Happy Fourth of July a few days ago! Our Latina companions made sure that Sister Richins and I got to celebrate, so we dressed up in red, white, and blue and ate chicken burgers, fries, and cheesecake all from the freezer section of the little grocery store we have here. I´ve never felt so American! Haha, it was actually really fun, but I thought about what you all would be doing at different points throughout the day. I love America, but now Nicaragua has a pretty big piece of my heart as well.
Wow, so much to write, so little time. We´re going with bullet points to cover more ground:
-Julio had his baptismal interview and passed, but then went out of town for the weekend. We have him scheduled for this Saturday, so we´re praying that all goes well with that.
-Jahoska and Chari are progressing well. Jahoska goes to seminary every day (because Moises is there... flirt to convert is alive and well). Anyway, these sisters are really receptive. Jahoska read her pamphlet and 2 Nephi 31, so we´re pretty excited about her progress. Chari asked if she could move her baptism up to this Saturday... well, you kind of have to come to church first, but hooray for your enthusiasm!
-The bugs and I continue to be at war with one another. I think the bugs are winning. I have bites on the palms of my hands, my toe, and the bottom of my foot. Like, really? I just have to laugh... and apply calamine lotion liberally.
-We had one of the assistants and one of our zone leaders come work with us one day this week. Wow, that was inspiring; Elder Ortiz is super great at connecting with the people and helping them get excited about the gospel. Elder Araniva uses great scriptures and teaches very clearly. I took some good notes and am working on applying what I learned.
-More items to add to the list of things I love about Nicaragua:
The starry nights
The brightly colored flowers
The dogs (like the people) bark, but they never bite
-You know how in the movies, sometimes a truck will drive past a person walking on the side of the road and splash them with dirty water? Yeah, that totally happened to me! I was wearing a black skirt and it wasn´t too big of a puddle, so not too much harm done. We were laughing way too hard to care about the dirt. Also, a gecko pooped on my head during personal study. And ants attacked my bread. Hermana Richins tells me I have the worst luck ever, but I think it´s just part of the mission experience.
-Here´s another reason I know Heavenly Father loves his missionaries: We walked over five kilometers while we were fasting, yet I felt no hungrier or weaker than usual when fasting. Also, I was really worried we were going to miss the sacrament, because after an hour of trying to pick people up, none of our investigators would come with us to church and we´re not allowed to go without one. I was praying my heart out to find someone to come with us. We waited for a bus and at 8:55, one pulls up and there stands Leslie, our recent convert, white shirt and all. Ah, God answers prayers! And I love the sacrament. Don´t take it for granted.
There´s always more I could write, but time is short. I´ll see if pictures will work...
Anyway, I know this church is true. It makes it worth it when I feel a little discouraged. I know that Christ suffered for our sins, sorrows, sicknesses, and pain. He understands us perfectly. Through Him, we can conquer spiritual and physical death. We can be comforted in hard times. Also, we can feel the same love that He feels for people when we pray for that charity. I have felt it, even with people whom I don´t know and with whom I can´t communicate fluently. Missions are hard, but they´re the best!
I love you all tons! Thanks for your love, support, emails, and prayers!