A dangerously acute account of 18 months in Nicaraguan Territory.
...its too late!
*a photo of the church ceiling damage from last week
*Naomi's adopted family in Leon
*HHS class of 2013 represents in Nicaragua (#Tyler Smith)
*sweet Ana who overcame fear of water to be baptized!
Yep, it’s too late to apologize, too late to plant tomatoes, and too late to visit the Cathedral in Leon because as of this moment, I’m in Chichigalpa. Wish I could tell you more about my awesome new area and fantastic companion, but you know, I’ve only been here a few hours…Maybe next week. J
This past week was crazily wonderful! I learned a lot from this little girl, Ana Belen, who overcame her fear of water in order to be baptized!!! If that isn't true courage, I don’t know what is.
I also recognized the light of Christ, which influences all men to do good. I saw it in lots of people, but especially in one of our investigators called Rio. It’s so great to see someone use this influential gift from God to try to overcome the addictions he has had. Which is exactly why we’re here on this earth---to change!!
It was really diverting the other day when one of my favorite families decided to play, “Guess Hermana Beatty’s real name” game. Their logic was as follows: Hermana Beatty is a really sweet person. Her name is probably something as sweet as she is. Sweety? Honey? Hershey? Skittle? Hma. Gonzalez was laughing her kidneys out because she almost had them convinced that my name was “Sweety”. Of course they pronounced it wrong…”Sweeny” they said. And then I thought of Todd Sweeny, the most unsweet person ever. More than everything, it was fun to see their guesses, especially because my name really does mean “sweet” (in Hebrew I think?) Yep, still trying to live up to my name.
I hate changes, mostly because it is the most gossip-iest time of the year! I’ve never seen such rumors spread, especially amongst the missionaries. “oh, I’m leaving,” I don’t want to go” “Yay, Matagalpa” “Finally, a new companion” “I don’t want to change” All this and more I hear in the last two days, almost from every missionary. I just wanted to slap them and say, “You don’t want to change? Talk about denying the Atonement.” Of course, I didn't say this, but it’s true. Repentance IS change! When we don’t want to change, we are telling Christ that “Thanks for the offer, but no thanks” We should, no, we MUST look for ways to change, every day. I see these desires in the hearts of my investigators, it motivates me to change also. Repentance is change, so, Quoting the prophets;
[Change] ye, and prepare the way of the Lord and walk in His paths, which are straight, for behold, the kingdom of heaven is at hand, and the Son of God cometh upon the face of the earth
(the Lord said it, not me)
...The Lion Sleeps tonight!
So, I know I promised my mom that I would send pictures of the Cathedral, but we still didn’t get to go today. Because, we were too busy rocking our awesome new zone t-shirts!! They are quite fun, mostly because they have a Lion as cool as Disney’s Prince john on the front. We had a really great p-day as a zone, our last one with all of us together (next week is changes). And I promise, that if I’m still, in Leon, I WILL visit the Cathedral one day. But isn't a fuzzy picture of a bunch of sweaty missionaries so much better than a refined Catholic Church? I think so…None the less, moving on!
This is where my conflict of the day was: whether to title this letter as something else. This past week was crazy the Adele song “Fire to the Rain”. What’s –her-buckets “it’s going down. I’m yelling timber, you better move!!” or even Miley Cyrus’ “I(t) came in like a wrecking ball " would have been appropriate. And here is why….
This past Monday, which I guess would imply that a week ago today, we finished a lovely lesson with some members and then went back home. We walked in, used the bathroom, knelt to pray, and then began making our plans for the following day. We were literally just sitting down to get started when everything started shaking. I knew it was an earthquake, but I was quite surprised because it was MUCH stronger than the previous one I had experienced in Guatemala. My companion and I both looked at each other. She spoke first (in her cute little accent) J “Oh my Gosh, my Gosh, What do we do?” The following was my thought process:
What do we do? Isn't she supposed to know what to do? She has more time in the mission AND she’s from Guatemala. I think that we should probably go under a doorway or something. Or maybe under these tables. Oh wait a second, that might be bad. I think I read somewhere once that if you’re under a table and it gets smashed, you get smashed too. Plus, who would trust these old tables with missionary signatures from the 90’s?
