Tuesday, January 31, 2017

Monday, January 23, 2017 to Sunday, January 29, 2017

Monday, January 23, 2017

Quiet day…. I began printing branch/group lists for Trinidad, Somoto, Pueblo Nuevo and Condega. I started with Trinidad. The membership list has 20 members. However, I found 13 more in the Esteli Branch (Trinidad used to be part of the Esteli Branch) and another one in the El Centro Branch (another branch in Esteli). One of the problems we have in Nicaragua is that the records of the church don’t get updated very often. I will need to work with the Branch President and the District Secretary to get these changed.

We had dinner at the Helbergs with Sister Lee’s parents. They flew in last week to spend a few days with them. Sister Lee’s dad is 92 and her mother is 89 years old. We enjoyed visiting with them and had a wonderful dinner. We really enjoy our association with the other senior couples.

Tuesday, January 24, 2017

We had a new missionary training today in Waspan. Sister Bell did her “Items for comfort” presentation. She had Elder Simpson and Elder Tax from Somoto come up and go through her purse. She then explained why she had each item in her purse; items such as lip balm, water, Kleenex, handy wipes, etc. Then we sang “8 vasas al dia” …. A missionary favorite.

We went back to the bank on our way home. We had stopped yesterday to get our monthly living money ($1000 sent from our bank in the US to a local bank in Managua). When we left the bank, I had an uneasy feeling. On our way home, I had sister Bell count the money, we had C$4000 more than what I thought we should have had. This morning, I looked closer at the receipt and counted the money again and realized that we did have more money than we should have had. So we went back this afternoon and talked to the teller. We have used this teller for several trips to the bank. She speaks a little English and has been very helpful. We explained that we think we got more money than we should have, which surprised her because her account balanced out last night. But after 45 minutes of checking, having the manager check, they sorted it out and gave us our money, less the C$4000. We hope our little teller will not be fired.

Wednesday, January 25, 2017

We went to Esteli with the Lees to attend a Worldwide Missionary Broadcast with the Missionary Committee of the Church. The Koellikers joined us as well.
The General Missionary Committee consists of Elder Oaks, Bednar, Anderson of the quorum of the twelve Apostles, Sister Oscarson, Bishop Waddell, Elder Neilson, and Elder Andersen. They discussed, among many things, the importance of repentance in the conversion process, don’t baptize someone until they are ready and that baptism is only the beginning ordinance necessary for exaltation. Elder Bednar said that we cannot force the spirit into someone. We can bring the spirit into the room, but only the investigator can open themselves up to feeling the spirit.  These are things that I have been thinking about lately as well. It always amazes me how the spirit teaches me principles and then I hear these same principles taught by the Brethren.

They also made a few changes to the missionary schedule. Now our missionaries will come in ½ hour earlier; at 9pm instead of 9:30pm. They still will eat dinner after work, but before, many were not eating dinner until 10pm or later. Most were just eating snacks on the street and not having a balanced dinner. Sister Bell likes this better than before, but would still like the missionaries to eat earlier in the evening.

Afterward, President Poncio outlined his vision for the Esteli District. He envisions 3 Districts; Ocotal, Esteli and Sebaco. He would like us to work in the Ocotal District (not yet formed), the Koellikers to work in the Esteli District and the Lees to work in the Sebaco District (not yet formed). Our work is to continue doing what we have been; preparing Priesthood Holders, mentoring leaders, assisting missionaries, preparing members to go to the temple and updating records. Our area would include Ocotal, Somoto, Pueblo Nuevo and Jalapa. We are working now in Somoto and Pueblo Nuevo. We have attended Church occasionally in Ocotal and provided some mentoring there. We have not been to Jalapa which is about 2.5 hours north of Ocotal, very close to the Honduran border. President Poncio would like us to finish with the Temple Prep classes and piano classes in Trinidad. The Koellikers will begin to visit Condega once a week. We are not sure what we will continue to do in Condega, especially after we finish the Temple Prep classes with Noe and Suyapa. This whole area needs to grow more to create new districts and to eventually become a Stake. We probably won’t see a Stake before we leave but we certainly could see another District before we leave.

