Monday, June 20, 2016

Adios to President and Hermana Russell

June 13, 2016

First off, happy birthday, Mom!

So within the city of Grenada, the church is organized into one giant district with four branches, rather than a stake and wards. The biggest problem here is the retention rate, which translates into the lowest church attendance in all of Nicaragua. The people here are super humble and generally receptive, and this area has had lots of baptisms in the past, but they have a hard time returning to church on a consistent basis. In a way, that is kind of how most of this mission is anyways -- always trying to help the people understand the baptismal covenant and why they need to renew it each week in Sacrament Meeting.

This past week we had a multi-zone conference. After about 4 hours of lessons and training, President and Hermana Russell told everyone goodbye. It was pretty sad. He also showed us pics of the new mission president and his family. His name is President Brown. He is from Utah and he is only 41-years-old with 4 kids all under the age of 15, so he is probably going to be way different.

My companion is doing well. He is not "dead" yet, but he is a little trunky.  We have found some pretty awesome investigators and we are working hard to have 3 baptisms this next Saturday. We even took 9 investigators to church yesterday, which is the most I have taken in a long time! I am really loving this new area and the people here with how humble and teachable they are.

Yesterday was also our District Conference at church, which is like a Stake Conference. President Russell was here for all the sessions. I couldn't believe how few people attended from all of Grenada. There were only 30 people at the Priesthood session on Saturday afternoon, and 12 of us were missionaries. Then on Sunday for the General session, there were only about 200 people, and that includes us 18 missionaries.

So that's the struggle here. The people are really receptive to the gospel message and we are working hard. I did hear about the shootings in Orlando here because everyone here thinks the United States is about 80% Miami, 10% Orlando, and then 10% New York. A couple of people here even asked me if I knew where the bar was where they had the shootings. Pretty sad. Well, that's about it for this week. Have a great Father's Day on Sunday!

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