A dangerously acute account of 18 months in Nicaraguan Territory.
And hear the word of God!
Not much time for Hermana B, but just wanted to invite each of you to bring your questions to the Lord this weekend as we listen to His Prophets. I know that they speak for God and that if we follow the counsel they give us, we will be blessed.
Lots of Love,
P.S. Just so you know, ¨smoking¨ in Spanish means ¨tuxedo¨.
I felt like quite the traveler this week, only spending three complete days in my area and two nights in my assigned bed. Between Managua, Chinandega, and Chichigalpa, I think I’ve gained enough travelers points to hop on a bus to Japan! (ha ha as if there were buses that go all the way to Japan)
Something I loved was working with so many other Hermanas. It’s a weird atmosphere, the mission life. You actually hear about other missionaries you feel like you know them even before you’ve actually met. And when you do actually get to know them, you realize that their reputation rings true or it’s completely off base. That’s why it’s better just to think and hope the best about people you don’t know.
The same is true for the Gospel though; we think we can perceive who is going to accept the true message of the restoration, but we never know for sure. So it’s better if we just share it with everyone. It’s like Elder Oaks said “The Lord loves all of His children. He desires that all have the fullness of His truth and the abundance of His blessings. He know when they are ready, and He wants us to hear and heed His directions on sharing His gospel. When we do so, those who are prepared will respond to the message of Him who said “My sheep hear my voice…and they follow Me”. That’s really helped me to overcome my awkwardness of talking with everyone about the gospel, just knowing that He has prepared them and in my weak human state I have no place to judge which ones they are.
We had a conference in Managua on Thursday with both the missions and their Presidents, Bishop Dean M. Davies from the Church Presiding Bishopric, and Elder Ochoa from the Quorum of the Seventy and his wife. It was really neat to hear them all talk. I especially loved when the wife of Elder Ochoa mentioned that Christ lives and directs His work, and just as our mission presidents work with us in the streets, Christ does too. More or less, her message was work with Christ, every day, in every contact.
It was super funny for me to see Bishop Davies and his wife do their presentation. There was a big hula-ba-loo about it. The chapel was painted, there was a bunch of cameras…a big paparazzi almost! What made me laugh was about half way through the meeting…”Wait” I thought “just wait one second…I’ve heard this presentation before! But it was definitely in English. And it was definitely not with air-conditioning…I seem to remember the chapel heaters running. Must have been a devotional I attended while I was attending SUU!!!! It was still a great message… just a little déjà-vuish!
We were walking the other day and a guy on the corner just kept saying, “How, How, How”. I’m not sure if he just didn’t know how to finish “How are you?” or if he really was intending to greet me with a native American “How”. It was a rather odd moment in the heat of the Chichigalpa sun. I thought…”Whatever, like those Indians (and Annie Oakley) I’m an Indian too!!!
I’m so excited for one of our investigators Miguel! Quick background on him: 30 years old, lives with his member cousin, has been taking our lessons since the seventh of February (a REALLY long time for being Nicaraguan), finally chose to be baptized, told his dad, his dad disowned him, and for the first time in six months he drank again! We were super sad, thinking he would not be able to be baptized for long time. And the worst part was he kept saying, “Hermanas, I’m so sorry. Can I please still be baptized? What do I have to do?” Bringing our problem to the Bishop, he decided to accompany us to get to know the guy; Bishop talked with Him a good deal and then said, “Well, I think you’re ready for the first week of April” (Cue the Hallelujah Chorus!) Can’t wait to see him in the waters of a true baptism.
Can I just remind all you returned missionaries how awesome the mission is? And for all who haven’t gone, I hope you can see how wonderful a life can be when you share the gospel. I’m just looking forward to the Spirit World, where my time as a representative of Jesus Christ won’t be limited to 18 months (9, of which, are all that remain for me; Feliz Hump-Day). So here are some tips for this week:
1) Love someone enough to give them an Ensign or other church magazine.
2) Hum, Whistle, or sing a Hymn at work or school
3) Greet someone with “How”, if the awkwardness continues, you may add a “do you do?” afterwards!!!
Have a golden week!
Not much to report from this side of the glove, only that The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints has two new awesome members. WaHOO! J
It really was a treat to see them both, Brother Felipe and Hermanita Francys. They both had such different needs as investigators, but, thanks to the Holy Spirit, they both ended up with the answer that this is the true Church of Christ. Let me tell you about them.
First, Hermano Felipe reminds me quite a bit of my own grandfather. Maybe it’s the mustache. Anyways, he’s just an old guy who lives in the house of some members as a gardener/housekeeper. He’s about 70 years old, but still going strong. He’s got it all: spunk, real interest, jokes, witty responses. He is a perfect old man: But, with every cute little baptizable viejito, there always comes a few trials. First off, Hno. Felipe doesn’t know how to read. We overcame that one by giving him discs of the Book of Mormon. Something a lot bigger, however hit us. Well, hit me, He doesn’t hear very good. A natural cause of living so long, or so they tell me. So we kind of yelled the lessons. What made me laugh and cry is that it didn’t matter if I shouted or whispered, he couldn’t understand me. He nodded his head like he did and then ask his buddy, “What’d she say?”…Oh, the trials of a second language. But I love this little man so much. He came out of the water saying, “I’m new! I’m new! He may not have understood everything I said, but he knew that baptism would cleanse him from his sins. Our other baptism was just as precious. The daughter of inactive parents, Francys wanted to be baptized from the moment we found them. The biggest problem was helping her be brave enough to do it alone. But in the end, it was worth it...alone or not...When she came out of the font, I was the first to greet her. Soaking wet, literally dripping water everywhere, she saw me and went to give me a huge hug. Luckily a towel was quickly put between us. But I’ll never forget what this nine year old said; “What joy! What joy!” Even a nine year old can recognize when she is doing the Father’s will.
