Sunday, June 25, 2017

Monday, June 19 to Sunday, June 25, 2017

Monday, June 19, 2017

Happy Birthday Paul

We cooked pancakes and eggs for the Blattmans. We stopped at the office to introduce them to President and Sister Poncio, then took them to the airport. We have thoroughly enjoyed having Paul and Kim here. It has been fun to show them Nicaragua, but it was especially enjoyable to introduce them to the members and missionaries we work with.

We went back to the office to coordinate medical and supply issues with President and Sister Poncio. Then we took the rental car back to the Hilton and headed for home (we had left our mission car at the Hilton earlier in the day).

Tuesday, June 20, 2017

Sister Bell had a bunch of sheet to wash for the sister trainers. She got two batches washed and hung before we left. We made stops at Villa Flor. The Villa Flor zone was having their district meetings. One of the Sisters had some clothes she wanted to donate to our branches. We then went to Tipitapa to deliver chargers for DVD players and to talk with a sister Missionary that has two doctor appointments next week. We also picked up some medicine for her. We went home for lunch and while Sister Bell finished the laundry, I went to Pricesmart and Colonia for food. I also bought 50 bottles of OFF to send to Puerto Cabeza. They are getting eaten alive by mosquitos. 

Wednesday, June 21, 2017

Happy Birthday Kim

We went to the office to drop off the OFF so that Elder Lee can ship them to Puerto Cabezas. Then we picked up a sack full of old ties from the Elders in Reparto Shieck in Managua, Elder Jimenez and Elder Cuesta. There must have been 50 ties, mostly from the 60s or 70s. They were wide ties. We gave away all the ties that Kim brought with her. We still have more shirts so we asked around to find some old ties… but these are ancient.

We then went back to Tipitapa to give the DVD’s to Elder Johnson and Lund. I was finally able to find chargers that worked.

Thursday, June 22, 2017

Happy Birthday Steve

We ran more errands this morning. We went to the distribution Center, then to a computer store (we needed a new mouse for Sister Bell's computer), then to the bank, pharmacy, store and then we found me a new tie for Father’s Day. It is a reversible tie… imagine that. We got home for lunch (the house was clean as Fatima came this morning). I then ironed about 30 ties (we threw the rest away).

We hosted the senior missionary dinner tonight (biscuits and gravy). Sister Bell is making the biscuits and gravy. I might be a decent cook, but she is the baker.

While she was slaving in the kitchen, I was out visiting with David. We gave him a copy of the May Liahona with the conference talks. He had been reading them most of the day and had some questions about the Holy Ghost. We had a wonderful conversation about the Godhead and how the Spirit guides and directs us. I explained that the Holy Ghost inspired us to rent our house. Sister Bell felt very strongly about our little house. As we have pondered why, we feel that one of the reasons was to bring the Gospel to him and Salvador. The missionaries are still coming by their house but with their current work schedule it is very difficult for them to attend Church. We hope that someday, their work schedule will change.

Friday, June 23, 2017

Sister Bell started the day washing sheets from the Sister Leaders house. They have a lot of visitors stay at their house; missionaries coming and missionaries going, divisions, sisters coming to Managua for doctors’ appointments, etc. They always have guests, so Sister Bell offered to wash their sheets periodically. It is easy in the dry season, but during the raining season, it becomes harder. So when we have a sunny day (or at least for the morning) we try to get them washed and on the line. Sometimes when it rains we must pull them off and hang them in the house.

We bought more white shirts this morning. We have a lot of large and X large shirts, but didn’t have very many small shirts. So we bought 6 small shirts. We plan to take them to Condega this week-end.

We are waiting for more supplies. We still need 10 new study tables and 20 mirrors. Once we get them, we will take them to the Sisters house. But we can’t do that until after 9pm when the Sisters get home ( I made the run to their house)

We went to El Zocate, a local Mexican Restaurant with the Lees and Helbergs. We stayed long enough to listen to some Mariachi.

