Sunday, March 26, 2017

Monday, March 20 to Sunday, March 26, 2017

Monday, March 20, 2017

We started the day feeding Elder Hampton, Elder Adams, Elder Chinchilla, Elder Diaz and Elder Neilson. We had pancakes, eggs and hashbrowns. They eat and eat and eat…. I have forgotten how much young men can eat.

We spent all day in the hospital. One Elder had a follow-up appointment with a doctor and another had stomach pains. They found he had a stone in his gall bladder and needed surgery. 

Tuesday, March 21, 2017

Our missionary had the surgery at 2pm today. After the surgery, surgeon showed us the rock that was in his gall bladder. It was as big as a red kidney bean. It was huge. He will feel much better now that it is gone. 

We spent most of the day with Elder Torres from the Dominican Republic. He is very short and loves to talk. He speaks English very well and loves to help us with the Spanish. Elder Torres is  small in stature, but large in dedication to his mission work. He was baptized when he was 9 years old. His sister also got baptized the same day… she was 8. He was being raised by his aunt. But none of his family were members. The miracle is that he stayed active all through his childhood and teenager years, without the support of his family. His Sister also is active. He said that the members, especially the primary President and the Bishops wife really watched over them. He speaks English very well and wants to learn Portuguese, French, Italian, German and Croatian. He wants to be a teacher of languages. He is a very self-motivated Elder.

We definitely saw the Lord’s hand in protecting his missionaries. Our missionary was initially diagnosed by the first doctor with gastritis. However, because the ER was very busy, it was slow to get some of the tests done. As the day wore on, the pain moved lower in the abdomen indicating other problems. Finally, the ER doctor called in a GI doctor, who ran more tests and found the problem. She was going to treat him for gastritis and send him home, but something persuaded her to not rush the diagnosis.

After we got home, Sister Bell got another call from a Sister Missionary, telling her that her companion was still having severe stomach pain. She had called Sister Bell about 3 times during the day initially with vomiting and all felt that it was something that she had eaten. But when the pain increased and moved down into her lower abdomen, they came to the Emergency Room. Doctora Abadala, our LDS doctor, was the attending doctor. She diagnosed appendicitis. This was confirmed by tests and an ultrasound.  Doctor Vega was called in, the same doctor that operated on our Elder earlier in the day. The President was called and the approvals obtained within an hour.  They operated on her about 1 am. Her appendix was very inflamed and was ready to burst. Again, the Lord protected our sister missionary and inspired her companion to keep calling.

Wednesday, March 22, 2017

We got a few hours of sleep, after getting home about 4am. I was up at 8am. I needed to take two new mattresses to an apartment here in the city. I passed by the Sister Leaders house to get two mattresses and strapped them on the top of the car. 

We then picked up Yosylyn Poncio at the Presidents house and went to the hospital. Yosylyn stayed with our recuperating Sister while we took her companion to her apartment to shower and get clean clothes. Then we passed by the office and then back to the hospital. We found both missionaries recuperating well and much happier without the pain they were experiencing before their surgeries.

We took the Lee’s, Yoselyn, Kenneth Poncio (Yoselyn’s brother) and ourselves out to the Asado al Patio for Gators (Top Sirloin Steaks cooked on a grill). We ate two, with gallo pinto, cabbage salad, French fries, banana fries and fruit drinks. It cost me a pretty penny, but it was worth it.

Thursday, March 23, 2017

Our Elder  was released from the hospital today. We brought him and his companion to our house so he could recover. They enjoyed being at our house because we have new mattresses, food, air conditioning, food… did I mention food?

Friday, March 24, 2017

Elder Torres went back to Corinto today, leaving our recuperating Elder with Kenneth Poncio at our house while we went to the hospital. Yoselyn Poncio went to the hospital with us, then to our house for dinner. We played Phase 10 until we needed to take everyone home.  Kenneth won and he was very happy about his win.

Saturday, March 25, 2017

Sister Bell spent the afternoon in the hospital while I went with Sister Speas and Yoselyn to their area. They had a baptism planned. We picked up one member and an investigator and took them to the church. Things did not go very smoothly. When we arrived about 10 minutes before the baptism was supposed to start, the little girl and her family were not there. The Elders nor the Bishop was there. The baptism room was full of kids. The neighboring ward was having a primary activity. Fortunately, they went outside to break piƱatas. 

