Sunday, June 26, 2016

Monday, June 20 to Sunday June 26

Monday, June 20, 2016
Today was not an exciting day. We got up a little late as we were very tired from traveling this week-end. Senior missionaries can do that. We spent most of the day in the office helping sick missionaries, trying to get into the computers that have been updated (unsuccessfully I might add), dealing with a few minor issues, and studying Spanish. The most exciting thing was when we took the car to the shop to get a nail removed from a tire. I find I am not very productive in the office. I was most productive for the first hour when we worked from home.

Tuesday, June 21, 2016

Happy Birthday to Kim….

Today is one of the happiest days in the mission, when the new missionaries arrive. We had 13 new missionaries, 5 from Provo, 5 from Guatemala, 1 from the Dominican Republic and 2 from Brazil. While President Collado interviews them, Sister Bell and I give them the 10 commandments for good health. So we did it four times, once with the US and Guatemalan Elders, once with the Provo and Guatemalan sisters, once with the sister from the Dominican Republic and a short version with the two missionaries from Brazil. About noon, the trainers came in and President Collado would assign the new missionaries to their trainers. One of the trainers would get up in front, tell who they were, and talk about their area. People would hoop and howler and then the President would announce their companion who would get up, get a hug from the trainer, while everyone is clapping and shouting. It is really quite exciting. Then we had lunch, today it was pizza and then they left for their assignments. We really enjoy this.

On our way back to the office, we stopped at another mall that the sister missionaries told us about. In one hour, we walked out with two new pairs of pants for Sister Bell. It was a miracle. We have looked all over town, at least the shopping malls we knew about, but the sisters knew the “secret” mall and it was gold. Sister Bell says she is done shopping for pants… Hallelujah.
Tonight, the Lees and us helped President Collado look through a lease agreement and helped him pay for a security deposit in Pleasant Grove. He will be going to BYU to get a master’s degree. We sure love the Collados and are glad we can help him in any way we can.

June 22, 2016

Happy Birthday to Steve….

We worked from home this morning. We get a lot more done from home than we do from the office, at least I do. There are too many disruptions in the office and the computers and the copy machines don’t seem to work very well. We have air conditioning and a good internet service, so we are very efficient at home. I have been making plans to take supplies to the three western zones tomorrow, gathering supplies, getting them loaded into the car and calling zone leaders. I also had to make changes to our week-end plans as we are now going on alittle excursion with President and Sister Collado, their family and the other office staff on Saturday. This will be their last week-end with us. They go home next week. We will miss them dearly but are looking forward to meeting the Poncios.
I had a nice compliment today from one of the Latina Sisters. She told me my Spanish was improving greatly. That made me feel good. I find that I can understand and talk a lot better than I did a few weeks ago. My confidence is improving. I still get stuck once in a while and I am sure I butcher the language on many occasions. But I think it is less than a few weeks ago.

Thursday, June 23, 2016

We had a fun road trip today, except for the few minutes in traffic we were not sure where to go and our patience was very thin…. Or non-existent, but other than that it was a good day. We took supplies (mosquito nets, deet, book of Mormons, pamphlets, letters, packages) to the three western zones; Leon, Chinadega and Chin Oeste. First we went to a small town on the north end of Lake Managua. The mosquitos are really bad there and the two missionaries were very glad to get mosquito nets and deet. Elder Alfaro was recently transferred from Condega where we worked with him. He is a wonderful Elder. He is now paired with Elder Chen. They both came to the mission field together, about 5 months ago and were companions in the MTC. The little town is Momotombo.
It is very rural with one main cobblestone road (all the rest are dirt). The cobblestone road leads right to the beach. There is a small branch there. The Stake President, who used to live there, donated his home to the Church and they are renovating it into a small chapel. It is right at the base of Momotombo Volcano.

We delivered more supplies in La Paz Centro, Leon, Chinandega, Chin Oeste and in El Viejo. We enjoyed interacting with the missionaries. In El Viejo, we first met the sisters to give them some medicine. We offered to take them to their next appointment. They really enjoyed being in an air conditioned vehicle. They were really impressed when we handed each of them a cold bottle of water. We took them to their appointment and started back to the highway, when we ran into the Elders. We picked them up and took them to their next appointment (they didn’t get the cold water because we were out). They enjoyed being in the air conditioned vehicle, even if it was for a few blocks. It was fun to serve them.