Thursday, January 26, 2017
We took the car into Casa Pellas, the car dealer, to get serviced. We needed the front brakes replaced. The total bill was $366.00.

I continued working on creating branch/group lists for Condega, Pueblo Nuevo and Somoto. I found a lot of brethren whose priesthood ordinations had not been entered into the system, including Noe Ramirez from Condega whose records does not show any priesthood ordination. He is an Elder (or we thought he was). I texted back and forth with President Acevado, the District President. His research found the same thing. We may need to ordain him again at the upcoming District Conference in March. I will talk to Noe on Saturday; hopefully he will have some proof of his ordination. Otherwise, we will need to quickly ordain him to the AP so he can continue to help with the Sacrament. His son also turns 12 soon, and he will want to be able to ordain him. Noe and his wife are preparing to go to the temple, but that might have to be delayed until June.

Sister Bell worked on her weekly report. 

Friday, January 27, 2017
We went to Huembas, a local market here in Managua. It is very large with hundreds of small stores, packed into a large building. It gets very hot and Sister Bell gets a little claustrophobia if we are inside for very long. We needed to get my briefcase fixed, one of the seams is ripping. While one of the shoe repair people was sewing away on my briefcase, I had my shoes shined for C$30… about $1.00.

Saturday, January 28, 2017
We headed north, but got a call from Carelys telling us they won’t be home for piano lessons. So we went to Somoto to work with Elder Baez to begin to update the records in MLS. We finally had internet and electricity so we were expecting to get a lot done. But when we entered into the system, MLS wouldn’t let us make changes because it said we were not authorized. Again we were foiled in our efforts in Somoto.

We had a wonderful 5th lesson with Hermana Nubia in Pueblo Nuevo. Then went to Condega for a lesson with the Ramirez family, but they were not home. They had to work. So we went to dinner and then back to their house for the Noche de Hermanimiento. By this time, they had gotten home from work. The missionaries both gave brief messages and then we played a fun game. We all got in a circle. We had two ties, one with one knot and the second with two knots tied in it. We gave one person one of the ties and another person the second tie. The object was to untie and then tie knots in the ties and then pass the ties to the person next to you. They had to do the same. If the two ties ended up with the same person (the tie with one knot gets untied and tied faster) they lose. It was a lot of fun. 

After the Noche de Hermanimiento, we gave a second lesson (worthiness) to Noe and Suyapa Ramirez. They are very responsive to the teaching but have decided to wait until the June Temple excursion. This will also give us time to get his Priesthood Ordination fixed. We got to the Koellikers in Esteli about 9:30pm.

Sunday, January 29, 2017

We got to Somoto about 8:30am and picked up President Alaniz at his house and took him to the Church. While Sister Bell played the piano, President Alaniz and I talked about a lot of things; The Area Plan for 2017, how to interview and complete the recommend forms (he will need to do this for Hermana Nubia in Pueblo Nuevo and for himself), plans for SS, RS, Priesthood meetings, Priesthood ordinations, etc. We attended the branch meetings, which last about two hours. The Area Presidency sent a Video outlining their 2017 Plan for Central America and instructed each unit to show it during SS. However, Somoto had not done it. So I got out my computer and we showed part of it. One of the goals is getting more members to the temple. We stopped the video during this discussion so we would teach the members more about the temple and the ordinances of the temple. The members are so new that they don’t know much about the temple. So we taught them a little about it. After 2 hours, most of the members began to leave. They are only used to two hours of Church and staying for the third block is difficult for them. After everyone left we had an impromptu  branch counsel with President Alaniz, the missionaries and the RS Presidency, to discuss how we can hold all three meetings. We came up with a plan that over time should work. I felt bad for Celia, the RS president’s daughter, because she had prepared a RS lesson and wasn’t able to give it. 

As we were driving through Esteli, we got a call from the sister missionaries in Esteli. One had a severe cold and needed medicine. We had some cold medicine in the car, so we returned to Esteli and took her some medicine. They were very appreciative of our little act of kindness. 

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