Finally, Natalie and her family came, but the bishop still didn’t come. Sister Gunn and Sister Arauz came because they had a baptism too, so we decided to combine the baptisms. We finally got everyone there that needed to be there. The room was packed with people and the baptism went very well. The two little girls were very happy.

Sunday, March 26, 2017

We picked Yoselyn up at the Sister Leaders house, where she stayed for the night and went to the hospital. We left Sister Bell at the hospital and I took Sister Speas and Yoselyn to Church. We passed by an investigators house, got them out of bed and took them to Church (they got dressed first). Natalie was confirmed. Her mother, who is a non-member came. We stayed for Gospel Principles and then went back to the hospital. Sister Bell and I then went to Waspan for Sacrament Meeting (the only branch/ward that started late enough for us to attend). 

Afterward, we went back to the hospital. President Poncio, his family and Sisters Willes, Apen and Jimenez came to the hospital. I took the four sister missionaries, to their areas and came back to the hospital to spend the afternoon with our recuperating Sister. 

Sunday, March 19, 2017

Monday, March 13 to Sunday, March 19

Monday, March 13, 2017

We are one year exactly from going home. Our release date is March 13, 2018.
This morning we spent in the hospital with two missionaries and their companions. One was in the emergency room and the other had an appointment with a dermatologist. Sister Bell went one way and I went the other. We were done by noon, so we took all 4 missionaries to PriceSmart for lunch. They really enjoyed that. They eat and eat and eat… boy can they pack it in.

In the afternoon, we got a call from the emergency room. Apparently they could not find the letter of guarantee of payment. So Sister Bell resent it. We got an email saying that they got it. We were pleased that this did not turn into a major problem. They have worked with us enough in the past to know that we can help them with problems they might encounter. We felt that this was a success story.

Tuesday, March 14, 2017

We had our 3 zone conference for Villa Flor, Bello Horizante and Las Americas, the three zones in and around Managua. We did the same presentation that we did in other zone conferences, a test about their health cards. However, only 13 had their health cards, so we invited the 13 up front and they had a contest among themselves. All got candy as there was 12 questions and we came up with one more easy question for the last contestant. Sister Knowlton, helped with the questions, so she got a chocolate as well.

Sister Bell had a few sick missionaries to deal with and I gave out a few house supplies.

Wednesday, March 15, 2017

We went to the Las Americas Zone Meeting this morning in Tipitapa. Our purpose was to train them in cleaning their apartment and to give the District leaders a new assignment to inspect the apartments when they are on divisions. We took donuts so they loved us.

Thursday, March 16, 2017

We took apartment items to Las Americas and Ciudad Jardin and inspected their apartments while we were there. As we were traveling to Ciudad Jardin, we got robbed. A window washer took a molding off the passenger side of the car.
This is the second time this part has been stolen. He tried to steal the same part on the driver’s side but was unsuccessful. We stopped him before he could take it. We did see the other side until later. These young men (mostly) are at most of the signals. We have some near our house that we have become very familiar with. We have even given BoMs to a couple of them. But this was a different intersection, where we don’t normally go.

 It has a lot of street vendors. This one man was selling a car cell phone charger to a man in the car in front of us. He had things on his arms, hands, around his next and on his head. To make change he had to move items from one side to another and even change the item on his head. He also had to use his mouth to hold things. It was quite amazing. 

We went to dinner at the Helbergs tonight. We always enjoy a free dinner.  For fun Elder Helberg played recordings of some or our favorite 60's and 70's songs.  It was fun to go down memory lane.

Friday, March 17, 2017

We stayed at home for a few hours waiting for the repair men to come and maintain our air conditioning unit in my study, but they never came. We then ran some errands before going to the office. We ended up staying at the office until almost 6pm.