We got home about 8:30pm. Sister Bell is still dealing with missionaries who need her help. It has been a long day….

Friday, June 24, 2016

What a day to turned out to be. We had an appointment with President Collado at 9:30am to review our 10 minute presentation to the new Mission President next week about our assignments. So we had it all prepared, but President Collado didn’t come in until after 10am. So that put us late. We made the presentation, made a few changes to our handouts and eat lunch before we could leave. We then had to drive to Leon to get a sister out of the hospital. She went in yesterday but the hospital wouldn’t let her out until the bill was paid. This hospital in Leon is a sister hospital to several other rural hospitals. They provide decent service so we like to send our missionaries there. They also take our insurance which makes it nice so the missionaries don’t have to come up with money. But this week, they changed their policy. Thus out quick trip to Leon to pay the bill. WE found out that AETNA, the churches insurance provider represents another company from Germany and haven’t paid a $16,000 bill. Therefore, this hospital and all their sister hospitals have “blackballed” any company that is covered by AETNA. We talked with acouple of their administration people and the hospital director assuring them that we are not that German Company and we have a separate contract with AETNA. We finally got them to agree to visit with a AETNA representative next week. We will facilitate that conversation. So after doing all of that and finding the medicine for the sister and getting them settled into their apartment we finally headed back to Managua, a 2.5 hour ride. Now it was 5pm.
When we got to Managua, we visited with a missionary on the north east part of town about some health issues. We got there about 8:30pm. Then we had to go to the hospital in Managua because a missionary had taken a sleeping pill, and literally fell asleep at a member’s house. They couldn’t wake him up so they rushed the sleeping Elder to the hospital. The Doctor said he would be fine after getting a “full” night’s sleep. We finally got home about 10:30pm. What a day…..

A little tender mercy… we needed to exchange dollars for Cordobas. So at Walmart, we decided to exchange the dollars at a little bank they had there. However, the bank teller would not except the copy of our passport. They wanted the real passport. We actually don’t have our passport as it is locked in a safe at the office. The bank we normally do business with accepts the copy so we were alittle upset that we couldn’t exchange the money. As we were walking out of Walmart, a young lady called to us and said she could help. She and her friend were in line behind us and watched as we walked away without our money. So she said she would be glad to exchange our money for us using her ID. So she took our money, exchanged it for us and gave us our Cordobas. I offered to pay her for her kindness but she declined.

Saturday, June 25, 2016

Today, we went to the Mayasa Volcano with the Collados, Lees, the Assistants, the secretaries and the sister leaders.
This is the last excursion for the Collados who will leave the mission next week. There was actual lava boiling up at the bottom of the crater. It was very impressive, something that we had not seen before. From back, left to right: Hermana Ramos, Hermana Leon, Elder Lee, Sister Lee, Hermana Bell, Elder Bell, Hermana Collado, Presidente Collado. Front, Left to Right: Elder Neilson, Elder Knight, Elder Ramirez and Elder Gonzalez.

When we were about to leave, the began raining very hard. We got soaked. We left and went to a restaurant, where they had the air conditioning on and we actually got cold. I never thought I would be cold in Nicaragua. Here we are with Elder Gonzalez, one of the Assistants, just before we made a mad rush to the car.

Sunday, June 26, 2016
Happy Birthday Parker

We spent the day in Condega, 3 hours north of Managua. We were there last week but had some unfinished business. So we went back today. We met up with Elder Scaggs and Elder Thackeray (a brand new missionary, who came in this week) in time to get the chairs from the store, haul them to the borrowed building, clean the building and set up the chairs. Then we went to see the Ramirez Family. They are the reason we wanted to go back. They are having some family problems and we have been worried about them all week. We talked about tender mercies, then we each related a tender mercy that happened to each of us this week. Brother and Sister Ramirez also related tender mercies that they have seen in their family. We then talked about Joseph Smith’s experience in the Liberty Jail and the Lord’s message to him in D&C 122-124. There was a sweet spirit there and I believe they were appreciative of our visit.

President Acevedo, the District President came to the Sacrament Meeting today. I was glad he was there as I needed to talk with him about the Koellikers, the new senior missionary couple who will be coming in two weeks and living in Esteli. President Acevedo is very excited about them coming and working in his district. He will also keep an eye out for any apartments that might be for rent and offered to take us around town. There were 36 people at church today, 8 of which were investigators. It was raining at 2pm, when church was supposed to start. There were only two people there. Sister Bell said a silent prayer that the rain would stop and the members would come. The rain stopped and the members came (in the back of a drunk man’s truck). A tender mercy. President Collado’s challenge to each companionship was to bring 7 investigators to church, so Elder Scaggs and Elder Thackeray exceeded President Collados expectations.

