Sunday, May 29, 2016

May 23-May 29

Monday, May 23, 2016

Today was a day of peaks and valleys, dealing with missionary health, vehicle maintenance, cell phones and chocolate cake.

Missionary Health: Sister Bell began getting calls early, not necessary from missionaries who were newly sick, but missionaries going to doctor appointments. Last week at Zone Conferences, Michelle found a lot of missionaries that needed to go to the doctor. Several went immediately, but several were scheduled to go today; their preparation day. When missionaries go to a facility that will accept the Church’s insurance, Michelle will call AENTA and request that they send a letter of guarantee payment to the hospital, doctor or clinic. They get sent but in veritably, when the missionaries show up for their appointment, the facility can’t find the paperwork. This happens more than 50% of the time. So the missionaries call Sister Bell for help. Most of the time, Sister Bell will need to call AETNA and request they send another copy. This helps, but sometimes they still don’t get it. In one facility today, their internet was down so they couldn’t even receive an internet email. She had to reschedule the appointment for next week.

Vehicle Maintenance: We are responsible to pay for gas and general maintenance of our RAV4. This past couple of weeks we have been filling up once or twice a week. Each fill up is about $40. We also have to maintain the vehicle regularly, every 5,000 km. We have to take it to the major Toyota Dealer in town, Casa Pellas. Today was our day to take it in. We needed general servicing and then check the headlights and replace the battery in the keybob. They also cleaned it very well. It cost about C$6300, which is about $220. I thought this was pretty expensive for what they did, although they assured me they did a lot more than was is usually done in the US. I finally resolved myself to pay this amount and felt pretty good about it, especially since they did such a nice job washing the car….. until we left and pushed on the brakes. They squealed terribly, something that didn’t happen before we took it in. So now, I need to call them tomorrow and have they check the brakes out.

Cell Phone: We complained about the cell phone situation in last week’s entry. But at the end of the day, one of our office missionaries, worked on our phones and got everything to work. Michelle can now do everything on one phone and my phone works with internet, texting, calling and all the apps work….. I believe Elder Rameriz (from Guatemala) saved our marriage.

Cake: Monday mornings is our office staff meeting. We go over the calendar and plans various meetings and other activities. Sister Collado, the wife of the mission president brought in pizza and chocolate cake to celebrate Elder Rameriz and Sister Bells birthdays.
 We both broke our sugar boycott. The cake was good, but not as good as chocolate cake in the US.

Tuesday, May 24, 2016

Today was a “quasi” P-Day since Saturday we will be coming home from Puerto Cabeza. So we took a little time today to get a haircut, buy some cotton pants for Michelle and I (We learned that the Church as approved pants for sister missionaries in countries where mosquitos are a problem). We then went to the hospital where wsende  so many missionaries. We met Doctora Cuevas and Doctora Abula. Doctora Cuevas is a dermatologist and Doctora Abula is an LDS emergency room doctor. The hospital was very nice ad modern. However, their book keeping has not always been good. The hospital has been having problems finding letters of guarantee of payment that have been sent to them from AETNA, our insurance company. About half of the letters get lost, so the missionaries have had to call Sister Bell, who in turns calls AETNA and asks them to send another copy. We found out today that part of the problem is because the missionaries don’t check in with the hospital before going to the doctor’s office. We will give them better instructions.

We got home early today, about 5:30pm after stopping at the panaderia. We never get home this early. Sister Bell charted all her calls while I cooked dinner… Mojo Chicken, corn, salad and garlic bread.

Wednesday, May 25, 2015

We trained in the new missionary workshop. Sister Bell gave a presentation about how to take care of feet. We are finding that this is a major problem, mostly because the missionaries don’t have adequate shoes. They walk a lot and it hurts the feet particularly is they are walking in shoes that don’t provide good support.

We had another early night, but even when we got home, Sister Bell took calls, charted, ironed while I cooked. We then talked with Elder and Sister Koelliker and President Collado on a conference call. They are coming to the mission in July. President Collado will send them to Esteli to work as a member and leader support missionaries in the Esteli District. He asked Sister Bell and I to look for potential apartments. We were able to answer a lot of questions and give them some suggestions on how to prepare and what to expect once they are in the mission field.

Thursday, May 26, 2016

We are in Puerto Cabeza. Puerto is on the Caribbean coast. We flew this morning with President and Sister Collado, Sister Leon and Elder Boice.
We will be here for 3 days. There are a lot of bugs here and the missionaries tend to have more health problems than in other areas, but they love it here. It reminds me of Paraguay, not only the country side, but also because there are few missionaries here, they are far from the mission President and they seem to love it here. The missionaries that are here are the best missionaries in the mission. They are usually here for 8-12 months and don’t want to leave. They always talk that this is their favorite place to work.