Saturday, March 18, 2017

Today was pay day. We stopped by President Cruz’s house in Trinidad. Maria Clara was not ready for a lesson, but we talked with her and her mother about their experience at the temple this week. They were still on cloud nine. They were both very happy and were still glowing. We looked at their pictures and shared a sweet moment with them. We then went to Yassers house and visited with his wife. She too was on cloud nine. She also had modest clothes on, which was a wonderful relief. We gave her a bag of sister missionary clothes that have been left when the sisters went home. She bought some beautiful, modest clothes with the money we gave her, based on the pictures we saw of them at the temple.

We took the Koellikers to lunch at Rosti Pollo. The Lees were with us. We celebrated Sister Koellikers birthday, which is next week.

We have district conference today and tomorrow. Four of our men, 2 from Condega and 2 from Pueblo Nuevo were interviewed for the Melchezedik Priesthood this afternoon. They will be presented tomorrow in the Conference for a sustaining vote. We then had a General Priesthood Meeting, a leadership meeting and choir practice. Sister Bell played piano for all the meetings and for the choir practice.

Afterwards we went to the Koellikers for dinner and cheesecake.

Sunday, March 19, 2017

We had District Conference today. President Acevado was released after serving 6 years and 8 months as the District President. We have truly loved serving with him and am sad to see him released. We have grown to love him and appreciate his leadership. We have tried to work closely with him in building the kingdom. President Rivera is the new President. He was the 1st Counselor.

President Cruz, his family and Yasser were asked to bear their testimony about their experiences at the temple. It brought tears to our eyes, especially Maria Clara's testimony. 

Today was a red banner day. Noe and Freddy from Condega; Jose and Hilario from Pueblo Nuevo were ordained Elders today. I was asked to ordain Freddy and I assisted with Jose and Hilario. I did not get in the meeting soon enough to participate with the ordination of Noe. In fact, he had asked me to do it, but I was helping missionaries while they were waiting, and I didn’t get back soon enough. I am proud of each of them.

It was fun to see the members from Somoto, Pueblo Nuevo, Condega, Trinidad and Dario come today. We were excited to see them and they were excited to see us. We gave them big smiles, hugs and handshakes. Sister Bell played the piano again and I sang in the choir. I think it sounded OK. There were more people today than there was 6 months ago. In fact, the overflow rooms filled up. Several people went home because the TVs did not work in some of the overflow rooms. But all in all, the conference was inspirational. President Poncio spoke in all the sessions. He is a gifted speaker. I don’t know when he prepares, because he is constantly on the go.  We have a great love and respect for him and Sister Poncio. 

Sunday, March 12, 2017

Monday, March 6 to Sunday, March 12, 2017

Monday, March 6, 2017

We had our office meeting this morning, then worked in the office until about 2pm. We went to Pricesmart for dinner and to purchase a few things. We arrived home at 8pm.   

Tuesday, March 7, 2017

I am thankful for air conditioning. We held a 3 zone conference in Chinandega today. It was 42 degrees Celsius, which is 108 degrees Fahrenheit. Fortunately, we were in an air conditioned chapel and driving in an air conditioned vehicle. We taught out of a health card that the missionaries have. This card tells them things they can do for simple health problems, like a head ache. Elder Santizo helped us. He read a question and the missionaries had to look up the answer on the health card. The first one to find it would stand up and read it. If they got it correct, I threw them a chocolate. Rewards and contests always get some missionaries very motivated. Sister Bell was the judge. It was pretty fun.

Sister Bell had several health consultations before and during lunch. We left after lunch, stopping at a park in Leon. The flowers were beautiful. We got home early, about 5pm.

Wednesday, March 8, 2017

We had new missionary training today. The missionaries that arrived in January and March came with their companions. Sister Bell first taught about the need to tell those being baptized that they need to bring a towel and an extra set of underwear. We attended a baptism recently where the sister did not bring an extra set of underwear and therefore had to wear her wet underwear home. She also taught the missionaries that they should encourage using white underwear. She taught this at the request of President Poncio.

Then she taught about eating healthy. The missionaries loved singing 8 vasas de aqua and got into the test at the end. We showed a picture of a food and they would need to tell us the food group it is in and how many portions they should be eating of that food group. Of course, chocolate is given for a correct answer.

Sister Bell had several health consultations during the day and I gave out new fans and hot plates to a few that needed them. 