Well number 5 occurred today…. We got stopped by the police for the 5th time in the 7 weeks we have been there. We passed some very slow cars where we shouldn’t have. Fortunately, one of the police officers had taken some missionary discussions and was sympathetic to us. Also, I told them Sister Bell was the mission nurse and we were going to Condega to help the missionaries. They gave our documents back to us and told us to be more careful. Another tender mercy. 

Sunday, June 19, 2016

M0nday, June 13 to Sunday, June 19

Monday, June 13, 2016
Today we got ready for the zone conferences, which we will attend the next several days. We also delivered a chair and a two burner hot plate to one of the companionship in Managua and then stopped at one of the malls on our way home, looking for more pants for Sister Bell. We didn’t find anything she liked.
We had a staff meeting this afternoon, getting ready for missionaries going home in a week and new missionaries coming to the mission. There is a lot of logistical actions that needs to be done just to get missionaries from the airport, to the airport, trained, getting companionships together, fed, housed… the list goes on and on. Running a mission is not a simple process.

Tuesday, June 14, 2016
We had a very pleasant day. We left the house at 6:30am and drove up western Nicaragua to a multi zone conference in Estela, just outside of Chinandega. We don’t work in this area much because they are organized into Stakes. Our focus (besides sick missionaries and apartments) is within the Districts, where the Mission President has direct responsibilities.
It was a beautiful day for a drive. We passed several volcanoes and many farms. The western part of Nicaragua is very flat and hot, ideal for agriculture.
We gave a short lesson about mosquitos and passed out some insecticide, then sat down. This is the Collados last zone conference with these missionaries. Most of it was for the Collados to give their last council to the missionaries and for the missionaries to say good-bye. It was very heartwarming to see the love the Collados have for the missionaries and for the love the missionaries have for them.
Although it wasn’t planned for Sister Bell to have a “clinic” but she had a half dozen missionaries talk to her about medical needs. Then she had several phone calls from other missionaries, so it was a busy day for her. She is still charting all of her medical efforts today.
We drove home on a different road which took us along the western shore of Lake Xolotian. We liked this road as it was less traveled and very pretty. The only bad part was we got stopped by the police. Apparently I crossed a solid white line as I went around a rotunda in the middle of no-where. But there was a traffic cop there waiting for me. He was going to give me a ticket, but after I explained who we were, that we were only in the country a few short weeks and Sister Bell was the nurse, he must have taken pity on us and let us go without a ticket. In the 6 weeks we have been here, we have been stopped 4 times, twice while I was driving (both for crossing a solid white line) and twice while Elder Lee was driving. Fortunately, we have not gotten any tickets. I think our luck is running short.

Country side with the Momotombo volcano in the background.

Wednesday, June 15, 2016
Today we left at 6am and got home at 8pm. We attended a multi-zone conference in Esteli, 3 hours north of Managua.  We know many of the missionaries in this conference because we work with them in Dario, La Trinidad, Semoto, Condega, Ocotal and Esteli. So it was good to see them, but most important, they seemed to enjoy seeing us. When we first told the Elders in the little towns that we had been asked to help them, they were supportive but not excited. But after spending time with them, teaching with them, taking them to dinner and just helping, they realize we can be of help and they want us to come back. That is very welcoming.
The zone conference was very enjoyable and a great send off for the Collados. After lunch, we looked at acouple of potential homes for the Koellikers, who will be coming to the mission in early July and living in Esteli. We looked at two, one is a three bedroom that has been lived in. The other is a two bedroom, which is brand new. Both are very nice but unfurnished. We took pictures and will send to the Koellikers.
Driving in Nicaragua during the day is a challenge, but driving at night is especially difficult. The roads are narrow, some are cobblestone in the cities and all have pot holes. The cities have speed bumps, some are smaller and some are big. They are not well marked and at night it is especially difficult to see them. There are slow vehicles, fast vehicles, trucks, buses (that stop anywhere at any time), horses, motorcycles, broken down vehicles, bicycles and people everywhere. It was very dark tonight and very difficult to see. It is amazing there are not more accidents and pedestrians killed. Oh, I forgot the dogs, cows, pigs, goats, horses… did I say dogs? I am just glad to be home, safe and sound.
We are beginning to document things we see in Nicaragua that we have never seen before. How do you get 6 people in a very small taxi? One in the front, 4 in the back (sitting on top of each other) and one in the trunk…. We saw this today and followed them for a couple of miles until they turned off at a small town… The young man in the trunk looked perfectly comfortable, sitting up with his feet dangling out of the trunk, holding the trunk hood up over his head.

