Monday, September 19, 2016
We went to the Dental Clinic at the Hospital Metropolitano this morning. We had a missionary who had broken his retainer (which he shouldn’t have had in the mission) and needed it fixed. So we made an appointment with an Orthodontists. We needed to go to pay, since he hadn’t received money from home yet. When he got the money from his folks, he would pay the mission back (the church does not pay for dental work). So we went early and waited and waited and waited. Apparently, they got lost and didn’t arrive until 9:30. The doctor had other patients to see in another clinic, but was very gracious to wait for them. He removed the remaining parts and set another appointment for later in the week. We were not happy with these Elders. But we could have prevented this by making sure they had better instructions on where the hospital was. So we quickly forgave them.
One of my assignments is to help the locals (in the three Districts) prepare their mission papers. One of the young men that I have been helping is Yunior Gonzalez from Jinotega. He has been calling me about every few days since he sent his papers in late last month. His call came today to the Facilities Management Office, so we went and got it. We called him; he was so excited. We can take it to him on Friday unless he comes up with another way to get it sooner.
I have another all ready to go, a young woman from Matagalpa. All she needs now is an interview with the President. We got another notice about another young man from Puerto Cabeza. The area office has sent his application back twice with instructions that he needs to see an Optometrist. His vision is not very good and he needs glasses. We have another 20 or so in various stages of preparation.
Then we had to buy a new car battery, since ours finally died. It cost $166 US for a three-year battery. I am glad the Church reimbursed me for that expense.
Tuesday, September 20, 2016
This morning we had a “We are in Nicaragua” experience. We had several things that needed to be done and we outlined a very efficient way to accomplish them. They included helping the Sister Leaders get their house ready for new mattresses that they would be storing (30 minutes with travel time), picking up dirty sheets so Michelle could wash them (1 minute), buying medicine for a sick Elder and delivering it to him (30 minutes), dropping off a mission call at the office to be picked up by a future missionary who was traveling to Managua from Jinotega (15 minutes with travel time). We planned to be back at the office by 10 am. HOWEVER…. The first change came when the future missionary, Yunior Gonzalez called and asked if we could meet at a church by the airport. He was leaving early and would be in Managua by 7:30am, so we agreed to meeting him at 8am. We left at 7:30 for the normally 20-minute drive. We arrived at 8:30am. The traffic was terrible.
We then went to the Sister Leaders house, but when we got there, we found out that they had a meeting and couldn’t be at the house when the mattresses were supposed to be delivered, so we agreed to be there and borrowed a key so we could get in. We did pick up the dirty sheets and put them in the car. We then took the Sisters to Waspan, (where we had been earlier to give Yunior his mission call) because we had time before the mattresses were to be delivered. After we dropped them off, we called our church contact to find out when the mattresses were to be delivered. He said they had left and would be there at 10am. It was now 9:30, so we quickly drove back to the Sisters Apartment. We waited….. and waited….. and waited…… We called and were told they were 10 minutes away…. So we waited…. And waited…. And waited. We called again and they finally realized they went to the wrong neighborhood but were headed back to where we were. They finally arrived at noon.
It didn’t take long to unload, but we still had to buy medicine and drive back to Las Americas, which is by Waspan, which is where we had been twice already this morning. We called the missionaries, which by the way is another problem we will discuss at a later date. They were still at the church, so we bought the medicine and headed toward them. We found them walking to the bus stop. Success; the Elder got his medicine and Sister Bell was able to give him instructions on how to use it. Now we just had to get the keys back to Sister Walborn, the Sister Leader. She was close at the Waspan Church. We called and she was still there but was getting ready to leave… so we hustled over there in time to give her the key…. Finally, we got everything done we set out to do this morning…. It just took us 4 hours more than expected. Such is the life in Nicaragua.
By the way, Yunior is going to Guatemala and leaves November 16. He will be a wonderful missionary.
Wednesday, September 21, 2016
We worked from home today except for a trip to the store after lunch. Sister Bell had a tutoring session with Whitney Allen, her MTC tutor. With the internet at the house, we can do most everything we need to from home, except print.
Sister Bell washed sheets from the Sister’s house and old white shirts from the Elder’s house. We will take the white shirts and old ties to Pueblo Nuevo for new converts to use so they can pass the Sacrament. She also had to sew on about 14 buttons. Someone had taken some of the buttons from the shirts.
Thursday, September 22, 2016
This morning was clean out day at the Office Secretaries house. There are 5 Elders who live there presently, three Secretaries (one is leaving to be a Zone Leader in another week) and 2 Assistants. They host the Elders when they come to town and are the keepers of most of the supplies, many of which have become junk through age, use or not functioning. So Sister Bell and I went over this morning at 8am and began making a pile of junk on the street…. Old mattresses, frigs, fan parts, broken bed frames, old magazines and worn out clothes. There was quite a pile. We had Jonathan Estrada haul it away. I hope I can get out of bed tomorrow… my back is already tightening up.
