A dangerously acute account of 18 months in Nicaraguan Territory.
Caught in a landslide, no escape from reality...
What a blessed week this has been!
I had realized almost four weeks ago that I really don´t look pretty in this weather. As you may have seen in the few photos I´ve sent, this whole Central-America world does not get along with my skin or hair. In fact, it´s rather embarrassing when we have meetings with President; and I literally feel like a lion in a skirt. However, we had a reunion with President this past week. Imagine it: there I was, in all my glory, hair literally flying everywhere with my skin gleaming from sweat. I sat down and immediately began to fan myself with a pamphlet. The Hermana that sat next to me introduced herself and we chatted for a second. She then said "Usted es valiente". What? …I´m courageous? Thank you Hermana that I just met? I asked her what she said and she just repeated it. Still confused, I turned to her companion, who explained "she thinks you look exactly like Merida, from Brave"........ .......... Thank you random Latina Hermana I just met :) if that´s what I really look like, I suppose I can survive my looks for 16 more months
*Note: today is my cumplimes, exactly two months have I been a missionary.... Just so you know :)
To close this comparatively short email, I want to tell you that we have a rat in our house...... I never knew I could hate a thing so much as I hate that rat..... In the famous but somewhat revised words of Mad Madam Mim, "I hate [rats]!!! I hate, hate, hate, [them]!!!". This rat had been plaguing us for close to two weeks. A member gave us a cage to trap it in. And never before had I prayed so hard for death to come to an animal. I slept, and when I awoke, I timidly poked my head through the door and looked into our kitchen. In the shadows of the early morning, the cage was definitely closed, but I knew not if anything had been trapped in it. I cautiously crept up and shook the cage a little with my toe. And from the abyss of the corner, out sprang a clawing, hissing creation of ugliness. It ran to and fro, trying to escape, all the while showing it´s little white teeth and cramping it´s long, long tail in the corners of the cage.
There it stayed while we waited for a member to come get rid of it. While I watched it´s futile attempts (simultaneously making pancakes), Lots of things ran through my mind. For example, Ron Weasley and Peter Pettigrew, Ripacheep of Narnia, Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles, The Secret of Nihm. But interestingly enough, the one that stuck to me the most was not from a movie at all, but from real life. The night before, our investigator had told us of a horrifying experience she had with dark things in her life. Who knows if her story of Spirits and devils is true, but I do know that Satan is real. He knows that this plan of salvation will make us happier than we´ve ever been. And he knows that if he can make us doubt, he can slowly tumble our tower of faith. So, just like this Rat, We need to trap Satan in a box, pray that he will not have power over us, and see his lies for the disgusting untruths that they are. And we need to call our brother, our Savior Jesus Christ, to come get this rat out of our lives so that we can again be happy, and one day return to live with God again.
Find him. Get rid of him.
(HELLO,HELLO,HELLO,HELLO,HELLO,HELLO) HELLO AGAIN TO ALL MY FRIENDS TOGETHER WE CAN MAKE
SOME ROCK AND ROLL
This week was awesome, mostly because of all of the great sensations experienced.
My favorite by far was that of pizza. We spoiled ourselves and splurged on Pizza Hut. Never before have I appreciated so much the taste of America. It was definitely worth the ridiculously amount of money we spent.
We also had something that felt like a trip to the dentist…
Yesterday I ate my first pineapple off the streets and it was SO good. I ended up eating half of it. I had just finished off the bag when I noticed my tongue start to tingle and within two minutes, I couldn´t feel it at all. Alarmed I turned to my companiona and said ¨blermana, que bahso?!?¨ She laughed for the longest time and then told me that the pineapples are super acidic here and for some reason they tingle the nerves on your tongue especially when you eat quite a bit. What a unique quality for a fruit to have! I´m pretty sure I can somehow commercialize this and make millions......somehow ;)
We´ve been having lots of stretches of time without electricity, which is rough when it´s so hot and your fan is your best friend. However, we made up for it by playing the game electricity at ward “Friendshipping” night. It was really really fun, especially how ridiculously slow these people catch on to a game. I don´t think I´ve ever met a less competitive group of people. It was essentially the EXACT OPPOSITE of a Beatty reunion. But it was loads of fun, only in a different way.
I also had quite a scare this week when we were calmly teaching Milton about the Holy Ghost he was to receive the next day, when a crazy lady approached the patio and stuck a knife through the grate. Brandishing it around, she said ¨quiere comprar (you want to buy)¨ in my head I was thinking ¨Are you insane lady? Get that knife away from our heads, you’re going to cut someone´s eye out!¨ Instead, I just looked scared and said ¨no¨ a million times. When she finally left, Milton looked at us and said ¨that was scary¨. At least I know I wasn´t alone in my fear of crazy old ladies with knives for sell.
We are still both teaching this family who really wants to go to the temple, but has not yet been baptized. We had a lesson with them this past week with a member from our ward, Hermana Brenda. I´ve never met a more missionary-focused member in my life! She shared such a strong testimony with them, but even more, she became their friend. She feeds us quite often, gives us rides, lets her kids teach me English. One time I asked her why she helps the missionaries so much. She said ¨Hermana Beatty, without missionaries, I would still be a hopeless mom with three kids, with a family that would dissolve at death´s door. I wouldn´t know of the joy of my Savior or the peace we can find at the temple. So of course I´m going to help the very people who brought me so much happiness! ¨
In that moment, I realized I wanted to have that attitude forever, a desire to share this message with everyone, and to help my brothers and sisters with whatever they require.
This week, take a second to think about the message Elder Henry B Eyring shared in the past general conference. We are all here because some missionary knocked on the door of one of our kinsmen. Should we not be grateful enough to help others in doing the same?
