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,