Monday, September 28, 2015

Deja Vu and Eclipse de la Luna

This is P., the newest Young Woman in the Barrio Monimbo,
along with Elder Nolasco and me.
This past week was good. We had a baptism and brought a new family to church for the first time! In fact, every area in my district had baptisms this past week, and President told me he's happy with our progress and he told me that I am doing a great job here in Monimbo.

Kind of like Deja Vu all over again -- August 2015.
We looked super hard this past week for some new investigators. We found quite a few, but a lot of them dropped out on Sunday. This time of the year is pretty difficult in the areas with a lot of Catholics. However, we did find a new family that is really cool. They are the familia Jimenez and they are planning to get married and baptized in October. What touched them the most as we were teaching them was the Plan of Salvation because their first daughter died in childbirth, and they were crying as they talked about her. They even came to church Sunday by themselves, which is always a really good sign.

November 2014.
Today for P-Day, we played more soccer in the morning with some of  our Zone. My trainer, Elder Castro, even showed up. He is living here in Masaya now at the home of our lunch citas, so I will be seeing quite a bit of him again.

This next week we don't have any baptisms scheduled, but we do have a few planned for October 10th! Besides, it is General Conference this weekend, and I can't wait to find out who will be called as the 3 new Apostles. However, just like last year, we have to bring 4 investigators with us to be able to attend each session, or else we can't attend, so we will be working extra hard to get people to come with us.

Time is going kind of fast here in my new district and it is hard to believe I have already been here 2 weeks! It is a little bit different having Hermanas in my district (there are 3 Hermanas). I have to remember to be sensitive with them and stuff, but these Hermanas in my district are super obedient. They just baptized 4 people last Saturday, and then they have 5 or 6 more scheduled for October 10th! These Hermanas are almost done with their missions, so I have to make sure they don't get "frito" as they say here in Nicaragua. Still, these Hermanas are pretty cool and a lot of fun.
A view from Nicaragua of the lunar eclipse last night.

I heard from Elder Rushton that last Saturday they baptized another one of my old investigators back in Bluefields. This lady was so awesome, and she cried when I left Bluefields... it would have been so neat to see her get baptized. She is going to be a really active, incredibly strong member of the church.

We did get a chance to see the lunar eclipse last night as well. It was pretty cool. Also, I can't believe how tall my little brother is looking in the pictures from home, but on the other hand, I am pretty sure I have grown a little bit also because I had to have a lady in our ward extend my suit pants a little longer this past week. Thanks again to everyone for your emails and letters. They mean a lot to me!

The Zona Masaya -- lots of familiar faces, including my brother, Elder Sanchez on the far left,
who trained with me in Masaya at the start of our missions.

Monday, September 21, 2015

Adios, Bluefields -- Back to Masaya!

Back to Masaya, Nicaragua, but this time in Monimbo.
Pics of my new apartment
Our bathroom....
So this past week was cambios, and sure enough, I was transferred from Bluefields and now I am back in Masaya again, which is the zone where I first started my mission. This time I am in an area called Monimbo, which is the neighbor area next to the Zone Leader's area (which was my first area). As a result, I already know a ton of ward members, and it is still the same lunch cita and the same lady that helps with our laundry. I got to know a lot of this zone last time I was here because I was always going out on splits with the Zone Leaders, and I even already slept in this apartment once before! One other good thing is that Masaya is not as hot and muggy as Bluefields, so I am not sweating nearly as much (it is still really hot, though).

My new companion is named Elder Nolasco and he is from El Salvador. He started his mission the same time I did and he even trained in the Masaya Zone like I did, but in a different area. So Elder Nolasco has been in a little trouble in the past with the Mission President, but it's not really been his fault as his senior companions have not been the most motivated to work. So President Russell told me at cambios that I need to help shape him up!

Our study area....
I am still a district leader here, and our district consists of the Zone Leaders and their companions, my area, and then another area with a trio of sisters. Both of the Zone Leaders are super cool, and one of them, Elder Kleiner, was one of my Zone Leaders when I was in Sandino, so its gonna be a blast! Also, Elder Salmeron, who was my last companion in Sandino, is a companion of one of the Zone Leaders here, so I am his district leader and I am always around him again.

There are lots of Catholics here in Masaya and it seems
like they are always having these parades or processionals.
Another thing that President Russell told me at cambios is that he knows that the problems our district was having in Bluefields weren't really me and Elder Rushton's fault, but being the district leader there was a learning process for me to grow. So now he told me to tear it up in Masaya also and I'm feeling a lot better about the whole transfer now. Yesterday, a new stake presidency was called here in Masaya, and now some of the wards are temporarily without a bishop, including the ward I am in, so President Russell was telling be that he will be coming to Masaya quite a bit the next several weeks to train the new leadership.

