Monday, May 4, 2015

Listening to the Prophet Changes Lives for the Better

My folks talked about Star Wars Day (you know, "May the 4th be with you") and mentioned that they saw the Avengers 2 movie over the weekend, but for some strange reason, I am not that caught up on missing those movies right now, ha ha. It might seem kind of strange, but I really feel more excited on all that's going on here in Nicaragua. I never would have guessed before my mission that I would feel this way. Anyway, a lot of people here in Nicaragua have seen Star Wars, but it doesn't seem to be that big of a deal here, or with Star Trek or some of those movies either.

Me, Jose, O., Olga, M., and Elder Salmeron
at the baptismal service this past Friday
OK, so about our week.... we had another baptism service this past Friday for 4 more of our investigators. First is Olga and her two neighbors, O. and M., who are good friends. I've known them since my third day here in Sandino. At first, they were just friends with us and nothing more, and they weren't interested in hearing about the gospel until Elder Salmeron and I invited them to watch General Conference with us. Olga had previously attended church many times with some friends a few years ago, but she never did get baptized until now. The gospel is changing her life for the better.

Second was Jose, who is the one who accidentally drank some coffee last week, but he honestly was the most positive person I have met since I have been here in Sandino who wanted to do everything he could to get baptized. In a way, we kind of accidentally met him on the day of General Conference. His family was actually committed to come with us to General Conference, but they backed out on their commitment and sent Jose in their place without us even meeting him yet. Later he told us that he was drunk "off his butt" when he attended Conference with us, but we couldn't tell and had no idea. We were just desperate to have enough people with us so that we could watch Conference. Well, during the session of Conference with us, he said it was a life-changing experience, and he hasn't touched alcohol since that day. The coffee last week really was an accident as someone in his family gave it to him and he didn't realize it was coffee until after he drank it, so he wasn't really drinking it because of an addiction. This guy wanted so badly to get baptized ever since that day in Conference, and every Sunday he comes to church all by himself. In fact, on the day of his baptism, he wanted to prove to us that he is committed and will always go on his own, so he walked alone all the way to church for his baptism and we were there waiting for him! His life has changed so much from the gospel, and it all started when he listened to the prophet in General Conference.
Our district celebrated our success in April by playing some soccer
in the morning, and then Pizza Hut pizza for lunch!!! 

This past week we had a Zone Conference on Friday. Every Friday we have District Meetings except for one week during each cambios when we have a Zone Conference in Managua, so about every 6 weeks we have Zone Conference, and ours was this last week. The Mission President had some very nice things to say about our district and he announced that with 19 baptisms in April, we had more success than any of the other districts in the mission, as did our whole Managua Zone with 31 baptisms last month. He told the Zone Leaders that he was happy with our hard work. Not only that, but we have already started off very well for the month of May as our district had 7 more baptisms this first weekend of the month. I am focusing very hard right now for a few more investigators to hopefully be baptized by the end of May, so to do that we need to make sure we bring a lot of people to church, and, well... I am happy to say that Elder Salmeron and I broke our record again with 14 investigators at church yesterday!!! And 8 of those 14 investigators were there for the first time and are continuing to progress with us!!! So, we might have a little break in the middle of May, but hopefully by the end of the month we will be able to help a few more to be baptized. However, I am also very happy to report that all of our new converts are still staying very active and strong! The bishop had interviews with some of them yesterday to extend callings to some of them (including the Familia Hernandez who were baptized last week) because many of them are already paying their tithing and keeping their commitments!!! It makes me so happy to see them progress in the gospel. I really hope I don't leave Barrio Trinidad yet when we have our next cambios in the middle of May. There is so much work that we have started -- I don't want to leave!!!!

This week, the Rainy Season finally started, and when I say rain, I mean 20-minute hurricanes with flooding roads that look more like rivers! Plus, when it rains here, the humidity jumps to 100% and so, even though it is not quite as hot, I still find myself sweating even if I am just sitting in a chair... so that's fun! I am still super excited to talk to everyone on Mother's Day next Sunday! I can't wait for that!! Well, this email was super long, but we have just been so incredibly blessed by the Lord, and I am so grateful to be a part of this great work here.

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