Monday, December 8, 2014

The Eternal Economy of Sacrifice

In this photo you will see me with some of my very best friends in the park of Puerto Cabezas after a Christmas activity in which we contacted families and invited them to understand and share (it's a beautiful three-minute video you can find here: We finished with singing Christmas hymns, and then took some pictures with our goofy hats. That's my companion next to me. She's become my very best friend, after these months together, in a way that surprised me. She went home to Guatemala today, and it's breaking my heart. The elder hiding in back is another dear friend, and he too just finished the mission and got on the plane for Guatemala as well. And next to them is an elder who just headed back to the Pacific coast, to Managua, to continue his mission there. It's hard, really hard, to say goodbye to these kinds of friends. I have cried so much. But it's okay, because of what I've learned here about how life and sacrifices work.

Sacrifice is about giving up one thing to have place, to make room for another, better gift. That is the economy of the eternities. And unlike earthly stocks and risks, the payout is always grand. We start this life as the natural man, somethign of very low trade value in the eternal realm, and we are shown the possible end result of this eternal journey: a life full of joy, similar to our Father in Heaven's. Hte way to get from natural man to a God is by changing int he small currency of carnal nature one day at a time through sacrifice, thorugh weighing in the balance and casting off our sins, our complacency and mediocrity, our lusts and selfishness to receive, in return, peace, liberty, joy, remission of sins, and eventually immortality and eternal progression, eternal life. That's where valiance in the testimony of Jesus Christ becomes a key in inheriting the Celestial Kingdom: because we have to believe it's possible, and worth it, and then live it, even though it's often very hard.

Sometimes we try to have it all, to juggle it all at once, all our interests, desires, hobbies, occupations, worries and pet sins. But we don't get the eternal gifts until we choose to sacrifice the good for the best.

That's why  my mantra has become "do hard things." Because the payout is always greater. Even when it looks like maybe it can't get any better than where I am, even when I believe there's nothing better than now, that eternal principle always pays out. That's how I got the blessing of going to Jerusalem - by doing something out of the ordinary and more difficult. That's how I chose to go to work at Philmont and became who I am, an unbreakable, indomitable mountain woman western girl. And that's why I followed the Lord's plan and came on a mission, even though I didn't fully understand why at the time, and now look at me. I am converted, my heart has been changed and sealed, I understand and live this gospel plan much more fully. I am a 5' 11" latina, and my heart is so, so much bigger than before, as the Lord has stretched it and grown it by filling it to bursting almost daily. 

That's why even though I'm sad about these changes, these transfers, about my best friend, sister and companion finishing her mission and going home, and bidding farewell to other now bosom, eternal friends, I'm going to be okay. Because I'm learning how this eternal economy works. The Lord doesn't take away somethign good to give us somethign inferior. He keeps giving us better and greater joys and opportunities, if we live obediently so that this is possible. The only time we get those inferior things is when we purchase them through our own foolish disobedience. But if we have faith and we obey, we can have hope that life will continue growing exponentially more beautiful. I know it because that principle has never failed in my own life. I dare you to trust it enough to try it, to sacrifice something of the natural man, or even something good, for something that is best. Give up one of your sins or bad habits to better know God. Make that your Christmas present to him. And I promise it will change your heart to make room for more joy.

Merry Christmas,
Hermana Ferrin

Monday, October 27, 2014

A week of miracles

This has been a week of miracles. On Tuesday, I was in divisions working with another missionary in another part of Puerto when I get a phone call from my companion. "Walleska's getting baptized right now! Come to the church!" There's a wonderful woman who comes to church every week, brings her Book of Mormon with her, and knows that this is the church where she feels the spirit the most, but she hasn't been baptized for fear of what her family will say. She almost asked to be baptized two Sundays ago after she saw a baptism she attended without us even inviting her, but she didn't after all, because she was afraid. But on Tuesday, my companion arrived and told her "there's a family that is going to be baptized this evening. Do you want to join them and be baptized as well?" And she said yes! She was so excited, and so happy. She's 8 months pregnant with twins, and knows that following the Lord will make her life for her children much happier. She also lost a little boy a week after he was born, and she loves what she's learning about how he'll always be a part of her family.

Then on Thursday we were visiting with her neighbor, a young woman who is a former investigator of my companion, one who never went to church while she was teaching her, but who has gone to church 2 times on her own. We were teaching her this week, but she hasn't wanted to accept a baptismal date because she's worried about what will happen when she goes back to the communities, where the church hasn't yet reached. But we had a lesson with her with a member friend, and in the middle of the lesson, the investigator told us, in Miskitu "I feel the Spirit telling me to be baptized. I accept." She was baptized on Saturday, and confirmed on Sunday with her friend and neighbor, Walleska. I didn't plan on either one of these baptisms. I was focusing on other families. But Christ's grace helps us when we've done all that we can do. I just love love love that.

Something that's been dawning more and more clearly this week is the eternal perspective of what we're doing here. Our life continues much, much further forward than what we normally see as human beings. I've been wondering a bit this week if I'm enlightened or just depressed, but I think it's a bit like Moses, "now that I know that man is nothing, which thing I had never before considered." But the transcendent part of that is that God still loves us, and we have a greater destiny ahead of us than we'll ever understand while in this mortal sphere. But that's okay, because GRACE. We're just asked to do the best we can while we're here, and then we'll have plenty of time afterward to do more, and Jesus Christ will make up the difference, if we've been able to partake of his Atonement more completely. The church exists because it's the university that prepares us for the rest of our eternal lives. If we just keep doing the things we're supposed to, and do it for love of our fellow men and Jesus Christ, we will slowly but surely become the eternal beings that God hopes we will be.

Gospel stuff is the only stuff that matters. Everything else that's important to us, school, friends, family, all of that has a place in the gospel as well. If not, it's not helping us progress, and not so worth our time. But it's good to put the explicit, pure gospel at the center of our focus.

And as for me? I'm happier than I've ever been in my mission. I'm in my dream zone, where I've wanted to be since before I entered the MTC (I heard the stories about Puerto Cabezas and said that's for me), learning a third language, super unified with my zone, and seeing a bunch of miracles. And being instructed by the spirit more than I've ever been before. And I have THE BEST companion ever. I think we'll be good friends for eternity, she and I. 

I will have a great week. And I hope you do, too!
Mai latwansa!
- Hermana Ferrin

Monday, September 22, 2014

Hermana "I'm Just Happy to Be Here" Ferrin

Well, this week has just been a dream-come-true. I have waited my whole mission to be in this zone, and I'm so glad and so grateful that I'm here. Here in Puerto Cabezas I feel like I'm living in a mix of The Princess and the Frog for the southern, coastal, african touch, Peter Pan for living in trees, and Home Alone for being a bunch of irresponsible young people doing amazing things that no one expects of them. I just love love love it here. It's like a mix of Hawaii and Africa and, of course, Nicaragua. Not to mention it's a small town, and thus I feel a little bit like I'm in rural Utah from time to time. I have waited so long for this!

Here's the short story:
Monday and Tuesday, I mostly rested to recover from the flu and my trip to Puerto. Tuesday we all gathered in the backyard of a branch president here who has a house on the beach, and had a bonfire where we shared testimonies and Puerto Cabezas mission experiences. That was amazing. We also had our first "Miskitu class" with the Miskitu elders who share our branch with us, as they helped me through my first baby steps in the Miskitu language. One of the most important phrases, which we use every preparation day, "man nani plum wantsma?," or "you guys want food?" Also obtained my pair of rubber boots, a hand-me-down from an Elder who finished his mission.

On Wednesday my companion was on divisions with our sister leader, and I went with her companion to get to know Rama Bilwi. We had a pretty cool experience as we met with a less active sister who asked us to interperet some pretty powerful dreams, in which she was told she had another chance to do things right for her family, and she chose to come back to church.

Thursday, we did zone interchanges, where our zone leaders made assignments and sent everyone out with new companions for the day. I was sent back to the same area, just with the other companion, my sister training leader, Hermana Pochop. The goals we set as a zone were to find two new families and put baptismal dates with two families, contact a BUNCH of people, and, almost as a joke at the end, to baptize one family. And to drink some soda. Well, this is Puerto, and miracles and crazy things happen every day. When we got back together on Friday to finish up the zone changes, we'd all drunk a lot of soda, we'd found a lot of new families, talked to a ton of people, and baptized 3 families. In one day. This is Puerto.