We finally made it to the store, which is good because we were out of food…

Thursday, March 9, 2017

Our intent was to make today a preparation day. In some ways it was. Sister Bell did some wash this morning, but we still left the house about 9am. We first went to the distribution center, then to the store to buy a few donuts for Elder Hamson, the financial secretary. His birthday is tomorrow. Then we went to Pricesmart to buy a few things for Sister Koelliker in Esteli. After this we delivered medicine to a missionary in Villa Flor. We finally made it to the office about noon, in time to eat lunch.

This afternoon, we took the Lees house hunting. We have been thinking about moving to get closer to the office. It now takes us 45 minutes to get to the office during rush hour. We can get to the office in 15 minutes if there is no traffic, but with traffic, it takes a whole lot more time. We are also finding that we have to fill up the gas tank an extra time each week, costing an additional $40.00 each week or $120 more a month. Moving closer could reduce time and costs in travel. The problem is that the neighborhoods close to the office as all very poor, neighborhoods we are not interested in living in. We thought we found a couple of options on the internet, so we went to look at them. When we got to the locations ok but we found that the houses were not there. They had been plotted wrong. We did find a golf course. It looked pretty nice. Now if I can only find someone to go golfing with.

After taking the Lees back to the office, Sister Bell and I went passed another possible house. This house is in Las Colinas, which is a nicer part of town but still a long way from the office. It is alittle better because it is on the east side of the Masaya Highway. It would reduce our travel by a third. It was a nice neighborhood. But neither of us feel strong about moving.
We had dinner at the Lee’s house with the Helbergs. We enjoy visiting with our fellow senior missionaries. We talked about some of the challenges we are experiencing in the mission and how the spirit is helping us work through those problems. They did a little object lesson reflecting this concept. The had a balloon, which represented all of our problems. Elder Lee held it over a lighted candle and of course, it popped. He then held another balloon over the lighted candle. But this balloon had water in it. The balloon, when held over the candle did not pop. Sister Lee explained that this balloon represented the help we can receive from our Heavenly Father. With his help, we can overcome our problems and not pop.

Friday, March 10, 2017

We had a 3 zone conference in Esteli today. We got up at 4:30 and left at 6am. The conference started at 9am. We played our game using the health cards. Elder Nonu from Trinidad helped us. The missionaries played acouple of games. Games help teach the missionaries various gospel principles and builds unity. We are happy to see them play games.

Afterward, we took Elder Cook, Elder Mower, Elder Nonu and Elder Garcia to Trinidad. Elder Cook needed to do a baptism interview in Trinidad. We got back in time for district Choir practice. There were 3 men and 1 women. Hermana Acevedo, the District Presidents wife and the district RS president is the conductor. Most of those participating cannot carry a tune. I sat in between two young men. Neither found the right notes very often. But they try and that is all that matters. Sister Bell is playing the piano.

We have district conference in a week. We plan on having 4 men receive the Priesthood; Hermano Catalino from Somoto, Hilario from Pueblo Nuevo, Freddy and Noe from Condega.

We facilitated a call to the global services and Hermana Nubia in Pueblo Nuevo to fix her LDS Church account. Pedro, the District Secretary was able to get her account fixed so she can now get in and request her patriarchal blessing that she received about 25 years ago.

Saturday, March 11, 2017

Happy Birthday Corgan. We skyped him today and sang Happy Birthday to him.

Happy 11-month anniversary.

We started the day in Trinidad, giving Maria Clara a piano lesson. Then we went with Elder Nonu and Elder Garcia to Hermana Cruz’s Sisters house. She lives around the corner with her son, his girlfriend and daughter. The missionaries have been teaching them. They seem very interested in the Gospel message, but the girlfriend doesn’t want to get married. So the missionaries invited us to come and show them what a successful marriage looks like. We showed them a video put on by the Church about the importance of families. That touched them. We gave them a copy of the Family Proclamation and gave them a challenge to read it together. They accepted the challenge. We, Sister Bell and I and the missionaries all felt very good about the lesson and the spirit that was there.

We went by Yasser, the house builders home, but no one was home. We had set this appointment a week ago.

