Monday, July 25, 2016

Monday, July 18, 2016
Today, we spent the day in the office. We had our office meeting this morning, then worked on medical, housing and Spanish. We had a meeting with President Poncio at the end of the day about our work in Trinidad, Condega and Somoto. With the Koellikers now in the mission and their focus on the Esteli District, we wanted to know what the President wanted us to do, as we had also been working in the Esteli District. He shared with us his vision. He would like to create two Districts, one in the Esteli area and another in the Ocotal area. The District President has been in place for 12 years. The district has been growing so there are now a lot of units (8 branches, 4 groups) for him to cover. I don’t thing President Acervedes has much help. He has counselors, but I have not seen members of a district council. He seems to be very tired and discouraged. Anyway, President Poncios idea is for the Koellikers to work the southern units and for Sister Bell and I to work the northern units. This will not be much different than what we are doing now a we have been going north most week-ends. The blessing is that we can stay with the Koellikers in Esteli instead of having to pay for motels out of our own pocket. This will help the finances considerably. Hopefully, the Koellikers won’t get tired of us very soon.  

Tuesday, July 19, 2016
Today is the Day of Liberation in Nicaragua, a National Holiday. The streets in our area were empty and there were very little people in our office building. We spent the day working in the office on Medical issues, housing and Spanish.

The Lees invited us for dinner and games at their house. We played 5 Crowns…. Michelle won and I lost. Nothing ever changes…… 

Wednesday, July 20, 2016
We had another day very similar to yesterday, Medical, Housing, Spanish…. Except we stayed home in the evening. We did take the car in for service…. $150 worth.

Thursday, July 21, 2016
Got a haircut this morning…. That’s exciting. We also went to the bank…. We are rich again…. Worked on medical and housing in the office. We are looking forward to tomorrow when we hit the road again.

Friday, July 22, 2016
We spent the morning shopping and then after lunch we left for the north country. We went to Matagalpa (about 2 hours from Managua) to deliver some Books of Mormon. Matagalpa is in a beautiful mountain valley. It is cooler there. The missionaries tend to have foot problems here because of the many hills they have to climb. Mostly the sisters have problems because they don’t have good walking shoes. Style over function, when will they ever learn…..

President and Sister Poncio were there giving interviews, so we got to visit with them about a couple of missionary health issues.

We then went to Esteli (about 1.5 hours from Matagalpa). We are staying with the Koellikers in their new house. It is nice not to have to pay for a motel. As soon as we showed up, they left for a meeting with a member of the branch presidency of the El Rosario Branch and the full time missionaries assigned to that branch. They will be working in this branch for 6 weeks and then work in another branch. There are three branches in Esteli. El Rosario has about 600 members but only about 50 attend any meetings. So they have a lot of work to do.

We have two options for sleeping; a king bed in the spare bedroom or twin beds in the maids room in the back. The spare bathroom is attached to the maids room in the back. Our choice is the king bed but use the maid’s bathroom, so we don’t have to share a bathroom. We will have to see which choice our hosts give us. (We got the king bed and the maids bathroom. We sleep straight through the night, we haven’t done that in years….)

Saturday, July 23, 2016

We went to the Salta Estanzuela, a waterfall outside of Esteli this morning. We paid C$25 per person
to get in and then we walked about a quarter mile to the bottom of the falls. It was very pretty and peaceful. We saw acouple of girls at the top of the falls, so when we were leaving we talked to them and they told us how to get there. We climbed a mountain, without much of a trail. We finally got to the top and made our way down to the creek. It was very beautiful with pools and small waterfalls. We found an easier trail out to the road and our vehicle. We were grateful we found an easier way out because none of us were excited about climbing the mountain again to get back to the car. We bought a small vase at a store across the street and then drove through the small town of Estanzuela before going back to Esteli. 

After a shower and lunch, we went to Somoto for the first priesthood meeting in this newly organized branch. We held it on the porch of the Branch Presidents house. There are three Priesthood holders, one is the Branch President and two boys that were deacons. The missionaries are going to sustain and ordain another man and 15-year-old boy to the Aaron Priesthood tomorrow. I taught the lesson about what is the Priesthood, the difference between the authority and power of the Priesthood, and what it takes to use the Priesthood appropriately. I plan to teach 8-10 lessons to these small branches/groups to help the brethren understand the Priesthood and prepare to lead these newly formed branches.

We then went to Condega for the Friendshipping Meeting. Elder Scaggs taught a lesson about the Sacrament and then played a game. He comes up with the most entertaining games. This game had two people standing facing each other, with the arms stretched up, touching each other, forming a church. Then one person stands underneath them, being a member inside the church. There was one person that was out. This person yelled Iglesia, Santa Cena or Apostacia. If they said Iglesia, then the persons who were the churches had to move and create new churches. The person that was out tried to become a church, therefore leaving another person out. If the person yelled Santa Cena, then the people in the middle had to move, with the person who was out, trying to find a free spot inside a church, leaving another person out. If the person yelled Apostacia, then everyone had to move. It was a lot of fun. Where does he come up with these games…. He is amazing.

We visited the home of the grandmother of some of the new members. She has been investigating the church for a couple of months but has had a difficult time stop drinking coffee. She had not been feeling well, so we gave her a blessing. Elder Thackeray anointed her in English and Elder Scaggs sealed the anointing in Spanish and gave her a wonderful blessing.

Sunday, July 24, 2016
Happy Pioneer Day…. We started with a baptism in Condega. A young 11-year-old girl was baptized in the River. We started with singing “I am a Child of God”. The members that were there did not know this song, so Sister Bell and I sang it for them. Then Elder Scaggs had us sing together all the verses. They seemed to pick up the song very well. Then Elder Thackeray found a deep spot without any rocks and performed the baptism.  She was confirmed that afternoon in Sacrament Meeting by Elder Scaggs. 

After the baptism, we picked up the chairs at the store where the Elders rent them and helped set up the sewing factory for church. While the Elders went to their lunch appointment,

Sister Bell and I found a quiet spot outside of town and eat our lunch, P&J sandwiches prepared by Sister Koelliker. It was such a nice spot that Sister Bell and I had short naps.

Sister Bell talked in Sacrament meeting and related her experience with the Elder in Puerto (see our narrative of this about a week ago). After Sacrament meeting, I gave a short lesson about the Priesthood to the whole group. I was going to give this lesson only to the perspective priesthood holders after Sunday School, but the SS teacher had to work and couldn’t give his lesson, so I gave my Priesthood lesson to the whole group instead. This was the same lesson I gave in Somoto on Saturday. I am always amazed how easy it is to talk when I am teaching the gospel. Well, I shouldn’t be amazed…. We just receive more tender mercies when we are doing the Lord’s work.
After we took the chairs back, we headed for Esteli. Sister Koelliker had dinner ready for us, so we eat, packed up and headed for home. We got home about 9:30pm. The Koellikers have been such nice hosts. We enjoyed staying with them much more than staying at a motel. We just hope we don’t wear out our welcome.

Although these week-ends trips are long, we love being in the mountains and visiting/helping in these small branches and groups. This is our favorite part of our mission.  


  1. It has been a pleasure to work with your son, unfortunately, he is being transferred. He will be great as a zone leader but we will miss him in Condega.