A dangerously acute account of 18 months in Nicaraguan Territory.
from "My Fair Lady" the musical
So our mission President is basically commanding all Latino missionaries to get their groove on and start learning English. He has put most companionships so that there is one North American and he gave everyone Books of Mormon in English and an English homework book. So, being the obedient missionary that she is, my companion got a move on. We’ve got the Alphabet down and some basic words. Now we’ve moved onto dialogue and pronunciation. We’ve started rhyming words, even though she doesn’t know what they mean. I first read all the words that rhyme with “van”. “pan, can, man, ran, tan.” She repeated and did pretty good. So we moved on to “plate”. “gate, mate, rate, slate.” She did good with those. Next came “main”, “pain, rain, plain, train, vain, gain” She tried, but couldn’t quite get the “a” sound. I repeated it again, but she was still struggling. We ended up working just with the first word “maaaain” I said. “Meeen” she replied. We went back and forth a few times before we busted into giggles. I laughed even harder, picturing “My Fair Lady” in the back of my mind. Unlike the famous musical, my companion did not burst into tears from discouragement but neither did she learn the sound and begin singing “The Rain in Spain Falls Mainly in the Plain.” Ha ha
We should actually feel really blessed to know English. The language in which the Gospel was restored. What a great blessing it is to read the account of Joseph Smith in his own words and know that it was real.
We also were able to do divisions with some Hermanas and see so many miracles. We were able to bring 9 investigators to church and help them see and feel the difference in the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints. It’s so different from any other and you can feel the truthfulness of it just by being there.
Now, a quote from Elder Bednar “our works and desires alone do not and cannot save us” I think that many people, all over the world, have yet to grasp the fact that we are helpless without the Savior, we are nothing. So, why not come to know Him and His restored church so that we one day will be able to humbly ask for His help? He will come soon; “Watch therefore, for ye know not what hour your Lord doth come.” (Matt. 24:42)
from the Musical "Oliver"
Here in Nicaragua, it is definitely not a typical suburb life. It’s actually quite different. One thing, however, that I find quite interesting, is that people wander the street, laden with their goods, vending things of all sort. They walk the roads, broadcasting what it is, how much, where it comes from. All types of things: fish, fruits, remote controls, gum, hammocks, medicines, soap, paintings, ice cream, DVD’s, notebooks, shoes, cell phones, plastic dishware, dog food. Just about anything you might need/want is bound to pass by some day or another. Just the other day a little girl burst out of a nearby door and shouted “ICE CREAM!” and within seconds, two ice-cream men were offering her various delicious bars of ice-cream for her 7 pesos in her little hand. I told my companion: “I wish I could just step out my door and yell for what I want.” Maybe when I get home, I’ll try it out! “Husband! Future Husband!” ha ha, we’ll see who comes running. Ha ha ha ha ha
On Saturday night we were contacting a family when suddenly a man on a bicycle stopped (to listen or watch I wasn’t sure) when we finished contacting them, we turned and the man extended his hand; “Hermana!” he exclaimed. It was none other than the famous Paulito, a man whom we’ve only taught once (for questions of work), but who goes to church with us when he can. We talked for a few minutes, made plans to pass by for him on Sunday, and then parted ways. Two minutes later, we were contacting a different family on the opposite corner when here comes Paulito once again. He said, “Hermanas! I bought you juice and tacos”! Oh these Nicaraguans! I love them. He gave us the bag and then went on his way. And yes, he did go to church on Sunday and yes, he is thinking about being baptized, fulfilling a prophecy found in D&C 84:88-90.
This same Saturday, we were walking with our beloved Hno. Julio, talking about his non-member family, how his spouse wants to get sealed in the temple but doesn’t want to get baptized. Having been a member for 24 years, he’s tried just about everything. He told me “I know she will be baptized one day. I have faith that it will happen. And if it doesn’t happen in this life, I love God enough to trust Him.”
I was stunned for a moment at the level of this man’s belief, here was a real soldier of the Lord, who fights little by little, not for what he wants, but for what the Lord wants. Wouldn’t our faith increase dramatically if we all did the same?
I was also profoundly impacted by a scripture I had read before, but had never put attention to what it said: “For he that diligently seeketh shall find; and the mysteries of God shall be unfolded unto them, by the power of the Holy Ghost, as well in these times as in times of old, and as well in times of old as in times to come; wherefore, the course of the Lord is one eternal round” (1 Nephi 10:19).
Have you ever looked for a mystery from God? What great truths we might discover if we but diligently look for them! So, look for a mystery; or better yet, help someone else look for the mysteries they have yet to find, such as the ancient scripture The Book of Mormon, the truthfulness of the gospel, and the reality of the church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, restored once again on the earth.
**Hermanas, Uno, and ice cream. It doesn’t get any better!!
**My Guatemalan twin!!
“California Rose” by Roy Rogers (from the movie “Son of Pale Face”)
Changes occurred today. I, however am still in my beloved Chichigalpa. I’ve received a new companion a very beautiful Hermana called Hermana Palencia. She’s a bright El Salvadoran whose mom is from Mexico and her dad from Los Angeles. And her grandparents are from Honduras. So, she’s kind of Latino. But I think I shall call her my California Rose because she is so blasted beautiful, outside and in.
