Monday, April 10, 2017

Monday, April 3 to Sunday, April 9, 2017

Monday, April 3, 2017

We broke a record today, 8 missionaries with Dr. Appointments. Five were in Managua and 2 in Leon. We had 3 see an ophthalmologist (including me), 2 saw a dermatologist, 1 neurologist, 1 physical therapist and 1 in the emergency room. We spent most of the day in the hospital, helping them get registered, taking care of the insurance papers, finding the doctors, getting medicine from the pharmacy, and taking them to bus stations. We took two sisters to the sister leaders house to spend the night. We fed 4 hungry Elders and 2 hungry sisters; some at Pricesmart and some at the food court at the Galeria. We love serving, even if it only one missionary.

This morning we had our office staff meeting at the President’s house. This was Sister Willes last office meeting as she goes home in a week. She has served as the Lead Sister Trainer for several months. We first met her in Ocotal at the first of our mission. She stayed in our home with her sick companion. She is a wonderful missionary; hard working, full of faith, obedient, positive, loving and caring. We (and the mission) will miss her when she is gone.

Tuesday, April 4, 2017

We left the house at 6am and headed for El Viejo, which is about 3 hours north west of Managua. We attended part of the Chin Oeste Zone meeting. They were just getting started when we arrived. Of course, they were excited about the donuts we brought and ate them quickly. We talked about places where the spirit is strong, such as the temple, chapels, our homes and in ourselves. And how cleanliness is an important component in welcoming the spirit. We gave the leaders the assignment to do an inspection when they are visiting the various apartments in the zone. We then went to Chinandega and did the same thing to that zone. We ate lunch at Rosti Pollo and got home about 5, after stopping at the store.

Wednesday, April 5, 2017

Happy Birthday Dad (Grandpa Bell)

Today we had a real p-day. We went with the Lees to the Island of Ometepe in Lake Nicaragua.  Two of their daughters and 2 grandsons were visiting for a few days and went with us. We left at 6am, arriving at the ferry about 8:30am. We took a boat out to the Island. The lake was very choppy, so it was a rough ride. We were not very sure we wanted to get on this boat as it didn’t look very sound, but it made it ok. We hired a guide to take us around the island. It only cost us $10.00 each. We paid for it on the mainland and the whole time we were on the boat, I was hoping it wasn’t a scam. But a driver was waiting for us when we arrived at Moyogalpa (which relieved my concern).

Ometepe is the largest island in Lake Nicaragua. It was made by two volcanos, one is active and the other dormant. Here we are standing in front of the Concepcion volcano. This is the active volcano. It last erupted in 1958ish. Our driver said it would erupt again at 2pm today. I was really disappointed when it didn’t because I wanted to take pictures….

We first went to a nature preserve. While the boys went kayaking, Sister Bell and I went to a butterfly house. There were hundreds of butterflies and beautiful flowers. We really enjoyed walking through and taking pictures.

We then went out into the preserve and came across a few monkeys in the trees. This is when I wish I had my good camera.
We then went to the north side of the island and eat at a restaurant at the Villa Paraiso Hotel. There were a few urraca birds around. We looked them up and found that they are related to our magpies. After a while, we realized why. They were annoying and scavengers, just like magpies.

We had a great lunch, then went to El Ojo de Agua. The water was crystal clear. The boys and the Lee’s daughters went swimming while Sister Bell and I, along with Sister Lee soaked our feet in the water. Supposedly, this is the fountain of youth. We looked at our feet after soaking for a while, but we couldn’t tell much of a difference. Maybe we needed to spend more time there. We did notice that everyone else at the springs was young… could it be that they were old when they arrived?  I doubt it… but who knows?

We headed back to the ferry and took the 4pm ferry back to the mainland. This was a normal ferry boat that hauled cars and trucks. It was a much smoother ride, which we appreciated immensely.

Thursday, April 6, 2017

The Savior’s and the Church’s birthday.

We took the car into Casa Pellas today to have it serviced. It has 97,877 kms on it. It had about 40,000 when we got it a year ago. We worked from home most of the day. After I got the car, I went to the bank and then home. Our internet was out this evening. A tree branch had broken and broke the line. Claro came and saw what happened but couldn’t fix it until someone came and cut the branch. We are always disappointed when the internet is out… we rely on it a lot.

Friday, April 7, 2017

This morning we had our change meeting. We have 5 missionaries leaving and 5 coming. We will close two areas and open 2 new areas. 

Saturday, April 8, 2017

On our way north, we dropped a few things off with the Hermanas in Sebaco (Martinez y Ingram) and then went to Trinidad to give a lesson to Maria Clara. But no-one was home. 

We then went to Hermana Nubias in Pueblo Nuevo. She told us a little about her experience in the temple. She explained that when she got on the bus, she wondered why there were so many suitcases but so few people. She later found out that the others on the bus brought food. She did not and only had a little money with her for food. This concerned her greatly, but soon was relieved when a sister from Esteli came up, gave her a big hug and reassured her that she would have plenty to eat. They shared their food with her and she never went hungry. She had an opportunity to visit with the Temple President and his wife, which she felt was a great honor. She loved the temple and felt the spirit very strongly.

