Monday, March 30, 2015

Change Coming to an End, Semana Santa Begins

A cool sign we found written in Creole

Familia y amigos,

Whats up?  How is everyone doing this week?  This week was a little bit of a harder one here in Bluefields, the heat picked up a little and a lot of our baptisms fell through, but we are doing well here!  I got a lot of cool pictures this week so I'm sure my mom will be happy.

This change has definitely flown by.  This Wednesday is cambios (transfers/changes), and there are a lot of rumors floating around.  We´ll see what ends up happening here in Bluefields and in the mission.  Chances are that I stay here in Bluefields because it is like a 6 month sentence out here, so we will see what goes down!

Anyway this week we were preparing a couple people for baptism.  They were all super stoked all week getting ready, and we thought for sure we had them in the bag.  But a lot of stuff went down.  On Saturday we made a couple of mistakes regarding the baptismal services, when people were going to get baptized, and making sure they were actually ready, so a couple of them fell.  We ended up having one baptism here in our area, and let me tell you it was one of the worst baptismal services ever.  

We were kind of rushing around, a little discouraged because all of the baptisms fell like 20 minutes before they were supposed to go down.  We showed up late, and everything was going wrong.  The ward assigned an 81 year old man to baptize (because we aren´t supposed to baptize) and let me tell you, it was a disaster.  This member is super awesome and a great guy, who speaks english and is always at the church 2 hours early on Sundays to open it up.  I asked him if he knew the prayer right before he got in the water, and he told me it.  He went in and completely forgot it. Hahaha, we had to write it out, and he could barely read it.  It was making me laugh, my companion was laughing and even the old man was laughing.  It kind of took off a little bit of the stress.  He finally got the prayer right, and our investigator went all the way under the first time, so at least he didn't have to do that over again.

On Sunday, pretty much all of our investigators were gone so we didn't have a ton to go to church.  We passed by for all of the remaining people we had and nobody was home.  We went to the last house that we had people committed to go to church, and there were like 10 people all ready to go.  We ended up having 14, and the Lord really blessed us.  Like it says in that same talk "Trust in the Lord" by Elder Scott, when the Lord closes up a door, he opens others of the same size and importance in our lives.

Semana Santa is this week, and a lot of people are leaving to go on vacation, mostly to Corn Island.  You all should go look up Corn Island, it is really beautiful and I will definitely be going there some day.  I hope all of you have a super great week, and I will let you know what happens with cambios next week!

Love you all,

Elder Hanson

Our baptism this week.
A recent convert here in the area.
We teach this member a lesson every once in a while.
The heat is starting to pick up here and it makes for a super sweaty face.

Monday, March 23, 2015

Multimision with Bishop Dean M. Davies and Ayoleth Gets Married

This week's baptisms.

Familia y Amigos,

Que onda? (What’s up?) I hope everything is going super well, we had a normal week here in Bluefields, besides the fact that we went to Managua for the conference.  Things are going well and the weather seems to be heating up a little bit but who knows because it is always hot.  Ill let you know a little bit about what happened.

So on Wednesday morning we left here in Bluefields on plane.  It was super nice to finally not go in panga (boat) and on bus.  The plane wasn’t sketchy at all and was a nice 45 minute nap on the way over to Managua.  The reason we went is because Presidente Russell called us on Sunday Night and asked if we could help out in the office, so on Wednesday we just worked in the office.  It was super boring and a lot of sitting around.  It made me feel like I wasn’t doing anything and I didn’t like it at all.  We got everything prepped for the next day, because all of the missionaries had to be in one of the chapels (San Juan) at 6:30 in the morning so that we could bus everyone up to the chapel in the North mission (Waspan).  We did get to eat at Price Smart when I was there, which was awesome.  It’s like the same thing as Costco so I got some samples and just hung out.

On Thursday we woke up early and got to San Juan to make sure that all the missionaries were there.  It was really awesome seeing some people there, I got to talk to Elder Collado, Elder Hernandez, and Elder Sacalxot for a while.  It was nice seeing all of my old companions and hanging out with them for a minute. I didn’t get any pictures because things were moving really fast. We got bussed up to the conference, and got to listen to Bishop Dean M. Davies. He gave a lesson about how we can find revelation in the scriptures.  It was nice to be able to listen to a servant of the lord.  There was a huge difference between the missionaries in our mission compared to the missionaries in the North Mission, it was interesting.  Right when the conference ended, the Bluefields people got sent straight to the airport so we didn’t really get to talk to any of the missionaries or eat with the rest of the mission.

