phew what a week. what a crazy week.
On Tuesday we went to multizones in Managua which consisted of waking up at 2 am and taking a private bus with the whole Juigalpa zone to Managua. Two other zones came with us (Sandino and Granada). In total there were maybe like 60ish missionaries there. So in the morning the zones took a picture with President Russell then President and Sister Russell spoke to us (we were in a stake center in Managua). It was really good and helped me realize a couple things I can do better. That actually took until lunch time and they ordered food for us from some place and we had chicken, rolls, rice, veggies, soda, etc. After that we had like 4 hours of capacitaciones (training). Each set of zone leaders and one other companionship of unfortunate nonzone leaders had to teach a one hour class about various subjects (i.e. teach people not lessons, retention, finding etc.). The rest of us were split into four groups and switched classes each hour. Then we had more training from President Russell and the nurse. President Russell told us about the mission goal of 2300 Baptisms and also went over the goals for each month for each of us three zones. This month our zone needs 27 baptisms and we got 12 this Saturday which is good because we couldn't baptize conference weekend. Anyway they said that a ton of missionaries are coming down with Chikungunya (most likely spelled wrong) and got mad at everyone for sucking at preventing mosquito bites (don´t worry mom I use a lot of bug spray but I´ll need more). So they gave us permethryn (super lethal bug poison to put in spray bottles to spray everywhere to prevent mosquitos, bed bugs, ticks, etc.) I used it this week and it works pretty well and I sprayed it on my mattress and sheets so it´s unlikely that I'll be getting bed bugs for the next four to six weeks. They also gave us mosquito nets. I intend to hang mine up so I can sleep outside of the sheets (I sleep under a sheet right now to prevent mosquito bites) but the ceiling in the house is super tall so i need to buy a rope to hang it up. They also gave us mail!!!!!!!!!!!!! I got letters from Diane, Kerry & Morgan, and Grandma Wilson. Thanks everyone that sent something!! They looked like they were sent about when I left the MTC so you can do the math about how long they take to arrive. I asked Sister Russell how often pouch letters arrive and she´d never heard of pouch. She and President assured me that nothing like a pouch exists in this mission so I don´t know what they do with your letters mom when you send them to Salt Lake haha. But ya I'm never going to get pouch mail so don't bother sending it. Just use USPS. Sorry if any of you wasted money. In the end it ended at like 7 pm. We took our bus back to Juigalpa but first we stopped at the McDonalds in Managua. It was super good. super good. I thoroughly enjoyed it but it was pretty expensive. Then we went back and got home at like 10 pm.
Wednesday and Thursday were pretty normal. We study until lunch at noon then after lunch we go out and work. Work consists of teaching lessons with investigators and converts and less actives and finding. We typically just go door to door when we´re finding (aka contacting). You don´t knock on doors here, you just stand outside and yell ¡Buenas! and someone will come. Then you just get to know them, ask some inspired questions, gain their trust and find their needs, show them how the gospel will bless their lives, get them to let you in, then put a fetcha. Honestly we put a ton of fetchas but the real positive investigators are the ones that come to church. That's how you know they're good. Most of the time we´ll come back for the second visit with investigators with fetcha and they´ll just lie to our face and say they're leaving or busy or whatnot.
On mom´s bday on Friday (sorry mom I did know your bday was on Friday, but when I was emailing last Monday I tried to figure out which day of the week would be the ninth but obviously I´ve lost a lot of brain cells here) we had district meeting and it was mine and Elder Hanson's turn to go to Boaco and do district meeting with the sisters there. After district meeting we just followed two of the sisters around to see how they contacted and taught and stuff. During one of the lessons they were teaching when we were waiting for the lady i noticed her son was watching baseball. I also noticed that it was the Rangers and Blue Jays playing. Then I realized I´d seen the Rangers play before. Then I realized my favorite player got traded to the blue jays right before I left. Then I realized someone from the Blue Jays was batting. Then I realized it was Tulo. Then I realized it was tied with two outs in the bottom of the 11th inning. So I got to watch Tulo´s at bat with the chance to walk off, but unfortunately he flied out (and not surprisingly was super mad). But that was crazy. When we left the lesson it was still tied in the 14th inning. So please tell me who won that game on mom´s bday. Then Saturday was Daryl´s baptism. She was fairly excited until she got to the church and remembered she´s terrified of the water. It took a lot of work to get her into that font but eventually it happened. Elder Hanson did the baptisms (two others got baptized from other areas).
