Well, my whole mission, everyone has been talking about how hot "semana santa" (easter week) is. I thought it was an exaggeration. It wasnt. I have never sweat so much in my life. I wont be sending many pictures from this change....
This week has been jam packed of lots of fun, lots of changes, and lots of spiritual experiences, and little sleep. To start out, between all of the companionships in the Esteli zone, we baptized 8 families this month- the most that has ever been baptized in the zone. We were all really happy and to celebrate, we designed a tshirt and had a SUPER pday with the whole zone in Esteli where we played a lot of fun games, taught the latins ultimate frisbee, played soccer, and ate fried chicken at the classy "Tip Top" chicken. It was really fun because I really love our zone.
On Wednesday we had changes. About half the missionaries in the zone had changes which was really strange for me because all of my northamerican elders got changed out. My new companion is Hermana Morales fresh from the CCM in Guatemala. She is 20 years old and from Zone 18 in Guatemala City. All of her family are members. She is a saint----super humble, ready to learn, full of faith, optimistic, fun, obedient and really happy-definitely an answer to my prayers.
So after having a lot of success in an area in our lives, Satan has a way of putting worry in our minds (or at least in mine). This Monday I was thinking, man I really want to help Ocotal grow more, but how are we going to do it? I started reflecting on how we found Claudia and Javier, Cesar and Yelba, and Camilo and Marixta and what we said when we taught them. I realized that every situation was different in finding each family, and every teaching situation was different as well. With us missionaries, such imperfect teachers, I was thinking about the miracle of all of them getting baptized. Then I thought about how the Lord uses us as missionaries as instruments to help people come unto Christ. We dont have to worry about what we do or say, if were obedient and doing the best we can, if they are ready they will come unto Christ and we dont have to worry. Remember that the Lord will work miracles in our lives if we do what is right and follow the Spirit.
This past Monday, I received a little tender mercy from my past comp. Hermana Ascencio. As you know, it was a hard companionship for me and I felt like she hated being my comp. about 3/4 of the time. She sent me a note that said "to the best comp. in the world" and expressed her love for me and thanking me for being so patient with her because she said she knows she has a difficult personality. I dont say this to brag just to express how even when its hard, we should always choose patience and charity because even though we might never get thanked, were always going to make a difference.
When Hermana Morales and I arrived to Ocotal we werent having any success entering in any houses to teach. I really wanted her to have some great experiences right off the bat so we kept working hard.On Friday we were walking and a really happy woman greeted us as we were passing by. I dont know why but I felt we should contact her so we went back and met her. Her husband was inside the house and we asked if we could come back and visit and left a gospel of Jesus Christ pamphlet and committed them to read it. It was just like any normal contact. We went back to their house on Saturday (their names are Aquileo and Eneyda) and started the lesson and found out they go to an evangelical church. He started asking a lot of questions about baptism and we taught the first vision. They were really interested in the message. I taught about the apostasy and turned to my companion who was going to talk about the first vision. When she testified about Joseph Smith the spirit was so strong and she started crying. It was an incredible lesson. Afterwards she told me that she knows why she is on a mission now and realizes that there really are chosen ones ready to hear the restored gospel. Im so grateful to be her companion. We will keep you updated on their progress.
Well I love you all and hope youre all moving forward in life with FAITH!!!
I hope all is going well! I cant believe that winter has almost passed in the US now. It actually doesnt seem like it even happened as Im in a really hot internet cafe. Gotta love Nicaragua.
Its hard to believe that I have been on my mission 11 months now. I have loved it.It has been very difficult at times and I have really come to learn what having a trial of faith means. But I have also learned about how blessings come after the trial of faith and have been so blessed in this past month.
As you saw in the pictures, Camilo and Marixa got baptized on Saturday along with Keyla and Marixa. Honestly, it was a miracle that Camilo and Marixa got baptized on Saturday. As you know, last Sunday, everything was good to go and they were all set for their baptismal date. Then we got there on Wednesday and Camilo said that he couldnt do it on Saturday because his work companion wouldnt cover for him. We said it didnt matter because we could just do it on Thursday and Friday. Then Camilo said that he needed more time. I was super confused because Camilo has been saying for weeks that he is so ready and he just wants his wife to be ready to so they can get baptized together.But then after our lesson Marixa slipped out of the room and he whispered to me that he felt like she just decided to get baptized to follow him and he didnt feel like that was right. We prayed and fasted that day to help them make the decision to do it this weekend. The next morning, Adali (marixas son) called me and asked if we could go visit them because his mom said whether or not her husband could or not on Saturday she was going to get baptized. We agreed and went to go talk to them. It was so backwards because she was the one that was hesitant about it all these weeks and he was so sure. When we got there we werent sure what we were going to talk about with the both of them. I asked, "Is there any questions you have or what would you like to talk about today?" Then Camilo said, " Well baptism is the most important thing right? It seems like my wife is decided and we want to get baptized this weekend." We were so excited! But then there was still the difficulty that his work companion didnt want to change with him. We asked how much he made in a 12 hour shift and he said 150 cords (about 6dollars- so humbly to think that a man that is in his 50s and has kids and grandkids is only make that much as a security guard when I could make double that in an hour). We offered to pay double that so he would cover. Thankfully he did and Camilo and Marixa were able to get baptized on Saturday with the family of Marixas son, Adali. It was such a wonderful day.Due to all the baptisms of families we have had, President Arredondo said that Ocotal will be made into a branch in the very near future. Im so excited for all the growth.