All of this happened in about a 7 second time frame, the whole time the earth was moving to and fro. I would tell you that I wasn't scared, but I think that would be lying because I had liters of adrenaline pumping through me. And still everything was shaking. My companion asked again, “What do we do?” Forgive me for the following thought that popped into my head:
What would Spock do? Of course, I immediately repented and then I knew exactly what to do. “We pray” I said to Hermana Gonzalez. So we knelt back down on the ground (which is quite difficult to do when it is moving so fervently) and we offered up our fears to our Heavenly Father, that He might replace them with faith. We felt such peace the moment we started praying that we didn't cease to pray when the ground stopped moving. We weren't hurt in the slightest, nor did we have any doubt in our minds of the love of our Heavenly Father. I learned a lot of lessons in those short two minutes, but the one I’d like to leave with you is, when life gets a little quaky, don’t think logic, think prayer; don’t think ‘Spock’, think ‘Jesus’, ‘Savior’, ‘Redeemer’.
But it just gets better…. :)
On Saturday, the Elders were blessed with someone desiring to enter the waters of baptism. We come too, showing our moral support and bringing our investigators so that they could see a baptism and have their Baptismal Interview (Yeah!) The service was beautiful and promptly afterwards, Elder Pozuelos began the interviews.
He no sooner began when it started to rain. Of course it always starts out as a sprinkle and three seconds later it’s a down pour. It was still raining about an hour later when Elder Pozuelos finished, but other elements had been added. The thunder was so loud; the lightning was lighting up the chapel for the few of us still there; and the wind was slating the rain in at a fierce angle. We, however, were enjoying the safety of the chapel that is, until a small trickle of water came pouring through one of the light fixtures. We turned off the light and put a can under the dripping water. Oh how we underestimated the power and force of the Heavens.
Not three minutes later, we were calmly chatting when whole parts of the ceiling crashed down under the pressure of the water from above. Buckets and gallons and drums of water poured down on us and began to spread throughout every room in the chapel. The only accurate way for you to picture it will be to imagine a movie scene from “Poseidon” or “Titanic” (cue Celine Dion: Near….Far…Wherever you are). We grabbed every trash basket, mop and broom in the church and went to work, trying to stop the water from getting higher than our ankles. We kept at it for a good two hours until the downpour let up and turned into a light sprinkle. We were all soaked, but the chapel was mostly water free and ready for church the next day.
Now, I would like to share a scripture with you: 2 Nephi 27: 1-2 “But, behold in the last days or in the days of the Gentiles—they will be drunken with iniquity and all manner of abominations= and when that day shall come, they shall be visited of the Lord of Hosts, with thunder and earthquake, and with a great noise, and with storms, and with tempest, and with the flame of devouring fire”
My point in sharing this is to call your attention to the fact that so many events have happened and are happening that have been foretold by the Holy Prophets. Rejoice, O Zion! The Lord thy God reigneth! And He’s coming real soon! I pray that we will all prepare ourselves for the adventure ahead both spiritually and physically for no man knoweth the day nor the hour when the son of man will come, but I’m sure I’d like to be ready when he does.
PS I thought about throwing in a “R U REaDy”? Throwback to the days of running for Hurricane High Exec J
Honestly, I want to see you be BRAVE!
Quite the interesting week we had, full of interesting stories, interesting people and interesting events. So if you’re interested in these interesting things, please follow your interest to the next paragraph. J
It’s been lovely weather here in Leon, mostly because there hasn’t been a ton of rain, but there has definitely been rainclouds to block out the sun. On a day with such a beautiful climate as this, we were walking along to our next appointment, just like normal missionaries do. We walked past a park area where some boys were playing. We didn’t really take notice of them, that is, until they started throwing rocks at us. When another human being is stoning you, it’s quite difficult to think in that moment, “What would Jesus do?” Fortunately, my companion decided for the both of us and started running. We were not hurt at all (maybe my pride, just a little) and never were in serious danger, but it got me thinking about everything that happened in times of old when people stoned the prophets. I’m definitely not even close to being a prophet, but I am just shocked that someone could lift a stone against a messenger of Jesus Christ, who brings such glad tidings of joy. I wasn’t even calling them to repentance!!!! (at the moment) I guess it’s just a sign that as the world gets more and more wicked, the day of the Lord’s coming is that much closer! Oh how great shall be that day!
