Monday, April 26, 2010

Letter #31 - April 16, 2010

Dear Everyone,

It's been a bit of a crazy week. We had interviews and meetings all day Tuesday and Wednesday morning I was in the hospital getting an ingrown toenail taken care of. The hospital in Jinotega is seriously a scary place. I'm glad it was nothing more serious than an ingrown toenail that I was being treated for. They shot up my toe with anesthesia which hurt like crazy and then cut out the ingrown part of my nail. I used one shoe and one sandal for a few days but that wasn't very ideal so I'm back to my shoes and so far haven't had any more problems. Phew!

We're planning a huge three day activity for all the young single adults in Nicarauga this weekend. It should be awesome. It's going to be here in Matagalpa (the zone that I'm in, not my area) so the missionaries here are in charge of planning everything. A little crazy but fun too...

We got new mission standards or goals I guess and it's been amazing to see what the Lord is able to do with missionaries who put their trust in him even when the task seems impossible. I was skeptical and really lacking faith at first that we could accomplish all that is being asked of us, but I had a really good interview with Pres. Fraatz and I decided stop questioning the sanity of my leaders and just work hard and have faith. We don't meet every goal every day but the improvement has been drastic. We put nearly four baptismal dates every day with people we contact in the street.

Now, not all of these get baptized, but we are better able to discern which people will really progress and focus on those who are willing to change their lives. I think a big part of what I have learned, and what I continue to learn here is that when what the Lord asks seems crazy, illogical, or even impossible, the only thing to do is augment your faith and do it anyway. Just do it. So we have to find four people each day willing to accept a baptismal date, we just do it. And the Lord puts those people in our path when we believe it can be done. For me, my mission has been one impossible obstacle after another, but I am learning that I can do ANYTHING
with faith in my Savior. It's humbling and empowering at the same time.

Well I love you all very much. Good luck with all that you are doing and know that nothing is impossible. The Lord is building us into the men and women for the eternities.

Being a missionary is the best thing in the world - SÍ SE PUEDE!

with all my love,

Hna. Crosland

Tuesday, April 20, 2010

Letter #30 - April 19, 2010

Wow, thanks for the great email this week.

I am so excited for and proud of you Daddy. Thanks for sharing your experience with me about being ordained. The priesthood is so amazing to me and its power is real and all encompassing. You are going to bless that ward and those students so much! And what an exciting and changing time for the family. I wish I could be there and be here at the same time.

Well the sun is starting to shine in Provo and the rain is starting to fall in Nicaragua. It's pretty crazy hearing it pelt the tin roofs here. You can barely hear each other talk and the dirt roads turn into muddy rivers. Lucky Hna. Bustillos left her big rubber boots for me to use for the next few months. Which brings me to the departure of Hna. Bustillos and Hna. Aguilar. They are both home in their houses as I write this. How weird to think about. I miss them already. It was really hard to say goodbye to them, not knowing when will be the next time I'll see them. I learned so much from those hermanas. I want to be like them in so many ways. But I am excited to finish out this change with just the two of us still here, me and Hna. Juárez. She is awesome. Yesterday she committed two people to a baptismal date in two different contacts. Salvaje, I have to learn how to do that. She also goes home in just two weeks. Well, really there isn't a whole lot to say this week. We had the conferencia multi-zona this week and it was really good. Pres. Fraatz talked a lot about our goals for the future, here in the mission and also in life. It made me want to work harder and especially to work with more faith, knowing that I really can meet the high expectations and goals placed upon me.

Sometimes the council we receive from our leaders seems illogical or too difficult to follow with exactness, but I am learning to have more faith and not to question. This is the Lord's work, He is in charge and it is He who will provide the way. All we have to do is trust in Him with our whole heart and soul and give everything we have to His marvellous work. Wow, time is up and I wanted to write back to you all. Sorry Ali and Sam in particular. You will hear individually from me next week. I promise. That's so great that you saw Maclaine, Mom. I wish I had her email so that I could write to her. Well, loves, until next week.

