Hello one and all,
Glad to hear that you had a great Thanksgiving break. Once again, I didn't realize it was Thanksgiving day until about 8pm and so avoided thinking about all of the delicious food and turkey that I wasn't eating all day. I did eat some beans and rice and cheese though, accompanied by a large glass of pinolillo. ¡Que rico! Dinner is always pretty light, but Hna. Maritza makes big lunches and all her food is delicious. I told her to start making me a recipe book of all my favorite dishes. The trick will be finding all the right fruits and veggies and seasonings back in the states.
The Medina family is busy getting ready for their son's wedding on Pearl Harbor Day and then the trip to the temple on my Birthday. We wish we could be part of the festivities (and especially the temple trip) but we're excited for them just the same.
I wish I could tell you that Aldo and Karla are progressing, but they are so busy working all the time that we haven't even been able to teach them and they haven't come to church. We also had a slight hang up with Toni, but his baptism is scheduled for this coming Saturday. We found out last minute that Toni's Dad, a member of the church, although less-active, wanted Toni to wait another year or so before getting baptized. But we talked to him and helped him see the importance of baptism and especially the Holy Ghost for Toni and he gave his permission.
We're still working with Iliana and Juan, although they are coming along really slowly. They couldn't come to church this week, but Iliana came last week and they both said they would come next week. Well I've heard that a million times (literally), so we'll see if they really start making progress or if we'll have to leave them. The search for the next golden family continues and we have the goal to baptize two families in December.
The hard part about this time of year is that is the month of Catholic fiestas and processions, and chanting at the virgin María and everyone is drinking all the time. The weekends are horrible and the firecrackers and bottle-rockets and fireworks have started again and are in full swing. I remember when I first got here and I thought how weird it was that everyone was lighting off firecrackers at all hours of the day and night, every single day. I thought the country was crazy. Now I know that it's not a year round thing, just Nov, Dec, Jan thing. Haha. They almost don't make me jump and put me tense now, only a little bit.
The ward and missionary choirs that I'm trying to pull off are starting to sound pretty good. I've been drilling the parts with them, sometimes without a piano, which is a little bit tricky, but I improvise and lucky I have pretty good pitch. We have our ward Christmas cantata planned for Friday night, December 17 and then saturday morning, a service project, cleaning and fixing up some houses of less active members and investigators and taking them a food basket. On Sunday night, Dec 19 we have the stake Christmas program and our ward choir is singing Joy to the World (¡Regocijad!). I don't know exactly when the missionary choir will sing, because they haven't told us when we will be having the Christmas activity of the mission.
The biggest news this week is that we moved houses again. A sweet old lady who is a member of the church and who lives in Los Angeles, California has a house here in the ward as well and she happens to be visiting this month. We visited her at her house and she mentioned that only her sister lived there and she wished that someone else lived there to keep the house and her sister company. Well, the house is pretty nice, relatively speaking, and I jumped right on that offer and told her that we would love to live in her house. Haha, she loved the idea as well and even though we pass most of the day out of the house, she thought it would be a good fit. So this morning we packed everything up and with the help of the Elders, found a guy with a truck who could move us. The house is only about two blocks from our old house so it's still a great location. Hna. Cano and I are still rockin' the streets of Managua with the glory of the gospel and talking to everyone who will listen to us.
The time is starting to feel really short and it's time to sprint to the finish. We fall into our beds exhausted at night, but with smiles on our faces. I try not to let the problems of all those around me get me down, even though sometimes it's hard not to feel a little sad for the suffering of those I have learned to love so much. I'm grateful for the countless lessons that the Lord is teaching me about what it means to be a true disciple and walk the paths he trod. Where else could I learn this?
Through the trials and disappointments, we truly find what we are capable of and what's more, what the Lord is capable of. At times I feel like I'm standing in the dark and I don't want to move forward because I can't see where I need to go. But when I asked the Lord to light the way, He told me instead to put my hand in His, and advance in the darkness. His guiding hand is safer and more sure than a light and I know that when we put our trust in Him and humble ourselves to truly let Him guide us, we will find the way home.
I love you all with all my heart. I hope you know that I pray for you and that my thoughts are with you. May your hearts be filled with peace and warmth (I'm sending you a heat wave straight from Nicaragua), and trust in the Savior this week and always.
Being a missionary is the best thing in the world - walking hand in hand with the Lord.
Love, Hna. Crosland