Tuesday, October 12, 2010

Letter #56 - October 11, 2010

Dear Family and Friends,

Thanks for the emails this week. I heard from all five of you and it was so fun! I love hearing about what is going on in your lives. And thinking about cooler weather. It has seriously been an inferno her this past week. The rain has actually slowed down a lot and that has meant a whole lot of intense sun. I'm longing for a bit of a breeze from the mountains in Provo. I really miss the seasons changing. I've now gone nearly a whole year in Nicaragua and besides a bit of rain, the weather is always the same: hot and humid.

So I had a number of interesting experiences this week. The first one was nearly being struck by lightning. Seriously. We were walking along the street, looking at the clouds that were threatening to get us soaked, and a few big drops were just starting to fall. We had just passed by a corner where a bunch of guys were standing around who looked up to no good so when I initially saw the brilliant light and heard a huge crack, I thought they had fired off some kind of firework, as happens frequently here. But it was way to loud and way too bright to be a firework and the light raced into the ground. It was like 30 feet from us. We screamed and grabbed on to each other and then couldn't stop laughing about it for like five minutes. Whoa. I have never been that close to lightning.

The next experience was really embarrassing. Friday night we got in totally exhausted and finished up our numbers quickly because the Elders have been asking for them really early lately. Then I put my head on the desk waiting for the call and promptly fell asleep. A little while later, Hna. Cano tapped me on the shoulder. "ya hermana," she said. And in my daze, I got in my PJs, we said our prayers and I climbed up to my top bunk and went to sleep for the night. I was sound asleep when our renter came pounding on the door a little after 11 pm. "Las buscan!" he yelled. What on earth? I thought as I climbed down from the bed, not really fully awake yet. "quien?" I asked. "Los misioneros," he replied. And that's when it dawned on me that the call from the Elders never came and I had gone to bed without talking to them and they were now at the door to make sure we were okay.

So in my PJs, I went out to the main door and standing there was Elder Church, as well in his PJs, Elder Avila, the car of the AP's with Elder Gomez's head sticking out the window and two other office elders in the car. Oh, how embarrassing! I was pretty much horrified. We explained how we had fallen asleep and somehow not heard the phone and they were pretty tranquilos, but I felt way bad. When we got back in, l looked at the phone and we had like ten missed called. Even ward members had been calling. But the weird thing is that the first missed call was at like 10:40pm so that means that if the Elders called at the normal time of about 9:25pm, it never came in. I think something weird happened to our phone. Oh well, I'm sure basically the whole mission found out that the AP's had to come to our house to make sure we were in this week.

We also had some great experiences following promptings of the spirit. They strengthened my testimony that God guides us to those in need and those who are ready to hear the gospel. Thursday night, it was getting late and we had planned to just do some contacting before returning home. But then I thought of one of our investigators who wasn't home when we had tried to visit her earlier in the day. "How about we pass by for Ericka one more time?" I asked, "maybe now she's home." Hna. Cano agreed and we set off.

As we arrived at the house I thought I saw Ericka sitting in the back room, at the end of the dark corridor the leads to house, but when we asked if she was home, we were told she wasn't there. "Are you sure that's not her?" I asked, not wanting to give up so easily. "No, it's my grandma," said the muchacha. "And the other one?" I said, compelled to keep asking. "No, that's my aunt." Then she got up and began walking toward us. Her face looked dark and she had on heavy make-up around her eyes and a cigarette in her hand. She took a long draw and blew out the smoke. "If you want to come in and look, you can," she said challengingly, "I'm not lying. Ericka's not here." "No, that's alright," I said, "thanks." Then she surprised me with a question. "You've never seen me like this have you?" she said. I was taken back because although she seemed familiar, I didn't recognize her. "What's your name?" I asked, trying to remeber her. "you don't recognize me?" she said, turning her face to the light, "I'm Bianca."

Then it came to me that she was a friend of Ericka's who had come to an activity at the church about a month ago. We had taught her mom and sister a couple of times but not her specifically. "Do you know why I'm like this tonight?" she asked, and I could smell the liquor on her breath. "No," I answered simply. She then proceeded to talk for a good half an hour about an abusive relationship with her husband, and a father who after 30 years still abuses her mother, how she just couldn't take it anymore and how the day before, she had wanted to take her life. She planned to wreck her fathers car but to prevent her from doing anything, her brother in law had gotten in the car and when he finally calmed her down and she decided to turn back around to go home, she lost control of the car and got in an accident anyway. The worst part for her was that her brother in law got hurt and absolutely nothing happened to her.

We spoke little, but we spoke of the Savior, of the atonement, of hope. We sang "I am a Child of God" huddled there in the dark corridor and hugged her as she cried. She told us that we were her angels and that she knew God had sent us to her in her moment of need. She said she couldn't imagine what would have happened if she hadn't stood up and approached us to talk to us. We gave her the pamphlet of the plan of salvation and made an appointment to come back the next day. I left feeling a little amazed at how the Lord works and how he had sent us to listen to her. Pretty much all we did was listen but as she told us that she felt more at peace, that she felt hope, I knew that the Lord had used us that night, to lighten the load of one of his precious daughters. How grateful I am that the Spirit had guided us to that house and even though Ericka hid from us (because I'm pretty sure she was there) the Lord had someone else in mind when He sent us there.

Being a missionary is the best thing in the world - lifting the up the heads that hang down.

I hope you are all healthy, safe and well. Learning lots and seeking the Lord. I love you endlessly.

Love, Hna. Crosland

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