On Friday and Saturday, I finally started to get to know my area, which is all of the city of Puerto. I wish that you could see, that I could explain, what it is like teaching in houses on stilts, full of hammocks and without running water. It is like paradise. I just can't get over how beautiful it is, and how good and faithful the Miskitu people are. We are teaching some special families with baptismal dates, we are working with a bunch of members who speak Miskitu way better than us and can translate beautifully and testify powerfully. The zone is very unified, and often pass references to us of families that are not progressing well in the Spanish language, but who understand and commit to act while learning in Miskitu. The missionaries work closely together, closely with the members, and find prepared investigators. 

And on Sunday, well, Sunday was crazy. Never in my life would I have expected to be going to church in a meeting in a language that is neither Spanish nor English, which I don't understand at all, in a skirt and muddy rubber boots, traveling there in a rundown, refurbished, brightly painted, green-lighted school-bus, full-to-overflowing, with everyone piling out and pushing from behind to get it to restart every so often, as I pass through swamps and pass by houses on stilts in marshes, surrounded by black and brown skin, and listening to people say "meriki mairin yari," tall american woman. But it's funny how personal revelation can send us on new and blessed roads, and how inspired priesthood leaders and personal inspiration point us to doors that we didn't even see before, doors which, when opened, have completely new and beautiful views. And I just love when God confirms that my desires were good, by conceding them to me, such as this desire to be here which I've held on to for so long.

I will hopefly get photos out next week, but just trust that I am so, so, so dang happy here, loving this more than any other adventure, and that I'm just happy to be here.
I love you all, and I want you to know that there exists zero doubt whatsoever that this is true, that this is the work of God, and that the church that has the power and authority of Christ, and all His truth, is the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints.
Love love love,
Hermana Ferrin

Monday, September 15, 2014

AU AU AU!!!!

I had changes! I got up at 2:30 this morning to board a flight for PUERTO CABEZAS!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! When we took off, there was a rainbow in Managua, and when we landed, there was another one waiting for me here. I take that to be a good sign. Here I am now, and I LOVE IT ALREADY!!!! This place is amazing. A-MA-ZING. It's practically a whole other mission. Here the languages spoken are English Creole, Spanish, but more than that, Miskitu, a native language of the Atlantic Coast of Nicaragua. area will be the whole city, because I am one of the two companionships who teach exclusively in Miskitu, while everyone teaches in Spanish as well, possibly primarily. This zone is super unified, super buena onda, super pilas, and has a whole different culture. And practically, no one leaves the zone until they go home, since a missionary that has learned Miskitu (and we all learn at least a bit, even if we're not teaching exclusively in Miskitu like me) is quite valuable. 

Also, I will be the first white girl working in the Miskitu Branch. Booyeah. I may not be the first gringa missionary who got to Puerto, but I am the second, and I am the first to teach in only Miskitu!

My companion's name in Hermana Ochoa, she's from Guatemala, San Marcos, close to Mexico, and has as much time in Puerto as I have in the mission. Her first area was the same branch where I started in Esteli, just the other half, and she packed up and came to Puerto when I came to Esteli, and has been here ever since. She's just darling, and I'm going to love working with her. 

Other news...Here in Puerto, there are five branches and one...meeting...The meeting is a sacrament meeting and then Sunday School exclusively in Miskitu. That's mine. We only have 2 hours of church, because there's no 3rd hour of auxiliaries. We also have a bus to go pick people up for church on Sunday. WHAT!!!! I know, awesome, right??

More info on Puerto next week, after I've lived here a while!
Hermana Ferrin

Monday, September 8, 2014

5 am...

Other than the lack of sleep, this past week has been very good. On Monday (preparation day), I had to get up at 5 am to go practice for one of the musical numbers that we performed on Wednesday for the conference we had with Elder Alonso, a Seventy and member of the Area Presidency (one of the general church leaders, or rather, one of the leaders who has authority for a large portion of the world. "Seventy" is an office of the priesthood, one which has always been a part of the true church of Jesus Christ, during the time of Moses, the time of Christ, and today as well). Tuesday, I also woke up at 5, as a result of waking up at 5 the previous two days, and my body having accustomed itself to doing so. Thanks, body.

Wednesday we had our conference with Elder Alonso. As the "official" mission pianist, I had to show up at 6:30 to practice with the various groups that would be performing. Again, I got up at 5. It was a wonderful conference, though. It reaffirmed my testimony that this church is directed by men called of God, having authority. He taught us some wonderful things about boldly offering the blessings that one can only find in the true church of Jesus Christ, such as modern revelation, prophets, the priesthood authority to baptize, and to seal families for eternity. And the coolest part of all was when he pronounced a promise on us at the end, after talking about the difference that came to Peter before and after the atonement and ressurection of Christ, using the example of healing the lame man in the temple entrance, that if we were obedient, we too could "arise and walk," and do amazing things in our missions that we'd never imagined before. And so what did I do? I went out of the church building to take a city bus to go home, and decided to stand up in front and preach to the bus. That was a great way to face my fears, was definitely a first, and we got some good contacts out of it. Now I'm not afraid to talk to anyone.

We've seen a few miracles this week. William continues to be a miracle. He's a man who saw a ad online, decided he liked what he saw, contacted a member and told him he wanted to go to his church. He's been showing up to church on his own, and reading the Book of Mormon with a hunger, and has all the right questions. 

One of the best moments of this week was when we went to eat lunch with a less-active member we met the week before, Carlos Oscar, who invited us to eat "indio viejo" with him and his family. A member told us to look him up, when we met him the first time, and he and his wife told us they'd been baptized 12 years ago, but stopped attending because it was very, very far from their house. And he didn't think that the true church exists on this earth, but loved the Book of Mormon and knew it was true. The problem was that he had loaned someone his Book of Mormon 10 years ago, and they never returned it, and then moved away. He was trying so hard for that whole time to get his hands on another copy. I tried to explain to him how the fact that the Book of Mormon is true means that the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints is also true, but he didn't quite understand. So, I gifted him a Book of Mormon, and he was overcome with gratitude. I was touched, because I realized that at times I don't treat that book with such reverence. He then invited us to his house to eat with them the next week.

When we returned, he was recounting us all the wonderful things he'd found in the Book of Mormon. "Que cosas mas bellas, hermana!" He absolutely loves the fact that there are more prophets than the ones that appear in the Bible. We then invited him to General Conference, the Biannual conference where the modern-day prophets and apostles direct themselves to the whole church and world, and again, he was overcome. Absolutely speechless. He, so excited, said to his wife "why...let's go! Let's go! Did you hear that? It's not ever day that someone invites you to hear a prophet speak!" She's evangelical these days, but even she was excited about it. Not even my Uncle Loren, the person who loves conference the most on this world, I thought, can match Carlos in his excitement. He's inviting all his friends. I am so excited for him.

Yesterday we were a little disappointed when one of our families didn't come to church with us. After church I was walking around so discouraged and disappointed that I didn't want to talk to anyone, because I didn't feel happy enough to convey the joy of my message with them, when we saw a beautiful young family coming our way. I had an inner battle, asking if I should talk to them or no, not wanting to, but feeling that I should. We did introduce ourselves to them, explained a little of our message, they mentioned that they'd talked with Elders once before, but never had time to visit with them. As we explained about eternal families, they asked us when we could come visit with them. We set an appointment, and then invited them to accompany us to church on Sunday. The wife said "you know what? We will. Because of what happened this morning." Her husband had gotten into a terrible accident at almost 100 km per hour, totaled his car, ruined the other vehicles as well, but he escaped without a scratch. They knew it was a miracle, and were ready to show gratitude to God in the ways he asked. As they left, they told us "we visit a lot of churches, but the one we like best is the one you have, because those young men explained us such simple, basic truths in such a simple way. We're busy, but if we make an appointment and say we'll be there, we'll be there. We'll be expecting you!" 

This time, I was the overcome, speechless one. The Lord blesses us when we least expect it, and I am so excited to see blessings come to that adorable little family.

I love my Savior, I love his gospel, and I love you! Have a wonderful week!
Hermana Ferrin

Monday, August 18, 2014

Just another week in tropical and spiritual paradise

This week was perhaps not quite as exciting as the previous in terms of speldiforous miracles and noteworthy accomplishments. On Wednesday, the majority of our time was occupied by a multi-zone conference, a meeting with all of the missionaries in our half of the city of Managua and our mission president. We learned quite a bit about how to cast out doubts and worries and become fearless missionaries and disciples of Christ, as Paul was. 

This was centered on a talk by President Uchtdorf, delivered in the conference for new mission presidents and their wives this past summer, which explained the transformation that the apostles underwent thanks to the atonement and resurrection of Christ, comparing who they were beforehand with who they were after. This talk, combined with the wonderful video called Because of Him, has really helped me to understand that I hardly understand at all everything that is possible because of the atonement of Jesus Christ. But now I'm starting to learn, and starting to understand what I can do, through Him. 

