A dangerously acute account of 18 months in Nicaraguan Territory.
from "Eleanor Rigby" by the Beatles
This last week was way better than a fire hydrant exploding on a hot summer’s day! That actually didn’t happen, but it seemed to because the Spirit was just so strong!Yesterday, we went and tried to have a spiritual lesson with a reference from the Stake President. He accompanied us, so the Spirit was a very looked forward to companion. We got to the appointment and before we could even ask to begin with a prayer, the husband jumped in and said, “Look, I’m Catholic, I’m not going to change my religion, I’m completely closed.” Because he was a reference, we kept trying, talking about eternal families, God’s plan for us, the Atonement, etc. We did just about anything to help them feel the spirit. In the end, President Narvaes lost his patience. He said to the man “martin, do you believe that the Catholic Church is the true church?” Martin replied “Yes”. President Narvaes said “I invite you to share with us your testimony then. Give us your testimony.” Martin just kind of stood there stunned and without words. Pres. Narvaes stated, “You can’t share your testimony because you don’t really know Martin. You just go off what every preacher has ever told you. But when you ask God and He tells you , then you can say that you really know.” The poor guy didn’t want to admit that Pres. Narvaes was right, so he quickly stated, “I’m closed.” How sad it is to think of people who really believe that God is “closed” like a dusty Bible on a shelf, or an old rundown theatre. The great news is that He’s not! God is just as ready to speak today as in times past!Speaking of such, yesterday was also the Stake Conference of Chinandega Oeste Stake. It was so amazing, we had Elder Alonso of the seventy with us and he shared the story of Mary Magdalene’s search for Jesus’ body. Three times she asked/assumed that someone had taken His body from the tomb. She was seeking a dead Christ. What she didn’t understand is that He Lives! Now, personal question: Do we seek a dead Christ? Do we live the gospel because of what’s happened in the past? Or do we anxiously look for a living, breathing, smiling Savior”? Do we wake up each morning praying this be the day of His coming? Just as He asked Mary in the Garden, whom sleekest thou? May we all seek the Living Christ who loves and cares for each of us!--Hermana Beatty
*my companion dressed up like the Snow White Witch...she looks pretty authentic
*a lovely Nica family
I seriously feel like my life is a comic strip with my new companion! Here are a few of this week’s funnies:
*We were given a delicious Jicaro drink (it’s milk with sugar and crushed up orgeat seed). Upon tasting it, my companion’s face lit up and she loudly exclaimed, “This drink is like a candle!”
* We saw the Elders walking away from us on the street. She commented, “Hey, it’s us, but a guy version.” So true!
* We finally finished all the day’s work at about 10:15 p.m. When we had prayed to finish our planning, she quickly grabbed her tang filled water bottle and exclaimed “To Life! To Life! Laheym!” (See play “Fiddler on the Roof”)
* She was really nervous about contacting, so we decided to practice…with the trees. They totally accepted a baptismal date ;)
There were so many other wonderful moments and I’m so grateful that I’m the one who got to be her companion.
If I’m not wrong, Thanksgiving should be somewhere around this date, so I would like to express my gratitude for a few things in particular.
There are so many more things to be grateful for: beans & rice, technology, the scriptures, fortune cookies, living prophets, and so much more. Obviously, the number one thing would be Jesus Christ. I’m grateful for His Atoning sacrifice and His infinite love. Now, may all of us take these immense ‘gratitudes’ that we each have and channel them into ACTION. May they fill our minds with Heavenly inspiration and ideas in how we may help in the Lord’s work, perhaps making someone else grateful for this gospel which we share!
Corn pudding...you would love it!
Visit from classic Nica family!
Just sit right back and you'll hear a tale....
Just sit right down and you’ll hear a tale, a tale of a fateful ship that started from this tropic port aboard this tiny ship....
