Tuesday, December 29, 2015

Happy New Year!

Hey guys!
Here's my recording for the week! Sorry for the delay!
And, HAPPY NEW YEAR! I'm saying this early because the next time I write you guys, it'll be the new year and too late to announce. But whatever.

Love you all!
-Zach
 
 

Friday, December 25, 2015

CHRISTMAS!!

Having a crap ton of technical difficulties. I am so sorry for the delay; trying to connect to Skype now.

-Zach

[Mom note: It was AWESOME to talk with Zach for almost 2 hours!!!! Long story short- he couldn't find a ciber with Skype, was over an hour past our planned Skype time, and ended up borrowing a laptop from a church member and connecting with us at the church building. And he got to enjoy the air conditioning! We sure miss him!!]

 

Monday, December 21, 2015

Almost Christmas-- SO CLOSE!!!

 [Mom note: We did not get a regular email or voice recording this week. BUT... we get to Skype with him on Christmas day!!! We are SO EXCITED!!!]

QUESTIONS
1)  Tell me if 9 am our time (10 am your time) will work for you? If not, let me know what will work. 
* Let's shoot for 8:30 YOUR time. Still working out where I'll get to skype from.

2) Do you want a recording of Bree’s All-State concert? It’s not until February, but she’s getting prepared.
* Yes Please! That would be awesome!

3)  What are your plans for Christmas (after we talk?) Do you get any time just to relax?
* Dunno. I really don't know. It's REALLY weird to think that a year ago I was still in the mish. A year and a half ago too.

Love you!


A dead snake. Why?!?!

I can only assume holding the DEAD snake. Really?!?!

Baptism


Not sure if this is being goofy or if they are worried about pollution.

Mission Christmas party choir

And another one of the choir



Wednesday, December 16, 2015

Sorry for the delay!

Hey all!
Here's my recording! Sorry for the delay; I was in Managua all day yesterday.

Love you all!
-Zach

QUESTIONS
1) It looks like you are 1 hour later than us in Nicaragua. So, if we plan to skype at 9 am your time, that will be 8 am our time. (If the cibers are open that early!) Let us know a time!
* How early in the morning do you have to leave?

2) Did you get to go back and help that group who is building a center there? We got that picture they sent us!
* I haven't ben able to go back, but I hear things are going well.

3)  How is your new companion? What are some details about him? Any brothers or sisters? Has he always been a member?
* My new comp is an only child, and has been a member for some 11 years now. He's pretty chill; more relaxed than Ajquejay was. Maybe that's because he also has 18 months in the mish.

4)  Will you have a mission conference at the mission home this time? Where you actually get to go?
* Yes. Actually, next Monday, so I probably won't ge to write you guys till next Tuesday as well.

5) Let’s see pictures of you with your Lego tree! And you and your companion with ties. I think I sent you two.
* Will send pics! I actually gave away the ties to a couple members who I'm friends with as a Christmas present.

-Zach

Volcano

Closer volcano

District?

And Santa hat

Last photo

Monday, December 14, 2015

It's almost time for Christmas!

Hey guys!
I had to travel to Managua today, so I'm writing this pretty late. We just got back.
I'll be able to email you guys again tomorrow, so look forward to an email with my recording. Sorry to leave you hanging today!

Love you guys!
-Zach

Monday, December 7, 2015

It's beginning to look a lot like Christmas....NOT!

Hey all!
Today kicks off the transfer that will bring us into the new year.
It's actually 8 weeks long, so it'll end in the first week of February.
I'm staying here in La Posada, while Ajquejay got sent to Estelí.
Lawrence got sent up North to Chinandega. I feel sorry for him, 'cause it's way hotter up there tan down here. He's only got 4 months left, so it doesn't matter much.

This is actually the first time in my ENTIRE MISSION that I've stayed in an area while my comp got changed.
ALL other times I've been the one who left the area first, while my comp stayed. This is actually a new thing for me.
Anyway, my new comp's name is Elder Davidson from Panama. He's got nearly 18 months in the mish, just like me. We'll be heading out together in June.
Not sure how long I'll be with this guy, but I hope we get along alright. I have yet to get to know him.
Here's my two recordings for the week. I sent a photo to go along with recording number 2.

Love you all!
-Zach
 
 
QUESTIONS
1) We will coordinate with you closer to Christmas time to get a time to skype.
* Awesome. I'm looking for a Ciber that has webcams.

2) Did your comp get transferred?
* Yep. Got sent to Estelí.