Thursday, June 16, 2016
Today was our third and last multi-zone conference with President and Sister Collado. It was in Managua so we didn’t have to travel very far. Again it was a sweet experience. The missionaries love and will miss the Collados, so will we.
Later we had a meeting with President Collado so he could outline the changes that will occur next week. He was a little late so the Elders (Assistants, Secretaries, Sister Leaders, the Lee’s and Sister Collado, wanted to see the zone leader pictures I took. So I showed them and the previous zone conference pictures. Then they wanted to see China, so I showed them as well. Then they wanted to see some of my mission pictures, so I showed them those. Finally, they wanted to see Sister Bell with red hair, so I showed them our historic family pictures. They got really excited when I showed them our wedding pictures, with her long red hair. Finally, President Collado came in and we started the meeting.

Friday, June 17, 2016
Happy Birthday Synnova and Isa. We talked to Synnova last night and Isa today. Sister Bell had a tutoring session today with the MTC. Afterward, we took a few hours to shop (since Saturday, our real PDay will be spent in Condega). Michelle would like to find one more pair of tan pants. But there are nowhere to be found (at least Cotton Dress Slacks). I did buy two ties and one pair of used shorts for father’s day.
We worked a little this afternoon from home as they were painting the Mission Office. Everything needs to look nice for the new Mission President. Whitney, Sister Bells MTC tutor has also been tutoring Sister Poncio our new Mission Presidents wife. She says that Sister Poncio is a wonderful person and that we will love her.

Tonight to celebrate Father’s we went with the Lees to a local Mexican Restaurant, El Zocalo, a few blocks from our home. The food was good and the company wonderful. 

Saturday, June 18, 2016
We left the house about 8am this morning, heading north toward Condega. We stopped in Loma Verde and Esteli to drop off mosquito nets to the zone leaders. We arrived in Condega about 2 pm to work with Elder Scaggs and Elder Alfaro. We made our first stop at the city park to use the public restroom, which costs us 5 Cordobas each. We haven’t found a better deal in town. We picked up the Elders and visited a few members’ homes. Elder Alfaro knew he would be moving because Elder Scaggs was called by the AP this morning and told he would be training a new Elder. Elder Alfaro tried all day to tell me where he is going and I would always reply “afuera de aqui”. I am assuming he will be called tomorrow and told where he is going. The members love these two missionaries and they love them back. They are wonderful. They make everything fun and are constantly teaching gospel principles.
We tried to take them to dinner, but the only place open was a chicken stand. The chicken had been cooked earlier in the day, so it was well done but still hot.
We then went to an investigators house for a Friendshipping activity called a hermanomiento. Elder Scaggs, in his unique and fun way, reviewed the basic principles of the gospel, which are faith, repentance, baptism, holy ghost and endearing to the end. The members are all newly baptized so they need the basics. Then we played a fun game. I enjoyed watching the little girls sitting on Elder Alfaros lap and just having fun with the missionaries. The people will miss Elder Alfaro. He has been here about 5 months, his first area and he is greatly loved, he will be missed.
Sunday, June 19, 2016
We left Esteli at 7am, drove 1-hour south to Ciudad Dario to give piano lessons. The girls played two songs ( Abid with me and Jesus once of humble birth) they have been learning for prelude music. They are progressing well.
We left Dario about 9am and drove 1.5 hours north to Condega. Elder Alfaro went with a local mini-missionary and Elder Scaggs went with us. We picked up chairs, hauled them to the borrow clothing factory where we have church, set up the building, visited members and investigators, took a tour of their home, had lunch (P&J Sandwiches), picked up a few members for church, attended church and took the members back to their home. Then headed for Managua. We got back home about 7:30pm.
I have really impressed with how well these young Elders are leading this group. They have a lot of responsibilities and pressures on their shoulders. These members are young in the gospel and their activity is tied directly to the missionaries. I suggested a few things to Elder Scaggs that I believe will help the group move forward, at least some individuals. There were a lot of tears for Elder Alfaro, who is leaving for a new assignment tomorrow. He is a wonderful missionary and after only 5 months in the mission field, he is being assigned as a senior companion. He is ready. Elder Scaggs has done a marvelous job in helping Elder Alfaro be ready for this new assignment.

