Thursday, September 8, 2016

Hasta Muy Pronto

This is Sam's final letter. What a journey it has been! We are so grateful for everyone who has supported Sam. We appreciate everyone who kept him in their prayers. I know there were letters of encouragement written that got him through difficult times. There were letters written to Val and I that kept us from flying to Nicaragua and bringing him home. We appreciate all your love and support.  

Sam's service has blessed our family in many ways. It has strengthened our ability to trust our Father in Heaven and Savior. His example of obedience and service makes us want to be better and try harder. It is humbling to witness the selflessness of the missionaries that are out sharing the plan of happiness.

Sam will be giving his homecoming report on Sept 25th at 1:30.  We would  love for you to join us for lunch at our house after.

Love you all,

Val and Sheri




Well, I know this is definitely going to be the longest week of the mission. Really feels like a dream it is finishing so fast. I remember in Tipitapa I felt like it was never going to end, buts its finally here! This week was one of the best weeks so far I would have to say!



 First off, on Sunday morning some really big tank looking things were imported, and transported to another location. They were so big, they took up the whole road! We got some really bad traffic and arrived to the Zone meeting about an hour late. Oops. The zone meeting was great, i really like our zone leaders.



   Then later this week, we did divisions with our zone leaders and i went to Chinandega to be with Elder Castro from Panama. It was really fun and he taught me a lot on how to be a better missionary and invite everyone to be baptized.



  The best part however was the baptism this week! We have been teaching the mother of a less active for almost six weeks now named Sara, and she got baptised on Saturday! Just her family showed up to the baptism, but it was so great and spiritual, i really think that they enjoyed it. I cant wait for you guys to meet Sara in the week that comes. She owns a litter dinner on the side of the road and also teaches special ed students how to paint nails! Oh, and her house also doubles as a beauty salon. She is super Pilus (Awesome) She loves to read, she even asked for a gospel principles book after church yesterday.



 A Really sudden storm came into Corinto Yesterday, so fast within ten minutes a blue sky turned into a really big rain strom. Luckily the owner of our house just changed our roof, so we did not get to wet like before!



 I feel so lucky to have been able to finish my mission here in Corinto, I know that this is a very special place, and I do love the people that i have taught here. Thank you all so much for your support and your emails. This experience has blessed my life more than i ever imagined it would. I miss all of you so much and cant wait to see you in the coming week. See you Soon! LES AMO!  



Tuesday, August 30, 2016

Semana Milagrosa!

Oi Familia! Hows all going back in Utah! Crazy its freezing at night. Here a really cold spell came in with the ran and I had to lower my fan from level three to level two at night. It probably got down to eighty degrees at night! 

 This week was something else, packed with lots of meetings and baptism! First off, we had  news meeting for Elder Hendrix in Managua, so I got to see a bunch of my buddies for the last time before I head home. President Poncio and Mrs Poncio did great jobs delivering their messages. I learned a lot about how to be a better trainer. Then on Friday we had another multi Zone meeting with president again. We practiced teaching in groups and things we can do to be better missionaries. The mission has been really struggling in baptizing lately, but I feel like we are doing well as a companionship. 
 
 On Thursday I worked with Elder Ferrin my old MTC Comp in his area, it was great, we taught a really cool family of theirs, and had a great time.

     This was probably the second most stressful incident in the mission after the incident with the wedding in Leòn. First off we had this investigator who is super awesome, always goes to church and even stays for the classes. We put the baptismal date for the 26 which was on a Friday, because she didn't want to many people to be in the church to see the baptism. Then we found out we had the meeting on Friday, so we moved it to Saturday. Then Friday after the meeting we did divisions, I went to Realejo to do some interviews for some people who were also preparing to be baptized. Then that night a big rain storm came and did damage to the chapels electric system, so the pump for the baptismal font was not working, so we did not have water to do the baptism on Saturday. Luckily the power was restored that night and we filled up the font so she could get baptized the following morning right before sacrament meeting. So Sunday morning we called her and her son to tell them that all was ready for the baptism. 