3) How’s Lawrence? It’s funny that you keep crossing paths!
* He's doing alright. I can tell he's beginning to wind down in the mish, just from where he's at.

4) Is there a ‘rainy season’ in the area you are serving in now? Or is it mainly dry?
* The Rainy season ended back in October. Right now it's pretty dry. Rain kinda picks up again in April/May.

5) Can you take pictures of Christmas displays in the city? We’d sure love to see them!
* Sure thing! Most of 'em are Saints/Virgin Mary-based displays (Catholic tradition).

6) Let us know when you get your Christmas package! And don’t open it until Christmas!
* ...got the package...but already opened it...sorry...

-Zach

Helping the Worldwide Child Relief Fund build a Community Center in Leon.

Email from Denise Young:
Just a picture and a word about your wonderful Missionary.  My husband and I have an organization that is working in Nicaragua.  It is Worldwide Child Relief Foundation and the mission president gave us permission to have missionaries help with translations.  We are building a Community Center for this area among other activities.  Both missionaries were great!!! Friendly, helpful, wonderful young men!!! Thought you might enjoy this picture.  (You can look us up on the internet WWCRF.org. ).    We are hoping they can help again next week!!! 

Tuesday, December 1, 2015

Pictures








Happy December

Hey all!
Here's my recording for the week. Hope you enjoy!

-Zach




QUESTIONS

1)   Do you still do language study EVERY DAY? (You should.)
* I do. It's really like a constant language study when you have a Spanish-speaking companion, so I'm still learning new things even now.

2)  How many missionaries are in your apartment? Just you and your comp, or more? How're the splits going with other elders?
* Just Ajquejay and I. Apparently there used to be more houses where more than one companionship would live together, but now President has done away with most of 'em. Divisions are a once-a-week thing, with often good results. It's sometimes refreshing to work with other Elders.

3) What packages have you gotten? One from Kim & Shane? Did you get the Halloween one from us? Let us know when you get the Christmas package.
* Just the Halloween package. Nothing else yet.

4)  How do you find people to teach in the city? What do you do to meet people?
* We mostly just start talking to them right there on the street. Often we go contacting houses. We're in a bit of a drought of fresh investigators at the moment, so contacting has been the regular plan.

5)  How's the new outdoor "chapel" in Poneloya going? Is it being used?
* Yeah. The meetings take place there sometimes, and in the branch/nucleus president's house sometimes.







Monday, November 23, 2015

HAPPY BIRTHDAY BREE!!!

Hey all!
Here's my recording! Sorry it's been awhile since my last one. Hope all is well!

HAPPY BIRTHDAY BREE! 13 years old! I'm amazed at how fast time has gone. Hope you have a great time.

Love you all.
-Zach


QUESTIONS
1)How does it feel to have clothes that don’t have holes?
* It feels like I'm a new missionary all over again. Kinda weird to think about,

2) Did you ever get your Halloween package?
* Elder Lawrence traveled to Managua today to get a package of his own. He called me and told me that there were two packages waiting for me in the misión office, but that he only had room to take one of them back to Leon. I'm pretty sure he grabbed the Halloween one.

4) Did you ever go back to visit the lady with the issues on family?
* Nah. She was an investigator that we stopped visiting.

5) Did you ever go visit the Catholic cathedral? I’d sure love to see pictures!
* I did! Pictures will be sent.

6) We are trying to figure out where to go on a family trip when you come home. What are your thoughts?
* Not sure on that. Will need to think about it.

Monday, November 16, 2015

Got Mah Stuff!

Hey all!

No recording this week; sorry!
But! Lots of goings-on!
Today I had to travel to Managua with Elder Reese to renew my cédula (residency/citizenship card). So, got the lovely opportunity to stand up for two hours in a bus full of people traveling south to the capital.
Everything went off without a hitch. Got my cedula renewed and had the aweome opportunity to retrieve my extra luggage. These are the bags I haven't seen in a year or so.

Speaking of which, it appears the email that Dad sent to President Collado did the trick. I was able to organize the bag pick-up quite smoothly, as compared to previous failed attempts/requests.

Said hi to Elders Baldwin, Le Sueur, and Perkes as well (CCM groupies). They also came to renew their residency cards. These cards have an expiration date of exactly one year after the day they're issued, so this was the last time I had to renew it. Apparently in mission-speak that's like big news. Following this milestone will be the "second Christmas" (in the mish), second Mother's Day, and so on and so forth. I'm kinda starting to count the time down a bit.

Elder Reese says the official day count is "511 days in the mish as of today," or something like that. I gotta stay focused so I can finish strong.