Then Sunday. Sunday is the craziest day of the week by far. We leave at 7 am to start gathering people for church at 9. Nobody ever, ever, ever wants to go even though they´re already committed so you just fight people for two hours to get them to church. In the morning we got Adolfo (who also went to conf last week) and his nephew Danny but it took them forever to get ready. When we got them Daryl was already getting confirmed (the other companionship made sure she made it because apparently a ton of people don´t make it to church after they´re baptized to get confirmed). She was super excited to get confirmed because it doesn´t involve water lol. Testimony meeting was good, lots of people bore nice, fairly short testimonies and there weren´t very many pauses so it was very good. I don't think it´s as nerve racking to bear your testimony here because only like sixty people are at church. Then after church ends at 12 we have branch counsel and then we go to lunch on a non fast Sunday. Yesterday we just went back out to get more people to 2 o'clock church. No one would go to church with us in the afternoon. No one. It was super frustrating. Me and Elder Hanson were super disappointed, discouraged, and frustrated. As we were walking dejectedly back to go to church without anyone we looked up and there, walking down the street nowhere near his house, was Miguel. We threw him in a taxi and were off to church with an investigator. It was definitely a miracle and an answered prayer. Miguel is super cool but he studies and works a lot so this week we went by every day we were here and he was never home. I think he´s definitely ready to be baptized this week but he really doesn´t have very much teaching yet even though he makes it to church almost every week. So ya hopefully we get him baptized this week. Pray for him. Also pray for Daisy. She told us on Wednesday that everything is still tuanes (cool) for her baptism on the 17th but her recent convert husband Christian decided he doesn´t believe in the church anymore because he´s been listening to his friends anti-mormon crap. So he´s been poisoning her with his garbage. So pray for her and Christian that they´ll keep their hearts open. Then after church ends at 5 the zls have to report numbers then we go right back out to work.
Today was the craziest pday yet because Elder Hanson got sick. The nurse thinks it´s kidney stones. This morning after he woke up his lower back hurt like crazy and he started throwing up a ton. Then the puke and the pain would subside for a while and then come back. At one point they told us we´d need to come to Managua to the hospital but then they just said to go to the ghetto hospital here in Juigalpa and get a shot to stop the pain and then to go get some medication at a pharmacy for the nausea. So to the hospital we went. Family, you should hope that you never have to be inside a ghetto Nicaraguan hospital. Trust me, you´ll die of the hospital before you die of your illness. It´s disgusting. Just go to a clinic in the US and enjoy how wonderfully sanitary and clean it is. Seriously. But Elder Hanson just had to get a shot in his butt. No big deal. We´ll have to see if he gets a disease from the needle now lol. Then we spent like two hours looking for a strange medicine that no one here has ever heard of. We went to like ten farmacias but no one has ever heard of it. Then we came here. So ya pretty exciting.
I´m glad that all of our teams won. Good job Bingham, Utah. I hesitate to say good job BYU because they barely beat a crap team but oh well what the heck. Good job BYU. I was actually told yesterday that Utah lost to Cal so that was a nice surprise. Good job at your race peyton!! Good luck next week at your race! Good job dancing Delaney! Good job having a birthday and eating out a lot mom!! Good job looking up Nicaraguan geography dad!! The river is definitely beautiful, well the river is brown and ugly but the trees around it were very lush and green and beautiful. I haven´t seen any monkeys and the iguanas I've seen were in Managua. Apparently it´s very rare to see iguanas here.
If you were wondering what kind of american music I hear here, I saw Pentatonix with that dancing violin chick do radioactive on a TV at our lunch cita, I also saw blank space and the very beginning of break free. They play a ton of Nicki Minaj here which sucks. Worldy music is clearly not very conducive to the spirit.