There are always obstacles, especially when it comes to making covenants with the Lord. But we, as human beings and brothers and sister, should always be willing to help, to do ANYTHING, so that our loved ones can experience the same happiness we are so blessed to know.
then the moment’s gone…Dust in the wind. All we are is dust in the wind…
You know, I thought I was a pretty active, healthy person. Maybe not as active and healthy as I once was, but I still get around a lot better than many other people. At least, that’s what I thought until a member introduced us to his aged friend, who was chopping sugar-cane in his yard. This old-man was working quite diligently, he didn’t really have time to listen to us, but I still thought he was cool. As we walked away, the member commented, “He’s 104 years old.”
“Ooh, dust in the wind; all we are is dust in the wind”
As missionaries, we work a lot with people who’ve just been baptized, recent converts who sometimes have no idea what’s going on. There is one recent convert named Juan, whom I have only seen in church two times in the six months I’ve been here. It’s mostly because he has a serious drinking problem. Everyone kept telling me, “oh, he was SUPER!” “He was the best member!” “He always worked with the missionaries.” I thought it was impossible that this black-eyed sad man could be the same member they were talking about that is until I saw him. Yesterday morning, dressed up more spiffy than any member in Nicaragua, ready to help us bring more people to church, while we were walking, a conversation started. “Hey, Hermano, did you go to the parade yesterday?” “Of course not, Hermana” “Why not, Juan?” “There are too many temptations there that can make me become how I used to be.”
“Ooh, dust in the wind, all we are is dust in the wind.”
Most of the time, missionary life is just you and your companion in your area, working hard, saving souls, but sometimes other missionaries get involved. That was a real trial this past week. With another missionary in my zone spreading rumors that just aren’t real. (Sigh) It was quite strange to feel a little angry and a little sad. About the things they were saying: I could tell it was bugging me and impeding my sensitivity to the spirit. So, I called one of my beloved leaders and he basically said “Hey, just forget about it, The Lord knows you. Let it go. “And it seemed that in that moment, it hit like water on hot pavement and was gone. Oh, the sweet sense of peace. “Ooh dust in the wind, all we are is dust in the wind”
Walking in the heat of the day at 2:00pm is rather boring in Chichigalpa. Everyone is working or sleeping. Contacting is about the most fun you’re going to have, so why not do it? Right? We had just finished telling some very catholic people about the happy message of the restored gospel, when we looked up. There was my beloved San Cristobal, its volcanic heights rising above the neighborhoods of Chichigalpa. But this time, furious black smoke billowed from its mouth. I felt a thrill of excitement as a million things ran through my mind: *Mordor, *epic Spock scene in Star Trek, *Mount St. Helen’s eruption, *Walter Mitty long boarding in Iceland as a volcano explodes. Unfortunately, nothing more happened, as in fire or sparksL, (Sigh).
“Ooh, [ash] in the wind; all we are is [ash] in the wind.”
Something has been up with the weather as of late (perhaps, Jesus Christ comes soon), but Sunday was especially frustrating. Such a furious wind storm settled in that almost no one came to church, for all the sand that was in the air. Upon arriving to our house, we found a nice thick layer on everything. Yeah, and that was INSIDE the house. We won’t talk about the shower I took that night. I love my Nicaraguan life, and the church is still true! J
“Ooh, dust in the wind, all we are is dust in the wind!”
I’m not quite sure the extent of your understanding of my missionary life here in Nicaragua, but I hope my letters have accurately portrayed that one of the responsibilities of us missionaries is to establish the church, and trust me, we literally ESTABLISH the church. One of the many joys of doing so is gently reproving and helping the members come to understand how a church service should be. Yesterday’s sacrament meeting was very beautiful because we were given the opportunity to take the sacrament, but as for the screaming children, gossiping teenagers, and sleeping viejitos (old people), I just couldn’t help but smile. And the best part was at the end, when I was asked to accompany the congregation (fortunately we have a piano) as we sang “Tis’ Sweet to Sing the Matchless Love”, cue intro, cue congregation…with only two beats into the hymn I realized that not a single person was even close to singing the melody which the hymnbook dictated. On the contrary, they were all united in a tune which is not to be found in any hymnbook. Creating a very awful harmony. Later, while asking a Relief Society member about the song, she told me that that is how the song is. I’ve come to the conclusion that, going years without a piano and only having the Stake President’s wife to give them the melody, they learned the melody how they heard it. Let’s just say that this Nicaraguan dischord is something to be experienced. J
Today is actually changes for all the mission, but I shall remain here in Chichigalpa with my same companion. It was just really weird to say goodbye to so many of my good missionary friends who are going back to their houses. They won’t get to have two hours of scripture study every day, neither will they only listen to Hymns and EFY songs, saddest of all, they will no longer have the official “representative of Jesus Christ” name tag, but that doesn’t mean they won’t keep sharing their testimony with every single person they meet, inviting them to Come Unto Christ and be partakers of His love.
PS. Hey, if you’re thinking about going on a mission, stop thinking and just do it!
hola! I'm Naomi and I love reading, my amazing family, and the color green.