Ive learned this week a lot that we lose our fear, sadness and loneliness in our service and love for others. I have so much love for the people and members Ocotal.
We also had the wonderful experience of seeing the temple dedication in Honduras. We went with 35 of the branch members to Esteli and were there with 5 other branches from Sebaco,Ciudad Dario, Rosario, and Esteli. A ton of our converts were able to come and it was a great experience for everyone. President Uchtdorf and Elder Holland were there along with Elder Martino and Elder Amado. It was an amazing week and Im so happy to be a missionary.
Keep looking and praying for missionary experiences. I love all of you and pray for you often.
Hermana Anne Pearson
PS Thanks to the RS who sent me gold star. its funny that I had to come all the way to Nicaragua to try Goldstar. it was good but Skyline was DEFINITELY better. but i also ate it cold on a piece of bread because we dont have a stove. you have to be creative as a missionary.......
Well this week was SO much better. Thank you for all your advice on how to act with my companion. While Im learning a lot about how far I have to go with developing Christlike attributes, Im also learning a lot about forgiving others and forgiving myself at the same time. I love what dad said about how every human being just wants to be understood. I have hard really hard to understand things from her point of view, be a lot more patient, and not stress out as much when I dont agree with something she wants to do. Its going a lot better and were working a lot more being guided by the spirit.
I am really seeing here in Ocotal how much older couple missionaries can make SUCH a difference in missionary work. The Chavarrias are helping the mission president by serving in whatever area needs help in the mission. For right now Hermano Chavarria is the branch president and it is amazing how much he is helping people learn how the church is organized and how to teach and minister to the people. They offered to have an FHE in our house. We live on the second floor and they had the Family Home evening on the main floor with a bunch of our recent convert families. About 20 people showed up and The Chavarrias and us taught them how to do an FHE and were doing another one tonight. Its so good for the families to get training because its not likely they would do it without knowing how.
This week we have been working hard to find new families and are having some success little by little.
Camilo and Marixa have a baptismal date! They are going to get baptized this Saturday along with the daughter of Hermana Justina and her husband.....the elders have been teaching them.... and another family the elders are teaching. Just some background info, Camilo and Marixa are the parents of Adali and Adali is the husband of Justinas daughter. Justina and her husband Santos are a great example of a couple that embraced the gospel and prays and works with all their hearts by being good examples for the rest of their family to accept it. Hermana Justina and Santos were baptized last June, their daughter Karen in September, their daughter Tania and Adali in October, and now Keyla and Arnulfo are getting baptized. Adali also invited his cousin Omar to church and he has been coming for about a month and a half and will hopefully get baptized this Saturday as well.
Were getting really excited prepping to go this Sunday to watch the sessions of the temple dedication in Honduras. A lot of our converts are coming and it will be very spiritual for them to hear church leaders speak including an apostle of the Lord.
Well I know that the Lord loves us despite our weaknesses. If we work hard and trust in him, everything always works out. I sure love this work and I love and miss you all a lot!
Thanks for all your love and support. Its always so fun to hear how everyone is doing and hear about whats going on in your lives.
Well after a week of so much joy and happiness, this week was difficult. I continue to struggle to find out how I can be more unified with my companion and were having struggles finding families that are receptive. But despite all the hard experiences, we had some really great experiences too.
Im amazed at the faith and humility of Javier and Claudia. They have jumped right in to being a part of the church. They are already making friends and already knew some of the strongest members in the church. Last Monday, Satan attacked them hard. One of Javiers cousins that has been studying the bible for two years and knows it really well found out that Javier was baptized and decided to come over and attack him with words about a half hour before we came over. He sat down in front of Javier and Claudia and said, "Read this verse!" Claudia said that she could read it because JAvier cant read. The cousin said, "No he has to read it." Well this really frustrated Javier and he tried to defend himself and got angry and started fighting with his cousin and his cousin started telling him that he got baptized too fast, etc, etc. When we arrived Claudia was removed from the situation reading the Book of Mormon and Javier was upset. We sat down with Claudia and Javier and then the cousin started attacking us with questions and trying to confound us. Claudia asked if we could just go to the church and we all went. Claudia started crying and said that Javiers family(whom they live with) have just been telling them how wrong they are when they already know they have done the right thing. Thankfully this week, the family has layed off of them and they continue to be faithful. The other day, Javier was practicing how to read and told me, "I have the faith that Im going to learn how to read." They are amazing. So another funny and awesome thing about them. We were teaching about the law of the fast and explained it was the first Sunday of every month. They said, "What its not every Sunday?" Apparently, every time since they started coming to church they have been fasting. Awesome.
Were teaching CAmilo and Marixa, the parents of Adali. Camilo already has accepted baptism and were praying that Marixa will receive and answer soon. She has been baptized in the Catholic church and an evangelical church, and still doesnt understand the authority but hopefully she will get her answer and they will be baptized this Saturday or the next. Camilo is so awesome, he was a visitor and gave the prayer in priesthood- Elder Kasper told me he gave it like he has been a member his whole life. The Lord really does prepare people to receive the gospel.
Well I really love this work and I love how the lord is making me an instrument to bring the joy of the gospel to others. Im one blessed and lucky girl to know the things I know and have the family and friends I have.