Sunday, July 23, 2017

Monday, July 17 to Sunday, July 23, 2017

Monday, July 17, 2017

After the office meeting, we ran home to take the wash off the line before it began to rain, had lunch then drove to Lees and picked them up. We made a little road trip to Leon and El Viejo. Leon is 1.5 hours from Managua and El Viejo is another hour from there. Our purpose was to deliver packages, mail, phones and supplies to various missionaries in the West.  It was a quick trip but having the Lees with us made it more enjoyable. They have been to the West only twice before, once early on in their mission and the other several months ago when they went with us on another mercy trip. The Lees go home in a few weeks. They have been training Elder Ruiz and felt they could leave him for half a day. We got home about 8:30pm.

Tuesday, July 18, 2017

Today we had the 3-zone conference in Managua. Our presentation about colds and how to treat them, went well.

Zone Villa Flor

Zone Bello Horizante

Zone Las Americas
The missionaries that are leaving bore their testimonies. This will be a big group leaving. We love these missionaries and will miss them. They have been a wonderful influence in the mission, worked hard and made a difference in the mission. The leavers from these three zones were Hermanas Barrios, Rojas and Galbraith, Elder Cook and the Lees.

Hermanita Barrios from Guatemala. One of our favorites.

Wednesday, July 19, 2017
Today was a celebration of the revolution. People from all over the country came to Managua. We were told to stay home today, so we did… all day. We had plenty to do. I made lists for YW, AP, RS and MP for Pueblo Nuevo and Somoto. I also made a schedule for a 2.5-hour block of meeting in Somoto. It was really nice to have a day where we just sat in front of our computers getting caught up on our paperwork.

Thursday, July 20, 2017
It was a good day. We started by going by the apartment of Rene Polanco. The missionaries have moved out and I wanted to see if we had signs of bedbugs. We replaced the mattresses a few weeks ago because the old ones were infested with bedbugs. We are moving the furniture out tomorrow and I wanted to make sure we were not moving bedbugs that would infest other apartments. Fortunately, we didn’t find any. We then took the key to the zone leaders and headed to our next stop, which was the hospital. We needed to cancel a few appointments from missionaries, stopped at the bank and then the store.

This afternoon we spent the afternoon with Sister King and Sister Hernandez. Sister King is from the Dominican Republic and Sister Hernandez is from El Salvador. They are wonderful missionaries and we enjoyed spending the afternoon with them. 

Friday, July 21, 2017
Hermana Bell started the day doing laundry. While it was hanging on the line drying, we went to the Church offices so I could get instructed how to do financial reports in MLS. I have made arrangements with Elder Asplund to meet me in Somoto and we will try to do these reports. Sister Bell and I then went to Pricesmart and Portas (neighborhood store) before going home for lunch and take the clothes off the line. After lunch we went to the Office, back to the store and then home. I also put photos of the Temple in Honduras in frames as we will begin teaching some members in Trinidad the Temple Prep Classes. We want to give them each a picture so they can see the temple every day as a way to strengthen their resolve to go.

The Orange Jessamine is flowering again. It has the sweetest smell. We love walking past it and it is everywhere in our neighborhood. I wish I could put the smell in the journal.

We walk past this marvelous tree in our neighborhood every day.  A t one time it was a tiny little seed.  The seed fell on just the right kind of soil and as the soil was warmed by the sun and moistened by the rain, the miracle of this beautiful creation of our Heavenly Father came to be - one twig, one leaf, one branch at a time.  The missionaries here in Nicaragua are planting seeds of the hope of Christ in the hearts of the people.  As each convert, nourished by the good word of God, comes to the waters of baptism, the little nucleos or groups grow to become branches and then wards and the church grows.  As sacred ordinances are performed, the gospel of the Lord Jesus Christ will fill this nation someday one convert at a time.  We are so blessed to be part of this great work.

Saturday, July 22, 2017
We left the house at 7am, stopping at the office on our way out of town. We needed to make copies for a temple prep class we are teaching tomorrow in Trinidad and pick up some scriptures that they also needed in Trinidad. Sister Bell only had one piano student today, the new girl (we don’t remember her name). But she had a 1-hour lesson, which Sister Bell said was greatly needed.

We went to Somoto and helped the RS President and her daughter/counselor plan a RS activity and begin to organize VT. They have two companionship with 4 sisters in each route. This covers about ½ of the branch. We then went to the Church and visited with the Branch President and Elders Alfaro and Asplund. We needed to do some financial reporting in MLS. We think we did it right, but we will see if we did when our work is checked. We had a lot to cover with President Alaniz. One thing was to show him a 2.5 hr block schedule. They have been doing a 2-hour block, which doesn’t leave much time for all the classes. After a few months at 2.5 hr. we will implement the 3-hour block schedule. Poco a poco.

