Monday, August 25, 2014

2 Months Into It‏

Hey all!

This week was pretty rough. Not one of our 12-or-so investigators came to church. This is the second week in a row for many of them, so we need to realize they are not ready for the gospel yet and move on.
This includes J____.

I thought he'd turn around and come back, but that's not how it's gonna be, at least for now. Maybe we'll try again in a couple months.

That reminds me, I'm Anderson's last compañero here. I'll be with him 'till late October, so I'm not moving out of this area (Waspan) 'till then, either.

Dinner with Elder Anderson

The fried bananas are really good!

Typical meal here. Beans, rice, egg or chicken, and fried banana. 5-star quality food right here!

Oh yeah! I almost forgot! Mom, Whitney Rogers is in my District! I met her on day 1 in the field when all the newbies first got their comp's, and she was there to train a newbie. I've been able to talk with her since then, and tell her that her uncle is my bishop; that I knew the Rogers' in Colorado; Dillon being in the CCM with me, etc.

Crazy how that worked out.
A visitor in our casa. They keep the bugs away- like when we lived in Florida!

Sadly, nobody can sing here. In other words, none of the Nicas and most of the Latino missionaries are completely tone-deaf. It's really sad, but only when we sing hymns together in church. Luckily, Elder Baldwin is in my Zone and Anderson can sing just fine, so there's still good music around.

So, much craziness last Tuesday (Aug. 19). We had a Reunión for Nuevos (Newbies) at the Stake Center, which is our area's church building. I got to see everybody I came here with from the CCM. It was pretty awesome.

That's not all. Midway through the meeting, and partially to make a point, Presidente Collado randomly told everybody to go outside and invite somebody to tour the church. It was crazy. We still did it, though. A flood of missionaries talking to tons of people right in front of the church and giving tours inside.
When it was all said and done, tons of new contacts and possible investigators came out of it. The crazy part is that since most of the people live in our area, most of the contacts went directly to Anderson and I. That's roughly 50 contacts.

Well, we may have lost our old investigators, but we have no problem deciding where to go next. We're set for the next week at least.

Somebody robbed our lavadora's (the lady who washes our clothes) house last Wednesday night. The crazy thing is, all of our clothes were sprawled out over charis and couches to dry, and the theives walked right past it all and took some money and a cell phone on the front room's table. Then they left. Anderson's heard all these stories about missionaries who've lost their clothing in situations like this, so I was really relieved. I still feel bad for the lady, though.

A mototaxi. This was is driven by a church member, so he let us take these goofy pictures.

They are super tiny!
Went on a somewhat spontaneous division with one of the AP's. Anderson was like, "Almost forgot to tell you, pack a change of garments and a fresh shirt, you're heading to Máximo Jeréz for the night!"
That was on Saturday and Sunday. Quite unexpected, but it turned out okay. I'm back in Waspan now. The AP, Elder Toolson, is an okay guy. As of right now he has only 9 days left on his mission. Before I left he asked me to make a list of songs he should look up when he gets back.

I can't even think that far ahead yet.

So, that's all for now. Sounds like overall things are going great back in the Springs.

Dad, congratulations on getting all this media attention for your work! It definitely deserved to be recognized.

I love you all. I Love you Mom, Dad, Alex, Bree, and Bodhi. Only 22 months left.


Monday, August 18, 2014

Don't You Worry Child; See, Heaven's Got A Plan For You‏

CCM District before we left.
Hey all,

First off, Happy Birthday Alex! I'm really sorry I couldn't make it. You're growing up! You can drive already! And congrats on making the Volleyball team! At least I'll be there for your graduation.

I heard about your play, Bree! That sounds awesome! You have a talent for singing and acting.

Mom, thanks for the updates. Sounds like things are getting pretty heavy out there.

Dad, thanks for the weekly advice. It really helps.

