A dangerously acute account of 18 months in Nicaraguan Territory.
from the movie "Pocahontas"
I know that God is a just God. I know He is faithful and true and that He will fulfill all His promises that He makes (Alma 39:17). And thus far He has. There are just sometimes when I think He gets angry or bored or forgets His promises so He decides to play with us a little bit. This past Wednesday was one of those days.
We finish lunch and start walking towards our first appointment, about 8 blocks away. As we leave the house it starts sprinkling rain. Within 30 seconds it was dumping great droplets. As we prodded on, the streets began to fill up. The rain continued harder and harder. Within 10 minutes we were wading through a great big river, with all kinds of things tickling our legs: passing leaves, and branches, lots of mud, frogs, dead dogs, and sewage. Shoes were almost lost, slips occurred frequently. But 30 minutes later we arrived at our appointment. They were waiting at the door, watching the river literally pass by inches below their doorstep. There were also 7 huge rats huddled up against the side of the house, each cuddling their little rat children. My companion saw them and tried to convince the less-actives to let the rats enter their humble abode. The less-actives and I both looked at her as though she was crazy and I thought “this is no time for a ratatouille-compassion moment!” We worked like that the whole day and when it was all done, we came home to a beautiful muddy lake in our house.
So yeah, these are the days when I begin wondering “did God forget his promise to Noah, or was this just a prank?” haha Even though it’s really rough for missionary work, it’s a huge blessing for Nicaragua, which needed lots of rain as of late. I’ve just got to take the good with the bad and “SING IN THE RAIN!”
I know I haven’t won Miss Nicaragua or anything (shout out to Krissia—Miss Utah!), but I want to give a HUGE thanks to each of you who prayed for Jessena because she’s made the decision to be baptized! Wahoo! She told us “ok hermanas, this time it’s real; I want to be baptized on the 10th of October and I want you both to be there and I want to take pictures and have brother X do the ordinance.” It was awesome! No prodding, no pleading, no asking…she just said it! I’m so grateful for miracles, they are so real!
And…..GENERAL CONFERENCE HAS COME!!! I couldn’t be more excited to listen once again to our prophet’s voice, hear the words of our Lord coming from his mouth. I know that it’s going to be amazing and I’m preparing to receive revelation for me and for my investigators. I also invite you each of you to quicken your spirits and minds to receive the seeds of revelation and inspiration which will surely fall down from Heaven. Let us catch these treasures while we can! Let us prepare tighter for the coming of the Lord by heeding the counsel of His servants! The Church is true!
This is the river after a huge rainstorm!
This is the biggest child I know...John Carlos
yep, that´s bean soup (with egg and rice,,, yum :)
Well, this week was rather difficult simply because Nicaragua has been celebrating its independence. Which means there is no one in the streets or in their houses because they are all in the town square watching all the hula-baloo? It was very frustrating trying to preach the gospel this week. BUT, I shall not continue to bore you with my babblings of unfair and unjust traversing. Better, perhaps it is, to talk of beautiful spiritual moments.
Jessena and her sister, Francys accompanied us to a Nicaraguan Cultural night where we ate cassava (does anyone even know what that is?), Rice and beans, and drank corn with milk. I know your mouth is just watering thinking about all the deliciousness that is dripping from my words, but don’t worry, we’ll have a Nicaraguan culture night when I make my return.
