Sunday, July 3, 2016

Monday, June 27 to Sunday July 3, 2016

Monday, June 27, 2016

After a busy week, it was nice to have a slow day in the office. We had our last office meeting with President Collado, mostly going over the schedule for tomorrow when President Poncio arrives. We gave the Collados a beautiful hand carved box with letters from the missionaries inside. Sister Bell and I are going to the airport along with the Collados and the Lees. We are looking forward to it.
L to R: Elder Neilson, Sister Leon, Elder Lee, Sister Ramos, Sister Lee, Elder Knight, Sister Collado, Elder Gonzalez, President Collado, Elder Ramirez, Sister Bell and Elder Bell. 

Tuesday, June 28, 2016

Today we started to the airport early to be there when the new Mission President was supposed to arrive, but half way there, we got a call from President Collado telling us there was a change in his flight and he won’t arrive until late tonight.

So we went to the office, did some work there for the morning. In the afternoon, we delivered some medicine to a missionary in Ciudadela a little town about an hour north east of Managua. We meet them in Tipitapa and then drove them to their area. Their area was a subdivision of Ciudadela. The roads were terrible, all dirt, with deep pot holes. It had rained so the roads were muddy as well. I am glad with have a vehicle with clearance. We needed it today.

On our way home, we decided to try a different route to try to avoid the traffic. It took us further south away from the city and then we got on another highway back to the city. The traffic was definitively less but some of the roads were gravel and in back shape. I don’t know if it saved us any time. However, in the middle of our trip back, we came to a junction in the road and Sister Bell was not sure which way to go. She said google did not provide her with enough detail to determine which way we should turn. So we pulled over to the side of the road and I took the phone. I enlarged the screen and could tell immediately which road to take. As we continued on, I thought a little about this experience and related it to many of the people of the world who either didn’t have the tools or didn’t know how to use it fully to tell which way to go. We are surely blessed to have the tools (scriptures… not just the Bible which is an incomplete record, modern prophets and the gift of the Holy Ghost) to know which way to go.

Tonight, we hosted a discussion with Salvador, one of our guards. Elder Lopez from Guatemala and Elder Casejah from Honduras, were the two missionaries who came and taught. Since we live in the south mission, they are from the south mission. But apparently the church is true in the south mission because they taught correct principles and taught with the spirit. There was a sweet spirit there as they talked about the Plan of Salvation. We have another appointment set for Thursday evening.

President Poncio and his family finally arrived at 11 pm tonight. They seemed to be very happy to be here. He is younger than I thought, probably in his late 40s. They have two children, a girl that is 17 and a son who is 16. The son will return to Guatemala for school but the daughter will stay in the mission field. She speaks a little English, for which we are grateful. President Collado was especially glad and happy. We could see the mantel (and the pressures of the mantel) leave him. We gave the Collados hugs as we left the airport and promised to see them in Pleasant Grove when we return in 20.5 months. We will miss them. Not only have they been our Priesthood leaders, they have become our friends.

Wednesday, June 29, 2016

We met with President Poncio for 10 minutes today. We told him briefly about the medical situation in the mission and then told him about a problem we have with AETNA and one hospital, discussed our training plans and discussed what we were doing for the Koellikers. Our time was up.

Thursday, June 30, 2016

We worked in the office this morning and then took mosquito nets around to the zones in Managua. It was a pretty quiet day.

David is having another lesson today in his home. He said it went well and he likes what he heard. His wife and daughters have not been part of the lessons but he said they will join him on Friday. We had another lesson with Salvador and the local missionaries here. They talked about the rest of the Plan of Salvation, including the spirit world, resurrection and the three degrees of glory. We talked specifically about eternal families, since his wife passed away about 2 years ago. He was very interested and said he was going to Church on Sunday. The missionaries at his home, the same ones that are teaching David, will continue teaching him. They had talked to him at his home on Wednesday.

Friday, July 1, 2016

We had a zone leader conference with the new President today. We went because we had to get some items from several of the zone leaders and distribute some items to others. Unfortunately, all but one had forgotten to bring the items to the conference. We left for a while and went shopping for Sister Bell. She didn’t buy anything, but I bought a new hat.
We then went back for a little while and then home. Sister Bell had a language tutor session. We went to the Lee’s for dinner and a game of Phase 10….. I won.

