Monday, August 10, 2015

Lessons and Prayers in English are Weird Now

Our Bluefields District: Elders Hernandez, Page, Rushton, and me.
To start with, we had cambios this past week, and my companion, Elder Passey was transferred, but he was the only one from our district of four missionaries. So, he had to travel from Bluefields to Rama alone. I was told to stay in Bluefields with the other two missionaries in our district and we did splits with the members for two days until the arrival on Thursday of my new companion: Elder Rushton! He is from Bountiful, Utah, and he has been on his mission for two more cambios than me (about 3 months). So he and Elder Page in our district have been on their missions the same amount of time, and all four of us in the district are senior companions as well (I am still serving as the district leader).

So Elder Rushon and I were actually in the Sandino Zone for the exact same 6 months, or from January until June, so we knew each other already, but he was in the other side of the Sandino Zone the whole time. Anyway, Elder Rushton is pretty funny and kind of crazy, but he is also a super good missionary, so he is not being punished or demoted or anything by being sent here to Bluefields. I am pretty sure he was sent to be my companion so that I could show him the area, and then he will probably be the next district leader here when I am transferred out. I told President Russell to switch Elders Page and Hernandez because Elder Page was serving as the Senior Companion even though Elder Hernandez has been out on his mission longer. However, the President decided just to move Elder Hernandez up to be a Senior Companion too. Now both companionships can do baptismal interviews!!!

Three of the family were able to get baptized last Saturday.
We're hoping to help the rest be baptized next Saturday.
So Elder Rushton was pretty lucky that he arrived in Bluefields on Thursday, and on Saturday he already had some baptisms, ha ha, what a lucky guy! So this past Saturday, we had a baptismal service that included 3 of our investigators, 1 from the other missionaries' area, and then 2 from the branch members, so 6 baptisms all together. We thought we were going to have 5 of our investigators get baptized, but when we went by their house to pick them up on Saturday, none of them were ready to go and one of them wasn't even there. Plus, one of the girls no longer had permission from her mother to be baptized -- she had originally given her permission, and we even had her signature on the permission slip, but then she changed her mind. Her two older sisters were still baptized though! So we're working on helping get permission again, and the other investigator who wasn't home on Saturday had some complications that day, but she still wants to get baptized next week. Plus, one of the girls got super sick on Sunday and wasn't able to make it to church to get confirmed -- everyone but her made it to church, so we'll get her confirmed next week along with the other two baptisms scheduled for next Saturday. We also are still waiting for a few investigators who are still out of Bluefields. We have been communicating with them via cell phone, and they still want to be baptized when they return possibly this week.

Also, last Thursday, we were out knocking on doors (which are mostly just pieces of rusty tin), and we contacted this really cool guy who we gave a baptismal date to while talking to him in the street. He committed to come to church and he invited us to return the next day (Friday) to meet his family. When we went back by there on Friday, he wasn't there, but the rest of his family was and they invited us in. Well, the dad goes to one church, and the mom goes to another church. We were afraid they were about to whip out their bible and have a word war (bible bash), but they actually wanted to just listen to us teach.  I know the Spirit was telling them to listen, too, so we shared with them all of the restoration of the Gospel up to Joseph Smith. For the first time on my mission, I taught it in English! Well, this family speaks really good English, almost like Americans instead of Creole, so this will be an interesting experience. I have to admit, it is kind of hard to teach and pray in English now... it's weird, but true. Anyway, after we taught them about Joseph Smith, they agreed to pray and see if it was true, and they even accepted a baptismal date (all four of them there at the time) which was the same date as their brother/son we had already committed the day before. Then, on Sunday, they ALL came on their own to church!!! The first guy even stayed for all 3 hours, which almost never happens! In fact, most of them stayed through Sunday School, but the parents went home after Sacrament Meeting to start cooking dinner. Pretty exciting stuff!
The church water pump wasn't working last Friday, so
we had to hand pump the water our back and we
used buckets to carry in water to fill the font
for the baptismal service on Saturday.

Last, my dad was telling me about one of my friends, Elder Jordan Gustavus, who is in Belize and had to use a fire truck hose to fill the font because the water pumps were out. Well, that is a lot like our baptism this past Saturday. On Friday after our District Meeting, we went to fill the font up with water, but the pump for the church wasn't working. So, we had to hand pump the water outside, and then we used buckets and (clean) garbage pails to carry it inside the church and dump into the font. It took forever!!! We also got super sweaty and had a really good workout! That happens once in a while when the pumps stop working -- we hand pump the water and use buckets to carry it into the font in the church.

Sounds like my folks had a super cool Stake Conference last weekend, with President Russell M. Nelson, the President of the Quorum of the Twelve Apostles, speaking to them. Well, they were telling me he might be coming to visit us in Nicaragua in a few weeks, but we'll see. Have a great week everyone, and thank you for all the emails and photos!

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