So we just finished our first week in this change and it was AWESOME! I was really super excited because I was given the charge of being a trainer (which I´ve done a lot) but this time, it was fresh off the boat (or Fresh Off the Barge if you´re Samoan)
The mate was a mighty sailing man.....
My companion is named Hermana Speas from Montana! I love how all the North Americans pronounce her last name like peas with an S in front.... all the Latinos, including our loving Nicaraguans usually end up saying ´´eh-Space´´. She´s soooooo WHITE, just getting started on her mission tan! And so fun as well. She has such a strong testimony of this gospel and is so excited to share it with the entire world.
The Skipper brave and sure.....
For those of you who haven´t been keeping up on the companions I´ve had, I´d have you know that this is my first North-American companion since MY trainer...... that was a long time ago..... It´s kind of helped me improve my English and see how I probably was when I first came in the mission. We make such a great team, I´m soooo happy to be learning with her.
Five passengers set sail that day for a three hour tour......
Well, we didn´t have exactly five people go to church yesterday, but we did have lots of miracles show up. First off, Javier is so.... different. He showed up by himself, went to a baptismal service to prepare himself, gave us a popsicle and a cracker, and basically said ´´God wants me to be baptized on the 28th of November, is that alright sisters?´´ Heavens yes Javier! You´re awesome!
We also had a miracle when we passed by to make sure Fransisco was good to go to church and he was. He was all ready to go, cane and all. He had polio when he was younger so he can´t walk too far, but he really wanted to go to church. We had previously arranged for a member to pass by, but when we went to look for the member, he wasn´t there..... NOOOO!!!! We said a quick prayer and the Spirit said ´´Hno. Blanco´´ So we called Hno Blanco and he came and basically worked everything out, befriending our investigator as the hours rolled along.... twas miraculous!
Being a missionary is something that just brings a joy to your heart and a smile to your face, no matter how draught things may appear on the outside! I hope you can all start your own adventure by sharing the gospel with someone else and seeing the fun that the Lord will bring to you! Have a fabulous week!
*Delicious fruit smoothies...you have no idea what you are missing!
*My new companion...Hermana Speas
*Visiting one of my first convert families...such a special treat!
Talk a lot, Pick a little more! (Music Man)
This week was quite witchy for being a week after Halloween. It mostly had this feeling because one of our investigators was telling us her life’s story and part of it included her 4 year old sons tragic death. She just kept commenting on how “the devil robbed me of my son.” It twas rather odd, but in the end everything worked out great and the investigator went to church with us. (but only after giving us one of her strange brews and presenting us to her similiarly, witchy neighbor.)
Did you also know about the unusual chickens here? They come in all shapes, sizes, except one: NORMAL. They’re usually bald with few feathers, or have really large hobbit-chicken feet and a tiny body. They’re actually a rather interesting variety. I just loved how the owner of the house we rent responded when we had told him about the man on top of our roof, walking in the night. He just replied and said, “Don’t worry, it’s just the chickens. In my head I was thinking “what a Chick-zilla we have!” :)
Something I really love about missionary work is seeing all the changes people make in their lives and how happy it makes me. Like when Javier just shows up to church and we didn’t have to do anything. Now, just imagine, if a little change makes Hermana Beatty happy, how much happier is our Father in Heaven when he sees us conquer our own egotism, make small changes and become more like Him. May we all change this week! :)
Christmas has arrived in Nicaragua!
"...Commencing Countdown, Engines On"
Inspired Question of the week…NO, wait a second...first off, Happy Late Halloween! Hope you all enjoyed trick-or-treating with the kids and then suffering through Fast Sunday the next day (ha ha ha). In Nicaragua, no mystical events occurred on the 31st, but I had an abnormal amount of people ask me “Hermana Beatty, you’re from the United States, right? Why do you celebrate the day of witches? Do you pray and worship evil spirits or something?” Not having done my Halloween background research, but knowing that I definitely never participated in such nonsense; I simply responded “No we don’t do that stuff. Halloween was invited to have an excuse to give candy to kids.” Most of them accepted that answer with a pondering look and then asked me for candy. Oh silly Nicaraguans.
