A dangerously acute account of 18 months in Nicaraguan Territory.
I know it’s been a while since we’ve talked, so I thought I’d update y’all (fun fact there is a Spanish word for y’all)
Amidst Christmas activities and bustling people, the life of a missionary is pretty much the same: bringing people unto Christ. We did however, have a mission Christmas Activity. Only the poor souls in the far off zone of Puerto Cabezas were excluded. The activity started at 8:00 am. Which means that we woke up at 3:00 a.m. here in Chichigalpa. I just had to laugh because you could totally tell which missionaries were in or outside of Managua, depending on if they arrived looking glamorous or not. Let’s just say that no one looks glamorous after a three hour bus ride, but hey, I tried.
Upon arriving, we were given a short Spanish test, breakfast, and a photo session with the famous Elder Barker and his crazy Christmas props. I was especially animated by the Santa bag full of copies of the Book of Mormon. Ha ha, oh the simple joys of being a missionary.
Now for one of the many surprises of the day. The children of our President Collado (all of which are under the age of 17) presented us with a choice: Frozen, How to train your Dragon 2, In the Tornado, or Mazerunner. I just about dropped out of my seat, amazed that we were allowed to do this. President explained, this was a one time once a year thing. So, we found the majority in favor of Mazerunner. It was mostly two hours of intenseness with a few scenes thrown in of the actress of Twilight. At the end, everyone was super sad. “Chuck!” we all screamed. And then our mind just kept getting blown to bits by the cliffhangers, knowing most of us wouldn’t be able to see the sequel, unless we watch it at the next Christmas activity.
We had lunch and never before has turkey and mashed potatoes tasted so good! Neither have I had such a delicious brownie in all my six months of Nicaragua. Following this deliciousness, a talent show. Some missionaries are funny, others are serious. But there was one missionary that I’m sure he had an interview with president after what he did. I don’t really know if he can be blamed or not, poor fellow only had two weeks in the field. We also had a Latino “One Direction”. That’s right ladies, you heard me, and these ones had missionary plaques! J
Lots of other things happened through the Holiday weekend: talked with my family, looked for two hours for our baptismal candidate, made Hot chocolate, received a beautiful wallet, was given medicine by an investigator (don’t worry mom, I didn’t use it), and painted a cabinet. But my point is, that every week is something new and different. Now I’ve got six months here in the mission and I’ve learned something rather precious: when you’re a missionary you don’t even have to try, it’s always a good time, not easy, but definitely good. As this year comes to a close, I suggest to each of you that you evaluate your plans for the year that comes. Set goals, which should include helping the work of the Lord, and then do it. Don’t wait for the good times to come; make them happen.
Love you all so much! Happy New Year!
O little town of Chichigalpa…I have discovered why I love it here so much. I believe it is because it reminds me so much of my home town. It’s just big enough to have the stuff you need, but small enough that everyone knows each other, and unlike the Savior’s birthplace of Bethlehem, which “how still we see thee lie”, Chichigalpa is crazy, especially in the month of December. I feel like I’m in the middle of a war, so many bombs are going off and the clash of music just makes my arm hairs curl, but I still love it here.
This week was rather interesting. The Elders Quorum President accompanied us on a visit to a less active, but on the thirty minute walk there, he introduced us to all his friends. Hno Julio is his name and he has a lot of friends. He used to work as the Brandy/Whisky taste-tester in a factory here close by, so he knows everyone who worked there. We were excited to teach his friends, but, needless to say, they all have a drinking problem. (I mean, who wouldn’t have a drinking problem if all you did was taste rum all day for thirty years?) We’ll see if we can help these old dogs learn the new tricks of the Word of Wisdom!
I was very surprised to discover that even people here in Nicaragua hold grudges. Almost everyone, member or not, has had a problem with our Bishop and many others have issues with our Stake President. One less active member that we visited was so hard-hearted that only her husband received us. She came, told us her grudge (very loudly and directly) and then left. I don’t think I’ve ever seen someone so bitter, I bet if she cries, it comes out vinegar, and all of this because the Bishop is human and isn’t perfect. I’m not saying we have to ADORE our leaders, but we should recognize that they are human, they have faults, but they’re also called of God to preside over us, to help us remember of our eternal significance, not just what we do today.
