Wednesday, December 16, 2009

Letter #12 - December 15, 2009


Sorry to be so tardy. We had a Zone activity yesterday and by the time we made it back to Nagarote, we couldn't find any open computers at the two internet cafes here before P-day was officially over and we had our night appointments. But we got permission to write today, hooray!

Thanks for all the shout-outs from the fam. It was fun to hear from everyone. I still haven't gotten your packages, but we are only able to get them when we have Multi-zone conferences or exchanges I guess. Luckily we have a big Christmas party for half the mission, about 100 missionaries on Thursday (the other half on Wednesday) and if the packages have come, I'll be able to get them then. If they haven't gotten here, changes are on the 30th of December. Also, I sent a letter home about two weeks ago. Has it arrived yet? And I don't know when you will have a chance to send another package, but maybe you can just start a list of things that I'd like: the conference Ensign from Oct in English and Spanish if you can find it, Oreos, and my flute... I should have just packed it when I had it at the MTC in Provo but I was worried about the weight. Hopefully we'll get this mail thing figured out.

So, to answer your questions: First of all, sorry I didn't answer all of your questions last week Mom. Yes, I can print stuff off here, so you can send more via email. I loved the words of wisdom from the Thorntons. I copied them into my journal because they really spoke to me. The gospel really is amazing at filling our holes. Let's see, things have been better with Hna. Bustillos. We are both learning how to work with each other despite the communication gap. And I am learning to just go along with things even when I don't know why we are doing what we're doing exactly and when I feel like there is a better way to do things. I am definitely learning a lot about patience and humility. But this week felt a lot better than last week. I have moments when I feel things are really starting to click. I feel like I'm starting to settle into the groove. I'm not exactly sure what made me sick. I think it was the drinks from the hermana who feeds us lunch and dinner. We asked her if she was using purified water to make the juice she gave us and found out she wasn't. But we told her it was a mission rule for us to only drink purified water so now I think she is doing something to purify it before making it into nice drinks. We eat lunch and dinner with Hna. Johanna everyday. Mostly it's gallo pinto and this cheese (I don't know how to spell it). Sometimes there is vegetables and chicken and rice, sometimes soup with interesting things in it, sometimes fried tortillas with cheese or meat. We eat a variety of things. And for breakfast, the first two weeks we went to a little store half a block from our house and bought picos (triangle shaped bread with sugar folded up) and oatmeal and juice. But we went to a grocery type store and bought cornflakes and milk and pancake mix and eggs last week so we've been eating that for breakfast. We don't put much in the stinky fridge, just the milk and eggs and margarine. There are 16 sisters in the mission and four north Americans (including me) out of about 200 missionaries in the mission.

Okay, so Happy Birthday to ME this week. I got up and made grandma Helene style pancakes for the first time here which was lovely. We couldn't find syrup so we just ate them rolled up with sugar like when I was little. That brought back good memories and it was yummy. We had a piƱata at our district meeting on my birthday which was fun. We just batted at it with our fists because we didn't have a bat. It was a pretty good day except for when we found one of our investigators sitting on the side of the road, pretty drunk. It took some work but we convinced him to let us walk him home, so arm in arm we strolled up the dirt road to his house. It was quite the walk and as we got closer and closer he kept holding back and making this nervous face because he didn't want his wife to see him. It was actually pretty funny, my birthday stroll with the borracho, or bolo as they are called here.

This Sunday I was asked to give a talk on tithing. We didn't have time to prepare on Saturday and we always get up at 5:00am on Sundays to be out the door by 6:00 to gather the youth to help us gather the rest of the members and the investigators for church. We make up the routes and hit the streets by 7:00trying to get people to church by 9:00. Well this Sunday I was up at 4:00am to prepare my talk. It went alright I think. Hna. B said I only made a couple of mistakes. Then we found out that one of the Sunday School teachers didn't come so I had to teach the recent convert/investigator class all by myself so that Hna. B could fill in for the teacher who didn't come. I was really nervous to get started but I pretended to be confident, put on a big smile, pulled out my laminated plan of salvation that I made in the Provo MTC and taught the class. It went better than I thought it would. I am learning to set my fears aside and trust that the Lord will help my in the areas that I lack, mainly Spanish.

This week I had a good experience teaching a couple in the ward who are being sealed in the temple today actually. Francisco and Mayra are a young couple (20 and 21 I think) who have a darling little boy. Francisco is the Elder's Quorum president and Mayra is the RS president. They are great, but Francisco struggles a bit with his faith and testimony when challenges come. They run a little venta, a store or more like a stand in the park where they sell candy and drinks and little toys and baked goods. Well we were all sitting on crates in the venta and Hna B. looked at me and said, teach about the atonement. So I asked Francisco who is Jesus Christ to you? The question kind of threw him off and he responded with a general answer, but I prodded and said, no to you personally. Mayra spoke up and bore her testimony of the Savior and she asked Hna. B who Jesus Christ was to her. After Hna. B testified of the Savior's role in her life, I pulled out my D&C and read section 50:40-45 (I know this is one of mom's favorites and it always reminds me of her and often makes me cry, this time was no different). I read it and got through it okay, but as I started to explain my relationship with my Savior through those verses, the tears couldn't be restrained. I also testified of the temple that they were about to have the opportunity to attend and tell them how much Heavenly Father wants to teach us and show us His plan for our lives, and how the temple is a place of revelation and learning. The spirit was so strong and I felt like I was really able to communicate the things I wanted to share, which was really gratifying. I love the temple so much and I miss being able to go whenever I want. I feel like we need to teach the members here more about the temple and stress it so much more. I think if they start to see the vision of what the temple really means and what it is and how important it is, it will help motivate them to be more faithful in paying their tithing, coming to church, living the word of wisdom and sharing the gospel. Then, when the members start to show the Lord their faithfulness in keeping the commandments, He will bless Nicaragua with a temple and more families here can be sealed for eternity. How amazing is that?

I read a talk by Pres. Uchtdorf from two conferences ago and there was a quote that stuck out to me. He said, "I am doing a great work and cannot come down." When I get discouraged or frustrated or when things of the world threaten to take my mind from the work, I remember that phrase: I am doing a great work and cannot come down.

Being a missionary is the best thing in the world - I am helping families to be together for eternity.

I love you all so much it hurts. Also, ALISON AND WILLIAM, get off facebook and write me an email. It won't take long. I'm forgetting who you are. :)

Love and kisses and sniffs in your ears.

Love, Hna. Crosland

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