This week was actually pretty rough. We've probably lost J___. On Saturday, he stopped meeting with us. And then on Sunday he didn't come to church. His wife has yelled at us for coming in days past, even though he's welcomed us into his home. Maybe she got to him somehow. I dunno.

The sad truth is not many people have wanted to listen to our message thus far. Satan truly does have a far-reaching influence to be able to put fear and doubt into the heart of so many people.

Actually, what keeps coming to mind is the parable of the sower that Jesus taught. Right now we are sowing tons of seeds, but few people are receiving them. I try not to get too discouraged. Maybe I'm just Johnny Appleseed right now, planting seeds that will later grow up for other missionaries to harvest.

Honestly, I don't want to be the planter. I want to be the teacher. But, it's up to the people we teach on whether or not they'll accept our message.

So, we walk. We search. We teach. Until we find somebody.

I don't got much more time. I love you all. I love you Mom, Dad, Alex, Bree, and Bodhi.


Mexico City CCM at night. This is me with Stephen Bahr from our home stake!! He'd only been here at the CCM for about 5 days. It's a little blurry, but at least we got to cross paths before I headed to Nicaragua.

1) Does it feel like camping 24/7? Or a little more civilized than that?

  • A little of both, honestly. I've got a bed, electricity, and running water (only at night but better than nothing). I dunno. It's different than pretty much everything I've ever done.

2) How are the Nike pants doing for you? And how are your shoes treating you?

  • Love the Nike pants. It's too bad I burned a hole through a pair at the CCM. The shoes are fine, too. I hope they hold up to all this wear and tear I'm putting them through.

3) Was the package waiting for you at the mission home? The one with the mucinex and other stuff? If not, then you'll get it at the next transfers I guess! I hope you can last that long! We will send out another one after school starts here (Aug 18). Is there anything you want/need? What about your companion?

  • I don't think the package has arrived yet. Anderson says it takes an average of 2 months for a package to get from America to Nicaragua. If it is here, they haven't notified me yet. As for stuff, I'm doing pretty good here. They have these little shops called pulperías all over the area I'm in. Everything's pretty cheap here, and some have more things to buy than others.

4)  Is there a church building near you or will you be assigned to a branch?

  • There's a church building literally the next street over from where we live. We go there for church and other meetings with our District and Zone. Actually, it's the Stake Center for our entire area. If there's a big meeting going on near us, it usually happens there. We're in a ward with one other companionship.

5)  I'm glad you have someone to prepare a meal for you. Is that typical for the mission? Do you pay her? How is that set up? Other than rice (oh yum) is the food good? Does she prepare breakfast or dinner or is that on your own? What do you eat?

  • Apparently it's typical to have a member family serve at least one meal to a companionship daily. We each pay $100 cordóbas (not US dollars) to the family every 15 days. The food's really good, and I don't mind rice with everything. She's made chicken, beef, pork, and fish at different times. With every meal (besides rice) is fried banana slices, which are actually pretty good. She preapres only lunches. Breakfasts and dinners we work out on our own.

6) How much will you be spending each week on average?

  • I've spent an average of 100-200 cordóbas each week. It varies according to the need. [Mom note: 100 cordobas = US $4. That means he's only spending $4 to $8 each week! Plus the cost of lunch every 15 days.]

Monday, August 11, 2014

A Week In Da' Field

Hey All!

Well, I made it through one week here. It's not too bad at all.

We have to fill up a few buckets of water every night so we have some to use in the mornings, because they shut off the water every day 'till a little after noon.
The neighborhood.

Outside our door.

It's a little rainy here.
It's okay, though. Most of the time we're not in the house to use the water anyway.

I've given out a ton of folletos (pamphlets) so far. Unfortunately, we sometimes find them crumpled and torn on the streetside a few hours later while passing through the same area. It's for this reason that I'm glad they give us folletos to pass out first before Books of Mormon. We've only given out BoM's to families we've had more than one lesson with.