I realized the other day that almost no one reading these emails would know if I actually can speak Spanish. The answer to that question is…YES! I can! It’s an amazing gift, the Gift of Tongues. It’s a very real thing and I’m so grateful to my Heavenly Father for His help. But just to prove the nothingness of man, I have a story to share. You can usually figure out the significance of a word by the mood and other words in the conversation. So we were talking with this old guy, who was really hard to understand, but I was still getting a lot of what he was saying. It turns out he was a Spanish teacher back in his day. He was telling us that Nica Spanish is really bad grammatically, how the people don’t know anything. “Somos Idios” he said. In my brain: “We are…?” I didn’t understand the word “Idios”. So I kept listening. “us Nicas don’t know how to speak properly. Somos Idios” Once again, here was this word. By the way he was talking and the mood of the conversation, “Idios” could only mean “Idiots”. And he just kept saying it and saying it. Cool. Old man, go ahead and keep calling your own people idiots. As we walked away, I asked my companion how to spell “Idios” so that I could remember it better. She looked at me funny and then laughed and laughed and laughed, finally gasping out that the old man was saying “Indios” as in “Indians”, not “idios” as in “Idiots”. Ay, Ay, Ay, the nothingness of us gringos. Sometimes, I am an “Idio” J
Missionary life is hard. There are nasty, stone-throwing children, language barriers, and a million other things to worry about. But I’m so grateful to be here in Nicaragua. I can’t imagine myself anywhere else. I’m changing every day, hopefully becoming a little better than I was. And the best part? I’m learning to love! To love everyone! To love my Heavenly Father and Jesus Christ, to love this life He has given me, and to love every single person he puts in my path. In the words of our beloved prophet
“Love is the very essence of the Gospel. Jesus Christ is our exemplar”
If we can do nothing else, let us love!
Love our God!
And Love our Neighbor!
With love (haha)
Sometimes ups outnumber the downs….
(Disney’s Robin Hood)
Dear Civilized world,
Did you know that Nicaragua is a very different place from the states? Here, ants and rats and cockroaches take over everything that isn’t put into a container as tight as a black hole. There are drunks awake at 6:30 AM to annoy you with their awful singing. There is trash and dogs everywhere. Invisible bugs gnaw at your skin all the day long. But hey, you get a nice tan (or more freckles in my case), the bus rides are better than any amusement park, and a soda costs six cordovas (or in other words, 22cents). Life is good J
Yes! We had a baptism this last week! It was so fantastic! Miraculous, really. How long had we (my companion and I) been in Leon? For two weeks and yet here were two people ready to receive their salvation. They definitely weren’t handed to us on a silver platter, but we got them there eventually. Alvaro (husband) and Ana Maria (wife) were so happy to enter the waters of baptism and become members of the church. And I know that we are going to baptize all eight of their children one day!
One of their children is named Alvaro, or Alvarito as we like to call him. He has the most questions about our church than anyone else I’ve ever met. He also has the most doubts. After much time and questioning, I finally discovered the source of his hard heart. A few years ago, he was stranded in the capital city, with no means of communicating with his family, no food, and no money to buy the ticket to get back home. After two days, he finally saw a chapel and he remembered the Mormons were usually pretty giving. He walked in and asked to talk to the bishop. After hearing his story, the Bishop sighed and said, “I am really sorry, but I cannot help you.” Alvaro spent a few weeks in the streets before he was finally able to return home.
There are two lessons to be learned here:
First, that we, as members of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints, are being watched by the world around us. We should never cease to be aware that every action we commit is affiliated with the church.
Secondly, every action we commit is also recorded in a Heavenly Book. Should we not seek first the kingdom of God and fill our books with acts of pure love and charity towards out brethren? As Elder Holland put it, should we not bless the poor, in spirit and in body? I’m so blessed. We all are. But brothers of mine and dear sisters and loving family and sweet friends, we need to do more! We need to pray for our suffering siblings! We need to fast for our beloved brothers! We need to help! Do it and see the difference in your own life!
“I have wept in the night
For the shortness of sight
That to somebody’s need made me blind
But I never have yet
Felt a tinge of regret
For being a little too kind”
hola! I'm Naomi and I love reading, my amazing family, and the color green.