As for the "guitar" business, I'll need to practice again before I record anything. It's been over a year since I last played a guitar.

I hope all is well at home. I love you all.

Dad, my prayers are with you as you cope with your good friend's passing. I know one day you will be able to speak face-to-face with him once more.

Bree, HAPPY EARLY BIRTHDAY!!! I'll get to tell you again next week, but I wanted to put an early smile on your face. Hope you are enjoying your time with family.

Mom, stay strong. Thanks so much for all your constant advice and care. I love you.

Alex, go on some dates and think of me when you do! (haha) I'll get home soon and then you and I can go on a double date with whoever you've got planned. I'm proud of you sis.

-Zach

Monday, November 9, 2015

November-ific

Hey all!

Here's my recording. Hope you like it!

Love, Zach




Questions

 1) Have you eaten any more burgers? Eaten any more wacky stuff besides turtle?
*A few. They're like a little taste of home. Nothing else pretty wacky besides Cow Stomach (three days ago)... gross...
2)  Have you had access to a guitar?

*I have! My lunch appointment had a guitar that was given to them by another missionary some time ago, even though they don't play. I think I'll go ahead and start practicing on it.
3) How’s the clothing situation? Did you get your bag yet??? (Still can’t believe that they haven’t let you since you’ve moved.)
*NO. I'm beginning to think I might never get my bag until the end of my misison. Clothes are doing alright.
4) Why aren’t you sending photos?
*I've been trying to find a Ciber that recognizes the USB-connection of my camera. No luck thus far; a few sucky ones might be possible.
5) Is the temperature much different than Puerto?
*It's actually a bit drier and cooler than Puerto, though most of the other misisonaries here say this is the hottest área they've served in.

-Zach

Wednesday, November 4, 2015

Happy Halloween!

Hey all!
Well, I thought my internet troubles were over when I left Puerto, but apparently I was wrong!
Here in León the internet winks out every few weeks, leading to some pretty sucky connections.
This is one of those days.
I'm sorry I can't answer everything right now; my window's pretty sketchy at best today. I'm told next week will be better. Here's a couple recordings of my week. Hope you enjoy!

Love,
Zach

Part 2!

And to answer, No, I did NOT get my package OR my luggage. That really blows. Apparently there was a "rule" against leaving the stake center during the meeting with Elder Snow. So, no luck there, and I have no idea when I might be able to get my stuff.

Fun, fun.

-Zach






Monday, October 26, 2015

I Feel Old!

Hey all!
Well, this past week was pretty busy. On Wednesday, the whole zone headed over to Presidente Collado's house in Managua for interviews. That was a tedious trip, especially since the driver of the bus sucked at driving. So I was carsick the whole way up & back. But it turned out alright.
 
Sadly, due to some really stupid disobedience, a bunch of missionaries are going home early (like 12-ish missionaries). Some of 'em I knew from back in Managua. It's really sad to see missionaries with so much time and experience in the misión fall under temptations.

On Saturday, BOTH missions (Nicaragua Managua North and South) got together to be addressed by Elder Snow of the Seventy & Brother Turley (sp?), Church Historian.
 
They were some pretty powerful messages, all about the struggles of the misión and how we can draw on examples of Book of Mormon missionaries to gain enthusiasm and inspiration.
 
I also got to say Hi to Elders Choque, Baldwin, Backus, Alfaro, and everybody else from my CCM group. I haven't seen these guys in a year, so it's nice to know they're still going strong. Some of 'em are about to finish up their missions.

That's about it for this week. Other than the two trips, nothing particularly exciting happened.

Tell Bree I'm really sorry she sprained her ankle and will be praying for her. Did Dad give her a blessing already?

Tell Alex I'm really prod of her for going to the dance. But not just that, for being a light for the rest of the students by keeping her modesty and her standards. Great job Aly-o.

Mom, there's this talk I just read in a recent Liahona about leadership in the Relief Society that I will give a recording about to you next week. I love you so much.

No recording this week. Sorry guys. Will send one next week.

-Zach


Monday, October 19, 2015

16 Months!!!

Hey all!
In 6 days I complete 16 months in the mish. Wow. Gettin' up there.

Anyway, here's my recording. Hope you like it!

-Zach

PS: I'll be sending separate recordings to Alex & Bree in the coming weeks.

Here's a pic of me and my comp, Ajquejay.

QUESTIONS

1) What did you decide about the machete issue? I think it’s fine to get a sheath, but to wear it while proselyting is questionable.
*My original plan (the one that's still in effect) is to only carry the machete around at night, and even then only in the more shady neighborhoods (there's safer neighborhoods and more dangerous ones).

