Tuesday, October 29, 2013

Top to bottom: Attack of the ants (white things are eggs), a typical bathroom and shower (not ours), wash day by hand, a typical kitchen, cleaning day

ants, contacts and insights

So we have changed our place for lunch. We now eat with family arriaza. Super good food! And more comfortable. We eat lunch with her family and kids, so it is a lot more fun and comfortable.  They have someone who works for them half day and cooks lunch, so that might be why also. Haha.
We found out that our investigator Ana,  lives with her boyfriend. We ended putting a baptism date with him too now. They are super poor. They don’t ever have water. Sometimes no food. They bathe at a house across the street. Sunday her husband couldn’t go to church because he didn’t have any clean clothes.
I drew a picture of Pinnochio this week. Wow!! I think my drawing skills have improved haha. The gifts you receive while on your mission. Haha. I am going to give it to Karla, who always gives me drawings.
I was a little sick this week…but that didn’t stop me from working. I always feel guilty if I don’t work.
It was amazing…the four of us missionaries made it a goal to read alma 26 and then talk about what we learned. I have read this chapter many times before. In fact the scripture on my plaque is from this chapter…but wow…my mind was taken away this time. I learned so much. I wrote about 2 pages of notes from it. One thing I will share. In verses  17-20…before he had been trying to destroy the church, and he says he cant believe the lord is merciful and loving to him. You look now and he has blessings, and success. I feel like this at times. Maybe I am not trying to destroy the church, but there are days when maybe I don’t work as hard, or have a bad attitude. And yet there are days where the lord is still super loving and shows his mercy towards me. I receive many blessings.
We had interviews with president Russell, our mission president. He asked about goals, and we put some goals to accomplish each day with lessons and contacts. He asked if I was studying Spanish in the mornings. I admitted no. This change I haven´t. I don’t know…we are always doing something, or our companion study goes longer. He asked about my obedience. It was good.
One day we woke up early to wash our clothes. Only we couldn’t find the keys. So we started cleaning the house. Well, haha, hermana santos opens up a drawer that we have never touched. She opens it, and slams it closed. She then opens the other and yells ´ormigas!´ Which means ants. She takes the drawer and puts it on the floor and it was like a bomb! They go everywhere! I yell, ´no mi cama!!!´ my bed!!! We grab the brooms and start brushing them. We grab the drawers and take them outside. It was terrible. They were tons of eggs too. I wanted the cabinet out of the house, but we ended up moving it into the other room. We took paper and lit the paper on fire to kill the ants. Now they are all gone, but man…in the end..the keys were on hermana santos´desk…I don’t know how…because we looked there. Haha. 
This same day we were walking at about 6:30 pm and some guys walk by and one says ´buenas noche señorita´and brushes my arm. It was the weirdest feeling ever. Let me just say, when a stranger touches you, and you don’t want to be touched, it feels weird. Well, always when one thing like this happens, it happens more than once in one day. We were buying bread at a corner of a street. A guy on a bike rode up to the curb and so I started to move so he could buy some. He goes, ´don’t worry gringa, I’m not going to rob you. If I wanted to rob you…´he nods and looks at my backpack. I  kinda laugh and say, ´yo sé´. I know. He goes to shake my hand and my thought was, well I am going to contact him. But then he says, ´mucho gusto Hermosa´ and so we just left. It means like pleased to meet you beautiful. 
This week I also read Alma 46 about the title of liberty. I realized wow you could apply this in many ways. In verse 12 is what they fought for. The reason they were fighting. In verse 36 Moroni put it up EVERYWHERE as a reminder. My first thought was, why resist temptation? Why do we say no? Why are we fighting against satan? So I made my own banner for why I am resisting temptation. Then I was thinking this is why our leaders always say to have the word implanted in your heart. So when temptation comes you can say no. Like they planted the titled of liberty. I then thought of why I am here fighting past the hard days to serve a mission. Then I thought this would be great to do with people who accept a baptism date. Why do they want to be baptized and then plant the paper in their house.
My convert valeria told us something interesting. She is a counselor in primary. Well the president told her that she doesn’t want her as her counselor and other stuff. Valeria was heartbroken and her boyfriend also was upset. The bishop talked to her though and told her he is the ONLY one who can release her. She explained to me that for this same person, is the reason another lady doesn’t go to church. It breaks my heart that people are so  judgemental.
We visited fransisco. We are trying to solve his divorce before I go. He is going to sell his bike for 1000 and hermana santos and I are going to pay for 1000. He is going to pay for the other 1000. He told me before I leave he wants a photo to put up  in his house. Also he said, ´hermana chase you cant baptize right…because you don’t have the priesthood.´I told him no I couldn’t. but it was sweet to think that if I did, he would probably ask me.
This week our goal  was to contact 100 people…on Sunday alone we contacted 77 people and met our goal by 1 more. Haha
We also dropped some investigators so we are looking for new ones which is a bit hard…
Lastly…I read a talk ´his grace is sufficient ´by brad Wilcox. He compared the grace of Christ to a child learning to play piano. For example if the mom pays the teacher, she can ask her child for something cuz she paid the debt in full. What does she ask? That her child practices. However, the childs practice does not repay the debt, but shows his appreciation. Its how the child takes advantage of this opportunity his mom gave him to have the best life. The moms joy is found in seeing her child using this gift and improving. Sometimes the child might feel like its too hard, that it will take forever to get it right. But when the child hits  a wrong note, we don’t say he is not worthy to keep practicing. Only that he keeps trying. Perfection is the ultimate goal, but be content with the progress in the right direction. ´there should never be just two options: perfection or giving up.´
´grace is our constant energy source. It is not the light at the end of the tunnel but the light that moves us through the tunnel.´
´Except  in the case of His only perfect Begotten son, imperfect people are all God has ever had to work with. That must be terribly frustrating to Him, but he deals with it. So should we…so  be patient and kind and forgiving.´-elder Jeffery r Holland
I love you all!!! Thank you for all your prayers and letters!
 Hermana Chase