Ok, back to the inspired question of the week: When people say “Next Sunday” what do they really mean? Do they mean seven days from this Sunday? Do they really mean “the-next-Sunday-that-I-don’t-have-anything-to-do”? Are they trying to send us the message that the “next Sunday” really means never? I feel like we received that answer quite a bit yesterday while we were passing by for all the less-actives, recent converts, and investigators. With every “Next Sunday” that I heard, my desire to give them a spiritual ice-bath increased tenfold. I wanted to make them see that procrastinating the day of their repentance is a really bad habit to get into because one day real soon, there won’t be a “Next Sunday”. Christ will come and then we’ll be living in a time of eternal- Sunday’s, where we will pass the time listening to His teachings and obeying His commandments. I imagine that one of these “next Sunday” people, if they manage to survive all the interesting happenings of Christ’s coming, living in the Millennium will be rather uncomfortable for them if they have not learned how to put the Lord first, family second, and leave the rest. I think that they have yet to understand and feel the true rest that comes when we keep the Sabbath Day holy and use it as a day of worship to our God.
BUT, we managed to work a miracle yesterday with a new investigator we’re teaching. She’s the mom of our recent convert, Yamilett. Her name is Hilda, is 65 years-old, has a huge hernia and barely walks from her hammock to the bathroom. BUT SHE CAME TO CHURCH!!!! It was awesome to see her there, with her daughter and three grandkids. I wanted to use her as an example for all those “next Sunday-ers”. Look! If this old fragile lady can do it, you can to!!
Well, I hope you all had an enjoyable day of rest and passed some time with the family. Love each of you soooo much! The gospel is true! (Even though there are people who always say “Next Sunday” ;)
We had a ghost pinata...he was mystic!
It’s an interesting thing to note that it doesn’t matter where in the world you attend church, Relief Society will always get out late. The look on the husbands and kids faces is the same; as they wait impatiently outside, opening the door every five seconds to see if they’ve FINALLY finished. I imagine it’s just typical Mormon tradition.
We had an amazing baptism! Guadelupe stepped into the cleansing covenant waters (even though she and the rest of us were already soaked to the skin because of the pouring rain.) [see attached picture] Even though she laughs quite a bit, she’s so awesomely pilas (that’s Spanish for “cool/hard-working”). Almost every member has commented on how they see her in her hammock, almost always reading the Book of Mormon. I’m excited to watch her keep progressing and learning about this wonderful gospel.
This last week was spiritually full! (Note: There is hardly a week in the mission when I don’t feel spiritually “full”), but this time we had tow member of the Seventy come speak to us! Elder Snow and Elder Alonso were our honored guests and let me just testify; They are called of God! Here are some favorite quotes- “Missions are a blessing” (Sister Snow) “If you can do a mission you can do pretty much anything” (Elder Snow) “We’re very happy for what you have achieved, now are you ready to double it?” (Elder Alonso) The whole meeting was just a spiritual buzz!
Just to close this rather short newsbit, can I excite you to go look up a song that the Mormon Tabernacle Choir sang this past conference? It goes something like this: “Our God is a God of love, Our God is a God of love, Love is His greatest gift to us; Love is our greatest gift to Him”
God’s love is so enormous that it covers anything and everything: Unpaid debts, hurt wounds, unjust acts, unreasonable illnesses, unexpected happenings, owies, and a lot more. Let His love fill you and I promise you will be happy. And it won’t just be a happiness you get when your mom buys you the cool fun-dip sucker with two flavors instead of one. It will be a happiness that is steady and sure, just as is your faith in Christ. After all, “Our God is a God of love.”
* Waiting with Hermana Walker at Immigration for 6 hours!
*My Guatemalan twin (glasses)
*Guadelupe's baptism...we all got soaked!
