´Twas a happy week here in Loma Linda! With Hermana Estrada heading home this Wednesday, we really appreciated all the little things and felt the joy of being missionaries in Nicaragua. On to the highs and the lows!
-Gerald got baptized! We almost didn´t have water for the service, and we had to do another 2-hour church cleaning session early on Saturday morning to prepare, but in the end, all was well. ¨El Malo¨ (as his friends call him) entered the waters of baptism and made his first covenant with the Lord!
-Erwin is loving the Book of Mormon! When we checked up on his progress, he had read 14 chapters in two or three days. He gave a talk in Gerald´s baptism. Pure missionary material, that kid!
-Bettania is the 18-year-old daughter of a recent convert of the elders in our ward. She was interested in the church because her dad changed drastically for the better as he investigated and got baptized last month. Bettania has attended other churches, but didn´t like the irreverence of the evangelical churches and wasn´t a fan of worshipping saints in the Catholic church. Anyway, when we went back for our second appointment and asked her how she was doing with her prayers, she responds, ¨I feel totally strange when I pray to know if the church is true. I get all warm from my head to my feet and my heart beats fast. I think I´ve found the truth.¨ (Who volunteers to send that one to the Ensign for me?) Ah, she is just my favorite!
-Zone meeting on Friday. I teared up a little at the thought of Hermana Estrada leaving as we sang ¨Para Siempre Dios Esté Con Vos.¨ But also, I learned a lot about how to use the Book of Mormon in teaching and inspired questions. Hence, I consider it a ¨high.¨
-Some type of insect bit my foot and left it super swollen, red, and itchy for a few days. Hermana Gladys named it ¨tortugita¨ (little turtle) and my district leader said it looked like a cupcake with the way it swelled up in my shoe. The good news is, I took an allergy pill and the swelling went down after two days. Also, Hermana Gladys is wonderful and made a foot soak out of mint leaves for me to use at night.
-This week in sacrament meeting, they forgot to assign people to give talks. Without going into details about what happened next, suffice it to say that it was one of those ¨inner cringe¨ moments. Sometimes learning to sustain your leaders is one of the hardest lessons in the mission.
-We set a goal to FINALLY meet the standards of excellence this week. We had done all the math and knew how many people we needed to contact to meet the goal (we fell short in lessons with investigators and recent converts/less actives, but knew we could meet the goal for contacts). Sunday night, we sit down to sum all the numbers, and... 167 contacts. Standard of excellence? 168. NOOOO!!! We almost left the apartment to find one more person to contact, but decided that exact obedience and this lesson in humility were probably more important.
Anyway, I´m going to leave time for sending photos, so that´s going to be all for this week. Don´t forget to do all the little things! Choose the right way and be happy! Grow those testimonies! Give thanks! Enjoy Thanksgiving for me!
Hermana Ali Hansen
1) Los chavalos at Gerald´s baptism.
2) This amazing lady is Hermana Gladys! My little abuelita who makes us food twice a day. She is feisty and loves to tease, but she always has besos, nicknames, and comebacks for us, her ¨niñas.¨ Hermana Gladys delights in the fatness of the missionaries who pass through this area... :)) <-- My double chin
3) The wonderful ward mission leader, Hermano Neftali, with his wife and family (and Jose Andres who popped in for the photo)
4) Santiago, Elizabeth, Yorliet, and Jose Andres, one of the recent convert families we visit. They love to tease me. They´re also hilarious and strong in their testimonies.
5) Gerald´s baptism!
6) My turtle/cupcake foot