Tuesday, March 24, 2015

El 2 de Marzo- First Baptism

the exchange rate here is about 27 cordobas to US$1. We don't go prosetlying with more than about 50 cords in our pockets, and you don't carry US dollars with you, unless you really want to get mugged. 

traffic here in Loma Linda gets a little crazy. there are hardly ever wrecks, but there sure are the fair share of close calls. they don't obey the two way street ideal, and if you aren't going fast enough, move over cause here we come, oncoming traffic or not. everyone, bus drivers included, shoots the gap and prays that it stays open. 

sidewalks and streets: lots of street vendors, with warm fruit, and always bananas. little shops have everyday things, and there is quite a big division between Coke and Pepsi. the two are not sold in the same shop, and people shun you when they found out you don't like the same brand as they. Elder Weyand, my district leader, has it right when he said the people here are kind of stuck in the 70's. for the most part, there is quite a lot of trash in the street, but the kids don't play with it. they play with a few toys, but for the most part make due with little knick knacks and makeshift balls. most of the streets are dirt, but the people water the street like we would grass in the US each afternoon. they sweep it, water it, and make sure that it looks nice. the inner streets are hilly, and if i don't leave Loma Linda with killer calves, I am seriously doing something wrong. some days, i think Hna Gomez is a mountain goat, because one minute she's at the bottom of the hill, and the next she's at the top waiting for little gordita me to struggle up the mountain path.

some nights it's rather hard to sleep because there the lovely neighbors' roosters and dogs. most mornings, around five am, the rooster next door decides that the whole world needs to be up with him, and he goes for about two hours straight. slowly, i have been able to tune him out, but ever so slowly.

the people here love to sing, and sing they do. one of the things that I have taken for granted is a piano in the main classrooms in the church meetinghouses. here there is one digital piano in the chapel, and it is programmed to play the hymns. i know how to play the piano, and the people get really excited when they figure this out. like really excited, and everyone asks you to sing the songs. for the most part, i can remember the tune and sing it, but sometimes the beat is changed to help with the number of syllables in the Spanish translation, so it's a little difficult. the people here love to sing, but they all make Hannah, my little sister, look like a rockstar, because they can't carry a tune in a bucket. love them, but it's a little rough. but, i love to sing while we walk from appointment to appointment, especially when Hermana Gomez let's me sing in English :)

the women here, seriously have no problem showing everyone their goods. they nurse their 18 month olds wherever they want, and just kind of whip it in and out. the first couple of times it completely took me by surprise, and unfortunately, i've kind of gotten used to it. you just look them in the eyes, and don't look down for anything.

hermana gomez! time for a more proper introduction. she is from Guatemala and has been out on a mission for almost eight months. she has been working in Loma Linda for about three transfers now (which translates to about four months) she has a twin as well, but they look exactly like, and she doesn't believe me when I tell her I have a blonde haired, blue eyed twin. she doesn't think it's possible! she doesn't like english, and gets frustrated with the word upon in the scriptures when we read them out loud together. she is about five years my senior, yet I have about a foot on her. she's a great trainer, and i feel honored to be her first daughter. she pushes me just enough to the edge to help me grow, and is very patient with my very tiny vocabulary. 

Asucena has got us on a manhunt. Literally. she was married to a man about thirty years ago, and they lived together for about six months before he moved out, to go who knows where. now she lives here in Loma Linda with another man, and their son. She is getting ready for baptism in a couple of weeks, and has to get a divorce, before she can be civilally married to her current spouse. it's a little hairy because we don't have a lot of details on him, whether he is dead or alive, and whether she is still married or if he filed for a divorce a long time ago. we don't know! but that's what we get to help her do before her baptism on the 21st!

Emily got permission to take the lessons, so we are going to continue preparing her for the 21st as well! Friday we were trying to decide which less active member to visit, when I got the prompting to visit Emily. Her mom was home, so we were able to talk with her about church and such. they committed to attend church and after some dodge attempts, Emily commited to baptism and mom gave consent for the lessons {because Emily is a minor, we need parental permission for lessons and her baptism}. we have some progress charts to help investigators see what things they have learned and what we have talked about and she got really excited when we gave her that. we told her when she has all the litle boxes marked off, she can be baptized and the fire inside her grew. 

Frank is another new investigator this week, and is progressing well. he is very receptive during our lessons, and understands and then asks great questions to help us guide our lessons to his needs. he likes his little bit of coffee in the morning, so we are trying to help him stop that. one thing I can say, is thank goodness that I started studying the Book of Mormon before I came out and knew where to find the account of Moroni's vision to Joseph Smith, or we would have been in some deep doo doo with one of his questions.... 

ANDY: my first baptism! we had the opportunity to teach him the law of chastity, and can I just say, it's very difficult to teach a nine year old about chastity, when he doesn't want to say the only word for procreating in spansih?! needless to say, we commited him to never have any sort of relations with a woman until after marriage. well done, andy! Saturday was a little hectic, getting everything set aside, and ready for Andy, but that night was special. A lot of his family came, and his less active father was able to be there. His father doesn't have the proper authority, much to Andy's suregrin, so his Uncle was able to perform the ordinance. Sunday morning, he was confirmed a member of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, and given the gift of the Holy Ghost. he really couldn't stop giving Hermana Gomez and I hugs after that.

me and the baptismal boy!      and then the whole family!

people here don't know how to give a firm handshake, and give you a dead fish always. if you are really lucky, you might get a little squeeze. maybe.... i've been in Nicaragua two weeks, and a native has given me a firm handshake twice.

hermana gladiz feeds me well, so rest assure, I will be gaining my mission 20 here in Loma Linda. at zone meeting on Friday, we were asked what our favorite NICA food is, and I would have to say fried plantains. I don't like grilled or plain plantains, but give me one sprinkled in salt and fried in corn oil, and I could eat them for days... yumm!!

hermana gomez found my first tan line yesterday, and my feet are slowly finding the sun as well. with as much sun as there as been, thankfully I haven't gotten a sunburn. knock on wood! i am still very white compared to
everyone else, so I still get cat calls, but it doesn't bug me quite as much!

hermana gomez and i at the transfer meeting!

i took my first bucket shower this week because some nights, and we don't know why, but there is no water to be found in the pipes. and it's just too hot now to use shower. waayy to hot for that. 

but i know that this gospel is true. the reason i feel comfort here in nicaragua is because i know that it all is about the Lord. I am on the Lord's errand, and my wants and needs are futile. thank goodness for a Savior who lives and died for me. thank goodness for a God that allows me to grow and invites us to the edge: 

"Come to the edge," He said. 
"No, we'll fall."
"Come to the edge," He said.
"No, we'll fall."
"Come to the edge."
So we came to the edge.
He pushed us. 
And we flew.

What has been your biggest challenge this week? keeping up with our daily goals for numbers, and finding the balance between quantity and quality
What has been your greatest concern this week? our non-progressing investigators
What has been your greatest success? my first baptism!
Who has been your favorite person this week and why? andy, and his great decision to follow the Lord Jesus Christ into the waters of baptism
What has been your most significant tender mercy? the hymns and the simple messages they hold
What is your favorite scripture this week? phillipans 4:13
What are you looking forward to this coming week? teaching lessons, and knowing where the heck i am headed in all the winding streets!
Do you have any goals set for this coming week? memorize a scripture to use in each lesson, and use it!

thanks for listening to this week's ramblings. love you all!

until next week friends!
the tennessee hermana

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