On Saturday we ended up having 2 baptisms, of Ayoleth, who got married in the morning and then baptized, and Jerey, who is the nephew of a member here in the ward.  References from members really are the dopest baptisms!  Ayoleth was a reference, and the majority of the baptisms we are having have been references.  Working with members is key, and that is why Bluefields has a lot of baptisms, because the members work with us.

Sunday we were blessed again to bring 10 to church.

This week is going to be a week of finding people to teach.  We have kind of brought the majority of our investigators to the waters of baptism so we need some new people to teach!  I hope all of you have a wonderful week, and all goes well!

I love you all,

Elder Hanson

Ayoleth's wedding.

We got a cake for the wedding.
Me, Jerey, and Elder Naisbitt.

I found some Cheez-Its and Capri Sun at a store here in Bluefields.

Monday, March 16, 2015

Papeles de Soleteria, Baptism, and We're Going Back to Managua :(

Familia y amigos,

Naki sma?  That’s a little miskito for you, it just means "how are you doing?."  I hope everyone has had a great week this week, a couple of cool things happened to us and everything is going well!

On Tuesday we went over to Ayoleth’s house to see how she was doing.  It has been really hard to teach her because we literally have taught her everything.  It is to the point that when we go we just read a chapter from the Book of Mormon because there is nothing else to go over.  She is halfway through 2 Nefi which is super cool.  Anyway we went over there and she told us that she had good news!  She told us that her husband’s papel de solteria had come in and she gave it to us.  The paper says that he is single, which means he can get married!  It is a huge blessing because all of the rules of marriage change here in Nicaragua next month.  We would have had to get a lot more papers and everything, but the lord gave us a miracle.  She is going to get baptized this next Saturday.

We had a baptism of a little brother of a menos activo (less active member).  He was the last one in the family to get baptized, and we’ve been trying to work with them to get them to church.  It was a miracle too that he got baptized.  Two months ago the older sister ran the missionaries out of the house because she didn’t want him to get baptized.  A member came and visited the house with us, and we were unaware that she had ran the missionaries out.  She lied to us at first and told us the kid was baptized, but she ended up telling us the truth.  Anyway, long story short, we were kind of preparing the kid in secret because she was never there, but ended up giving permiso (permission) so that he could be baptized.

We found a super awesome family who is preparing to be baptized on March 28th now.  They love the church and have been doing really well.  They are progressing really quickly and are super kind and loving.  It is a family of 4, and with the 4 baptisms we will have scheduled for this Saturday, we are hoping to end the month with about 10 baptisms.

This Thursday we have a multi-mission conference with Bishop Dean M. Davies.  It will be a combined meeting with all the missionaries from the Nicaragua Managua South and the Nicaragua Managua North missions.  That means there will be like 400 missionaries here in one capilla (chapel) in Managua and the capilla is actually in the North mission.  This means we will be traveling again.  We got lucky this time and we will be going by plane (finally) so it shouldn’t be too bad of a trip.  This time we will only be gone from our area for about a day instead of 2-3 days, which is good because we have so much going on. 

We have been super blessed this past cambio (change/transfer) and I know it is because of our hard work and diligence here in the area.  I hope all of you have a great week. I love you all!

Elder Hanson

fotos: bautismo...and we’ve been having a little problem with mice so we have been hunting them down and getting rid of them.

Elder Collado got his package!

Monday, March 9, 2015

Rain, falling baptisms, and Happy Birthday Dad!

Familia y amigos,

How is everyone doing? I hope all is well back home.  Well not much really happened this week.  It was just a week full of finding new people, working with the people that we have, and getting soaked.

It has been raining a lot here recently and since we are on the coast random storms just kind of show up and it pours.  Supposedly in the rainy season it is like this everyday all day for a couple months, so we will see if I am here for that time!  Before the mission I hated the rain and getting wet, but now it’s just a part of life.

We’ve been working with a couple of our investigators and should have a baptism this week.  We had a super cool investigator who was the mom of a returned missionary.  We had a couple of really spiritual lessons with her, but we had to drop her because she isn’t progressing a ton.  She was like our best investigator so we were kind of sad to let her go but we prayed and felt like we had to do it.  We just didn’t want her to become an eternal investigator.  Her time just isn’t now.  We really gained her confidence so when the time is right the next missionaries can come in and finish things off.