Thursday, June 16, 2016

Duplex in Esteli, still being finished, 2 bedroom with an adjointing bath. $600/Month plus utilities. It has a gated parking area in front.

great hall, bedrooms are on the left side, with an adjointing bath between them. The bedrooms are wired for air conditioning. There is a third room in front we did not see. 


Bathroom between the two bedrooms

Closet in bedroom

White house in Esteli, $500/month plus utilities, 3 bedroom, 2 bath

Master Bedroom Closet

Master Bathroom

Master Bath


Living Room

Screened Patio

Back Yard with emergency water tank

Neighborhood. House is about third from the end

Sunday, June 12, 2016

June 6, 2016 to June 12, 2016

Monday, June 6, 2016

Mondays are light days. We have our office staff meeting with the President, Assistants, Sister Leaders and office staff. Then the assistants and Sister leaders are usually in the office for most of the day working with the President. There are so many people in the office that it is hard to get much done.

We got to Skype with Roxanne and Grandpa this evening. Steve, Becky and their families visited Grandpa, who is at Roxanne’s this afternoon. We tried to Skype then, but the connection was bad. We always get an uplift visiting with family.

Tuesday, June 7, 2016

Today we had the opportunity to spend a good part of the day with a special sister missionary who had to return home for medical reasons. She had wonderful faith and worked hard to come on a mission and worked hard while she was here. She loved her mission and did not want to go home, but needed to in order to get well.  She shared with us the miracle that had happened the night before.  She and her companion had been working with a family and preparing them for baptism.  It is hard to bring a whole family into the church at once, but they were a golden family who were planning to be baptized in a week – a father, a mother, and three beautiful daughters. The miracle that happened is that the family was baptized last night so that this wonderful sister could be there for the baptism.  She was so happy to be able to see this wonderful family enter the waters of baptism.  Elder Bell and I took her to lunch and then we went to Hembas and had fun shopping for souvenirs for her family.  We then took her to dinner and then to the Sister Leaders house where she is staying tonight.  She will fly home early tomorrow and will begin healing.  Our prayers are with her. Our Heavenly Father loves each of us so much and so personally.  He knows what we need.  We love Him.  

Wednesday, June 8, 2016

The President was having exit interviews today. When that happens we have a lot of missionaries there, mostly talking and playing around. We can’t get anything done, so we ran a few errands and worked from home. It was pretty quiet.

Thursday, June 9, 2016

We woke up to a call from a scared Sister missionary who got stung by a scorpion. Fortunately, scorpion bites are not deadly, but they are painful. Then we got a call from another missionary whose companion is being treated for parasites, and guess what, he has them too. I guess eating the same foods and drinking the same water does have its consequences.

Sister Bell had a tutoring session with her MTC tutor today. They were happy to be working together again. We spent the rest of the day doing some Spanish and working on housing issues. Not a very exciting day.

We did get word that Somoto, one of the groups that we have been working with has been approved to become a branch. They will do that on Sunday. Two out of the three groups that we are working with have become branches. The missionaries are really excited. They have been working hard for this. We have been just a very small part of helping them be prepared.

Friday, June 10, 2016

Another uneventful day in the office dealing with medical issues, Spanish lessons and housing updates…

We have invited the Lee’s over for dinner and a movie. I am on the front porch typing and enjoying the breeze and cool weather. It actually was hotter in Ogden yesterday evening than here in Managua. It was 79 in Managua and 88 in Ogden at about 6pm. I think we are beginning to get used to the climate as we are not as hot as we were when we first got here.

Saturday, June 11 , 2016

There was another earthquake yesterday up north and measured 6.5.  We did not feel it, although I thought I felt the office building shake and Scott thought it was just a big truck going by. 

Today is P-day which stands for preparation day, but in our case, play day.  We started out the day or should I say very early morning at 2:00 am with a sister missionary calling with a fever of 104.2 and wanted to know what to do.  She didn’t have any other symptoms, so I had her take Tylenol and do cold compresses to the back of her neck.  By 7:00 her fever was down to 100.9, so she was feeling better.  An Elder called late last night with a dog bite, so we didn’t get much sleep. 

