Thursday, February 24, 2011

Letter #74 - February 15, 2011

Hey loves,

¡Feliz día del cariño! And HAPPY BIRTHDAY MOM! What a great week it was right? Well we had a fun day yesterday in Managua, all of the sister missionaries at Presidents house with Hna. Arredonde. We basically had a girl party - doing yoga, learning how to straighten our hair without any electrical appliance, playing volleyball, making lasagna, talking, taking pictures, eating cheesecake, and laughing lots. It was a really fun day. At the end, we even got our own private question & answer session with Pres. Arredondo. Can I just tell you how much I love and admire that man? And Hna. Arredondo as well. They are just gems of people. Well, that is the reason I'm writing a day late.

Sister's Conference

Oh, and before I forget, I'm coming home March 17th. I don't know what time yet, but that is the date. Crazy that they already have my homecoming talk scheduled... Man, I don't even want to think about giving that talk. My english is so bad. I was talking to some of the new hermanas in english yesterday and I was surprized at how much I get stuck and tongue tied. Just promise not to laugh at me too much...

Well, this week we had a miracle and also a big disappointment. It cause me to ponder a lot. Okay, so first for the story. You know about Felix y Ruth, our part member family that couldn't be completed because Felix was waiting on the okay from the prophet to be baptized... well, thursday afternoon I got a phone call from the AP telling me that they had received a letter from the first presidency that Felix could be baptized. I was ecstatic. We ran to Felix's house to tell him and he was thrilled too, even though his wife seemed a little apathetic. Well, he just needed an interview with the mission president, so friday early-morning we all went to Managua and everything went great. He passed his interview and although we had the baptismal date for the 19th, President said that we should baptize him the next day, Saturday the 12th. Felix agreed and we set a time.

Well, that pretty much took up our whole day on Friday and what time we had left, we prepared for the baptism. We went back to his house at about 7 just to check with him and make sure everything was set, but he was asleep. His wife said everything was fine. Well, Saturday morning we got there early and found Ruth alone with the babies. Felix was gone. She said that he had woken up feeling a little sick and that the babies were sick too and that they didn't have any money to buy food because Felix had gone to Managua with us instead of working on Friday so he had gone to work (tricycle taxi). I couldn't believe it. I was praying for a way to find Felix and talk to him and while we were there with Ruth, he showed up. He said he was sorry, and that he wasn't feeling good, but asked if we could have the baptism later in the day. So we set another time. When we went back for the second time, he wasn't there again but showed up shortly after and we had to convince Ruth to come because she had a lot of clothes to wash. Well, he finally got baptized and the service was really nice.

Well, to make a long story a little bit shorter, on Sunday we went to his house three times before sacrament meeting, the first time at 6:45am and the last at about 9:10am, then again after sacrament meeting, and then one more time after church at lunch time, and never found him. We even went to find his mom's house because Ruth said that he might be there.

Well, I was pretty devastated that he wasn't able to be confirmed to say the least and it made me ask myself why. We were even fasting so that he could be baptized and confirmed and that everything would work out well. He had been waiting for months to be baptized and was so excited when we told him the news. We did everything we could think to do to help him and he wasn't confirmed. I have had many opportunities to ask why things don't work out and why we don't have success when we are doing everything humanly possible to achieve it. Didn't the Lord want Felix to be confirmed this weekend? But I feel like the answer is, of course He did.

The Hermana and a bashful toddler
But the Lord respects our agency so incredibly much that He would never impose His will over ours or over the will of those we are trying to help. Felix made his own choice not to come to church and receive the Holy Ghost on Sunday and hopefully he will be able to receive it next Sunday, but I know that even though it makes me sad, I have to be happy knowing that I did everything I could. I know that this is the Lord's work, but I also know that the Lord respects our agency, and we must respect the agency of others as well. It is heart-breaking when others make poor decisions, when they don't understand, when they reject the gospel, but we cannot let our strength slacken.

I love you all so much and I can't think of better examples of Saints of God, living the gospel, and enjoying all the blessing that it brings. Thank you for being who you are and for being examples for me.

Being a missionary is the best thing in the world - fighting for salvation and respecting agency.

Love, Hna. Crosland

Monday, February 7, 2011

Letter #73 - February 7, 2011

Buen Día Vosotros,

How is everyone? Are you all super anxious, waiting for baby Ada? I am too. I was sad not to find pictures of her in my inbox today. But, next week for sure right?

Well, this week I started my last change here in Nicaragua. I am still in Corinto, training again, but this time a Salvadoreña. She is the first companion I've had that is taller than me. Funny huh? I have a feeling that I am going to feel like I shrunk when I get back home. Her name is Hna. Menéndez and she has been a member for just over a year, the only member in her family. She is great. She is one of those girls that is super gorgeous and from far away would be easy to envy, but when you get to know her, she is just so innocent, and kind, absolutely guileless and sweet that it is impossible not to like her instantly. She is still learning a lot about the gospel but her testimony is so pure and real.

Juan and Sunilda got married and baptized this Saturday along with their little daughter Daniela. It was one of the happiest days of my mission. There is just a light around them and now their family is complete. Their oldest son Kervin (26), who has been a less active member for years got up and bore his testimony about how grateful he is to have his family with him in the church. He doesn't feel alone now and now there is a support system in his home. I know that they will all help each other and work together to stay active in the church and go to the temple as soon as they can. I can only dream of being there with them.

We're also teaching the Beteta Family, Carlos and Christian. I think I've already told you a little about them. Christian was in Guatemala almost all last month but now she is back and we're working with them again. They came to church yesterday and I wanted to sing when I saw them walk in. Julio also came to church. He was a man we contacted and turns out is a friend of one of the members. After church he asked us if we could get him a copy of the book of mormon and we told him we'd bring him one later that afternoon. We went and met his wife, Dulce and had a really good lesson with them.

Another of our investigadors is named Nubia. I don't know if I mentioned Edwin and Nubia in the last email, but this week, they separated again. Apparently, he treats her pretty bad. But she came to church and is very positive about the gospel. She wants to change her life.

We have two other new hermanas in the house as well and we've been having a blast. Hna. Ruíz is from El Salvador as well, and Hna. Tacam is from Guatemala. They are hilarious and good workers. Hna. Ruíz organized and cleaned our whole house. I thought it was pretty good, but she is kind of a clean freak like Paige and I'm super glad to have her help in the house. Hna. Tacam is short and chubby, like a little teddy bear. She is the smallest hermana in the mission and just so cute. It was her birthday
yesterday too. I'll attach a picture so you can get to know the gang.

Being a missionary is the best thing in the world - aiming towards the temple.

Love you a million times over,

Hna. Crosland