And I can't believe that I in just a few weeks I get to hear all your voices again. !Que rapido¡

Being a missionary is the best thing in the world - obedience for eternity.

Love, Hna.Crosland

Monday, April 12, 2010

Letter #29 - April 12, 2010

Hey travellers, glad you're all home and that you had a fantastic time in China.

This week was a little bit crazy, a little bit cool. We had four baptisms, two in the cascades of San Ramon and two in the font at the church Sunday morning. It's weird because I wasńt involved in the teaching of these four very much. One of them, Elizabeth, I worked with and taught when I was with Hna. Aguilar but the others not really. So now when Hna. Aguilar and Juarez are both gone in three weeks, I'll have a bunch of recent converts to work with that I don't know very well. Weird. But oh well. Working with two sets of missionaries in one area is hard, but it's only for one more week.

I'll be sad when Hna. Aguilar leaves this Sunday, but being back to two will be nice. So this Saturday, the whole Zone travelled to San Ramon, an area in our zone with some cool cascades to do the baptisms of all the people in all the areas. We had about 30 baptisms in all. It was a short hike to get in to the cascades but everyone made it and it was really cool. About 15 minutes after we got there it started to pour, so everyone ended up getting drenched, not just the baptizers and baptizees. And the hike back was pretty slippery but everyone made it just fine. It was funny because for the first few baptisms, everyone clapped and cheered. A little bit of apostasy for you but what can you do?

The weirdest thing this week though, was teaching a lesson in English. A lady in our branch has a son in law from the United States and this son in law has a guy from England, Machay is his name I think and another girl from Indiana living with them. They all speak a little bit of Spanish and the lady in our branch was talking to them last week and Machay expressed interest in reading the book of mormon, but in English. Well I just happened to have a copy in English that I never gave away in the airport 5 months ago, so I brough it and taught them both yesterday. It was so weird and words kept coming out in Spanish. It was also weird because these people were so different from anyone I've taught here in Nicaragua. The majority of the people in Nicaragua that we teach just smile and nod and you really have to wonder if anything you are saying is sinking in or if they understand.

These people asked a ton of questions and challenged me on everything. On top of that, I was teaching without a companion to support me so it was super hard. But when we left they had committed to read and pray about the Book of Mormon and I'm going back to teach them next Sunday. Such a different experience. It made me realize how different everyone's missions are. I feel like the challenges here are very unique, but every mission has it's unique challenges. It was refreshing to have my views challenged, to think and question a little deeper and to feel the deeply rooted conviction I have that what I am teaching is good and true and right even when the world has such different views. Here in Christian land, it's easy to forget that not everyone believes in God and Jesus Christ the same way that we do and to remember again, how lost we are without the Savior.

I know this church is true. My confidence in God's plan for His children on the earth is sure. Some may say that our vision is narrow and that our beliefs are binding, but I feel more liberated and open-minded the more I study the gospel and learn about the true nature of human kind and our journey here on the earth. The plan is perfect. God knows each of us and loves us. Jesus Christ is the Savior of us all and we need Him so desperately. We can find the kind of deep, abiding happiness that lasts forever as we strive to live in accordance with God's eternal and unalterable laws.

Being a missionary is the best thing in the world--we have the truth, and the truth sets us free.


Hna Crosland

Monday, April 5, 2010

Letter #28 - April 5, 2010

Hey everyone (especially those luckies in China),

So both the packages arrived this week and my companions and I have been enjoying the delicious contents. Unfortunately the goodies are not helping me fit into my clothes any better. The shoes are lovely and very comfortable. I noted all the sweet features Dad, thanks. :)

Okay, I have to tell you about the day that just wasn't our day this week. Saturday we battled with the internet in the morning and only got to watch a tiny bit of conference. The evening session went a little bit better, but then the evening took a turn for the worse. After dinner we had an appointment with a man we had contacted earlier in the week. He lives in an area called Carlos Rizo. I knew about where the area was but wasn't familiar with it at all. So we finally found it and started asking around to try and figure out exactly where he lived. The addresses here are crazy and very vague so you pretty much have to get as close as you can and then hope the neighbors know the person you are looking for. Well, we were directed to climb up a huge dirt hill and ask again. Once we got to where we thought was plenty far up, we asked and were directed to keep climbing. At this point I started thinking of how on earth we were going to get down without slipping to our deaths. After a little while, we were on a narrow dirt path between some houses and the hugest pig I have ever seen was standing in the middle of it. Hmmm... what to do now, right?