We dropped the missionaries off at their house and headed for Pueblo Nuevo. We picked up Hermana Nubia and her husband and took them to her cousin’s house which is about 10 km out of town. The road is very rough so we went slowly. The cousin and his wife were glad to see us and welcomed us with open arms. Hermana Nubia, Sister Bell and I sat down with her cousin’s wife and began gathering names, dates and places of her grandparents. I asked the wife, if she wanted to know why we needed this information. This lead to a discussion about baptisms for the dead, temple work, the restoration and the Book of Mormon. At first, the wife was pretty defensive but as we talked, we saw a softening and interest on her part and on her husbands. We left them with a Book of Mormon and a couple of pamphlets.

Afterward, we dropped off Hermana Nubia and her husband in Pueblo Nuevo and headed for Esteli for a choir practice, dinner at Rosti Pollo, gas and we bought sandwiches for tomorrow at Subway.

When we got back to the Koellikers, Sister Bell inputted Hermana Nubia’s family information into Family Search. We will print off the temple cards tomorrow and give to her when we attend Church in Pueblo Nuevo. She is going to the temple Tuesday of next week. It was a tiring but very satisfying day.

Sunday, March 12, 2017

We left the Koellikers at 7:30 am and arrived in Somoto at 8:30am. Sister Bell got on the computer and printed the temple cards for Hermana Nubia. She also printed the family group information that was in Family Search, which is more than what Hermana Nubia had. It had been inputted by someone working on her father’s line. She gave copies to Hermana Nubia this morning (we went to Pueblo Nuevo after picking up Presidente Alaniz in Somoto). She was thrilled. The late night work by Sister Bell was worth it.

President Alaniz was supposed to have an interview with Catalino, an older member in the ward, but he did not come in time. So President will need to do it later this week.
We attended Church in Pueblo Nuevo. Elder Baxter conducted. His Spanish is getting much better. Hermana Nubia bore her testimony and the missionaries and President Alaniz talked. Sister Bell played the piano (we took our keyboard with us). We were very pleased to see Hermano Hilario come with white shirt, tie and dress slacks. (we had bought him the pants a few weeks ago). He had even cut his hair. Hermano Jose, who is in his 80’s, passed the sacrament. It brought a wonderful feeling to our hearts to see these men using their priesthood.

After RS/Priesthood, Hermana Jenny, who lives in San Antonio was not feeling well, so I took her and her 5 children home, while everyone else had Gospel Principles. Afterward, President Alaniz interviewed Hilario and Jose to receive the Melchezedek Priesthood. I knew Hilario was ready, but interviewing Jose was a surprise. Apparently the missionaries felt he was ready. My reservations are that he has only been a member for a few months and is just learning how to be a Priest. But President Alaniz interviewed him and found him worthy, so he is being scheduled for an interview with President Acevedo.

We took President Alaniz to Esteli for a Branch President’s training and then headed for home. When we were passing through Trinidad, I saw President Acevado outside the Trinidad Church. We stopped to visit. He was very concerned because he was not sure Marilyn Rivera, Yasser’s wife was ready to go to the temple next week. She came to Church in a short skirt with a sleeveless blouse. Hermana Acevedo talked to her about her dress and told her she would not be able to go to the temple with the clothes she was wearing. This troubled her greatly and she went home very upset. We offered to go past their house and visit with her. We found her at home with her sister (who lives with them). She explained what happened and expressed her desire to go to the temple, but did not know what to do. All of her clothes were unacceptable to be worn with garments and she did not have money to buy new clothes. She understood the changes she would need to make and was willing to do so, but could not afford to buy new clothes. We asked if she would accept a gift from us and we gave her enough money to purchase at least enough new clothes for the trip to Honduras. She was very grateful and relieved. We felt very good about our visit and were glad we followed the spirit to visit and to offer assistance. She and her sister will go shopping tomorrow.

We then headed to Matagalpa. We went to Matagalpa to give a package to Hermana Elwood. We had the package on Friday at the multizone conference but forgot to give it to her. She even asked about it, but I had it under things and I thought it was a box of pamphlets. I felt really bad, bad enough to go to Matagalpa on our way home and give it to her.

We arrived home very tired, but very pleased with the day. 