   The day before the chapel was under maintenance, and they were doing work to the doors. That morning when we went to get the baptismal clothes from a little closet that only the missionaries have keys to, none of our keys worked! They had accidentally switched the door knobs with the primary. So we called the president of the primary to come running with her keys so we could still do the baptism. We started the baptismal service at 8:30 and finished right at nine, minutes before their confirmation in Sacrament meeting. It was a miracle that all worked out, they were so happy to be baptized, it was awesome. Cant wait for you guys to meet them when you come.

Today we just went to the bridge to the island of Corinto and walked across the man bridge. Hope you like the photo, the bay is really beautiful. Then we went and chilled out a little bit with our lunch appointment. It was a really good day. Now we are in the cyber just writing in the AC, really nice. 
Thanks for everything, See you Soon, Les Amo!
 

 

Wednesday, August 24, 2016

Tres semanas mas!

Hello Utah! Its been a great week, lots of sun and even a bit of rain. I'm really sorry if my emails are sounding the same, but really every week is really much like the last. The biggest milestones are the baptisms though. Unfortunately we have not baptized these last two weeks, but we have some really cool investigators coming up. Some that we have been working with for a while.

 Elder Hendrix is doing well, learning more and more Spanish everyday. Its been so fun talking in English these weeks, even though i know I'm going to miss speaking in Spanish when I get home. Its really ironic, when you get to the mission you want to speak in English because you cant speak Spanish, but when you are finishing you love to speak it and then you get sent home, where you cant anymore. Bittersweet. 

  I want to talk to you guys about how great our lunch appointment is. You have already heard about them (The ones that had to move their house when the ocean rose). Last week they made us some Nica cake (Torta) as a special gift. They are so considerate to us, it feels like we are living in our own home. The members here are the best. Only thing though, they make me feel really trunky when they are watching the Olympics, the other day they had the diving and volleyball on in there house. The mother also washes our clothes, and sometimes we get get extra garments from the family, haha. I cant wait for you guys to meet them, the dad speaks a little English, he is hilarious. 

 Any way, we also have an investigator named Sara who is super awesome! She reads a ton and owns a cafetin. Well have to step by when you come and try it out! We hope that she will be getting baptized in the weeks that come.

   Those photos of Elder Monsons homecoming were cool, seeing all the people back together again. We all served in Puerto together which is really cool. I'm glad that it all went well. 

Today we went to the plaza in Chinandega to eat, and I ran into my old friend elder Cedeño who started his mission here in Corinto and now is in another part of Chinandega. We had pizza and had a good chat about the mission. Elder Hendrix got sick and his eyes are swollen so he wears sun glasses everywhere he goes! Haha, man new people get sick always. Prepared to get sick! Just kidding, just got to make sure you stay away from anything questionable food that is.

      Love you all tons and see you soon! 
 
 

Tuesday, August 16, 2016

Hola

Hey fam, thanks for all the great news that you have written, glad to hear that home is still home and not to much has changed... I hope. 

   This week was really great. We have been working with a bunch of people for a while and this week we worked really hard to put baptismal dates in the weeks coming. Most of them accepted a date, but are quite nervous about the goal. An experience that was really cool this week was we taught a lesson to an investigator her sister that is a member. We talked about if she believes if the book of Mormon is true, and if the church is true and if she feels like she needs to be baptized. The spirit was so strong that she started to cry, and put the baptismal date for the third of September. I am really excited to see this investigator to get baptized, because she reads above and beyond what we leave her in the book of Mormon.

    The weather has been really hot this week. We got rain at the beginning of this week, but just hot heat afterward. It always looks like rain is coming, but the clouds just seem to navigate around Corinto, leaving us with plenty of sunshine. That's ok though, a little sun don't hurt. 

  This week Stalin our convert received the priesthood, his mom even invited us to lunch on Saturday. She normally sells something called bough on Saturday, which is beef, yucca, and cooked bananas. It was really good. She gave us so much though that I could not finish it all. 

    We had quite a miracle as well. At the beginning of this week, a member who runs a tricycle for a living stopped us to have us say a prayer for his cousin who was in the hospital. Then later that week we were looking for a guy who showed up to church with a member. This guy just so happened to be the uncle of the girl who went to the hospital, and the night we got to his house the girl just got back from the hospital. Small world in Corinto. This family has once been really associated with missionaries, so hopefully they will progress. 

