Happy Central American Independence Day! As far as I can tell, that means that all the school children parade down the streets beating drums and waving batons, each school making up its own parade route. ¡Viva Nicaragua!
Hmm, what do I have to tell you this week? We studied the Christlike attribute of patience in our companionship study one day, and ever since then the Lord has blessed us with many opportunities to practice that virtue. :) We´re still looking for new investigators, which means a lot of contacting. Lots of contacting means lots of chances to talk with deeply engrained evangelicals, Jehovah´s Witnesses, and people who say, ¨It´s all the same God, so the manner in which we worship Him doesn´t really matter.¨ We had a couple of days where every appointment except for two fell through, which means... more contacting! It`s good though, because contacting is something I always need more practice on.
But the work goes on! We have the blessing of tons of recent converts in this area, including four families, who have all been baptized in the past 6 months. They are super sweet to us missionaries, and they have adorable children. Coni is 5 and always wants to hug us and ¨braid¨ our hair. Enrique gifted me a picture of ¨Jose Esmid¨ that I will treasure forever. Tania talks at the speed of light, but I feel right at home in her house with her kids Ithzell, Gabriel, and Uriel. Elizabeth talks to us like we´ve been friends forever, and Ruth and Yader give us food and shelter from the torrential rain. I am thankful for the opportunity I have to continue to help them strengthen their testimonies of the Book of Mormon and give friendly reminders about the importance of coming to church. :)
Well, I`m kind of at a loss for other news to tell you, so here´s a few quick culture things I don´t think I´ve mentioned yet that you might find interesting:
-Directions and addresses here are very different than in the States. First, you choose a landmark (la Iglesia Mormona, for example) and then describe how many ¨blocks¨ in each direction your home is from that spot. But even the compass directions don´t suffice; instead of North, East, South, and West, you would say ¨al lago¨, ¨arriba¨, ¨al Sur¨, and ¨abajo¨, respectively. I walk around lost most of the time. Good thing Hermana Estrada knows what she´s doing in this area!
-Greetings: If you pass someone in the street, you say, ¨Adios!¨ If you want to actually talk to that person in the street, you´d say, ¨Buenas tardes¨ or whatever time of day it is. If you´re outside of someone´s house, you yell, ¨Buenas!¨ instead of knocking on the gate.
-Facial communication: you point with your lips. Example: Who do you want to say the prayer? They make a kissy face at one of the missionaries. Also, if you don´t understand and want the person to repeat what they just said, stare at them and scrunch your nose and flare your nostrils. Ah, so useful!
Okay, I think I´m done for today. Just going to attach some photos to liven up this rather dead email!
But hey, I really do love being a missionary and the chance I get to study and share the gospel. Don´t forget to read your scriptures, everyone! I promise you´ll feel the peace that the Spirit brings!
Love to each of you!
-Hermana Ali Hansen
The richest part of our area, next to the church. Check out those clouds! One reason I smile every day... the sky is SO gorgeous here!
Photos: Loma Linda in the rain! Pardon the stringy hair... looking into haircut options with a lot of apprehension...