On Thursday, I worked with Hermana Corzantes, my trainer, aka my first companion. We ended our time together in January, but have been working together in the same zone, or the same city, since February, and she has been asked to do divisions with the sister missionaries this change, since our Sister Training Leader in this part of Managua just broker her foot and isn't working quite as much as normal. This was both odd and good. It was good to see just how much the two of us have progressed since January, but it was odd to fall back into some of the same habits and routines. I suppose this just serves as a reminder that even changes aren't constant. We can grow and progress, but that progess is subjective to other outside variables as well...this mission has me convinced that I'll never truly understand the Lord's plans, and that trying too hard to read his mind just gives me a headache. I need to trust a little more in Ether 12:27, and understand that all I need to understand is my dependence on my Savior.

This week I've been realizing that since the beginning of 2012, the longest I've been in one geographic location was the 8 months I was home in Provo, from September of 2012 til May of 2013. Other than that, I've been in Jerusalem for a few months, Philmont for a few months, and Estelí, Nicaragua for a few months. Here in Managua, I'm completeing 6 months in one place and going for 7. How odd that the most "stability" I've found in the past couple of years is in a foreign country and foreign culture. How odd that I'm still in the same area after so much time. I'm still trying to figure out what the Lord has in store for me here, but, again, that usually just leads to headaches. I'm looking back and seeing all the miracles of the progression that my investigators and friends have made in coming closer to their Savior during my time here, and that's enough for me. 

I love you all, and I hope you have a wonderful week, and take the time to watch those videos.
Hermana Ferrin


Monday, August 11, 2014


So this week we had a few surprises. Obviously, the first being that I stayed here in La Fuente again. We didn't tell our bishop, and he assumed that Hermana Dominguez had left the area, and when I walked into his house the first day to introduce my new companion, Hermana Garcia, he looked like (and admitted that he felt like) he had just seen a ghost. Ha!  

Other surprise, Hermana Dominguez went to my first area in Esteli! She's going to meet everyone I loved there, and they're going to love her!

Tender mercy of the week, I lost my agenda on Saturday. A missionary's agenda is their brain. It has everything you need in it, and mine always has a whole big piece of my heart, with inspiring quotes and notes from my companions. I thought I might have lost it in a "rapidito," they're like shady-looking taxis that run a specific route in our part of Managua, but had no idea how to find that specific car again. But the next day as we were walking around picking up people for church, we just happened to walk into the same street as that same rapidito. He rolls down his window and calls "Hermana Ferrin?" (He doesn't know me. He just remembered that I was the only gringa he'd seen that weekend)


"Did you lose this?" And hands me my agenda. That was a million to one chance that I'd ever get that back, but I know it was a simple way that Heavenly Father had of showing me he was aware of me and loves me, even in silly, simple ways like that.

Next surprise: Last Sunday, my last day with Hermana Dominguez, we contacted a really cool family in the street named Wilfredo and Xiomara. We introduced ourselves and our message, and ended up joking and laughing with them. He mentioned that he'd learned from other LDS missionaries before, and that she'd talked with them a few times, but had never had a lesson with them. When we were writing down their information in order to go by and see them later, he told us his name was Denzel Washington. He starts laughing, and we start laughing, and he says "see? Now you won't forget about us!" That's now our joke with them. When we went to visit them the first time, and got to the part in our lesson where we take out the Book of Mormon and are about to introduce what it is, he says 

"I know what that is. It tells the story of the other part of the House of Israel who left Jerusalem during the time of Zedekiah and came to the Americas. It talks about Lehi and Nephi, and then later tells the story of when Christ came to visit the Americas after his resurrection. Moroni was the last one to write in it, right? I've been wanting to know how to get a copy of that book." 

I was flabbergasted and dumbstruck, and wasn't actually able to respond at that moment. Even though he'd talked with missionaries before, very few people in Nicaragua know that much about the Book of Mormon, and even if they read it, they don't understand for themselves always the connection between the covenant people of the Lord in the Bible and the covenant house of Israel in the Book of Mormon, in the Americas.

He continued: "But I really also want to find a copy of the Doctrine and Covenants. I've been hoping to learn more about the priesthood - that's called by the names of Melchizedek and Aaron, right? - and how that authority of God was restored to the earth in these times."

Again, all I could manage to say was "how do you know that?"

He said "wait here" and went into their room to retrieve a book to show me. That book was "Jesus the Christ," by an apostle of the Lord, James E. Talmage. With that book, everything clicked. Their names, having talked with missionaries before, that book. There was an entry in our area book - the record that stays in the specific proselyting area of the missionaries in order to help newcoming missionaries follow through on contacts and teaching done by previous missionaries - about this family, that they were really open to learning more and even had a copy of Jesus the Christ, but that the missionaries hadn't been able to get in touch with them at that time. I had seen their names in a list of various that needed follow up at the beginning of May, and felt urged by the Holy Ghost to look for that family, but their address (addresses are notoriously bad in Central America, especially in Nicaragua) did not help us find them, and we ran out of leads. Then three months later, we coincidentally run into them in the street. But that wasn't a coincidence at all. After talking with them more and seeing the hunger they have for the truth, I have no doubt that the four of us were guided together at this time so that they could receive the eternal blessings they so crave. 

I told them this, and I could see that they agree. And they are so willing to do all that they learn to do. 

We brought a special family to church on Sunday. They have been so excited to talk with us. They were visited by missionaries not too long ago, but never learned about the Book of Mormon, which really is something key and something special when it comes to strengthening our testimonies of Christ and learning the truth of the restoration of the gospel. They've been so excited to read in the Book of Mormon, and to teach their kids about it, too. And we've been working with the family that our mission president taught and baptized in our ward, and this week they came to church not just with a white shirt and tie, but with the Preach My Gospel that the mission president had gifted to the husband.

Biggest surprise: this week, we went to see a family that we were teaching as they returned to activity in the church, who has a 12-year-old daughter who is not a member. She has been learning with the family, but has been afraid and reluctant to be baptized. We backed off so she wouldn't feel so pressured, and began focusing a bit more on other families we were teaching, but stopped by this week to see them and to teach a lesson on how to receive and understand answers to our prayers. Before we even started the lesson, we asked her if she remembered the question we'd invited her to ask in her prayers.


"What was it?"

"If I should be baptized."

"And how have you felt?"

She nods

"That you should be baptized?"

She nods again, shyly.

"Excellent. We're so happy for you, and we know this step will make you even happier, especially as you receive the Gift of the Holy Ghost. Would you like to be baptized on Saturday?"

She nods again, and her parents smile.

So, we had a baptism on Saturday (pictures to follow next week). She and her family are so great, and they have so many huge blessings waiting. I just love them. I just love being here. This is all about learning to see the beloved children that we all are to our Heavenly Father, and treating everyone as such, and helping them understand how to live in the way that will make Him, and them, the happiest. I'm so glad I get to be a part of it.

I love you all!
Hermana Ferrin

Monday, June 30, 2014

Coming up on 9 months...

Isabela, 3 years old, standing. Adriana, 4 years old, sitting. Isabela's family are church members. Adriana's family are friends of Isabela's and are investigating the church.

​These two little girls picked armfuls of blossoms from a flowering tree outside their house, running back and forth to give them to me. At the end, they told me I looked like a hada, or la hada de los niños, according to my companion. In english, that would be a "fairy" or the "fairy of the children." What can I say, I'm a representative of Jesus Christ? Of course kids love us. For me, that is one of the most special things about the mission, being an ordained representative of Jesus Christ and being able to glimpse, more than normal, the love that He has for every one of us. And people can feel that, if they're sensitive to the Spirit of God. Children more so than anyone else.

This week I've seen so many answers to prayer, from the lesson plans we used to animate the local church leadership to set high goals and work with us, to the people the Lord led us to talk to and teach, to the things I learned in my scripture study in the mornings that were exactly what I needed to know for that day or needed to strengthen me. 

The last week we had changes. The elders left the ward, leaving just Hermana Dominguez and me here to work the two areas. We're excited about the new challenge. This place is so special, and I'm thankful that my Heavenly Father entrusted me with his children here. 

The gospel is true, Christ lives, the Book of Mormon and Bible testify of him, and every day I am so grateful that I can participate in His work, in His Kingdom, in His church. 

I love you all so much!

Hermana Ferrin

Monday, May 19, 2014


My companion/greenie/daughter, Hermana Dominguez, and I with President and Hermana Collado on the day the new missionaries arrived. We put paint on our hands and then make hand prints on a banner that says "Somos las manos de Cristo," our mission theme. 

