Monday, October 9, 2017
I woke up this morning about 4am thinking about things I should do to help Somoto, mostly ideas to help organize, such as help them put together a calendar so they can schedule PEC and branch Council meetings, organize VT and HT in the system so they can better track accomplishments, help put together a template for council meetings and help them focus on the 5 things President Poncio taught in the last District Conference Meetings: prayer, scripture study, FHE, tithes and offerings and Temple. I got up and wrote these things down.
In our office meeting today, Sister Bell and I led a discussion about the importance of drinking safe water. This discussion was a follow-up to last week’s discussion. We felt we needed to educate them why drinking pure water is so important and how it will help achieve the mission goals. I showed the missionary count chart, which tracks the kind of illnesses the missionaries call Sister Bell for. From January 1st to September 30, Sister Bell received 462 calls from missionaries about various health problems. Out of the total, 110 were for stomach problems. In contrast, in Costa Rica where they have clean water coming from the tap, their stomach illnesses are about a third of what ours are. When you estimate the number of lost work hours and days from stomach problems it comes out to about 200 missionary days lost over a year’s period of time. That is a lot of time lost. From this discussion, we got a commitment for the leaders to be an example and for us to be able to teach this in the missionary leaders meeting in early November.
We spent an enjoyable afternoon with Sister Elwood and Chali. We helped them with some medical issues. We then took them to the distribution center and to Carl’s Jr. for lunch. The missionaries love to go to Carl’s Jr. because they can’t afford to go on their own and it is usually out of their area. They are especially happy when we tell them we are paying. They are both delightful missionaries. Sister Elwood is from the States and Sister Chali is from Guatemala. Sister Chali has been in the mission field for 2 weeks. Sister Chali was baptized with her family when she was 13 but was inactive for many years. She began going to Church just a few months before going on her mission. She says that the mission is much harder than she expected but is happy to be a missionary. I am sure her testimony will grow stronger while serving and her family will be blessed.
Tuesday, October 10, 2017
We ran a few errands this morning, going to the bank, store and buying pills for the missionary pill boxes. We returned home about 11am and worked from home the rest of the day.
Wednesday, October 11, 2017
We went to the office for a few minutes this morning after going by the hospital to help a couple of missionaries. We needed to make a few copies. The office secretaries (Elders Ruiz, Bennion, Howell and Adams) were working diligently. There was a sweet spirit there. We enjoyed the few minutes we were there.
This afternoon, we worked from home. I have been working on a tithing talk. During Conference, I felt several times that the members need to pay tithing in order for the Church to grow in our little towns. So I have been thinking and putting down on paper some of the thoughts and ideas. I have been writing it in English and today, I translated it into Spanish.
We finished eating the turkey breast that I cooked yesterday. It was a nice change from our normal diet.
Thursday, October 12, 2017
We found out last night that we can’t get to the Las Flores beach where the turtles lay their eggs. The Tropical Storm Nate, damaged the roads into the beach. There are several little communities without water, electricity and food. Our guide, Maracio, is helping with the recovery efforts. So we talked about postponing, but when Hermana Helberg called our hotel to cancel, we couldn’t cancel without forfeiting the rental fee. So we decided to go see San Juan del Sur.
We stayed at the HC Liri hotel. It wasn’t fancy, but it was clean. The breakfast was fantastic; fruit, scrambled eggs with ham and cheese, Maracuya juice, gallo pinto and toast.
There is a beautiful Christus overlooking the city and bay. We walked up to it. It was a steep climb. We were tired and sweaty by the time we got to the top, but it was worth it. We got a wonderful view of San Juan del Sur.
We then went into town. It was too early for dinner but not for ice cream. We found alittle ice cream shop that served gelato. It was wonderful. I had a chocolate and Michelle had a Nutella gelato. We then walked around the city, watched the sun set and ran across a returned missionary from the South Mission who was visiting with her family. She was excited to see Hermana and Elder Helberg.
We eat at a local restaurant named G&G, after the two owners Gabriela and Gabriel. The food was wonderful. The drinks were fantastic. I had a orange and ginger drink and the rest had lemonade with basil leaves. They were so good we ordered a second round. Gabriela was our server and was very delightful. It was a small restaurant, with only 5 tables… all filled with gringos. Everyone was speaking English, including Gabriela.