That's all for this week. The photo here is of us two at the end of this giant rock spine that goes out into the ocean. The other is with an English professor at church.

 Love you guys all so much, have a great week!  



Monday, August 8, 2016

Bautismo!

Querido Amado Familia. 

            I cant tell you how happy all of your emails make me! Davis sent me a bunch of video clips from back home, and I cant lie, it sure makes me excited to come back. It feels almost like a dream, something that when I started felt like it would never end. Only five weeks left now. Cant wait to see you guys!.

     This week I went to Managua to pick up my new trainee missionary! It was a really long ride all the way from Corinto to Managua. I stayed with Elder Mejia from Spain and we left at three thirty in the morning to get to Managua at 9. We thankfully arrived on time, and all was well. We then had a four trainers meeting before we got to know our comps. Then we joined the two groups of trainers and trainees together and received the new missionaries. My comps is Elder Hendrix from Georgia. Hes a really nice guy who loves martial arts and has a southern accent. After the meeting a few buses took us back to the bus terminal and we took the 4 hour bus ride back to Chinandega. Before we got to Corinto the buses had ended so we stayed the night with the zone leaders. They didn't have a lot of fans so we slept  outside on some mattresses, only to wake up to a huge thunder storm that got me a little soaked! And lightning that made the car alarms go off.  We left to Corinto the following morning and all was well.  had a great week together.

     Our investigator Stalin (Whos Latino and Russian hence the name) Got baptized this week! He is such a great kid. His baptism was also on his 13 birthday, so we had a party afterward. His grandpa is a member of the high council in Managua, so he came to do the baptism and the confirmation. It was a really great experience. Hes really excited to get the priesthood this week as well. 

   Joselyn who we baptized a few weeks ago is moving to New York today to live with her parents. First shes going to Salvador, then from There to New York. Sad thing to see the converts take off so fast.. 

All else is really great here. Yesterday was a scorcher, i`d say the hottest its been yet in Corinto. Hopefully we`ll get some cool weather soon. 

 Love you all so much and  cant wait to see you soon.
 

 

Monday, August 1, 2016

Voy A Entrenar!

Hey familia, thanks for the emails that you sent me, they make me smile every time! All is great here in Corinto!


First off, we had quite a miracle this week, we have been teaching a mom and her daughter for the last month, and they have been super awesome! They always went to church and had a baptismal date. Then all of a sudden they didn't come to church one week, and we could not find them in their house. We thought they lost interest in the church and we stopped visiting them. Then our friend Andres Brought them to the church activity on Thursday, and they loved it. We talked about their baptismal goal, which was in two days from this Thursday. She said it came really quick, but was really excited for her baptism. They were both baptized on Saturday. And seeing that she is from El Salvador, she wanted our zone leader Elder Alvarado from Salvador to baptize her. He is finishing his mission today, so it was his last opportunity to baptize here in Nicaragua. The baptismal service was great.



Also, we had changes and guess who is going to Puerto Cabezas! Elder Paau my companion! So i am going to stay here and train a new missionary that's coming tomorrow to Nicaragua. I believe his name is elder Hendrix. Its going to be so great. In the meantime, I am chilling out with Elder Mejia from Spain in Corinto. He is going to train as well. Im really excited to train a Gringo! We will have to practice lots of Spanish so he can learn quickly. 



That's all that's happened this week. I love it here in Corinto. And I love all of you Guys! Thanks for Everything!




Tuesday, July 26, 2016

Visita a Chinandega

Hey family, happy twenty-fourth of July! I hope that summer is super cool there at home! The photos of the hiking trip are awesome, was it pretty cold up there at night? It got a little cool here last Monday because it rained pretty good, but then turned right back to the nice humid heat. I am sure not going to miss the heat to much, but i will miss the humidity, because your hands and lips never get dry here. 