Is peyton feeling better? The water in the new house was the same as the old house but at the multizona they gave us bleach and we put some in the water and it killed the larvae. Just a few drops did the trick. The larvae just live in the pool thing under the faucet. We just use the water straight out of the faucet which hopefully doesn't have larvae but I always put it in my filter bottle anyway so it´s safe.
Well thanks for the emails, prayers, love, and support. I definitely need it!!
Love Elder Smith
Answers to some questions you asked:
So I do knock doors except we don´t knock. Really though contacting is rarely positive. The people that typically progress and get baptized here are referrals and family of members. For example Miguel is the boyfriend of a member and Daryl's parents are members. We never use bus stations and/or contact buses. That´s inefficient contacting that doesn´t achieve anything but numbers. We always teach people in their houses. Usually on plastic lawn chairs because that´s all people have. Some people have these cool wooden rocking chairs with string stuff woven to make the seat. The Spanish is coming for sure. It´s getting way better in lessons and stuff because I do it all the time and it´s generally the same stuff we say in lessons. So ya the missionary vocab is coming but on the street I don´t know how to say anything. There´s always a different word than the one I learned in Spanish class or the MTC. I understand almost everything if I have context or I've been listening long enough to know what´s going on but if someone initiates a conversation with me I rarely understand what´s happening. But ya progress is being made for sure. There was some sort of holiday when we were in Bluefields and people dressed up like fat old ladies and danced around and there was some horrible music and drums and stuff. Some people put dead frogs on strings and waved them around. Also like the first day I got here, maybe Sept. 15 was Independence day here. I think they celebrate Halloween to some small degree. I've heard Christmas isn´t as big of a deal here but it exists. Sorry I didn´t really take pics this week. just the baptism pic which Ill attach. Shes not smiling because this is right before her baptism and she´s scared out of her mind of the water.
We really just have rain everyday but I never get too wet cuz I always have my umbrella and a lot of the time it starts raining right when we get into a building. For example it's raining right now but I haven't been out in the rain today and it rained during church the other day. I did get wet in Boaco cuz it rained for a long time really hard so the water was coming from every direction it seemed like. Just watch the rain scene from ForestGump and it explains it really well. But it's not really too bad, it doesn't usually rain for very long. There hasn't been a noticeable difference in weather or sunset or anything. Elder Hanson told me that it always gets dark at the same time here all year (like at 5:30or 6) which is nice because we work until 9 and it cools down a bit when it gets dark. I don't really need anything but bug spray. They have stuff like colgate toothbrushes and toothpaste and good deodorant and stuff. They have a ton of American products. Plus I still have two good toothbrushes. They also have candy like Hershies and Snickers and M&Ms, it's just all melted. I haven't bought any though. I don't miss it yet. But ya don't waste package space on toothbrushes. I think they cost like 40 or 50 bucks to send. I've only used like half a bottle of bug spray and I have a whole unused one still so I'll be good still. I just want to feel like I have enough that I can use plenty and don't have to use less than I need for fear of running out. I sweat a lot but not in the house if I keep a fan on me. The majority of my sweat is from about 1 to 5 in the afternoon. Every day though my collar is completely soaked and the knot of my ties get soaked. I'm actually getting kind of used to the heat. It's nowhere near as bad as that first day when I walked out of the airport lol. At McDonalds I got a double Big Mac, fries, and a drink and it cost like two hundred cords which is like 8 bucks. So probably about the price of America more or less but in Nicaragua if something was as expensive as it is in America it's super super expensive. Almost everything here is cheaper. The drink I've started drinking a lot of is a juice called yupi. it costs only like 3 cords (15 cents) and it's super good. All the drinks here are in bags. The little pulperias (little store things in houses) keep stuff like coke bottles to get the refund so they just put the coke in a sandwich type bag that they tie. Then you just bite off a corner of the bag and drink it. Also I don't buy water bottles, I buy little bolsitas de agua (little bags of water) for like two cords. I hope that answers some of your questions.