Saturday, June 24, 2017

We left this morning not sure what we would be doing all day. We stopped in Trinidad to give Maria Clara and Karen Linneth lessons. We were concerned that their piano wasn’t working because last week at church it wasn’t working. But today it was, a little tender mercy. So Michelle gave them both piano lessons then gave Maria Clara directing lessons. She has been practicing with a Video we gave her a few weeks ago, but she needed a little polishing.
We then went to Ocotal to give supplies to Elder Arias and Ward. We then went to the “The Casa Vieja” for lunch. We said a little prayer to seek inspiration what we should do that afternoon as we didn’t have anything scheduled. We felt impressed to go to Somoto and visit Natalia, the RS President. We found her sick and sleeping. But we had a good visit with Celia, her daughter. Her younger sister was also there. The younger sister came to the Noche de Hermanimiento the Saturday with her two kids. We gave Celia a May Liahona with the conference talks and explained when to teach from it. We showed pictures of the Noche de Hermanimiento and our trip to the Canyon de Somoto. They really enjoyed it. I believe we gave them a little spiritual and emotional boost. We asked the missionaries to go by later and offer to give Natalia a blessing. She was sleeping the whole time we were there.

We then went by President Alaniz’s house to give him a Liahona. He was gone but his wife, daughter and son were there, so we showed videos of our visit the week before. They enjoyed that too.

We then went to Condega for a Noche de Hermanimiento. We arrived at the Ramirez’s home about 10 minutes before 6. No one was home. We called Elder Howland. They were still in Esteli for a baptism but said to wait as they were just getting on a bus. They got there about 7:15. Rosa, Victor (the young man who got baptized) and the Ramirezs was with them. 
We passed out shirts and ties. They also picked out shirts and ties for those that were not there. The ties are 70 ties, very wide. They each took 2 or 3.

Sunday, June 25, 2017

We went to Church in Pueblo Nuevo today. Jose came in his new white shirt and tie. He looked really good for an 80-year-old. He gave us a big toothless smile and told us thank-you for the gift. He lives in San Antonio, about 8 km out of Pueblo Nuevo. He has to take the bus and can’t come for an evening activity so Holario picked out a shirt and tie for him. He passed the Sacrament. When we got there, Elder Meneses asked us to talk… so we did. Sister Bell talked about the peace that comes through the Gift of the Holy Ghost. I talked about the importance of the Book of Mormon, quoting from President Monsons General Conference Talk. Thank Heaven for Gospel Library on our smart phones.

Arali taught Primary today. The missionaries asked her to do it. She hasn’t been officially called yet, but when I looked in, she seemed to be doing fine. Elder Zeron went in to help out.

Also, Hermana Nubia’s mother was baptized this week and was confirmed today. We had visited her several times, but she was too sick to leave her house. Today she looked great and seemed fine. She raised a large family on her own. We were excited to witness her confirmation.

Elder Meneses tried his hand at the piano after Church.

Sister Bell woke up Saturday morning thinking about Yasser and his family in Trinidad. So we stopped by on the way home. We found his wife and daughter home in their partially completed home. They have made a lot of progress, but they still need a lot more work to complete it. They have not been to Church lately (according to Elder Santizo) but they promised us they would go next week. We gave them a white shirt and 2 ties for Yasser. They seemed to be pleased that we stopped by. 

We got home about 5pm, early for a Sunday night. 

Monday, June 19, 2017

MOnday, June 12 to Sunday, June 18, 2017

Monday, June 12, 2017

We spent the day at the Apoyo resort; eating, swimming, playing games, breaking a pinata and just enjoying each other.

Tuesday, June 13, 2017
We woke up to rain. We went to breakfast at the outdoor restaurant. The oro pendula were very active in the tree. These are black birds with yellow tails that build hanging nests in the trees. It is very interesting to see these big birds fly to the hanging nests and go inside.

We then went to the Masaya Market

Then to the Volcano Masaya

We had gaters for dinner at the Asado al Patio. A gater is a beef tenderloin, long like a gaters tail. It is best beef we have had in the country. The Lees and the Helbergs came by to meet the kids.

Wednesday, June 14, 2017

Dan and I spent the morning looking for a charger for their camera. We looked and looked, going to 5 or 6 places and called another 5 or 6 stores. We not only didn’t find one but we didn’t find a store that sold cameras. We are not sure there is a store in Nicaragua that sells cameras.

Paul’s family flew to Salvador this afternoon. We loved having them here.

We then packed up the car and drove to Selva Negra, north of Matagalpa.

