Phew, it`s been a long week! We`re working hard, but are struggling to see the blessings from our labor. It`s all part of the process, I guess. The Lord seeth fit to try our patience and our faith! Afterwards, we receive the testimony (and the miracles, I hope!).
But let`s focus on the positive!
- Hermana Gomez and I have broken through that initial companionship awkwardness and are now working in unity. Adversity can bring you together! We joke and laugh and have some stellar practices in companionship study. Whoo!
- We DIDN`T clean the church this week! The young men banded together and gave the chapel a good scrubbing on Saturday morning. Now if we can just figure out who we need to contact to order more toilet paper for the women`s bathroom...
- I took a trip to Costa Rica on Friday! I`ve had visa problems, so I had to cross the border in order to be allowed to stay another 90 days while we wait for documents to arrive. The power went out in all of Managua that morning, but we were still able to get up and out the door before 6:00 AM. My companion went to work with the hermanas in Monte Fresco and I went with Hermana Betty (the missionary paperwork ninja of Central America) on a 3 hour school-bus ride to the border. Basically, I spent twelve and a half hours sitting on buses and waiting in lines. But hey, now I`m legal for another 3 months! I gained a greater appreciation for the privilege it is to do missionary work every day, because it was pretty boring to not be able to study, teach, and contact. The good part is that I got to talk with Hermana Betty. Hermana Betty is a wonderful lady; faithful, knowledgeable, spirited, stubborn, and loving. She`s one of the pioneers of Nicaraguan members!
Now the lows:
- We have one week left to find a new place to live. It`s been a two and a half month process searching for a house to rent, still with no success. It`s pretty much the biggest stress of my life right now.
- On Sunday, nobody came to church. We had an all-time low church attendance of 61, and not a single one of the 16 investigators that we passed for on Sunday morning came. Why? La Purìsima. It`s a celebration of la vìrgen Marìa and is basically grown-up trick-or-treating. People wait in long lines all night and all day to get buckets of food (rice, beans, oil, sugar, etc.) and sing songs in front of shrines to honor the virgin Mary. Also, there are lots of fireworks at all hours of the day and night. Anyway, my companion and I felt basically destroyed after our 2-hour Fast Sunday morning hike to bring investigators to church only to have nobody there. How is it that we can commit people to come to church all week, verify those commitments in every visit, and pass by on Saturday afternoon or evening and have people tell us that they are for sure going to be there on Sunday, and then everyone has an excuse in the morning? What are we doing wrong? Aaaahhh, patience! It`s the hardest thing to develop, and the thing I think I have developed most on my mission. Seems like the Lord would have me develop a little bit more!
I have faith that as we continue in diligence, obedience, and humility, the Lord will magnify our efforts and we will eventually see miracles according to His will. He is always blessing us with miracles, but sometimes we`re not opening our eyes to see those miracles.
Anyway, sorry for the downer email. I think I promised a more faith-promoting letter this week... whoops! Next week I`ll tell you more about our investigators (when I`m not feeling quite so broken-hearted at their poor decisions). Sometimes I want to yell, ¨Can`t you just understand that living the commandments will make you happy?¨ Agency is a crucial part of our Heavenly Father`s plan. Obedience brings blessings, and disobedience leads to misery, but all of these consequences come in time! Try it and you`ll see!
Well, I really love you all a lot and love to hear about your happy happenings! Keep the faith!
Hermana Ali Hansen
1) Thanksgiving round 2 with the hermanas of Monte Fresco!
2) Christmas package and letter from Hermana Claire Forste (whom I love dearly and will soon find a way to send a letter back!!)
3) Mi arbolito! The best $4 I`ve ever spent - baby tree and lights with 8 different settings of flashing, fading, etc. It makes me way too happy!