Well, I got slapped in the face by the Hand of Reality this week. Out of some 16 separate investigadors this week, only 1 guy came to church with us. This guy's name is J___. He's super awesome. We met him the day I got here, and he's already agreed to a baptismal date, to read the Book of Mormon (Libro de Mormón), and to follow the Word of Wisdom. He's super quiet most of the time. I'm not sure if it's because he's nervous or because he's contemplative. His date is August 23rd. We'll hold him to it.
Elder Anderson taking a nap.

One of the things I find really fascinating is that we as missionaries here are literally fulfilling the prophecies of Mormon, Moroni, Nephi, and other prophets. We are spreading the gospel to the Lamanites and their descendants. Heck, we've got descendants of the Lamanites here as misioneros too.

On of the biggest focuses of this mission and the mission president is to find and teach families who want to hear the gospel. I'm still somewhat reluctant at this, since I feel it'd be more right to teach all people instead of focusing only on families. But at the same time, one of the most powerful lessons we teach is that families can be together forever.

For now, we need to focus on finding potential investigators who will not only want to hear our message, but will also keep their commitments to come to church and read the Book of Mormon.
My own little cot.

A little study space.

Gourmet kitchen.

Because we're both white kids (my compañero more than myself), we often get more crap from the Nicas than the native companionships get. We try to ignore their insults or demands for money.
Two days ago one of them threw a rock at the back of my head. I'm fine, and I'm grateful only a small part of the general population harbors open bad feelings towards white people.

Sent a quick hello to Lauren. Crazy how there'll be three of us on a mission at the same time.
Speaking of which, Mom, could you send me Hayden's mission email? I wanna keep in touch with him while we're both out in the field.

I think that's all for now. I'll try to send pictures later today.

I love you all. I love you Mom, Dad, Alex, Bree, and Bodhi.
We have a 2 floor apartment. That's luxury for sure!


Gotta love the risk of electrocution while showering.

Home sweet home.

Thursday, August 7, 2014

Hey! I made it!

Hey guys!

I'm in Nicaragua! I'm so sorry I couldn't call on Tuesday. We stopped for a short time in El Salvador, and our group agreed to take no more than 5 minutes each to call our families. Shawcroft went first--and took 30. I couldn't believe it. By the time he was done there was only enough time for the next two people in line to have five minutes each. So, I didn't get to go. Sorry.

Well, I'm here in Nicaragua right now. It is HOT. Like Hawaii. But I guess it feels hotter since we don't have shorts.
On the bus.

My compañero's name is Elder Anderson, and he's from Idaho Falls (He's a gringo). He's been out here for 20 months thus far. I'm his last compañero. He's really nice and gives good advice. This is infinitely better than Shawcroft's "silent treatment" style. He's also the District Leader.

Our district is Wes Pan Sur. It's in the city of Managua, near the outskirts. Everything's got gates or iron bars on it.

Holy moly. I knew I was going to eat a huge humble pie when I got here. I kept telling myself that.

I just didn't know how huge.
The flight.

I was one of the last people to get interviewed by the Mission Presidente, so the whole bus-full of missionaries left for their areas without me on Tuesday. I had to get a ride from the AP's.
And, my bags were on the bus, so I had to wait until 8:00 at night to get my stuff.

Thankfully, it's all here; nothing's lost. So there's a blessing.

On top of that, the water here's actually potable. So I won't need to use my filters until at least late October. That's when Anderson goes home, and I'll find out if I transfer to a new area.

We have a working shower. It's little more than a pipe jutting from the bathroom wall that gives cold water. But I've grown to love cold showers in the past two days.

A lot of the misioneros tell me my Spanish is very good for a newbie. I can understand most conversations. I still need to work on the language. Every day.

Actually, we started teaching the day I got here. I was in my suit pants, which are like an oven for my legs when it's hot. But teach we did. It turns out Anderson had just been transferred to this area as well, so he was as lost as I was, geographically speaking. We found two families and a less-active member that first night. We taught all three. Every investigator we have thus far have been ones we've found.