2) Can you tell us about the people you meet? Are most of them Catholic (since there are cathedrals there, that's what I'm assuming.) Are any of them Moravian?
*There are MANY more Catholics here than in Puerto; but no Moravians to be found whatsoever. Like, polar opposite of Puerto. People here are generally more polite, but less open to missionaries. So, it's a trade-off. Being here is the closest I've been to a developed society in a year I think the term is 2nd-world country(?).

3) Please tell me there aren't as many drunks there. Really. And dogs.
*The drunks are still there, they just only come out on weekends. Dogs are a little less crazy here, but they like attacking people on bikes and motorcycles.

4) Did you get your bag when you met with Presidente? I sure hope so! It’s about time!
*Not yet. We're going to Managua twice this week- once for interviews and once for the meeting with Elder Snow of the Seventy. I am HOPING (hoping) to get my suitcases then, but no promises.

5) How’s the situation with your companion?
*He's pretty reserved. Reminds me of Elder Shawcroft back in the CCM. It gets kinda rough sometimes, 'cause he never really wants to talk. I hope he opens up a bit.

Bus ride (This time he's actually INSIDE the bus!)

Pacific ocean

Building the outdoor chapel. (Notice the machete.)

Baptism

Baptism

Zone

Food

Pacific Ocean

Baptism


Monday, October 12, 2015

The Leon King! (not really)

Hey all!
This week was pretty fun. Exploring a bit, learning my area, getting to know the members, etc.
I introduced myself to the ward (by the way this is my first time serving in a ward in the mission; I've only served in branches up to this point), and was really grateful that Spanish comes easily now.

Anyway, here's my recording. It's a bit smaller so I could fit it into the email this time.

Love you all!
-Zach

P.S. Were you able to open last week's big recording?


Summary
  • First Burger in a Year
  • Catholic Cathedral
  • Machete Sheath
  • Negotiations
  • Travel to Poneloya on the Coast
  • Preparing ground for an Outdoor Chapel
  • Investigators and Goals

QUESTIONS
1) How’s life in Leon? Is it primarily urban? Or are the streets like unpaved jungle? How hot is it?
*Life is crazy here! Everything's a lot more urban and developed, but we got a few neighborhoods in our area that remind me of Puerto. Most of the streets are paved (big change!), with a few dirt roads. It's hot here, but not as bad as Puerto. Less humid.

2) Is there a lake nearby? Or a volcano? (We haven't had time to look it up yet!)
*We're right in between a few dead volcanoes, two active ones, Lake Nicaragua, and the Pacific Ocean. It's actually really pretty and I'm glad to have mountains in my zone for the first time in my mission.

3) What are the people like? Have you been able to teach any lessons?
*The people are a bit more closed-off, but have at least a bit more doctrinal knowledge about the scriptures. We've been quite fortunate to find people who are willing to hear the Restored Gospel. We've got a sizeable teaching pool at the moment.

4) Do you need us to send any more meds or toiletries?
*Polident and Zofran would be great. Just those for now.

5) Did you finally get your 2nd bag yet?
*NO. I'm getting pretty pissed, but we'll have the opportunity to travel to Managua next week for interviews with Presidente. So, I'll see if I can snag my bags there.

Love you!
-Zach

Monday, October 5, 2015

New Zone! New Stuff! New Adventure!

Hey All!
The recording I sent was too big for email, so I uploaded it straight to Dropbox. Sorry.
Mom, can you see about sending it to the rest of the fam?

Love you all!
-Zach



Summary:
  • Transferred to the Pacific
  • Zone w/ Lawrence and Spence
  • La Posada- Leon
  • Touristy
  • Food- BK and pizza
  • General Conference in English
  • Favorite Talks
  • Companion Robbed
  • Common Interests with Companion

Monday, September 28, 2015

Dad Won THAT Bet!

Hey all!
Well, I'm not in Kansas anymore!
This morning I hopped on a plane that took me back to Managua, and from there I took a couple buses northward to León.
Had only a few hours to pack; got an hour of sleep in; then finished packing and headed to the airport.

So, that's my new Zone. León.

My new companion is named Elder Ajquejay (Ah-Kay-HAI) and he's from Guatemala. So, my first Guatemalan comp. Doesn't speak a lick of English.

My new area is called La Posada, and it's actually where both Elder Maughan and Elder Choque started their missions. Some history there.

