Dearest family and friends,
I love you all! I received my birthday package on Friday, and it was such a joy to read your thoughtful notes and see all of your pictures. Ah, seriously, it was so wonderful to read all of the kind words and spend a minute thinking about each of you and the examples you are in my life. Also, I loved the new shirts and candy! Thank you, thank you, thank you!
It´s been quite the week! On Wednesday, our zone had divisions to help boost the ¨ánimo¨ throughout the zone. I got to work in my area with Hermana Butler from Colorado. She has 11 months in the mission. It was quite the change to have a gringa for a companion! I felt weird walking around all day with someone who is taller than me. :) I was able to learn from her teaching style, like that I can´t be afraid to call people to repentance or invite them to talk to their priesthood leaders. But the catcalls more than doubled with two of us ¨chelitas¨ working together, so I kind of hope I never have a gringa companion!
We´ve been working a lot with Jovany this week, a 16-year-old reference from this adorable old woman (his grandmother) Esmelda. She´s so funny; in appearance, she´s like an old Nicaraguan version of Luna Lovegood in her Spectrespecs. We had a baptismal date for her, but she told us clearly she wouldn´t get baptized again in another church, so we dropped her. Yet she comes to church faithfully and participates in the ward activities, then asks us to teach all of her family members. And she receives us with hugs, kisses, and eternally long prayers when we pass by. I love Esmelda! Anyway, back to where I was trying to go with this... Jovany is super positive and reads his pamphlets and has thoughtful answers to the questions we ask him. He was excited and nervous to go to church, fussing with his hair and clothes. Yet afterward, when we asked him how he felt in the meetings, he said, ¨Calm. Peaceful. At home.¨ ¡Así es! He´s getting baptized for sure! His date is November 1st, but I think we can move it up.
We´re still struggling a little bit to find balance in helping our struggling converts, working with investigators who have a baptismal date, and finding new investigators. But hey, a mission´s not a mission if it doesn´t stretch you, right? We need to keep ourselves organized and focused in order to work effectively every hour of the day. I know when we work diligently, the Lord magnifies our efforts so that we can reach our goals, both numbers-wise and souls-wise. Does that make sense?
Anyway, on to the funnies, because there were a ton of them this week!
1) We contacted a woman named Janet in the street, and we wrote down her address and set up an appointment for later in the week. We go to search for where she lives (remember how vague the addresses are here?) and people direct us to the house where Janet lives. A man lets us in to where two women are watching TV. We greet the women and notice that they look a little confused. My companion asks, ¨Did you remember our appointment?¨ Janet responds, ¨I´ve never seen you before in my life.¨ Turns out there´s more than one Janet that lives ¨half a block from the three crosses,¨ and while one of them is interested in learning about the gospel of Jesus Christ, the other one is suuuper Catholic. We quickly invited them to church and excused ourselves, busting up as soon as we get out of earshot.
2) In a lesson with a recent convert family, we were sharing the story of Moroni and the Title of Liberty. Hermana Estrada explains that in her family, they have a family scripture that is their personal Title of Liberty. Intrigued, I ask her to share which scripture it is. She tells me the reference, I find it and read it (the one about ¨perfect love casteth out all fear¨), then explain to the family how this scripture can be a source of strength and how they can find their own family Title of Liberty. Later, my companion says, ¨You want to know something? I don´t have a family scripture. That was just the first reference I could think of!¨ Haha, I thought it was a little bit odd at the time, but who lies about having a family scripture?! I don´t think this reads as funny as it actually was... maybe you had to be there.
3) We´re casually walking down the street to our lunch appointment when an elderly less active sister calls to us from her yard. We walk to her gate and she opens it to reveal her husband sitting in a chair with his foot elevated. As we get closer, we see that his toe is at an odd angle and there´s a few days old open wound. Okay, just another day in Nicaragua... But then, this sweet sister starts to treat and dress the wound as we chat with them. She explains each step of the process in great detail as we help her pour water over the foot and try not to vomit. But hey, hunger cured! And also, it turned into a lesson with a less-active, so there are our prayers answered that we would be able to meet our numbers goals for the day.
Okay, my emails have gotten way too long. But quickly, I want to tell you all that that Book of Mormon is true! Two chapters in particular that I enjoyed this week were Alma 31 and Ether 12. They answered specific questions and situtations that I faced in the moments that I needed them. Don´t forget to read this inspired book every day, because Heavenly Father can speak to you through its pages!
Also, enjoy conference! And pray that our investigators will accompany us so that we get the privilege of watching the sessions! Love you all bunches!
1) Me and Hermana Butler, with our matching bags! Also, Hna. Enniss photobombing (we had photobombing missionaries in all three photo attempts)
2) Look how wonderful you all are! 27 notes from people I love! Also, focus on my happy eyes instead of my weird hair and messy apartment. :)