I just spent my first week as a trainer. I believe I mentioned in my last email that I would be receiving a new missionary and take a new role as a trainer. Monday night we had a training session, just the future trainers, with President Collado and other mission leaders. It was a spiritual treat, getting to sit down in a boardroom with one of the chosen stewards of God's kingdom in Central America and talk about how to build our testimonies and how to become the kind of people that God needs in his kingdom here and in all our lives. 

We had Pizza Hut for dinner and adjourned to the Sister Training Leaders' house, where we hung out, all the new trainers together, and then Tuesday morning we were given hours to study the materials we'd be using with our new companions. Boy was that a treat, just hours to study without having to focus on all the people who were worrying about us, or we were worrying about, or who were relying on us. I got a lot of personal inspiration there.

Tuesday afternoon we headed up to the President's house, where one by one, dramatically, we were introduced to our companions, and our companions were introduced to the mission theme and to just what it is to be in the best mission in the world. We had a few hours together as a group, discovered that there's an Elder who laughs weirder than I do (that'll be interesting in meetings), and then headed home to work.

And this week has been great. My companion and I just hit it off. We get along so great, even though I'm having to adapt to a Honduran accent after 7 months of Guatemalan companions, and she's having to adapt to the crazy, clumsy, goofy gringa who is way too tall and jokes too much and loves too many people. We have had so much fun, and we'll keep having a ton of fun out here. The members already love here, and we've already found so many special people, including a woman who accompanied us to church on Sunday and got so excited that she's bringing her whole family, sons, daughter-in-law, and grandkids, next week. And as I'm having to train someone else, and take off my own training wheels, I'm learning to conquer more fears and find more joy. The Lord really does direct this work, and knows exactly what he's doing.

I love my mission, my companion, my Savior, and you.
Hermana Ferrin

Monday, May 12, 2014

Mothers' Day and Big News

"Life doesn't come with a manual, it comes with a mother."

I want to begin by saying that I understand so much better during this time in the mission just how important family is. Being away from my family, being immersed in a culture rife with different family traditions, and teaching how families can be united for eternity thanks to the authority and mercy of the Lord, my testimony of families grows every day. As children of God, the importance of family, community, and love is grand, and all this starts with a mother. And honestly, there is no better mother around than mine. I say that unapologetically. I'm trying every day to learn to be a little more like her, as loving, as intelligent, as faithful, as strong as her. My family is one of my greatest blessings, and the joy and love we have in my family comes from the love and joy we have in the restored gospel of Jesus Christ, and for that reason, I am here to help other families learn to have that same joy. 

I know I've been a little silent on the blog for the last few weeks, and that's largely due to my sickness and preparation days spent in the hospital, but these last few weeks in Managua have been great. I've been learning to conquer my fears, learning to love strangers, learning to laugh at myself, and learning to be patient with myself in the same way the Lord is patient with me. 

And speaking of mothers, I now have the opportunity to become a "mother" here in the mission. Yes, friends, it's time for changes in the mission, again, and my companion, Hermana Argueta, is leaving the area and going to another part of Managua, and I will be receiving a brand new missionary as my companion. She's never been in the mission before, and thus, I am her "mother." I will teach her to walk like a missionary (quickly), eat like a missionary (gratefully and politely), sleep (always with fans, thanks to the mosquitos), talk like a missionary (with everyone, with love), and how to make friends, how to trust, how to smile, and how to find joy. I am so excited for this trust, and a little overwhelmed, but, as with everything else I've learned in the mission, I know that I can do it if I trust in the Lord. With him, everything is possible.

I love you all, and God loves you a whole lot more than I do,
Hermana Ferrin

Monday, May 5, 2014

5 de Mayo, 7 months, and a baptism

On Friday, I completed 7 months in the mission. On Saturday, we had an awesome baptism in the La Fuente ward. The Elders baptized a young man they had been teaching, and we were able to see one of our investigators, Hermana Luz, be baptized. Her sister is a member in another city, and her daughter is a less-active member who has been returning to church little by little as she's met with us and seen the example of her mother. Hermana Luz was so excited and so happy to see the changes coming into her life as she experiences the blessings of the gospel. That's why I'm here! To see those changes in my own life, and to help others make those changes as well.
Hermana Ferrin

Monday, April 28, 2014

Fever + Hottest week of the year = Miracles

Short pday writing time got cut short due to a trip to the distribution center and technical difficulties as I tried to watch 17 Miracles.

Suffice it to say that I got rather sick this week, and as such, did not work like I would have liked to. But what we did do was so special, as we made sacrifices to serve our friends who needed us, and it's being paid off in blessings in our lives and in their lives as well. More updates to come in this next week, and hopefully some pictures as well, most especially of the baptism of my special friend, Hermana Luz. She is a dear, dear sister who just started visiting the church here in Managua a couple of weeks ago, after having become acquainted with it years ago thanks to her sister, a member in another city. She is so special and so sincere and has such faith and such great desire to follow her Savior, and I am so excited to see her take this first step and continue a life full of faith and devotion to Christ.

I just want to share with you that I know that any sacrifice we make to follow the Lord Jesus Christ more fully and more perfectly turns is so eternally worth it. It turns out to be no sacrifice at all, as he blesses us with more than we ever could have expected. And this time spent testifying of Christ and His restored gospel is some of the best time I'll have in my life.

Hermana Ferrin

Monday, April 21, 2014


Today's update will be rather short, folks. Sorry. But I want to take a moment to share my testimony of the Savior. 2 years ago this last week, I was coming home from Jerusalem, where I learned in a very real way that Christ lived, that he minstered, and that he died and was resurrected to bring to pass the immortality and eternal life of man, to give us a chance to live again in his presence and find joy in this life. 

I'm learning here, in Nicaragua, in a very real way, that He lives. He is the Only Begotten of the Father, and that through Him, we are begotten sons and daughters unto God. I have realized just how true it is that there is a real Christ, and that this is really his church, and that all the covenants we make in the temple and at baptism teach us more about him, and that really, there is nothing better in this world than following him and getting to know just how amazing and marvelous he is. Christ lives, and life doesn't get better than that. I would give up everything I have, more than I've already done to be here, to know him and follow him, and I am amazed at the love he gives me, and I invite each one of you to focus more on Christ this week, to learn just a bit more of what he did for you, for me, and for every one of us, even for the ones who reject and scorn him.
Hermana Ferrin

Monday, April 7, 2014

General Conference Weekend! (Learning to love it as much as my Uncle Loren)

This week was pretty interesting, being the first of the new change. Monday started with some tears as ward members and Hermana Argueta and I bid farewell to our district leader and fellow La Fuente missionary, Elder Howard. It has been cool sharing La Fuente with another gringo for 6 weeks, and he'd been here in this ward for almost 5 months. It's a pretty special place, and it was pretty hard for him to go. 

Wednesday was darn interesting. We had planned our day pretty tight, as usual, and in the middle of a lesson I get three phone calls (after ignoring the first two) from the Zone Leader (the missionary responsible for all the missionaries in his area) of Puerto Cabezas, the zone way the heck in the boonies of the atlantic coast. He had to get ahold of me so that Hermana Ramirez, the Sister Training Leader (the sister missionary who works with all the sisters in her zone/geographic area), who had flown in to Managua in preparation for the leaders meeting the next day, could come work with Hermana Argueta and me for the evening. That was pretty cool. I was "born" (started my mission) in the same zone that Hermana Ramirez was working in. She was one of my favorite people, and it was great to get to see her again. With her, we went looking for an address in one of the sketchier parts of my area, and had to cross the "bridge of the dead" three times. It's a bridge with more than half the slats missing. All the Nicas were laughing at us trying to jump across in skirts and missionary shoes. Zooming around in a taxi to drop her off after our appointments that night, I was struck once again with how different this is, what an adventure it is, and how much I love it.

On Thursday we went out to work with a recent convert who was baptized 6 months ago with her whole family. They're preparing to go to the temple in September to be sealed as an eternal family. I am so excited for them. They are super, super awesome. Her husband is the Elder's Quorum president - the leader of the quorum of men who hold and exercise the priesthood, the authority of God, which is given to every worthy male in Christ's church, and she is the seminary teacher, the scripture study course for the youth of the congregation. 

Friday we had some pretty miraculous finding experiences. We went to a number of members and asked them to take us in that very minute to visit some of their friends, to invite them to general conference. And the husband of our lunch cita (the sister who makes us lunch every day) took us to one of his neighbors, who was really excited to go. And that evening, we visited with the friends of another member, a sister who is not a member but who studies the Book of Mormon and the magazines of the church, and they are such a special family. 

