Monday, March 30, 2015

Crazy Week of Baptisms and Super Glue

Me and Elder Rodas with the four people we baptized on Saturday.
Later on Saturday, we had a baptism with D. and the rest of our District.
Hey!!! First I want to start off with how bomb this week was!!! So, me and Elder Rodas had four baptisms this past Saturday!!! We found one family just after the last cambio while we were looking for newbies to teach. The Mom and oldest son were baptized about 10 years ago, and the Dad was baptized with them, but he never was confirmed. So we had to baptize him again and this time make sure he was confirmed, plus their daughter was baptized. Then, we also baptized a boy and his grandma, and they have just LOVED the Church! The boy's mother is one of the investigators we are trying get the paperwork sorted out so she can be married, and then more of the family can be baptized, but the paperwork is still piling up. We always have about 20 people listening to the lessons with this family when we teach, so these 4 were part of these families. Also, it was the boy's 10th birthday ON the day of his baptism, so we got him a piƱata and a birthday cake, and after the baptism we all celebrated with him!!!

Me, D., and Elder Rodas. D. has become a super good friend and he
is preparing to serve his own mission.
The other elders in our barrio also had a baptism last Thursday, and then two more on Saturday with our four baptisms, and then they had one more baptism a few hours later on Saturday (I actually got to baptize him and he is one of my good buddies here). So once again, the elders in the other area of our barrio took one of our baptisms. This boy, named D. (18-years-old), was a reference from the Bishop's family back in February. We taught him 2 lessons and helped set a baptismal goal with him, but then we had to give him up because he lives in the other area. BUT, we see him at church every week now, and he is even preparing to serve a mission! Also, he asked that I baptize him, so that was still pretty cool, and tonight we are having a Family Home Evening with him and getting pizza, ha ha!

Getting ready for the baptisms.
As you can tell, we have been super busy, and it was a crazy final Saturday of this cambio for our District and Zone -- in fact, it was so busy (and this is the reason this also makes this week so bomb) that our District broke the record for most baptisms in one month during March. Our District ended up with 21 baptisms this month, and our Zone (consisting of 4 Districts/28 missionaries) had a whopping 48 baptisms in March, which shattered the record for this Zone. We have been so blessed! On Sunday, it was even crazier because we had 8 confirmations in our barrio and it took about 25 minutes, ha ha. Overall, it has been an awesome week -- probably the best and craziest week of my mission so far!!

This is the pro kitchen of the family we baptized. They made dinner
for us on Sunday night to celebrate (see below).
OK, well, sorry, I just had to tell you how awesome this week has been, ha ha. Now, for next week, we do have cambios on Wednesday, and we are all pretty sure my comp, Elder Rodas, will be going as he has been in this same area for the last 6 months, and it is the only area he has served in so far on his mission. I would be pretty surprised if they moved me, and I hope they don't because we have been having so much success and have a lot of people progressing right now. We even brought 11 investigators to church again yesterday, with 2 families progressing!!!! Other than cambios, not much else will be going on this week as far as meetings and such. So more than likely I will be getting a new comp (or moved, but I hope not).

This is the soup/stew thing the family made for us.
I have no idea what was actually in it, but it tasted OK.
Got some super glue?

Last, my parents asked me how my shoes were holding up and to send a picture of them. Well, I have two pairs of shoes. One pair I keep nice for when we have to go to Managua or for meetings. The other pair of shoes I work with every day, and I have used about 4 bottles of super glue to keep the tips from splitting more, ha ha. I pretty much re-apply more glue almost every week (these are the same ones I had re-sewed in Masaya) because, yeah, we walk a lot and work super hard, ha ha. BUT, they are still usable and I don't think they look trashy. They should last a little longer so long as I have some super glue.

See, they don't look too bad yet.

So that's about it for this week. I should add that I have been feeling much better and no sickness this week! Although I have been lacking some sleep because of how busy we've been and it is just so blazing hot at night, ha ha. Anyway, have a great week every one, and Happy Easter!!!

Monday, March 23, 2015

The Multi-Mission Conference and Pancakes

This is the main road we walk every day to get from our
apartment to the area where we proselyte.
Wow! I got a lot of emails this week!! I love to read them all -- best part of my week!

Oh no! I was sad to hear that Micheal Jensen's grandfather passed away. I got to meet him a few times, and he was a really cool guy. I'll have to send a note, but my condolences to the Jensen family again.

