Monday, January 26, 2015

Buzzer Beater Baps

Elder Roney, Teresa, Alfredo, and Me

Familia y Amigos!

Qué tal?  Things are going super well out here in Bluefields, it’s been really hot and humid this week so I’ve been sweating a ton, but I guess that’s just Nicaragua for ya!  I think I’ve lost perspective of what the heat is like in Utah because this is a completely different type of heat, but it is all going well!

Anyway this week was pretty crazy.  A lot of stuff went down, all for a crazy ending and that’s why the title is Buzzer Beater Baps, but I'll let you know what happened.

So we had this family to baptize this week and they were super positive.  They went to church, were keeping commitments, and had testimonies and everything.  So we moved up their fecha (baptismal date) for this week.  They were super excited and everything.  On Tuesday we were going to teach them and we saw the guy, Alfredo, walking in the street.  He told us he was going to the hospital and would be back.  He didn’t come back to his house until late and he told us that he was going to have to go to Managua for a surgery on his liver, but he didn’t know when.  He told us he was going back to the hospital the next day to find out.  Since it’s socialist health care system here, the government just tells you when you will have your surgery.  Of course Satan has a little influence there, so we knew he was going to be gone for the weekend.  Sure enough, he found out he was going to leave the next day and be gone for 15 days.  He ended up leaving the next day, but forgot a paper in Rama (city on the way to Managua), and after the panga (boat) ride, he had to come back.  

So he got back, had to go to the hospital again, and they told him he would be going to Managua by plane the next day (Saturday).  We just kind of turned it over to the Lord at this point, praying that he would be okay and could return to get baptized.  His wife didn’t go with him so on Saturday night so we went by to see how she was.  And Alfredo was still there!  Long story short, we got everything arranged and got them married and baptized before 9 o’clock church on Sunday morning and then they were confirmed at church.  A miracle!  It was super exhausting and we had to get up at 4:50 am to get everything ready for the baptism and then worked all day until 9:00 pm.  So we’re pretty dead today.

That’s all that really went down this week, not too much but we were glad to get them baptized.  We are working to find people to teach and we’ve found a couple of receptive people but the majority are just alright. 

Mom, since you asked, they have a piano here and I play it all the time.  In fact, I’m already getting sick of playing it!

Bluefields is different from other parts of Nicaragua that I’ve seen, it’s a Caribbean city and completely different.  It’s super great here and I pretty much know the area now.  It has started raining a little bit more but you can’t really predict the weather.  Because it’s a coastal town sometimes it just starts dumping.  Also, my house is all good!  There are quite a few bugs though.  When we turn on our lights at night, sometimes these little bugs come in that bite super hard.  It stinks but we’ve found that my bug spray with deet kills them.  Elder Roney has a mosquito net over the beds but when he leaves I will pull out mine. 

We have a stove (no oven) and I got some Krusteaz pancake mix and have been eating some pancakes!  Super delicious!!

I hope everyone has had a great week and I will talk to you all soon!

Always remember the power of prayer, it really works!  Love you all and have a great week!

Elder Hanson

The view from one of our investigator's house. You can see the airport and the uninhabited jungle!
Photos of the area
Photos of the area

Monday, January 19, 2015

Bluefields Week 2

Familia y Amigos!

What’s up?  I hope all of you are doing well. This week was pretty uneventful so this is going to be short.  We’ve been working hard here just trying to find some new people to teach, along with teaching the investigators we have right now!  We have a super positive family right now that I’ll tell you about.

Their names are Alfredo and Teresa and they are super awesome! He works as a guard at night for a little carpenter shop down the road from his house.  He’s old and super short, but he has the biggest desire to learn.  We go and teach and they always put a smile on our face. The best part is that they are willing to make sacrifices.  He works from like 5 at night to 7 in the morning but always comes to church, no matter how tired he is.  This week they told us they were going to walk to church and that they would be waiting at the church doors for us before we got there.  Anyways, so we were rounding up people to bring to church and kind of forgot about what they told us.  But sure enough when we got to the church there they were.  They have the biggest desire to be baptized, so we are helping them get married and preparing them to be baptized this Saturday. Today we are going to go look for a lawyer to marry them.  It is going to cost a lot but there’s really nothing else we can do! I’m so excited to see them in white for their baptism!

We have another investigator named Ayoleth who is super positive too.  We teach her in English.  She wants to get baptized, but her partner is married to someone else in Costa Rica and they need to get divorced before Ayoleth can get married to him, so its a tricky situation.  We’re working to get everything sorted out there.

Other than that were just looking to find new people!  One of my companions went home, so it’s just Elder Roney and me here in our area in Bluefields.  I’m loving the area and all of the super cool members here. Our house is pretty cool.  We live really close to the water, just a couple of houses away.  The water smells like fish, kind of stinks, and is super dirty.  Since we are so close to the water we also have crabs crawling out of the drains in our house.

Every mission has a different aspect that humbles you.  The way the people live here is definitely humbling for me.  The houses are always super small with dirt floors and tin roofs.  And the people have nothing.  They go to work, work for their salary, and then pretty much spend it the next day.  There is no savings account or saving up to buy things.  The babies run around naked and the clothing is always dirty.  One lady asked us how the mothers take care of the babies in the US, and we told her that the babies are always in the mother’s arms.  She was shocked because there is very little care for the people here.

This email was super short but it’s all I really got.  This week I wanted to share a spiritual thought, I was reading in the February 2014 Liahona, in an article called ¨Living a life of peace, joy, and purpose¨ by Richard G. Scott.  He talks about 10 things we can do to have better lives.  I loved it a ton and think you will too. I hope all of you have a great week, and I love you all!

