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...