Thursday, May 28, 2015

BIGGEST CHANGES EVER!

Hey all!
Well this last week really threw me for a loop. On Tuesday, we had the big "Con-frence" with President Duncan, who flew in from Managua, talked with us for a bit, and then left again after some 6 hours of teaching. Rather short, but still very spiritual. Not one word was mentioned pertaining to mission splits, so I don't think that'll be happening.

From last Monday to tomorrow, the US Navy's USNS Comfort medical ship is docking at Puerto Cabezas. It's giving free medical care to the Nicaraguans, and we as missionaries had the awesome opportunity to help these guys out as translators. It was super fun! I'll try to send pics of this computer will let me.
At one point, they brought some instruments out and this little jazz band starts jamming out. It was crazy.

THEN, on Saturday night I found out that I was moving areas. Choque is staying in Loma Verde 2 with Elder Sherle as his new comp, while I have been called to serve as District Leader in Miskito 2. My new comp is Elder Maradiaga from Honduras.

This means that I will not only serve as a DL, but that I will also be required to learn & teach in Miskito. I also have the entire zone of Puerto as my area.

Lots to take in.

Lots to do.

I'm not sure how to take this all in yet, but I know that the Lord knows that I am ready for this calling.

Lawrence was called back to the Pacific today, now Serving in the city of León.

Not much else. I love you all. I love you Mom, Dad, Alex, and Bree.

-Zach 

QUESTIONS

1)  How did the conference go? How were your songs? Can we hear them?
* The conference went fine. Elder Duncan and Presidente Collado only stayed for some 3 hours or so and then went back to the Pacific, but it was quite spiritual. There was absoutely no talk of splitting the mission. The songs went over GREAT! I didn't get a recording though. I'm really sorry.

2)    How’re your food packages working for you? Are you rationing your goodies? SHARE!!!
* I am trying my best to ration out stuff. I've shared a ton and I still got extra.

3) How do Nica’s do funerals?
* Nicas usually have some sort of vigil, where they gather together and talk about the deceased's life. This usually takes place in a church building. Sometimes the people (especially the Catholics) hire a 4-man band to play sad songs as the body is slowly driven down the street in a hearse. In essence, a funeral procession.

Monday, May 18, 2015

I GOT THE PACKAGES!

Hallway looking into our bedroom. Notice the little cook top sitting on the GROUND.

Bedroom-Kitchen combo area. Perfect for late night snacks.

Our sturdy front door. Next to our tiny fridge.

Looking down the hall in the other direction. Can you tell it gets super HOT here?!

Our study area and closet.
Hey all!
This week overall was kind of a prep week for what's coming soon.

For starters, Presidente Duncan is arriving in Puerto TOMORROW and will be giving a discourse to the missionaries here. As requested by the AP's, I've been preparing two hymns to be sung during the meeting. The first one is "Israel, Jesús Os Llama" (Israel, Israel, God is Calling), and the second one is "Kli Wal Praubia Sa" (Para Siempre Dios Esté Con Vos/God Be With You TIll We Meet Again). We're singing the second hymn in Miskito, so that's gonna be fun.

Also, in the past two weeks I've recieved THREE packages- one from Mom and Dad (with one shoe- yay), one from Lolo and Lola, and one from Lola's sister. It was like Christmas or something.
Please say thank you to Lola, Lolo & Auntie for me. These packages were truly a boost in morale.

Also 'bout to complete 11 months in the mission! It's that not-quite-worth-recognizing milestone.

Other than that, not much else is happening down here. Tell Alex and Bree that every single missionary here is SUPER jealous that they got to go listen to Elder Holland talk. Seriously, you guys are really lucky.

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

-Zach

1) Gotten any packages yet? I HAVE to send out your birthday package this week in the hopes that it reaches you. I’m a little nervous though- especially if you haven’t received anything so far for the past month.
*I have! I'll explain in the big email.

2) Have you eaten anything else crazy? More turtle?
*Nope. Just shark, but nothing too crazy or "out-there."

3) How’s the temperature?
*Haha. It's an eternal 87 degrees here, unchanging. I miss chilly days and wanting to wear a jacket.

