived on their own and Elder Perez and Kasper brought one too. There were more than 50 people at church while normally there are only 30 or 40. The spirit confirmed to me that this was an answer to our prayers and were going to start having more success.
Were teaching the cousin of one of our recent converts that just received the priesthood. His name is Omar and he is 29. He has lived a live of drugs and alcohol and has stopped all of that to turn to God and is really looking for the truth. He is reading the Book of Mormon and gaining a testimony of it. In one day we left him the introduction page and he read up to 1 Nephi 14. He has a baptism date for the 16th.
We had a really fun "super pday" with all of the sisters and the presidents house on monday. We played games, had lunch and had a devotional. There are about 45 sisters in our mission and when I came there were only about 20. It was great. I love my mission president and his wife.
Well I hope all of you are happy and healthy. Stay warm and know that Im praying for you all the time.
PS thanks for all of your updates and wonderful experiences. Also it was great to hear from Grandma Johnson- sure love my grandparents.
Yes folks. I had a baby on Thursday. For those of you not familiar with mission terms- a "baby" is a missionary that just came into the mission- because while new missionaries think that the MTC taught them everything they need to know....they really dont know much about how the mission works and thus they are considered babies. Yes. I know your confused because I just told you last week that I got a new companion Hermana Duarte. Well Wednesday afternoon, our zone leader called and said that Hermana Duarte had emergency changes and we had to be in the mission office on Thursday in the morning. We didnt know where she was going or who my new comp was going to be. We left at 6 for Esteli, left Esteli at 5 in the morning and finally arrived at the mission office. She left for Corinto and Hermana Ascencio from Cabanas, El Salvador is my new comp. She has been living for 21 years but said there are problems with her documents so she has to say she is 23. She comes from a branch of about 80 members and only 8 of them are men. She believes in the eye sickness that Nicaraguenses believe in too. We are very different but she is really willing to work hard and learn so its good. Its crazy being with someone so new in the mission because I realize how far I have come and how much I have learned here.
Ive been feeling a bit stressed about the responsibility of being senior companion- trying to balance doing everything I know we need to do yet at the same time not dominating and helping her learn and contribute. Its tough to do! One morning I was feeling especially pressured and stressed. I was reading in Alma 26 (the best chapter for frustrated, in need of more faith missionaries to read) and reading verse 27: Now when our hearts were depressed, and we were about to aturn back, behold, the Lord bcomforted us, and said: Go amongst thy brethren, the Lamanites, and bear with cpatience thine dafflictions, and I will give unto you success" In this moment, I felt like this verse was written just for me. The rest of the chapter comforted me. That morning we went out and worked hard and saw little success. Then we were about to go to lunch and there was a family that was walking ahead of us pretty out of the way. We went and contacted them and they have been our most postive family and they came to church on Sunday! I love it when we can apply scriptures to our daily lives and we can see immediate results.
Kayla continues to grow in her knowledge of the Book of Mormon and her testimony of Jesus Christ. She is really putting the effort in to learning and I love seeing her growth! Now were just praying that her husband will see the joy she has and be baptized soon.
So remember how Erick was baptized 2 weeks ago? Well he was just confirmed yesterday. It has been crazy. He didnt show up for his confirmation the day after his baptism. We tried to visit him at his house every day at different hours but he was always working. His family doesnt really love us so we didnt know when we could contact him or if they were lying to us. I kept praying to find him in the street. Well the Lord didnt answer my prayer for a week and he answered it through our district leader Elder Perez that saw him in the street. We were able to be put in contact with him and FINALLY he is confirmed. I really hope that he trusts in the Lord and puts the effort in to work to serve a full time mission.
Remember Xiomara? well I received a call from her the other day and it was so wonderful to hear that she is doing well. She is trusting in the Lord and going to church every Sunday. I know that we were able to be angels and instruments in the hands of the Lord helping her leave the abusive situation with Javier and helping her get baptized, but she has been an angel for me at the same time. A witness to me that miracles happen and people can come out of their hard situations when they have the faith to trust in the Lord. Im excited because we have a conference in Managua tomorrow because Elder Amado is visiting. Well I love all of you so much and Im praying for you often. I love life and I love being a missionary. Hope youre all warm enough. I am. Thats for sure.