Saturday was General Conference, and lucky us, we went to every session. In the morning we went alone, and my prayers were answered with the very first talk: Elder Holland's, where he talked about the great priviledge it is to represent Jesus Christ and have his name. That is even more real as a missionary, as a person set apart to represent the Savior and to wear his name on our chests every day. This is such a grand opportunity, even in the times when it's hard. In those times, we learn how to come closest to the Savior, as we live a little bit more like what he experienced than in any other point of our existence. And I have such a strong testimony that answers and vital inspiration are given during conference sessions, and that was a slightly overwhelming moment of answered prayers, as at the very start of the conference I got an answer to prayer in such a way. And every single hymn in that session was just for me, and music gets me more than anything else. 

I remember nothing of the afternoon session, unfortunately, as I wrangled 3 children so that their mother, our investigator, Claudia, who we've been teaching for a month now, and who loves the church, could pay attention. I love kids, but this time I was a little sad to miss part of conference. That night I rode a bus across Managua to do divisions with our Sister Training Leaders, came back, and threw fire. We found 2 new families, and one of them accepted the invitation to be baptized, and then came to conference. Miracles, man!

Sunday was special, as even here in Nicaragua, the general conference was like a holiday. People were talking with friends, taking photos with family, and hugging everyone in sight after the morning session ended. And I had a really special experience when, as the Mormon Tabernacle Choir started singing "A Child's Prayer," my good friend Estefen, the 10-year-old brother of one of my piano students, and the son of one of our most pilas members, who was sitting next to me and playing tic-tac-toe with me, started singing the words in Spanish, all by himself. Oh, these people are so special, and I'm so lucky to be here with them.

This morning, we took cupcakes to the husband of our food cita, since today was his birthday, and I just happened to find "magic relighting candles" in the supermarket filled with American imports the last pday, and, naturally, I used those on his cupcakes. No one knew, not even my companion, because it was labled in English. His family could not get enough of those candles. They laughed and laughed and laughed. I got video. It's pretty great. 

I love you, I love these people, I love this work, and I love my Savior.
So much love,
Hermana Ferrin

Monday, March 31, 2014

Everyday Life in Nicaragua & 6 Months as a Missionary

Nicaragua is such a weird place, and I'm really learning to love it. Managua is such a weird mix of third-world poverty and high-techness. People who sleep with their whole family in one bed walk around in Hollister shirts and talk on Blackberries. People use magnetic cards to ride surprisingly clean city busses to their work in rudimentary factories. 

I've gotten used to the need to bathe twice a day due to sweat, buying bags of sliced green mangoes topped with salt and vinegar in the street, having t-rex syndrome and mosquito-bite scars due to the amount we walk and my apparenty more desireable blood. Don't worry, I do still laugh at taking pictures with people whose heads don't even reach my shoulders (everyone here) and cramming myself into a "mototaxi" or "japonese" (you'll have to google those, I don't have any pictures, sorry, but they're so worth seeing). 

I can almost eavesdrop on Spanish now. I still love walking the streets and hearing a mix of bachata and Justin Beiber, watching taxis almost run into busses, being given fresco, delicious, juicy, ripe mangoes, or soda at every house I visit, learning to love a city, and learning to love the Lord and the temple.

I'm getting used to, but still loving, that no matter where I go, children want to follow me, watch me play piano, sit in my lap, wear my nametag, hear me speak English, or just hold my hand. That is one of the most special ways to be a representative of Christ, and, like him, I've never sent a kid away.

Half of my bishop, his 3-year-old son Samuelito, his wife Nadieska, and me eating dinner and sharing pictures at his house, like we do every Thursday night. She was a boxer before she had Sam. 

On Wednesday I'm going to complete 6 months as a missionary, as a representative of Jesus Christ, called to such a responsibility by a living prophet. And boy have these 6 months as a full-time builder of the kingdom been some of the greatest moments of growth and change in my whole life. 

At this point, more than ever, I have desires to follow my Savior, to let him take and seal my heart his. As I come every day to understand his atonement and his life a little better, I have more and more love for him, and more and more desire to do his will. And as I continue to study his life through the scriptures and as I continue to try to emulate his life through my daily actions, I come to know him more and more and have greater desires to stay on the path he's outlined to return to live with him and our Heavenly Father.

I've learned a whole lot of patience, and I've learned how to be a better teacher. I've learned Spanish...of course. I've learned to be oh so grateful for every little thing that I have at home and in the first world. I've learned to be that grateful for the things I have here, the people who've stolen my heart, the testimonies and the light in the eyes of English-speaking missionaries, Nicaraguan members, and latina sisters alike. I've learned to conquer fears of failure, fears of talking to people, fears of public speaking (in English and Spanish), fears of what others might think of me, and I've learned to focus on what the Lord thinks of me. That is just about the only thing that really matters at this point.

I'm still trying to learn to become the person that the Lord and I both want me to be, but if I've gotten that far at this point, I can't wait to see what comes in another year.

I love you all lots and lots! Cuidense!

Hermana Ferrin

Monday, March 24, 2014

The Best Week in Nicaragua

This week, I basically relaxed and did what I could, and tried to do a little better every day, but didn't worry about doing everything perfectly all at once, and look where it got me: a lot happier!

On Thursday, I did companion exchanges again, this time with one of the sister training leaders over the whole mission. This means that for a day, I was working with her instead of my companion, while my companion went to work with the other companion in her area in another part of Managua. It's an opportunity to learn from other more experienced missionaries. These sister training leaders in particular don't usually do those divisions with sisters like us, who aren't leaders, but I think they thought I needed a little extra help. I was afraid that she was coming because we hadn't been doing a good enough job, too, and so I was super anxious Wednesday night and Thursday morning

But in our companionship planning session at the beginning of our companion exchanges when I was with Sister Cruz, she told me that the Lord was very pleased with what I'd been doing so far, and that line upon line I'd keep learning and doing more, but to not stress too much. She saw over the course of that day that I stress way too much, and told me to stop stressing like that. And when I told her that I didn't feel like I'd made a whole lot of progress in the last 2 months since I was last on exchanges with her companion, she told me that I obviously had or I wouldn't be where I am right now, working in this part of Managua with such a new companion. She was an answer to prayers right there.

On Sunday, we brought 5 visitors to church, and found that a super pilas (awesome) member family has started coming back to church. They are my favorite people in this ward, and it was great to see them living more and more faithful. So church was great, and then we watched Legacy, the movie about the pioneers made in the 90's, at lunch with our lunch cita, visited a less active sister, and hung out talking to her and her twin sister, who is fully active, for hours, before going to our dinner cita, their half sister. And then today we just relaxed and played ultimate with the zone.  A good time was had by all.

And today, while in the ciber cafe, the owner was talking with us, and mentioned that she'd seen lots of missionaries in her time here, but that none of them had ever talked with her, so she'd assumed they were rather exclusive. Yet another reason for me to get over my fear of taking to people.

And if I needed other reasons to know that my president is inspired of God and the best person we could have here at this time, he changed the policy put in place by he previous mission president, that missionaries could only attend conference if they brought an investigator, and now requires that every missionary attend every session of General Conference, though preferably with an investigator. Thank goodness. I am so excited for General Conference. It's my favorite. I hope you all do something fun and enjoy it a lot, but most importantly, listen to the words and voices of living prophets. 
Hermana Ferrin

Distrito La Fuentorce (La Fuente/La Katorce), aka Distrito Gringo

This is my district with our Zona Villa Flor shirts in the stake center (church building with offices for stake leaders, church leaders who oversee various congregations) in Villa Flor. My district leader is the gringo, and I'm sitting at the feet of my two Sister Training Leaders for our zone. Yep, they're in my district. And they're the bomb. 
On the right is my comp, the only sister who doesn't speak English, but I love her to death. On the left is Hermana Teichert, granddaughter of, that's right, Minerva Teichert, the boss. 

Please notice that Elder Howard and I like to be different. I am sporting the "We All Made It" Philmont shirt. Of course. As well as a sunburn from playing ultimate in Managua in March. Bad idea, but oh such a good idea.

Monday, March 17, 2014

Fwd: Happy St. Patrick's Day!

My time is rather limited. We had an adventure today with the bus system and trying to find a Payless Shoe Store that was open so that my companion could buy some new shoes to work in. Ironically, Payless is the most expensive source for shoes in this country. But we waited about 30 minutes for a bus that didn't come, so we finally gave up and took a taxi to try to find a ciber cafe, and of course they were all full, because we were in a hurry. So today my post will be a little shorter than normal. 

I'll start with something I told my mission president this week:
Mi meta para este semana es no ser tan preocupada por cosas pequeñas, en una manera que no veo las cosas más importante mientras pasan. He aprendido mucho de las ejemplas de Maria y Marta este semana. Temo que como misionera, he sido mucho como Marta, y estoy perdiendo lo mejor parte. Estoy trabajando tanto para el Señor que pierdo la oportunidad de escuchar su voz y seguirlo en la manera mejor, la manera que él espera para mi, y lo cual traerá lo más felicidad y la mayor oportunidad de cambiar y llegar a ser como Cristo. 

