Happy New Year familia y amigos!!! Ah family!! It was so great to see and talk to you on Christmas!! Some, more time than others. (*Hunter!* *cough* *cough*). I'll admit a got pretty trunky afterwards, but I'm choosing to look forward! To Mother's Day, that is. Haha. Last week, we had the wedding of Cruz and Merling and Cruz's baptism!! In summation, there were a lot of complications leading up to the wedding and it almost didn't happen, but God provided a way! It was our Christmas miracle. They're super cute together and seemed really happy. This Sunday we had another baptism of a lady named Candida. Apparently, she just had some sort of emergency last Sunday and that's why she couldn't come to church, but she was already to be baptized this week! She has a ton of faith and her strong desire to follow God is obvious. When she came up out of the water, Hna. Salinas and I ran around to the door of the font so we could see her face when she walked up the steps, but right when we got there, we heard sounds of exasperated breathing. At first, it just sounded like she was crying and then it sounded like she was having trouble breathing and maybe even convulsing. Hna. Salinas and I exchanged looks of panic and almost ran into the font to help her but the Bishop's wife went to her aid. We found out later that she hadn't been having trouble breathing; she was just overcome by the spirit and could feel the presence of the Lord really strong. Phew! Gave us quite a scare. I've never heard anyone cry like that before. Anyway, it was super special to see her get baptized because I was the one who suggested we first contact her. For Christmas, we had a reunion with the whole mission at the Hilton Hotel in Managua and it was super nice. We got to watch Despicable Me 2 in Spanish and present zone cheers and zone talents and had a delicious lunch (best food I've had yet here in Nicaragua). They had some mini competitions. Hna. Salinas and I participated in the beat-boxing/rap competitions (I beat boxed and she rapped) and we won against two pairs of elders because we got the loudest cheer! Sweet! Hunter would be proud. Haha just kidding. He would laugh because it was pathetic compared to what he can do. Ha ha. But hey! They liked it! President and Hermana Collado also gave each companionship a fruit basket and two pillows with custom pillowcases that say our mission theme "Somos las manos de Cristo" We are the hand of Christ. On Christmas Eve, we had an activity with out zone and ate a ton of pizza. They also watched "Monsters Inc University" in Spanish, but my comp and I missed most of it cuz we were picking up the pizza. We participated in two gift exchanges and I got some perfume, fruit by the foot and stickers. I save my package from the Andersen's until Christmas so I'd have something to open and loved what was inside- two new shirts and candy! On Christmas Eve, Hna. Salinas and I lit sparklers and took some cool pictures waving them around. Christmas Day we ate dinner at Burger King. Haha lame, huh? But here, it's like luxury food. More expensive than the Burger King's in the U.S. though. That night, we watched "Errand of Angels" in our casa on the little dvd player we have. It was a good Christmas. Nothing compared to the amazing ones at home with the family, but good. Next Monday are transfers and we are positive Hna. Salinas will be getting transferred. She's been in Leon for about 8 months now. Also, we just realized that our recent convert, Walter is pretty much in love with her. It wasn't that way at first, but it is now. Two people have told us that and we've begun to notice it too. He would call night after night at 10:30pm sometimes up to seven times! But we wouldn't answer. Ugh, quite a problem. What's more, he told us he doesn't want to come to church anymore and thinks everything was a lie. What the heck! We witnessed his conversion! I don't know what happened. We're avoiding him until transfers because we don't want to cause more problems, but after transfers I'll keep working with him and try to get him to understand the importance of the covenant he made with God. Sorry to end this letter on a sad note, but it's the last things that came to my mind. We're pushing on in faith and trying to stay positive! HAPPY NEW YEAR EVERYONE!! Les quiero!!!! Hermana Hawkins
Monday, December 30, 2013
Hola! This will be super quick cuz we get less time to write today! I'll be getting online at 5pm my time on Wednesday so make sure everyone is on! I CANNOT wait to talk to you and see all your lovely faces!! This week, Cruz got baptized! My first family! (A family to complete). I'll tell you more about it when we google hangout in two days. I LOVE YOU ALL TO THE MOON AND BACK!!! FELIZ NAVIDAD!!! Hermana Hawkins
P.s. I received Brooke Andersen's package, but probably won't get yours until January when we go to Managua for another meeting. I'm waiting to open it until CHristmas. It took 20 days to get here, but they held it in the office until the Christmas mission reunion.
Hola familia y amigos!
Not a lot of interesting stuff happened this week. We teaching a guy named Cruz who is married to a member. They're getting married this Saturday and he's going to be baptized afterwards. It counts as a family baptized before Christmas because it's a family to complete. I hope all goes well with that!
