Tuesday, September 6, 2016

Monday, August 29, 2016 to Sunday, September 4, 2016

Monday, August 29, 2016
We went shopping for pants with Hermana Gould and Hermana Willes. All the sisters have been approved to wear pants in areas of the world where mosquito borne diseases are prevalent. There are not very many places in Ocotal for the Sisters to buy pants, so they took advantage of being in the city with some time on their hands. Both bought 2 pairs of pants, Sister Bell bought a blouse and I bought a tie. A good shopping day. We ended the day at TGIF. The Hermanas had a great time. We also took a fan to an Elder in Waspan and new mattresses to Elders in Rene Polance.

Tuesday, August 30, 2016
We took Sister Willes to a leader’s conference at the Waspan Chapel (she is a sister leader). We kept Sister Gould with us for the day. Sister Bell was her companion (and since I am Sister Bells companion, I guess I was Sister Gould’s companion too). We went back to the office for a few hours, but while we were there, we received our scripture covers and ties from Guatemala. We ordered them about two months ago through some of our Guatemalan missionaries.
They cost us $66.00. But they are beautiful.  Then we went home for lunch and back to Waspan to pick Sister Willes up.
That night after dinner, we watched the 17 miracles movies. Sister Gould had gotten it in a “care” packet and had not seen it. It reminds me that we really don’t have it too bad in Nicaragua.

Wednesday, August 31, 2016
We took the Hermanas to the bus stop and said good-bye. They were a delight to have in our home and we miss them already. We sent them away with a sack lunch after feeding them a good breakfast… the last prepared breakfast they will probably have for a while. Doesn’t Sister Willes look good in her new pants?

We were invited to Lees tonight for lasagna and games (6 card golf). Elder Lee won…. Miracles still happen.

Thursday, September 1, 2016
We spent the day in the office doing the following things:
·         Talked to Roger Perez in the facilities management group about a purchase of housing items such as fans (40), mirrors (10), DVDs (60), mattresses (20), and stoves (20). We started trying to make this order about 4 months ago, without success. Finally, we figured out the process, got the order sent and now are receiving the items…. This afternoon hopefully.
·         Then I called our insurance company in the United States about an insurance issue. We have a missionary that has an ingrown toe-nail that needs out-patient surgery on Wednesday. The hospital that he is going to, used to take our insurance, but now doesn’t. AETNA, our insurance company has been trying to fix the problem and they have told us that they have. So this is our test case. The hospital has received the guarantee of payment and has told AENTA that they would honor it…. So we shall see next Wednesday.
·         I also found several Western Union offices in Managua and Chinandega, just in case they change their minds and want payment. If we can’t wire money, then Sister Bell and I will have to make a quick trip to Chinandega (3 hours north west) to pay the bill. Hopefully, all will go as planned.
·         I completed an inspection form that we can use when we inspect missionary apartments. Sister Bell and Sister Lee have looked at it. I will have Sister Koelliker look at it and then give to the mission President for a final review.
·         I contacted our piano students in Trinidad and asked them to invite the three young people who want to begin piano lessons to come at 4pm tomorrow, an hour after our piano lessons with her current students.
·         I gathered the items we need to take tomorrow to Esteli for Zone conference.
·         Then we talked with President and Hermana Poncio about various medical issues.
·         Sister Bell talked to sick missionaries, charted, made doctors’ appointments for missionaries and ordered Payment guarantees from the insurance companies.
·         She made copies of the handouts she needed for her presentation tomorrow.

This is a sample of what we do when we are “stuck” in the office.

Friday, September 2, 2016

Happy Birthday Meena…

We left the house at 6am heading for Esteli for a multi zone conference. We gave our presentation on Zika. It went well and only took 17 minutes, three minutes less than assigned. The highlight of the conference was when the Koellikers told about themselves and what they are doing. Elder Koelliker did most of the talking but Sister Koelliker did most of the acting.

Sister Bell taught three piano lessons in Trinidad, picking up another student; a young girl named Carol. We think she is probably 11 years old.

Then we returned to Esteli for a District Priesthood Meeting. We had the new branch presidency from Trinidad and one Priesthood holder from Condega. President Poncio attended and talked for about 45 minutes. He is such a gifted teacher that he had us all spell bound for the full time…. Spell bound with the Spirit that is.

Sister Koelliker had a late dinner prepared for us. She is such a wonderful host. We really appreciate their willingness to allow us to stay in their spare bedroom most every week-end. We brought frozen blueberries as a token of our appreciation.

Saturday, September 3, 2016
We took a little time this morning to explore the area. We went to Ducuale, a small town north of Condega where they had a “Taller Comunal de Ceramic de Ducuale”. This is a small community owned business that makes ceramic products. We had seen a sign on the main highway advertising this business. When we got there, we found it closed, but a lady who lives above the business came down to open it up. They are open Monday through Friday. They have 9 people who work there, but have had as many as 29 people working there. Unfortunately, they don’t have any younger people learning the business to take over when these older people die or at least “retire”. This lady showed us how they make the ceramic bowls, plates, etc. It was quite interesting. She even turned a bowl on a pottery wheel while we watched. It took only 3 minutes to turn a lump of clay into a bowl. We bought a few pieces, a pitcher and a serving plate.