One of the side paths off of the main road to get to our area.
OK, so for my week this past week. Well, the Multi-Mission Conference was really good, but there was no announcement for any new Nicaragua Managua West Mission. I got to see Elder Hirschi, one of my friends from Copper Hills who is serving in the Nicaragua Managua North Mission, and we overlapped 2 weeks in the CCM. He is really the only missionary I know in the North Mission. At any rate, there wasn't a single, official word said about a new West Mission, but that doesn't mean they won't announce it in April or May. A lot of missionaries now think it might just be rumors and speculation, ha ha. BUT, all of the Zone Leaders had heard stuff about the new mission, so we'll have to wait and see. We also had a nice reunion with our CCM District, with the addition of Elder Sanchez because he arrived alone at our cambio, and sadly, we were missing Elder Bronson. I sure hope he is doing well.

Our CCM District and Elder Sanchez reunited at the Multi-Mission Conference (except sadly minus Elder Bronson)
So this is a picture of us playing soccer with one of our investigators
in this big peanut field. They do grow peanuts here, but at the time it
was just soft dirt. It was hard to play and we got super dirty, ha ha.
I am not in this picture because I am the one taking the picture
with my camera, but I was really dirty.
Another awesome thing about the Multi-Mission Conference is that I got a bunch of packages!!!! THANK YOU!! I have already read through all of the articles, and I am slowly eating the chocolates. My Dad burned a CD with the homecoming talks of my sister, Erin, and my cousin, Kaitlyn, when they returned home from their missions last November and December, and those were sweet!!! My sister served in Peru, but her Spanish has such a gringa accent and it's awesome!!! The absolute best part, though -- not gonna lie -- was the new Ogio backpack from my Uncle Jared!!! Holy cow it is amazing!! Everyone wants to buy it off of me, or trade me for it, ha ha. No way!! I'm in love with it!! I also like the ties from Uncle Joel! Also, I did get a letter from my cousin, Hollie, but I still don't know where to find a post office here in Ciudad Sandino to mail any letters back home, so I haven't been able to respond yet. In fact, I sent a letter back in November to my cousin Jeffrey, and it came back to me unable to be delivered. Not sure why, but please tell him that I am trying to respond still. The mail is just a little more random here in Nicaragua, I guess, ha ha.

As for the work in our area, we have three people scheduled for baptism, with two more possible, this next Saturday (all from the same large family of investigators that we have been working with). We are also still working on the weddings for this family, but so far none of the paperwork has been started by the lawyer. That will be a problem and take some time unless a miracle happens, so prayers would be appreciated. We also rebounded a little bit from last week and we brought a large group off people to church again yesterday, with this large family as well as some new people. We'll see how much progress we can make with all of these people this week!!!

Also this week, I got sick again!! It was the same stomach issue that I had in Masaya. One morning I threw up about 10 times, and since then I haven't puked, but my stomach has been bothering me. I was supposed to go get checked for a parasite, but last time the doctor just assured me it was not a parasite and told me that the food is too greasy and I don't get enough fruit, so it is really hard on my digestive system. So I have already tried to change my diet again here and I have been eating some of the more expensive, packaged American food lately. I am already feeling a ton better -- I just need to be careful what I eat until my stomach is back to 100% again, ha ha.
My District Leader, Elder Hironaka, and me holding up a plate
of some of the pancakes we whipped up.

Today for P-Day, we went had a super fun day with our District Leader and almost our whole district.  Our District Leader is Elder Hironaka, who has become a super cool friend. He is originally from Arizona and also had Elder Castro as his trainer, so he is my brother in the mish, but he finished his training just before I came to the mission. First, we played baseball and basketball in the morning. After that, our district went and ate pancakes together at a member's house that let us use their "kitchen" area to cook them up. This family had never eaten pancakes before in their whole life! Pancakes are a rare, special treat here. So we bought the ingredients and made a big stack of them for everyone to eat.

Well, that's about it for this week. I got a lot of people to try and write today. Thanks again for all of the packages from everyone back home!!!
This is (most of) our district eating pancakes for P-Day today!!

