Tuesday, January 4, 2011

Letter #68 - January 3, 2011

Dear Fam,

This week was pretty hectic with new years and all the drinking and the fireworks and the burning of "el viejo" that accompanies it. We are teaching a young couple, the family Beteta, named Carlos and Christian (yes, Christian is a girl). We are trying to help Carlos stop drinking and get them married so they can be baptized at the end of this month. Unfortunately the festivities haven't been helping and we couldn't get them to church this week. But we did have an investigator named Enrique who came up to us after the class and told us that he wants to keep studying with us and if he recieves an answer, we can expect him every week in church. We put a baptismal date with him on the spot.

We are also teaching the family Roque, named Sunilda and Juan José. Juan José also has a drinking problem and we have had a couple of funny lessons with him. He kept saying "WOW, que fascinante!" to everything we were teaching. He also likes to talk a lot about the war. He said he signed up because he didn't want to live anymore but although he made it through all the fighting, I think it left him pretty emotionally scarred. However, Sunilda is awesome and has been to church both last week and this week and even came to be a part of the choir (we're starting a ward choir). We left her a pamphlet of lesson one and when we went back to teach her and asked her what she understood from what she had read, she taught the whole lesson to us, right down to the Aaronic and Melchizedek priesthood. They have both recieved the lessons before but it has been quite a few years. Their oldest son, Kervin who's about 22, is a less-active member. They also need to get married but the hold up is that Juan José has to get divorced first. That is probably going to be a bit expensive... thanks for the Christmas money! :)

Well there is a funny tradition here that they do for new years. It's the burning of the oldy, kind of an out with the old, in with the new idea. They all make these viejos that remind me a ton of halloween, with the jeans and the shirt stuffed with newspaper, old shoes, old gloves for hands, some with hats, some with wigs, many with empty bottles of alcohol and all ready to be sacrificed. The idea is to burn the old year and leave behind all the problems and bad things that happened. Unfortunately we couldn't see the smorgaspor because we were fast asleep in our beds (despite the barage of fireworks), but we did take some pictures of our favorite viejos for your viewing pleasure.

kissing a smoking viejo

teaching a drunk viejo

A point of sadness. Our beach running got nixed. And with it, all my motivation to exercise.

So we are forming another choir because this month Elder Christofferson is coming. Today we got up really early and went to Managua to practice. I also got my hands on a flute (miracle) that belongs to some really awesome members here close in Chinandega. It was fun practicing with the other missionary singers and to see some of my good friends here in the mission and especially seeing Hna. Cano and learning about how everyone is doing in Ciudad Jardin. This Sunday they had 7 investigators in Church including Aldo y Karla and Maryuri y Norlan! They all have baptismal dates for this month and are doing really well. I was so excited to hear it. Also Oscar, who we had been working with forever and ever finally comitted himself to a set date, Jan 22. And last week they baptized an investigator named Juan who we found just before I left. I'm glad that things are progressing there. Corinto has such a different feel from Managua. I love this little town. It's a lot prettier and a lot safer. There's not a bunch of trash and traffic. It's just all around a much more laid back place and it's a nice break. Not from the work, just from the city life. I never was much of a city girl.

Hey, this week an Elder who finished his mission in August, came back to visit with his parents and I got to talking to them on Sunday. Turns out that Elder Burrows dad (I didn't catch his first name) knows mom. Hahaha.. everyone knows mom! No, but I gues you went to high school together. Anyway, he took a picture of us and is going to put it up on facebook. They were also kind enough to loan me an empty suitcase of theirs, because they brought down a few extra suitcases with clothes and things to give away, and I loaded it up with things I wanted to send home, that I won't be using in the next few months. So that will lighten my load a lot. I also sent Dad's machete with it. I hope it gets through the airport security. Let me know when you get the stuff and also when you get the Christmas cards and package I sent.

Well this is getting long, but I just have to tell you that being a missionary is the best thing in the world - I've never been so happy.

I love you all so much and hope everyone had an enchanting time welcoming in the new year. As we set our goals and make our new years resolutions, I hope we can always remember that every day is a day of changes. It's not just once a year that we should evaluate our lives and make the necessary changes to become more like our Savior. Let's all be more like Him everyday.


Hna. Crosland

us with Hna. Cunningham, originally from the atlantic coast

new years dinner (nacatamales) with the bishop and his family

Hna. Winter, Hna. Contreras, yours truly

the kitchen

our bedroom

our patio in the new house, including our coconut tree

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