Monday, October 17, 2016
We spent the morning in the office, attending the office meeting and working on the application from a young man who is preparing for a mission from La Dalia, which is outside of Matagalpa. He had a few problems with his application so I provided feedback to the missionaries who will pass it onto him. We spent the afternoon in the hospital. We plan to go back this evening to play games. Fun… I hope I win (but as usual I didn’t win).
I had another small piece of Utah Truffles that John sent us. I am trying to spread it out as long as possible. It was sooooooooo good. Thanks John.
Tuesday, October 18, 2016
We were going to go the multi-zone conference in Estela to teach about feet, but our sick missionary who has been in the hospital was released today, so she and her mini-missionary companion came to our house to stay for a few days while she gets her strength back. She is doing well and we are happy to have two sparkling young people in our home. They make us feel young. We got batteries for the new otoscope which John sent. Thanks, John. The light went on when we put in the batteries and it works great. Now all is needed is some sick ears to look into.
We made microwave lasagna tonight. It was really good. We are learning microwave recipes so we can send good and easy microwave recipes to the missionaries. We have been stressing good diets for about 6 weeks now, trying to get the missionaries to eat better. We didn’t think any were interested in the recipes until one of the sister missionaries mentioned she was printing copies and trying them. So we began to send them again. Maybe we are making a difference.
Wednesday, October 19, 2016
We had a multi-zone conference in Managua today. Sister Bell and I taught a lesson about taking care of our feet. We then had a test of which I gave out small chocolates for correct answers. Then we showed the “8 vasos de aqua video” and everyone sang along. We had fun. The rest of the conference was about obedience. President Poncio talked about many of the inappropriate things that the missionaries are doing, such as facebooking, talking to each other, going outside their area without permission, and the Elders and Sisters doing things together without permission. The President then talked about how to be better missionaries and by the end of the meeting everyone was uplifted and rededicated. Sister Bell had a few missionaries that needed to visit with her. We then took a missionary to the hospital to have a boil taken care of. Now we are home. The mini missionary is cooking a traditional dinner of galo-pinto (rice and beans), chicken and fried bananas… delicious.
Thursday, October 20, 2016
We left the house at 6am and arrived in Esteli a little before 9am, just in time for the Multi-zone conference. These are the three zones we work with the most, Ocotal, Esteli and Matagalpa. We have developed a great love for this area and the missionaries that serve here. We brought white shirts and ties for Condega, a small hymn book for Yunior in Jinotega, several English Book of Mormons for the latinos that want to learn English and a lot of Off.
Sister Bell and I did our presentation about feet and drinking 8 glasses of water. It went well. After lunch, the President asked several of the missionaries that are going home next week to bear their testimonies. Two we have worked with a lot and have a great love and respect for them; Elder Hobbs, one of the zone leaders in Matagalpa and Elder Baltimore, one of the zone leaders in Ocotal. They both bore wonderful testimonies. They are both very hard working Elders. Elder Hobbs told us he expects a lot of his missionaries, which is why Matagalpa is one of the top zones in the mission. Elder Baltimore really cares for his missionaries. He calls and checks up on them when they are sick and shows real compassion for them. His missionaries really love him. Their zone is usually the top zone, partly because he cares so much. We will miss them. This is a small group leaving next week, about 12 missionaries, but 7 are leaders and will be missed.
Friday, October 21, 2016
We started out with our change meeting. We have changes this week-end. There are about 14 missionaries leaving and 15 coming. We reviewed all the changes. We are closing three apartments and opening one new apartment, which I need to coordinate. I will begin doing that on Monday. Several of our younger missionaries are serving as leaders. I have been impressed with how dedicated they are, and apparently the President has been impressed with their progress as well. He is calling the obedient and hard workers as leaders, not just those with the most time in the mission.
An exciting thing happened today. We found out that the South Mission is renting the casita next to ours for the new couple that is coming to their mission next week. That will be really fun having them next door. Also, we found out that their mission nurse is leaving in two weeks and their new nurse won’t be coming until December. So Sister Bell offered to help Sister Brown, the Mission Presidents wife when she has medical issues she can’t handle.
Saturday, October 22, 2016
We started the day taking our sick missionary to the airport. We left the house at 5pm, having gotten up at 3:30am (although I woke up at 2:30am and couldn’t go back to sleep, so my day started really early). We were sad to see her go but she was feeling really good about her time in Nicaragua and was at peace. She is committed to go home and heal.