We stopped at the Noche de Hermanimiento in Condega, arriving about 45 minutes late. There were only three members with the missionaries, but one was Erica, a young 15-year-old member who we had not seen at church for a few weeks. It was wonderful to see her back at church. She was so faithful and was full of the spirit. We hated to lose her.

We got to Koellikers early, about 9pm.

Sunday, July 23, 2017
We attended church in Trinidad. The Branch President's car was not working this morning so he came on his motorcycle with his wife, but left other family members at home. I took my new truck to get them. We squeezed 5 adults and 2 kids in the front and back seats (I left Sister Bell at the church). As I walked into the Church, President Cruz asked if I could talk, since one of the speakers ended up working and couldn’t be there. Of course, I agreed and then began praying to determine what I should talk about. One of the reasons we came was to begin teaching Temple Preparation classes. So, I decided to talk about the temple. I talked about 10 minutes. It seemed to go well and hopefully everyone understood me.  Sister Bell played the keyboard for all three meetings and after it was over, one of the Elders commented that it was the first time that he had heard the members sing on key since he came to this area - about three weeks.

After the meetings, Sister Bell and I met with Hermanas Dania, Wendy, Karen and Karen’s two sons. We gave introduction to the temple and then talked about whether each will be ready to go in September or December. Dania and Wendy (mother and daughter) want to go in September, but Karen wants to go in December. We handed out framed pictures of the temple, the pamphlet, “How to prepare to enter the temple”, a handout with scriptures talking about the various parts of the plan of salvation with instructions to read the scriptures and then we set next Friday night at 6pm to have the first lesson.

Here is a picture of Karen and her two boys. She taught the SS class today and teaches seminary every Monday through Friday. She says she is learning a lot. She is a single mother and has been a member for a little over a year. 

Sunday, July 16, 2017

Monday, July 10 to Sunday July 16, 2017

Monday, July 10, 2017

We are starting another week. Time is flying by. We started with our weekly office planning meeting. This is the first time we have attended for several weeks. Sister Bell took a bag of clean bed sheets to give to Sister Galbraith. Sister Bell also did another load of sheets this morning that she will give to her tomorrow. She has two more loads to do.

Sister Bell gave Joselyn Poncio a piano lesson, then after doing a few other tasks, we headed for home. Sister Bell needed to get the sheets off the line before it rained. We started working from home but took a break to talk to Steve, Heidi, Avery, Ginger and Nora. It is always good to talk to the family.
We went to the distribution center about 3:30. We have a long list of items the missionaries needed and wanted. We also expected to pick up our new truck, but it wasn’t ready. Tomorrow…. Maybe.

Tuesday, July 11, 2017

Happy 15-month anniversary and Henry’s Birthday. It is also Grandma Bell’s birthday.

We had our new missionary training meeting. This is when the new missionaries (up to 12 weeks in the mission) and their companions come for more training. Sister Bell taught her “Umbrella of Comfort” presentation, showing items that can make their stay in Nicaragua more comfortable… basically the missionaries go through her purse. Then Elder Adams and Chinchilla took us to the Church O&M office to pick up our new truck. Pretty fancy… huh. It has 266km on the odometer.

Lees and Helbergs came over for dinner. We asked Lee’s about their mission, what they enjoyed and what they didn’t. They said that the thing they didn’t like was the traffic, especially the Motos, Taxis and buses. The thing that gave them the most satisfaction was working with the branch in Ciudad Dario. They had 14 members, 2 families go to the temple this month and one of the men was just called as the Branch President. They have worked miracles there.

Tuesday, July 12, 2017

We drove our new truck to Chinandega for a multizone conference. It was a pleasure to drive. It accelerates wonderfully so it was easy to pass slower vehicles. Sister Bell taught about respiratory illness and I talked about taking care of Baptismal clothing. I told the missionaries about my memories of my mother ironing her temple clothes before going to the temple. She did it with such love, respect and care. It made a major impression on me. I then told them that baptismal clothing is just as sacred as temple clothing and we should treat them with love, respect and care.

Sister Bell and I made a run to a pharmacy to buy medicine for a missionary. Then I set up tables and chairs for lunch. We looked all over the building for tables. We found 5, but 2 were broken and couldn’t be used. We had 60 mouths to feed and 3 tables was not enough. There was a young man at the church who made a few calls and got keys to an outside closet. He pulled out 5 brand new tables. We put them in the back of my new truck and drove them across the lot to the church. So every missionary had a place to sit at a table.