The Lees picked us up at 8:30 am and we were off to the zoo.  Managua has a really great zoo.  It is not huge, but the flowers and plants are very junglish and the animals are well cared for.  A couple of children who seemed to be on their own joined us as we walked around the zoo.  The little boy started picking us flowers and before we knew it, Sister Lee and I both had a hibiscus tucked behind our ears.
We practiced our Spanish and they were delighted to help us.  I had studied a lesson on animals yesterday in duolinguo, so I knew may of the animal’s Spanish names.  We had a fun day.  It would be a great place to take visitors. 

We were going to visit the volcano, but instead we went to Masaya to an artisan and craft mall similar to Hemba’s in Managua (we did drive by the volcano Masaya going and coming and could see the vapor cloud coming out of the volcano).  The quality of their goods is better than Hemba’s and we bought a painting for the bedroom.  It is really fun and Scott hung it above our bed, so we have completed our decorating purchases.

We ended up at a crater lake called Laguna de Apoyo.  We found a wonderful lakeside restaurant with seating almost on the lake shore. It was quiet and peaceful. The food was good and not very expensive.
It began to rain so we moved the table back, under the thatched roof and kept eating. It was a very relaxing day…. Until we got home and the phone calls from sick missionaries began to come in.

Sunday, June 12, 2016

Today was a missionary day…. We started at 6am this morning driving to the Ciudad Dario to give piano lessons to Sister Bells students. We didn’t get started at 8am like planned because we had to wait for keys to the building. So we were a little late getting started. But the girls are progressing. Sister Bell has assigned them to each play a simple hymn, which they have been practicing as prelude music for next week’s Sacrament Meeting.

We then left for La Trinidad, arriving there about 9:30am. La Trinidad was made a branch last week. We were very excited to attend Sacrament Meeting under the direction of a Branch Presidency. We meet Elder Worden and Elder Majia on the street and took them around to a few investigators homes to invite to church. We then went over to the home of a new convert. Only the wife was home, the husband was running errands. We had a short lesson on the Holy Ghost and a prayer in their humble home (this is the home with the pet monkey we visited a few weeks ago).

We then went over to Presidente Cruz’s home (he is the new branch president). Hermano Penera, the 1st counselor came over and we had a little training session, with Elder Worden, Elder Majia and Sister Bell. We reviewed handbook 2, identifying the chapters that would be most helpful at this time. Then we spent most of the time reviewing the Guidebook for the small units. We discussed administration, ministration, strengthening members, and principles of leadership. We used the example of the Savior teaching Peter when Peter tried to walk on the water. We felt the spirit very strongly and developed a great love for each other.

While the Elders went to their Sunday lunch appointment, Sister Bell and I found a secluded place on a back country road and had our picnic lunch. The area was full of black butterflies with yellow spots. 

We think the national bird is the buzzard. There are hundreds of buzzards all across the country. Everywhere we look there seems to be large flocks of them. The tree in the picture is full of buzzards. 

We then attended church. There were not as many people at church today as there was a few weeks ago, but we enjoyed it very much. Brother Penera conducted (for the first time). They had two young single adult women talked about prayer, then Elder Worden and Elder Schoenfeld talked about Tithing and Fasting. We thoroughly enjoyed being there and the members seemed to enjoy seeing us again. The little children especially like Sister Bell as she has candy in her purse.
The church in La Trinidad

We thoroughly enjoy Sundays because we are out with the people. Ministering is always more rewarding than administrating. We got back home about 5:30pm. 

Monday, June 6, 2016

May 30 to June 5, 2016

Monday, May 30, 2016

Happy Mother’s day and anniversary.
We presented our concerns and strategy about the apartments to President and Sister Collado. They liked the idea. We will present this to the zone leaders tomorrow. So I have been preparing our presentation.

We went to Las Pampas for dinner tonight. It is an Argentinian Steakhouse; very good but very expensive. The Lees went with us.

Tuesday, May 31, 2016

This morning we went to the leaders meeting and Elder Bell presented a little class on keeping the apartment clean including bathroom and kitchen helps.  He did very well and followed it up with a handout that they took with them.  He then drafted a mini-lesson and sent it out to all the leaders by e-mail. He will try to do this each week.  We went to Hembas which is like a super flea market.  We found some little tables that could also be used as chairs with very colorful covers made from strings.  We liked them, but decided to wait to buy them and look around a bit.  We were called back to the office, but the painters were there and had covered all the computers and tables, so we went home and worked from home.  It was a very relaxing day, taking calls from sick missionaries and getting caught up on the paperwork, or computer work as it is now.  We ended the day with the first Star Trek movie.  It was a great day.

