Monday, November 30, 2015

Thanksgiving Lunch and Viernes Negro

My Thanksgiving lunch -- it was actually pretty tasty
even though it was not traditional.
Thanksgiving was good here, but not really anything traditional as they don't celebrate Thanksgiving here in Nicaragua. However, it was kind of weird because some of the bigger stores in Managua had 'Viernes Negro' sales -- Black Friday -- ha, ha. This year, though, we ended up getting a Thanksgiving lunch instead of a dinner, and we only had one hour to eat and relax with the Zone, and then we had to get back to work by 1:00. At least it was a free lunch, and it tasted a lot better this year than last year because our Zone went to a restaurant (it is actually the same restaurant we go too almost every P-Day, but it is a pretty good restaurant for Nicaragua).

M. and her mother at M.'s baptism.
This past week, we ended up only having one of our baptisms. M. is a 14-year-old girl and is the newest Young Woman in the ward. Her mother was supposed to also be baptized, but during the week she had some problems come up that we will need to work with her on, so she will be baptized in a few more weeks. We had another lady that was supposed to be baptized, but she had to unexpectedly go to Managua without telling us, so her baptism is rescheduled for this coming Saturday. We have a few more people scheduled for baptism in December, so hopefully we will have a good month.

I am super excited for another family that we have been teaching and they came to church for the first time yesterday. They are really cool and positive right now, which is good because it has been really difficult for me and my companion to be able to contact many new people right now. It seems like we have contacted a lot of the area already, and then right now there are Catholic festivals nearly every day that make it hard to work. I won't lie, it's rather frustrating, but we are working hard and the Lord is blessing us a ton here!

Today for P-Day, we went to the market to look around and I bought two new pairs of shoes for about 12 US-dollars each. They are even American brands, so I should be good on shoes for the rest of my mission now.

I am about out of time, but I just wanted to say that I am super grateful for my Mom. I am the man I am today thanks to her. She taught me so much, and made sure I was always being good ;) Sure love you, Mom!
Our Masaya Zone ordering Thanksgiving lunch.

Monday, November 23, 2015

Interviews, Flu, and Balleadas

Eating "balleadas" at the Zone Leader's
apartment today.
"Balleadas" are a Honduran food that
consists of tortillas, refried beans, eggs, and cream.
So this past week we had interviews with President Russell and it was probably the shortest interview I've had yet as it only lasted about 15 minutes or so. He was happy with the work we were doing and had no issues. I also got to see Elder Kleiner again and everyone got a chuckle as they watched run and give a bro-hug to each other.

I can't remember what I weighed before my mission, but for my health check-up at interviews, I weighed in at 173 pounds. I have pretty much lost all muscle (but I can still dunk a basketball!). Then the next day, me and my companion both got sick! I woke up with a serious stomach ache that turned into a huge pain in my back and neck. I took some medicine and got a little better, but my companion started vomiting. We tried to get some work done but had to take it really slow. 

Today we woke up feeling better and played some soccer for P-Day, so it was probably just a little flu bug or something. After soccer, we went to the Zone Leader's apartment and made "balleadas," which is a Honduran food that consists of a tortilla with refried beans, eggs, and cream. They are really good and pretty easy to make. Three of the four missionaries in the Zone Leader's apartment are from Honduras.
This is a really cool family that I actually met last year when I was in Masaya.
They invite us over for dinner all the time. Their 9-year-old daughter is working on getting baptized,
but she is waiting for her father to get ready and be the one to baptize her.
Yesterday we had 9 investigators at church from 2 families that we have been working with! Sadly, the lady that got baptized last week but didn't come to church to get confirmed, well, we went to her house Sunday morning and she wasn't there. We were calling her on the phone all morning and she wouldn't answer her phone. Finally, she did answer her phone and told us she would meet us at church, but she never showed up. So, unfortunately, we will have to try and help her re-commit and she will have to get baptized again, if she will come to church. We found two more families this week, but neither of them could make it to church yesterday, but hopefully we will have 5 people enter the waters of baptism next Saturday! The Hermanas had 2 baptisms this past Saturday -- they're on fire. Needless to say, we figured we better put a lot more emphasis on helping people understand the importance of going to church each week!
This is a popular chicken dish here that we have quite often
from some of the families in the ward and tastes pretty good.

