Wednesday, September 28, 2016

Last pday in the office

September 28, 2016

Hello family,

  Well today is the last pday I'll have in the office.  I might be able to get permission to get on real quick maybe next Tuesday because changes are next Wednesday and, being in a normal area, my next pday won't be until Monday.  That's like 11 days without a pday.  But I'll survive because I plan on throwing all of my clothes in the washer next Tuesday so my clothes will last.  It's not official technically that I'm leaving the office because you don't know until we get the changes but obviously since I'm training Elder Smith it's very likely.  But the Lord could always change his mind.

   So the members of our ward know we're secretaries and they know what responsibilities we all have.  So they know that right now me, Petty, and Aitken are training our comps to take our positions.  Which means they know we're out of here.  Anyway on Sunday President Brown came to our ward and since we have conference this Sunday it was the last time we'll be in that ward on a normal Sunday.  So the bishop asked me, Petty, and Aitken to come up and share our testimonies since we'd be leaving.   Almost every time I've gone up to the pulpit on my mission so far the mission President has been in my ward.  I have good luck I guess.  It was cool though to see President Brown there with his family.

   On Sunday Jessica went again, with her daughter Tania and Tania's friend Allison that is living with them.  Berta also went but Mario got a last second work call and couldn't go.  After sacrament meeting Jessica, Tania, and Allison had to go to the police station for a problem she had had with an ex-boyfriend.  And Berta had to go somewhere after sacrament meeting for her daughter as well.  So even though we brought four people to church President wasn't able to meet any of them in Sunday school.  Gospel Principles was actually kind of dismal because this Sunday almost none of the recent converts showed up and investigators left after Sacrament meeting and so it was the 6 missionaries, President and Sister Brown, three converts and one investigator of Isham and Aitken.  And the teacher and Mission leader didn't show up so a teacher was assigned from the ward that wasn't prepared.  But whatever.  We're trying here.

   We've been working hard to help Mario and Jessica stop smoking.  They're fighting valiantly and actually keeping their commitments and it's awesome to see the changes they've already been making.  Please pray that they can have the strength to stop smoking.

  What else happened this week...  ummm  Well for pday today we had to help with the monthly leadership council so that took a bit of time.  But after we went to the fruit stand and bought some fruit.  They didn't have as many options as we expected so we ended up buying pineapple, bananas, a watermelon, and a pitaya.  And we were too lazy to make smoothies so we just cut them up and ate them as they came.  But they were still good.  We cut the watermelon into huge wedges and me, Aitken, Smith, and Isham had an eating contest with them.  It was fun.  

   Well we'll see if I can send something next week...  If not I'll talk to you in a while!


Elder Smith

Cody and Elder Isham in the Hilux

Rootbeer was almost half off at Walmart so we bought 26 cans between us.  We got a lot of weird looks from the Nicaraguans because they don't even know what Rootbeer is.

Juice and donuts for a training meeting at Pricesmart

pineapple, bananas, a watermelon, and a pitaya

                               Look what I found on the street!  Never expected to find one in Nicaragua

Grilling burgers last week for a p-day BBQ

Wednesday, September 21, 2016

I Don't Have Parasites!!!

September 21, 2016

Hello family!!

   Well, to explain the subject line... I had a little scare and some gnarly symptoms.  So I took the poop test and I'm parasite free!!!  But I did pick up some type of bacteria.  So I took some pills and they cured me overnight!  Yay!


 We had a good week.  We didn't find a lot of new investigators this week but we made some great progress with those we have been teaching.  Berta and Mario came to church with their little 5 yr old daughter Natalí.  Also Jessica came again with her daughter Tania.  Her partner Joel will come this week.  Also Alexander (husband of member) came to church again.  This week we had stake conference in Altagracia.  A bus took our ward there so we had to meet by the Ceibo (big tree in our area) for the bus to come pick us all up and go to the church.  It was kind of a rush to get everyone to the ceibo and not miss the bus but due to some miracles we made it.  At one point Tania was out looking for something and we had to wait for her to get back to go.  We were waiting there with Jessica outside and everyone was starting to get a little antsy because she had been gone for a while.  So I said a prayer in my mind asking for her to come back. Literally less than one second after saying please bless that Tania can come back really fast she came around the corner.  No joke less than one second.  The Lord doesn't delay in answering prayers!!

