Greetings from... JINOTEGA!
Yep, I'm still here - but what's even better is that Hna. Aguilar is still here too, and now we have two more sisters living and working with us. Hna. Bustillos (mi madre y entrenadora) and Hna. Juarez arrived Wednesday afternoon and the four of us are all crammed into our tiny matchbox house. It's pretty comical. We moved the two desks that were upstairs to the main level and put two additional mattresses on the floor in the room where the desks were. They barely fit wall to wall in that little room with just a tiny bit of space at the head of the mattresses for their suitcases. And with four desks and our chairs downstairs...there isn't space to walk through when we're all sitting to study, so if one person gets up to go to the bathroom or something, everyone has to stand up to let her by. Haha. We mostly laugh it up. Hna. Bustillos and Hna. Aguilar have exactly three more weeks from today before they finish their missions and Hna. Juarez is just two and a half weeks behind them. She will finish out the change with me when the other two leave.
Technically, I'm working with Hna. Bustillos again and it is very interesting to be back with her. I can see how much I've changed and how much I've improved with the language. I understand her a lot better and I am more capable of incorporating her great qualities into the way I work. It's also funny because she and Hna. Aguilar are basically complete opposites.
Hna. Bustillos does everything exactly by the book and is probably the most dilligent person I have ever met in my life. She teaches very seriously and tends to teach too much sometimes. But she seems to never get tired and has this energy that comes directly from her desire to serve the Lord with all she has.
Hna. Aguilar is loud and loveable and is constantly laughing. When she enters a house, everyone starts to smile and trust her immediately. Most of the time she leaves out the hymn and sometimes she doesn't teach anything at all, just chats with them and listens and jokes around. She is pretty disorganized and when she is tired tends to put things off. But she has a rockin' testimony and the ability to connect with everyone, so when she teaches it really hits home. I want to be the perfect combination of them both.
It's interesting to be sort of stuck in the middle and of course living with four people is twice as hard as living with two. But we are all working hard and learning from each other and it's amazing the difference two extra missionaries make in an area. We had 12 investigators at church yesterday... sweetness. The challenge continues to be getting the MEMEBERS to church. The attendance went down yesterday and President Fraatz wasn't very happy with us, but we are going to do better this week and watch the miracles unfold.
Hno. Raul was baptized this Saturday and confirmed yesterday in sacrament meeting. He's so cool. We found some families this week that I'm really excited about and Hna. Bustillos and I are working with the ward list to find and meet all the members (there are about 410) and figure out why they don't come to church. Many have moved, some have died, and others are now Evangelicos or J-dubs. Everyone has their excuse, right? It's disheartening to see all the problems within the ward and hear all the gossip and silly circumstances that keep people from finding the peace and joy that only gospel of Jesus Christ can bring. But it's equally heart-warming to watch people's lives change as they embrace the truths that will save them. The Book of Mormon has amazing power. It truly is a book for our time, for our challenges, for our salvation.
I'm excited for conference this weekend but I think we'll only be able to see the Sunday session. We have to travel to Matagalpa to watch it. So send me the ensign as soon as you get your hands on it! Oh, that reminds me - thanks for all the awesome valentines and chocolates. Love Love Love. I finally got the V-day package and it looked like it got hammered in the mail, but no damage was done to the precious cargo within.
Okay, time is up. But I love you all a whole bunch.
Being a missionary is the best thing in the world - and it's four times better with four working together!
Love, Hna. Crosland