Tuesday, October 15, 2013

Scary experience where we knew we were protected

Buenas! hehehe
Okay family and friends,
So we found someone to divorce F who can do it in one week...but it costs 3000 cordobas. Which is about 120 dollars. Or someone who can do it in about 1-2 months for 1800 cordobas. Depending on how much fransisco can pay, our district might pay some. But what we are going to do first, is check to see if la concha has a record of his marriage. I guess an investigator in another area had this happen. where they didn´t have a record of his marriage so he didn´t need to get divorced. haha. So we will see what happens.

So one day we didn’t have water or light. And  the same day pretty much all of our appointments fell through. We went with our ward mission leader to visit one of our less active families. When we were walking I saw a man... well, peeing. Well, I just saw his back. After, our mission leader asked if I saw who it was. I said no. He said it was the member we were going to visit and he was drunk. I knew he had a problem with drinking, but when I was with hermana Puyol he had stopped and was going to church and everything. That was the first time I had actually seen him drunk. It was sad. I love that family. He is super nice, and when he isn´t drunk he reads the scriptures. It was weird and sad to see him drunk. He was calling me baby and stuff. I haven´t seen him since. We need to visit them again.

Hermana  Hassel had a reference for us. So we went to teach him. Ivan. He is about our age. She wanted us to put a baptism date in the first lesson because she said he is prepared. So we did. This same day we were walking through the park and we ran into FERNANDO!!!! He explained to us that he was sad that hermana flores is gone, but happy that she is with her family. He said he had been in Managua. What happened was his friend was abusing his girlfriend (not fernandos) and so he stepped in to stop it, and went to jail. I don´t know what is true or not, but we found him and is back here in la concha. We told him to come to church Sunday but he said he didn´t feel ready. I explained that often times when we feel alone or troubled is when we need the gospel most. So we put an appointment to meet with him after church but he never showed up…

Our less active member V…her sister is super sick and in the hospital. Basically they are waiting for her to die. She is throwing up blood, cant eat, and I guess they are going to try to put a tube in her throat…like smokers. Super sad. And she is family of the bishop and fransisco…pretty much the whole ward so they are always looking out for each other.

I helped shuck corn..,.I think that is what it is called. When you peel the corn off the stick thing. Haha. Wow. I got blisters from it!
 I´m serious. But a fun first and last experience haha!