  All of the investigators are super positive and very excited.  They are all going to fellowship night on Thursday this week and then to church again on Sunday (hopefully...).  Basically their common problem is Word of Wisdom.  Please just ask that all of these people can find the strength to overcome their addictions, especially smoking.  That would be very appreciated.  

  This week we have the last two of the five multizones.  Yesterday was my actual multizone so we did everything we could to be at as much of the classes as we could and I was able to hear almost everything.  The theme of the multizone was working with members.  We learned how we need to work with the mission leaders to make sure every single investigator has a member that attends every lesson with them and takes them to church.  We learned how sometimes circumstances in the church in Nicaragua are sometimes less than ideal and how to adapt to unique circumstances (ie if your ward doesn´t have a mission leader).  It was really good and it´s always great getting to hear from President and Sister Brown.  

   Also it rained a lot last week.  There were a couple times we were walking and even with umbrellas we got soaked to the bone.  It kind of made me think of Forest Gump when it rains in vietnam and the rain comes from the bottom, the side, above...  Also my shoes stopped being waterproof when I waded through streets that turned to rivers and the water went several inches above my heel.  But it's ok... We put our scriptures and stuff in bags.  It's just a pain getting the shoes to dry overnight.  Sometimes we just put them on the fans.  I think I just need to find a bag to put myself in when it rains...  I have started bringing a change of socks in my backpack.  Despite the rain I've decided against using my rain jacket because it would just suffocate me and make me too hot.  It's better to just be wet.  But the last couple of days it hasn't really rained.

  Today was kind of a fun pday.  We had a little barbeque and played around in the back yard and stuff.  It was nice.  I think next week we´re going to buy a ton of awesome tropical fruit and make smoothies.  I'd tell you what kind of fruit we're going to buy but I don't know what these things are in english (calala, pitaya, guyaba etc).

Well...  I hope you all have a great week and stuff!

Elder Smith

Wednesday, September 14, 2016

Chocolatito won!

September 14, 2016

Hello family!

   To explain the subject line, Nicaragua's national pride, Chocolatito (a boxer, to Americans it would be Román Gonzalez) beat some Mexican this week and everyone got really excited.  He grew up in my area and his mom still lives here.  They set up a big screen in front of her house for her to watch the fight.  So on Saturday night all of Nicaragua was watching the fight and getting drunk. 

   We had a pretty good week.  Yesterday there were multizones but we were able to leave after lunch and get some stuff done in the office.  We're realizing that there are only three weeks left of the change and my time to train Elder Smith is winding down quickly.  We have another multizone on Friday and two more next week.  Now the multizones only have two zones every day so we have to do 5 sessions of it. 

   In church we were able to bring a new investigator named Jessica to church and her daughter Tanyuska I think is her name.  When we contacted her she was weird and kind of got mad and bitter with us for no reason and normally we would have just left right then, but me and Elder Smith felt we needed to stick it out to the end and put a return cita with her so we did.  When we passed by again she forced her reluctant partner to join us in the lesson and we had a pretty good lesson.  She's actually doing a great job keeping with her commitments (obviously her partner isn't because he didn't go to church).  They really liked church ( in spite of the fact that there was some stuff said at the pulpit which was definitely not doctrine) and felt good.  We also got a gift from a member that brought a neighbor.  He's named Jason and we´re going by to visit him tonight so hopefully he´s cool.  

   The ward started doing Noche de hermanamiento at the church on Thursday nights.  I think it´s something like fellowship night in English.  Basically they share a quick message and then just go and play games.  It's basically just a ward bonding opportunity so everyone can talk and the recent converts and investigators can get to know the members.  I was a bit skeptical about it but it´s been pretty successful.  A recent convert family from our area has taken it upon themselves to be BFFs with all of ours, and the other Elders´ investigators and it's awesome.  We´re teaching a family (Mario, and Berta) that hasn't been able to come to church the last two weeks but could come to the noche de hermanamiento and they loved it and it´s really helping them.  Now just pray that they'll actually be able to come this Saturday and Sunday (we have stake conference this week).  Last night they gave us some food which was rice, beans, tostones (fried, smashed, then fried again platanos, just google it), pico de gallo, and fish.  The fish looked really nasty, it was just like a one inch cross-section of a big old fish.  It was pretty bony but the meat wasn't that bad or too fishy and I survived it.  