Sister Bell had several medical consults throughout the day and was the last one out of the Church because she was still helping a missionary. We loaded up and headed for Esteli. We decided to drive to Esteli tonight so we didn’t have to get up early tomorrow to get to the multizone conference in Esteli. However, on the way, we got a call from a missionary whose companion needed to go to the hospital. I was tempted to change our plans and head for home, but we didn’t. We got permission from Sister Poncio, gave instructions to the Elder of what to do, and got a payment guarantee. Now we are just waiting and hope all goes well. (It did)

Thursday, July 13, 2017

It was nice to sleep in, or at least not get up at 4:30am to leave by 6am. Since we stayed in Esteli last night, we were able to have a normal morning. The multizone conference went well. Sister Bell was able to get through her material in record time so that I had 3 full minutes to talk about how and why we need to take care of baptismal clothing. President Poncio gave all of us a challenge to read the Book of Mormon in 2 months and write down the impressions we get. Sister Bell and I have been reading every night, but we will need to increase the amount we read to finish in 2 months. This reminds me when President Hinckley gave the members the challenge to read the book of Mormon in 60 days. It was fun to see people reading everywhere;on the train or on a plane. There was a wonderful spirit everywhere we went. We then took Sister Poncio to Subway to order lunch, back to the conference and then back to Subway to pick up the sandwiches. Sister Bell visited with several missionaries that were sick. We left Esteli about 3pm and got home about 6pm.

This is the Ocotal Zone; Somoto and Pueblo Nuevo are part of this zone.

Friday, July 14, 2017

Sister Bell finished washing the sheets for the Sister Leaders. She washed, dried and folded 28 sheets over the week. It took 4 loads and most of one week to do it. That is a labor of love.

We then made a trip to Pricesmart. Then home for lunch and to take sheets off the line. We then went to Multicentral Mall to buy 4 white shirts with ties, then to the office. The Lees invited us to go to Carl’s Jr. for dinner so we went to Metrocentral Mall, where the only Carl’s Jr. in the country is located. It was packed. Apparently a lot of people like Carl’s Jr. Hamburgers… just like home.

At home, Sister Bell ironed and we watched a movie.

Saturday, July 15, 2017

I slept pretty good until about 2am. I kept thinking about how I was going to pack boxes of materials, a table, 2 whiteboards and our personal things in the truck so that they don’t get wet or stolen. I didn’t sleep very well the rest of the night.

We left at 7am (David helped me pack, using tarps that I had purchased about a month ago). We stopped at the office so Sister Bell could make a few copies of music sheets. We got to Trinidad early, about 9:30am. Maria Clara was still in bed, but her mother got her up. Karol Linneth came over, plus another young girl who wants to learn to play the piano. Michelle now has 3 students in Trinidad.

We then grabbed a bite at Subway in Esteli, before heading to Somoto. Our first stop was at the home of Natalia and Celia. Natalia is the RS President and Celia is the 1st Counselor and daughter of Natalia. The kids in the neighborhood love Sister Bell because she always has candy.

We took Natalia and Celia to the Church where we had a RS training. They have been the Presidency for several months, but are still needing to learn more about what a RS Presidency does. Sister Bell found a wonderful short video that explains the three primary purposes of RS. We showed that and then had a wonderful discussion about how to organize to accomplish the purposes. We talked a lot about visiting teachers. At the end of the meeting we had three action items. 1- Identify 2-3 sisters to visit and then to visit them. They came up with several in our meetings. 2- Plan an RS activity, identifying what they want to do and how much it will cost and 3- Elder Bell will develop a RS roster so we can help them begin to organize VT routes.

We then took Natalia to her cousins house and Celia to her house, but returned a little later to pick up Celia for a branch council training. Only President Alaniz, Celia and Elders Garcia and Gharring were there for the training. We had a great discussion about how to support the missionary effort in the branch.

We then drove to Pueblo Nuevo for another teacher improvement lesson. Everyone was there, including Hilario’s granddaughter. We continued the discussion about how to develop love for and prepare a lesson for the students. Again, there was a lively discussion, which went very well. By assignment from the week before, Dania, Nubia, Arelys and Hilario all taught a part of the lesson. At the end of the lesson, we discussed extending the 2-hour block to 2.5 hours to allow more teaching time for SS, Priesthood and YW. Everyone was in agreement. Therefore, starting in two weeks, they will begin their meetings at 9:30am. Elder Medeiro was appointed the time keeper to make sure everyone knows when to begin and end their classes.

We got to Koellikers about 9:15pm…. A long but satisfying day.