(Being pregnant as a missionary means they have hit their halfway mark and have 9 months left!)
Hermana Heiner, Hermana Manning and Hermana Pearson
All came to Nicaragua together!
Well Ive now passed the 9 months mark on the mission and its really strange to think that a year ago I was opening up my mission call at Brad and Michelles house. Its amazing how much I have grown and how much has happened since then. Now Ben is home from his mission, Becca is at BYU, Jane is a babe singing solos in show choir, Brad has a new job, and Michelle brought little Max into the world. Time is flying by and I love life.
Well a lot of changes took place this week. Hermana Rodriguez and I were super calm this week not expecting any changes. But it wouldnt be the mission if crazy things didnt happen right? She got a call on Monday night that said she had changes. She was really disappointed and I was a little sad too but at the same time ready to take on more responsibility. My new companion is a member from Managua named Marjorie Duarte. She has now been a mini missionary for 2 changes in a row and 3 changes last year. Its a little bit different considering she is not a full time missionary but she is willing to work hard and so I think we will be really blessed to find some people that are ready to hear the gospel.
We worked really hard this week searching for new people and working with the families that we already have but lots of people just arent keeping committments. Its so frustrating when you want so badly to help people see the blessings of the gospel, but they arent willing to make sacrifices to see them. We will see how things go with Cesar and his family but they are really struggling right now. Karla is going to be an amazing member of the church. She takes notes during relief society and is reading the lesson manuals to be prepared for church. Were going to work hard to receive revelation in how we can help her husband, Hartin have the desire to be baptized. He feels pressured to be baptized and so were going to try to help him see the blessings that his wife is receiving being a baptized member of the church.
President Arredondo talked to us a lot at our changes meeting about controling our thoughts. He talked about how it is so critical that we analyze our thoughts and throw out the negative ones immediately. It a thought enters our head, we should ask, "Who is this coming from?" If its a thought like, "That could never happen," its from Satan and we need to throw it out. We need to throw out negative thoughts and act in faith and miracles are then possible. I constantly feel like I lack so much faith but every day Im trying to move forward and trust in the Lord. I know that this church is true and we have a prophet at 12 apostles to guide us. I love and miss all of you so much!
Well this week was a week of a lot of successes and a lot of things that fell through. We have been trying to help Ricardo and Luz but they have a ton of problems fighting and she has lots of problems with diabetes and Darwin and Evelyn arent progressing. Both of these families had their baptismal date for Saturday but they couldnt take the leap of faith to do it. We're going to try to work with them and see if they have the faith to change at this time in their life, but we will just have to see.
On the positive side, Erick (16 yrs old) got baptized on Saturday morning. We found Erick about 3 weeks ago when we were teaching his mom and brother a lesson who ended up not being interested. He asked us a lot of intelligent questions and was really interested in the Book of Mormon. We invited him to church a couple of Sundays ago and he didnt end up coming. We came back to his house a couple of times that week but he was never there so we didnt have the time to visit him. But then a week ago last Thursday we were walking by his house and I had the thought to say to Hermana Rodriguez, "I wonder if I would remember Ericks face if I saw him right now." 30 sec. later we crossed paths with him and set up an appointment for the next day. We read the Book of Mormon with him and he ended up coming to church last Sunday. When we were talking to him about his experience at church and if he had prayed to know if the book of mormon was true he said that he had a dream where he was standing in front of the class with President Chavarria in a white shirt and tie. He also said he knows the book of mormon is true. He has always had the dream to do missionary work so were going to help him get focused on a mission!!!!
We have been working a lot with Karla and Hartin this week. The zone leaders came on Thursday to do their baptismal interviews and they both said they were ready to get baptized they just needed to pray to get an answer. We came back on Friday and Karla was only there. She was very honest with us and said she hadnt read the Book of Mormon or prayed like we had asked her to. But we both felt strongly that her day to be baptized was on Saturday so we told her if she prayed and got an answer that the church was true to call us Saturday in the morning and we would have everything ready. Well, we never got a call from her but after Ericks baptism we decided to stop by and visit her. She let us in and said she was going to go shower and bathe her daughter Ashley. It seemed a little weird to me because she just let us in. and then she had her son get ready and they all came to the door dressed nice. We asked her where her husband was and she said, " He left just a little bit ago, but I got an answer and Im getting baptized today." Turns out she couldnt call us because she didnt have minutes but she had the plan to just go to the church if we didnt show up and hope to find us. In church this Sunday she was taking notes and is so ready to learn more. I love seeing someone so thirsty to know more truths of the gospel!!!!