Monday, March 16, 2015

Happy St. Patrick's Day? Paperwork, and Zone BBQ

This selfie is from our Multi-Zone Conference in February.
Hey! How's it going? First off, I completely forgot about St. Patrick's Day because they don't celebrate it here at all, ha ha. Maybe I'll see someone that is purposely wearing green to celebrate, but I doubt it. I do see a few Americans every once in a while, but not much here in Ciudad Sandino. A few weeks ago, I did meet this old guy and his wife who are from the United States. They are actually members of the Church but they don't go and they don't speak Spanish (a tiny, tiny bit is all). They have lived here for 7 years, and he is even a returned missionary from the Philippines and all that, but they don't live in our area, so we can't visit them. So they are the only Americans I know that live here in Sandino, but every once in a while a person will start talking to me in English and they will end up being from the United States and just here in Nicaragua visiting family (about 99% of them come from Miami, ha ha.... everyone here thinks that Miami is half of the US because that's where all the Nicaraguans go when they visit the US).
So one of the member families in our area invites us over for
dinner all the time, and they got a new puppy!
So I had to take a pic with it!!

My parents were asking me about the maple syrup for our pancake party last week. Well, they sell little bottles of syrup here in the grocery stores. You can find it in most stores in Niucaragua, but it's pretty expensive. My parents were also telling me about the poor sister missionary who passed away in Argentina from an E. Coli infection and they told me to make sure I wash all the fruit and veggies we eat. Funny thing is that I got super sick last Thursday and was puking my guts out all morning. It was horrible! I threw up about 10 times and it was probably the worst food poisoning I have had (it was a little deja vu of the parasite problem I had in Masaya where my stomach wasn't digesting super well). BUT don't worry, the food we're given here is pretty good. It might get a little repetitive with LOTS of beans and rice, but it is really clean and sanitary. I shouldn't be getting E. Coli. I'll try to take a few photos of some of our meals this week to show you what we eat.
This dog is freaking cute, ha ha!

So this past Sunday, we did't bring quite as many people to church, but we are still doing well and preparing some of our investigators for baptism. Unfortunately, we ran into some snags with the paperwork, so we might not be able to have any weddings this month. A lot of people here in Nicaragua aren't registered when they are born, so that make's it a huge problem when we have to apply for the marriage licenses and we need that info for the paperwork. So we are still working through it, but the weddings probably won't happen this month as a result. However, we still have some baptisms coming up (we're planning on at least 1 investigator for this Saturday).

My little brother is totally wearing
MY clothes at my grandparents'
50th anniversary party back home!
I have little bit of news on the new mission in Nicaragua. The Church hasn't announced anything officially yet, but we are having a huge multi-mission conference this Thursday! The Presiding Bishop of the Church will be there with one of the Area Presidency. The whole mission is talking about it! Apparently one of the sister missionaries has a brother who just opened his mission call and read Nicaragua Managua West Mission, so we're pretty sure a new mission is happening, but we won't find out the details until Thursday.

My Dad sent me some pictures of my grandparents' 50th wedding anniversary party. Looks like it was a success and I hope they liked the memories I emailed. I have to say that it is sure weird seeing my little brother, Drew. He looks different, and he is basically wearing MY outfit, ha ha. I gave him those pants and T-shirt and shoes, LOL. He might have size 12 shoes now, but I still think I'll be taller than him when I get home!!!
At the Managua Zone Barbecue hanging with some of my good friends
from Masaya and the CCM.
Last thing for this past week is that our Zone was rewarded for such a successful month with a Zone barbecue, and as an activity -- we played basketball!!! My first legit game of basketball here in Nicaragua, BUT it was on an outdoor court with an outdoor ball, so it wasn't quite the same as the indoor, hardwood courts back home... but it was fun! I am definitely losing my touch, well, all the missionaries here in Nicaragua were a little rusty. It was great to see some of the missionaries who served with me in Masaya (including my trainer, Elder Castro, who is now a Zone Leader here in Managua Zone), as well as Elders Jensen and Bradbeer who were with me in the CCM in Mexico City. Anyways, that's all I've got to report from this past week. Me and Elder Rodas are just trying to work super hard, being obedient, and always trying to stay animated, ha ha. Thanks everyone back home for the updates and emails and pics -- they're awesome!!

The Managua Zone Barbecue Activity to celebrate a good month of hard work!

Monday, March 9, 2015

Blessed with Some Little Successes and Making Pancakes

Whenever we have lessons with this awesome family, all of their
neighbors come over, so we usually have 18 to 20 people listening!
In this photo, we had just finished watching the video of
Joseph Smith and the Restoration of the Gospel. It was a lot of fun!
Plus they have all come to church the last 2 Sundays!
Hey!!! This week I have the normal amount of time to write -- lo siento for last week! I haven't heard anything more on the new Nicaragua Managua West Mission other than it is supposed to happen this June.