There's only two other Elderes in our district, Elderes Alfaro and Gonzalez, and they're our Zone Leaders. I went on splits with Elder Alfaro yesterday, and we found three new families to teach in his area.
Shower hose

We have a lady who makes lunch for us every day. It's pretty good. Rice with everything. I don't mind; I'm Asian.

Our house is basically four walls, a floor, and a roof. But the beds are super comfy, even if they're old. Our house has two floors, and the second floor is an oven during the day (we don't go up there) and nice and cool at night.
Super comfy beds.

I haven't seen a single mosquito yet. I dunno if it's the season or the area.

So really, everything's pretty good right now. Nothing's too dangerous; we stay away from the dark streets at night. A couple Nicas have even warned us which streets to not go down.

It's really quite fun to go find and teach people out here. I forgot my camera today, so I'll send pics next time. There's actually no jungle here; it's all city streets and ramshackle houses.

My compañero hates snakes, so I call him Indiana Jones. This is also because we're in the middle of a South American country, traveling almost entirely by foot, which makes us explorers as much as missionaries.

I love you all. I love you Mom, Dad, Alex, Bree, and Bodhi.


P.S. I've attached a song I found on one of the computers at the CCM just before we left. Hope you like it.

Wednesday, August 6, 2014

Nicaragua Mission Home

Zach at the Nicaragua Managua North Mission Home with Sister Collado, Elder Anderson, and President Collado.
Dear Campbell family,

It’s a pleasure to tell you that your son, Elder Campbell arrived to our Mission the Nicaragua, Managua North Mission.

We love his very much, and we know that our Heavenly Father is pleased for his dedication and work.  Nicaragua truly is a blessed land and is an excellent example of the scripture (D&C 4:4) “The field is white already to harvest”. We know that your son can have much success through his obedience and diligence in bringing souls unto Christ.

Thank you so much for all your love and support to your son! He will be blessed for all the work he is doing for the Lord, and many of his children who are here in this country.

His Area: Waspán, Managua.
His Companion: Elder Anderson from United States.

We love him
President and Sister Collado

Tuesday, August 5, 2014

Week 6- Done With Base Camp, Now The Mountain‏

Hey all,

So, exciting stuff happened right before I leave. I found and talked with Stephen Bahr on Saturday. He'd only been here for 4 days. To be honest, he looked tired and frazzled. I wonder if that's how I looked to Dillon Rogers when I first saw him here. Will try to get a picture with him before I leave.

So, our group of 110 that came here is leaving in chunks from Monday to Wednesday. I'm leaving in the Tuesday group.
Getting ready to leave!

I should be able to call you guys tomorrow at around 4-5 Mexico time. They let all missionaries going to foreign countries do that. If I can't connect with y'all, don't worry. I'll be alright.

Thanks for the packages. Those donuts were amazing. I shared 'em with the Casa. Speaking of which, I've included pictures of me with almost everyone else from my Casa. Overall, they're a bunch of great guys.

Oh, and we had a campout on the roof of our Casa on Saturday night. Sleeping under the stars. It reminded me of Lake Powell, except there were city sounds all around us.

Mom, thanks for the song lyrics. This helps a ton. Also, sounds like you had quite the adventure at Girls Camp and afterwards. Honestly, it reminds me of the Lake Powell trip where we shipwrecked. Just a ton of things happening one after the other. I'm glad you made it home safe.

Thanks for all the spiritual inserts you guys add at the end of every email. They're really awesome.
The District is ready to go.

Looking all spiffy.

Here I go, about to embark on a journey of epic proportions. If I could, I'd play some dramatic music right now. Like Last of the Mohicans or Brave Heart.

But, anyway.

I love you all. I love you Mom, Dad, Alex, Bree, and Bodhi.

-Elder Campbell