Elder Hanson

Sorry, no pictures this week! :(

Monday, January 12, 2015


Bluefields is like a Caribbean city.

What up Familia y amigos,

Let me tell you this week has been super crazy. Let me start with the fact that I had cambios.  They called us at about 12 oclock on Tuesday so I started packing and everything.  We said goodbye to all of my converts there in Jinotepe, and I got in bed.  In the call at 12 oclock they told me I was going to be training, but we got another call at 12:30am from Collado and he said I wasn’t going to be training.  He said there was a big surprise coming, so I just went to bed and everything.  When I got to cambios (transfer meeting) in Managua, Elder Benson the other AP came up to me and asked me if I was ready for what was going to happen.

Anyway I got my cambio (transfer) and I am in Bluefields!  Bluefields is the farthest area from the mission home and only has 5 elders right now.  From Managua it’s a 4 hour bus ride to Juigalpa, the area of the ZL, then another 4 hour bus ride to Rama, and then a 2 hour boat ride here.  After cambios I left half my stuff in the office house in Managua, and then got to travelling here.  It’s super far and it’s like a Caribbean city.  The houses are a lot different and the people speak Spanish, English, Creole, and Mosquito.  I’ll send some pictures here so you can get a feel for what it’s like and everything.

My companions for the moment are Elder Roney, who is from California, and Elder Peña from El Salvador. They are both super awesome, and we are working hard here in our super huge area.  The other two Elders in our house are Elder Rodriguez from Belize and Elder Soifua who went to Alta. Elder Rodriguez grew up speaking English and Creole in Belize and is learning Spanish here. 

We had a baptism on Saturday, and it was great.  The pila (font) was filling up super slow, so we had to use 5 gallon buckets and carry water in from another place.  I was super soaked, and you can see my tie is wet in the picture.

The branch here is a very strong one.  It is a branch of about 200, they have enough people for presidencies in the organizaciones auxiliares.  It’s super awesome.  And they all want to work with us which is a huge change from Jinotepe.  Asistencia (attendance) this Sunday was 150!  The members here are awesome.  Elder Collado told me it’s the best branch in the mission.  I love it here!  It’s completely different and the people are super receptive and actually complete their commitments.

We have a couple investigators, one is named Alfredo.  He is super positive, and I love the guy.  He came to church yesterday and the members gave him a book about the teachings of Ezra Taft Benson.  He was so excited that the book was his.  He and his wife will get baptized the 7th of February.

I don’t have a lot more to say.  I think Nate Hank´s son was here in this area because his name is written on one of the closets with the other Elders’ names.  I hope everyone is doing well, and I love you all!  Have a great week!

Elder Hanson

It is so pretty here!

The houses near the water are on stilts.

Elder Pena, Elder Roney and me with the girl we baptized.

Bluefields is on the Eastern Coast, a 10 hour travel from Managua.

Monday, January 5, 2015

New Year, Zone Conference, and Good Eats

Happy New Year!!

Familia y amigos!

Happy New Year to you all! I hope you all enjoyed the activities and counting down for the new year.  We didn't really do much here.  Had a sparkler that the Hermanas gave us, and then watched some fireworks that people were lighting off here.  It wasn't too bad, and it was a good time to just hang out with the companions. There is a cool tradition here, everyone makes big dolls, stuffed with newspaper and at midnight they burn them.  The doll represents the old year, and the start of a new one. I hit the 4 month mark here, and time is seriously flying by!

Crazy to think that it is 2015!  This year will be the 1 year of my life that is completely missionary work, so I'm going to take advantage of it! I know that I will be blessed for this time I have as a missionary.

Nothing really happened this week.  All of the streets were super empty, because nobody was really home. It was practically dead here, but we had to work!  The majority of our investigators weren't home, so we just tried to find new people.  Other than that, nothing really eventful happened the 31st and the 1st.

On Friday we had Reunion de Zona (Zone Conference).  It was great.  Nice to see all of the people from our whole zone. I know pretty much everyone because sometimes I have to go out with the ZLs and it was great to see everyone.  Elder Sacalxot and Elder Hernandez talked about finding the needs of our investigators and commitments, two huge parts of misisonary work. We hung out after for a few minutes and took a picture that I´ll send.  Our zone ended up finishing in 1st place here in the mission, which is super awesome.  This has never happened in the time of President Russell, so we're all super stoked.  Its going to be a huge surprise on Wednesday at reunion de cambios (transfers).  That is when the whole mission will find out that we came in first place.  Jinotepe is usually towards the bottom numbers wise.

On Sunday we ate at one of our convert's houses.  I gained a ton of respect and was humbled by their situation.  They don't really have a ton, but offered to feed us, so we accepted.  Anyway we were eating and they brought out this meat, and we asked what it was.  He told us he didn't know, maybe lamb or something.  So we had to eat it, and it tasted a little weird, but nothing new for Nicaragua!  Anyway, after we ate he told us what it was, and turns out it was snake.  Super crazy but I can say I've eaten snake!

Anyway this Wednesday we have cambios (transfers). I'll find out tomorrow if I have them or not, and I'll let you guys know where I am next Monday!  I'm super stoked to get to work in my own area without trainers!  I hope everyone has a super great week, and I'll talk to you all soon!

Elder Hanson

The Elders in my district. Elder Miculax, me, Elder Sacalxot,
Elder Hernandez, Elder Sheffler, Elder Trinidad
The Jinotepe Zone, #1 zone in the mission!

Elder Miculax, Elder Sacalxot, Elder Hernandez, and me in front of our chapel

Relaxing on P Day