When she got home from Honduras, Dania, her daughter, was able to request her Patriarchal Blessing which she got when she was 17 years old. And in a day, the Church found it and sent it to her. She was very excited to get it and read it again. She said that many of the blessings had occurred but that there was still a few blessing that she is still waiting for. One was being sealed as a family. 

We then took Dania and the missionaries to Nubia’s cousin's house, which is about 10 km out of town. Sister Bell, Nubia and I had given them a book of Mormon about 3 weeks ago when we visited them the first time. We wanted to know if they had read any of it. They reluctantly welcomed us. They were waiting for family to arrive and I don’t think they had much time for visitors. But they invited us to sit on the patio and we visited. We talked about the Church, the gospel, the Book of Mormon and some of the differences of our Church with other churches. Marvin, her cousin was receptive but we don't think his wife was very happy to see us again. She goes to another Church and isn't interested in changing. We also think they have talked negatively about the Church. Well, maybe we can dispel some of those myths. The missionaries asked if they could come back and he said yes. So we shall see what happens next.

We then went to Condega. We picked up the Elders (Martinez and Russell) and went by a house that is for rent. We are looking for a place to meet. But since they are a group, we need special approval by the Area Presidency to rent a building for the Church. Usually, they don’t rent a building until they are a branch.

We then went passed Freddy’s house and I gave him his line of authority. He was very impressed with this.

Then we went to Edgars house for the Noche de Hermanimiento. Edgar was baptized several months ago but hasn’t been to Church since. He was in a serious motorcycle accident and needed to recover. He had been drinking when he was in the accident. The missionaries and the Koellikers have been visiting him. He sat in through the lesson and game. He said he would come to Church tomorrow. His family, mostly young nieces and nephews, were very interested in the Church and several had been baptized. His mother was listening to the missionaries for a while, but couldn’t give up coffee. Now most of the family is inactive.
We then ended up at the Ramirez home for another Temple Prep lesson. They have decided to wait until fall to go to the temple, which will give them more time to prepare. They are still trying to find their marriage certificate and begin paying tithing. We talked about blessings we receive from temples as outlined in D&C 109 and 97. The lesson went very well and there was a sweet spirit present.

We got to Koellikers about 10pm. Late night….

Sunday, April 9, 2017

We had a good day. We stopped by President Alaniz’s home early. Presidente wasn’t there but Sister Alaniz, Cristian and Juanito were. We visited with them and gave Sister Alaniz an old DVD player so she can listen to the Book of Mormon. We gave her a set of CDs several weeks ago, but she didn’t have any way to listen to them. We found an old DVD player and gave it to her. She was very happy. Sister Bell and Sister Alaniz have a wonderful relationship. They truly love each other and are always glad to see each other.  She promised that she will begin to listen to the Book of Mormon (she can’t read) and will hopefully gain a testimony of this wonderful book, which will lead to her baptism. Our goal is to attend her baptism while we are here. Sister Alaniz’s goal is hold off her baptism until the day before we leave. Hopefully, listening to the Book of Mormon will help her have a desire to get baptized much sooner.
We attended Church in Somoto. Sister Bell played the piano. 

Elder Simpson and Elder Melenciano will be leaving tomorrow. The members knew they are leaving so they wished them well and took a lot of pictures. Elder Simpson has been here from the beginning of his mission. This is his first area. He progressed from a trainee to a district leader. He has matured a lot in Somoto and has a lot more confidence as a missionary now than when he came almost 6 months ago. We have enjoyed working with him.

Elder Melenciano, who is from New York City, has been here for only 1 or two changes. He has been the secretary of the branch and has learned MSL well. We will miss his skills but he has been training Elder Tax and Williams.

One sister brought a Cake, which was quickly eaten.

After the meetings, the missionaries held a baptism for a 16-year-old boy. His 11-year-old sister was baptized a few weeks ago. It was a very nice baptism, with a sweet spirit present. Elder Tax performed the baptism.

On our way home, we stopped in Trinidad and gave the 7th Temple Prep Class to Presidente Cruz, his wife and Yasser, the second counselor. This lesson is to be given after they go to the temple, and encourages them to return and to take family names. Sister Bell gave them each a family group sheet and family pedigree chart and explained how to complete them. We are so impressed with the Cruz’s and with Yasser. They have the potential to be great leaders; are learning their responsibilities well; and are magnifying their callings. We have not had to provide much mentoring as we must do in other areas. Presidente Cruz owns a mechanic shop, Sister Cruz is a nurse at the hospital and Yasser is an ambulance driver. In the areas where we are working, most of the new members are very poor, with limited leadership skills or experience.  Therefore, it is very refreshing to find a new member with such wonderful skills. 

Sister Bell got a grandmother fix today in Somoto. The mother has a testimony of the gospel, comes to Church regularly but can’t get baptized because she is not married. This is a major problem in Nicaragua.

We have a dove building a nest in our back yard. We will see if they abandon the nest when Sister Bell hangs out the wash

1 comment:

  1. What a blessing the two of you are to those you serve!! Thank you for sharing your experiences here on your blog! I appreciate your examples of selfless service and always following the Spirit! Blessing to you! Adrien Simpson