Monday, October 31, 2016
Happy Halloween… there are a few stores here that sell Halloween stuff. David, our guard, said that Halloween is a day of parties, but we didn’t see evidence of this. The sisters brought treats for everyone and Hermana Poncio shared a ginger bread house with everyone in the office, so we did have a little flavor of the holiday. We attended the office meeting, talked to a few sick missionaries, went to the store, bank and distribution center, did laundry (Actually Sister Bell did the laundry, but I did help her hang clothes on the line), fold and iron clothes (again Sister Bell did this) and talked to Becky and Steve.
It was pure delight of seeing Steve’s children dressed up like Peter Pan characters. Avery was Tiger Lily, Heidi was Wendy, Dutch was Peter Pan and Nora was a mermaid from the lagoon. Ginger had created the costumes and they were adorable. It was fun to see the grandchildren and what they wore for Halloween mostly on Facebook. Isa looked adorable as Mini Mouse. Becky’s children were adorable as a kitty and a little pony. The Dynamite trio, a troll, and paw patrol came from Paul’s family. Synnova and Henry were magneto and quicksilver. Holidays are when we miss the grandchildren the most.
Tuesday, November 1, 2016
We picked up the mission call for Raudy Padilla, who is from Puerto Cabeza. The missionary packets come to the Church’s Management Group office here in Managua, where we pick them up and then deliver them to the missionary. They could be in any part of the mission. We usually get them to the local missionaries who then deliver them to the candidate. Today, we picked up Raudy’s missionary packet and took it to the Leaders training. which was going on today at the Waspan Chapel, here in Managua. We gave it to the Zone Leaders for Puerto Cabeza, who will deliver it to the missionaries in Raudy’s branch, who will give it to him. ( We learned later that Raudy is going to Honduras in early December). This is not an easy way to deliver mail, but the fastest and safest. Then we went to Los Laureles, another suburb in Managua to look at a missionary’s toe, but they were not at home. So we went to PriceSmart for lunch (hot dog and fries) and did some more shopping. It seems we go to PriceSmart about every week, sometimes for us and sometimes for the Koellikers. Today it was for us.
Tonight we hosted dinner and game night with the Lees and a new couple from the South Mission, Elder Ray and Hermana Anna Helbert from Southern California. They arrived last Friday. I gave them directions to our house, but they made two wrong turns and were headed toward Masaya. So we got them turned around and guided them to our house. They are a delightful couple. She is a native of El Salvador but has been in the States for 40 years. She is a convert of about 20 years. They told us their conversion story, which was very uplifting to hear. We ate Spaghetti and played 5 Crowns…. I won but not by much.
Wednesday, November 2, 2016
We met with a missionary at the Villa Flor chapel to check his ingrown toenail. Sister Bell decided he needed to have it worked on by a doctor. So he went to the hospital after lunch and we met them there. He had his toe nail fixed and we took him back home. I also got a haircut. I tried a new barber today. I have tried several since I have been here but none cut my hair like my barber back home. They have a hard time with my cowlick. I don’t know how Ron (my barber at home) did it but he could cut my hair in such a way that my cowlick stayed down. But the barbers here can’t do it. So I tried another. He couldn’t do it either, but I did like him better than the last one I tried. (From Michelle – I think it is the humidity. It not only sticks up, but when gets longer it goes in a little curl on the top of his head. It is pretty cute and funny, but Scott is not amused.)
