Monday, March 30, 2015

Onward to April

Hey All!

First off, shout outs to Uncle Fred and Aunt Liz, the Lunceford's, Lauren, and Kiki. Thank you guys so much for all your support! Your emails (and regular mail) make every day a little brighter. Even in the land of eternal summer.

Well, this month has definitely been one of the most chaotic and enjoyable months in my mission thus far. It hasn't been the smoothest of rides, but we've made it through okay so far.

So, this past week Elder Choque and I baptized B_____. He's the newlywed husband of a less-active member named C_____, who was baptized 7 years ago. The cool story about this particular convert is that he was actually an old investigator of other Elders who worked in Loma Verde a year ago. Records written from that time state that he was actually taught by the missionaries even before that time, so this conversion has really been a long time coming. Elder Choque and I were very blessed to be able to see the fruits of many labors with this couple.

In other news, I got a package from Aunt Kim and Uncle Shane in the mail this week!! It had some awesome chocolate, those little graham bear thingies (also awesome), some new pens, notepads, and a bunch of other useful stuff. Thanks so much for sending it!

As for my toe, I accidentally cut it open on Friday when I stubbed my toe on a rock I failed to notice. It's healing up nicely, but I'm almost amused at the kind of crap my toe has been through. Almost amused.

This computer's being really crappy, so I gotta go before it shuts off on me entirely. I'm sorry this email's so short. I promise the next one will be longer.

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

-Zach

Tuesday, March 24, 2015

Nine Months In!

Hey All!

Wow, it's almost a year since I started the mission. When you put your head down and work, time seems to fly by. Sometimes, anyway. Often it feels like it just drags on.
Anyway, my foot is doing better after the partial nail removal. I've been taping it and wearing flip-flops. So, for now, the plan is to let it heal. Only a small part of the nail was removed, just like last time. Hopefully that's all I'll need.

Last Thursday, we had a multi-mission Conference in Managua. Both the North and South missions all came together to listen to not only the presidente of both missions, but also Bishop Dean M Daviess and Elder Adrian Ochoa.

That is, except for Puerto Cabezas. Literally every missionary in Nicaragua went to this Conference except for the 26 assigned to Puerto. It sucked. We had to sit in the chapel and watch the conference via satellite transmission. Sometimes it cut out unexpectedly and the signal had to be renewed.

The only thing that made it worthwhile, besides the spiritual messages, was the moment when Bishop Daviess ended his talk, paused a moment, then looked straight into the camera filming the conference. Then he said, "We would like to take a moment to recognize the missionaries who were not able to be here in person today. Those of you serving in Zona Puerto Cabezas," (here everyone in Puerto cheered loudly) "we thank you for your faithful service and obedience. You are a special group of missionaries, and your efforts are very dear to us. Our prayers are with you as you serve the Lord."

That was all. Elder Ochoa also made a remark about the Puerto Zone too. It was awesome. Nice to know that they still remembered us even if we were stuck on the East Coast.

Also, there's a rumor going around that the mission will be splitting soon. The areas that include Bluefields, Puerto Cabezas, and the surrounding communities (the entire east coast of Nicaragua) will be merged into a separate third mission. The rest of the two Nicaraguan missions would remain the same.

This is still a rumor, so no promises or confirmations there. But even the AP's from both missions are talking about it. I'll keep you guys updated.

Other than that, not much else going on around here at the moment. On Friday night Elder Choque and I found a family who'd been old investigators of LDS missionaries before us. Apparently both missionaries had left at the same time, so this couple was unfortunately forgotten about. Luckily, their desire to hear the Restored Gospel hadn't diminished in that time, and they agreed to a baptismal date on the 28th of March. The Lord truly prepares His children to hear the gospel. Choque and I are just seeing the fruits of seeds planted some time ago by missionaries before us.

Me personally, I've been feeling just run down lately. I got some nasty food poisoning last Monday night right after I finished emailing and puked in the street. I'm feeling better now, but this is slowly wearing me down

I love you all. I love you Mom, Dad, Alex, and Bree. Please say hi to the rest of the family for me and thanks a bunch for the pictures!

-Zach


QUESTIONS
1. How are you??? We’ve been on pins and needles wanting to hear from you. Give us the update on the toe situation. Are you on crutches? Are you going sock & croc?  You must give it time to heal.

*I'm doing ok. This time they only removed part of the nail again. Now it's healing, but I gotta keep it taped and make sure it doesn't enter the skin once again. I may put cotton under the nail as it grows out. Right now I am sticking to socks and flip-flops.

2. What did the doctor say about what you will be able to do?

*He said to take it easy on walking around, and to rest my foot often. Basically the same things you guys tell me.

3. Have you had help during this time? From your companion? From members?

*I've been fine on my own. There hasn't really been any help needed.

4. So, after all that, how are you doing REALLY? Are you and your companion gelling? I know you’ll have some companions who are more of your favorites than others, so how does Elder Choque measure?

*Elder Choque and I are doing great! Although we don't have much in common, we've been able to get to know one another and bond even with many trials occurring at the same time. We've also seen much success together in only a short period of time. He's super cool under pressure. As far as companions go, I'd say he's one of my favorites.

5. We never sent your package because most of it was your shoes. I will send what we have, but know that your shoes will have to be in a later package because we are getting you a larger size shoe.

