Monday, August 31, 2015

A Week Full of Baptisms and Instruction from an Apostle

A beautiful Caribbean sunrise here in Bluefields, Nicaragua!
So this past week was pretty eventful! We knew we would be leaving on Friday to travel to Managua for the missionary conference and wouldn't be able to have a baptismal service on Saturday, so we planned to get our investigators ready to be baptized earlier in the week!
Here are the two sisters who got baptized on Wednesday night,
along with their mother who doesn't exist
according to the Nicaraguan government.

Me and E. all dressed up and ready to go
before we left his house for the church on Thursday.
First, the family who was closest weren't all able to get baptized because when we tried to get the birth certificate and ID card for the mother, it turns out she doesn't exist in the government records. When she was born (in a tiny shack), her parents never took her to the hospital or doctors, and she never went to school -- ever -- so she was never entered into the system. So now we have to start a very long process with some expensive lawyers to get her officially entered into the government records so that she can get married and then baptized. However, we were able to have a baptism service for her two daughters on Wednesday, and then we had another baptism service on Thursday for her niece and nephew (who live nearby). It was awesome because we had a huge turn-out from the branch to support both baptisms.

Here we are with E. and his sister at their baptism on Thursday night.
On Friday morning, we left Bluefields on another long trip and arrived in Juigalpa later in the afternoon. We spent the rest of the day helping out our Zone Leaders, Elders Hansen and Hartley, in their area. Then we got up super early on Saturday and left for Managua. The missionary conference was incredible because it was conducted by President Russell M. Nelson, who is the president of the Quorum of the Twelve Apostles (kind of like Peter in the New Testament), and he told lots of cool stories and instruction on the things we need to be teaching the people in Nicaragua so that they can be truly converted and get their own temple one day. He showed us many terms in the Spanish version of the Study Guide in the back of the Spanish Book of Mormon, but he went into a lot of detail on about 10 or so of them. He told us to really teach them about tithing and commit them to pay their tithing because that is the reason they don't have a temple in Nicaragua yet.

President Nelson also shared a cool experience when he and Elder Hales came to Nicaragua many years ago to dedicate the country for missionary work. At the time that they came, Americans weren't being given visas to enter Nicaragua, but they were allowed into the country "for a few hours." So they showed up to the airport unannounced and went to a park in Masaya. Nobody in the whole country knew they were coming, so it was literally just a little group of church leaders that spent a few hours one afternoon and dedicated the land of Nicaragua for missionary work and to open the doors for the teaching of the restored gospel.

Funny thing is we spent about 17 hours traveling for a 2-hour meeting with President Nelson, but it was totally worth it, and I got to shake his hand! After the meeting concluded, they fed us Subway sandwiches, but of course we also had to stop by the McDonald's in Managua to grab something to eat on our way back to Juigalpa. As we left the meeting, our mission president told us not to go back to Bluefields that night, but to wait until early Sunday morning. As a result, we knew we wouldn't make it in time for church Sunday morning so we wouldn't be able to help bring our newly baptized members to church for their confirmations. So let's just say that while we were helping our Zone Leaders in their area again on Saturday night, I was making a ton of phone calls to commit people and members to help bring the new members for their confirmations. So when we got off the pangas on Sunday about 1:00 PM, we were thrilled to find out that we still had 5 of our investigators show up to church, and 2 of the new members were able to make it to church and get confirmed. It wasn't perfect, but it could have been a lot worse! Next week we will get the others confirmed.
This was so incredibly tasty! Hmmmm...good!
A delicious fish and fried tortilla dinner!

So now for September, we are working really hard to find more people to teach, plus we still have another super awesome family we have been teaching that should get baptized a little later this month. Super cool how the work is coming along here in Bluefields!!! This next week we don't have anything too special planned. We are still waiting on a few investigators to return to Bluefields so that they can be baptized... still waiting, so hopefully this week they can get back in town.

More fish for dinner, but this time with teeth! Ack!
I didn't eat this fish though, ha ha, luckily the family didn't offer it to us!
Elder Rushton and I get along really well together -- he is just super crazy, and his Spanish is horrible, but he is really cool and we are working really hard. He is a great missionary, which is why I am so surprised we are both together as companions here in Bluefields, because we are both missionary leaders who have been on our missions for a while, and so it is great to be able to just take advantage and work hard with someone who also loves to work hard. Well, this Thursday will be my official 1-year anniversary of leaving on my mission... crazy, right? The time is flying by now, especially because I love it so much here in Bluefields so it seems to go by even faster!

Bus full of Zone Juigalpa missionaries!

No comments:

Post a Comment