Wednesday, June 1, 2016

The day started early with several very sick missionaries.  They were running high fevers and had diarrhea.  They both needed stool studies and medical visits to the doctor.  I have worried about them all day, because I was afraid one of them had malaria.  The good news was that neither had malaria, but both were full of parasites.  They are both happily on gobs of medicine and will be much better in a few days.  Another trip took us back to Hembas and we bought the little tables as well as two paintings of homes that looked like those that some of the families we have visited live in.

  We will bring the paintings home with us.  Little by little, our house is becoming our home. 

Both of our guards are reading the Book of Mormon and want the missionaries to teach them.  Salvador lost his wife 26 months ago and so he is very interested in the plan salvation and eternal marriage.  He was in tears this morning when he was talking about his wife.  Being a missionary is great!!!!  We will have to turn them over to the South mission, though because both live in the Nicaragua Managua South Mission.  Perhaps we can get permission to join in their lessons.  We spent another afternoon at home to avoid the paint fumes.    

Dad: While we were at Wimba, Elder Lee got his shoes shined for an American dollar. So I sat down to get mine done too. They look great, nice and shiny. When he was done he told me it was $5.00 American. I asked why and he told me he had to do more to my shoes that to Elder Lee. Well, I paid it, actually it was about $4.50. It sure is not like my first mission where little boys were on every street corner and charged only a few cents to shine your shoes…. I think I will buy some shoe polish and do it myself.         

Thursday, June 2, 2016

The office is being painted so we have been spending a lot of time working for home. It is very pleasant at home. The internet is better than at the office, it is quiet and at least acouple of rooms are air conditioned. We could work from home and be very comfortable and productive.

We had a Skype session with the MTC today. Sister Bell would like to continue her tutoring sessions with Whitney Allen, her tutor from before the mission. Hopefully that will happen soon.

We visited with Dr. Guido, who is the dentist that is doing the pre-mission exam for one of our young men from Jinotega who wants to serve a mission. The initial examination was free, thanks to the gracious dentist. However, he needs a lot of work. It will take 3-4 appointments and will cost about $5600 Cords (about $200). That is a lot for a young man from Jinotega.


We put up some new decorations in our home. We purchased a couple of painting at Wimbas and two stools. Our casita is beginning to look and feel like a home. We have been doing a few preparation type things during the week, because Saturday, which is our scheduled P-Day, is when we have been visiting the groups in the north central part of the Country. President Collado has authorized us to take another day for our P-Day. But since we have calls from sick missionaries every day of the week (and most times of the day), and other mission tasks most days, we have been taking a little time every day.

We took donuts to the office today. We bought them at the donut factory next door to our home. We smell donuts most of the time…. It is a nice smell (maybe that is why we like to work from home so much). We gave two to our guards, one to a guard at the office, one to our cleaning lady at the office, one to our immigration specialist that happened to come into the office and I eat one. That left a box of 6 for the 3 Elders. They were very appreciative of the gift. They taste as good as they look.

One of the guards down the street gave us a fresh coconut. We say hello to all the guards and they seem to like having the Norte Americanos talk to them. We brought it home. David, one of our guards got out his machete and cut the top off so we could drink the coconut milk. Michelle enjoyed that (I am not a fan of coconut milk). I then took it back outside so he could open it in order to get to the meat. He took his machete and gave it a good wacke or two, and it opened right up. It was really good…..

Saturday, June 4, 2016

Sister Bell wore her new pants today.... She loved it and looked really good. 

This morning we left the house at 7am, stopped at a farmacia to pick up some medicine for a missionary and headed for Esteli. We meet the Zone Leaders, who took us on a tour of the town, searching for rental units for the new missionary couple who will be coming in early July. The missionaries, district present and a real estate agent are all looking for options. It rained hard while we drove around town. I am glad we have a high clearance vehicle as some of the roads had several inches of water running down them. We will return in a couple of months to see what they found. We took Elder Ferrin and Elder Hernandez to pizza hut for lunch.