We've been trying to get Esperanza and Francisco to come to church for the past 4 weeks and something has always come up. They promised to be there this Sunday and we even called them to remind them, but they didn't come. This week we're going to stress the importance of going to church and of not postponing their repentance. Hopefully we can get them to move up their marriage and baptismal date.
We contacted a guy named Jorge Bendito this week who is super great! He accepted the invitation to come to church in the first contact (and he indeed came on Sunday) and he said that he wanted to learn more about our church! We'll have our first lesson with him this week. I'm excited. On Sunday, we did our special musical number for Christmas. I had a solo for the second verse and received a lot of compliments afterwards.
We had another great lesson with Gloria and her family this week and she is golden! She pretty much told us that she wants to be a member, but doesn't want to give up her Virgin Mary. We explained to her that she doesn't have to. Mary was an exceptional woma and a chosen vessel, and we have a great respect for her; we just don't worship her. We only worship God. Mary can hold a special place in her heart, but we should focus on Jesus Christ. He is the center of everything. Also, her husband Armando watched the restoration video we left with them TWO TIMES! Awesome. I know God has a lot in store for this family.
Yeah, that's pretty much it for this week. Sorry for the boring letter haha.
I hope you all have a very special Christmas and remember the reason for the season. Jesus Christ is our Lord and Savior! I know it and am so grateful to have the opportunity to proclaim his love to the people of Nicaragua. I love you all!! FELIZ NAVIDAD!! Lots of love, Hermana Hawkins
Wednesday, December 11, 2013
Wednesday, December 4, 2013
Monday, December 2, 2013
We dropped Santos and Francisca.We visited them this week and Francisca was not happy we came. She said she doesn't like our religion and they both said they're not ready to change. So sad! BUT! We found a super awesome lady named Gloria this week! She and her family are Catholic, and when we first met her I was afraid it would go nowhere because most of the Catholics here are so stubborn about their faith, but she said she likes learning about other religions and wants to hear more of the word of God. We had another lesson with her this week and she said she had read the Restoration pamphlet that we gave her. We gave her a copy of the Book of Mormon and explained what it is and she seemed super curious! She looked at every page in the front of the book and she said she felt good when we were telling her about it. We explained that that was the influence of the Holy Ghost. She said she would read the Book of Mormon and we left her with a specific chapter to read. She said she's been having some problems with with her husband because he drinks and that she's been hoping someone would come to help her. Now here's the really cool part: She told us that she had had two dreams in which she saw the image that's on the front of the Restoration pamphlet and had tried asking people what it meant but no one knew. She had forgotten about it, but when we gave her the pamphlet she remembered the dreams. Ah, she is chosen by God! I know she's prepared to hear our message! Her soul is hungering for the truth and we have the privelage of showing her where to find a spiritual feast. I'm so excited to see how our next lesson with her goes. I'm really starting to see the difference between a person who is ready to hear the gospel and a person who is not ready at this point in time.
We finally met Esperanza's husband Francisco and he is great! He wants to know what his purpose is. They both have questions of the soul that we're excited to answer in our next lesson with them when we teach the Plan of Salvation. Our first lesson with them as a family went really well. Esperanza is golden. We started telling her husband about the Book of Mormon and she jumped in and started explaining it to him. She's been reading it and we invited him to read it too. We invited Francisco to saying the closing prayer. He hesitated and then his 9 year old son said he wanted to say it. We were thrilled! He gave a tender prayer to protect his family and that he wanted to go to church and to allow them to be able to. It was great. I'm amazed at how spiritually in-tune children often are. They were gonna come to church this Sunay, but they're son kept them up all night and they hardly got any sleep, so they slept in. But they promised to come next week. I have a lot of hope for these two families.
Hola familia y amigos!!
Tuesday, November 5, 2013
This week has been so much better. We eat lunch at a member's house and provide our own breakfast and dinner- stuff we buy at the supermarket and don't have to cook. Hna. Salina's asked our cooked if she could give me less food for each lunch cuz it has been too big of a portion for me so now it's much easier to finish my plate. I still don't really like the food, but there are something's I enjoy- chicken, fish, yellow platanos (kinda like bananas)
-Hna. Behan is in my zone and Hna. Howell is in my district so I get to see them pretty often! It's such a blessing!
-On the flight from Panama to here, I had a great gospel conversation with a man named Miguel and gave him a pass-along card.
-Prez. Collado and his wife seem very nice. They don't really speak any English.We went to their house the first day in Nicaragua and it was BEAUTIFUL. I felt like I was on vacation haha.
My companion has a great sense of humor and is really nice and patient. She helps me a lot with my Spanish. However, she's been really sick this week with an ear ache so I had to do exchanges so she could rest. I've had to pay extra money to ride in taxis and triciclos this week because walking in the heat makes the pain worse. So I had to use some of my own money off of my debit card just to pay for groceries this week. Grrr.