So we looked around and saw some ladies standing in front of their house. I called out to them and one of them turned out to be the mother of the guy we were looking for. We crossed over to their house and as we were passing by the side of it, one of their dogs suddenly jumped up and bit Hna. Bustillos. She was very brave and held back tears as she asked the extremely disinterested lady if her son was home (which he wasn't), if she had heard of the church (which she had), and invited her to church (to which she basically shrugged her shoulders). She was also very uninterested that her dog had just bitten my companion. Well, after that complete waste of time, we made our way slowly down the hill and only slipped a little bit.

When we got back into town, Hna. Bustillos pulled out her agenda and promptly dropped it through a grate in the street. It tottered for a few heart-wrenching seconds between two bars and then down it went. Two little boys heard our cries of dismay and one of them quickly offered to shove his hand down into the filthy darkness to see if he could reach it. He couldn't. So the other one went to the opening of gutter system and jumped down the hole and crawled through the garbage the fifteen feet to where the agenda was. Seriouly disgusting. So we rewarded them with 5 pesos (about a quarter) which probably made their week. We stopped by a less active family to try to get them excited about the conference and to my utter dismay, on our way in their dog bit Hna. Bustillos on the heel. This time it wasn't hard, but seriously? Two dogs in the same night? Then our last appointment for the night stood us up as well. We got back to our match-box house, laughing incredulously at our bad luck and feeling very very tired, but happy to be done with the day. Wow, that story turned out to be very very long. Thanks to all those that are still with me.

So, what a great conference it was! It made me pretty trunky because I swear every talk was about how to be a good mom and raise righteous children. Turns out I have some pretty deep and poignant emotions related to that subject, all of which were brought out in abundance during conference. I was pretty ready to pack my bags and jump on the next plane home to get started with the real work. But I know I am where I am for a reason and I really do love being a missionary. My experience here is preparing me better than anything could for the rest of my life and the unequivocally important work of raising a righteous family.

We worked really hard this week and the Lord truly blessed us and helped us so that we could get a whole lot of people to the conference. I think the "official" count was 125, which is about 35 more than we had last week at church. And we had 16 investigators. Wow. It sure makes a difference working with two more missionaries. The best thing was seeing some people show up who we had been working with all week. One of them is a recient convert named Rosario. She is about 55 years old and I think she was baptized quite a while ago, but just within the past year a missionary found her records and resubmitted them because she wasn't in the branch list. Anyway, I don't know who the missionaries were that baptized her, but she had some crazy ideas about the church and about Joseph Smith. I don't think she ever really had a clear idea of what the church is about or where it came from. A week and a half ago, she told Hna. Aguilar and Juarez that she didn't want anything to do with the church, but Hna. Bustillos and I have been visiting with her and listening to her. We showed her the video of the restoration and it really touched her. We asked her to say the closing prayer of the lesson and as she started to openly speak with her Father in Heaven, the Holy Ghost spoke to her heart and she started to cry. She aked for forgiveness for not staying firm and for strength to make the right choices and press forward. She committed to coming to conference and she actually showed up, and even had her grandson with her.

It touched me to see other members crammed on the bus on the way to conference, who haven't been to church in a very long time (anywhere from a month to five years) and to know that Heavenly Father is using us along with the members of the branch who are willing to lend a hand, in rescuing the souls of those who stray. He has plenty of work for us to do. We just have to show Him that He can trust us and that we're ready to work.

Being a missionary truly is the best thing in the world - at least for 12 more months, until the real work begins. :)

Love you all tremendously,
Hna. Crosland