*Waiting for interviews at Pres. Collado's house
by Winnie the Pooh
It's so interesting how quickly a foggy mist can get you soaking, dripping wet. What seems to be a sweet summer drizzle quickly becomes nature's deadly weapon to get you soaked to the bone and sweating. It's been quite fun these past few days seeing the near-slips that we almost get ourselves into. We've learned which dirt/rocks to trust and which dirt/rocks not to trust. Sometimes I wish it would rain this much back home, but then I realize that the sewage systems there are probably even less prepared than the sewage systems here. So best we just keep to the norm and trust that the Lord will send sufficient water to keep going, keep living.
This week we returned with some ex-investigators we were teaching three months ago. Their manes are Alvaro, Lucinda, Alvarito, and Lourcles. It's quite a cute little family, trying to change their very catholic traditions. We were discussing this very topic when Alvaro asked me "Hermana, how do I do it? How do I just jump up and change what I've know and done my whole life?"
Well that put me to thinking, seeing as I've never actually belonged to another religion. I don't know what it's like to change my religious practices. But I do know how to change habits and actions. It all starts with the goal (in this case, the goal would be "change religions") which is then followed by plans of things to do (ex. reading the scriptures, praying, going to church). These plans are transformed into actions, which change our habits which change us.
I tried to explain it to him like this: "Your question doesn't really have to do with changing religions. what we're really trying to do here is bring our lives in harmony with the gospel of Jesus Christ. The gospel is a way of living and seeing as no "unchanged" thing can inherit the kingdom of God (Alma 40:26). We are here in this life to change. Don't think so much about changing church buildings. Think more about following and doing the teachings of Jesus Christ."
He seemed half-satisfied with that answer and said "that was a good answer, It made me think".
It became a testimony to me that even though I may never recall being Catholic or Jehovah's witness, or Evangelist or Baptist or Apostilic, I'm not looking for or living a religion. I'm living the Gospel! After all, the gospel "is a joyful rehearsal-a preparation for inheriting the grand glory of the eternities" (Dieter F. Uchtdorf)
I hope we all can help others come unto Christ by helping them receive the restored gospel by faith in Jesus Christ and His Atonement, repentance, baptism, receiving the Gift of the Holy Ghost, and enduring to the end. And while we're at it, why don't we do it too ;)
Fruit smoothies here are the best!!
General Conference with a few investigators
Gringa Divisions (that means only speaking in English and sharing all the treats that we may have received from the states)
"...we're looking for something fun to do.
Hey Baby, I think I want to marry you!"
Well, I didn’t elope to Las Vegas, but Yamilett did! Well, not to Las Vegas but to Nicaragua. It was so awesome this past week to see her get married and baptized! As to her marriage, I can’t give you too many details (that story will be told upon my return home and only by request). Her baptism however, was marvelous! She was so nervous she just kept laughing and laughing, when she finally came up out of the water, she kept laughing, but her laugh was a little more happy, a little more grateful, a little more reverent.
Even better than Yamiltett’s baptism was…(I know what you’re thinking: what could possibly be better than a baptism?)…giving an accounting to President. In other words give stewardship, take responsibility, for the things we have done in the past few months. Preach My Gospel explains further “The principle of accountability is fundamental in God’s eternal plan. We will all stand before the Lord at the last judgment and give an accounting for what we have done with the opportunities He has given us” (pg. 150) A supporting scripture puts it this way, “And verily in this thing ye have done wisely, for it is required of the Lord, at the hand of every steward to render an account of his stewardship, both in time and in eternity, for he who is faithful and wise in time is accounted worthy to inherit the mansions prepared for him of my Father” (D&C 72: 3-4) It makes sense and simply because we all have something to be responsible for, whether it be some calling, a spouse, children, or ourselves. God will take account of all this in the last day and reward us according to our works.