  Today we went to the grocery store and I bought stuff to make BLTs with my bacon.  I ate one pound out of my three this week.  I felt kind of bad because I was just eating it plain so I bought stuff to go with it.  I also bought cheese and eggs so I can scramble some eggs.  I think I'm going to miss some of this stuff when I get changed.  But who knows maybe I'll still be in Managua.  

Sorry I can't really think of anything else....


Elder Smith

 Cody and Elder Alcerro

The big tree by Chocolatito´s house

Friday, September 9, 2016

We Fed the Monkey

September 7, 2016

Hello family!!!

Well, I realized almost every week my subject line is "Hello" so I´m going to try to change it up and be a bit more original.  It might be hard to come up with stuff some weeks though... Bear with me

But anyway...

We had a good week.  It was pretty frustrating at times but I feel like the frustrating weeks are the weeks I grow the most.  It started with a disappointing Sunday.  The cool family we found couldn't/wouldn't go to church and can´t go this week either.  Victor said everything was good on Saturday and then disappeared on Sunday morning.  And we passed by for Alexander a little before church and he and his wife were getting ready and then they just didn't show.  And that´s basically everything we had.  We've been looking and looking and praying and praying and we´re just not finding positive people to teach.  But I've learned a lot about patience and have been able to do a lot of introspection this week.  

  But we were able to find a couple new people on Sunday and a couple yesterday so I´ll cross my fingers and pray that they can go to church and progress.

   If anyone is wondering what I've been doing...  Well In the mornings and early afternoon in the office I train the other Elder Smith to be the finance secretary and we usually leave at 3 or 4 to get to the area and more than anything lately we've just been contacting like crazy trying to find new people to teach.  In my area we have 2 monkeys.  I've only met one of them so far.  I don´t know who´s it is but it has a collar and is chained to a tree and has a little tree house.  We bought some chips and fed them to it.  We´ll have to do it for the other monkey now.  It´s like the monkey in night at the museum that pees on Ben Stiller.  

   The rainy season is starting to hit at full force and it rains every day now.  Usually when it rains it´s a downpour but it usually doesn't last for more than 20 minutes or half an hour.  It's been a bit cooler but pretty humid.  And keeping my stuff dry gets annoying at times.  Personally I don´t care if I'm wet or dry as long as my books stay dry.

   We had zone meeting on Friday and I realized I could barely read a lot of the writing on the whiteboard and I was sitting in the 5th or 6th pew.  I think my eyes are getting worse.  I'm not sure if it´s from constant exposure to the sun and squinting all the time or because they're just getting worse.  Probably the first.  But hey, when I get home maybe I could get some glasses.  I think I´d look pretty good with glasses.  

   What else happened...  Umm at Pricesmart today I finally gave in to the temptation and I bought the 3 lb pack of Legit American Bacon.  I miss bacon so much.  I think I'll eat it plain for breakfast and maybe make BLTs some day.  Do you guys still eat a ton of bacon?  

   I don't know if I mentioned it the other week but the familia Murillo's other son, Marlon (named after his dad) who´s 18 got baptized with Elder Aitken.  That was exciting.  Elizabeth came back from Costa Rica to see the baptism and she´s just doing awesome in the church.  It was fun to catch up with her.  Also, Coco and Rosa are still going great going every other week to church on their turn.  Veronica goes to church quite a bit with her baby Bridgett but her family is struggling a lot (Maria, Mel, Monica, Kirby).  Please pray for them.  Also Noel goes quite a bit with his family.

  I can't really think of many other interesting things going on down here in Nicaragua.  Oh, I've bought so much Subway from a certain location for training meetings and stuff that whenever I go the manager just wordlessly gets me some free cookies and drinks.  And there´s a big excitement in the country because now if you save up four bottle caps and turn them in to any store with the equivalent of 25 cents they´ll give you a legit glass Coka Cola cup.  They´re pretty excited.  Maybe I´ll get one just to say I did.  

   Oh and we have five multizones this month and the first one was yesterday.  They're actually pretty dang easy (and it helps that this is like my 5th one now this year).  

Well, sorry about work and school and stuff always being a drag but keep it up anyway!!


Elder Smith

Sunset in Cody's area