   This week we did divisions with Elder Alvarado and Ferrin again. I went to work in Chinandega for the night which was a blast. Elder Alvarado is from Salvador. He is a convert of about three years and is finishing his mission this week with Accordino, Shirlee, Monson and a ton of other missionaries. We visited a lot of cool people and taught some about the book of Mormon and others about the trinity. Other Religions are really popular in Chinandega. There's all types of them. Apostolic, Jehovas Witnesses, Adventists, Baptists, and of course the Catholic Church as well. Our church is fairly strong, there are three chapels in Chinandega, plus a few more like here in Corinto and other surrounding areas. 

  We had a sweet attendance this week of 151 people! The most I have seen in Nicaragua! People were having to squeeze in to find seats. It was so nice, because the attendance has recently been a little low. There are so many less actives here its crazy, but we have been working hard to invite them to come to church again. 

 Other exciting stuff is that Alison, our convert from last week spoke in Church! She did such a great job, and for only one week as a member she already knows so much about the church. She says she wants to serve a mission. It helps that she lives with a really active member as well. We should be having some more baptisms in the future. There's a guy here that has been going to church for a year straight that should be getting baptized in a few weeks, we hope so.

There's not much else to say, today we cleaned the house, there's a ton of spiders everywhere, and always mice in our garbage. Last night we ate dinner at a converts house, as we were sitting, their pet kitten was sleeping at the side of the house. Then out of nowhere two giant rats came running by the side of the house and ran into the kitten. It was funny because the rats are almost big as kittens here. 

Brother Andres and Domingo have been working with us a lot in these weeks, there such great guys. Andres brought investigators to church like he does every week. 

All is great here, love you guys so much!

Tuesday, July 19, 2016

Bautismo al fin!

Well, this week was probably the best one in Corinto. First off, we did divisions all the way to Somotillo. That includes driving by the volcano Cristobal for an hour and a half in a small micro-bus full of really sweaty people. It’s always and adventure. I worked with an Elder from Ogden named Elder Cook and Elder Walker went to Corinto to work with Elder Paau. We went and met some of their investigators and some recent converts. It’s a nucleus there, so they only have like 20 members in the whole town. All except two are recent converts. They have sure made a breakthrough. I had the privilege to meet a guy who got baptized that will probably the branch president when it becomes a branch. The guy is super awesome and loves the church. 

    Then we did divisions later with an Elder Named Elder Mejia from Honduras in Corinto. He lived in Spain for a few years before the mission, so he taught me a bit about Spain. It was pretty fun. Lots of moving around in the bus and transportation this week. 

    Best of all, On Friday night we had a baptism! Alison is the cousin of a more recent convert named Carla and is super happy to be a member. She says she wants to serve a mission and is going to seminary now. The baptism went well, lots of people showed up, and another youth named Amulek Baptized her as his first baptism he has done. Then on Saturday we had an activity with the youth and we ate tacos together. The bishop is really cool here and works hard with the youth. We did divisions quite a few times this week with the youth and with some members. The photo in front of the baptismal font are the members. The one that is squatting down is the member Andres that works with us each day throughout the week.

That’s about all this week. Love you guys so much!



Tuesday, July 12, 2016

Photos of elder Ferrin and me


Here's Ferrin, my old comp from the mtc. He's here in Chinandega with me.




 

Presidente Poncio

   Hey family, thanks so much for all the emails you have sent. I love them so much and hope that you enjoy reading mine as well. 


  Well, we had the reunion with the new president this week. His name is president Poncio, and he is really awesome. He shook everyone's hand and asked us where we are from. He was super excited for the work in the reunion and i cant wait to work with him. Of course I still miss the Collados, but the new president seems very kind as well. Hes from Guatemala, and has two children, both like 17 and 15 years old. 



    I also got to see some of my old buddies at the meeting for one last time, like Elder Sirrine and Elder Shirlee. They will all be leaving in three weeks from now, so I don't think i will see them again. Maybe someday when they get married and ill have to go to Arizona or Idaho to see their wedding. The mission is sure changing fast, lots of my friends are on their way out.