Sunday, March 5, 2017

Monday, February 27 to March 5, 2017

Monday, February 27, 2017

We had our office meeting this morning and then after lunch, Sister Bell and I went to the Elders house to wait for a delivery of stoves, fans and frigs. They were supposed to arrive at 3pm, but the driver got lost and they didn’t arrive until about 5pm. Directions in Nicaragua are different than in the US. Here they find a location, such as a store, restaurant and then give directions from that point. Such as 2 blocks south and then 15 rods up. It can be very confusing. I can’t find places this way. So I normally have the missionaries meet us at the Church or some other obvious landmark and they then direct us to their houses. After waiting for two hours, we loaded up a bed, fans and stoves and drove to Ciudadela. They needed another bed because they are going to be a three some for a while. After dropping off the bed, we eat at Pollo Frito in Tipitapa and headed for home, arriving about 9pm.

Tuesday, February 28, 2017

We had 9 new missionaries come last night and today. Two were from the US, 1 from Guatemala, 1 from Honduras, 1 from Salvador, 1 from Brazil and 3 from the Dominican Republic. Sister Bell taught the 10 commandments of good health. She is now teaching without a lot of help. She does have the missionaries read the bullet points in the powerpoint, but she is getting much better in explaining. We stayed for the whole training and watched as their assignments were made. It truly is a fun process to watch.

We stopped at the store on the way home and spent a quiet night at home. I was asleep by 9pm

Wednesday, March 1, 2017

Today, something happened that doesn’t happen very often. And I am surprised and sad that it happened. I have been working with missionaries to find an apartment in Las Americas which is close to the office. Two missionaries, new to the area, needed to find a place to live and had been looking a good part of yesterday and again this morning. They found a suitable place, but they needed to take pictures and send them to Sister Poncio for approval. The zone leader was talking to them on the phone, and I was listening in. It would have been very easy, and appropriate for me to volunteer to go to the house with the missionaries, take pictures, get Sister Poncios approval and help make this all happen. Instead, I did nothing. I didn’t volunteer and just let the missionaries figure it all out. Ironically, Elder Hughes thanked me for my help, but I thought to myself, I could have made it much easier for them. Thankfully, the zone leader reported that all worked out and they moved in this evening.

Thursday, March 2, 2017

We spent the morning in Leon with the missionaries in this zone. Leon is about 1 ½ hours north west of Managua. Our purpose was to instruct them about the need to clean their apartments and to give a new assignment of the District Leaders and Sister Leaders to inspect the apartments each month. To brighten their day, we brought donuts, which they greatly appreciated. We both really enjoyed being with the missionaries and felt good about our time with them. We not only passed out the cleaning charts and the inspections sheets to the District Leaders and Sister Leaders, but we also talked about the importance of cleanliness in receiving revelation. We stressed the need to be good disciples, even to our landlords. It is a sad day when a landlord will not rent to missionaries because of bad experiences. We have had several landlords angry with us because of the condition of their houses. Even one bishop won’t rent his apartment to missionaries anymore because of bad experiences. Sister Bell took care of several medical issues before we left.

We then took Sister Pehrson and Sister Nova back to Nagarote. We inspected their house last week and needed to return to fix a few items. On the way back, we asked them to tell us one thing they learned on their mission that will benefit their lives. Sister Pehrson told how she has learned a lot about herself during her mission. Sister Bell told her that she is one of her heros because of the things she has been able to overcome.

We felt very good about this little trip.

We hosted the senior dinner tonight with the Lees and Helbergs. We had a potato bar and then played 5 Crowns. All three sisters had better scores than all three men. Go figure….

Friday, March 3, 2017

We had a bonus day today…. We started taking medicine and McDonalds to sisters in Mercedes. One was having eye allergies and the other just loves McDonalds. They are wonderful missionaries and we have dealt with them a lot, and love them dearly.
We then went back across town to be with another set of missionaries while one was having an MRI on her back. The other just happened to have a cold so Sister Bell was able to give her some cold medicine.

While we were at the hospital (the bonus) we got a call from President Poncio telling us that a young missionary from Nicaragua that was serving in Guatemala, was coming to the hospital to have surgery on his knee. He is covered by Church insurance but was hoping we could connect with him and help him in any way we can. We watched for him at the front lobby, but he never arrived. Finally, I felt I should check the emergency room. He was there with his father and bishop. They had an email telling him that he was covered by the Church Insurance but the registration people would not accept the email as a guarantee of payment. Sister Bell knows how to order a guarantee of payment, so we went to her. She called the insurance, got the guarantee of payment, had it sent to the hospital and he was getting looked at when we left.