Unfortunately Cesar has hardened his heart and while he still is listening a little bit he is not taking anything in. Its really hard for Yelba that he doesnt want to marry her so she cant get baptized. But their 9 yr. old son got baptized on Saturday with Karla because he wanted to and had his parents consent so were hoping his dads heart will be softened so they can get married and baptized too!
We had Karla and Cesars baptism in Dipilto which is about 20 min. north of Ocotal. It was beautiful!!!
Things have been improving with my companion and were working hard to find more families. This week will be a little slow because we have our transfers meeting with president and are going to Esteli tomorrow but it will be good to get advice and be inspired once again by president.
Glad to hear that everyone had a great NewYears and that your keeping up the family traditions minus goingtothe Jensens.
Well this has been one of the hardest and best weeks of my mission. My comp. gets offended and mad very easily and last week I just didnt know what to do. I think it makes her sad that this is her first time being senior companion and so anytime I try to lead the companionship she gets insecure and offended. Anyway, last week I wrote Ben for some advice on how to act with prideful Latin companions. Well he told me to just communicate with her and not be afraid. So one morning I asked her kindly if we could have companionship study together because I feel like our teaching is not that unified and she flipped out and left the room. While she told me some really hurtful things when I asked her what was wrong, in the end I am now able to understand her much better. I really had days last week when I wanted to call president and ask if I could have a change of companion. But then I decided to spend a lot more time praying for her to understand me and for me to understand her so we could find love in our companionship and focus on the people we're teaching. While the love and peace of the Lord didn’t come immediately, I KNOW he answers prayers and he has now given me peace. I have learned so much this week to learn to not react and not let a bad attitude affect mine. I really understand her a lot better now….how Im able to help her and now we are getting along and having fun and working hard to teach families and find more. When we forget about our own desires and work to serve others we can find happiness no matter how hard our situation is. I always hate hearing when people say they are so grateful for trials but really I am grateful that I had this one because Im learning so much about self control and trying to love when its hard to do. Its amazing how sometimes we can feel so alone and then it completely changes when we apply the gospel of Jesus Christ in our lives.
Well we have had a lot of success this week finding more families. I don’t know if I told you about Ricardo and Luz but we have been teaching them and they really want to change their lives. We contacted them about a month ago but never had time to visit them because they were only home on Sundays but we found them again on new years eve and we have taught them almost every day this week and they went to church yesterday. They have some difficulties in their relationship so we're visiting teachers and marriage counselors on steroids but we're praying they can work through them so they can get married and baptized because hey both really want to change. Luz also has a 10 yr old son that loves to read the Book of Mormon.
Karla and Hartin are progressing and were hoping they can get baptized soon.
Cesar and Yelba are still struggling with wanting to change- Cesar not yelba. Im hoping their son can help their dad see the truth. I asked this 9 yr old to say the opening prayer in one of our lessons and he prayed for his dad to want to change. I then told him he could choose who said theclosing prayer and he wanted to say it again and prayed for the same thing.So sweet.
On Tuesday we were contacting in the afternoon…the worst time of the time because families usually aren’t home together. All we were running into were evangelicals that felt like arguing. I said a quick little prayer to bless us to find families to teach and in the next hour we found 2 new families. Quick prayer answered. One of the families is Evelyn and Darwin. They know very little about the bible or any church and so were trying to teach them very basically so they understand. They have 7 children and they are really positive. They went to church yesterday so were excited for them to progress.
Were also teaching a 16 yr old boy named Eric that is really understanding how the authority of God was restored to the earth and the power of the Book of Mormon. I love it when people actually get it.
Isnt it weird to think this time last year I was waiting for my mission call…….I am so glad I chose to come. I know this work is real and that the Lord is leading His missionaries. I love you all so much.