Translated, that says: my goal for this week is to not be too worried about small things, in such a way that I don't see the most important things as they happen. I've learned a lot from the examples of Mary and Martha this week. I fear that as a missionary, I've been a lot like Martha, and I'm losing the best part. I'm working so hard for the Lord that I lose the opportunity to hear his voice and follow him in the best way, the way he hopes I will, and which will bring me the most happiness and the greatest opportunity to change and become like Christ.

In other news, Sunday was stake conference, and we got to listen to a broadcast with Elder Oaks and Elder Scott, two apostles of the Lord, Elder James B. Martino, part of the presidency of the 70 responsible for central america, and Sister Bonnie L. Oscarson, the General President of the Young Women of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints. Just one thing I learned from that conference was that quite often we feel overwhelmed or beaten down by what happens in this world, and often, it is only through the Spirit of God that we can regain our perspective and see the good that we are doing and that is happening in the world. That is why it is so important to go to church every Sunday: to take the sacrament so that we can renew our covenants and hence our ability to hear the Spirit and respond in good ways to the things He teaches us.

Other good news, at the end of this month, a pair of senior missionaries are moving into our ward. They've been on a mission for basically 10 months, and I am so excited to have their help. They are bosses.

Also, I ate delicious cake for probably the first time in Nicaragua at the birthday party of the 1-year-old of our lunch cita on Sunday. I think people should keep having birthdays and inviting us. This is a good Sunday tradition. I like it.

Love from Nicaragua,
Hermana Ferrin

Monday, March 10, 2014

Most Embarassing Moment of the Mission:

So this week was rather interesting. I'm going to start with my story from today that made my companion die of laughter. Today being Preparation Day, we were running some errands, including an appointment that she had at the hospital, which has a pharmacy with a bunch of American stuff, such as St. Ives and Goody hair clips and accessories. I was browsing to see what I wanted to get (since this is pretty much one of the only places in Nicaragua to find this stuff) while my companion was at the counter behind me filling her prescription. A younger, beareded man walks up and starts to make conversation, which is not uncommon, because people here are friendly. He then asks me if I speak English, and we begin to speak in English, which is not uncommon either, since the few people here who do know English always want to practice with the white people they run into. He asked me if I worked for a church, and I explained that I am a missionary for the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints. He said "I like Jesus too. I'm catholic. Old school." I laughed and was going to invite him to visit our meetings when he had to leave, and said goobye and walked out of the pharmacy. 

My companion and I stayed inside for a while longer, paid, and then left to sit on a bench to wait for a taxi. Turns out he was still outside waiting, and comes over to join us, saying "I'm bored over there, I want to come talk to you guys." I welcomed him over, hoping for a chance to invite him to church, since he was the one who had started the conversation about religion. He begins to talk to me in English, and then asks  if my companion speaks English. I tell him no, so he asks me, in Spanish, how my Spanish is, and we begin to talk in Spanish, me using the more respectful usted pronoun like we're supposed to as missionaries. He tells me, in English, to use vos, because he's not that old, and jokingly tells me to smell his hair, which "smells like baby oil," while sticking his head in my face and patting my knee. I freeze and probably made some awful face. He can tell I'm uncomfortable at this point, so he slides over to the other end of the bench. While I try to explain that as missionaries we always use usted, he starts asking me if I'm planning to be a nun. Startled, I say no, and as I try to explain more, he says. "Oh, that's good," then pauses, and adds "I'm spoken for, but I still think you're beautiful." My companion is so confused as to why I look terrorized, as he won't switch back to speaking Spanish, but she can't help but laugh at my faces. He then gets up to leave, as his ride had come, and goes to bid us farewell with a kiss on the cheek, which is the norm here, but not what we do with males as sister missionaries, before I had a chance to react. It was probably the most awkward moment of my mission, and my companion died with laughter before he even got in the car. I died with laughter after he was out of sight. Sistermissionaryproblems.

This week has seen a lot of Plan C implemented, as people are never in their houses and we're lousy at finding addresses here of the people we contact in the street. Nicaraguaproblems. We got a chance to go visiting teaching in divisions with the Relief Society after church on Sunday, and I felt right at home. We went to a birthday party of one of our abuelo Recent Converts, and they were playing evangelical ranchera music, the Duo Zelaya from Honduras, and it made me think of Dad, and laugh quite a bit. 

I also got a package this week from a lovely Phil-girl full of the best trailfood, including jerky and tuna, which are definitely worth more than their weight in gold here. That was a trunky moment, for sure, but one of the best. I called my zone leader while giving him my numbers, and bragged a little, as he'd gone to Philmont, too, and loved it. So I practiced a little taunting. Other such Phil-packages are welcomed, and thanks, Seylina, for digging into your swap-box stash for lil' ol' me. 

One of the best moments of this week was visiting one of our investigators to read the Book of Mormon with her, and her becoming fast friends with the member we took. At one point, she said in a very thoughtful voice, after we read 3 Nephi 11 with her, that she'd listened to Jehovah's Witnesses, Catholics, Evangelicals, but none of them knew that Christ visited America. That's something so important to understand the character of the resurrected Lord, and I'm so excited that she's beginning to learn about it. Her name's Claudia, and she has 3 awesome, goofy kids, and one devoted husband, and they are the best.

Time's short, but I love you all, I wish you the best, and more to come next week.
Hermana Ferrin

Monday, March 3, 2014

Fwd: 5 months!

I just completed 5 months yesterday! So guess what? It really is only about a year until I'll be seeing you guys again. Not that I'm counting time. Okay, maybe a little bit. But I'm starting to really love being in this area, and love the people here.

So, just to clarify, I am not training Hermana Argueta. She finished her training, which is the first 12 weeks of the mission, right before she came to Villa Flor with me. In mission speak, I'm her "step-mom," which is used to refer both to a second trainer, if you get taken away from your first trainer ("mom") before the three months are up, and also to your second companion that you have after finishing your training. Hermana Ayala was my step-mom, and then I turned around and became a step-mom myself! No pressure. 

As for this week, let's hit the highlights: 
Wednesday I did exchanges with Sister Kendall, my Sister Training Leader, in my zone. She is adorable. It was her blog that I was reading to learn about this mission before I came out here. She is one of my favorite people ever, and she was my Sister Training Leader 2 changes ago when they were assigned Villa Flor and Estelí together. And we threw fire together. :) It was great. And now I'm just trying to figure out how to do so well without her around, but the Lord is qualifying me, little by little.

Thursday we had correlation and dinner with our Bishop, and I am so excited to be working with the leaders in this ward. They really support the work, and I love the excitement that they have for us and for fellowshipping new investigators.

Friday was a multi-zone conference, the first one I've had since my first week here, but it was full of amazing, inspired direction from President Collado. He talked quite a bit about how our purpose and focus is not to baptize, but rather to establish the church here in Nicaragua, which we will do as we help people to become converted and prepared for baptism, and as we work with the members. And boy do I love the members here. We talked a lot about what members can do to join in the missionary work and missionary force, and boy do I have a testimony of the importance of and joy that comes when we share the gospel. And it can be so easy. I'm really excited to still be involved in this work, even after I go home, 

Saturday we had a couple of great lessons, one with an investigator named Claudia. She and her kids are so special, and she came to church with us on Sunday. She is testimony to me that the Spirit can work with people in spite of the weaknesses of the servants, because I certainly didn't teach her very well. But she felt the spirit anyway. 

Sunday we saw a miracle. I've been a little worried about using my time to teach and prepare this piano class, since this mission is all about getting out on the street, finding, and teaching. But I've been told that serving the ward in the way the bishop wants always brings blessings. On Sunday, we walk into church, and the Bishop comes up to us and tells us that one of the young women in the ward, whom I'd thought was a member, has decided she wants to get baptized on Saturday. She's been coming to church for months with her member aunt and cousins (one of whom is in my piano class), and I'd never taught her before. But now she has a baptismal date and we're going to help make sure she's prepared this week, and have a baptism on Saturday! I might be using my time in new ways, but the work is still progressing. It goes in the Lord's time-table, regardless of what we do. But if we're worthy, he can use us to do the work, and it's a blessing to see the work progress, and to be a part of it.