Thursday, June 15, 2017

We stayed in a three-bedroom cabin. It was rustic but very comfortable. The country side was very beautiful and green from all the rain. It rained on and off while we were there, but we ate, watched monkeys, hiked and rode horses during the non-rain period. We left about noon and having had a late breakfast, we didn’t eat until midafternoon in Esteli.

We went to Pueblo Nuevo for the Noche de Hermanimiento. We had a good turn-out, 19 including us. Elder Meneses taught a lesson about Charity. I spoke a little, mostly to introduce Kim and Dan, who bore their testimonies. We are very proud of our children. Kim and Dan are very committed to the gospel and are making a difference with their children and those they have contact. That influence is felt all over the world. We then played Fruit Basket, which was a lot of fun. Then Kim and Dan gave out shirts, ties and a few woman’s clothes. The members appreciated the gifts.

Friday, June 16, 2017
We spent the day in Somoto Canyon. President Alaniz came with us and helped get us set up with two other guides. The water was very high and dirty, but we still enjoyed it. The kids wanted to go the full length which would have required a lot of swimming. The guides recommended we not do that because the water is very dangerous now. So we elected to do the lower half, the same trip with did with the Lees and Koellikers in February.

We had lunch in Condega and then walked a suspension bridge on the way back to Esteli.

Saturday, June 17, 2017

Happy Birthday to Synnova and Isa

We ventured into the mountains above Esteli to see the rock art done by Alberto Gutierra. The road down was muddy, but fortunately, none of us fell. Alberto greeted us but didn’t go with us to see his work as he was feeling alittle under the weather. It was a good thing he didn’t come because it began to rain on us and did so all the way back to the car. But a little rain did not stop us from having a good time.

After finding some medicine for a missionary, we went to lunch at the Koellikers. They are wonderful hosts and Laurie is a wonderful cook. We left full and happy.

We then went to the Noche de Hermanimiento in Somoto. We got there a little after 5pm (it was supposed to start at 5) to find Elders Alofipo and Garcia. People started to come about 5:30pm. They were all happy to meet the kids. Elder Asplund showed a video and then gave a short message. President Alaniz also talked and expressed his love for us. He was very kind in his remarks. We then played a game, ate cake (after singing Las Marinitas to Synnova) and gave out shirts. We had a wonderful time.

Sunday, June 18, 2017
Happy Father’s Day. The best Father’s Day present I could have received is to watch my children be wonderful parents and dedicated disciples of Christ. We saw this first hand this week with Kim and Paul. They love their families, are teaching their children correct principles and are committed to their membership in the Church. We have been very proud this week and have enjoyed their company immensely.

We attended church in Trinidad. It was raining heavy this morning, so not very many people came. We arrived a few minutes early (it was supposed to start at 9am), but no one arrived until about 15 minutes late and we didn’t start until about 9:45am. President Cruz, who has a car, was out gathering members and bringing them to Church. Henry bore his testimony. I translated for Henry. Then Synnova bore her testimony in Spanish. Dan had translated for her and she read it but her pronunciation was very good. Kim then talked and Dan translated. She talked about listening to the spirit for it is the same in every language. She related a story of a Chinese national that is married to a foreigner and therefore is a member of their branch. They had a lesson about the temple, and at the end of the lesson, she came up to Kim in tears because she was so concerned about those Chinese members who can’t leave the country to go to the temple. Dan talked and then I talked. I expressed my love for our children and read Grandpa Thomas favorite scripture in 3 Juan 1:4, “No tengo yo mayor gozo que este, el oír que mis hijos andan en la verdad.” We love and are proud of our children.

Kim and Dan handed out more shirts and ties. The members really appreciated the gifts.

We had lunch in Sebaco and then Sister Bell, Synnova and I drove to Matagalpa to give medicine to a missionary. Kim, Dan and Henry stayed at the restaurant. We arrived home about 5:30pm, ate spaghetti, played games, and talked with Paul, John and Steve. It was a good day. 