Also, Elder Lawrence is in my new Zone, so I get to see him now and then. Also got to talk with Elder Spence (also in my zone) for the first time in a year; he's returned to the mission field since going home for a bit. What an awesome kid.
Also found out that Elder Reese (from my CCM group) is in the zone as well. We'll all get the chance to get together this Thursday for the Zone Meeting.

A lot to take in. I'm a bit mentally and emotionally drained right now.
I was the only one to leave Puerto this change; I guess it's kinda fitting since I arrived there alone as well.

I dunno what to think of my new comp. He's pretty "By-the-book" as missionaries go; i.e. unwilling to improvise or be spontaneous. I'll see how things go with him.

I love you all! Here's a pic of my new ZL's Elder Ward & Elder De Leon, with Lawrence and I.



(L-R: Zach, Elder Lawrence, Elder De Leon (in back) and Elder Ward.)


QUESTIONS
1)  What do the Nicas think of the blood moon?
*They think absolutely nothing of the blood moon. It's kinda going over their heads; no pun intended.

2) What have you done with the items from your previous package?
*I've used everything you sent me. Everything was quite needed and put to good use.

3) Where did you get a purple shirt?
*It was left by another Elder before me. I used it for P-Day and some pretty funny pics.

4) Can you get mosquito nets there in Nica? Or do you need us to send one?
*I already have one.

5) How was church today? Do you ever help with youth activities?
*There aren't any youth activities here to speak of. Church was awkward since I gave my farewell testimony, but I managed to do it all in Miskito.

6) What are your plans for General Conference? I sent you BINGO cards- in Spanish!
*I'll be watching it in León. Thanks for the cards!

7) Send pictures!!

Monday, September 21, 2015

Yeah! Mission!

Hey all!
In four days I complete 15 months!!
I feel old-ish.
By the way, it was one year ago at this time that I baptized my first convert back in Managua. It was amazing then, and it still is now. More info is in the recording. Hope you like it!

Love you all!
-Zach

Monday, September 14, 2015

HAPPY BIRTHDAY MOM!

Hey all!
This week kinda sucked. We dropped all of our investigators who had baptismal dates because they're not motivated enough to go to church. Oh well. This gives us an opportunity to find new investigators who have a true desire to come unto Christ. Not gonna let a setback like this get me down.

In other news, we are starting Week 5 of this transfer. That means 2 things: Changes are around the corner (Sep. 28), and Maradiaga is now my longest-running mission companion. Remember, I officially got together with Elder Lawrence in Week 3 of the change; 2 weeks after waiting for my cedula to arrive so I could travel to Puerto.

Today and tomorrow the Nicas are celebrating Independence Day for Nicaragua (officially Sep. 15), It's basically a big excuse to get really drunk & party in the streets a bit. Kinda like an extension of the weekend. Not that fun for us missionaries.

There's a "war" going on up north on the East Coast near Waspan/Rio Coco; the miskito people there are against the Mestizos (Regular Latinos). They're both armed shooting at each other, so I don't think they'll be sending missionaries to establish the Church in the northern communities anytime soon.

Sorry this letter sounds kinda gloomy. It's just the current situation right now.

Also, HAPPY BIRTHDAY MOM!!!
Hope it's a good one. I can't remember your age either. =)
Love you all! -Zach

Tuesday, September 8, 2015

Week of Randomness

Hey all!
Crazy stuff happening this week!
First off, I got your guys' package! THANK YOU SO MUCH!
Honestly American Oreos taste SO much better than Nica ones. I'm not biased, that's just being honest. I loved every single part of the package. New G's were definitely appreciated, especially since we can't go get new ones over here in the Caribbean. So thanks a lot.
 Here's my recordings!
Hope you like 'em.
Love you all! -Zach

[MOM NOTE: He got the date wrong in his recording!!]


Tuesday, September 1, 2015

Wake Me Up When September…Starts?

Hey all!
Well, this last week of August was just fantastic. We baptized and confirmed confirmed two investigators named J and I, and with that we've baptized an entire family here in Puerto over the space of like 5 months. I'll explain more in a recording tomorrow, but basically this is a story of conversion that began with Elder Choque and I in Loma Verde in March, and has finally come full circle in August.

Left to right: Maradiaga, Aida, José Julian, Judith, Nathzil, Adaya, Imara, Arcenia, and Me. I can't remember the names of the little ones.


I love you all. Hope you like the photos I sent.

-Zach



Monday, August 31, 2015

PICTURES!!!

[Mom note: Many of them need captions, and why in the world are they so blurry?! But I'm just THRILLED he sent them! Apparently it's very hard to upload pictures because of the sketchy internet connections.]