Monday, December 4, 2017
Happy Birthday Dutch
We had our office meeting at the President’s House. They had invited Hermana Hernandez and Hermana Orellana for lunch to celebrate the fact that they baptized every week in November. That is a wonderful accomplishment.
We went by the bank, grabbed a bit to eat at home, paid our rent and then took Sister Fersola and her companions (Perez and Lopez) to the hospital for Sister Fersolas appointment. This time we dropped them off at the front door and went home.
Tuesday, December 5, 2017
I took the truck in for service and took a taxi home. It was a wild ride. The driver did everything I have complained about taxis. He cut in front of people, honked, honked and honked, he went around waiting cars (even driving in the other lane), and cut traffic off in the on coming lane. It was as good as Mr Toad’s wild ride at Disneyland. Fortunately, I got home with my life still intact. The ride back in the afternoon was much better. While I was waiting for my truck to be ready, a man sat next to me and asked if anyone was welcome to come to our Church. I assured him, it was and asked if he was interested in learning more. He was so I got his information. He lives in the south mission, so I gave the reference to Elder and Sister Helberg.
We went downtown with the Helbergs to see the Mary Alter displays. They were large, bright and the music was loud. It reminded us of Mainstreet at Disneyland. We walked several blocks, turned around and walked back. You would think that with a religious theme, we could feel a little spirit, but we felt none. It was obvious that many people love Mary, we think more than they love the Savior. I suspect Mary is very sad to see so many people worshipping her and not her son. Mickey and Minnie were there as well as several Santa Clauses.
Wednesday, December 6, 2017
Today was errand day. We started at Villa Flor. I needed to visit with President Poncio about a young man in Ocotal that had submitted his missionary application. I had some questions about his dental work. Before I visited with the President, Sister Bell reviewed the forms and answered my questions. She truly is a helpmeet. We then spent several hours at the office, then to the hospital to check on a missionary who had a dental visit. Then home for the evening.
Thursday, December 7, 2017
We then went to Las Pinetas where we took a tour up a river and then helped release baby turtles. It was beautiful. The river vegetation was mangrove trees, 3 different species. We saw many birds. It was a pleasant trip. Wilbert was one of the guides. We don’t remember the name of the second guide but both were very knowledgeable of the environment.
At 5pm, we went to the beach where they have a turtle nursery. About 40 Olive Ridley turtles had hatched that morning. We helped release them into the sea. We had carried one turtle with us that Wilbert had. We named him Teddy. We released him as well. We waited until dusk so that the babies were not as visible to predators, such as birds. We loved watching and encouraging the babies into the sea. We stayed until
the very last made it into the water.
Teddy in Michelle’s hands
The Purisma was in full swing when we drove through Leon on our way home. Families create an alter to Mary in their front parlor. People will come in and apparently the family will give the guests candy or food. There were all sorts of people in the streets. It was difficult to drive past them at times, we had to drive very slow and carefully, especially because the teenagers tended to run from house to house, not caring about cars in the street. But we got by without killing or injuring anyone.
Friday, December 8, 2017
I picked up 2 fans and a metal closet at the sister leaders house early this morning. After breakfast, we took the fans to Villa Flor. I fixed one of their fans and left a new one. We then spent several hours at the office before going home for lunch. Then we made a quick trip to Walmart to get two memory foam contour pillows for missionaries with neck pain.
We talked to President Rivera, Esteli District President, today. Only 22 people went to the temple this week. We had hoped they would fill the bus with 40 people. Our kids paid for the bus, so it was an inexpensive trip. There were 40 signed up to go when it was scheduled to leave on Monday. But because of the political unrest in Honduras, the temple closed a few days and our trip was postponed. They finally left on Thursday, but several were not able to change their schedules to go. None from Trinidad went. We had worked hard to get Hermana Dania and Wendy ready to go. Maybelline from Pueblo Nuevo didn’t go either, but Nubia, Dania, Jose and President Alaniz went. We are anxious to hear about their trip.
Saturday, December 9, 2017
We started early. We passed by Las Americas to give a missionary a pillow. We then headed to Trinidad, but when we got there, Maria Clara was sick and Yasser was working so we didn’t stay very long in Trinidad. In Esteli, we dropped off a closet to the sisters in El Rosario, ate lunch, went to a pharmacy to buy anti-bacterial soap and made a reservation at the Hex for this next week. We then went to Somoto and visited with Hermana Celia about her glasses and reviewed with her the teaching schedule for Relief Society.
We stopped briefly at the Church to talk with the missionaries, then back to Esteli. We ate dinner at Pizza Hut (the deep dish supreme Pizza was wonderful) and were at the Koellikers house at 8pm.
Sunday, December 10, 2017
We made a quick trip to Ocotal to get some information from a prospective missionary and drop packages off to some of the missionaries. Then we went to Somoto. President Alaniz gave us an update of the temple trip. He was really happy and excited about the trip. We were happy listening to him, not because we could understand all he said, but because he was so animated as he told the story of the trip. All went well. They did have a little problem at the border getting into Honduras. For some reason, three people on the bus needed to pay $100 each to enter the Country. Something about not having their names in the system. They gathered what they could from the members on the bus, which totaled $200. President Alaniz had donated $20 of the money we had given him for the trip. This was still $100 short of what they needed. As they were trying to figure out what to do, another customs agent came along. He wanted to know what was going on. When it was explained to him that this was a temple trip, he identified himself as a member, took $100 out of his pocket and paid the rest of the bill. A tiny tender mercy. Jose did fine. President Alaniz took good care of him.
I talked in Church. Elder Davidson had asked me on Thursday night to talk. Friday morning early (about 2AM) I awoke and the spirit told me what to talk about. I got up, wrote the ideas down and went back to bed. The following morning, I added a few scriptures to the ideas. I first explained why we don’t worship Mary (the country just celebrated “La Purisma”, which is a celebration of Mary), then transitioned to Charity (the pure love of Christ). Then I discussed ways that we can show our love to the Savior, such as Keep the commandments, serve others, magnify callings, serve as HT and VT and be forgiving. I had Elder Martinez read the scriptures for me. I felt good about the talk. Michelle practiced with the primary children for their program on Christmas Eve and for fun, they learned once there was a snowman. They had a hard time understanding snow and cold because it just doesn't happen here.
I helped Hermana Natalia finalize the VT routes and then we left for Trinidad. We went to Karen’s house to teach her the 5th temple preparation class. When we arrived, she was setting a table. She had cooked lunch for us and her family. We met her 19-year-old son (the other two sons we already knew). He doesn’t come to church and wasn’t baptized with the rest of the family. We talked about basketball and baseball. He loves the Dodgers and the Cavs. He stayed for the lesson and participated. Karen is planning on going to the temple in January.
We then went to Yasser and Marilyn’s house and taught another family relations lesson.
We got home about 8pm. We are especially thankful for the opportunities we had to teach this weekend and for the safety we had in our travels. Missionary life is good here in Nicaragua.