Our lesson with M. Her thinking is she wants to go to church for months before she considers baptism…but she hasn’t been to church yet. She always says…well it depends on if I wake up and feel like going. The sad and and funny thing is that she lives IN FRONT of the church. Like a 30 second walk.

So one night we we were walking to our house and there was no light in the street. Well only at the end of the street. We were using our flashlight. Hermana Santos started to say, you know what…´but then stopped. What she was going to say was…today I felt like I didn´t have the spirit with me. (keep this in mind). There apparently had been been further back some men and so she turned to see if they were still there and saw a man walking behind us walking slowly and quietly. So we quickly walked faster and waited for the elders at a house with light. I tell you, hermana Santos may have felt like she didn’t have the spirit with her, but I know that she did. We waited for awhile and decided to walk to our house again. We got all the way to our gate, and felt bad and quickly walked away and decided to wait for the elders. When the elders arrived they walked us to our house and we checked the house. The problem was our house didn’t have light. The power was out. So that made it worse. But thanks to a Father in heaven who loves us and watches our for his servants, we were fine.

Sunday the investigators we went for didn’t come. But the elders had a referecnce for us that came to church on her own!  Awesome huh? In the morning we went for Ivan. But like I said he didn´t come. We waited, because he said he was going to shower and them come, but didn´t. Then that night we ran into S in the street and talked with him. We were planning on visiting them right now, but he told us that his ´wife´moved out and is living with her mom. That for the moment he doesn´t want to fix things. Then we saw his ´wife´so we talked to her. She told us that well there were problems and things that she can´t forgive. She knows that they should talk, but she wants to talk and not yell. Anyway we gave her our number again in case they need anything. I don’t know how we are going to visit them now. Or if we ever will. But I can tell you that hermana Santos and I walked away crying and we ended up sitting in front of the church for a bit. It just breaks my heart that this family is falling apart. And I dont know, maybe for the situation and the problems, its better. But I have known them since april and I have come to love them. I want the best for them. And now that they are separated I don’t know if they will go to church.

Sometimes I feel like I can´t help these people. And in this case, maybe I cant. I never knew a mission would be this hard. There are definitely hard times and good times. But I am grateful for the opportunity to know these people. It is just hard sometimes. Sometimes I feel like I am not guided by the spirit. The wife gave an example of a lesson we gave that was exactly what was happening in their family, and well It was the idea of hermana flores not me. But, I really do wish the best for this family. I am truly understanding that every person is a child of God and is special. I am grateful for this opportunity to be here serving.

Hermana chase

´our destiny is not determined by the number of times we stumble but by the number of times we stand up, dust ourselves off, and stride forward.´
- president dieter f uchtdorf

Monday, October 7, 2013

new companion!

First off all,
sorry but this time I don´t have pictures. Well I do, but a member has my camera. 
So transfers...did I leave or did I stay...drum roll please....atcually, let me tell you what happened. We were walking in the street when we got the call. Hermana flores answered. I could tell from what she said that I was staying in La concha. Stupid me started to cry. haha. But...it´s okay- Our last day together hermana flores got her nails and hair done, and I ended up switching a pair of earrings with her, and gave her a shirt to wear to the last transfers. We just visited members that day. I was only happy about one thing that day..both the elders were staying in la concha also. haha. 

The day of transfers the elders came over and we burned one of hermana flores`skirts! this is what i have a pic of. We talked a bit, and I ended up giving her some money to buy recuerdos. This time the mission didn´t put money on her card at all and her own card didn´t work. So I wasn`t able to go to the transfers...which is dumb. I wanted to hear her give her last testimony and everything. Instead, Hermana pivoral came to la concha because her companion is leaving also. So hermana pivoral and I spent the morning together. We were in the grocery store when hermana flores called us to tell us who are companions were. Hermana pivoral has hermana featherstone who came with me from the ccm and so we are in the same district!!! And my comp is....HERMANA SANTOS!!! who is from el salvador and came with  me from the ccm also!!! So in our district there are 4 of us who came together! Hermana santos just turned 19 in feb and is from el salvador. This is her second area so she had the same amount of time in her first area as me, except now i have more. The first day she told me that if i am still here it is because someone needs me and we are going to find them. We haven`t even had a full week yet but she has helped me so much!!! I am so glad to be her companion. 