I wanted tell you a little bit about her and share and experience that we had with her this week.  Her daughter is the returned missionary who served in Honduras and of course she wanted her mom to get baptized right when she got back.  Her mom is a little hard but we saw some potential so we decided to teach her.  We were teaching the restoration with her, just about the great apostasy and then the restoration.  As I was reciting the first vision, the spirit was super strong, and I finished it, and had the feeling to just be quiet.  The room was silent and the spirit just hit all of us, like a brick wall out of nowhere.  It was quiet for like 30 seconds and the spirit just testified of the truthfulness of our message.  I know that Joseph Smith was and is a prophet of God and that he restored this church here on the earth. 

We found another family of 4 who we are working with and they all went to church yesterday.  We just showed up and they were all there ready to go.  They have a fecha (baptismal date) for the 4th of April, so we are working hard for that.

On Saturday our baptism fell through, both of them actually.  One of the investigators wasn’t really ready, and although we easily could have gotten her to do it, we didn’t want to force her because the sins of her not going to church after would just fall on our heads.  She should be getting baptized here soon.  The other possibility just kind of disappeared.  She supposedly went to a finca (country vacation house) (everyone and their dogs here have fincas and just disappear) but she answered her phone and was hiding from us.  We went on a wild goose chase all over Bluefields looking for her, but we couldn’t find her.  We'll see what ends up happening with her, and if she actually wants to get baptized.

The Lord blessed us on Sunday with 12 investigators in church and we have 14 progressing right now.  I don’t know if all of them will get baptized, but that is the plan, and I have faith that they all can get baptized.

I wanted to send a shout out to my dad this week, his birthday is on Thursday.  I hope all of you wish him a happy birthday and I hope he has a great day!  Love you lots dad! Happy Birthday to Nathan, too!

This week will just be another week of finding and retaining our investigator pool, I’ll let you all know what happens!

Have a great week and I love you all!

Elder Hanson

The photos here are from a lunch we had at a member’s house.  He cooked us this dish here called rondon.  To make it they squeeze out the cream from the coconut meat and turn it into a broth.  Then they throw in meat, usually seafood, and then serve it up with a bowl of rice.  We had some super delicious lobster and crab, and it was super good!

Monday, March 2, 2015

Another Trip to Managua and 6 Months in the Mission!

Our Baptism This Week
Familia y Amigos,

How is everyone doing?  I hope all is going well back in the 801.  Things are going great here.  I can’t believe that it is already March, time is flying by this year! Not much really happened this week because of a trip we had to go on, but things are going well.

On Tuesday and Wednesday we just taught all of our investigators.  We have a lot of people that could get baptized this month of March so we are working hard trying to get all of them to the waters of baptism.  We were teaching a couple the lessons, one of our super dope families,  they didn’t want to get married.  We had this lesson of just straight macheting (chastising) the guy because he is menos activo and all his wife wants is to get married and baptized.  They came to a decision and told us the next day they wanted to get married which is awesome!

On Thursday we had to go to Managua to get our residency status here in Nicaragua taken care of, I only had a 90 day visa here in the country. Everyone else in my CCM group got their cedulas (government ID cards) the first week after their training, but since I was here in Bluefields I couldn’t go.  We got on the panga (ferry boat) at 9 am and went to Rama.  This time instead of going to Juigalpa we took a bus straight to Managua.  Let me tell, you that was horrible!  It is like 180 miles, so if you drove 60 mph it would only be like a 3 hour trip.  Anyway, the bus ride was like 7 hours, which was terrible.  We worked in an area there in Managua for the night and then slept in the office house.  I got to take the first hot shower I’ve had since being here in Nicaragua.  We also got to eat at McDonald’s.  That was pretty great!  I got to hang out with Collado and Elder Merill for a little there, too.

On Friday morning we got out the cedulas (government IDs) taken care of, which took like 30 minutes, and then hopped on the bus to Juigalpa to stay the night there.  We worked in that area for the night, then caught the bus at 4:30 am to Rama, and then the panga to Bluefields.  A wonderful trip.

We got back at like noon and had a baptism planned for 2 pm. So we went and got the investigator who was just there waiting for us and took her to the church.  She was super awesome and everything went smooth with that.  Sunday we got 9 investigators to church, which was a huge blessing considering we didn’t work in the area for 2 days.  Other than that we've just been working hard with the people we got!

I hit my 6 month mark tomorrow, which is crazy.  I don’t even feel like I have been here for that long, seems like just yesterday I was getting here to Nicaragua.

This email wasn’t too great because nothing much happened this week, but I hope all of you have a great next week.  Ill talk to you all soon and I love you all!

Elder Hanson

This is a stick of bananas we bought.  They were super delicious once they ripened up.  They were only 60 Cordobas, which is like a little over 2 dollars for over 100 bananas.

I bought some nice leather scripture covers