I have been so worried about working in our area that I forgot Thanksgiving was coming up next week. For the Thanksgiving holiday, the mission lets us have dinner as a Zone, but we are never sure what we will eat. Usually just the same old rice and beans and chicken. I really don't think turkeys exist here in Nicaragua, but at least we get something -- so we can be thankful for that!

Tuesday, November 17, 2015


I made some new friends down in the plaza.
Hiking up to the petroglyphs.
I'm sorry I am writing really fast today because I am almost out of time. Yes, we did hear about the terrorist attacks in Paris from some of the members in the ward who were telling us about it... pretty sketchy stuff there.

Off in the distance, you can see a waterfall.
Well, we did have our one baptism this past Saturday, but unfortunately, on Sunday, she was nowhere to be found and did not make it to church for her confirmation. We actually had soooo many people to bring to church, we weren't able to run around Monimbo looking for her, so we will be working extra hard this week to make sure she comes to church so she can be confirmed.

Pretty views all the way around.
However, like I mentioned, we had a lot of investigators come to church, including the mother and her son who are scheduled to be baptized on the 28th!! The best part of the week is that we found four new families to teach -- two who already have baptismal dates that are super cool, and then two more with some serious potential. As we continue to work with them, these four new families will all be baptized in December, so it would be kind of nice if I can stay here to see them get baptized. The Zone Leaders and Hermanas also had baptisms this past week, so our whole district is doing pretty well right now.

Today for P-Day, we hiked up to some petroglyphs that are located in my area. By the end of the hike, we were sweating like crazy because it was so hot, which made it a little miserable. It was pretty cool because one of the security guards actually took us up there and showed them to us.

This next week, we have interviews with President Russell, but I am looking forward to them because we have been doing fairly well and we are working hard! Otherwise, not much else this week -- just teaching our investigators and looking for more people to teach. It's kind of crazy how fast we can go through investigators because one day they are all positive, and then on the return visit, they are hiding from us. One of our mission goals is that we should be finding three new people every day to teach and progress toward baptism, but if they don't stay positive, then we have to shuffle through them pretty fast. So that is about it for this week. I am healthy and happy and working hard!

Having a little fun on our hike today.

Monday, November 9, 2015

Interviews, Old Investigators, and Dancers

This is one of my buddies here who always goes on divisions with us.
Well, this past week was rather normal. There were a few days that I was out of my area doing interviews for the other missionaries in my district, and all afternoon on Sunday I was out of our area. As a result, we struggled hardcore on Sunday to bring our people to church. A lot of our investigators were hiding from us on Sunday morning before church, or they didn't make it. For example, we have been teaching a mother and her son for the past month, but they have only made it to church once, and they even showed up on their own that day. So yesterday, we stopped by before church and they were actually getting ready to go. But ten minutes after church started, they still had't arrived, so we called them and they said they were "on their way." In the end, they never showed up, so that was one example of how frustrating our day was yesterday.

On Sunday, they had a bunch of traditional dancers
going around everywhere and stopping on
street corners to dance to music.
Well, the Hermana in my district ended up not getting sent home for her knee problem, so there were three hermanas working in the area together this past week, just like before cambios, but two of the hermanas had been in the CCM with me: Hermana Haws and Hermana Powell, which was pretty cool to serve with both of them again.  However, today Hermana Haws had an emergency transfer because she was apparently only here temporarily until a call was issued to a member from the stake who will serve a mini-mission for about a month. It will be really interesting to see how that works out because not all of the people serving mini-missions are always as motivated as a full-time missionary.