Sunday, July 16, 2017

We had a wonderful day in the service of the Lord. We started a 7:30am driving to Ocotal to deliver supplies. We got there just a few minutes before Church was starting. When we walked in, we noticed President Poncio and his family was visiting. We quickly dropped off the materials and left for Somoto.

Attending Church in Somoto was a delight. President Alaniz with the help of the missionaries have made some wonderful progress. Hermana Zaidas 12-year-old son came with his white shirt and tie so that he could pass the sacrament. Many of the other men came in white shirts and ties. They looked good. After Sacrament meeting, the members and investigators separated into several different rooms. There was primary, which was taught by Leslin, a recent convert.

The young women went into another class room. This class was taught by Cristin Alaniz. There was another SS class for young men. Elder Alfaro taught this class. There was a gospel doctrine class taught by Elder Gharring and Principles of the Gospel which was taught by Elder Asplund and Garcia. I was really impressed. At noon, these classes ended. Some of the members began to leave. However, the RS stayed and held their meeting. Somoto is growing. It is wonderful to be part of this growth.

We picked up Elders Soares and Baxter in Trinidad and took them to Managua with us. 

Sunday, July 9, 2017

Monday, July 3 to Sunday, July 9, 2017

Monday, July 3, 2017

We spent a good part of the day moving beds. We needed to pick up a bed and bedframe for Bello Horizante from the sister leaders house and then delivered it. We went back to the sister leaders house and picked up two more mattresses for Rene Polanco to replace mattresses infested with bedbugs. The missionaries cleaned, treated their apartment with Permethrin, had their clothes washed and replaced the mattresses. We had to time all these trips to when the missionaries were in their apartments, not an easy task.

We made a quick trip to the office so Sister Bell could say good-bye to Sister Gonzalez. She is going home tomorrow. We wish her well. We took her and Sister Galbraith back to their house so they didn’t have to go out in the rain to find a taxi or take a bus.

Tuesday, July 4, 2017
We welcomed 7 new sister missionaries to the mission; 2 from the US, 2 from Honduras, 1 from Guatemala, 1 from Salvador and 1 from Panama. We had our training at the Mission Home. It was lovely. We met on the patio. It was very pleasant and with only 7 missionaries, we could train them very easily. Sister Poncio fed us a wonderful lunch before we went to the office to introduce them to their trainers. It is always fun to get new missionaries.

Several of the trainers have trained before; H. Rodriquez 4 times, H. Barrios 3 times, H. Baptista 3 times and Sister Staker has been a trainer several times. This is Sister Hernandez' first time being a trainer. She will be wonderful.

We went out to dinner with the Lees and Helbergs. Sister Helberg is from Salvador and loved pupusas. She found a good pupusa restaurant close to our houses so we met there for dinner. We were a little skeptical because the last pupusas we ate were not very good. But these were good. We eat a few tacos too. Afterwards we went over to the Helbergs, played a few games, talked and drank malts.

Wednesday, July 5, 2017
Today was leadership council. The zone leaders and sister leaders are invited. We went alittle early to the office so we could visit and coordinate a few things with the zone leaders. We are excited about a few of the new leaders such as Elder Alofipo, and Elder Hamson. These are good missionaries that we have worked closely with in the past. They will make wonderful zone leaders. We were going to leave after we had a chance to visit with the leaders, but felt impressed to stay. We were glad we did because some of the Latinas who are going home tomorrow came in to take their English exam. We got to say good-bye to Elder Gonzalez, Hermanas Zamora, Cruz, Caispal and Martinez. All of them have had to overcome obstacles in their mission and have all done so admirably. These are wonderful young people who we love dearly. We will miss them.

Thursday, July 6, 2017

We slept in until 6am this morning. We were going to stay close to home, working from home, but that didn’t happen. I first got a haircut and then we went to Villa Flor. Sister Bell bought donuts, which we took with us. Missionaries love donuts. We needed to deliver some medicine to a missionary and then take Hermana Barrios and Flores back to their apartment to replace a fan. We then went to the hospital to help a missionary. We got her medicine and took them home. I think our service lightened their burdens some, especially since we brought food, took them shopping and gave them rides.  

Friday, July 7, 2017

First we went to the distribution center and then delivered mirrors to La Catorce and Las Americas. The Elders from Las Americas were at a zone meeting so we bought donuts and went to the Church. They are always excited to see us when we show up with donuts. We stopped by the office to pick up some materials for tomorrow and went home. I sent out our weekly newsletter and tried to find frig parts on line (I was unsuccessful). Sister Bell had several missionary calls through-out the day. We seem to be in cold and zika season along with the usual stomach problems.