Sister Bell got her first haircut in Nicaragua. She has been worried about this for some time and has been putting it off for weeks. But today we did it. She went to the salon where Hermana Collado went. She came out looking good. She said the best part was getting her hair washed and head massaged. She said they took 20 minutes and it was wonderful…. I wonder if they will wash men’s hair?
Lees are coming over for dinner and games. I hope I win. (I did win…. That doesn’t happen very often)
Friday, September 23, 2016
Well it finally happened. After not getting stopped by the police for almost 2 months, I got stopped just out of Managua for crossing a solid line (which I don’t remember doing). He gave me a ticket. It will cost me C$800 (about $28). I will need to find out from Betty Castro how to pay it.
It was raining very heavy on our way to Pueblo Nuevo. Therefore, we only had one Priesthood Holder brave the weather and come to our Priesthood Preparation Class. We should have had 6. So we taught the one…. We talked about Ministering of Angels. We gave him a white shirt and tie (taken from the Office Secretaries house) so he can help with the Sacrament on Sunday. After the lesson, we took the missionaries out to dinner, or I guess they took us. They eat every night at a local restaurant, so we went with them. We had carne asado, rice and cabbage salad.
We arrived at the Koelliker about 9:30pm.
Saturday, September 24, 2016
Sister Bell taught Carelys and Maria Clara this morning in Trinidad. They are to a point where it is getting alittle more difficult so they were alittle discouraged this morning. After the lesson, we went to see the building that the church is renting as the Trinidad Chapel. It is a home across the highway from the baseball stadium. It is a nice size for this little branch with room to grow. It will be a wonderful place for this little branch to worship. The person in the picture is Luis Pereda , the first counselor in the branch presidency.
Guess where we had lunch?
Then we headed for Somoto. We had a wonderful talk with the Branch President. We discussed many things, such as how to handle tithing money, branch counsels, making assignments to the Elders, general conference, Priesthood ordinations, etc. He was very grateful for the mentoring. We then visited with the new President and Secretary of the Relief Society. The President is the mother of the Secretary. They own a little store on the outskirts of town. We discussed with them what the RS is and how to get started. We also offered to bring the General Women’s Conference Broadcast to the Branch. They had not been set apart, so I helped the President do that. He gave wonderful blessings, especially for someone who is so new to the Church and this calling. While we were there, one of the RS Presidents grandsons, probably about 2, brought a baby live bird and put it in Michelle’s hands. She didn’t know what it was until he gave it to her. The bird sat there, ruffled it wings a little, then peed in her hand. She handed it back and quickly washed her hands.
We then picked up Elder Santizo and Elder Howland and visited their new chapel (it is still a home and the Church is still working on the lease agreement). They had not seen it yet, so the President and the Elders were really excited as well. It should work out well, at least for a few years. It is not as big as the Trinidad Building, but it is big enough for the members that are there now.
We watched the General Women’s conference tonight at the Koellikers home. We had the two sets of Hermanas with us. We watched it in English, but had another computer on in the study that was broadcasting in Spanish. Only one of the Latina Hermanas watched it in Spanish. I was very impressed with all the speakers, but especially Sister Binghams insights about Charity and President Uchtdorfs talk on Faith. We are looking forward to listening to general conference next Sunday. We will watch it from home in English. We live in a wonderful time, where we can be in Nicaragua and watch it live in the comfort of our own home…. Or the Koellikers home.
Sunday, September 26, 2016
We started in Pueblo Nuevo for Sacrament Meeting. The number of members in attendance is down from when we were there before. In fact, we have found that to be true with the other branches we are working with as well. We are not sure why. We had brought white shirts and ties. Two of the men that have been coming to the Priesthood Preparation classes, put on white shirts and tie and then passed the Sacrament. They did very well and felt very appreciative to beable to pass the Sacrament. I also talked. I showed pictures of the new chapels in Trinidad and Somoto and told them that someday they will have a chapel like that. I then talked about the things they need to do to prepare for that day, such as read and pray daily, share the gospel with others, and serve one another. We stayed for the Gospel principles class, gave the missionaries some advice and then left for Condega.
We found a shady spot along the road to eat out 2-day old peanut butter sandwiches. We tied in with Elder Spence and Thackeray in Condega in time to visit an investigator and get the chairs for the meeting. Sister Bell led the music and gave a talk about Family Home Evening. Then the Gospel Principles class was taught by Rosa, a new member. She is a young mother who has a strong testimony of the gospel. She bore her testimony and told about how her mother left when she was 4, how she joined another church but never left good about it, had her baby and found the gospel. She is very happy and feels peace. We also attended the RS and Priesthood meetings. They were taught by Noe Ramirez and Suyapa, his wife. They had been called a few weeks ago as the Priesthood and RS teachers. This was the only the second week to have separate Priesthood and RS meetings. In the Priesthood meeting, Noe taught about Priesthood Keys. I was glad I was there, because I was able to explain about Priesthood Keys. After church, we helped the missionaries return the chairs, gave advise and left for Esteli.
We eat Lasagna at the Koellikers and got about about 9:15pm.