Thursday, November 3, 2016
This morning I prayed that I would see Heavenly Fathers hand in our mission and I saw it tonight. We went to PriceSmart this evening to pick up some things for the Koellikers. We were going to go north on Saturday and come home on Sunday. However, we have been warned from several people that Sunday is not a good day to be out traveling because it is election day. Apparently, the opposition gets upset on Election Day after losing. The Mission President has set a curfew for the missionaries for this week and next week… that is to be in our homes by 7:30pm. We had our weekend schedule all worked out to stay in Esteli on Saturday night, being at the Koellikers by 7:30pm; staying again on Sunday night and driving home on Monday. However today, Elder Lee got a call from the missionaries in Ciudad Dario, warning the Lees not to come to Dario on Sunday (he is the Branch President) because of potential unrest. Elder Lee called President Poncio and he was instructed to stay home on Sunday. Elder Lee asked about us and we got the same instructions. Well, I had the week-end all outlined and needed to do a few things in Somoto, Condega and Pueblo Nuevo. Therefore, we moved our trip up a day. So we are leaving on Friday and coming back on Saturday. Therefore, we went to PriceSmart to get a few groceries for the Koellikers.
Well, back to my story. On our way home from PriceSmart, we have to go around a roundabout. We are seeing more roundabouts in the US, they are circles in the middle of the street and you have to go around it, allowing other cars to merge in as there is room. There are many here, particularly at the major intersections. Well, we were turning left at this roundabout, which means we have to go three quarters around the roundabout that then turn right. I was in the inside lane, which is where I needed to be and had to cross two lanes (there are three lanes at this roundabout) to make my turn. The cars coming the other direction should wait until I cross the lanes and enter the side street. So all was going well until I began to cross the other lanes. The cars coming the other direction began to come into the roundabout as if they didn’t see me. I missed the first car by breaking, but the second car was also coming fast. I moved to miss it and then there was a bus in the outside lane. I barely missed it and finally made my way into the side street. It was a miracle that we missed hitting any of the cars and not being hit ourselves. Well, I asked to see the hand of the Lord today…. And I sure saw it.
Friday, November 4, 2016
We spent 4 hours processing tithing in Somoto this afternoon. There were 25 donations from June through October. The missionaries were all there helping. Elder Simpson opened the envelopes with President Alaniz, Elder Baez inputted the information into a spreadsheet on my computer (they don’t have their own computer yet, nor the internet, so they couldn’t input directly into MLS), Elder Santizo helped with this and Elder Nelson supervised. Even with all this help, it took 2.5 hours to process the donations. This was a learning experience and next time they have to count tithing, it should be a quick affair.
After that, President Alaniz, Sister Bell and I went to the bank to deposit the money. We waited in line for over an hour just to find out that this account was at another bank. They sent us to another bank. The first bank did call ahead and explain that we had waited for an hour so the second bank agreed to let us get in the front of the line. When we got there, they let us cut in. But when we got to the teller, we were told that this was not the right bank either. At this point, I called my church contact in Managua who explained that there has been a change in the ownership of the banks and neither one was the right bank. The closest bank is now in Ocotal, 30 km from Somoto. Someone will have to make the trip to Ocotal weekly to deposit the money. I now have the money and will deposit it in Esteli in the morning.
One our way to Pueblo Nuevo from Somoto, we passed a basket maker on the side of the road. He was making baskets out of bamboos and selling them for harvesting coffee beans. We bought one for $60 Cords, which is about $2.00. We are not using it for harvesting coffee but for putting our walking shoes into it.
We see rice and bean drying pads all over the north. They are large cement pads where they spread the beans/rice to dry. They turn the rice/beans with hand scrappers, then shovel into bags when dry. It is all done manually.
We had another Priesthood Preparation class in Pueblo Nuevo. We had 4 members, three that have come for several weeks and a new convert, plus the missionaries, Elder Esquivel and Elder Chinchilla. So we had a review and then talked about magnifying our callings. There was a sweet spirit there. I find that I can communicate pretty well when I am teaching. I still struggle to understand all that they are saying, but I do get the general idea. I am waiting for the day, when I realize that I can understand all that is being said and can say anything that I want to say. Hopefully, that comes before we go home in 16 months.
We stayed with the Koellikers, arriving about 7:30pm. Sister Koelliker had cooked a Lasagna dinner…. Fabulous.