A pretty awesome thing this past week was I got a call from some of the people I had baptized while I was in Ciudad Sandino (they were the ones that got married and baptized on Valentine's Day). They wanted to let me know that they were going to the temple again and they both got callings to serve in the ward. They also said that there are 6 missionaries now in the Trinidad Ward, and they like to go out on splits and work with them. So that was a really cool phone call.

The dancing was pretty cool, but they move reeeeeally slow!
I also got a call from Elder Rushton in Bluefields who wanted to let me know that they had baptized a guy named B. who I was teaching for my last few weeks in Bluefields. Another crazy thing is that I did a baptismal interview for a guy here in Masaya who the Zone Leaders have been teaching, and it turned out that it was a guy I had contacted last year when I was first out on my mission. I remembered the house, and when I met him, he recognized and remembered me too! We weren't able to teach him much last year because he told us he was never home, but we left him a pamphlet, and he still has it to this day! Unfortunately, he didn't quite pass the interview as it turns out he still needs to get married, so that's a bummer, but he will get baptized once the Zone Leaders help him get things sorted out.

It is really weird to be walking around in my old area from last year and seeing all the houses that I had knocked on their doors and they were super negative to us. However, there are also some houses of people that the Zone Leaders will be baptizing that I never talked to them and I think to myself, "Dang, why didn't I talk to them?"

Anyways, this next week we have a baptism scheduled for a 19-year-old lady named A. (she is a lady because she has 2 kids). So I actually met her last year when I was on divisions with the District Leader here, but she never got baptized. Then when I first arrived in this area, I remembered her and we found her and have been teaching her since. She is finally ready to be baptized and we are doing everything we can to help her make it this week.

Monday, November 2, 2015

Searching the Streets of Masaya

"Fritos" is a slang word we use for "lazy missionary," so we found this sign rather funny and had to pose.
This week was great! First off, we had cambios, but my companion, Elder Nolasco, and I are both staying put in our area. So with at least 6 more weeks here in Masaya, we decided to hit the turf hard again to start finding a ton more people to teach! We had some success, and we found another family who had talked with some missionaries previously, but they have never made it to church yet. Unfortunately, they weren't able to attend church with us yesterday, but we will try really hard to get them there next Sunday. We actually contact a lot of people every day, and most of them are positive, at least until our return visit, so we will just have to keep plugging away.

Some people have started putting this sticker above their doors
to discourage us from knocking on them -- ha ha.
With cambios this week, they did split our zone so now it is tiny, with only 14 missionaries and just 2 districts. One of our Zone Leaders, and one of my buddies, Elder Kleiner, was called to be one of the new Assistants to the President, so that was pretty cool. We also got two new Zone Leaders. One of the new Zone Leaders is a Tongan missionary who was one of the District Leaders in Masaya when I was here last year while I was training as a new missionary, and the other new Zone Leader was one of the other District Leaders in Sandino Zone when I was in Trinidad. Also, two of the three Hermanas in my district were on their last cambios and went home. However, the third Hermana who only had one more cambios left, well it turns out she is having knee problems and will be leaving tomorrow to go home to get medical attention for her knee. So the two new Hermanas in my district don't know anyone, so me and my companion will be going over there to help teach them the area (their area is the other half of the ward that we serve in together). Pretty cool, though, is that one of the new Hermanas is Hermana Powell, who was in the CCM with me! So it turns out I already know most of the missionaries in our little zone.

Sounds like everyone had a good Halloween back home. We didn't do anything for Halloween here because I simply forgot and Nicaraguans don't really celebrate it here. They already had their Dia de los Muertos last week. So, unfortunately our Halloween was pretty sad and boring here. Anyways, that's about it for this week. Nothing too terribly interesting or exciting -- just working and helping out my district after cambios.
I had to get a picture of this creepy wall mural.