We stayed at the church most of the day. After the zone conference, we stayed to meet Branch Presidents and talk with potential missionaries. I talked with two BP and 2 missionaries. We left about 6:30, caught a cab to our motel expecting to eat at the hotel. When we got there we found out that the restaurant was closed. They suggested another restaurant that delivers food to the motel. So we had them call for us and found out that they were also closed. So we thought we were out of luck for dinner. Then a lady said that a store below the hotel was still open, so we rushed down there, bought ham slices, cheese and crackers. That is what we had for our first night in Puerto Cabeza.

Friday, May 27, 2016

This morning, we woke up at 5:30 with the sound of a million trillion rain drops on our roof.  It was a torrential downpour and we were just about ready to go out for a walk when it started, so we stayed in bed.  It lasted about an hour and the sun came out or should I say up, and it was as if it had never happened, except now it was hot and muggy.  We had breakfast at the hotel and then a member of the church came and picked us up in his car for the day.  Oscar is the secretary of the district, is employed by the church and oversees the church maintenance.  He is a mechanic by trade.  We went to the ZL’s home and checked it out.  It was pretty messy.  We gave a lesson from D&C 109:8 about having a house of order; hopefully the elders got the message.  We then went to five other missionary homes and did the same thing.  The apartments were deplorable. They were dirty, messy, had old clothes, fans and other stuff just laying around. No wander they are getting sick.

After that we visited the local hospital, and two clinics to see if we would send missionaries there.  The hospital was deplorable. It is a government facility and it was dirty and not a place we would send our sick dog to.  The clinics were privately owned and clean.  One was a single general practice doctor and the other was a multi-specialty clinic with about 6 doctors.  They were both places we felt good about sending our missionaries to.  We went to lunch with Elder Monson and our driver and then headed to the church for a baptism.  A young woman was baptized and it was truly a beautiful experience.  We came back to the hotel for dinner and then went back to the other church building where we spent some time with the branch president and young prospective missionaries.  The branch president had been a member for 10 months when he was called.  He, his wife and 3 children were sealed in the Honduras temple in April.  Just a really choice family.  It was the hottest day of our mission, and when we got home to the motel we both took showers.  It felt so good.  Kim and family skyped with us.  It is always good to have a chat with the family.

Saturday, May 28, 2016

Sister Bell and I woke up this morning with the same inspirations. We both were thinking about our missionaries and their apartments; how dirty they were and how it was affecting the work. A good number of the missionaries in Puerto have various ailments, many with cold or flu type symptoms. We both feel that the unhealthy condition of their apartments are contributing to this “epidemic” We feel that they need to get their apartments clean and keep them that way. We visited two more homes. At the Elders home, we found dirty dishes in the sink. We asked them how long has it been since they did the dishes. They said those were not their dishes, that they have been in the sink for over 9 weeks, and that they didn’t dare touch them. We were flabbergasted. How could they leave dirty dishes in the sink for that long. We could not believe it. We instructed them to get gloves, take them out of the sink, put them in a bag and throw them away.

We feel impressed to implement a weekly training program. We will provide weekly short messages to be given at the weekly district meetings, discussing topics like the fire alarm, cleaning a kitchen, washing dishes, taking safe showers, cleaning a bathroom, etc. Simple things that missionaries can understand and hopefully, implement. We also encouraged the zone leader to consider having a “clean my home” morning periodically, where the missionaries would clean their homes. We discussed this with Elder Monson, the zone leader and he liked the idea, but we need to discuss this with President and Sister Collado.  

We caught the noon flight back to Managua, it was a bigger plane (seating about 45, yesterday’s plane could seat only 11). We got home about 3:30pm. It is good to be home.

Sunday, May 29, 2016

The Lee’s picked us up at 6:30pm so we could go to Church with them in Dario. Elder Lee is the branch President. It was nice to have a chauffeur. Sister Bell has been teaching piano to two sisters, one is about 19 and the other is about 10. They have the lesson at 8am, an hour before Church. This is their third lesson. They are catching on very well and making progress.

We stayed for all three meetings. Sister Bell played for Sacrament Meeting again. We will be very happy when we can understand all that is said. It is still frustrating not to understand or communicate as freely as we would like.

The newly sustained and set apart Elder’s Quorum President, Rene Belly, invited us over to have house for dinner. Actually they had invited the Lee’s about two weeks ago, we just got to go along. However, they were very happy to have us there. He was baptized about 4 months ago. His wife was baptized a couple of years ago, but apparently wasn’t confirmed or they lost her record, so she was rebaptized with her husband. They have plans to go to the temple next spring.

They have a very humble home (dirt floor, mud walls and tin roof). Sister Belly cooked rice, fried bananas, French fries, tomatoes and Pepsi. It was really good. They fed the Elders, us, the Lees and another family. They were very generous and gracious. As we were eating, a herd of brahma cows walked by. They didn’t bother us and we didn’t bother them. Other than a few flies, it was very peaceful as we eat and talked. They were very happy we came and we excited to show us their humble home. It really makes me realize that material things don’t make us happy, as they have very little things and are still very happy.

We got home about 3:30 and crashed….. It has been a long couple of weeks.

1 comment:

  1. I love these pictures! Seeing you with the people make me so happy. You deserve some rest. It has been a busy time. Don't over do it. Love you!