Espero que todos estén muy muy bien. Thanks for your email this week mom & dad. To answer mom's question, I had two weeks in Nagarote when we didn't baptize and we didn't baptize again this week here in Jinotega. So that makes 4 in total. Boo. I hate it when we don't baptize.
We are working with a muchacha named Elizabeth who is ready, has a testimony, is reading the book of mormon, has come to church a bunch of times, and who wants to be baptized... she just has the huge obstacle of her family including her husband who are against it and she is afraid to disrupt the peace. It's frustrating. I was hoping that she would take the plunge this weekend but we're still waiting.
We're also teaching two families who live in a really poor area of Jinotega called Villa Valencia. Jinotega is surrounded by "mountains" kind of like Utah Valley, but everything is on a smaller scale. And Villa Valencia is up on the benches in the North end of Jinotega. Olga y Julio live in a house of black plasitc, kind of like a tarp, wrapped around four big branches stuck in the dirt. Half of their house is taken up by the bed that they sleep in with their two little girls, smaller than a double bed, and there is a fire pit in the opposite corner. They haven't come to church yet but we're hoping we can get them there next week. A few houses above them on the hill live María y José Luis in a slightly bigger, but very similar house. María has been to church twice now and two of her six kids, Fabiola y David, have been twice as well. Her husband works every Sunday and he's only been there for one or two lessons, but María and her two kids want to be baptized. The only hold-up is that she and José Luis need to get married and he's really hesitant about it.
While working in Villa Valencia yesterday, we saw this tiny little girl, probably about 4 years old trying to carry a bucket of water up the hill. The dirt paths are really steep and I always slip on the dust and rocks trying to get around. But this little girl was so small and struggling with her bucket. So Hna. Aguilar started talking to her, asked where she was going and took the bucket to help her up the hill. After a second we came up upon her older sister, probably 12 years old, hauling one of those 5 gallon buckets filled with water and sealed with a lid. So I took that bucket and we continued up the hill. Holy cow, seriouly I don't know how the people in Villa Valencia haul their water up to their houses every day from the spigot by the little tienda at the bottom. I'm glad we have running water in our little house, even if it's super cold coming out of the shower in the morning.
We also had Raul come to church this week, a viejito of 81 years who we're teaching. This guy has the most interesting life. He was born in Mexico and when he was still pretty small, was interned at a school taught by Jesuits. Later he worked on a passenger ship and he knows all the port cities along the atlantic and pacific coasts up and down from Mexico to Peru. He likes to tell us stories and we like to listen. He also has great faith in the Savior and accepts everything we teach him very easily. I just hope the importance of the message can sink in and that he will see the need for baptism. But he showed up at church all by himself (45 min. late) because he wasn't home when we passed by in the morning. I was thrilled to see him walk in.
So we have a flock of doves that live in the rafters of our house and since there are holes in the roof (like right above my bed), we get all sorts of nasty creatures that are nearly too small to see, but that bite us in the night. My body looks like I have chicken pox for all the bug bites I have and I'm constantly plagued with itches. I think more than one type of animalito is biting me. Because I think during the day mosquitos attack my feet, ankels and heels, and during the night the little devils bite my back, legs, shoulders and arms. Hmmm... we've talked to the lady we pay rent to and I think she is going to have someone come and seal up the holes and evict the doves. I hope that will help aliviate at least part of the problem.
Thanks for the news of the ward. I'm sorry to hear about Sis. Parrot. If you see Brookie again anytime soon, tell her that she was in one of my dreams a few weeks ago. I don't remember the dream now, just that she was in it. Congrats to the Timpview STATE CHAMPS! That's so fun to be a part of, especially your senior year. Also congrats to Heather. I want to see pictures, so tell her to send me an email with some. But seriously, that's so exciting. And I also want to congradulate my smarty-pants cuñado. Way to go Mikey. Felicidades, en serio. Sé que trabajas muy duro y siempre estoy agradecida que mi hermanita le hallo.
I can't put into words sufficiently the strength it is to me to have a family like you, serving in the church, striving everyday to live the gospel and build your testimonies, pressing forward along the path of discipleship. It makes me want to be better, to work harder, and to keep progressing so that one day we can all be together as an eternal family. And because of your wonderful example, I have a much clearer picture of what I want my future family to look like. Thank you, thank you, thank you. Keep doing your best everyday and let the Lord take care of the rest. If we put him in the first place in our lives, everything else will work out for our good. I'm grateful for the unifying and edifying goal we have as a familiy of being together for the eternities.
Being a missionary is the best thing in the world - sometimes the path of the disciple is carrying a 5 gallon bucket up a steep dirt hill.
Love you more than life.