Monday, December 19, 2016

It's beginning to look a lot like Christmas

December 19, 2016

Hello Family!!

   The subject of the email is a lie.  It just rained all week.  Usually in December it never rains but I guess the weather changed things up this year.  Apparently it's destroying a lot of the winter crops here.  

   Ummm I'm trying to think of what happened this week and it's pretty usual.  We studied, and ate, and worked, and taught, and walked, and walked, and walked.  

   It definitely doesn't feel like we're super close to Christmas... I mean we have the tree and some decorations in the house but out on the streets it's not that Christmasy.  Every once in a while we come across a group of people singin​g to Maria and blowing up really loud fireworks.  Actually one evening there was just this random fireworks show that had real fireworks like we're used to in America.  And the show lasted like 10 minutes and had a grand finale and everything.  We never did figure out who lit them off because it came from a fairly poor neighborhood and we didn't see any big event over there.  

   Getting people to church this week was a definite struggle because it rained all morning yesterday.  When it rains the Nicas really struggle getting out of bed to do anything productive.  The attendance was way down for the normal members as well.  Next week will also be a struggle.  Christmas eve here is the bigger holiday so that night everyone will stay up until well past midnight partying and lighting off fireworks and burning stuff.  So for Sunday we'll see who actually shows up.  And then it'll be even worse the next week on New Years Day because church will start at 8 in the morning instead of 10.  Pray for us.  

   Grettel almost made it to church yesterday.  We had her up and dressed and we were walking with her to church but she had to drop something off at a member's house first.   Well when we got there she decided to just stay and cook with her all morning and wouldn't go to church.  That was sorely disappointing seeing as she was the only person that we even had a chance of taking to church yesterday.  We went back to her house last night and had a good lesson though so she's still pretty positive, just had a bit of a stumbling block.  

   We've been teaching this family, Roberto and Areceli, but they've been really hard to find lately.  The lessons we have are good but they're few and far between.  Also Ricardo left to work for 15 days in Matagalpa so he didn't go to church.

  Ummm, I finished Jesus the Christ again.  It was even better the second time.  Apart from reading the Book of Mormon I'm going back through the whole missionary library to read everything.  I'm almost done with Our Legacy.  

I made a Christmas parody:

   Walking through the rain, in a pair of worn out shoes, on the streets we go, getting rejected by Catholics  (sorry I couldn't think of anything that rhymes with shoes).  

Well, have a great week!!!

Talk to you on Sunday!!!!


Elder Smith

Answer to Merrill's question about fruits in Nicaragua:  Fruits here generally have their seasons but you can still find almost all types of fruits all year (just not necessarily as good as if they had been in season.) IE lemons and mangos are all year, but there are more mangos in around Feb and March. Right now Papaya is in season. In june/July Mammon is in season. Bananas and Platanos are all year. There's other fruits like granadilla, calala, pitaya, melocoton etc that have their seasons but I don't really know them.

Monday, December 12, 2016

La Purisima

December 11, 2016

Hello family, 

   We had a great week!  Again.  On Tuesday we had leadership council with President Brown.  All the ZLs, the Sister Training Leaders, and the DLs went at first for a training.  It was kind of a fiasco at first because they were doing construction in the first chapel we went to and so we had to go to another one and they were doing like a preschool graduation thing there.  But it worked out.  It was a great, and very spiritual meeting.  I learned a lot.  So the training went kind of long and then afterwards the DLs left and we had a leadership council with president which was also really good.  We didn't leave until like 6:30 though and it started at 9.   

    Then on Wednesday was the Purisima.  It's like catholic-nica Halloween.  A bunch of people put flashy lit-up Maria shrines all over the place and people walk around with feed sacks, sing a song to maria at the various shrines and the owners of the shrines give you food or candy or toys.  Some people just give out orange rice.  Needless to say it wasn't something that we participated in.  Everyone was throwing out fireworks in the streets.  Fireworks here aren't very pretty, they're just super loud.  The streets were just crowded and it was crazy.  Lots of non-catholics participate just to get a bunch of free stuff.  And then at midnight they lit off a ton of fireworks too.  That was kind of annoying.  

     On Saturday Angie got baptized.  She was so excited.  She was really ready too.  I think she's been reading more of the Book of Mormon than most of our adult investigators.  

   We've been teaching a new family that I actually found a while ago that went to the devotional last week.  Her name is Grettel and his name is Jose.  They kind of fight a lot and they're not married yet but we're seeing them get along a lot better now that they've been going to church.  Yesterday they LOVED church.  It was cool because I feel like several of the speakers were just speaking to them and saying what they needed to hear.  The ward also treated them very well.  

   We've been working with several other people we found in the last week that weren't able to go to church this week.  We found a family named Roberto and Areceli from old investigators in the area book.  They already know a lot about the church and they're excited to get going again.  They sure don't want a lot of pressure though.  They live in a kind of sketchy neighborhood and there was some gang activity around us yesterday when we went to visit them.  We yelled "Buenas!" (the equivalent of knocking on the door) and we could see people inside.  Out on the street behind us there were some boys playing basketball.  Then a car pulled up and other boys got out and the boys that were playing basketball just took off and they looked scared out of there minds.  Right when all of that happened Roberto yelled at us to get inside and he hurried us in and locked the door.  Then we just heard a lot of people running around and yelling and stuff.  The people were pretty worried.  But someone called the cops and it calmed down.  

   We're also teaching a new guy named Ricardo.  He's pretty cool.  Just pray for him to go to church this Sunday.

   That's about it though.  It's definitely starting to sink in that Christmas is just around the corner.  I'm really excited to talk to you guys!  

Have a great week!!

Elder Smith

Tuesday, December 6, 2016

New Computers and Christmas!!!

December 5, 2016

Hi family!!

  Well, the church got new computers where we write here in the family history center and they have windows 10 and they're fast and it's awesome!!

   This was a great week for many reasons.  One, last Tuesday my Christmas package came.  Thanks mom!  I put all of the presents nicely under our tree and it's just driving me crazy looking at it every day.

    Also, thank you Johnson family!  Many people (myself, my comp, and many nicas) have been blessed by the sweet contents of your amazing package.  You're the best!

   On Friday was the day of service for the church and the church's Christmas initiative so we went to a recent convert's house that has a pretty bad roof and with the bishop to see what we could do to fix it.  Some of the supporting wood beams that hold up the tin on top were rotted out and close to collapsing and they can't get up on the roof to fix the leaks for fear of it falling in.  So we went with the bishop to buy some new wood beams for them.  Right now they're going to go back to the middle of nowhere fields of Nicaragua to get some skinny teenager with some roofing experience to send up there to take the tin off so they can replace the beams and put the tin back on (with some new sheets of it to fix the leaks).  It's a bit of a work in progress but it should be really helpful for the family.
   Saturday was the big day with the wedding of David and Stela, and the baptism of David, Stela, and David Jr.  There were miraculously no big issues or anything that came up and everything went flawlessly!  After the wedding and baptism we had VigorĂ³n (mom probably described it in the blog).  It was really good.  On Sunday the confirmations went perfectly.  Also, Carlos got a haircut and shaved and you could hardly recognize him.  He looked great!
   Last night we enjoyed the First Presidency Christmas devotional.  We watched it in our own chapel since it's the stake center.  We had AC and got to watch it in a separate room in English.  It was awesome.  Also the ward brought two families and a total of 6 people that aren't members to watch it and they all loved it!  

   So yep!  Great week. This week we look forward to Angie's baptism.  She's really excited for it.  So are we.  She's a cute little girl.  

Well have a great week!!  

Love you!!