4)  Any more power outages?
*Every day. Without fail. At least once a day.

5) Any more mosquito bites?
*Sometimes. Not too often anymore.

6)  How long have the branch or ward leaders been members?
*Either 12 or 15 years, if my memory serves correctly.

7)   Is it difficult to keep new members active? If so, why?
*It depends on their personal reasons for conversion. Some have sincere desires to follow Christ and make committments to the Father, and others don't have such desires. We've recently come across less-active members who were baptized anywhere from 10 to 20 years ago (when the first missionaries arrived in Puerto), and we're trying to convince them to come back to Christ.

Monday, May 11, 2015

A Very Emotional Weekend

Hey All!
Well, this week kinda went by in a blur. Baptized a few people, got to talk to the family, lots of fun there.

I actually don't have much more to say than I said to you guys on Saturday.

But here's my recording, and I'll be sending two more Spanish chapters.

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

-Zach


QUESTIONS
1. Have any of your companion’s laughs annoyed you or entertained you? Or have any weird habits that annoy or entertain? * None of my companion's laughs have been weird, but I've heard plenty of weird laughs from other missionaries in the zones in which I've served. As for annoying habits, Elder Alfaro only showered every other day or so, which got pretty nasty, and Elder Lawrence would get down on his knees at an unexpected point in time (such as right in the middle of a conversation) and pray for over half an hour. That got annoying sometimes. That's about it in the way of weird habits.

2. What are your companions planning to do after the mission? Have you even talked about that? * We talk about it all the time. Elder Anderson's working on his family's farm in Idaho (he's already back); Elder Alfaro is going to marry his girlfriend and go to college; Elder Maughan is gonna help out on his uncle's farm until the fall semester of college (he gets home the same time as me); Elder Lawrence will be job-hunting while preparing for college (he gets home in March of 2016); and Elder Choque is considering proposing to his girlfriend when he gets home (July 2016).

3. What is your favorite banana? Or apple? Or mango? Send a pic. * They hardly sell any apples here, and I haven't had one since the CCM. I don't like the bananas much either. Too tough and potato-ish. The unripe mangoes here taste like granny smith apples with a slightly tougher texture, so those are sometimes fun to snack on.

4. How and when do Nica’s celebrate Mother’s Day? BTW, your Lola sends you her love. * Sadly, they don't celebrate Mother's Day down here. It's a real shame.

5. Also, Lola and Lolo sent you a package before Easter. Did you get it yet? If yes, please send them a shout out. * Ok!!

Monday, May 4, 2015

Into May

Hey all!
This week was somewhat better than last week, but I know some big success is on the horizon. We brought 9 people to church yesterday, and even though some of them are not positive at all, I feel that the others will be more accepting of the Restored Gospel.

Anyway, just counting down the days 'till I get to talk with you guys again. Only 4 left. Super pumped.

Also, here's my weekly recording. I'll send more than one in the weeks to come.

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

-Zach


1) You mentioned that your shirts are wearing out. Are you able to make it until you get a transfer where you can get to your other bag? If not, how many do you need us to send? What size?
*The soonest I'd be able to get to my other bag would be November, when I'll need to renew my cedula. I've acutally found a way to repair my shirts, so I won't be needing any new ones for a little while. I'll let you know if I need you to send me some.

2) How did your songs work out for the regional mission pres? Has the Miskito dictionary helped you?*Elder Duncan hasn't come yet. He'll be visiting either May 19 or 20, not sure yet on the date. I'll keep you posted.

3) We are cleaning out our book shelves downstairs. Are there any books that you want us to keep? We are keeping all the teen books- but any children’s books?
*I trust you guys to use your best judgement when cleaning out the shelves. I can't remember many of the children's books, but I know Alex and Bree will help you guys out.

4) We are getting ready to send out your next package. Had to get more socks and a garment bottom first. Your other shoe will be in this one. Let us know when you get the first package!
*Will do!

5) Pictures? PUH-LEASE!!!!!!!!
*I'm really sorry! I've been trying to send pics a ton lately but a lot of the computers here suck and can't handle the file size of photos. I'll keep trying.

-Zach