Well folks, my new companion's name is Hermana Ayala. She is from the city of Guatemala City, and is "dying" in three months. We have cumple-meses within one day of each other, mine the 2, hers the 3. She'll be going home one year minus one day before me, April 3. We are going to have a lot of fun together and get a lot of good stuff accomplished. I'm a little intimidated by her. She was just "released" from her assignment as Sister Training Leader of the whole mission to come and be the Sister Training Leader of our zone in Estelí, and my companion. But hey, I'll rise to this challenge, and water will rise to its own level, and other idiomatic expressions and what not.
Adventures from this week: meeting her and Hermana Joachin, who came to replace Hermana Merrill, on Tuesday, and having our first day of work together as real companions. We now have two sisters with 3 months, Hermana Aparicio and me (she was living with us when we both came to Esteli as our first area), and two with 15 months, Hermana Joachin and Hermana Ayala, who were companions in the CCM (MTC), in the two companionships in our branch. We went to visit a part-member family with a member family, and it was awesome. We're going to baptize them. When they finally get a divorce so they can get married and baptized...yeah...that takes a while here. Wednesday was also great, and we finished the day with a branch council meeting where they made goals for the year. The coolest thing was being part of planning the goals for members to receive endowments and be sealed in 2014, and missionaries to be sent out. Some of them seem hard to reach, but last year they accomplished all of them. I want to see this little branch become a ward! I love these members so much!
Thursday was my first experience with divisions this change. I'll be doing divisions every week, since Hermana Ayala is the Sister Training Leader for this zone, and has to do divisions with each sister this change. Fortunately there are only 6 of us. Unfortunately, it means that I'll have to learn how to be in charge of my area without her. It also means I get to go to meetings with her. She's the only STL that's working solo (as in her companion is not a leader as well. Her companion is me.), but I get the advantage of doing divisions without the benefits of...well, actually, I think I get all the benefits of being a leader, and the work of divisions, without the worry of being responsable to Presidente. So, that's good, I guess. :) I was in divisions with Hermana Joachin. Our names rhyme. She's a chapina (Guatemalteca) too, super chill, and a convert of almost 3 years. I'm excited to be working with her in our branch, and hopefully hanging out with her on pday. Thursday was rough, working in my area without my senior companion, but I'll get better, and we got some good stuff done.
Friday was good but unremarkable, except that I ate a TON of tajadas...oops...she's a bad influence on me. Oh, no wait, Friday morning when we were changing back from divisions, we found the fair in the central parque, and definitely did a little shopping. And saw two funeral processions, one including a menos activo friend of mine. We went to her house that night and got a chance to cry with her. That was a precious moment, getting to be where the Lord needed us to be to give her comfort.
Saturday, I had a slightly drunk and very old investigator bring me flowers, right before we watched Finding Faith in Christ with his family. They were actually very pretty and smelled like nature, which I rarely smell here, but I ended up giving them away to the wife in the next family we visited, and before I took a picture, too. But it was a nice thought, for sure. We also put a baptismal date with the father/spouse of a part-member family. It's so great to see someone ready to change, and to be able to help them make that change. His family will be so much better off. And they love the missionaries. We've only visited them twice, my companion and I, but they love all the missionaries they've met, and they always want to feed us and play ball with us and read with us, and I can't wait to see them start to receive the blessings they deserve.
Sunday we had two part-member families in church with us, and one come to the CES devotional with us that night. We're working harder and trusting God seeing the blessings.
And today, well, today we ran to Managua to practice the special musical number for the two-mission conference that we're going to have the 24th of January. If I didn't mention before, I get the honor of playing the piano that day, when a Seventy and a member of the Area Presidency, Elder Amado and Elder Ochoa, will come to speak in a conference for both missions, North and South, in Nicaragua. We went a little early and visited the metrocentro mall before we had to meet up with the choir at 1. I may or may not have bought some shoes, an some chinese food. It felt like America. I even heard english tourists and saw American families. Que trunky! And we got two buses with great music, though we had to sit on stools on the first one since we didn't get there in time for tickets for seats. Oh, the joys of long-distance bus travel.
I'm remembering how much I love my Savior, and what a remarkable opportunity it is to represent Him and testify of Him and be His hands. This learning curve is steep, but I'm going to make it. I'm learning to love living in Nicaragua, learning to understand most Spanish, and, most importantly, loving not only the members, but all the people.
And one last note: On Sunday, Hermana Joachin said "I like this chela. She's different." Hermana Corzantes and Hermana Ayala (my two companions) have both said the same, more or less. They say I'm humble, and enjoy working with me, unlike other gringas in the past...what can I say, I'm awesome.
With lots of love,
With lots of love,