Afterwards, there was a baptismal service and Jessena and Francys accompanied us. They were both nervous simply because they thought the skinny kid doing the baptism wasn’t going to be able to support the bigger guy who was being baptized. In the end, everything turned out alright. They both felt the spirit and in that very moment we challenged them to be baptized. Francys’ face just kind of said, “wow, first time in their church and they’re inviting me to be baptized, are they crazy?” Jessena just said “that’s an excellent question” and looked sad. I know she wants to, it’s just these blasted sins that get us so down that we forget to choose the right! “Courage, not compromise brings the smile of God’s approval” (Thomas S. Monson)
Ok, here’s another topic: Mormon, the ancient Nephite prophet is an excellent example of enduring to the end. Listen to this scripture:
“Behold I had led them, notwithstanding their wickedness I had led them many times to battle, and had loved them according to the love of God which was in me, with all my heart; and my soul had been poured out in prayer unto my God all the daylong for them, nevertheless, it was without faith, because of the hardness of their hearts,” Mormon 3:12 “But behold, I was without hope, for I knew the judgments of the Lord which should come upon them; for they repented not of their iniquities, but did struggle for their lives without calling upon the being who created them” Mormon 5;2
It amazes me that he knew exactly what was going to happen to his beloved people. He could see it happening yet he carried on. He loved them, he fought for them, and he preached to them, he did everything he could to save them!
So now, when our lives get tough, “turning and turning in the widening gyre, the falcon cannot hear the falconer, [when] things fall apart [and] the center cannot hold; [when it seems that] mere anarchy is loosed upon the world,” (it’s Shakespeare I think)
Let us trust in the Lord, our God, maker of the Heavens and Earth. He loves us! He does nothing save it be for our good! Have faith that he will come to your rescue.
This is what a tropical storm looks like as it comes your way!!!!
I've got a lovely little coconut! "tee-dah-li-dee" (Name that movie)
Shakes with my Hermana friends!
"Return to Pooh" Corner by Kenny Loggins
This last week was rather interesting. Seeing as we share an area with the Elders, we ran into them a lot this week. But it’s quite fun because they immediately go into James Bond mode and start jumping fences and the like in order to avoid being seen by us, the dreaded Mormons. It probably makes us look even more crazy, but that’s just worth it sometimes. :)
This week in the District we had the funniest moment! All the Latin missionaries passed in front to share a story in English for their language study. All the other Elder and Sister stumbled through tales of baptism or other such fluff, but then our beloved District Leader gets up and just starts giggling as he looks at his cheat sheet. He finally got control of himself and started: “Come over here, baby hug me! Your eyes make me crazy! I would fly for you! I would cross wars and mountains to come to you! I love you!” We all were rolling around in laughter, not knowing whether to take him seriously or not! The best part of it all was his accent which cannot be accurately conveyed by letter and thus you will just have to try to imagine it.
Other funnies of the week: I have a new boyfriend! (ha ha just joking) but I do have a secret “Romeo” we shall call him. It all started when we said “Buenos!” at the house of a less active. The dog came running, barking rather loudly. Then the less-active came to the door and said “Come In!” We asked “does the dog bite?” “No” she replied. We sat down and started chatting. The dog started sniffing us out, getting to know us. I patted his head to show him I was friendly. It was while we were choosing which hymn to sing that he put his head on my knee (Just a little inappropriate, but I ignored him). His voice could no longer be held back and he began whining, crying for my love. I just laughed and kept talking with the sister. His pleas having been ignored, he jumped up on me, begging for my love! In my head, I screamed “You scandalous cur! Get off me! He stayed there while everyone laughed then the owner finally took hold of his collar and held him while we sang. His howls and moans still continued as we sang and during the prayer he got loose somehow and was all over me. I knew that dogs like me, but I didn’t know I was irresistible!
Now for a spiritual moment: have you ever considered how your life would be without the Holy Priesthood? I’ve thought about how mine would be, but I can’t even begin to imagine it. It amazes me that this was a blessing promised to Abraham and all His posterity, yet so few of God’s children use it’s power, neither do they know it exists.
This last week, the Elders gave a blessing of comfort and counsel to our investigator Jessena. She felt really good, but still does not feel right getting baptized. I sometimes just wish I could let her borrow my faith or give it to her so that she can take this step (Note: my faith is not at all that grand; but there’s enough there to be baptized!) But, the world just doesn’t work like that. We have to develop our OWN faith and then wait to see the miracles in our OWN lives.
“He who hath faith to see… shall see. He who hath faith to hear… shall hear. The lame who hath faith to leap… shall leap.”
