Sunday, August 13, 2017

Monday, August 7 to Sunday, August 13, 2017

Monday, August 7, 2017

We had a lot of things to do today and we were not sure if we could get them all done… but we did. We first had our staff meeting at the Presidents House. He was preparing to host the Leon Zone for lunch at this house. He invites various zone to come to his house monthly to celebrate those who meet their goals. They play and eat. The missionaries love it and it gives them a reward for meeting their goals.
Sister Ingram (2nd from L) will be going home this week. She is a wonderful missionary, works hard and loves being here. Sister Menendez, her companion is of the same caliber of missionary. We love our missionaries.

Sister Galbraith (2nd from R) from Jackson Hole, WY is going home next week after serving faithfully for 18 months. She has served as the Lead Sister Trainer for the past several months. We have loved serving with her. She is always happy and smiling. Sister Fersola (r) will be the new Sister Trainer. 

We then went to the bank, Pricesmart, found a place to fix our tire, helped three sets of missionaries with doctor appointments, bought items at Distribution, went to dinner with the Lees and Helbergs at Pricesmart and ended up at the Mayasa Volacano at night. What a day…. The volcano is more impressive at night, than it is during the day.

Tuesday, August 8, 2017

Today is was a day of highs and lows. We woke up to the news that Grandpa Thomas passed away at 12:40am. Jamie and Roxanne were with him as he took his last breath. They said he slipped away peacefully. He is now with Grandma, LaVoy and many other love ones and friends. When Michelle woke up this morning about 5am, her first thought was “Dad is with Mom”. She had a warm, peaceful feeling come over her as the Holy Ghost comforted her. Roxanne called about 6am with the news. Grandpa was a wonderful example of someone without guile. He loved everyone and had tremendous patience. I don’t ever remember seeing him mad, even when Grandma got after him for something. We will miss him, but know that we are an eternal family and will be together again.

We drove 4 hours to Somoto today to be at the baptism of Hermana Sadia Alaniz (President Alaniz’s wife) and Yanelis Lira, daughters of Hermana Zaida. We bought Hermana Alaniz a white dress because the Elders did not have baptismal clothes that fit her. The dress we bought her can also be used as a temple dress. The family has a goal of going to the temple in a year to be sealed. She looked beautiful and it fit perfectly.

Elder Diaz, one of the assistants, performed the baptism for Hermana Alaniz and Yanelis, the daughter of Hermana Zaida. She has been attending Church with her mother for almost 2 years and finally received a testimony. Elder Diaz served in Somoto at the beginning of his mission, taught and baptized President Alaniz, Cristin, Hermana Zaida and Catalina. He was able to come back and spend the day working with Elder Alfaro and then perform the baptism. President and Sister Poncio also participated. There were at least 25 people in attendance. The service was beautiful and the spirit was strong. Hermana Sadia and Yanelis radiated with the spirit. It was wonderful to see how happy they were. President Alaniz was very happy that his wife is now a member of the Church. We brought a cake and served refreshments afterward. It was definitely worth the trip. We drove home (back to Managua) after the service, getting back home about 11:30pm.

L to r: President Alaniz, Elder Asplund, Elder Alfaro, Sadia Alaniz, Elder Diaz, Yanelis,
Elder Gharring, Elder Garcia

Wednesday, August 9, 2017

We didn’t get much sleep as we got up at 4:00 am, in order to get a missionary to the hospital. We spent the morning there. 

We spent the afternoon in the house, preparing for zone conferences. Sister Fersola, the new sister trainer, will need to give the presentation (on back pain) in Puerto Cabeza. She will also need to give the 10 commandments of good health to the new missionaries on Tuesday, of next week (assuming we will be in Idaho for Dad’s funeral).

Thursday, August 10, 2017

We brought the recuperating missionary to our house to rest for a few days. We spent a few hours at the office and then took our Nicaragua ID, Passport and itinerary to Betty Castro. She will get our exit visa tomorrow (we got approval to go to grandpas funeral).

We got a call from a missionary in Tipitapa. We met him at the hospital and spent a few hours with him there. 

We cooked spaghetti for the boys tonight and played a round of 5 Crowns.

Friday, August 11, 2017

We had our change planning meeting this morning. Sister Bell and I actually had a change in our area. Every companionship is assigned an area. We were Maximo Jerez 3 and are now Maximo Jerez 2. We moved up because the Lees are leaving, they were Maximo Jerez 2. This is only a name change; we are still doing what we have always done.

