A dangerously acute account of 18 months in Nicaraguan Territory.
from the Beatles
It was a Thursday evening and all was still and quiet on the road of the Retirada. Only the faint sounds of the bar on the corner could be heard as I turned off the light at 10:29 p.m. As I searched for my bed, I tripped/walked over a pair of shoes and almost tipped the bucket over. Finally I made it to the bed, turned the fan on high, said a prayer, and was dead asleep within moments.
2:25 a.m.: I felt as though my dream was just repeating my name over and over in a loud whisper, but it was actually my companion. `` Hermana Beatty, Hermana Beatty``. ´´Yes, Hermana Valdez, what´s wrong?´´ ´´I feel bad.´´ ´´what do you mean?´´ ´´I had a bad dream and I feel like there´s a bad spirit here.´´ ´´okay, let´s sing some hymns.´´ (forty-five minutes and15 hymns later) ´´do you feel better Hermana Valdez?´´ ´´yeah, a little bit.´´ ´´can we go back to sleep now?´´ ´´Yeah.....goodnight´´. ´´Goodnight´´. I can honestly say that I´d never had that experience before, but there always has to be a first, right? You should try it sometime, set your alarm for the early morning, wake up and sing a hymn or two, then go back to bed. It makes for a refreshing break from the routinely night´s sleep :)
More than just singing a Beatle’s song, let´s pay another tribute to great ol´ England by telling you about a wonderful experience I had this past week with Laura, a 25 year-old British girl living in Nicaragua. We were on Divisiones in the capital of the country and Hna. Wilkins says ´´OK Hna. Beatty, our last appointment will be with Laura, a girl we´ve been teaching for about two weeks and has gone to church once. Oh, and we´ll be teaching in English´´. That´s when the nerves started. You need to understand, I´ve never EVER taught a missionary lesson in English. I don´t even remember some words in English, how was I supposed to teach this lady? I was super nervous in the Taxi, but we got to the apartment complex and said a quick prayer and I felt a little better.
We knocked on the door, which she energetically opened and brightly said ´´HELLOOOOOO!´´ in her lovely British accent. We invited the North American Member couple that lives next-door, said a prayer, and then started in Teaching the Plan of Salvation.
It was amazing. I had never felt the spirit so strong in my whole mission. I was saying words I didn´t even knew I remembered and you could see the comprehension in her eyes. It was fantastic to hear the testimonies of this young couple and in the end, feel the confirmation from the Holy Ghost that all of this was true. There was a brief pause in the lesson, and Hna. Wilkins whispered to me in Spanish, ´´put the baptismal date´´. well, since I totally know her so well (sarcasm). Here goes nothing, thought I. ´´ Laura, we know that you are such a special daughter of God and that this is the plan He has for you. We know that you really have desires to keep the commandments and follow Jesus Christ. Now, we want to invite you to follow the example of our Savior even more and be baptized. Will you follow the example of Jesus Christ and be baptized by someone who has the priesthood authority of God on the fourth of August?´´ She didn´t even looked stunned, she just started saying (once again, imagine British accent) ´´well, I´d have to see. My brother is coming down on the fourth of August and I haven´t seen him in the longest time, I´d hate to have him get here and then say, oops, got to go to my baptism real quick.´´ Hna Wilkins jumped in ´´you can really do it any time, any day you´d like but...... Laura, will you follow the example of Jesus Christ and be baptized?´´ without hesitation she said ´´yes´´.
It was a renovating experience and I know it was a miracle performed by the Lord.
Well, it`s not a submarine, but it is a house :) And it just passed the inspection with President Collado and his wife (cue: huge sigh of relief). We also had a little interview and I suddenly realized that my time here is oh so short. I`ve got lots to do here in Nicaragua before the plane leaves.
We had an awesome baptism this weekend. It was of Cristhian, a little young man who is good friends with a recent convert. He was all excited and when Louis had finished the prayer, Cristhian just kind of leaned back, as if he were going to sleep or something. Louis stopped him and said ``what are you doing? Hold my hand like this and then we`ll go back``. Even though it made me giggle just the slightest I was really excited to see Cristhian so happy and watch him make a covenant with the Lord.
I have had a few problems with some Hermanas who, although they lack much time to finish their mission, have lost the excitement of working in the Lord`s vineyard. I found this quote in one of my suitcases and I think it just fits perfectly the situations we have when we lose our focus a little: `` a wise man of experience once said: men will work hard for money. They will work harder for other men. But men will work hardest of all when they are dedicated to a cause. Until willingness overflows obligation, men fight as conscripts rather than following the flag as patriots. Duty is never worthily performed until it is performed by one who would gladly do more if only he could`` -Thomas S. Monson.
Have a wonderful week!
...It Feels So Right to be Here With You!"
Well, opening an area without an area book has got to be one of the hardest things I`ve ever done... but it`s also been the happiest thing I`ve ever done. Just to keep your sanity, you`ve got to burst out into song every five seconds. The good thing is you know what you`re singing, the Nicaraguans don`t, so they just take you as one of your typical crazy gringos.
We`ve been super blessed because even when the people we found were more or less positive, they led us to some super positive people who accompanied us to church this weekend. I loved that even when we are totally incapacitated to do miracles, the Lord gives them to us. I know He will always give us what we need when we give Him everything. As some famous apostle once said, ``almost keeping the commandments almost gets us the blessings we need``. I hope we can all begin to realize how to give our all, so that we can all become full receivers of our highest privileges as sons and daughters of God.
Love you all!!
"...And Watch Us Where We Go
And help us to be wise
in times when we don`t know
every [missionary`s] prayer.
Lead them to a place
Guide them with your grace
Give them strength so they`ll be safe
(from the movie "Quest for Camelot")
We had the coolest baptisms this week! First was Ulysses, who had a drinking problem. We totally helped him overcome it and even got him the awesome Friends he was looking for, such as my cool convert Miguel. It was really awesome to see them both go down into the water together and see them both come out just as happy as can be. These two Hermanos are just so funny; it was hard to not laugh with them. The other baptism was of the daughter of an ancient member. She had gone to church a million times and all her kids were baptized, but she wasn`t willing to live the Law of Chastity. We kept visiting her and in the end she decided that it was worth any sacrifice in order to have the great gifts the Lord Promises us. She was baptized and after wards, shared her testimony (a rare thing for a Nicaraguan). It was wonderful to see them confirmed on Sunday, as well as the 10 other investigators we brought to Church.
The saddest thing ever happened yesterday..... :( I left Chichigalpa. My area that I opened nine months ago has been given into the hands of another Hermana. It`s so sad to leave all your loved ones behind. That`s how I imagine the Savior felt when He had to walk into the Garden by Himself. Although He had disciples, close by, supposedly keeping watch, He knew it was His time for His greatest battle. I know that we all have little battles to win in life, but He`s already won the war. So why not look at the great opportunities he`s given us to learn and grow and become more like Him?
hola! I'm Naomi and I love reading, my amazing family, and the color green.