We also got to teach the Young Women's class last minute, because no one from the Young Women's presidency showed up. I'm always praying that mutual and seminary can be good experiences here, because I'm learning here, where they practically never have mutual, and seminary is taught only a couple times a week, that those opportunities are precious, and it's so vital to get our focus on the temple, and to get there. And to be worthy to keep going back. That's what we talked about with them: the temple. Why we should want to be ready to go there, and how prepare ourselves to make those promises with God that we make there. And I loved reciting the Young Women's theme in Spanish! These girls are so special. :)

And today, we went to visit a big market, called Wembiss, with our lunch cita. She offered to show us around the place so that we wouldn't get ripped-off, as foreigners, and so we went today. Not until afterward did we find out that's not actually in our zone...oops. We'll be getting permission to go back there. But it was super cool! It looked just like the streets of Old Jerusalem and the marketplace in Istanbul. Oh, how I love markets. And there are a lot of little reminders that being here in Nicaragua is my chance to serve the same kind of people I loved in Jerusalem. Boy am I grateful for that.

Also, yes, there was an earthquake in Managua and in Nicaragua on Saturday night/Sunday morning, and I am very sorry to report that I slept through it entirely. I have a vague "dream" that the bunkbed was moving back and forth like a swing, which was not normal, but I was dead to the world. It was the huge wind and the dogs barking afterward that woke me up, but I decided nothing was seriously wrong and went back to sleep. Nothing fell off of tables or walls, there was no evidence in the morning, it was decidedly unexciting for a 6-point-something tremor. Ah well.

Well, now I've run out of time, but I'll write more next week! Love you all, and hope to be getting emails from some of you...
Hermana Ferrin

Monday, February 24, 2014


For those of you who were asking, my address does not change now that I'm in Managua. All mail goes to the mission office, and is then distributed to me at the beginning of every month. So keep those letters and baked goods coming, please! Those go a long way to fill the tank of tired missionaries. :) You can find my address in the sidebar.

How to Reopen an Area

This week, I've been trying to take the counsel in my setting apart blessing: "Do not take counsel from your fears. Do not let your fears guide you." That is something so hard for me. I think Satan knows just what he needs to do to use fear to incapacitate me. And I give in all too often instead of fighting. But if instead I can go and do the work of Jesus Christ with faith and joy, then things will be better for me, things will be better for my companion, and things will be better for my investigators and for my ward. 

As for my new area, I live in the middle of Managua. Well, in a barrio of Managua. Managua is huge. I do not really enjoy this feeling of being trapped in the suburbs. I do, however, enjoy that every night a different member feeds us dinner. What a change from Estelí! I'm hoping to avoid gaining weight in spite of all the food, (I had some sister missionaries I ran into today tell me that it looks like I've gotten skinner in my 4 months here. Let's hope I can keep that up, and that it's not only the work of a parasite...) but most importantly, I'm excited for this opportunity to become an even more integral part of this ward, and to work with and love the members even more than in my last area (if that's possible). 

Here in Barrio La Fuente (the name of both the ward, and the neighborhood where I live. Feel free to look that up on the map), we meet in a house-turned-meetinghouse rather than in one of the pretty, fachenta chapels that populate most of Managua. But our bishop is awesome, and we eat dinner with him every Thursday night after correlation. His wife is a boxer. No joke. She's pretty tough, and I think we're going to be friends. Our bishop asked my mission president for permission to have my companion and I receive visiting teaching assignments as companions of other sisters in the Relief Society, and President Collado said yes. Pretty cool, no? He also asked for permission to have me teach a piano class to a few children of his choosing every Saturday, so that eventually there will be someone in that ward to play piano after I leave. He didn't ask me about any of this, but I'm excited to do it, although I really have no clue about the vocab for music teaching in Spanish. This week's class was a little rough, but was fun, and the kids are dolls.

We share the ward with two elders, one of whom was in my area before me. We moved into a house that the elders had vacated for us, and the stories they tell about elders' houses are so true. We're still cleaning. But it's an awesome place to live. The house isn't much to look at, it's a few rooms that we rent from a woman who has rented to elders for years and years and years, but there are gardens everywhere in the patio, and outside, and a beautiful dalmatian named Donkey who just loves me, and I like to sit outside at night while my comp is washing her clothes in the pila, and pet Donkey and look at the stars and feel like I'm in Arizona. 

Another side note, the members here are super psyched to have sisters. It's been 20 years since the last time sisters worked in this ward, and supposedly they've been asking for sisters to come for a long time. And it will be cool to share the ward with Elders, so that we can work with our individual strengths to bless the ward in unique ways. 

Just one story for this week, on Saturday night we went to visit one of the recent converts, a cool kid named Roberto who is 13 years old and is the son of members who live in a different house and attend a different ward. He is super funny, but doesn't have a lot of self-confidence. I hope we'll help him with that, too. But we walked up to his house that night (which is on the main road) and he came running out to us yelling something about a snake. I thought he was joking about how his family had cooked up a snake for us to eat dinner, or to sell in their fritanga (that's italicized because you have to google it), but no. There was a huge, dead snake on the sidewalk in front of his neighbors house. We go look at it, asking each other if it's dead, daring each other to touch it, wishing we had our cameras, and wondering where the heck it came from. Everyone who walks by reacted as if it were Candid Camera, all nonchalant, then suddenly "oh my gosh whatintheworld that's a huge snake, no wait it's dead, no maybe not...", like the one kid jogging by with his dog who double-taked, almost tripped, then came back to watch and throw a rock at it. Then the Elders happened by (since it was the highway) and they did have their camera and were about to take a picture when a strange, tatooed man crossed the street, picked up the snake without a word, and walked away. Nicaragua.

We spent a lot of this week completely lost, contacting all day to get new investigators, and not knowing exactly how to get back to where we started from. And I'm not so sure how to be in charge. It's hard out here, but it's not impossible. I'm just going to have fun, remember who I'm serving, and testify with love and boldness. That's the way the witnesses of Christ have always worked, and that's the way I'm going to have to work, too. And things are always better when I change my desires for the better. That's one thing the mission is going to be teaching me for a long time: what my desires should be, and how to make them that way. The Lord needs my heart, for some reason, and He needs it now, and so He's using this mission to seal it. And sometimes that hurts, but it is always better to do things His way. He is always right, He is going to win, and we can join in that fight with him, or we can be left on our own. Who's stronger? Where's it safer? I know where I want to be.

Also, guess where my companion, Hermana Argueta, is from? Yep...Guatemala. Huehuetenango, to be exact.

Oh! One last thing. I don't know if I've written much before about Celia, but she was an investigator of mine in Estelí. I had a couple lessons with her and brought her to church for the first time in February "on my own," while on exchanges with my friend and fellow gringa Hermana Howell. But Celia is so special, and has two little girls who are just adorable, and from that first day, she hasn't missed church since, and stays for all three hours every time (highly unusual), and wants so badly for her family to have all the blessings of the gospel, but her husband hasn't listened much. It broke my heart to have to leave her and her girls behind. She even gave Hermana Ayala and me stuffed animals for Valentine's Day, because she has such great "cariño" for us, as she put it. Well, Hermana Ayala just wrote me to tell me that Celia and her husband have a baptismal date for March 9, and that he's come to church now, too. Miracles can happen. I am so excited for her, for their family. I'm learning to love this people a lot.

Enjoy FHE tonight, all, and remember DyC 6:33-36. Fear not to do good, and look unto Christ for strength in every moment.

Hermana Ferrin

Monday, February 17, 2014


Tomorrow at 5 am I get on a bus and leave Esteli for Managua. They're sending me out of this pretty little city in the mountains to the great, big capital city. I'll be the senior companion of Hermana Arguetta, someone who just finished her training, and we're reopening an area. That means there were Elders in that area before us, and neither of us know the ward nor the area. We'll be relying entirely on the ward leaders and the area book to know what we're doing out there. I'm terrified. But hey, my mission theme is probably going to be conquering fears, or something like that. I'm confiding in the Lord, and trusting in his grace to qualify the chosen, since He doesn't just choose the qualified.

My focus this past week has been a scripture in the Doctrine and Covenants (a collection of modern revelation given to the prophet Joseph Smith and other prophets) 6:36, "Look unto me in every thought; doubt not, fear not." It's a lot like Proverbs 3:5-6, another favorite. There are a whole darn lot of things to be afraid of here in the mission, and it's hard to get your mind around it until you're out here. But I'm hanging on to that promise, that if we can focus our beings on faith, we can cast out fear, and I'm doing that a little at a time as I look to Christ in all my thoughts.

I'm also leaving behind my companion, Hermana Ayala. That'll be rough, since I've really come to love her and have fun with her, and she's dying in this next transfer (going home), so I won't get much of a chance to see her in her last 6 weeks. I was really hoping to kill her (be her last companion). I'm also leaving behind my "playmate," Hermana Aparicio, who was born in the same house, same branch, same zone as me. We've been together since we started our missions here, and we've done countless divisions together, and now I'm leaving her behind.