Sister Bell instructed Sister Fersola and Hermana Poncio on how to teach the new missionaries, zone conference in Puerto Cabeza and what to do when a sick missionary calls.

We took crutches to Tipitapa and then came home.

Saturday, August 12, 2017

I taught Elder Soares how to cook pancakes. They turned out pretty good. We then picked up the Lees and took them to Huembas. 

We cooked Beef Western for dinner. I bought a fresh pineapple and coconut. Salvador opened the coconut for me with his machete. The Lees came over for dinner and we played Golf (card game) with Elder Baxter and Soares.

Sunday, August 13, 2017

We went to Church at the Ruben Dario Ward that meets in the Waspan building. Elder Baxter served in this area for several months. The members were excited to see him. After Sacrament Meeting, we attended a baptism in the La Primavera Ward. Elder Simpson and Najera baptized a man (Victor). His girlfriend is a member (we think a returned missionary). It was a sweet baptism. Elder Simpson was excited to hear all the news from Somoto, where he served for several months at the beginning of his mission. He was especially excited to hear about Sadia Alaniz and Yanelis Lira getting baptized this week.

There are scorpions here, but this is the first time we saw a metal scorpion in the Church.

We went to the Helbergs for brunch with the Lees. We will miss the Lees. 

Monday, August 7, 2017

Monday, July 31 to August 6, 2017

Monday, July 31, 2017
This morning we had our office meeting at the President’s house. This is one of the last meetings with the Lee’s and Sister Galbraith.

L to r: Bells, Sister Galbraith, Sister Fersola, Sister Poncio, President Poncio, Sister Lee, Elder Lee, Elder Campbell, Elder Chinchilla, Elder Ruiz, Elder Adams and Elder Diaz.

Our day was spent in trying to get the mirrors replaced on the three mission cars. After the meeting, Elder Adams, Elder Lee and I took vehicles to Casa Pellas. Our insurance person had told Elder Adams that all we needed to do was to take them to Casa Pellas and it would take a few minutes to replace the mirrors. So we were disappointed when they told us it would take most of the day. Elder Lee decided to stay and wait (which he did for about 4 hours). I took a taxi home. I got a call from Elder Adams telling me that Casa Pellas did not have the mirrors for the Presidents Car, which I was driving. We also found out that the insurance doesn’t cover this damage, so the mission will have to pay. Elder Adams came and got me at home so I could take the Presidents car (unfixed) back to the mission home. I had left my truck there. I then took the Elders back to Casa Pellas so they would pick up their truck. We didn’t get much more done today…

Tuesday, August 1, 2017

Today is another celebration in Nicaragua. It is the first day of the observance of Saint Dominic (Santo Domingo) de Guzman. There were festivals, parades and horse and car shows. The streets are supposed to be closed, at least parts of the city with thousands of people participating. We stayed home. We worked a little from home in the morning, and then relaxed in the afternoon. It was the first day we have had in several weeks to relax and it felt good.

Wednesday, August 2, 2017

I got a haircut this morning and then we went to the office. We worked there until about 1pm. We left to buy and deliver medicine for a missionary and then came home for a late lunch. I put together our next medical flier about exercises for back pain. We have many missionaries, especially Sister missionaries who develop back pain. Mostly from carrying too much in their backpacks or fanny packs and wearing them incorrectly.

Thursday, August 3, 2017

Today was a well-deserved preparation day for all the senior missionaries in Nicaragua; Lees, Koellikers, Helbergs and us. We went to Granada.

We went with the Helbergs. When we arrived at the Helbergs house, we found that Sister Helberg was wearing the matching blouse that Michelle was wearing.

Our first stop was at the boat docks where we took an hour boat ride through the Islands in Lake Nicaragua. We enjoyed seeing the homes, birds and monkeys. It rained a little while on the lake. We had a guide that spoke English. He knew a lot about the ecology, birds, fish and people who lived on the islands.

We then went to downtown Granada. We eat at a local restaurant, then walked about the plaza and walked up to top of the bell tower of the Cathedral. Afterward, we got ice cream and then the Helbergs and us took a horse drawn carriage ride around the city. Granada is the oldest city in Nicaragua.

The last picture is of the oldest house in Nicaragua. It belonged to William Walker, an American who became President of Nicaragua for a year. Neighboring countries opposed him and eventually defeated him, but not before he burned 85% of the city. This was in the 1850s.