  This week was very successful in finding new investigators. We have been teaching a sister called Allison who lives with a super solid member named Carla. She should be getting baptized this week. We also have had a lot of other miracles this week with investigators. Like a sister that came to church who was married and baptized, but not confirmed, so we will have to baptize her again. And a mother and daughter who both went to church. Therese a guy named David that is super cool, but was working this week so was not able to go to church this week.



The family where we eat lunch moved their house yesterday, the government told them there time was up and they would have to move as fast as possible. We call him Papa Gordo and they're such a great family. I'm so sorry that they have had so many difficulties.



Andres and a brother called Domingo have been working with us almost everyday, I can't believe how dedicated these members are in this area.



 Today we had a beach activity here in Corinto. The waves a really big, excellent to surf i would think, but no one surfs here. The beaches are so different here than in Puerto Cabezas, it's crazy. There clean with nice sand, big waves and tons of sea shells. In Puerto they are very dirty. The weather was really nice, so we didn't burn to bad. Then we went and got some liquados, or smoothies. They are only a dollar here, so that's really nice. 



That's it for this week, and as for going to Puerto Cabezas i would be good either way, Its definitely not as nice as Corinto, but it would be really cool to see everyone again. I'm good either way. Love you guys so much. See you in two months!




Presidente Poncio

   Hey family, thanks so much for all the emails you have sent. I love them so much and hope that you enjoy reading mine as well. 


  Well, we had the reunion with the new president this week. His name is president Poncio, and he is really awesome. He shook everyone's hand and asked us where we are from. He was super excited for the work in the reunion and i cant wait to work with him. Of course I still miss the Collados, but the new president seems very kind as well. Hes from Guatemala, and has two children, both like 17 and 15 years old. 



    I also got to see some of my old buddies at the meeting for one last time, like Elder Sirrine and Elder Shirlee. They will all be leaving in three weeks from now, so I don't think i will see them again. Maybe someday when they get married and ill have to go to Arizona or Idaho to see their wedding. The mission is sure changing fast, lots of my friends are on their way out.



  This week was very successful in finding new investigators. We have been teaching a sister called Allison who lives with a super solid member named Carla. She should be getting baptized this week. We also have had a lot of other miracles this week with investigators. Like a sister that came to church who was married and baptized, but not confirmed, so we will have to baptize her again. And a mother and daughter who both went to church. Therese a guy named David that is super cool, but was working this week so was not able to go to church this week.



The family where we eat lunch moved their house yesterday, the government told them there time was up and they would have to move as fast as possible. We call him Papa Gordo and they're such a great family. I'm so sorry that they have had so many difficulties.



Andres and a brother called Domingo have been working with us almost everyday, I can't believe how dedicated these members are in this area.



 Today we had a beach activity here in Corinto. The waves a really big, excellent to surf i would think, but no one surfs here. The beaches are so different here than in Puerto Cabezas, it's crazy. There clean with nice sand, big waves and tons of sea shells. In Puerto they are very dirty. The weather was really nice, so we didn't burn to bad. Then we went and got some liquados, or smoothies. They are only a dollar here, so that's really nice. 



That's it for this week, and as for going to Puerto Cabezas i would be good either way, Its definitely not as nice as Corinto, but it would be really cool to see everyone again. I'm good either way. Love you guys so much. See you in two months!




Tuesday, July 5, 2016

Feliz 4 De Julio

  Hey fam, this week was a good one as they all are. Thanks for all the emails, i never get tired of reading them, even as time goes on. You might think that with time you would get bored, but I feel like they keep me somewhat updated on whats going on back home. I got an email from Elder Jacobsen back in Nicaragua. He sent me some photos of the people that we met in Tipitapa and Managua. 

   So the house was finally complete in the new location, which was right in the middle of a walking path. Unfortunately the government came and told them that they could not have the house there and would have to move it. So one Thursday we spent a few hours digging out the hillside where they will be able to put their house. It was so hot, we were drenched in sweat at the end of it. We wended up moving quite a bit of dirt. We still have to dig more, but it was a good start. 