And now, a confession have I. Who knows how many people will read this, but please prepare yourselves for a very un-missionary act. So, my companion and I, walking down the street, talking about next week’s talent show (which is going to be AWESOME!) I mentioned that I wanted to do something, she asked with whom, I mentioned an Elder in our Zone, she asked why him, I told her that we had known each other before the mission. She asked how, so I began to explain how we knew each other. And when I finished explaining, she began to suggest that perhaps I had feelings for him. At which point (confession to follow), I punched her in the arm, playfully but with force, she laughed. And with the most stern, motherish voice I could muster, I told her that she should never think, suggest, or say such things. Hermanas and Elders just don’t mix. And moreover, we have a very specific promise from President Collado that if we look for love here in the mission, we will be miserable now, and for the rest of our lives. And if we marry someone from the mission, we will regret it for eternity. That’s a pretty specific promise. I don’t know if my companion thinks a mission is like “Hello Dolly”, but hopefully my words and my punch knocked some sense into her (I feel that I should mention that I’m normally not a violent person- Maybe I can plead “self defense”, which would be partially correct)
Wee, family and friends (it actually would be rather interesting to see who actually reads these things), I wish you a very Happy Holidays, with yummy Christmas goodies and lots of Christmas memories!
May your days be merry and bright
And may all your Christmas’ be white!
So much has happened in this crazy week that has passed! Oh how I long to have the ability to convey my feelings through this email, but alas, the Lord has not made me strong in writing, so let’s both say a little prayer that we’ll be able to understand what I’m about to write.
Miracles abound here in the area of Chichigalpa! We went to do an interview with someone called Danelia, a friend of one of the Young Women. She was so ready for baptism that she basically asked us when she could be baptized. Because of school and other things, we waited until this last week to baptize her, and that gave us the time to actually teach her the missionary lessons. Well, while we’ve been visiting her; her mom has been listening in too. Her mom, Jamilett, even went with us to a few meetings at the stake building. They’re both so sweet, but we were only planning on Danelia for a baptism this week.
So Elder Itzep (my district leader) comes to Chichigalpa to do Danelia’s baptismal interview and when we get to her house, she hadn’t arrived from school. Her mom let us in and we introduced her to the Elders. We were just chatting when Elder Itzep off-handedly (who knows if that’s a word) remarked, “Hermana Jamilett, when are we going to baptize you? She just lighted up and said, “Can I be baptized?” She told us later that before we came, she had seriously been pondering in her heart and praying to know what to do. And all it took was one comment from an Elder.
Their baptism was really simple, not anything like last week’s service. The spirit was really…I believe ‘steady’ would be the right word. And when they were confirmed, the same thing. I’m so happy for them; there really are people prepared and ready to follow Jesus Christ.
We also had quite the diverting time as a zone. We played soccer until it got too hot, so we played with water balloons instead. I don’t think I’ve had that much simple fun in a long time and I’ve never appreciated being completely soaked. But then again, I never had known the intense rays of the sun of Nicaragua.
Now for the subject title. You all by know have heard of Guadelupe, the sweet woman we baptized a fortnight ago. So lovely, really she isn’t the sharpest tool in the box, but she is so spiritual. Yesterday, due to the fact that we only had giant vases to use as sacrament cups (that’s a whole other story), we were really short on time in our other classes. All the adults combined into one big class for a short, ten minute lesson and then break into Relief Society and priesthood. The other companionship taught a brief lesson on Jesus Christ: our Savior” then bore their testimonies, and then showed a video. It was a clip of the life of jesus Christ, and the miracles He did, as well as His suffering in Gethsemane and on the cross. The accompanying music was the famous “His Hands”. We finished the heart warming video and then split up a while in the hallway. I bumped into Guadelupe, our conversation was as follows:
Me: “Guadelupe! How are you?”
Guadelupe: “Well, I was sad, but now I feel better
Missing page right here????!!!!
Oh, how she must cry knowing that this month should be for her son, and yet they use her as an excuse to set off fireworks and scream. Let us settle the matter: Jesus Christ is the Savior of the World; only in and through Him can we be saved. And oh how much more we should remember Him at this time. I testify that He is our king, that He is the best gift we can ever receive or give. So let us “haste, Haste to bring Him laud, the babe, the son of Mary” (Does anyone else fin the former sentence extremely ironic?)
Welcome to this week’s installment of “life in the shoes of Hermana Beatty” Or as some have lovingly called it, “the World’s favorite Mormon Soap Opera”. Our objective this evening is to give you a wonderful experience reading this newsletter, while adding a little Nicaraguan Zest to spice things up.