After lunch at Rosti Pollo in Esteli, Sister Bell and I went to Congeda. We met Elders Spence and Thackeray. We took them around to invite members to attend the Noche de Hermanimiento. We did have one quick lesson to an investigator about tithing. We then visited a home, where the girls have been baptized but the mother is still taking the lessons. The girls were really excited to see us and in fact had just asked a couple of days earlier why we hadn’t been by. Maybe we are making a difference. The mothers mother (Laurdress) is also taking the lesson. I had a strong impression about two days ago to teach Laurdress the story of the rich young man.  I wasn’t sure when we would have the chance to go by her home, so I was really excited when she came by her daughter’s home when we were there. I related this story which is; a young rich man asked the Savior what he needed to do to gain Eternal Life. The Savior told him to keep the commandments, which the young man said he was. He then asked what else he should do, and the Savior told him to sell all he had and follow him. This young man couldn’t do it because he loved his riches. We then discussed several principles that are taught in this story. One is that the Savior is always asking us to become better, grow line upon line and we discussed the next steps they needed to take to grow line upon line, such as baptism. We then discussed those things in our life that are keeping us from receiving all the blessings that the Lord wants to give us. In this particular case it is coffee that the grandmother is having a hard time giving up. We told her we were proud of her because she has gone from 20 cups a day to 3 and encouraged her to now quit all together. We truly have grown to love her and keep telling her we want to attend her baptism. Each week we ask the Elders if she is going to be baptized and are disappointed when they tell us no.

We then went to the Noche de Hermanimiento. There were about 25 people, which is the most we have seen at one of these events. Afterward we went to the house of Hermano Noe. He is being called tomorrow as the Priesthood teacher and his wife is being called as the RS teacher. They have also been given the assignment to help organize the Priesthood and RS. We discussed their responsibilities, giving them counsel and direction. It was just Sister Bell and I doing this as the missionaries went to other appointments. We communicated very easily. The gift of tongues was truly with us tonight. We understood them and they understood us. They feel very overwhelmed, which is understandable since they have only been members for less than a year. We gave them manuals and told them we would return regularly to help them.

We got back to the Koellikers home at 9pm.

Sunday, September 4, 2016

Today didn’t go as planned but it went as it was supposed to go and we got everything done that we were inspired to do. Let me explain…. We were planning on going first to Somoto to help President Alaniz sustain a new RS Presidency. This is the first time he has sustained anyone. We had reviewed the process with him last week, and we planned to be there when he sustained them in Sacrament Meeting.  Then we were going to Condega for their Sacrament Meeting at 2pm. The missionaries had permission from the El Rosario Branch President to sustain and set apart teachers for the Priesthood, RS and SS. So we planned to be there for that as well.

While praying this morning, I had the distinct impression that we needed to be in Somoto this afternoon so we began to adjust our schedule. Then sister Bell received a phone call from a missionary in Dario, which is an hour south of Esteli. He needed medicine right away. She told him to look for a pharmacy that would be open early on Sunday morning and look for the medicine. They looked but couldn’t find a pharmacy that was open and had the medicine. So we changed our plans again. We found a pharmacy that was open and purchased the medicine. We then headed for Dario. We arrived at about 10am, just in time to hear Sister Lee (Elder Lee is the Branch President in Dario) bare her testimony in Spanish. We then bore our testimonies. After Fast and Testimony meeting, we greeted the members, gave the medicine to the Elder and then headed north.

We knew the Lord wanted us in Somoto, (based on the impressions I received this morning in my prayer), so we stopped in Condega to make sure Elder Spence knew how to sustain and set apart these three members in their new callings. He felt pretty confident after our mentoring session so we left for Somoto. We got their alittle early and took Elder Mendez and Noguiera around to some of their investigators to invite them to come to Church. President Alaniz was not there for the afternoon Sacrament Meeting, so Elder Mendez conducted the meeting and sustained the new RS presidency. I was able to provide some mentoring to the missionaries who had recently received assignments in the branch leadership. Elder Mendez is a counselor in the branch presidency. Elder Gallo is the Elders Quorum President. Elder Noguiera is the young men’s President and Elder Howland is the branch clerk. I was able to give each some counsel about their assignments and help them identify things they can do to magnify these assignments. The missionaries were alittle down because they did not have many investigators out to church, so we tried to cheer them up alittle. We both bore our testimonies and hopefully gave this little group a boost.  Sister Bell was able to play the keyboard for prelude and the hymns for the meeting.  The little branch feels very fortunate to have a keyboard.  Many branches, even those with buildings do not have keyboards. It was not obvious why the Lord needed us in Somoto this afternoon, but we went and did what we felt was needed.

We ate dinner at the Koelliker’s in Esteli and arrived home about 9pm. We drove about 8 hours today covering almost 500 miles. We are tired but felt that we did all that the Lord inspired and needed us to do, although none of it was how we planned to do it. But we were able to visit with all that we felt inspired to talk to and deliver the messages that we were impressed to give. Each of these impressions came earlier in the day or week, but the Lord got us and the persons together sometime this week-end.  We have felt His hand directing His work through us.  


  1. Well done. I love that feeling of knowing I have done everything I could and have no regrets. 500 miles in a day is exhausting. I love the picture of you two with the two Sisters in front of Apt #2. Is this your home? I also really like the bright colored ties, they look hand woven. Elder Bell will look electric, . I'm betting those colors and that general appearance give a fair representation of the culture?

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  3. I love how bright and happy your house is. Those ties and scripture cases will never get lost. So bright and happy. I live that you have been able to have safety in your travels and are able to reach out to all those around you such a blessing!!!