Our first companion study together was amazing. Personal. and I learned so much. She said so many positive things to me. I compared D&C 30 and 31 to me and she told me for example that many times we ask for miracles and don`t realize that we have a ton. That while this area might be hard, we will find those people chosen. That beforehand God prepared people for me. Great huh? 

We are contacting more, and for example we taught martha lesson 2, and I realized I was speaking more spanish than usual. And more to their needs. 

So we decided with the elders to cook breakfast. So we cook them breakfast one week and then they will cook for us. its working okay...a little hard if you ask me. haha. but now i am eating breakfast. before it was always bread or oats. 

We have a new District leader, elder arce from costa rica. and he is super good. nice, funny, but wants a lot of success for us. He wants us to focus on our investigators that are progressing this month. 

So we are contacting more and we have found some new people. I can just feel that we are going to have success here with hermana santos! 

oh also hermana santos in her house washes clothes by hand so she showed me how..so now i am washing my clothes by hand. we hang the clothes outside and our garments inside the house. (used to have a member wash them, but wasn’t working so well)

So conference...really good. the first day there was only about 15 of us there. that day hermana santos and I talked a lot. from saturday conference I liked that ballard said if we have love and hope that God will open our mouth. and also that if we have faith we can do what ever thing the Lord desires. and that he will give us many opportunities to share the gospel. 

I shared with hermana santos about how in my blessing in the ccm it said that there would be blessings in my home when i returned and i said how sometimes its hard being here teaching people and helpìng people when i cant help my own two siblings that are inactive. She told me that me being here will help me. because when i get home i will know HOW to help them. And if i had never gone on a mission i might not be able to help them. interesting huh? 

We also met with fransisco again and talked about his divorce. he ended up telling us the whole story from when we found him. He said that beforehand they didnt have a place to sleep. And one day when his family was out buying things, he said now I have work, a house but something still feels empty. He knew it was God. So he  said the first church to come to him he would go and check it out. well hermana puyol and i that same day stopped by house...we had just decided to contact his house. he asked who sent us..we didnt know at the time but he is family of the bishop. We told him nobody sent us. Anyway he went on to tell the whole story and I almost cried. The story was beautiful. I know what happened after because the missionary was me. It makes me sad that some people dont have much. But I also thought...maybe the reason why I am still here in this area is because fransisco needs me. Maybe with hermana santos we can work extra hard for his divorce. 

For conference sunday we called mauricio to see if he could go. he said no. so we ended up going for another investigator but they couldn`t go. We saw that the door to mauricio`s house was open, and even though he said no, we decided to go anyway. we go and he is sitting there watching tv. We ask if he can go to church with us..its at 10 for conference instead of 9 and we told him we could wait. We waited and he changed and he actually came! for the first time!!! crazy good huh?! Also, fransisco went, and a reference of a member. 

from sunday conference...
`our decisions determine our destiny`-russell m nelson
`the decisions that we make have eternal consequences.`-bonnie l oscarson

then today, lunes...hermana santos and I went to jinotepe with some missionaries to practice singing for a choir. apparently we are singing for an activity on the 19....haha. then wow...i felt terrible...I thought it was cramps from my period, but then I was like oh freak I need the bathroom! well there aren`t really bathrooms anywhere. Luckily we were at the park and we look and there are bathrooms. We quickly go over and of course you have to pay to use it. 4 cordobas. wow...close one. I felt so terrible. As I walk out there are the elders! haha. so for the moment I felt better so we went to eat. I couldnt eat it all because then i felt bad again. We ended up rushing home and left the elders and wow. super feo! i took pepto bismo and now i still feel kinda icky, but I was okay enough to leave the house.

overall. while i may be in the same area, i am grateful to be with hermana santos. 

oh and hermana flores wrote me and told me all is good and hope all is good with me. 

other random thought...i realized that a theme for conference was to endure. endure through trials, make good decisions. And wow its true. We are facing difficult times right now. More than ever we need to stay strong and firm. 