This past weekend was super crazy. Mostly because Miguel (if you don’t remember him, review last week’s letter) is no where to be found. This weekend was supposed to be his confirmation, but you can only be confirmed if you are present in the congregation. It was really rough. Mostly because we work so hard to help these people have a better life, to help them be happier, and their own stupid choices get in the way. I bet that is how our Heavenly Father feels most of the time. He just wants us to be happy!
Something funny that happened this week,. I’m walking down the street with Hna. Leon and we see this guy on the corner, a rather average man. Well, He’s walking towards us when he suddenly hops down into a hole. It came up to his ribs. But then we see that he’s unbuckling his pants. Rather quickly the whole rest of him disappeared in the hole, doing his business. Hermana Leon looked at me and said, “hey, there is a guy pooping in that hole in the street in Chinandega, in Nicaragua”. “Yep” I replied. Maybe that kind of stuff happens every day, but, I feel like it’s a rather rare occurrence to actually witness it. Hooray for abnormalities and rare passing’s.
We also passed a bar and the TV that was in the window was definitely playing an all to familiar Darth Vader breathing. I had no idea that there was a new Star Wars coming out. It seems crazy that you could make such an awesome series even more awesome. Thanks to modern technology. But that one will just have to wait for a different day, when I’m in a house in Utah and not passing by a bar in Nicaragua.
We also saw the lovely baptism of Alondra this past weekend. Her whole family are members of the church, she was just never baptized. We invited her to do so and she told us no, because she wasn’t perfect. But then we went to General Conference and heard Elder Dale G. Renlind say, “A saint is a sinner who keeps on trying”. And so she realized she could only have the chance to become perfect if she got baptized. It was a very beautiful service and I could really feel the spirit. I’m so happy for her.
But I just keep thinking about this whole “keep trying” quote. I give myself an interview. Am I still trying? Do I let the Savior pick me up when I fall? I hope we each let Him help us. Just keep trying!
PS I don’t know why this is popping into my brain, but on the movie “Meet the Robinsons” there is a part where everyone sings and shouts and there are signs and fortune cookies that say “keep moving forward”. Maybe you can imagine that little fiesta in your mind the next time you feel low.
*Finally saying goodbye to my H-town buddy Elder Smith, off he goes to Managua!
* When I mixed this drink mix together, I began to sing to myself ¨I´m stirring and stirring my brew ¨oh how witchy I am. ha ha
Sun in the sky, you know how I feel
I just never seem to understand how such a short 48 hours of General Conference can change lives’. Isn’t it awesome to hear the revelations of our prophets, of love and hope, service and temples? Yes! You should know we were kind of bummed to not hear “Nicaragua” mentioned among the future temple sites, but I know that with time, the Lord will move His work forward and we will be blessed with His Holy House here in this land. It is probably one of the biggest trial of the mission, not having the joy of entering the temple, but I have learned to appreciate my covenants even more. I echo the words of our prophet, Thomas S. Monson “Go to the temple, you will find more peace and serenity in your life.” I personally, have plans to step off an airplane in December and go straight to a session. You’re invited, if you want to come!
So, we’re walking around the other day and I spoke one of my rather random thoughts: “is it just me, or is everything greener today?” My intelligent Honduran companion replied: “I believe it is called ‘photo synthesis’”. Ah, hah that would definitely be one of the biggest effects of this ridiculous sunshine. A nice sunburn would be another. A billion types of abundant fruit as well. It actually amazes me that fruit is so plentiful here. I know it pains you to hear it, but mangos are literally rotting in the street because we can’t eat them fast enough (and we’re not just talking one or two mangos in the street, I’m saying PILES of mangos). And it’s rather odd that no matter how many mangos you eat or how many bottles of water you drink, your mouth is dry and you have thirst. It’s a purely Nicaragua experience…But at least now we know where all the mangoes go!
Although it was General conference, we were blessed to be a part of Miguel’s baptism. He is a young adult of 30 years who is trying to look for God. Well, he found Him in a book, a holy scripture called “The Book of Mormon”. Upon reading it, he discovered the true promise found in the introduction (Note: if you haven’t read the introduction, read it!), that Jesus Christ is the Savior of the World, that Joseph Smith is His revelator and prophet in these last days, and that The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints is the Lord’s kingdom once again established on the earth, preparatory to the second coming of the Messiah. What was the next logical step? Baptism!! He was really nervous, but it all went smoothly. We finished the service with the “Because He Lives” video and we all really felt the Spirit.
Another spiritual moment: walking down the street, looking for Pabl, but not finding him. Going to look for someone else, not finding them, trying to contact, getting rejected. Trying to do everything we could. Having exhausted all our ideas, Hma. Bradshaw suggested we pray, we kind of poured our whole soul out to Him, here were two gringas, standing and sweating in the hot Nicaraguan sun, just trying to help other receive the same blessings they had received. But when we were discouraged and our hearts, were depressed and we were about to turn back, the voice of the Lord cam unto us, comforting us. I remembered in the moment, a scripture I had read just that morning, “Therefore, fear not, little flock; do good; let earth and hell combine against you, for if you are built upon my rock, they cannot prevail. Behold, I do not condemn you; go your ways and sin no more; perform with soberness the work which I have commanded you. Look unto me in every thought, doubt not, fear not.” (D&C 6:34-36) Life is hard, missions are hard, but the Lord is with us. In this battle, good has already conquered evil. Christ has already won the war. We now have the duty to hang on until He comes. In the words of our prophet, “we marvel as we watch Him open doors we cannot open and do miracles we cannot imagine.”
hola! I'm Naomi and I love reading, my amazing family, and the color green.