We so enjoy helping individuals and helping this young man was truly a bonus for us and a help for them.

Saturday, March 4, 2017

Sister Bell taught Maria Clara a piano lesson today. We then visited Yasser and his wife with Elder Nonu and Garcia. He is the 2nd Counselor in the branch presidency. They are preparing to go to the temple. They sold their motorcycle and purchased a bicycle instead in order to save enough money to go to the temple.

We then went to Esteli with the Elders and a 50ish sister for her baptism.

She lives at the top of a large hill in Trinidad. She has to climb a steep flight of stairs to get to her house. We ended up at the Rosario Chapel because they had water. The other Chapel did not have water to fill their font. Elder Garcia had to baptize her 4 times, because she kept lifting her foot. We then drove back to Trinidad and waited for over an hour for President Cruz to come to the Church to give temple recommends. It is his first time for doing this, so I went through the questions and forms with him. We left him and passed by Yasser Vanegas home. He is building his house. They don’t have a roof yet so they built a small tin house within the walls of their brick house. That is where they are living.

We had a near miss on our way to Esteli. It was about 8pm, so it was very dark. The road from Trinidad to Esteli is very windy. As we were making a right turn through a curve, we came face to face with a large semi-truck in our lane. He was passing a stalled semi-truck. We got over as close to the edge of the road as possible, slowed down and the truck passed us without making a scratch. We slowly edge around the semi, passing a long line of cars waiting to pass the stalled truck. It was a miracle that we didn’t hit each other. We surely have been blessed while in the mission. That was one of the specific blessing that President Langeveld gave me when he set me apart. We have certainly been blessed as we drive around the mission.

We eat dinner at Rosti Pollo in Esteli and ended up at the Koellikers about 9pm.

Sunday, March 5, 2017

We went early to Somoto to visit with President Alaniz and his family about the temple. Sister Bell gave Sister Alaniz a set of Book of Mormon CDs. She can’t read so these will be very helpful. We showed them a video about the temple and then talked about the blessings of the temple that are outlined in D&C 109. We visited on their front porch. While we were talking, their puppies, kittens, chickens, rabbits and other critters played together. We were amused at their play… it was quite entertaining.

Church started about 25 minutes late, but the missionaries were there on time and Elder Simpson and President Alaniz were sitting in front waiting for everyone to show up. Elder Simpson conducted the meeting. Sister Bell played the piano. Elder Tax led the music. Elders Melenciano and Williams blessed the Sacrament and I passed. The highlight of the meeting was when Hermanas Natalia and Ceclia came to Church in dresses. This is the first time they have come in dresses.
We had provided them with a bag of missionary clothes that were left in the Sisters apartments, mostly in Esteli. They looked beautiful. We were very proud of them for taking the teachings of Hermana Acevado from two weeks before and upgrading their church attire.

After Church we held a Branch Council. They asked me to provide some direction, so we got out Book 2 and read about Branch Councils. Then we demonstrated how one could be run. We gathered around a white board and put on the board topics to discuss. We ended up with 4 topics. President Alaniz prioritized them and then we started with number 1. I facilitated and Elder Melenciano took notes. We got done with all 4 topics in 20 minutes. I don’t expect future counsels will go so smoothly, but hopefully they now understand how an agenda and a facilitator can help make the meetings much more efficient.

We left Somoto about 1pm and drove to Pueblo Nuevo to pick up Hermanas Nubia and Dania. We took them to Esteli for interviews. We had a delightful trip visiting about families, plans and cooking. They were surprised to find out that I do all the cooking in the mission. Sister Nubia had an interview to go to the temple and Hermana Dania (her 21-year-old daughter) had an interview to get her Patriarchal Blessing. The District Secretary also helped Hermana Nubia get a church account so she could request a copy of her patriarchal blessing she received 25 years ago. Sister Bell was asked to accompany the District Choir which will sing in two weeks at the District Conference.

We got home about 7:30pm.