Hello Family and Friends!!!!!!
Can you believe that by the end of this week I will have been on my mission for two months?! Pff, I sure can’t! Every day here has its new challenges, but I keep on keepin on! My companion Hermana Fuentes is seriously the best!! I cannot believe how blessed I am to have her! Every day I am learning new words and phrases, and sometimes certain ones just do not want to stick. However, my companion is so patient, never gets mad, and truly wants to help me to succeed! The Lord really does bring to me tender mercies every day!!! There are lots of little moments where I have been with investigators or when we are contacting where my words through my testimony come out so nice and they understand perfectly as to what I wish to express through the Lord. Thank you thank you Heavenly Father! Haha, it is so funny because my companion can understand a lot of English but cannot speak very much of it, whereas I can speak pretty well, but it is the understanding part that is difficult right now. We balance each other out and let me tell you, we have fun!! Hehe. The other day while in a lesson my companion told our investigator Jean Carlos that he needed to have cafe in Jesus Christ, which is coffee. Hahaha. But, I made a bad error the other day too! Hahaha. I said, Yo necesito quitar mis piernas, instead of saying I need to shave my legs, I said I need to take off my legs. My companion looked at me shocked and then started to laugh. Oops! Got two words mixed up! We mess up ALL the time, but it’s no sweat! We learn, and one of my favorite quotes is from Sword in the Stone, when Merlin is speaking. He says, The best way to learn it is to do it! It is absolutely true, the only way you can truly learn is through actions, right and wrong.
So, I have to tell you about this AMAZING sister missionary I met!! We had a zone meeting the other day, and while we did a practice, I met this hermana named Hermana Vasquez. When she and her companion Hermana Nielson practiced taught my companion and I, I could feel their strength, sincereness, and kindness towards us! They speak wonderful Spanish and smile so much! When the practice was over I found some interesting facts about Hermana Vasquez. She is from Guatemala, and before coming into the mission field she did not know ANY Spanish, none! She grew up in the mountains and spoke a Mayan dialect called, Mam. She never had been to school, did not know how to read or write at all. Before coming on her mission she received a special promise in her Patriarchal Blessing that she would learn ALL that she needed to quickly! WOW!!!! She has been in the field for only four months, and her progress is incredible! Wow!! She is and her companion are both HUGE examples to me now. Whenever you are tempted to complain, do not do it! Think about her, and the indescribable faith she has. I hope to achieve even a portion of what she has while I am here on my mission.
There are two progressive investigators that we have that are making a lot of progress! Their names are Edwin, Marlyn, and their ADORABLE baby Liliana. They have been coming to church every Sunday and all other necessary meetings. They are even preparing for baptism! However, right now in order for them to be baptized they first have to be married. There are lots of people here who have a couple kids or even a lot, and are not married. And so, they need not only a marriage license but also other important documents, which unfortunately require a lot of money, which they do not have. However, they keep demonstrating their faith and they are doing what they can to become members of this church! For example, on Sunday, Edwin went up to my district leader Elder Putt [not knowing he is a missionary] and told him he needed to come join his church. Elder Putt thought, oh no, he is asking me to come to his church, so he asks Edwin what church he belongs to. Then Edwin proceeds to say that his church is the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints. They are such incredible people, I hope I see them baptized while I am in this area!
I also got to experience asking someone to be baptized for the very first time! Our investigator is not ready, but I feel good that I had the opportunity to extend the invitation anyways. In our lessons my companion and I always start the lessons by singing a Hymn. That is something I know for sure that the people can feel, is the Spirit testify through the Spirit. My companion told me that our investigator Jean Carlos always loves it when we sing. It is incredible how much music is an influence. I have a song with me always, and every time I sing or hear one my heart swells and I feel this indescribable happiness. Thank you Mom and Dad for giving me a love and Huge appreciation for music! Both of you have such great taste and have led me in the ways of righteousness! I am forever grateful. Thank you for the music, it touches me always. I love you both immensely.
Alright, now for the interesting parts of the week....
Two times on Friday two men in passing looked at me strangely and said, Hey Babay! Blagh!! Ah! And yesterday while my companion and I were heading for an appointment, we ran into an elderly man that Hermana Fuentes has met before. When going to shake her hand he tried really hard to kiss her, but she kept persisting and saying, no, no! She has already explained why to him, but he needed another reminder.
Here in Nicaragua, it is just like Yap in a way. The women have no shame when it comes to nursing their children. They just whip their shirt up, while you are talking to them, and feed. The first time I saw it while we were with Edwin and Marlyn I did not know what to think or even where to look. So when we left I got up to go and shake hands and hug Marlyn, but she was nursing. I have never felt more uncomfortable ever, so I hope she wasnt.
Also here, when people get excited about something, they snap their fingers this certain way [I will figure it out before I leave!!!!], and when somebody wants something, they look at you and pucker their lips. Haha, I will do the snapping, but most likely not the puckering.
One night, in my first week here my companion got past our gate to head up the stairs into our apartment. I hadn’t turned on the light yet when going up the stairs, and I saw something HUGE sitting on one of the steps. I screamed and nearly had a heart attack!! My companion turned the light on and it was this gigantic frog, just sitting there looking at us. Hermana Fuentes said I should have kissed him. Hahaha, blagh, no!!
I love you all very very very very much!!!!! Ustedes es mi apoyo [All of you are my support]!!!! Thank you thank you!!! For everything!!!
Love, Hermana Stephenson