We spent the afternoon with the Somoto Elders. Somoto is high in the mountains. We spent most of the time with Elder Diaz and Elder Mendez. We visited Alberto in his home. He lives on the edge of town in a very humble home. Alberto and his 18-year-old daughter were baptized a couple of months ago. His wife still is not a member. We reviewed portions of King Benjamins sermon and the reaction from his people. The spirit was strong. We asked his wife if she has seen a difference in her husband and daughter since they were baptized and she admitted that she had. We asked if she would again consider being baptized and she agreed. They had a plant, which is the Nicaraguan National Flower. She picked a cluster and gave it to Michelle.

WE then visited two other adult Aaronic Priesthood holders in their home before we went to their Saturday night social activity. There are two groups that meet for Sacrament Meetings in Somoto. One is at 10am and the other is at 2pm. They meet in two groups because it is hard for some members to get from one part of town to another and the homes they meet in can only handle small numbers. There were about 20 people at the activity, mostly women and children. They have one Melchizdek priesthood holder. I suggested that the prayer to find the Branch President, a counselor or Elder Quorum President, he who the Lord is preparing.

We are staying at the Motel Frontier in Ocotal. It is not very impressive. It is old and not very kept up. There are red ants on the floor. However, I suspect it is the best in town.
Sister Bell wore pants today. She looked very good and said he was very comfortable.

Sunday, June 5, 2016

Today was a wonderful day. La Trinidad was made a branch today. We talked with Elder Worden this evening. He was very excited. They have a Branch Presidency, with three local Brethren. I am sure they are overwhelmed. All of the members of the branch presidency have only been members for a few months. We plan to visit next Sunday to provide support.

We were up early this morning to take Book of Mormons and other supplies to the missionaries in Ocotal. We met Elder Hirschi and Elder Familia at their apartment at 7am. They were anxious to begin visiting investigators in order to invite them to church. Their apartment was over a bakery.
A little tender mercy happened as we were driving back to the motel. Sister Bell had been debating whether to try to visit Sister Willes and Sister Le Starge while we were in Ocotal. So as we were driving back to the motel, we saw them walking in the street. We stopped and said hello, before the recognized us. They got a big smile and got all excited when they realized it was us. We took them to the other end of town. It was the first time Sister Willes had been in a car in months. They wanted to take a picture to document the “grand” event. Sometimes little things can bring such great joy….

We arrived back in Somoto in a rainstorm. The drive back was beautiful. It rained on and off while we were driving. But it was so beautiful. Everything is so green and lush and with the low clouds, it was really beautiful.

They have two Sacrament Meetings in Somoto. One is at 10am on one side of town. It is in the home of Alberto and his family. They had a few chairs set up under their porch. It was very muddy around the house and the porch leaked, but the people came (about 15) and it was a very sweet meeting. Sister Bell and I bore our testimonies. I envisioned that the Savior held many meetings in simple settings as this. Albertos wife has not been baptized. One of his daughters was baptized with her dad. Sister Bell become good friends with the wife and told her that we would love to attend her baptism and she said she would let us know, through the missionaries. We were looking at a photo of her husband’s baptism, which was in a river and I asked her if that is where she is going to be baptized and she said yes. I felt the spirit in her home both times that we were there and apparently she did too.
It was so muddy that Alberto had to push us in order to get the car moving in the mud. We had to be very careful which roads we drove on and didn’t drive on many of them because they were so rough or too muddy.

We had a little time between meetings, so while the missionaries invited investigators to the second meeting, Sister Bell and I drove to the Honduran border. However, when we got their we found about 20 semi-trucks parked waiting to get across the border. Apparently, it is not a simple or quick process to enter into Honduras. We drove passed all the trucks but were only about to get to the exit gate of Nicaragua. But at least we can tell Steve we got close to the border.

The second Sacrament Meeting was at the home of a member. It was in the same home where the family home evening was held last night.  There was about 15 in attendance. They confirmed a young lady who was baptized Saturday morning. Sister Bell and I both bore our testimonies. The people are so friendly and welcomed us everywhere we went. We are beginning to understand the people more and more, but we still just have to smile and nod our heads at some of the things they say to us.

We meet Elder Shawcroft and Elder Mendez in La Ciudad Dario on our way home to give Elder Mendez some medicine. We looked at a bunch of pharmacies in Ocotal and Somoto before we found what we needed.

 We got home at 8pm, just in time to skype with Becky. It was fun to visit with her and her family. We sure miss those kids. We got to see them weekly before the mission. Corgon keeps asking us when will we be coming home.