Feliz día de gracias!
Thanksgiving is this week right? I'll miss all the yummy american food, but don't worry, I'm filling my belly just fine with gallo pinto, queso frito, y tajadas. I think the adjustment to the food I ate before the mission is going to be almost just as hard as the adjustment to the typical Nicaraguan diet that I'm now accostumed to. Well, another week has flown by. It's starting to scare me how fast the time is going. I sent some pictures and letter to Nagarote a few days ago with Hno. Jimmy, who has a calling working with Presidente Monestel of the south mission, and he brought back some letters and gifts from my favorite families there. It put me thinking about those first three months in Nicaragua and really who far I've come, how I've changed since then, and really how long it's been.
I was glad to hear from some of my converts and know that they are still strong in the church. The church really struggles there, especially with organization and leadership. It's a fight for the members to keep their branch functioning as it should, but they love the church and although their testimonies are basic, their faith is strong. The branch in Nagarote is actually doing pretty well and progressing since I was there, so that made me really happy. It's easy to look at them and think how far they are from functioning at the level of the church in Utah, but then when I think about the level that God functions at... We are all very far from functioning as a perfect organization and in relation to where God is, we are all nearly at the same level. There is no reason to feel frustrated or hopeless or overwhelmed with the progress of this work. It truly is WORK and thoroughly difficult, but the Lord directs it and we are all learning every day. The important thing is that we never throw in the towel and stop working. We must never tire, we must never give up. Even when the results of all we do seem minimal and to us, don't amount to much. We must press forward, faithfully trusting in Christ. So in all your church service and all you do to strengthen your familiy, don't feel inadequate and don't feel like your work is in vain. It's a long steep hill we are climbing, but we will reach the summit with all those who matter most to us if we strive to lift those around us every day.
We haven't been able to teach Karla since last Sunday because she is super busy and every time we go to visit, she is working. But we put a baptismal date with Aldo last night and he seems really positive. Also, he said that Karla has been ready the book of mormon that we left for her and is already about 20 pages into it. That is an astounding accomplishment for the typical investigator in Nicaragua. I just wish we could actually teach her and answer her questions. But we have another appointment with them tomorrow so we'll see how it goes. I told you about Toni and his cousin Mercedes right? Toni is the son of a less active family in the ward. Toni's uncle gave us the reference of the family and we have been visiting them. Toni is ten years old and he is super smart and loves when we come teach him. The whole family came to church yesterday and he is going to be baptized this saturday. Iliana came as well with her cute little boy and she is doing well. We still haven't been able to convince Juan to come though. We found a neat lady named Teresa that said she really felt the spirit as we sang a christmas hymn with her and we had a really positive lesson, but saturday her mother fell, who must be nearing 70, and Teresa had to go tend to her, outside of Managua. I hope she can return soon so we can keep teaching her.
The elders are all settled in and we are having a lot of fun with them in the ward. It's really nice to be sharing the ward and working a smaller area. And the Elders are a lot of fun. Elder Figueroa is really funny and a really straight arrow at the same time. He likes to do things right but has a ton of personality and is always making us laugh. And Elder Pinzón has one of the purest hearts of anyone I've ever met. He seems a little slow and sometimes his comments don't have anything to do with anything, but he always makes us laugh as well and hasn't a trace of guile. It's fun to be in the season of Navidad and to see people start putting up their lights and chirstmas trees. It's still a little weird without the snow, and I have serious snow withdrawels, especially because it's so blasted hot all the time, but it's starting to feel a bit like christmas. We started singing christmas hymns this week in church. That always does it for me. hahaha.
Well, the time has run down again. I love you and miss you all. The Medina family send their love as well. My mama Maritza is taking good care of me.
Being a missionary is the best thing in the world - every day a little bit closer...
Love, Hna. Crosland