Monday, January 16, 2017
Our goal for today was to get a Cedula for one Sister missionary, get another to the hospital for eye surgery, find their new companions and get them settled for the night. We also needed to go shopping. What we didn’t expect was an emergency run to Ciudadela.
Things started out well. We arrived at Immigration about 8 am. There were about 30 missionaries, from both the North and South missions, waiting to get their cedulas. Fortunately, we had talked with Betty Castro about needing to process our sister missionary early so we could get to the hospital about 11 am for the other sister missionaries surgery. So Anelka, Betty's assistant got her processed first. We had her cedula by 10:15am. We were feeling pretty good.
Another bonus of today was that Sister Bell got to meet the new South Mission Nurse. She was there because her companion needed a cedula. Sister Bell and Sister Dick (who is from England) talked for a good hour. A tender mercy for both.
We got to the hospital in time. The surgery took about 10 minutes (laser surgery). All went well….
After going to Burger King for lunch, we took the sisters to the Sister Trainers house, where their new companions were waiting for them. We made a quick trip to the office, stopping at Burger King to feed another hungry missionary (note: the missionaries get food money twice a month, on the 1st and 15th. However, because yesterday was Sunday and the missionaries who were traveling today, could not go to the bank, they were all out of money. So we bought several meals for the missionaries today).
We then took them to their new apartment in Las Mercedes, which is by the airport. We were disappointed (and I am sure the Hermanas were disappointed as well) with the condition of the apartment. It needed a good cleaning. The Hermanas put on a “good face” but I could tell they were a little upset.
So now to the story of Hermana Perez from Guatemala. She has been in
mission for 6 weeks and was serving in Chinandega. She was supposed to go to Jinotega, her new area, but since her companion was in Managua, we had her come here. The sister trainers were at the bus station waiting and worrying for two hours. She never showed up. Apparently, Sister Perez got off at the wrong bus stop and she ended up at the South Mission Office, where President Brown called President Poncio, who called the Sister Leaders, who went to get her. She did not have a phone, but with a little help from above, she made it to where she needed to go and now she has a good story to tell.
As we were leaving Las Mercedes (about 4pm), we got a call from Elder Hamson telling us there were problems in Ciudadela. Ciudadela is about 15 kms outside of Managua. There were 2 sets of missionaries there. However, we transferred all the missionaries out of Ciudadela and brought in two new missionaries to the area, Elder Alfaro and Elder Noguiera. So we closed one house. However, our new missionaries were confused about which house they were expected to stay in and for good reason. We had hired a contractor to remove the furniture from Ciudadela 1, which is the house we were closing. However, he got confused and removed the furniture from Ciudadela 2. So when the missionaries showed up, they found that their apartment (Ciudadela 2) did not have any furniture and since Ciudadela 1 had furniture they thought this was their apartment. Ciudadela 1 is run down and filthy. The previous missionaries trashed the house and left it a mess. When we arrived, we found them sorting through the mess in Ciudadela 1; they were in shock at the condition of the apartment. So when we showed up, they cried “Elder Bell” and gave me a big hug. They were really glad to see us. We told them they were not going to live in the filthy apartment, which brought a big relief to them. We devised a plan to clean their new apartment, then remove any decent furniture from the apartment we were going to close and get it to their new house. We agreed to bring them new mattresses on Tuesday. We then took them to dinner (they hadn’t eaten since early this morning) and dropped them off at the Zone Leaders house to spend the night.
We then headed for Managua, went shopping (we were still out of food) and crashed when we got home. What a day….
Tuesday, January 17, 2017
We met 17 new missionaries this morning. Four came from the US last night and the rest came from Latin America this morning. Sister Bell taught "10 commandments of good health". She did most of the teaching in her broken Spanish, but they all seemed to understand. She also talked with several of them individually about various health issues.
After lunch, we took 2 new mattresses to Ciudadela. Elder Alfaro and Elder Noguiera had been cleaning like mad men. Their new house was clean and they started bringing furniture from the old house. When we arrived they were cleaning the frig, which needed a deep cleaning. We hauled the frig, 2 closets and a white board to their new house. They were very appreciative of our help (We got a text from them that said, “Nosotros estamos muy agradecidos por su ayuda. Gracias por apoyarnos en estos dias que no teniamos nada les apreciamos un monton. Gracias por toda su paciencia y ayudarnos con la casa y pues estamos en la casa super limpia”.
We then delivered a fan to Las Mercedes and arrived home about 6pm; had dinner and relaxed. Another full day.
Wednesday, January 18, 2017
WE HAD AN ACUTUAL P-DAY…. Last night, the Helbergs (south mission senior couple) called us and asked if we wanted to do something with them. They have been here for 3 months and have not had a full p-day. We rarely have a P-Day either so we jumped at the chance to do something fun. We picked them up at 10am (Sister Bell did wash before we went) and we went to the Masaya Volcano (the Helbergs had not seen it). The level of the lava in the crater was down a little but we could still the
After the volcano, we went to the Mirador de Catarina, which looks out over the Laguna de Apoyo. We ate a picnic lunch while we looked over the lake, which is in an old volcano crater. Kim, Paul and their families will spend a couple days here this summer. Beautiful….
The Lee’s hosted our senior missionary dinner tonight; pizza rolls, salad, fruit, cookies and ice cream. We played, “true or false”. We all came up with three statements about ourselves, two of which are true and one false. We learned a lot about each other.