Saturday, July 2, 2016

Today we had an adventure. We left Managua about 7am this morning, heading for Matagalpa. We met with Ruddy Perez, a perspective missionary, to help him complete his missionary application. We spent almost 2 hours helping him and the Branch President complete their portions of the application. The only thing he lacks is his medical and dental exams.

Our next task was to drive to Somoto, which was north of Matagalpa a couple of hours. On the map, there is a highway that goes from Matagalpa through Jinotega to Condega, where we hit the Panamerican highway to Somoto. I tried several times to get google map to plot this route but it keep telling me to go back the way we came to Sebaco and then go north from there. Well, we wanted to see new country, and it was a National Highway, so we thought it would be OK. And it was….. until we got to San Rafael del Norte. Then it turned to gravel for the last 50 kms. It was rutty, rocky and very slow. I was just glad we didn’t get a flat tire. It took us 1.5 hours to go the last 50 kms. But the country side was beautiful, with a lot of farms, mostly on the side hills, as there was not a lot of flat land.
Most of these farms we hand planted and harvested. We saw beans, corn, bananas and several other crops we didn’t recognize. I was amazed how many people lived back in the hills. There were small homes along the whole route. Mostly made of bricks, mud and mortar, with mud floors. However, all had electricity and many had satellite dishes.

We got to Somoto in time to do some visits. We found out that Somoto was formed into a branch two weeks ago. We knew that it had been approved, but the last we heard was that the District President went there, interviewed two perspective Melchizedek Priesthood holders, didn’t ordain them because they weren’t ready and didn’t form the new branch. But apparently, President Collado, worked with the missionaries, I am assuming with the knowledge of the District President, called and set apart a new branch President. He is the only Melchizedek Priesthood holder in the branch. He doesn’t have counselors yet. We discussed principles of leadership and talked about how to lead a basic unit of the Church. We then visited two other families, one an investigator and another a member. Then we went to the Fellowshipping meeting they have every Saturday night. All was very enjoyable, even the pizza we bought the Elders before we left for Ocotal for the night at the La Frontera hotel. All was well… no flats and not police stops. Life is good (except I am getting a cold).

Sunday, July 3, 2016

Our first task today was to deliver supplies to the zone leaders, Elder Hirschi and Elder Familia in Ocotal. They needed to leave about 7am to pass by their investigators and remind them to go to church which starts at 9am.

We arrived in Somoto about 10 to pick up and take to church an investigator which is crippled. It is very hard for her to walk the 4 blocks to church. We also took her daughter and 2 grandkids. The first Sacrament Meeting was at the Branch Presidents home, actually on the porch of his home. We had 35 people there, which is a record for Somoto.

Sister Bell bore her testimony, telling about our family and why we went on a mission. I bore my testimony of the Book of Mormon, telling about the time on my mission when I was reading the Book of Mormon around a kerosene heater. While I was reading, I felt the spirit really strongly witnessing to me that the Book of Mormon was the word of God.

We attended the second Sacrament Meeting which is in a Sister’s home on the other side of town. They have two Sacrament Meetings because they don’t have a space large enough to accommodate all the people. There were about 60 people in attendance in the two meeting. The Church is looking for a building they can lease so both groups can meet together. Sister Bell spoke again, giving the same testimony she gave before. I also bore my testimony talking about aspen clones and they are all connected by the roots. I then told them that when the two groups get together, they should be like aspen roots, connected together. We sure love the people and the missionaries, and they seem to love us. I encouraged the members to bare their testimonies and 4 did. In the first meeting, only the Branch President, his daughter and the missionaries bore their testimony.

We got stopped by the police for the 6th time, 4th time while I was driving. I passed three slow trucks crossing a solid line. Two other cars came with me and all three were stopped. We know that one car was given a ticket. I don’t know if the third car got one or not. We were number two. The policeman said it will cost us C$1500 and when I told him I didn’t have a visa, he said it would cost me another C$1000. I told him we were missionaries, that Sister Bell is the nurse, that we were in Somoto helping and heading home to Managua. I also told him we had been in the country for 2 months. I think they don’t know how to deal with us, so they let us go with a caution. Someday my luck will run out…      

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