Let me tell you, that last panga ride leaving Bluefields last week was a looong and sad ride. Elder Rushton told me that he and my replacement, Elder Bradbeer, did baptize 5 of my old investigators last Saturday in Bluefields, and they have one more of my investigators scheduled for baptism next week, and they brought 14 of my old investigators to church yesterday in Bluefields! The area is still progressing great out there and I am a little sad to not be in Bluefields. Masaya is quite a bit more difficult... the land of the Catholics... and it is a little more difficult to baptize here. When I arrived in my new area last week, we only have 3 little kids that are progressing and will be baptized shortly (hopefully 1 this next Saturday), but Nolasco and I will work hard to find some adults and families to start teaching! My new comp really seems to have the desire to work hard so far, so we are already off to a strong start here.
Caballos, ha ha, giddy up!

Monday, September 14, 2015

Goodbye, Bluefields :(

G. is a 15-year-old, future missionary who returned to Bluefields and was baptized this past week.
Well, unfortunately, I just got the news that I will be transferring this next week for cambios. I'm pretty disappointed and it's all I can think about right now, so I'm having a hard time writing this email. We had as many as 6 baptisms scheduled for last Saturday, but only 1 of them happened. He is a teenager named G. who Elder Passey and I had taught, but he left Bluefields for about 1 month and then came back last week. He is really cool and has a lot of friends with the Young Men in the branch, and he is even talking about serving a mission. 

A cool pic of a rain shower moving into the bay.
Unfortunately, we had to postpone the other 5 baptisms thanks to coffee! So we have to keep working with those investigators and we had to postpone their baptism. Plus, we got word that another guy we were teaching about 2 months ago is returning to Bluefields this week and wants to get baptized next Saturday, but it looks like I won't be here now. We also had a bunch of investigators in church yesterday, and we have some really cool investigators progressing and saying they want to get baptized the end of September and first of October, but again, I won't be here to see it happen.

This is a picture of one of the little, red worms in our drinking water.
We found tons of them in the well and cleaned them all out, but not after
Elder Rushton got sick.
My parents read my companion's blog from last week and he talked about getting sick. We discovered some little, red worms in our drinking water, and he had been sick all week last week. We went to the landlord, and she had her cousin come and help us drain the water well and then clean it out as much as we could. The water is still pretty disgusting in general, but at least the little red bugs are gone. I have been drinking the water the whole I time I have been here and, fortunately, I haven't been sick at all. Elder Rushton also mentioned that he had bed bugs, and yes, I had them also, but I didn't want to say anything so that my Mom would be worried. Those are also gone now, but I will be leaving tomorrow for cambios anyway.

So I finally got the rest of my birthday presents last week when we went to Managua for interviews with our mission president. I can't say my interview went very well because even though Elder Rushton and I have been working hard and keeping the mission rules, he wasn't happy with a few things, like keeping our area book up to date. So kind of a bummer this week. I guess I will let you know next week where I end up and who my new companion will be.
We finally got to try turtle rondon and it was pretty good.

Monday, September 7, 2015

Loma Fresca, Bluefields

This is a cool lake we found in our area.
We worked hard all week this past week and were able to bring 11 investigators to church yesterday. We are hoping to have as many as 6 baptisms this next week. Two of our investigators are returning to Bluefields and we were able to confirm that they will be back. The other four are references of children from less-active families. When the branch asks us to find and teach these kids and their parents, and work to get them coming to church again and the kids to be baptized, we are more than happy to oblige!
Up in the mountains of Loma Fresca, Bluefields

So kind of a short email today because we have to leave in about 90 minutes on a panga headed for Juigalpa. We have interviews with President Russell tomorrow there. Normally he doesn't pull us out of Bluefields but normally just visits every few months, and he is coming in October, but we got called in....

Loma Fresca is located in the other half of our district.
We went on divisions this past week and went up there.
It's basically hiking around looking for shacks in the jungle
on top of the hill like this one.
Other news is that after we finish our emails today, we will be eating lunch with a family in the branch who is going to fix us a typical Bluefields meal called "rondon," and this kind is going to be made with turtle! I'll take some pics and let you know next week how it tastes, but I am super excited to try it! Anyways, sorry for the short email, but we're pushed for time.