Monday, June 12, 2017

Monday, June 5 to Sunday, June 11, 2017

Monday, June 5, 2017

We had an office meeting today. The major topic was preparing for Elder Renlund's visit on Saturday. There is a 5-person missionary choir that is preparing to sing at the multi-mission conference. We listened to them practice. Sister Bell gave Jocelyn a piano lesson and we ate at Burger King for lunch with all who were there. Sister Bell and I then went to the hospital to give travel money to a missionary that was getting a tooth fixed, then to Pricesmart and La Colonia to shop for food. We also went to the bank. We couldn’t do our banking business because their computer system was down, but we got to talk to Michelle. We asked her if she wanted to learn more about the Church, but she politely declined. That made us very sad. We called Elders Williams and Baxter, who were also disappointed. Hopefully, someday the seed we planted will sprout and she will want to learn more. 

Tuesday, June 6, 2017

Happy Birthday April

We are beginning to receive items from our latest order of furniture for the missionary homes. Roger Perez is beginning to buy the 25 mattresses, 30 fans, 20 hot plates, 10 chairs, 10 tables, 20 mirrors, 20 mosquito nets and 5 white boards that we ordered about 2 months ago. We met Roger at Sinsa, one of the big hardware stores here and picked up 17 hot plates, 10 chairs and 10 fans. We stored a few of these things in our house and I took some of it to the Sister Leaders house. They have several storage rooms.

We had dinner at the Lee’s house tonight. Sister Lee cooked enchiladas and then we talked about our fathers. Sister Bell and I have been very blessed to have fathers that were good fathers. There are so many bad fathers in the world, especially in Nicaragua. Most of the children in Nicaragua are being raised by their mothers with no fatherly influence. It is one of the ills of the world today. Thanks Dad for being loyal to your family. Dad taught me many things, but especially duty and hard work. I shared that dad taught me how to be a dedicated home teacher… among many other things. I remember several fathers of families we home taught tell me how much they appreciated my father, and how he helped them with their businesses and other matters. I remember feeling very proud to have a father like that.

Sister Bell - I too have been blessed with a wonderful father.  I haven't seen him lose his temper very many times.  He taught his boys to respect their mother and sisters.  He could sqeeze a dime till it bled.  He believes in supporting his family even if he had to dig ditches.  He is the most loving man I know and I always feel more positive about the world when I am around him.  I love you, Dad.

Wednesday, June 7, 2017

We spent the morning with Sister Poncio and Jocelyn at the hospital. Jocelyn started her physical for a mission. They appreciated us helping them learn the process of checking in, going to the appointment, getting exams and checking out. This is not an easy process in Nicaragua.

I had to find a new barber. The barber shop that I usually go to was closed… the shop was vacant. So I tried another barber shop today; Moas Barber Shop. They did a nice job of cutting my hair, but it was 100 cords more than the barber I used to go to.

Thursday, June 8, 2017

Today we were the mission delivery missionaries. We first stopped in Rene Polanco to deliver a personal item and a stove (two burner hot plate). Then to La Catorce to deliver personal items. They gave us in return, a sack of clothes left by Sister Vasquez. We will give these to the sisters in Pueblo Nuevo who can’t afford to buy Church Clothes. Then we stopped by the hermanas in Los Laureles to drop off another stove. The sisters were excited to finally get a stove that worked. Then we went to Las Mercedes by the airport to give the sisters a new smoke alarm and some bug killer. Our final stop was in La Bocana in Tipitapa to give them another smoke alarm that works. Sister Bell did several health consults while we were visiting and some on the phone. We stopped at several pharmacies to find medicine for missionaries and made a run to Pricesmart to buy food for when the family begins to arrive tomorrow. We stopped at the office for about 2 hours and while there, I had requests for a DVD player and a new frig. It is never ending. I’ll go get a new frig at the assistant’s house and deliver it tomorrow morning.

Friday, June 9, 2017

I started the day taking a new frig to La Primavera, in Managua. Their light bill was really high last month and the owner thinks it is the frig. Apparently (I learned this from Jonathon Estrada) the frig as a control that turns off the frig when it is cold and sometimes this control burns out. When it does the frig runs all the time. The frig was hot and was running when we went by. So we will try this approach.

Sister Bell then went with me to the store. Then we went to the hospital to help a missionary with a doctors appointment.  We took them to Pricesmart for lunch. One Elder had a slice of pizza, hamburger, fries, soda and a Sundae. The other had a slice of pizza, fried chicken, fries, soda and tres leche desert. Hungry missionaries can really pack it in. We took them to Bello Horizante, where they will work with Elder Nonu (it is his birthday today) and Elder Carter, the ZL’s for BH.