This is another photo of some of the funny kids in this awesome family!
For this week, we were blessed with a TON of little successes this week! We brought 11 investigators to church the last two weeks (actually a lot more than that, but we don't count the ones younger than 8-years-old). We are planning on two more weddings and baptisms for the 21st and 28th of March, and the possibility of a baptism this week or the next (depending on if he passes his baptismal interview). So we are working super hard, and as a result, our district is number one in the mission right now as far as investigators coming to church and baptisms. We also got to help with a baptism this past Saturday that was almost ours. I took pictures of the mom and her son at the baptism service on Saturday, and then they got confirmed on Sunday in the ward. The mom had originally contacted me and Elder Rodas because her two older daughters were recently baptized and then they moved into Ciudad Sandino. The family talked to me and Elder Rodas first, and we began teaching them, until we found out they actually live in the area of the other Elders in our district/ward. So they continued to teach them, and then they baptized them this past weekend, but me and Elder Rodas are super close to them still, so we helped out with the baptism, and then we celebrated by going to their house and making pancakes! It was super fun, and they are a super cool family!
This is the baptism service of the mom and her son, and her daughters
had already been baptized, then after we went over to their house
and we made pancakes!

Making the pancakes!
We also had our interviews with President Russell this past week, and as the Senior Companion, I was expecting machetes. Usually people leave the interviews getting reprimanded, and sometimes just for little things, but not me -- phew!! I was so relieved when he said that he was super happy with me for helping to revive this area, and he said that he was very pleased with how I've helped Elder Rodas to change his work ethic from how he was trained. Overall, he was very pleased with our District! So I'm actually feeling a lot better about everything -- we have people to teach and that want to progress. Things are looking up again in Barrio Trinidad (the Trinidad Ward)!!

My parents said it snowed this week in Utah about 7 inches at our house. I sort of miss snow, ha ha, but I'm getting used to the heat now. My mom was asking about mosquitoes, but we really don't have any here in Ciudad Sandino, partly due to how hot it is right now. The mosquitoes were a lot worse in Masaya! Every apartment or house in the mission is supposed to have a fan, and there is no way I could get any sleep here without a fan blowing on me. I did take a little money out and bought a portable stove top that is super awesome! A lot of missionaries have them, so I got one and now I can cook eggs in the mornings now! My parents also asked me if I see any of my district from the CCM. Right now there are two Elders (Bradbeer and Jensen) that were in my CCM district, and now they are in the Managua Zone with me, actually pretty close to my area, but I really only get to see them in zone meetings. 

Well, I hope all goes well with the party for my Grandma and Grandpa Langford's 50th wedding anniversary this week. Also, congratulations to my Uncle Kelly for getting called to be the new Stake President in his stake, and congratulations to my old friend Josh Hammond on his mission call to Argentina! That is super cool! I hope everyone else is also doing well at home. Don't worry about me and Elder Rodas -- we're working hard and surviving the heat!
Celebrating the baptisms with our pancake party! It was super fun with a super cool family!

Monday, March 2, 2015

Power Outage and 6-Month Mark

Whoa! So the power has been out here in Ciudad Sandino for most of the afternoon, so we were struggling to find a cyber-cafe with the power on and enough computers for us to write emails until just now, and so I only have 30 minutes until we have to be to an appointment. So this is about to be the lamest email I have sent so far ... and yet ... as of tomorrow, I will have been on my mission for 6 months! I am very happy about hitting my 6-month mark, but I feel like I'm really still just beginning, and 1/4 of something isn't very much, ha ha.

Well, nothing special happened this past week. Elder Rodas and I did bring lots of new people to church yesterday, so hopefully some of them will keep progressing this week. It sure is getting hotter here, and it's rather miserable, so I wouldn't mind a little snow and cold right now.

Sorry, but that is all the time I have today. Pretty lame email, and not enough time for any picture downloads. We're still pushing hard and working away here in Barrio Trinidad!! Oh, one last thing that is kind of exciting -- we just found out (like just barely this very second we found out) that they are going to open a new Managua Nicaragua WEST Mission in June. I don't have much info about it yet, so I will keep you posted. Have a great week everyone!