Thursday, January 19, 2017
We had our 3 zone conference in Managua with Bello Horizante, Villa Flor and Las Americas zones. Because of the changes this week, several of the missionaries had already been through a conference in another area. Sister Bell taught about bedbugs, chiggers and fleas. She is able to teach more and more without help. Her Spanish is still very broken, but the missionaries (and I) greatly admire her for trying. She had about 6 missionaries talk to her about health issues. I gave a mirror to Elder Alfaro and Noguiera. Theirs had been taken when they were moving from one apartment to another. The rumor around town is that a drunk, who is always around the house, took it and sold it.
Friday, January 20, 2017
We headed to Somoto ready to get the computer connected to Salt Lake. We picked up Pedro Castillo, the District Secretary in Esteli and took him with us so he could teach us how to use MLS. We have a lot that needs to be done, such as put ordination information into MLS, process tithing and fast offerings, find lost records, complete a patriarchal Blessing recommendation, find a patriarchal blessing for a sister who had gotten a blessing years ago but needs a new copy, move records, etc. So we were expecting a busy and productive day (we should have remembered we are in Nicaragua). So we got to Somoto, turned on the computer, called global services to get the branch information downloaded, and then tried to get on the internet to begin the training. But low and behold, we didn’t have internet. The lights on the routers were on, but the internet didn’t come up. We had 4 young men (missionaries) working on it without success. We even went to Claro, the internet provider, but they needed our contract number, which we didn’t have. We have been trying to get the internet up for several months now without success. Maybe next week….
We took Pedro out to dinner at a little restaurant in Villa Lucinda, a pueblo in between Somoto and Condega. It was traditional Nica food; meat, cabbage salad, French fries and rice. It was good and I would go back.
Saturday, January 21, 2017
We had success and didn’t have success. We started in Trinidad giving Carelys and Maria Clara piano lessons. Those went well, in fact this was the first lesson for Maria Clara in over a month. She practiced this week and her lesson was very good.
Our first disappointment was when they cancelled our second temple prep class. Apparently, the president got called out on a job (he is a mechanic), the first counselor called and said he couldn’t come, the second counselor’s wife went somewhere with her sister and the fourth family was working on their new house. So we set an appointment in another week.
Then we went to Pueblo Nuevo and taught Hermana Nubia. It was a wonderfully spiritual lesson. We taught about ordinances and covenants (lesson 4). During the lesson she told us about her life. It has not been an easy one. She lived with her grandparents in Managua when she was a teenager. She joined the Church with them when she was 16. She said that when she first heard the Joseph Smith story she knew it was true. Her grandparents went through the temple when she was 18 and she remembers how that changed her grandparents, especially her grandfather. That made a big impression on her. But when she was 18 she moved to Pueblo Nuevo to live with her parents. Her parents had a rocky marriage. There was a lot of fighting and eventually her father left. She then needed to stay with her mother because she was the oldest and her mother needed her help. She said they were very poor but even though they always had food, they could never get ahead. Her mother still lives in a small mud house. Nubia eventually moved in with her boyfriend and began having children. However, she never lost her testimony and taught her daughter a lot about the Church. When the missionaries arrived in Pueblo Nuevo years later, she still had a testimony and began attending Church. She wanted to get married but her “husband” didn’t want to. But finally after a couple of years, his heart softened and they got married. She is really excited about going to the temple, remembering the experience of her grandfather. I promised her (under the influence of the spirit) that her grandparents will be in the temple with her. It was a real pleasure to teach her. She is a wonderful member and ready to go to the temple.
Then we went to Condega for their Noche de Hermanomiento. It was at Virginia and Freddy’s house. Elder Martinez and Elder Russell are brand new missionaries, just getting to know the area. Elder Russell arrived from the MTC this week. We were really impressed with his language skills. He was not shy to speak and spoke pretty well for a new missionary. Elder Martinez has been in the mission awhile. He was in Puerto Cabeza for several months before being transferred to Condega. Both missionaries shared a scripture and told about it. Then we played a game. Hermana Rosa led the game. She gave us a word, then told a story and every time we heard the word we needed to stand up. If we made a mistake, then we had to tell a story. I was the first to lose, so I had to pick a word and tell a story. The word was “Carrie” after Grandma Moses. I told the story how Elder George Albert Smith told grandma to not worry about mom and dad getting married because dad had a good heart and would join the church. Since “Harry” and “Carrie” were close words I had fun telling the story and getting everyone confused between the two names.
Afterword, we took the missionaries to Noe and Suyapa’s house. This week, their son and his wife were in a motorcycle accident and they went to Esteli to help with this. We now knew why they were not home earlier. We set another time to teach them and then headed for Esteli and the Hotel Hex.
It was a long day but a very satisfying one.
Sunday, January 22, 2017
Our primary task today was to help Elder Martinez and Russell conduct church. That is no easy task in Condega because the group meets in a sewing factory. They also have to rent chairs from a store 5 blocks away from church. That is not a big problem when we are there because we load the chairs on top of our car, but when we are not, they move them by hand.
We then took the Elders to get the chairs (16) and take them to the building where we meet. We moved the sewing machines and swept the floor. We then set up the chairs. Freddy got there in time to help set up the Sacrament Table. Most of the members were there on time, except for the Ramirez family. They got there about 10:15am, just as we started the meeting. Sister Bell had her keyboard so we had organ music. Sister Bell talked first about being member missionaries. She is getting better and better every week with her Spanish. I talked about Enos and stressed the importance of teaching our children (like Jacob did), repenting, keeping the commandments, praying and working to teach your family, community and even enemies. Elder Martinez gave the last talk.
We only had 15 there, but they are strong members, the nucleus of the group. Now that the missionaries have been through one Sunday, they can be better prepared next week.
Sister Bell made a friend with Rosa’s 3-year-old daughter. She gave her candy and helped her draw during class. She likes me too because I give her hugs and tickle her.