The money we use is called cordobas. 25 cordobas equals once American dollar.
The Nicaraguan accent is so hard to understand. They speak really fast and slur their words together and speak in vos (a form of the language we never learned cuz it's informal). I'm just trying to be patient with myself and hope I get better at understanding people with time.
There are plenty of people to teach here. We found 4 new families last week. Hna. Salinas is such a good teacher. She always listens and asks lots of good questions and share great scriptures and does all the stuff it says in PMG. I am learning a lot from her. She's from Costa Rica and has 3 siblings. She speaks really good English so whenever I don't know a word in Spanish, I say it in English and she usually know what it is and can tell me what it is in Spanish. I can communicate well with her because she doesn't have a Nican accent.
Eventhough I can understand the people very well, I enjoy teaching lessons.
I'm tired pretty much all the time. Sometimes days, I have to fight to stay awake in lessons.
The people here give you food to show love and they'll get offended if you don't eat it so you have to make yourself. Sometimes they don't even ask if you've already eaten. Like last week, I had two lunches and felt like I was gonna die. But it has been a lot better this week.
Women greet each other by putting their cheek up to the other and making a kissy sound.
People say "Adios" when they pass each other on the street instead of hola. Interesting.
White people are called cheles and people keep calling to me "Chela!" and "Chelita!" and calling me beautiful. It's a bit awkward.
My ward is good, but really small.
I'm grateful to have this opportunity to serve the Lord and hope I can do some good here.
Ta ta for now!
Love, Hermana Hawkins
-I thought my acne would be really bad here since I'm sweating so much, but it's actually almost completely cleared up! So that's good.
-The people here are tone deaf.
-A lot of women don't shave their legs or armpits.
-Hna. Howell saw an old woman peeing on the sidewalk. Gross!
-There are tons of stray dogs and cats here. I'm afraid to touch them cuz Hna. Salinas said they bite and I'm afraid I'll get a disease.
-Members here don't follow the modesty standards of the church very well.
-Women breatfeed their children in public- no blanket or nothing! Even kids that look like their 18 months old! Unpleasant.
-Some people start mumbling their own prayer as you're saying a prayer. It totally through me off the first time is happened and I thought they were saying the prayer, but it was just a personal one, not one for the lesson.
Yep, life is super different here, but I'm starting to adjust. This week was so much better and I think with time, it will get even better. I'm trusting in the Lord and trying to be patient.
I love you all! Thank you for your support and your prayers.
Agh, I'm running out of time....
OK, let's see... this morning we had a giant spider in our apartment and I used a chair to smash it. We usually walk, but sometimes take a super crowded small bus or a thing called a triciclo which is a bike with a seat attached to the front that fits two people. It's cool, but traffic here is insane. So many time, I feel like I'm gonna get hit by a car. The other day we had just finished lunch and stopped by a members house. They brought out the biggest hot dog I have ever seen and handed it to me and then went to get another for Hna. Salinas. I looked at my comp as if to ask if I had to eat it and if she was going to tell them we already ate, but she just said 'Lo siento' to tell me I still had to eat it. I thought I was gonna die. BTW, this was the day I felt sick. How did she expect me to eat 2 lunches??? I forced down half, but could eat no more and had to tell them I couldn't eat it because I was sick and my stomach was sensitive.
The people here are super friendly and humble and my trainer is an amazing missionary. She is so patient and hard-working and I know I'm going to learn a lot from her. I'm so sorry I don't have time to write more. I should have written my email before reading everyone's emails. I'll be better with my time next week. I love you all.
Here is how NataLee responded to a few of our questions:
The food is the hardest thing for me. Almost every meal is a struggle. I really hope I can adjust. We got to a little internet cafe down the street from our casa to use a computer. I'll send pics of my casa. It's hot all the time, but right now is concerned "winter" in Nicaragua which just means it's the rainy season. It rains almost every day. The other night is started raining super hard outside while we were teaching a lesson and we couldn't hear anything. I was in the middle of reading a scripture and had to pause and wait for the rain to die down so the investigator could hear me. I don't know if I'd call my area jungle. I haven't seen any toucans or monkey and I've only seen one gecko, but there is an area that has more stores and stuff that I would call downtown. W
We eat rice at every meal and usually some kind of meat- chicken or fish or beef or something and also salad with lots of vinegar and usually a bland tortilla and juice or soda. Read my weekly letter to hear my hot dog horror story. My mission Prez. (President Collado) and his wife are super nice but don't really speak any English. Yes, we have a phone. My trainer carries it. We pretty much walk everywhere. Sometimes we take a super crowd bus or ride a triciclo. My ward is good. Small though. What does " clap houses" mean? We don't ever really knock on doors. We just find people who are sitting on their porch outside or call in to people who have their doors open or contact people on the street. I love you.