Saturday, July 8, 2017
Today the Esteli District held a miniSOY (strength of youth). We stopped by to drop off some SOY bags. We estimated that there were about 100 youth. They were all outside playing games when we arrived. We saw youth from Somoto (11), Pueblo Nuevo (1-nonmember), Condega (1) and Trinidad (2). We also saw the youth leaders from Somoto and Pueblo Nuevo there. We were excited to see them, but they were also excited to see us.

We met Elders Gharring and Garcia in Somoto. 

We visited Hermana Ziadas family and gave clothes to them. We got the clothes from the sister missionaries who went home this week. They are modest, which is what the sisters in our little groups and branches need. They were very appreciative of the clothes. 

We then visited an investigator family. We showed them a video about the importance of the family and then gave them a copy of the family proclamation.

We visited another member family and then went by Hermana Celias home. We almost attended a baptism at the Church, but by the time the Elders and the sister got there, we needed to leave.

We taught another teacher improvement class in Pueblo Nuevo. Everyone was there except for Madeline who had gone to SOY and hadn’t returned yet. After our lesson (the importance to love those we teach), we got the clothes out and they had a chance to go through it. We in the United States wouldn’t think of wearing used clothes, but these humble people have no problems with used clothes. They were excited to get new things and we are excited that they have modest clothes.

Sunday, July 9, 2017

We left Koellikers about 7:30am. We drove to Somoto where we picked up President Alaniz. We briefly passed by the Church to pick up some materials and drove to Pueblo Nuevo. He had interviews to extend calls to Holario (Priesthood Teacher), Aries (Primary Teacher) and Maybelline (YW Teacher). They were sustained in Sacrament Meeting and then set apart after the meetings. We only had Sacrament Meeting and SS/Primary because we started late and everyone is used to leaving at noon. So our meetings were 1 hr and 45 minutes. We will talk with them next week about meeting longer.

It is fun to see our little group grow. President Alaniz loves his little flock and feels very strongly about doing the Lords work. After the meeting, we found out that one of our recent converts had been physically threatened last night by her husband. We stopped at her house on our way out of town to give her comfort and support. I did not follow the conversation very well, in fact I thought originally that she had tried to commit suicide, then I thought her husband tried to commit suicide. It wasn’t until we were visiting with her that I understood enough to know that her husband tried to hurt her. I don’t know if I will ever understand everything that is said. President Alaniz counseled with her and gave her wonderful advice. 
Sister Bell and I mostly listened, but did give alittle counsel.

We had dinner at the Koellikers house on our way back to Managua. We don’t usually stop but we had to stop to trade vehicles. They were celebrating Elder Hughes birthday. It was nice to have a wonderful Sunday dinner and not just peanut butter sandwiches.

We drove the mission truck home. The Koellikers will use our Rav4. We will get a new truck tomorrow and the Office Elders will use the mission truck. The Koellikers old Rav 4 will be sold.

Monday, July 3, 2017

Monday, June 26 to Sunday, July 2, 2017

Monday, June 26, 2017

Our office meeting was postponed until this afternoon, so we went to the hospital to be with with one of our sister missionaries and her companion. After her appointment we went to the office to update the President and Sister Poncio about what the doctors said. We then returned to the hospital for a doctor’s appointment for another sister missionary. After this appointment we took them to dinner at the food court of the Galleria. Their eyes were really wide as we walked through the mall. I think they had visions of shopping. 

We thoroughly enjoyed being with each of these missionaries. They are all bright, beautiful young women, who love the Lord and love being missionaries. They were a lot of fun and they were appreciative of our service to them.

I made a 9pm medicine run to the Assistance house. It has been a long day….

Tuesday, June 27, 2017

Michelle ironed white shirts this morning and then we went to the store. Afterwards, we stopped by the office to print some papers and then we went to Tipitapa to help the Hermanas move to the Sister Leaders house so that our two recuperating sisters can recuperate together. But first, we took them to lunch. They wanted to go to the food court at the Multicentral mall. They ordered food at Pizza Hut and McDonalds.

