Um, is it really Monday? This week has FLOWN by! Let´s see how much of it I can cover in the following bullet points:
- Transfers happened, and I´m sticking around in Loma Linda with Hermana Estrada! This means I get to ¨kill¨ her at the end of the transfer when she goes home. Also, they combined my old area, Monte Fresco 1, with Monte Fresco 2. The district lost 3 missionaries, and the remaining 6 of us already know each other from the last transfer, so that´s cool.
- I experienced my first real earthquake on Monday night! I was at my desk around 10:00 PM and Hermana Estrada was in the bathroom when I started to feel dizzy and realized the ground was moving up and down. Hna. Estrada asks from the bathroom if I feel the ¨temblores¨ and hurries out to join me. We sat under our desks for five minutes or so until it passed. The whole thing was much less dramatic than I had imagined an earthquake would be, but at least I can cross it off my bucket list!
- Jovany got baptized! There was a bit of stress because his mom and grandma hadn´t shown up and the priest who was going to baptize him had to leave, but in the end it all worked out. And we had a room full of excited youth who had come straight from a stake activity to support him! Plus, investigators Jason, Gerald, Erwin, and Omar were all there, which helped them feel more comfortable with the whole idea of baptism. Whoo! Jovany is such a sweet kid with a pure heart.
- I went on splits with Hermana Enniss this week, the new sister training leader. Wow, she is so inspiring! Always positive, working diligently the whole day, speaking Spanish like a Nica, asking inspired questions, and just overall loving being a missionary. She makes me want to be better!
- A cockroach the size of my thumb crawled on my leg during a lesson. Also, we´ve had bats fly super close to us twice this week. And I saw a lizard the size of my arm (tail included) chiling on a wall. Oh, just another day in Nicaragua!
- So, most of the ¨roads¨ here are dirt paths with rocks and garbage mixed in to keep the dirt from eroding away. On our ¨Sunday morning run¨ to bring investigators to church, I tripped and scraped my leg pretty bad. I was all up for continuing the journey, but when I saw blood dripping down my leg, we decided to stop and let a nice woman loan us some alcohol and antibiotic ointment to clean it up first. I´m fully invested in the mission now - blood, sweat, and tears!
- On Monday, it was raining. We contacted a house and they let us in. We start sharing a little bit about the restoration with the wife while the husband is in the kitchen. He comes out and hands us piping hot mugs of coffee... well, this is awkward. ¨Actually, we don´t drink coffee. But can we share more of our message with you next week when you´re not so offended?¨ No, they´re not getting baptized... not every day is an Ensign moment. :)
- I´ve said before that the recent converts are like our wayward children. So often, missionaries come to an area and get people all excited about baptism, then the missionaries get transferred and leave recent converts with broken hearts and underdeveloped testimonies for the next missionaries to take care of. Recent converts are one of my biggest sources of worry in the mission - how do we help them repent, gain testimony, and stay strong in the gospel? But then I realized that I have the perfect examples in my own family and life experience. If these converts are like my kids, what is it that my parents did to help me gain a testimony? We read the scriptures together and they explained the hard words. We said family prayers. We had Family Home Evening. They took me to church. They shared their testimonies and their righteous examples. I can teach our recent converts those same traditions - the basic practices that help our testimonies to grow. So thanks, Mom and Dad, for helping me when I was a ¨recent convert¨ to gain my own testimony, and thanks for giving me a great example to follow!
That´s it for this week. I love you all a lot and pray for you often!
-Hermana Ali Hansen
P.S. Photos may or may not be coming if I can find a USB port on this computer...
1) This is my area! Actually, a lot of that behind me is technically the Elders´ area, but still... this is Nicaragua!
2) Jovany´s baptism! With his mom, her boyfriend, Jovany´s nephew, and his grandma Esmelda. It´s really a bummer that Nicas don´t like to smile for photos...
3) The battle scar