Paul, April, Parker, Emmet and Addie flew in tonight. It was so great to see them and give them hugs and kisses. We went to Tip Top for dinner (the only place that was open) and then dropped them off at the Holiday Inn Express. 

Saturday, June 10, 2017

We cooked pancakes, ham and fruit at our home for Paul and his family. We are enjoying having him here. 

Today we were taught by Elder Renlund, of the Quorum of the 12 Apostles. He was accompanied by his wife and Elder and Sister Achoa. The missionaries from both missions came. It is always enjoyable to be together and feel the love the missionaries have for each other. They love to get together. We sat with the Lee and Koellikers in front. The Helbergs sat close to use as well.

One of the highlights of the meeting was a song sang by some of our missionaries: Sisters Gunn, Atiifale, Hanson and Munoz. Elders Carlisle and Baxter also sang. Elder Nonu accompanied them (he also played prelude, postlude and accompanied the opening and closing songs. Sister Hanson led). It was beautiful.

Elder and Sister Achoa bore their testimonies and Sister Renlund led a discussion. She had asked the missionaries to read General Conference talks by President Urchdoft, Anderson and Nelson and then she asked them what they learned.

Elder Renlund said he had three main messages he wanted to tell us:
1.   He thanked us for our service. Not only did he thank us but he thanked us on behalf of the Lord.
2.    That we were called of God to serve in our particular missions and that we had the right and obligation to receive a spiritual assurance to that fact and when we receive it we should write it down.
3.  He testified that the mission Presidents were called of God. He explained that the First Presidency and the Quorum of the 12 Apostles study, discuss and approve each potential Mission President in the Temple and their assignments. He said a call is not made until all 15 Prophets know in the mind and heart that the call is right.

HE taught us how to be better missionaries. It was very inspiring. We all left feeling uplifted and inspired to do better. 

Side note: I gave items to several missionaries that needed things and Sister Bell gave medical assistance to about 8 missionaries. It was a good day.

We went back to the house, found that Paul’s family did some swimming and went to the mall. We packed up and headed for Esteli. We eat at Pollo Fritiz in Tipitapa. We got to Esteli about 10pm.

Sunday, June 11, 2017

We attended Church in Condega. Paul was Elder Howlands young mens leader in Castle Rock, Colorado. It was a sweet reunion for the two of them.

The Condega Group had 32 people attending church today, including us. But normally they have about 15. We met in the back yard of Freddy and Virginia.

April bore her testimony (in English with Paul translating) and then Paul talked. His message was very timely, referring to the experience of Lehi leaving Jerusalem, and then having to go back several times to get plates and wives. The Lord knew that they would need to get these things and could have commanded them to return once for everything, but he had them return several times because they needed to learn lessons, that they could only learn through the journey. He talked about the growth of Condega, being a slow process, but that we need to learn things along the way. He referred to the members as pioneers. His Spanish is excellent and they both brought a wonderful spirit to the meeting.

We returned home in time to pack and go to Laguna de Apoyo. We are in a three bedroom house at the resort. It was dark when we arrived so we couldn’t see a lot along the way.
Sister Bell got a call from an Elder who was experiencing severe stomach pains. After prayer, we felt we needed to take him to the hospital. We left about 9:30pm, went to get him at this house, and headed to the hospital. The doctor checked him out and said he was fine, gave him some pain medication and sent him home. We got back to Laguna de Apoyo about 3:30am. 

Paul went to the airport to get the Blattmans, who got in about 10:30pm.

Sunday, June 4, 2017

Monday, May 29 to Sunday, June 4, 2017

Monday, May 29, 2017

We took two sisters to lunch at Rosti Pollo. They were at the hospital for an appointment and needed a ride to the bus stop. They were out of money so we picked them up, feed them, gave them money for bus and taxi and dropped them off at the bus stop.

We got home and the President called. He said that two Elders were at the dentist’s office and needed a ride to the Elders House. They apparently were out of money as well. I picked them up, bought them hamburgers at Burger King and dropped them off at the Assistants house, where they were going to spend the night before catching an early morning bus to their area. The heavy traffic made the trip long, but we got there and at least I got home without incident.