Have an excellent week!
It was red and yellow and green and black and scarlett and brown and oaker and peach and ruby and olive and...
It was red and yellow and green and black and scarlet and brown and oaker and peach and ruby and olive and violet and mauve and chocolate and fawn and liver and something and green and crimson and silver and gold and azure and lemon and russet and grape and…
Sorry for the long subject line, but I promise its leading somewhere.
I was teaching one of our investigators and after the lesson we asked if he had any questions. He said no, but he wanted to tell us something. Sure, sounds good, we said. So he launches into this really long narrative and I thought he was telling a story, but then it got really weird and he was talking about the TV having black and white snakes and at this point I just thought my Spanish was going clear out of whack. But at the end of it all, he asked if Satan was trying to stop him from getting baptized. OK........none of that made sense in my brain, whatever you just said, but I´m sure Satan does not want you to get baptized. We left five minutes later, me just as confused as ever.
When I got home, I just looked at my companion, perplexed and asked, ¨What in the world was Milton saying?¨ She laughed and said that he had told us his dream he had the night before. Apparently, people here think that missionaries have this special ability to interpret dreams (which is totally not true, by the way). I´m just glad that he still wanted to be baptized. Maybe colors are just so stark against my skin that people think I have a technicolored coat or something.... I do look handsome and smart and am sometimes a work of art (shout out to Donny)
This investigator, Milton, did end up getting baptized on Sunday. While we were waiting to start, we sang, because that´s what Nica members love to do. We start singing, but we sang so many songs, I could not contain my laughter any longer. They just sing so loud and so........ LOUD....... and....... different...... but I love them so much. My companion said that they would think I was rude if I kept laughing, so I just shut my trap and smile-hummed the rest of the meeting :) (notice that I finally found the colon on this keyboard)
Milton´s baptism was beautiful. He was so ready and it was amazing to see him come up out of the water, to see him so clean. My favorite part was when he came up to us after and just shook our hands, saying, I’m so so so happy, I´m so so so clean¨. When he said this, I just wanted to go baptize the whole country so they could feel as happy as Milton.
Learning Spanish has been a little rough, mostly because I don´t get to hear it as much as I would like. However, I was studying the other day, vocab, like I always do, and I came across a word ¨morder¨which means ¨to bite¨. No matter how many times I read it and tried to remember, I couldn´t. Eventually, I just stared at it, determined to engrave it in my memory. During this time of unproductiveness, I noticed that this word looked familiar, almost like a word in English that I knew very well. This English word seemed to escape my mind, but to my mind came the suggestion that I say it in a low, dark voice. I did ¨Morder¨. That was close. I did it again. ¨Morder¨... And then it came to me. ¨MORDOR´, home of Sauron and his evilness. How appropriate, for he loves to bite away all that is good in Middle Earth. Needless to say, I have not forgotten that word to this day. (That was for all nerds of this earth)
Lastly, we are really pushing this one family to get baptized. They have been going to church for such a long time and they are the cutest family ever. We had such a spiritual experience with them when we were in their home one night. Our lesson was on prophets, but when my companion went to show them the picture of Thomas S. Monson we had cut out of the Ensign, the picture fell to the ground. And what should land face up but the reverse picture, of the Salt Lake City Temple in all its glory. One question led to another, and before we knew it, we were bearing our testimonies of the reality of forever families. They are forever. Every family can be. It is only in and through our Lord Jesus Christ that this is possible. So even if you feel like you don´t want to choose the right for yourself, choose the right for your family, so they don´t have to spend forever without you. I LOVE MY FAMILY SO MUCH!!! ESPECIALLY THIS GRAND SPIRITUAL FAMILY WE ARE ALL APART OF! so, hug your mom, dad, brother, sister, son, daughter, cousin, niece, nephew, aunt, uncle, grandma, grandpa. And tell them you love them. And that you can´t wait for that awesome party we´ll all have in heaven.
That is all.
Dear the rest of the world besides Nicaragua,
You´re missing out..... but before I describe to you all the amazing things here, let me first say that this is solely from the prospective of a girl who has been here less than 48 hours.... but still (insert smiley face here because this blasted Spanish keyboard is impossible to figure out)
1. The people here are sooooo different
They sweep and wash the sidewalks and dirt, they all have a dog/child with them and they all work super hard at whatever they are doing. They drive a little safer than the people in Guatemala did, but I attribute that mostly to the fact that they´re not quite as big as Guatemala yet. They are so nice and would do anything for you. They mostly all look adorably the same and I can tell they are all ready to know about the gospel. Oh, did I mention they speak Spanish as well? (Once again, winky face insert)
2. The weather
It used to be cold at night in Guatemala; something like 60ish, but you step off the plane here and you would think it´s impossible to be cold. You literally breathe water! So cool!!! It reminds me of my dear old home. It´s also pretty breezy here, due to its proximity to the ocean. Overall, a very nice climate we have here.
3. My companion
A Hermana in her 14th month, Wilsynn Wheat is a girl from Mesa, Arizona. On Sunday she broke her ankle and is now on crutches for a month. Needless to say, working will be interesting, but somehow, we´ll make it possible. We already have had a few lessons (yeah) and talked a lot with the ward to get more people and families coming to church.
Nicaragua is definitely a different awesome, place, and I´m excited to be here. However, I would like to throw in a stick for the CCM in Guatemala. It changed my whole outlook on my mission. Without the teachers and other missionaries that were there, there is no way I would have progressed this far. I know that I learned way more Spanish and so much more about this gospel because I went to that CCM. I´m counting on some of the experiences I had there to get me through any discouraging times ahead.
Well, until next time (one last inserted smiley face)
hola! I'm Naomi and I love reading, my amazing family, and the color green.