*Ok. Thanks!

-Zach

Wednesday, March 18, 2015

Toe Surgery

Hey,
The surgery's been moved to today in an hour.
My comp just gave me a blessing, so I'll be ok. Thank you so much for all you guys do.

I love you all.
-Zach

Tuesday, March 17, 2015

Not Healing Quite So Well

Hey.

I wanted to let you know that my toe's doing better, but the left edge is curling down into the flesh. If I let it grow out again, it'll cut into the flesh once more. I passed by the clinic again, and he said that if I couldn't cut the left side off on my own, he'd remove the entire nail and let a new one grow out.

So that's what I'll try to do tonight: remove the left side of the nail.

Please pray for me.

If I can't get it out, I'll have to have the entire nail removed as per the original plan. The operation will take place on Thursday morning.

I love you so much.

-Zach


Monday, March 16, 2015

Moving Forward, Slowly

Hey all!
Well, this week we had some success. On Saturday we baptized D_____, who is the nephew of S_____ (our recent convert). There's now a lot of LDS members living in this one house we contacted. Unfortunately, all of our investigators have either been baptized or have fallen through, so now it's time to search for new ones again. Back to the drawing board, if you will.

I myself have been feeling pretty run-down lately,  but spirits are high. Elder Choque and I expect more success to follow as this transfer rolls on.

The 21st of March should prove to be especially interesting. President Collado has authorized the missionaries of Puerto Cabezas to perform baptisms in the ocean this Saturday, on the condition that the LDS members themselves actually perform the ordinance. The idea is to better develop relationships between recent converts and more-experienced members, instead of regular missionary-to-member contact. All in all, I think it'll be super awesome.

My toe is doing better. I've been taping it nightly and putting cotton underneath the edge to encourage nail growth that doesn't cut into my skin. It's a slow process, but my toe keeps improving. I think wider-toed shoes would be a great idea.

Other than that, not much else is happening here at the moment. Just working and healing.

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

-Zach

Monday, March 9, 2015

New Area, New Thrills!

Hey all!

Well, this week was definitely super AWESOME! After finding, meeting, and teaching a slew of Elder Salazar's former investigators (and a few of my own), we baptized five people this past weekend:
A_______, J______, S______, D______, and C______.






A______ and J______ are husband and wife, S_____ is A______'s aunt and D_____'s mother, and C____ is the new daughter-in-law of a very active member here in Loma Verde.

I am so amazed with the miracles that the Lord has blessed us with this past week. Elder Choque and I are pumped to be working in this new area, and we expéct more success in the near future. Not only through baptisms, but through finding and bringing back the almost-countless less-actives.
Nasty ingrown toe problem--still lingering.

Dead spider on a machete.

I'm super excited to be working in this new area, even though I'm still coming to terms with the newfound responsibility placed upon me.

I think it's really cool that you guys decided to do the list of friends! I know that in accordance with the promise given to us by several church leaders, at least one family in your growing list is ready to accept the Restored Gospel into their lives. I know it brings a little uneasiness, especially given the fact that these people are your friends and neighbors, but I promise you that this is the best (and most important) message that they will ever hear in their entire lives. You can be the ones to make that difference in their lives; to bring them a new hope that they may not have ever previously considered.

So, in other news, I've had several of the Latino missionaries here tell me that I look a lot like Buzz Lightyear. Weird. And unexpected.

Anyway, I've sent some pictures of not only the baptisms, but of my toe and also a huge spider I killed the other day with a machete. There's a ton of them here.

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

-Zach

Monday, March 2, 2015

A Third of the Way Through

Hey all!

Well, this week definitely threw me for a loop.

So, as per the new transfers, I have been moved to Loma Verde 2 as Senior Companion, with Elder Choque as my new companion. Elder Lawrence is staying in Caminante 1 (he'll have 9 months in the same area by the end of this change), with Elder Accordino as his new companion.

So that makes Elders Choque, Accordino, Tran, and Shawcroft (yep, my CCM comp) newbies to Puerto.
Leaving Puerto are Elders Mariño, Salazar, Alvarado (all 3 finishing their missions), and Cabrera. With Elder Subuyú and Hermana Ferrin finishing their missions next transfer, the rest of us in Puerto are seeing a huge overhaul of missionaries here.

I myself am a bit overwhelmed. This is my first time serving as a senior companion, and I get to do it in an area that I am completely unfamiliar with. I'll actually be going on divisions with Elder Compton later today to learn my area, as he himself worked in it for a time.

So, lots of responsibility for me. Not sure how I'll be able to handle this right now, but I know that with fervent prayer and the Lord's help I can effectively and efficiently fulfill my calling in this new area.

On Tuesday, Larence and I baptized this girl named D____. She's the niece of our recent convert O____. We've been teaching D____ and her mother M____ for some time now, but D____ has responded with much more acceptance and eagerness than her mother. Now that I'm in a new area, I pray that Elders Lawrence and Accordino can touch M____'s heart and lead her into the waters of baptism.

I on the other hand have to not only meet and get to know Elder Salazar's investigators, but also begin searching for my own.

Also, A____, O____, and their family have been doing much better. They stopped by the hospital on Monday and Tuesday to perform tests on A____, and they discovered that there are no lasting medical problems from the attack. So that is truly an answer to so many prayers.

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

-Zach