BUT...I'm excited for all I'm going to find in Managua, and trusting in the Lord to deliver better than even what He's given me before.

Love you all!
Hermana Ferrin

Monday, February 10, 2014

Fwd: I'm a Humanities Person

This week has been interesting. I've been thinking a lot about something that Sister Rudy once wrote me, that the thing about being a humanities person, someone who studies in that field, is that you come to understand paradox and ambiguity. Or rather than understand, you come to be familiar with it. That you can wrap your mind, even if not your heart, around the fact that while you're learning and growing and loving one place, you long to be in another as well. And that's the story of my life in Nicaragua, eh? Every day I love this place and these people more, the members, the investigators, my companion, and even the general Nicaraguan populace. But I also want to be able to hug my family, joke with my friends, go to the temple, hike in the mountains, and, well, dance. But I'm learning to handle that paradox, and I get a little better every day at remembering to value the short time I have right now. When else am I going to live a mission or live in Nicaragua again (unless I'm on the run from Interpol. Joking, of course)? There are times when I would rather be anywhere else than here as I watch people I care about lose blessings as they choose not to choose the right, and then there are times when I don't think I could be happier, as sometimes those very same people choose to follow their Lord and receive witnesses of the Spirit and blessings in their families, and as I see my own testimony and talents grow and change and improve. How's that for paradox?

Tuesday I spent the day in a trio with Hermana Howell – from Draper, UT – and Hermana Zepeda, la mexicana, in Ciudad Darío. I love Darío. I don’t know if I mentioned that earlier. This was my second time visiting the place, and I love it. It reminds me of Panguitch, and it smells nice (unlike most of Nicaragua), and the houses are pretty and not all stuck together, and even though their branch is tiny, it has some real special members. But, the bad news is, Sister Howell and I had to get up at three on Tuesday morning to go meet up with Hermana Ayala and Hermana Zepeda and swap Hermana Ayala out to the sisters from Matagalpa. That was not fun. We went back to the house in Darío and caught up on sleep, then prepped and went out to work. Highlights: We got to teach a little boy to help his family prepare for his baptism, taught seminary, and went to a birthday party for a member who just turned 16. They had fried chicken and cake, and we hung out with them until we had to go home, and walked home under the stars, laughing and joking all the way. I love those two sisters.

On Thursday I saw a miracle as an older gentleman who loves to joke and argue with us was stunned into grateful silence when we presented him with a Book of Mormon and accepted a baptismal date as a result. I learn more and more every day, and gain a greater testimony every day, that the Book of Mormon is the word of God, and brings us closer to Jesus Christ than anything else in this imperfect world can. I love that book, and I love the Savior of whom it testifies.

Friday I went on exchanges in the other half of our branch with Hermana Aparicio, my “playmate” who shares the same cumple-mes as me. We’re still together in Estelí, and it was really fun to spend the night in her house. They live with members in a really fachenta (ritzy) house. With HOT WATER in the shower!!!! And it’s funny how what’s fachenta here is barely livable in the eyes of most U.S. citizens. But hey, I’ve adjusted. Also, I worked at a place called Philmont. So, there’s that.


On Saturday we spent most of the day getting ready for the baptism of Rosa, the 8-year-old daughter of the man we baptized a week ago. She is precious, and loves her family and her Savior so much. She can’t read, but she’s learned all the worlds to “I Am a Child of God”, aka “Soy un Hijo de Dios,” and “Families Can Be Together Forever,” and always wants to sing those when we have lessons with their family, so we sang them both in the baptismal service. There were a few challenges, such as having to fill the font with a hose because the one person with a key to the water system was 3 hours outside of the city, and not having a lot of the members who were going to come because they were all in a training meeting for the District. But we pulled everything together, and it was so beautiful to see one of my favorite members, a recent convert named Blanca, give her testimony at the beginning of the baptismal service and say “I know that there are a lot of people out there trying to convince you you’re making a mistake, but this is the true church of Jesus Christ, and no one can change that. You’re making the best decision of your life.” As she said that, the mother of Rosa, who has been less active and has had a lot of opposition from her family in coming back to church, visibly relaxed as she heard and understood the message of Hermana Blanca’s testimony. Rosa was so excited for her baptism, and entered the font without any fear. After her, Hermano Hector, an investigator of Hermana Aparicio’s and Hermana Joachin’s was baptized, and it was so cool to have the family of Rosa share that with him.

Later that evening, the Elders in the other branch baptized a family, a mother, father, and two of their children. Their five-year-old son, who just got to watch, was so excited and thought that everything was just the coolest. The Elders bought a cake for the family, and as we were serving it afterward, I took another plate of cake over to the little boy, and he turns and looks at me with wonder and says “more cake!!?!” I think it might have been the best day of his short life. In fact, I’m sure it was.

Rosa and her parents before her baptism. Sometimes Nicaraguenses don't remember to smile...

As they confirmed Rosa on Sunday, I remembered my own baptism and confirmation, now 15 years ago. That was one of the best days of my life, as I was surrounded by my family and friends and the love of my Savior. I knew then, and know so much better now, that this church, the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, is the church of Christ. In the U.S., in Nicaragua, in Africa, in Jerusalem, in Russia, in Korea, in Brazil, no matter what country or what language, the church of Jesus Christ can be found there, and it is just as true in Afrikaans as it is in Spanish or English. We are all the children of God, and we all have the opportunity to receive salvation and eternal life through the atonement of Jesus Christ, thanks to saving ordinances of the priesthood of God. He’s given us more of His word in the gift of the Book of Mormon, and we can read of plain and precious truths there that we may miss otherwise. We have a living prophet, living apostles, and the Savior at the head of this church. How amazing is that?! When I think about it in that way, I want to go out and tell the whole world. And lucky me, that’s what I’m doing.

Hey y’all, the church is true. And boy do I love it. Even more than I love Philmont. And that’s a lot.


Hermana Ferrin

P.S. Happy Arizona Statehood Day on Friday!!

Monday, February 3, 2014

4th Cumple-mes!

Thought of the week: I'm realizing this week that asking God "why?" doesn't actually help at all. He isn't going to answer those desperate prayers of "why," or rather, we can't hear His answers when we're despairing like that. He'll answer us, but it will take a lot of time, and we usually have to discover those answers over time. I still wonder a lot about why I have to be here, in certain situations, and why my heart has to break as much as it does. But I'm finding those answers. First of all, I think that one of the things I have to offer as a missionary is that I do love a lot, and easily, but the more love in a heart, the more it will hurt for the people it loves, and that's part of why it breaks so much. And it's easier for God to work on a broken heart than on any other, and if He has to compell my heart to be broken in order to save me and seal me His, that's what He'll do, so long as I'm willing. 

And I have a lot of things to learn while I'm here. Quite often I wish I didn't have to be here for quite so long, or rather, that I didn't have to be away from you all for quite so long. But I have some new things to learn to love while I'm here: once again, my Savior, His church, His Spirit, and His children. I'm learning to realign my priorities, or rather, I need to realign, and I'm still learning to do it. It's probably a good thing that I still have 14 months to become all I can while I'm here.

This week I had my first baptism - the husband of a part-member, less-active family. We hadn't visited that family for my whole mission, but the wife ran into us on the street one day and asked us to come visit, and we came, and without knowing any of her situation nor why she wanted us there, we put a baptismal date with her husband. Others had tried to teach him before, without success, because he couldn't stop drinking. But when we showed up, independent of our efforts, he had stopped drinking three months before, and was trying to repair the damage he had done to his family. He was ready, and we helped prepare him, and it's amazing to see the changes that are coming into his life and his family thanks to the gospel of Jesus Christ. What an amazing power this gospel has when we choose to let it into our lives. 

This weekend we did exchanges, and I stayed in my area with Hermana Howell, a sister from Draper. We had a ton of fun telling stories, rapping in English in the house, and making jokes and sharing memories about BYU. And it wasn't quite as horrible as earlier, being on divisions and in charge of my area. But it's still really hard. I'm waiting for this to get easier, but as many people have told me, it doesn't get easier. I just get stronger. Well, I sure hope I can get stronger sometime soon. Funny side note, speaking of strength, the missionary health book tells us to lift bottles of water in lieu of weights, since we can't exactly carry those around through changes and such. 

I also, for the first time without Hermana Ayala, brought an investigator to church with us. She stayed for all three hours, which is highly unusual, and brought her two little girls, and she loved it, and wants to come back next week, and wants to come to any activity we have before then. And it's when there are little miracles like that, or big miracles, rather, that I remember that this isn't my work, that everything gets done through grace and not through my ability, and that I am privileged to get to watch the Lord do his work, just like Dad says. 

Hermana Ferrin

P.S. I completed 4 months yesterday. Woohoo!!