Anyways, the mission President does this to help us know how to do it and to make us more responsible. We did it as district and I was first. I didn’t reach my goal this past trimester, but I wasn’t pulling out my hair about it. I just presented my achievements and then asked for council. I was prepared to do whatever my leaders told me so that I could do better.
Whoa! What great council! The spirit was so strong as President Collado began speaking about planning and prayer. He made such promises! To me! It amazed me how personally the spirit worked in my heart! My spiritual batter was super charged!
Let this be a testimony to everyone who reads this that the Lord is alive, giving real personal advice so that we one day might stand before our God! Let us be anxiously engaged in a good cause, that we may give a glad account of our acts in that day!
May God bless you, everyone!
PS Sorry for that last line, the Christmas anti-scrooge spirit just took over for a moment and Tiny Tim came out!
Funny Faces and a typical Nica lunch when it isn't rice and beans
"...and whiskers on kittens, bright copper kettles and warm woolen mittens, brown paper packages tied up with strings...
these are a few of my favorite things!"
from The Sound of Music
This week was indescribably AWESOME! There are various explanations why it turned out to be so splendid. Said explanations will be discussed in the following paragraph(s).
First off, a delicious package was received! (Thanks Mom!) It was received on an unforgettable Tuesday morning and it had my two favorite things inside: skirts and medicine! Wahoo! Oh and a chocolate bar:) that was good while it lasted :) It made me laugh to read my mom’s note and see that she had written “a lot of Chocolate”…perhaps in a universe where sugar doesn’t exist is the only place where 1 candy bar would be one too many ;) or it could be the Nicaragua Postal worker got hungry and ate a lot of the “A lot of Chocolate”. Just know that the package was well received. *note from mamabee…I had put in 2 big bags of reeses pnut butter cups, a bunch of kit kats and other favorites..grrrrr)
Other favorite things..Little old ladies!!!! In Nicaragua there are two types of man-huddles. 1. The teenage boys who are waiting to play futbol in the street, and 2. The semi-drunk buddies who have nothing better to do. The first group is pretty chill. You’ve just got to kick the ball a few times with them and then they’re your instant friends and a great set of extra-eyes to watch out for you. The second shady group is a bit more difficult. You’ve got to walk quickly at the side of your companion and look straight ahead, all the while listening to their terrible language and jeers. This last week we passed by a particularly rough group, the which was well on their way to being completely drunk at 10 A.M. We kept to the standard procedure but they were being unusually valiant today. One foolishly brave lad jumped up real close and followed us. His beer stained breath saying such vile things. We kept our cool though and made it to the member who was sitting outside her house watching the whole gross scene. We promptly said “Hi, Hna Helen, How are you? Can we share a message with you right now? In your house please.” She didn’t look like she was listening, but she replied “Sure, sure, Hermanas, just wait for me two moments.” The hefty Hma. Helen lifted herself from her chair and started waddling towards the way that we had just come. Upon drawing close to the grouped men, she put her hands on her large hips and began the greatest chastises known to man. I wouldn’t know how to translate its awesomeness, but it had a “don’t-make-me-snap-my-fingers-in-a-Z-formation” type of attitude. I love Hma. Helen and her valiance in dealing with drunk men.
And General Conference was amazing! Wasn’t the spirit just raining in those sessions? I could feel it so strong, just leading and guiding in my note-taking and listening. I know Thomas S. Monson is a prophet, that he and the twelve apostles are ordained of God to be special witnesses of Jesus Christ. By following their counsel, we are happier! We are more blessed! We become more like our perfect example, Jesus Christ.
Surely it was they (and us) of whom God spake to Abraham concerning the many noble and great and good souls that were organized before the world was, saying “These will I make my rulers.” (Abr. 3:22-23)
May we follow their teaching and reach our goal… Exaltation!
This is a cloud from the Nicaraguans point of view :)
papusas with little old Nicaraguan Ladies
Freshly showered and ready for General Conference
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 :)
hola! I'm Naomi and I love reading, my amazing family, and the color green.