Sunday, October 30, 2016

Tuesday, October 25 to Sunday, October 30

Tuesday, October 25, 2016
We had the new missionary training this morning. We had 11 north American missionaries, 2 from Guatemala and 2 from Brazil arrive last night and this morning. We held the training at the mission home. The Mission Home is a couple of miles above the mission office in a secluded housing section. It is a very nice home with a wonderful view. We held our training on the patio. We showed the 10 commandment of health powerpoint to the North Americans. We planned to do the Latinos and Brazilians later in the morning after the Brazilians arrived. But they didn’t arrive until noon, so we had about 10 minutes to go through an hour of material. We basically gave them the handouts and told them to read them. We had Pizza Hut for lunch. The trainers came for lunch but they didn’t know who their companions were. After the President completed his interviews, he announced the assignments, and as usual, there was a lot of clapping, cheering and overall excitement.

The President has called several new missionaries to be trainers. Some had just completed their own training and are now training new missionaries. He also called several new missionaries to be leaders, both District and Zone leaders. He has great confidence in some of these new missionaries, as do we. 

Wednesday, October 26, 2016
Sister Bell had her tutoring session this morning with Whitney Allen. She really loves Whitney and their sessions and her advise has really helped her. She has been learning 8 words, 4 phrases and 4 verbs. She has been very dedicated to study these words every day. We go over them during our walks every morning. This has given her a lot of confidence. She is speaking more and more.

We took Sister Lee to lunch as Elder Lee had to fly to Puerto Cabeza to take the missionaries their passports. Several of them had to return to Managua to go to Immigration. We took Sister Lee to Rosti Pollo and had fajitas.

We ended up at the Emergency Room with one of our sisters. It was about 10 pm when she could leave so we took them home.

Thursday, October 27, 2016
We got a refrigerator from La Primavera and took it to the Sisters in Rotunda. But when we got to Rotunda, I was able to fix their existing refrig. so I didn’t have to leave the one I brought. I also had finances training from Roger Perez in preparation of helping President Alaniz count tithing money in Somoto.

Friday, October 28, 2016
We left Managua early so we could drive to Somoto and meet with the missionaries and President Alaniz. Our goal for the day was to count and deposit the tithing money he had been collecting for several months… since Somoto was made a branch. I have been very anxious to do this. But when we got to Somoto, we found out that he had another commitment and wasn’t there. So we met with the 4 missionaries, 2 of which are new, and discussed their responsibilities in the branch. So it wasn’t a total waste of a 4-hour trip. Then we got a call from Carelys from Trinidad, one of Sister Bells piano students. She had to cancel her piano lesson that we had scheduled for 4pm.  So we checked into the Hex Hotel and are relaxing. We are not staying with the Koellikers this week as the Lee’s are staying with them. We are all participating in the Esteli District Conference Saturday afternoon and Sunday.

Saturday, October 29, 2016
The Lee’s, Koellikers and us went back to the Estanzuela waterfall outside of Esteli. There was a lot more water this time than there was when we went the first time. There was so much water that we couldn’t get to the drop off at the top of the water fall like we did before. We still have a good time and enjoyed having an outing.


We had the Esteli District Conference today. At 3pm (which started at 3:30pm) we had the Priesthood Leadership Meeting. The Branch Presidency from Trinidad all came. It is really difficult for members from the outlying units to come both Saturday and Sunday. Most are working 6 days a week and don’t have money for bus fares for both days. The Church pays the outlying units to rent a bus using Church funds for Sunday, but not for Saturday.

The evening session was also wonderful. President and Sister Poncio again talked. President talked about the importance of being humble. Sister Bell played the keyboard for this session.
Afterward, we went to the Koellikers, with the Lees for dinner. Then to the Hotel.

Sunday, October 30, 2016
We started with a choir practice that began at 8am (actually at 8:30am). Sister Bell is accompanying the choir. We recruited the Lee’s and Sister Poncio and her kids to sing with us. We ended up with about 20 singers. The song turned out pretty good. It was a medley of Sisters in Zion and Armies of Helaman.  We also sang a prelude song.  It was Josph Smith's First Prayer sung to the melody of  Come Thou Font of Every Blessing,

The Conference was well attended, over 400 saints came. We loved seeing the saints from Somoto, Pueblo Nuevo, Condega and Trinidad and they were glad to see us. Even some of the members from Ocotal and Ciudad Dario, where we have attended a few times came up to us to say hello and ask when we were going to visit them again. It is great to love and to be loved. 

Afterwards, I was invited to sit in a meeting with President Poncio, the District President and all of the branch Presidents. We discussed how we could work together to help converts stay active in the Church. The Branch Presidents expressed concern that the missionaries were baptizing people too fast, that they weren’t converted enough before they were baptized. I have had this same concern.

Sister Bell and I were asked last night, why we “volunteer” for so many things. I have thought about this and here is my answer. We are here to help build the kingdom, primarily by helping keep the missionaries healthy. But there are many other ways to do help. Some of which we are assigned and others we find, such as playing the piano for conference, teaching piano, taking missionaries someplace or hauling supplies around. We are here to serve any way we can. There are a lot of things we can do to help the work move forward and we find joy in finding those things and doing them. 

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