 I love you all so much! I know this gospel is true without a doubt. That it can change lives. That Christ is the only person that always knows how we feel. That loves us. I hope with all my heart that you are all praying. And reading the scriptures. More than ever we need to be doing these small and simple things. If you feel too tired, that is satan`s way of trying to get you to fall away..to weaken your spirit. Don`t give in! 

I love you!! have a great week!

Tuesday, October 1, 2013

spiders, drunks and a message of hope

Hola todo!
Well tomorrow we find out if I get transferred or not. I am hoping yes. But president told us that if we have for example 4 months in one area, to not get to excited and think we will be transferred. He wants us to be an area for 6-8 months. Which means I could have 2-3 areas in all of my mission! 2 or 3…I have about 6 months here in this area so I could be here for another transfer or two. But I am acting as if I am leaving and taking pictures with people haha.
So this week. I broke my camera Wednesday. I accidentally had the camera on and opened up the part with the battery. So it turned off with out retracting the lens. So it would let me view pictures but not take any. We took it to the internet café and the guy said he could call his friend to fix it. He went to hand me back my camera to wait for the guy and it fell. HARD to the floor. I almost cried.  I thought what more could happen. But when I picked it up, the lens retracted and now it works wonderfully. People always say you need to smack things to make them work, and it´s true. Haha.
We also made Nicaragua tacos. It’s like taquitos. Corn tortillas filled with chicken, and topped with lettuce, tomatoes and salsa. Super good! And super super easy!
I printed off the plan of salvation-it´s in pieces. We used it to teach Sinara and had her put it in order afterwards. It worked great.
We also made arroz con leche twice this week with members. Its just rice, milk, sugar and cinnamon! Super super good! I love it!
One day it rained and we used our umbrellas. When we got to fransciscos house, hermana flores said she felt like there was an ant in her shirt. Sure enough there were baby spiders in her hair, on her back….eew. It was from her umbrella. This Is why I also put my umbrella on the doorknob and not on the floor haha. Then we forgot about the spiders and switched umbrellas with elder Garcia and he ended up getting some on him! Haha
Friday was our zone meeting. I got a bday package from Vanessa from japan! Chopsticks, and beautiful drawings from her kids. I got a letter from grandpa alatorre, brother king, and my bishop. We also had the interview for sinara. She did not pass. Basically her fear is that when her boyfriend returns in December  from costa rica that she will stop going to church. So she wants to wait until he gets back, get married and then baptized…

We taught Julia and wilton and their family about the book of mormon. They are super positive. I took pics with them. I love their kids.
The elders had a baptism Saturday which was nice. Then we had an activity after but we ended up leaving before it was over. 

Santiago finally came on Sunday for 2 hours! The only thing is we couldn’t sit with him in class . But he came with his wife!!!
Sunday we went to teach an investigator. Well his brother was home…drunk. When we entered the house he tried to kiss hermana flores, but she told him no she couldn’t. Then he wanted to sit in on the lesson which,  okay, was fine.  We sang a song and then he was talking about trials and pulled down his pants to show us a scar…and then he was going to leave to eat and tried to kiss hermana flores again. The rooms are separated with a thin curtain so we can see everything…so what happened is he left but then decided to come back. our investigator tried to keep him out, anyway he started to get violent, so we yelled ´we will pass by another day´and left. Hermana flores said that our investigator came out to look for us after we left. Then that night we were walking home from bishops house and there were many drunks. One guy in a taxi told us to get in so we wouldn’t get wet because it was going to rain. We told him no..and he kept saying ya. Finally he left. Hermana flores said it was the same guy from this morning and yesterday who called after me…
Anyway, a good and sour week. Santiago came to church, had some interesting experiences. I will miss my companion. Her service is done and she is going home. I learned a lot from her. And I am grateful for all the experiences I have here in my mission. It is helping me become a better person. I have learned that we have trials for a reason. And each trial helps us to become better. Also that Christ is always there for us. And when we feel like we cant go on, it is in this exact moment when he takes the burdens off our shoulders.
I love you all!
Hermana chase
oh ps...my legs look better but I think the infection is higher.