Saturday, November 5, 2016
We slept very well, which we always do in Esteli. The extra bed is soft and it is cooler. We stopped at the bank this morning and deposited the money from Somoto. I feel much better not having this money on my person. Then we went to Trinidad. Sister Bell taught Carelys and Maria Clara another piano lesson. She reports that they are catching on very well. I visited with President Cruz (their father and branch President) and Luis (his first Counselor). The branch is moving forward, but they are disappointed that there are no men joining the Church, just a lot of women and children. I found out today, that they now have a primary. They are moving forward.
We make a quick stop in Ciudad Dario on our way home to pick up the Church’s computer and printer. Apparently they are not working properly. The drive today was uneventful. It was nice to be driving in the daylight and not be in a hurry to get someplace. The Malinche trees are in full bloom with huge bright orange blossoms. They are beautiful.
Sister Bell sent a missionary to the Doctor with an eye problem. Initially, she was going to treat it differently but asked the missionary to send her a picture. When she saw it she changed her mind and sent him to the doctor. The doctor reported that it was an eye infection in the early stages and said if they had waited longer, it could have been much worse. Another good call, Sister Bell.
Sunday, November 6, 2016
We went to the La Catroce Ward this morning at 8am. Sister Staker and Sister Jimenez are the missionaries in that ward. We enjoyed the meeting and we both bore our testimonies. Sister Bell bore her testimony without notes. She did very well. I talked mostly about the Prophet Joseph Smith. Sister Bell and I had been listening to the Mormon Channel while we traveled this week and listened to a program about the Prophet Joseph. I also read Elder Craig C. Christensen’s General Conference address about the Prophet Joseph. Therefore, the prophet Joseph was on my mind. In my testimony, I referred to this quote by Brigham Young. “It was decreed in the councils of eternity, long before the foundations of the earth were laid, that he should be the man, in the last dispensation of this world, to bring forth the word of God to the people and receive the fullness of the keys and power of the Priesthood of the Son of God. The Lord had his eye upon him…. For he was foreordained in eternity to preside over this last dispensation.” Of course, I read it in Spanish.
We then went to the Gospel Principles class. The lesson, which was taught by the Ward Mission Leader, was about fasting. We then went to the Villa Venezuela Ward, which met at the Villa Flor building a short distance away. We had been to this ward about a month ago. Sister Ruiz and Sister Pehrson are the missionaries in this ward. Sister Bell volunteered to play the piano, as there was no one there who could play. We also bore our testimonies. Again, Sister Bell did it without notes. We then attended the Gospel Principles class, which was on Chastity. Sister Ruiz taught it. There were two others in the class beside us missionaries, one was a male investigator and the other was a young man ward member. I thought Sister Ruiz dealt with this topic very well. I contributed quite a bit, talking about why Sexual Purity is so important. The young man seemed to understand and accepted this principle very well.
While we were at Villa Flor, we also saw Hermana Baquedano and Hermana Lord and Elder Martell and Elder Pineda. They always seem excited to see us and we them. They all seem to be doing well.
For dinner we tried a new vegetable, Chayote. It is like a squash.
We got it from the Koellikers, who received several from a local
family in Esteli. They gave us one to try. We asked our guard how to cook it and he told
us to cook it in water and add cheese on top. So we did…. It was very delicious.
We topped dinner off with a Chocolate Mochi Mug Cake with Strawberry ice cream (I put the ice cream on after I took this picture).
We have been finding, trying
and sending out recipes that the missionaries can make in a
microwave. This is part of our health education. The missionaries have a 2
burner stove and a microwave to cook on. So we have sent them recipes that are
easy and good so they will begin to eat better. We stopped sending this out a
month ago, thinking that the missionaries are not using them, but we started getting
complaints so we have started up again. Along with this recipe, we sent out an
information sheet about upper respiratory infections. We believe this education
is helping as the number of missionaries calling Sister Bell have gone down since
we first came, from about 25 a week to about 10-12 a week.