And I would add:
“He who hath faith to be baptized… shall be baptized.”
*making cake with the sisters :) (Hermana Cone)
*I call this picture ´´ Nica no-bake cookies at midnight´´ (it was actually 10:15 p.m.)
*fun time in the gringa store (what you don´t know is that I have my real glasses on as well)
"not very pretty but we sure know how to run things"
(from the song “Team” by LORDE)
Well, yesterday was super eventful. We started it off bright and early at 5:00 am to help the other sister missionaries bring some people to church. We said a prayer and then went off, dividing up to bring the most people we could. That’s when all the fun started apparently. My companion went with Hna. Cones (from Arizona) and I went with Hna. Alvarez (from Costa Rica) Although I was not there to witness any of the following paragraph, I will relay it as it was described to me, from the eyes of an investigator.
The Honduranian Missionary
It seemed like any other morning of the week until I saw the Mormons turn the far away corner and start coming down the street. Mormons in the morning only meant one thing: it had to be Sunday. The two mormon women were really cool, but I could barely understand them. The white one made me laugh more than the other, but I loved them both. I wasn’t so sure I wanted to get baptized, but I liked their church. I hoped to go with them today.
While I waited for them to come, I thought about breakfast (ric and beans perhaps) and then saw that the determined course of the sisters had been broken as the smaller, darker one motioned to some rock. They went towards them and the Latina sister sat down. I hopped out the door and said “Hermana Cones! How are you?” I gave her a hug and we started chatting about the difficulty of washing clothes. Suddenly my concentration was broken by a “splat” sound behind the Hermana. I peeked around the Hermana and to my surprise found the other little one face down in the rock and dirt. She had passed out! I jumped into action and turned her over. The other sister was saying something about not eating or drinking for 24 hours, but I didn’t really understand her because my attention was on reviving the little girl. I fanned her and sat her upright while trying to give her air and water. While I wiped the blood off her face. She started to come-to. We sent someone to buy a Gatorade and sat with her while she retrieved all her senses. When she had all her capabilities again, I told her exactly what I thought. “Look sweetie, if you’re gonna go walk around all day, you’ve got to drink something. If you’re gonna commune with God, you can do it in your house, but out here, sweating buckets, na-ah”. She just laughed and said that sacrifices bring blessings. They later went on their way, but I didn’t want to go to their church anymore. Who would want to be a part of a church where eating and drinking is forbidden?”
More than my companion passing out, I had the strangest experience on Friday when we went with the Elders to teach one of my beloved investigators, Jessena. She always goes to church and knows almost everything about the Gospel, but she doesn’t feel ready to be baptized, so we started the lesson, shared a scripture, and the spirit was really strong. I started praying in my heart, “Lord please help her! Help her have faith!” A few of my tears leaked out and then the oddest thing happened. For some reason I stopped understanding what was being said. “Wait a second,” I thought, “Are they speaking Spanish? Because I’m not getting a single word.” I was a little startled, but waited until the lesson ended and we had left to ask my North American companion, Hna. Darymple, (we were on divisions), “Hey, did you understand?” She replied “up to a point, I understood, but afterwards, It didn’t sound like they were speaking Spanish.” In my head I was thinking, “Whoa, did we just lose the gift of tongues? Or did the spirit just take control of the situation and use His own language?” It was an interesting moment. But, something you can all do to help me out would be to pray for Jessena, she really needs some extra help understanding the answers God is giving her.
More than that, there wasn’t much else this week. Just know that God’s love for each of us is so big that He doesn’t forget anyone, not even missionaries who pass-out on the street in Nicaragua or foreigners who can’t speak the language in strange countries. We’ve just got to endure.
“If man wilt do good, yea, and hold out faithful to the end, thou shalt be saved in the Kingdom of God, which is the greatest of all the gifts of God, for there is no gift greater than the gift of salvation!
*Tip-Top!! (it`s Nicaragua`s version of KFC)
hola! I'm Naomi and I love reading, my amazing family, and the color green.