  This week we did divisions with Elder Walker from South Carolina. He works in an area that's super far away called Somotillo, which is by the border of Honduras. We first took a bus for 30 minutes to Chinandega, then another hour and a half to get to his area. We go by this massive volcano called Mt Cristobal. Its so tall it parts the clouds that go by. I don't know if we could, but it would be an awesome adventure to go climb it... I heard that there's a road that goes part way up. The divisions were really fun, Elder Walker came to Corinto and we had a great time.
   
  There is a member here called Andres who went and worked with us everyday this week for six hours each day! He is so awesome. He gives us a ton of references and helps us teach all the time. We did divisions twice this week, so we have been working really hard to help people come unto Christ. We have worked really hard these two weeks and have found some cool people, but we are still looking for baptisms. 
 Here`s a photo of a ship coming into port from the beach.
That's about it for this week, love you guys  so much. Thanks for everything!  



Monday, June 27, 2016

Corinto and Realejo

Hey Family, thanks so much for the emails that you have sent and for all the support as always. This week was been really great. Lots of contacting and getting to know the port town of Corinto. 

 Super exciting news, Noel who Elder Sirrine and I were teaching since we started in Leon just got baptized this week. Even though I was not there for the baptism, it sure made me happy to hear that he was baptized. I know that some people just take more time than others to prepare. I love seeing the miracles that happen to people after they have felt the spirit in their lives. He is sure one of my favorite people I have thought in my mission. The other investigators that we left behind there are getting ready for baptism as well.

I did divisions this week in a place called Realejo between Corinto and Chinandega. I went with an Elder called Elder Gibbs from Georgia. It was really cool there, just a small little pueblo. Funny thing, someone was shipping their cows in a trailer full of cow poop. When we walked behind the trailer, the cow kicked back and flung a ton of the cow poop, caking elder Gibbs. Luckily he covered me from the crap, and he had extra clothes back at the house. Then we went to a child's baptism in Chinandega that he had been teaching the following morning. 

Corinto has had some record high tides over the past few weeks. Over the past ten years the beach on Corinto has receded about 500 meters back, its slowing dissolving away. Due to these high tides recently, lots of the people are having to find new places to live. Our lunch appointment Christen or Papa Gordo as we call him had to move their house this week, because the ledge down to their beach is creeping closer and closer to their house. We have helped them twice to move their house using a big cart to haul there belongings in. This morning we went with them. The attendance in church plummeted due to everyone working on their houses. There are some big waves here in Corinto, but no one really swims. There's actually a lot of people here that don't know how to swim quite ironically. 

Well, Corintos awesome! We have a member named Andres that goes and works with us for a lot of the days. He never goes to church alone either, he always brings his friends. The water is so pretty here, nice and blue. Its a little like paradise.

Today we played a bunch of goofy games  in Chinandega as a zone. Then we went and ate lunch with a few of the other missionaries. My really good friend Elder Walker is also in Chinandega! It's pretty sweet to for him to be in my zone again like back in the times in Puerto Cabezas. Love you guys so much!
 
 
 
 

Tuesday, June 21, 2016

Out of the Inn and back to the Beach!

This week was a blast! We have a really amazing family that is progressing a ton! We had a family night with them and another family that lives nearby. The mom is a schoolteacher and her 18 year old son works on a farm during the week! Its the same family that invited us to dinner the other week. We watched finding faith in Jesus Christ for the video, its a really good one about believing in Christ even though we cant see him. I think the family loved it, because they went to church on Sunday as well!


  This week we also went to hear president speak for the very last time, which was pretty sad, but his advice was really powerful. Everyone was a little emotional, it's so sad to see him go, I am so lucky to have had him as a mission president. I saw a bunch of my friends from earlier in my mission there as well, Like elder Fairborne, Shirlee, Pilling, and some other dudes. 



  As you can see from my heading, We had transfers today. I think this is going to be my last area. I'm now in a place called Corinto, which is kind of like a peninsula to the main land. There are tons of semi trucks here due to all the shipping that comes in to this port town. We can see the beach from our lunch appointments house, so that's really cool. I have been so lucky to have such great areas in my mission. 



That's all I can think of for this week. Have a great Fathers day Everyone! Hope that June is cool for you guys. 
Love you all so much!