While we were waiting outside the Sister Leaders house, we began telling missionary stories. We discussed Elder Renlunds talk about the three things he wanted us to know (thanks from not only him, but also from the Lord, that we were called of God and that President Poncio was called of God). We talked about why some missionaries have to go home early for health reasons. I had related a little from Paul’s (our son) talk that he gave in Condega a few weeks ago. He talked about Lehi and why the boys needed to go back several times to get the plates and wives. They Lord knew they needed these things and yet, he made them go back to get them. Why didn’t he tell them to get them before they left? Paul answered that question, with a telling observation. He said they needed to experience the journey in order to learn, grow and show their faith and determination. I had told the sisters that they come on a mission for the same reason, to learn, grow and show their faith and determination.  We then talked about Zions camp, the parable of the seeds and the parable of the talents. Many thought that Zions camp was a failure because they did not free the saints in Missouri. But many of the future leaders of the Church participated in that march. They learned a lot about leadership from being with the prophet. They also showed their obedience and willingness to do whatever they were asked, and did so willingly and without complaint. They not only showed our Heavenly Father that they had these traits but they also showed themselves. We discussed that this is another reason why some missionaries come and go home early. 
We then talked about the Parable of the sower and the Parable of the Talents. In the Parable of the sower, we focused on the seed that was sowed in good soil, for our missionaries are growing in good soil. But some of the plants produced 100 percent, some 60% and yet others 30%. We sometimes think that these differences represent capacities, for some members/missionaries are more productive. But it could also represent time; for some missionaries served a full mission, some part and some even shorter time. But the plants grew and contributed. We then talked about the Parable of the talents, stressing that the individuals who received 5 and 2, received the same reward. We stressed that it is not as important how long we serve, but that we are dedicated while we are serving.

Sister Gunn, who was listening, then expressed her thoughts that missionaries that go home early for health reasons will still be serving in the kingdom, just in a different location and capacity. 

We have a great love for these sisters. They are wonderful. We love being around them. I love it when Sister Jimenez says, “Oh Elder Bell”, when I say something funny and when Sister Gonzalez yells “you who” when I tell them we are taking them to lunch and giving them a ride. They love the Lord, each other and being missionaries. This is truly one of the great blessings of being a missionary. We love watching them grow. We remember Sister Jimenez, when she first came into the mission field. We felt she was a little girl, lost in a big world. But she was really grown and matured. We are impressed with Sister Gunn. She has a wonderful heart and is very compassionate and inciteful. She will be a powerful sister Leader, but more importantly, she will be a wonderful wife, mother and Relief Society President. Sister Romero is also one we love. She is older, 27 years old, having only converted to the Gospel two years ago. Her maturity and dedication really shows forth. It is a wonderful day when we spend it with the Sister Missionaries.

Wednesday, June 28, 2017

We spent the day again with our two recuperating missionaries. After taking them to the hospital for another visit, we then took them to PriceSmart. We got wheel chairs for them. One of the wheel chairs was motorized and our sister missionary loved driving it around the store, stopping at all the sample stands to get samples of food. I pushed the other, but we also stopped at the sample stands. We bought them hamburgers and fries after shopping and then brought them to our house for a few minutes. Afterward we took them back to the Sisters house. Both are a lot of fun.

Thursday, June 29, 2017
Sister Bell taught Jocelyn a piano lesson today at the mission home.

Friday, June 30, 2017
We had our change meeting this morning at the mission home. We are moving out of 8 houses and moving into 5 new houses. This will require a lot of coordination.

We went by the Sisters house and Sister Bell to give a shot to one of the missionaries. On our walk this morning, we talked with Gabriela, one of our neighbors. She asked if Sister Bell would help her learn English.  We invited her to come in the evening to practice English but she didn’t show up.

Saturday, July 1, 2017
Sister Bell gave Maria Clara a piano lesson in Trinidad. While she was teaching I was calling zone leaders to coordinate moves.

We ate at Burger King in Esteli and bought a Subway sandwich to eat later. Then we took a microwave to Elder Vega in Ocotal and drove to Somoto.

We gave the last temple prepreparation class to President Alaniz. Hermana Alaniz listened in. President Alaniz loved the temple. He went through 4 sessions and participated in about 200 sealings. He said his testimony increased. He also said he received impressions on things he should do in the branch. We discussed the need to help his family prepare to be sealed. A major step is for his wife to be baptized. The family has been listening to the Book of Mormon on CD as Sister Alaniz does not read.  We asked Sister Alaniz if she would like the missionaries to teach her the discussions again. She said Yes. We are very excited and hope that as she relearns the lessons, that she will be receptive to the spirit. We told Elder Taylor and Asplund this and they were really excited to teach her.

After this we went by to pick up Natalia (RS President) for our training meeting, but she had already left. But the lady across the street called me over and told me she is a member (baptized in Esteli) and needed a bible. She had a book of Mormon, so I promised to get her one. The President got her name and will get her records. We suspect there are some unbaptized family members so we told this to Elder Taylor and Asplund so they can go by. We also encouraged them to go past Hermana Natalia’s house to give her encouragement and to invite the non-member family members to hear the lessons. Therefore, we gave Elders Taylor and Asplund three good references.

