Monday, April 6, 2015

New Companion, New District Leader, and Semana Santa

The four of us missionaries from the Barrio Trinidad shoved into
a three-person moto to go to a birthday party for one of our
recent converts on the last day of the cambio.
Hey!!! SO... I had a crazy week! Firstly, we had cambios last Wednesday, and Elder Rodas was transferred while I am staying here in Ciudad Sandino in the Barrio Trinidad (Trinidad Ward). My new companion is Elder Salmon, and he is from Tegucigalpa, Honduras. He turns 19-years-old next month and he just finished his training, so he has about 3 months in the mission.

Getting the cake ready for the birthday party.
AND something else a little crazy... so our District Leader, Elder Hironaka, was called to be our new Zone Leader for the Managua Zone (no surprise because our district was on fire). So they had to call a new District Leader, and it turns out it is me! Overall, the district is the same with 4 areas and 8 missionaries, but there was a change with all of the companionships, so we were all mixed up a little and we're having to make adjustments. I can't believe that I only have 7 months in the mission, and I'm already called to be a District Leader -- super fast!! Well, let's just say I am a LOT busier now! I have already performed 3 baptismal interviews this past weekend! I also found out that Elder Hansen (we flew out together from the Salt Lake Airport) was also made a District Leader down in Bluefields, which is cool. Also, Elder Bradbeer, from my district in the CCM, is in my district, as well as another missionary I knew during my training while I was in Diriomo!!
More of the birthday party

Another duty as a District Leader is that I have to take numbers every night from my district, and if we aren't getting our goals for lessons and contacts, or getting baptismal fechas (dates) every day, I get macheted super hard... makes me frustrated, but it happens!! Today for P-Day, I also had to go to the Mission Offices in Managua and it took up almost the entire P-Day. When we got back, we went straight to a cyber and I barely have time to write my emails.

BUT, we're working super hard, and our district has 4 baptisms planned for this coming week, including one for me and Elder Salmon. Our investigator is named Y.L., and he is a Mesquite Nicaraguan from Porte Cabeza, which is near Bluefields. He's also really big and is almost as tall as me! We have been teaching him for a super long time, and he has had difficulty attending Church every week, but we brought him with us to the Priesthood Session of Conference and he loved it a TON!! Now he is super animated about getting baptized this Saturday! The hard part will probably still be Sunday morning getting him to church for the confirmation, ha ha.
Me and my new companero, Elder Salmon.
Loving the new backpack -- thanks Uncle Jared!

Well, with the baptism interviews and General Conference, I was super busy. Conference was pretty awesome, but it also kind of stunk. Our Mission has a rule where you are required to bring 4 investigators to each session of Conference (different 4 for each session), and if you don't have the 4 investigators, you don't get to stay and watch Conference (with the exception of Priesthood Session and one session on Sunday of your choice). So, we tried incredibly hard to bring as many people as we could, and in fact, we brought 9 investigators total for the weekend, but I didn't get to stay for either of the Saturday sessions because of the stupid rule. I was only able to watch the Priesthood session and then both sessions on Sunday, which were all really good. I can understand the Spanish 100%, so it was cool to listen to it in another language. I must admit the Priesthood session of Conference did make me pretty trunky because it made me think of going to the Priesthood session back home with my family. So I won't lie, I was super sad afterward and missed being able to go out to dinner with my family (I knew they would go to Panda Express!).

So here in Nicaragua, they don't really have Easter like we have it back home in the U.S. In fact, I didn't even realize it was Easter until they mentioned it during the Sunday morning session of Conference, ha ha. Here, they have the Semana Santa (Holy Week), so stuff has been going on all week (mostly seems just like they have weird food every day), but seriously it seemed like it really had nothing to do with Easter. Some people say it is a bigger celebration than Christmas, and there are supposed to be processions that recreate events from the Bible, but I really didn't see any of these. It is also the week of Spring Break here, so everyone gets the week off from work and school and most people go to the beach!!

My folks asked me about getting some mangoes from that family we baptized back on Valentine's Day. They have been super awesome and almost always go to church (well, mostly the 2 daughters every week because their brothers have special needs and can't always make it). We also talk to them all the time about getting to the temple, and they have set that as a goal. However, they did bawl their eyes out when they found out Elder Rodas got transferred (they were a little attached to him), so I hope they keep going even after I leave too! At any rate, no more mangoes because the season is over to harvest them.

Well, congratulations to my cousin, Michael, on his graduation last week! Sorry, that's about all I have time for this week! I will try to make sure I get a pic of our new district next week. Take care! 
Yummy chocolate-covered bananas!

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