Friday. October 13, 2017
Since we couldn’t see the turtles, we decided to see a volcano instead. About 1 ½ hours north, on our way back home, is the Volcano Mombacho. One needs to park close to the highway and take a truck up the steep, one lane road to the top.
This volcano is unique because it created a tropical rainforest around the top. The two top craters, were created when the mountain collapsed on itself. Usually the craters are formed from an explosion. We hired a guide, Estela, who spoke excellent English and knew a lot about the ecology of the mountain.
During Tropical Storm Nate, a tornado touched down on a side of the crater. It ripped part of the forest apart, causing parts of the ecology to dry. We got to compare the rain forest with the tornado damaged area. The ferns and moss are drying up.
This is in the tornado damaged area. Estela told us that there are 150 species of Orchids on the mountain. She said that one of them is endemic only to this volcano. It is named Maxilaria Mombachoensis. We walked just a little distance and found one.
We saw some beautiful views being able to see the Masaya Volcano, Momotombo Volcano, Laguna de Apoyo, Granada and Lake Nicaragua.
After the volcano, we drove to the Laguna de Apoyo for lunch at the Apoyo resort. The Helbergs had not been down to the Laguna. They have only seen it from the viewpoint at Catarina.
We had a very enjoyable 2 days. Sister Bell and I both had several phone calls while we were traveling, as did Sister Helberg. But all in all, it was a refreshing mini-vacation… one that we all needed.
Saturday, October 14, 2017
We got up early so we could drop some money and supplies off in Matagalpa. Then we headed for Trinidad. Michelle taught two piano lessons. One to Maria Clara and the other to Carol Linneth. Carol Linneth has not had a lesson in months, but she has natural talent.
We then went to Somoto and worked with Hermana Natalia and Celia, the RS President and Counselor (mother/daughter) to help them rework the Visiting Teacher assignment for Zone 2. We added another companionship with 4 new sisters. We still need to work on Zone 1, but now that Hermana Zaida is back from Costa Rica, they can complete Zone 1. Hermana Zaida, the 2nd Counselor lives in Zone 1 and knows the sisters better than Hermana Zaida.
We went by Hermana Zaida’s house, but she had gone to visit a friend. We found Elder Gharring and Silva there visiting with Yanelys. We stayed and visited with them. We talked about going to the temple to do baptisms. We left her with the Liahona Magazine about temples.
We taught another teacher improvement lesson in Pueblo Nuevo. Hermana Nubia, Arelys and Hilario attended with the missionaries. They had assignments to read a section of the Teaching in the Savior’s way manual and to give a mini lesson. Elder Ponce taught about how music can be used in the class room. Elder Johnson taught about using stories and art in lessons. Sister Nubia taught about how to deal with difficult questions and Arelys taught about how to teach children. We had a wonderful discussion and learned some wonderful principles of effective teaching.
We ate our subway sandwich on our way back to Esteli, arriving early… about 8:30pm.
Sunday, October 15, 2017
We attended church in Pueblo Nuevo. We took our keyboard with us and left it at the Elders house last night. When we arrived about 30 minutes early, the Elders had set up the piano and a cute little 7-year-old girl was sitting at the keyboard. I found out that she and her 14-year-old sister were investigators. So Sister Bell and I taught her 3 little songs. She beamed with delight. Because the missionaries were conducting the meeting and Sister Bell was playing the piano, I sat next to them and showed them how to follow and sing the songs.
After Sacrament, we took the piano into Primary so Sister Bell could help teach songs. I heard them singing I am a child of God, Give said the Little Stream and the Prophet song. Sister Bell said Arlys was well prepared and Primary went well. Hilario also taught a good Priesthood Lesson, asking a lot of questions. Maybe our instructions about how to teach in the Saviors way have been helping.
We ate our 3-day old peanut butter sandwiches on our way to Trinidad. We first taught a family relations lesson to Yasser and Marilyn. I had been stewing about this lesson all week since Yasser did not show up for last week’s lesson. But he was here today and seemed glad to see us. We taught a fun lesson about showing appropriate affection and being loyal to our spouses. There was a sweet spirit there.
We then taught another Temple Prep class to Dania, Wendy and Karan. Sister Cruz, the branch Presidents wife was also there. We taught about ordnances and covenants. This lesson also went well. They are preparing to go to the temple in December.
We got home about 7pm, tired but happy for a productive week-end.