We taught another leadership class, teaching about branch councils. Those in attendance were President Alaniz, Cristian, Natalia, Azaria and the 4 missionaries. Sister Bell and I both felt good about the lesson.

We then headed for Pueblo Nuevo for a 7pm teacher improvement lesson. About 6:30, we got a call from Elder Meneses asking us if we were coming. Apparently, everyone (Nubia, Dania, Maybelline and Horario) thought it started at 6. There were all waiting for us when we arrived at 7. We showed 5 videos from “teaching in the way of the Savior”. It went so well that we scheduled a follow-up lesson next week, but this time it will be at 6pm.

Sunday, July 2, 2017
We went to Pueblo Nuevo. We sometimes wonder if we are making progress. Pueblo Nuevo is an example that we are making some progress. The missionaries still are conducting the meetings. But Jose and Holario passed the sacrament. Dania taught SS, Nubia taught RS, Holario taught Priesthood and Ariales taught primary. Maybelline is learning how to lead music. We now have two Melchezedik Priesthood holders, two endowed members and 3 members that have received their patriarchal blessings. We are making progress.

We brought Augustina to Managua to receive her Patriarchal Blessing. She lives several kilometers out of Pueblo Nuevo and takes a bus when she comes to church (which she does every week). She was baptized in 2001 while she was living with her sister in Managua. But she moved back to Pueblo Nuevo before the missionaries came to Pueblo Nuevo and therefore was not able to attend church for many years. She is endowed and has done a lot of temple work for her family. She is 70 years old, had 11 children, of which 6 lived to maturity. She has 17 grandchildren. We brought her to Managua, picked up her sister and took her to Villa Flor where she got her blessing. She was very humble and happy to have finally received it.  We are glad she will have a visit with her sister as well.  It has been a really good weekend.

Sunday, June 25, 2017

Monday, June 19 to Sunday, June 25, 2017

Monday, June 19, 2017

Happy Birthday Paul

We cooked pancakes and eggs for the Blattmans. We stopped at the office to introduce them to President and Sister Poncio, then took them to the airport. We have thoroughly enjoyed having Paul and Kim here. It has been fun to show them Nicaragua, but it was especially enjoyable to introduce them to the members and missionaries we work with.

We went back to the office to coordinate medical and supply issues with President and Sister Poncio. Then we took the rental car back to the Hilton and headed for home (we had left our mission car at the Hilton earlier in the day).

Tuesday, June 20, 2017

Sister Bell had a bunch of sheet to wash for the sister trainers. She got two batches washed and hung before we left. We made stops at Villa Flor. The Villa Flor zone was having their district meetings. One of the Sisters had some clothes she wanted to donate to our branches. We then went to Tipitapa to deliver chargers for DVD players and to talk with a sister Missionary that has two doctor appointments next week. We also picked up some medicine for her. We went home for lunch and while Sister Bell finished the laundry, I went to Pricesmart and Colonia for food. I also bought 50 bottles of OFF to send to Puerto Cabeza. They are getting eaten alive by mosquitos. 

Wednesday, June 21, 2017

Happy Birthday Kim

We went to the office to drop off the OFF so that Elder Lee can ship them to Puerto Cabezas. Then we picked up a sack full of old ties from the Elders in Reparto Shieck in Managua, Elder Jimenez and Elder Cuesta. There must have been 50 ties, mostly from the 60s or 70s. They were wide ties. We gave away all the ties that Kim brought with her. We still have more shirts so we asked around to find some old ties… but these are ancient.

We then went back to Tipitapa to give the DVD’s to Elder Johnson and Lund. I was finally able to find chargers that worked.

Thursday, June 22, 2017

Happy Birthday Steve

We ran more errands this morning. We went to the distribution Center, then to a computer store (we needed a new mouse for Sister Bell's computer), then to the bank, pharmacy, store and then we found me a new tie for Father’s Day. It is a reversible tie… imagine that. We got home for lunch (the house was clean as Fatima came this morning). I then ironed about 30 ties (we threw the rest away).

We hosted the senior missionary dinner tonight (biscuits and gravy). Sister Bell is making the biscuits and gravy. I might be a decent cook, but she is the baker.

While she was slaving in the kitchen, I was out visiting with David. We gave him a copy of the May Liahona with the conference talks. He had been reading them most of the day and had some questions about the Holy Ghost. We had a wonderful conversation about the Godhead and how the Spirit guides and directs us. I explained that the Holy Ghost inspired us to rent our house. Sister Bell felt very strongly about our little house. As we have pondered why, we feel that one of the reasons was to bring the Gospel to him and Salvador. The missionaries are still coming by their house but with their current work schedule it is very difficult for them to attend Church. We hope that someday, their work schedule will change.