Friday, August 4, 2017

This morning I prayed that I would see Heavenly Fathers hand in our service. This afternoon, I saw it. We were leaving the office about 2:30 pm to pay a bill. We had several routes we could have taken. But for some reason, I drove through Villa Flor. As we were passing through Villa Flor, Sister Bell got a call from a sister close to Villa Flor. Her companion, had just passed out on the street. Sister Bell talked her through what she should do. We were only a mile from them, so we quickly turned around and headed for their direction. When we got there, the sister was sitting up, feeling better, but still had some pain that was troubling. So Sister Bell decided we needed to take her to the hospital to get checked. She saw Doctora Abdala, our LDS doctor (who is 38, John’s age). She checked her over, gave her some medicine and referred her to a cardiologist. She was back to her normal self by the time we left. We took them to Pricesmart for hamburgers and fries, then back to their house.

We found out a little about these wonderful sister missionaries. One of them has been a member for only 2 years. Her parents (she is adopted) are not members but are supportive and are paying for her mission. Her companion was converted when she was 12 years old. Her mother was an inactive member but her father was against her being baptized. He drank a lot and was very mean. He finally relented and she was baptized, along with 2 siblings. A few years after she got baptized, her father had an experience that caused him to evaluate this behavior. He began to listen to the missionaries and He was baptized. Three years later, he was called as the bishop. He is now working hard to bring the gospel to his family members, most of which have now been baptized. Their family is a wonderful example of the change that can take place once they joined the Church.

Saturday, August 5, 2017

Sister Bell taught a piano lesson to Maria Clara. Since we had a little time before we needed to go to Somoto, we decided to eat lunch at a nice steak house in Esteli, Pullaso Ole. We shared a 16 oz T-bone that was imported from the US. It was excellent, which it should have been because it cost a little over $30.

We spent an hour with President Alaniz, developing an agenda for next weeks branch council training. Then we helped and participated in the first ever Relief Society activity in Somoto. There were 20 sisters, 5 men (4 Elders and me) and several babies and little kids. It was a huge success. Sister Natalia conducted, talked about the importance of the RS and the Church. Then she and Cristian Alaniza bore their testimonies. Sister Bell taught a lesson about Visiting Teaching. She taught, showed a video and then did a role play with three of the sisters. She taught with very little help from me. I was very proud of her. 

We then played games. The Elders took charge of that. We then ate sandwiches and drank pop. Everyone left happy and energized.

Sunday, August 6, 2017
Happy Birthday to me…

Michelle wrote this poem for my birthday

On August 6, 1953
Scott Woodruff Bell came to be
Born the last of four
With a boy and two girls,
He evened the score

In California, he grew straight and tall
Baseball, gospel, friends and family
He had it all.

He grew close to the Lord
In Uruguay and Paraguay
He taught with the spirit
He learned what to say.

When he returned
School and career were his focus
He chose a beautiful wife
And started a family with the most-us. 

Five children he’s raised.
Grandchildren fourteen he’s seen born.
They are the best in the world
And from them we’ve been torn.
He is serving again
Nicaragua, this time.
Michelle is here too.
Their talents combine.

He turns 64 on this very day.
Years of service still to render.
I pay tribute to him
My feelings are tender.

He is my companion
For time and all eternity.
The best is yet to come
Happy Birthday from me.

Written by Michelle Thomas Bell

We went to Church in Somoto. We picked up Sister Alaniz and took her to Church with us. She is feeling well and isn’t supposed to walk much so our ride was greatly appreciated. 

It was fast Sunday. Freddy and Catalino passed the sacrament and then were the first to bear their testimonies. Sister Bell and I also bore our testimonies. Sister Bell announced that it was my birthday so everyone one wished me a happy birthday during her testimony.

We then headed for Trinidad to teach another temple prep class. As I pulled up, the neighbors pointed to my tire. It was almost flat. We were fortunate that we didn’t get it on the open highway (a tender mercy). We didn’t change the tire until after the lesson. Only Karen and Maria Clara’s boyfriend were there. Hermana Dania and Wendy did not come. While we were teaching, a thunderstorm passed by. It quit just before we were done so we didn’t have to change the tire in a downpour (another tender mercy). Maria Clara’s boyfriend and President Cruz changed the tire. I held the umbrella (another tender mercy).

We arrived home about 7:30pm in time to talk with Roxanne, Jamie and Grandpa. Grandpa is pretty much out of it, although there were a few signs that he knew Michelle was talking and singing to him. We don’t anticipate that he will be with us much longer. We also talked with Paul and his family. We love our family.