Sunday, February 15, 2015

Joy in the Journey

Hey everybody!
    Woah, I just got an email with my flight itinerary for March 3rd. Things are gettin´ real now. Just 3 more weeks! Can you believe it? I´m just trying to soak in Nicaragua as much as I can so I can treasure this time. I got all my souvenir shopping done today. What a relief. It´s stressful trying to decide on souvenirs for 12 people while at the same time being wise with your money. 
  Let me tell you a story. I bought some chocolate here to try for the first time and gave a piece to my companion. She said, "I taste wine." I was like, "Yeah right. They´re not gonna put wine in chocolate. That couldn´t be legal´. It tasted just like a Snickers to me. But just to be sure, I turned it over and read the ingredients. One of them was cocoa liquor. Woops! I bought alcoholic chocolate!! Haha, I couldn´t believe they could sell something like that without it saying on the front of the wrapper. I never would have known cuz I can´t recognize the taste of alcohol. Funny stuff. Speaking of food, they sell this snack in the streets here I really like. It´s slices of green mango with salt and vinagre. It tastes almost like pickles! Maybe I can find some green mangos when I get home and let you all try it. I´ve also been eating a lot of tortillas with nutella and garlic toast. 
  So the itchyness continues. I don´t know if it´s something in our house or some sort of bug that bites us while we´re outside, but my comp and I keep getting these red, itchy spots all over our legs and feet and backs and stomachs. I´ve even been getting hives. I´ve kinda gotten used to it and it´s not nearly as bad as it was when I broke out it than big allergic reaction before, but I´ve got a lot of scabs and my skin is suffering. All I want to be taken to a good dermatologist when I get home. 
   An investigator fed us dinner this week and I ate so much rice and beans I almost puked. Needless to say, I´m never eating beans again after the mish. I hate them so much. 
 We´ve been getting up at 6am several days during the week to play soccer at the church for an hour with a group of youth and the elders in the branch. It´s super fun and we get good exercise. 
  We finally had some success this Sunday. We had 4 investigators who came, and then Jonathon´s parents also showed up so we had a family! I love this family. Jonathon´s dad, Marvin has a nice mustache that reminds me of when Dad had a mustache. Maria is super receptive and has basically already accepted the message and plans to prepare for baptism, but doesn´t know when and doesn´t want to make a decision too quick. Marvin is more skeptical, but Jonathon´s motivating them a lot. The whole family is reading the Book of Mormon. I´m just gonna hope and pray that they keep progressing and get baptized February 28th cuz they´re pretty the only family possibility we have of baptizing a family this change. Please pray for them.
   We also started teaching a member´s cousin named Carlos who´s about 20 something years old. He´s already been to church twice and went to a baptism. And yesterday he accepted a baptismal goal for the 28th of February. It´s exciting to teach him cuz he´s full of great questions. I know if he reads the Book of Mormon, he will develop a strong testimony. 
  I´m feeling hopeful. I just want to enjoy this time and focus on loving and serving people. After all, you only have 18 months or 2 years to experience a mission, and the rest of your life to look back on it. I´ve been reading through my mission journal and reflecting on the things I´ve learned on my mission and it´s making me more and more grateful every day. Much love to all! Hermana Hawkins
P.s. Only in Nicaragua do they ask you if you want ketchup on your pizza. Haha. 

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