Tuesday, May 30, 2017 – Happy Anniversary and Nicaraguan Mother’s Day

I cooked Michelle’s favorite breakfast – Blueberry Pancakes.

We had the new missionary training this morning. This is for the missionaries that have come within the last 12 weeks. There are 11 of them, so with their companions, there was 22 (actually only 20 came because one companionship had a baptism scheduled and the President told them so stay for the baptism). Sister Bell taught the principles of a balanced diet.

We hosted the Senior Missionary dinner tonight. I cooked quiche, a spinach and mushroom and an onion and cheese. Both turned out well, which was a blessing because I have never cooked a quiche before. We also had watermelon, ham, juice and cheesecake. Sister Bell lead a discussion about mothers so we all told stories about our mothers.

Wednesday, May 31, 2017

Today was an errand day. Sister Bell got her hair cut today. While she was doing that, I got gas in the car and picked up two frigs at the Sisters house in Villa Flor that needed repairing. We also bought chargers for the DVD players (the chargers are always getting broken or lost), changed a dentist appointment for a missionary and paid our rent for another month. We spent the afternoon at home, working and resting.

Thursday, June 1, 2017

Sister Bell talked to Hermana Jackson, the mental health specialist for Central America today. Sister Jackson has been a marvelous help with the missionaries that are having emotional or mental problems in the mission. We found out that Sister Jackson and her husband were in Nicaragua. Her husband is over audits throughout Central America and is here to train auditors. We invited them to dinner and took them to Asado al Patio. We ate a gator, which was yummy as usual. We enjoyed meeting and visiting with them.

Friday, June 2. 2017

The Jacksons invited us to go on a tour of Granada. Since we didn’t have anything pressing and we hadn’t taken a P-Day this week, so we got permission from President Poncio and went. They had booked a tour through Vive Tours. Eyner Reyes was our driver. It cost us $90 each for a full day tour. We went to the Mayasa Volcano, the Mayasa Market, a tour of Granada and a boat ride through the islands in Lake Nicaragua. We thoroughly enjoyed ourselves and found the Jacksons to be delightful companions. Here are some of the things we saw and did.

This was at the Masaya Volcano Visitors Center. We were only able to see a small amount of hot lava in the crater. It was not as visible as it has been in previous visits.

These were taken at the Masaya Market. I bought a shirt there.

We stopped briefly at the Catalina viewpoint, looking over the Laguna de Apoyo. We will be there in a week with Kim, Paul and their families.

We took a boat ride through the Islands outside of Granada on Lake Nicaragua.

There were some beautiful houses on the islands. There are over 370 islands, mostly very small.

This is Monkey Island. There are three monkeys on the island. There used to be five, but two died.

There were some pretty flowers that we found along our boat ride. Sister Bell used her hat to show them off.

We went up into the bell tower of an old Cathedral in Granada, which was built in the late 1700s. We got a beautiful view of the city, from all sides.

Saturday, June 3, 2017

It felt great to go north and teach again. We taught President Alaniz the last temple prep class with his wife listening in. It was a sweet lesson. We love them a lot and we feel their love for us. We then went to the church and had another leader preparation class. We taught about principles of leadership (lesson 3 in Book 2). The missionaries, President Alaniz, Cristian Alaniz and Hermana Celia were in attendance. We had a wonderful discussion, using the Savior as an example to illustrate principles of leadership. We went to dinner at Rosti Pollo in Esteli and arrived at the Koellikers house about 8:30, just as they were getting home.

Sunday, June 4, 2017

Today was fast Sunday and we spent it in Condega with Elders Howland and Perez. We got there early enough that we took them around to invite people to come to Church. We were especially glad to see Hermana Nubia, Virginia’s daughter. She has been sick for several months. Today she was out of bed and working around the house. She was very glad to see us and we were very glad to see her. We invited her to come next week (she said she couldn’t come this week) when Paul and his family will at Church in Condega. The group meets in the home of Freddy and Virginia. 

There were several investigators at the meeting. We held Sacrament Meeting, Gospel Doctrine and RS/Priesthood, all within a 2-hour block. Noe Ramirez ordained his son, Christopher, a deacon today. He gave him a nice blessing.

We headed for Managua, getting home about 4PM. When we arrived at the house, we were greeted by a rainbow.