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!!