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.

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