Monday, November 30, 2009

Letter #10 - November 30, 2009

Hello one and all!

Thanks for all the emails this week. It was great to hear from Katie, Vince, and Maddie. I also got a dearelder from Aunt Carolyn, Rachel Ilene, and Mama this week. Thank you, thank you. You are all wonderful and make my life better. Okay, this week I am going to try to answer your questions first before I run out of time and hopefully still have time to tell you about the fridge episode and the baptisms we had this week. The scripture I want on my plaque (there are way too many that apply so perfectly...) is Alma 26:12. I thought of a few things that I would love in a package at some point in time: crystal light packets, more tan no-show socks, a selection of your favorite classical pieces including Jupiter and Nimrod from the Elgar Variations, chocolate, good daily vitamins and maybe calcium supplements, and some pictures of Utah maybe of the different seasons. The members ask me what Utah is like sometimes and I wish I had more pictures to show them. There are only two seasons here. Wet and dry.

Okay, what else. Dad, you wanted missionary work details. Well, we pretty much have appointments all day and we street contact along the way everywhere we go. Nobody is usually inside their houses because it's too hot, so there are tons of people sitting in plastic chairs on the side walks or walking around. Everyone is so nice here that we stop and talk with every family that we see and usually make an appointment with them to come to their house and share our message. Everyone is willing to talk with us and listen, so it's a little hard to know who is really interested. It's been a little frustrating to teach and then see that clearly they didn't really understand what we have, or why we're different, or how this message can change their lives. I was grateful for the bit Paige wrote me about the council in heaven and foreordination vs. predestination. I miss intellectual conversation for two reasons, 1) there are not many people here who think very deeply about gospel things 2) I can't converse very deeply in Spanish yet... But yeah, mostly we talk to a ton of people on the street everyday and teach about 10 lessons a day. Understanding people is getting easier but I am still frustrated a lot of the time because I don't know fully what is going on and I can't express all that I want to. Also, Hna. Bustillos has such a particular way she likes to teach each principle that it's kind of hard to learn her way to do it. Anyway, I'm learning a lot. Mostly, how to be patient and humble. In my district, I think there are only 4 of us, but in the Zone there are maybe 12. We are the only hermanas.

Okay, the apartment really isn't that bad. I was going through "nice things" withdrawls I think for a while. We have a tile floor (which is way better than dirt) and our shower is actually inside the house (which is way better than outside) and we have two fans and two beds and two desks. And the fridge doesn't smell so bad anymore... The bathroom is the only thing that is scary. The door frame is coming apart so you have to push it back in place to close the door.

The whole room is cement (with tile floor) and the shower is cement with a little cement barrier about 8 inches high to divide the shower from the rest of the bathroom. The water pipe runs up the wall and comes out the showerhead. We bought a shower curtain last week so that has improved things a lot. Also the water is cold, kind of like pool water with no heater. I just take a quick breath in right when I jump in and after a few seconds it
feel okay. I take fast showers. Ah! I have to tell you stories.

The fridge, turns out, was chalk full of rotting food and GUSANOS (maggots). It's not like we couldn't locate the smell, we just didn't open it for a week. It was seriously the nastiest thing I have ever done to clean out that fridge. We put plastic bags on our hands and removed all the contents of the fridge, then we carried it to the bathroom and used bowls to throw water in it to try to flush out some of the maggots. I swear there were a million. And they are probably the nastiest of all of God's creations. They way their little white bodies ripple when they move... it makes my spine tingle just thinking about it. And the SMELL! I have never smelled anything like it before in my life. Needless to say, we had a big and disgusting job, but we did it. We still haven't put any food in it though. We were waiting for all the maggots to crawl out of their hidding places, but now I just don't think I can get over the mental block of how gross that fridge seems to me, even cleaned out.

Another good story: We have been teaching this cute little family, really poor, but so great and humble. After a lesson one night this week, little Kevin ran out after us on our way out and whispered something to me. I couldn't understand him, but soon found out he had asked for some money to buy food tomorrow. We aren't allowed to give any money to anyone, but it about broke my heart. So what did we teach the next day? The law of tithing! I kept thinking to myself, how can we ask these people to give money to the church when they don't have enough to eat. But then I remembered the blessing of tithing. When we pay a full tithing the Lord always provides for our needs. Well when we taught them about tithing, they accepted whole heartedly. Hna. B asked if 10% was a lot and they all said, No! Pequeño! Wow, the faith and humility of these people. Sure enough they brought their filled out tithing slip with their 10 cordobas to church yesterday.

Well the mom, Emelda and her second son Devin got baptized yesterday, but it was sort of a fiasco. I swear Hna. B leaves everything to the last second. She is so preoccupied with teaching a finding that she sometimes doesn't plan for things very well. Anyway, at about 8:30 Saturday night we went to look at the font which is in back of the church in the little patio area. It is just a big plastic tub and it was full of dirt and leaves. We cleaned it out the best we could and then started filling it because apparently there was no one who could fill it in the morning. Pretty soon I realized it was going to take over an hour to fill and it was already close to 9:30. Then we realized we had a bigger problem. The font was leaking near the exit hole. So the baptism is scheduled for 8:00am the next morning, right before church, we were supposed to be back in our casa 30 minutes ago, and we had a leaking font. We ended up finishing cleaning up, going home to plan for the next day and praying for the font. Well yesterday morning I had the idea to roll up my plastic exercise strap that I got in the Provo MTC and make a sort of plug. That didn't fix the problem completely, but enough to slow the leaking to where we could fill the font. But it filled so slow that we had to postpone the baptisms until after church. But it was nice because some of the members stayed for the service and it ended up being okay. Not quite the spiritual experience I was hoping for but, through a series of miracles it happened. Wow, things sure are different here.

I've started dreaming in Spanish. Last night I dreamed about teaching about obedience in Spanish using 1 Ne 3:7 and Heleman 10. Both great obedience scriptures. Haha. That's cool I guess. So it's Christmas time and there are some Christmas lights around and a few trees in some houses. But it's blazing hot and sunny and, oh! Mom, you should see the bouganvillia (sp?) here. It's beautiful and everywhere. The flowers and the trees are so pretty. And mostly it doesn't fell like Christmas at all, but when we sing Christmas hymns I always tear up because they make me think of singing with all of you at home. I've been a little teary this week. Things are so hard. I'm happy and ever grateful to be a missionary. But being in Nicaragua I feel homesick for the first time on my mission. I really miss the holidays with the family. I didn't find out that last thursday was thanksgiving until it was almost friday, and I was grateful because it made me feel weird to think of all of you together doing thanksgiving things. I miss that a lot. I feel very far from home and I can't talk to anyone here in English. It's very isolating at times. Sorry to be a downer for a second. I have had lots of good days. Anyway, I have to go.

Being a missionary is the best thing in the world - even with a fridge full of maggots.

I love you all SO much it brings tears to my eyes. Like mom said, I love you so much it hurts sometimes. But I'm so grateful for this opportunity to learn and grow and bring people to the knowledge of the gospel. How cool is that?

Love, Hna. Crosland

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