Hola familia y amigos!!
These last 10 days have felt like an eternity, but it's finally P-day! Yay! I thing I learned this week is: Don't eat hot dogs or sausages in a third world country. Every time I do, I get sick. So I'm not gonna eat those anymore. There's this Nicaraguan drink here called tiste that's made of water, ground up corn and coacoa powder and it is disgusting. Who in the world ever thought it would be good to put corn in water was crazy. I don't know how people can like it. I've had to force myself to drink it multiple times this week. Also, people put uncooked oatmeal mix in water and drink it. Yuck. Oatmeal is supposed to be cereal, not a drink. I've discovered that I like platanos. And almost any time they serve fish or chicken I like it.
The cost of living here is so cheap! It only costs about $3 for the water for our apartment for an entire month! And the electricity for a month is only about $8! Crazy. You can buy delicious little bread treats from Panerias here for super cheap. You can get a dozen mini muffins for $1. The smoothies are super cheap too! Only about 60 cents! And they're delicious! But cereal is like $5/$6 a box and candy is a lot more expensive too.
There are so many flies here! Sometimes there will be like 8 flies in a persons house flying around and landing on me literally ever 5 seconds. It's awful.
I've had a lot of people tell me my Spanish is good, but I can definitely understand less than I can speak. It's frustrating.
About Walter... this guy doesn't know what year he was born, the name of his father, or even his exact full name! It's crazy! He pretty much had to make up a birthday for his baptismal record. He was baptized last Saturday, but later that week we found out his name was incorrect in the baptism so he needed to be baptized again with his exact name. When we told him that, he got offended and said he didn't understand why. We told him it would only be like 15 minutes and that it was necessary because it had to be his exact name or else it's not actually him being baptized. We explained it so many ways, but he kept saying it didn't make sense. We told him it all comes down to faith and if he's willing to follow God. Hna. Salinas told him to pray and ask God if it's what he's supposed to do, but wouldn't. He told us he knows the Book of Mormon's true and that the church is true, but that it didn't make sense that he had to be baptized again because everyone makes mistakes. We explained that God is a God of order, but he didn't want to listen. He told us he didn't want us to come back. Hna. Salinas got emotional in the closing prayer. Walter was able to give up smoking and drinking coffee in one week and he has a testimony, but he was letting Satan get to him. It was super discouraging... BUT, the next day, the elder who baptized him called him and talked to him and he said he wanted to be baptized again and said he wanted to apologize to us. We paid him a visit and he apologized and said that after we left he felt terrible and realized that by rejecting us, he had rejected God. He read his scriptures and prayed and felt peace and knew that he needed to be baptized again. It was incredible! My testimony of the power of prayer grew so much! He was re-baptized. I'll try to send a pic.
This week we visited a lady and asked if we could share a message, but she said she was busy making tortillas so we offered to help. She showed us how to make them and we each got to try making one! <Although I'm sure the food-preparation circumstances never would have passed a health inspection in the U.S., It was a cool authentic cultural experience.
The retention rate here is super low. Recent converts often go inactive in the first few years. It's sad. We're trying to help people understand the importance of attending church each.
I'm almost out of time and that's all I can think of for this week so hasta luego! I love you all.
Count your blessing, Hermana Hawkins