As of late, I’ve been reading and studying the Isaiah chapters in Nephi. What really prompted me to do this is the counsel of our Savior that we should search the teachings of Isaiah. I’ve really learned a lot more than anything. I’ve increased my desire to say “There’s a double meaning in that!” (Name that Shakespeare play if you can) Every verse I read still leaves me a little confused and perplexed but I know that one day everything that this amazing prophet said will be very clear to us. This past week was quite busy. We had many events occur, one of which was the entrance of two souls into the waters of Baptism! Wahoo! There is just so much to this story that I don’t even know where to begin. How about a description of the baptismal candidates? First, Guadalupe: Forty-seven years old, really kind, loves coming to church, washes clothes for a living, may not be totally all there, but she understands and feels the difference when the Spirit is there and when it’s not. So, we’ll just say she was ready to be baptized. And then there is Zachary: nine years old, daughter of a recent convert, extremely shy, goes to church every Sunday, extremely disobedient. If we were looking at a checklist of baptismal requirements she was ready. But as a little girl, she was extremely nervous. We got to the baptismal service and first she didn’t want to take pictures. Then when we finally started the program, her aunt whispered in our ears, “my sister is leaving with her daughter…go!” So we raced down the halls and stopped them. The mom was crying, Zachary was just standing there, my companion was yelling, so I just started singing “Families can be together forever” until everyone stopped yelling and crying. Then a loving member took Azchary by the hand and asked, “do you want to be baptized?” she nodded, “Let’s go then.” We walked back in just as they were finishing the prayer we listened to a few testimonies and then came the time for the ordinances. Zachary bravely followed Hermoano Padilla into the cold water and he did the ordinance. BUT her dress didn’t go all the way under. They went to go do it again, but she just shook her head and walked up, out of the font and into the bathroom. I’ve never gotten so sick so fast in my entire life. I felt like the whole world was spinning, my head was about to explode, and my internal organs were being smacked by an invisible pancake spatula. And all this for one little girl! Our stake president quickly took over and started doing the other baptisms for Guadalupe and others while we entered the bathroom. There was Zachary, standing in the corner, looking miserable in her wet white dress. Little by little we coaxed her back to the font so she could see the other ordinances and in the end, she went willingly into the font, this second time to be baptized by complete immersion. We were so happy…stressed, but happy!
The following day was THANKSGIVING! A Happy late one to y’all. Because we have the coolest stake president in Nicaragua, he invited all the Gringa missionaries to his house for a dinner that was definitely not even close to a normal Thanksgiving dinner. I guess we’ll call it a Nicaraguan Thanksgiving dinner. Carne Asada (that part was actually good), Tacos (I’ve had better), Potatoes with cheese (Potatoes= yum, Potatoes with cheese =yuck), fruit salad (that you drink), fried green beans (any vegetable fried gets taken off the healthy list), Bunueios (still trying to think of how to describe these), and tres leche (a cake with three different types of milk). The crowning moment was when the chicken was brought out, three huge chickens that they placed in front of me. I was still enduring the attack of the invisible spatula, so I didn’t eat much. And when they put the chickens on the table, I just laughed and felt like throwing up…but it was definitely a night to remember, quite quite diverting.
We’ve been having several meeting with President Collade, which brings me to my subject line. I’m dreaming of a white Christmas. First I should clarify, I’m not actually wishing for snow here in Nicarauga. Frankly that would be absurdly impossible and quite hilarious. Neither do I wish to pass the Holidays in a place where there is snow. In actuality, more than anything I want a Christmas filled with people wearing white; people going to the font to be completely clean or going to the temple to learn of their destinies. I can’t wait to see this dream fulfilled a perfect present to my Savior, that of a soul who wants to follow Him. I encourage each of you to go to Christmas.mormon.org and watch the video, and then think, “what can I give to Him?” Perhaps your own willingness to change, or the time to help a friend change, to come unto Christ and be perfected in Him.
Notes: Are you impressed? I made it through a whole letter without describing the weather! Ten points for Gryffindor! But, just in case you were wondering, the winds in the east and the kites are flying high in the currents. This is Hermana Beatty reporting live from Chichigalpa, Nicaragua.
hola! I'm Naomi and I love reading, my amazing family, and the color green.