Friday, June 23, 2017

Sister Bell started the day washing sheets from the Sister Leaders house. They have a lot of visitors stay at their house; missionaries coming and missionaries going, divisions, sisters coming to Managua for doctors’ appointments, etc. They always have guests, so Sister Bell offered to wash their sheets periodically. It is easy in the dry season, but during the raining season, it becomes harder. So when we have a sunny day (or at least for the morning) we try to get them washed and on the line. Sometimes when it rains we must pull them off and hang them in the house.

We bought more white shirts this morning. We have a lot of large and X large shirts, but didn’t have very many small shirts. So we bought 6 small shirts. We plan to take them to Condega this week-end.

We are waiting for more supplies. We still need 10 new study tables and 20 mirrors. Once we get them, we will take them to the Sisters house. But we can’t do that until after 9pm when the Sisters get home ( I made the run to their house)

We went to El Zocate, a local Mexican Restaurant with the Lees and Helbergs. We stayed long enough to listen to some Mariachi.

Saturday, June 24, 2017

We left this morning not sure what we would be doing all day. We stopped in Trinidad to give Maria Clara and Karen Linneth lessons. We were concerned that their piano wasn’t working because last week at church it wasn’t working. But today it was, a little tender mercy. So Michelle gave them both piano lessons then gave Maria Clara directing lessons. She has been practicing with a Video we gave her a few weeks ago, but she needed a little polishing.
We then went to Ocotal to give supplies to Elder Arias and Ward. We then went to the “The Casa Vieja” for lunch. We said a little prayer to seek inspiration what we should do that afternoon as we didn’t have anything scheduled. We felt impressed to go to Somoto and visit Natalia, the RS President. We found her sick and sleeping. But we had a good visit with Celia, her daughter. Her younger sister was also there. The younger sister came to the Noche de Hermanimiento the Saturday with her two kids. We gave Celia a May Liahona with the conference talks and explained when to teach from it. We showed pictures of the Noche de Hermanimiento and our trip to the Canyon de Somoto. They really enjoyed it. I believe we gave them a little spiritual and emotional boost. We asked the missionaries to go by later and offer to give Natalia a blessing. She was sleeping the whole time we were there.

We then went by President Alaniz’s house to give him a Liahona. He was gone but his wife, daughter and son were there, so we showed videos of our visit the week before. They enjoyed that too.

We then went to Condega for a Noche de Hermanimiento. We arrived at the Ramirez’s home about 10 minutes before 6. No one was home. We called Elder Howland. They were still in Esteli for a baptism but said to wait as they were just getting on a bus. They got there about 7:15. Rosa, Victor (the young man who got baptized) and the Ramirezs was with them. 
We passed out shirts and ties. They also picked out shirts and ties for those that were not there. The ties are 70 ties, very wide. They each took 2 or 3.

Sunday, June 25, 2017

We went to Church in Pueblo Nuevo today. Jose came in his new white shirt and tie. He looked really good for an 80-year-old. He gave us a big toothless smile and told us thank-you for the gift. He lives in San Antonio, about 8 km out of Pueblo Nuevo. He has to take the bus and can’t come for an evening activity so Holario picked out a shirt and tie for him. He passed the Sacrament. When we got there, Elder Meneses asked us to talk… so we did. Sister Bell talked about the peace that comes through the Gift of the Holy Ghost. I talked about the importance of the Book of Mormon, quoting from President Monsons General Conference Talk. Thank Heaven for Gospel Library on our smart phones.

Arali taught Primary today. The missionaries asked her to do it. She hasn’t been officially called yet, but when I looked in, she seemed to be doing fine. Elder Zeron went in to help out.

Also, Hermana Nubia’s mother was baptized this week and was confirmed today. We had visited her several times, but she was too sick to leave her house. Today she looked great and seemed fine. She raised a large family on her own. We were excited to witness her confirmation.

Elder Meneses tried his hand at the piano after Church.

Sister Bell woke up Saturday morning thinking about Yasser and his family in Trinidad. So we stopped by on the way home. We found his wife and daughter home in their partially completed home. They have made a lot of progress, but they still need a lot more work to complete it. They have not been to Church lately (according to Elder Santizo) but they promised us they would go next week. We gave them a white shirt and 2 ties for Yasser. They seemed to be pleased that we stopped by. 

We got home about 5pm, early for a Sunday night.