We then took her mini missionary home to Matagalpa. She lives with her aunt whom she lived with most of her life. Her mother lives close to her and she has a wonderful relationship with her, but for some reason (I am sure she explained why she lives with her aunt but I didn’t understand a lot she was saying) her aunt raised her. We had the opportunity to meet her aunt when we dropped her off at her home. She seems like a wonderful woman. The mini missionary is waiting for her full time mission call to come. She was hoping it would come while she was in Managua, but unfortunately it didn’t. We will have to get it to her as soon as it comes.
We then headed for Trinidad to teach piano lessons. The girls are progressing. After that we headed for Somoto. We met with President Alaniz and talked with him for an hour, mostly about holding only one Sacrament Meeting instead of two. Now they have a place big enough to combine the two groups into one, they didn't have enough chairs to bring both groups together, so last week they held two Sacrament Meetings. But they got chairs so he wants to begin tomorrow. We also decided to hold all three meeting. So we then went to Hermana Natalia, the RS President, home, to talk about holding a RS meeting. This will be the first RS meeting in the branch. Sister Bell will show one of the talks from the Woman’s General Conference meeting. We taught her how to conduct a meeting. Most of these members have never conducted a meeting or attended a RS meeting, so we have to train them.
We then headed for Pueblo Nuevo where we had a Priesthood Preparation Class scheduled at 5pm. The sunset was beautiful.
The area has a lot of brick makers. The pour the mud into forms and lay them out to dry. Then they fire the bricks in a big outdoor oven and cook them and then lay them out to cool.
When we got there, the Elder’s told us it was at 6 pm so we took them to dinner. We had fried chicken, rice and a salad. The salads are made with cabbage, not lettuce. After dinner we had three men come to the class. We reviewed what we had learned previously because one of the men hadn’t been to a lot of the classes. Then we talked about the oath and covenant of the Priesthood. We identified our responsibilities and the blessings promised if we live up to our side of the covenant. Then we talked about the warning. That concerned them. I thought they would all get up and leave, but they stayed and we talked about how Heavenly Father and the Savior are forgiving and want to help us be successful. They seemed to be more comfortable about getting the Melchezidek Priesthood after that discussion. Elder Arias will be moving to Matagalpa to be a new zone leader. He will do great but will be missed in PN. His companion also is new, having been a senior companion for only one change.
We arrived at the Koellikers home about 8:30 pm and visited with them until about 10 pm. I began to fall asleep while we were sitting on the couch visiting, so it was time to go to bed. We had a sweet spirit today as we did the Lord’s work.
Sunday, October 23, 2016
We had a very long but enjoyable day. We started by going to Condega to show the Woman’s General Conference session to the Relief Society. We held it at Rosa’s house, one of our stronger members. She is a young single mother who teaches the gospel Principles class. We only had a few people there, two women, one man, one boy and one young woman, plus the missionaries and Sister Bell and I. But those that were there enjoyed the session very much. Elder Thackeray is going to Puerto Cabeza. He is tall, white but the people love him in Condega and the people will love him in Puerto Cabeza. The people will miss them here. They moved Sacrament Meeting up to 11am so that Elder Thackeray could catch an early afternoon bus to Managua. So Sister Bell and I stayed for Sacrament Meeting. It started ½ hour late (as usual). The Elders are pretty discouraged because the attendance in Sacrament Meeting is down and several of the members have been having problems. We assured the missionaries that things will improve. I got to talk and talked about the blessings of repentance.
We then went to Somoto. We attended the first combined Branch Sacrament Meeting in their new building. It was wonderful. After we had a gospel principles class and then we split to have RS and Priesthood. Sister Bell showed Sister Binghams talk in the General Womans Conference Session and I taught the Priesthood class. It was an historic occasion and we felt very blessed to be there with all the members in one location.
We are sad because Elder Howland and Elder Noguiera are leaving. We love these missionaries but they will be a real asset to Chinandega, where they are going. Elder Howland is going to be a senior companion. He too is new but ready. We had dinner at the Koellikers on our way home and arrived home at 10pm.
We gave two Book of Mormons away this week-end. The first was to the neighbor of the missionaries in Pueblo Nuevo. We have talked with him several times, as he seems to be out rocking in his rocking chair every time we are in PN. This time we had a longer conversation. He owns a farm outside of town and is usually at the farm in the early morning to mid-afternoon, therefore he is usually home when we come by in the late afternoon. He said he went to church (Catholic) for a long time but hasn’t gone much recently. He has also been a leader in the community. I invited him to Church and we gave him a Book of Mormon. He seemed very interested.
The other Book of Mormon was given to a gas station attendant in Condega. We have stopped there several times to use the restroom. This time we asked him if he liked to read. He said yes, so we gave him a BofM and explained a little about it. He was looking through it as we drove away. We will see if he is reading when we stop again in two weeks.