Saturday, December 30, 2017

so long, farewell...

Goodbyes after church on Christmas Eve at our Rosario Branch. We love these people and will miss them greatly!

After church at Rosario we dashed up to Condega to say goodbye to part of the group up there. They are truly pioneers and we love them all!

Christmas Eve lunch with Elders Fankhauser, Carico, Simpson, and McCord. They are so fun and are great missionaries!

Christmas Day lunch with Hermanas Pacheco, Pimentel, Aleman, and Pozo. What beautiful and amazing young women, and such a joy to work with!

Christmas Family Home Evenings spent with these wonderful people!

Last week of visits! Such a joy to spend time sharing our love and testimonies with these awesome people!

This is their version of Las Vegas here on the carretera. We’ll be seeing the real deal real soon!

The Final EMAIL... Week 78

Hola All!

Well, our time has been winding down faster than we imagined, and this is our last letter from the mission field. It has been a bittersweet experience teaching our last lessons, making our last visits to different families, and packing up. We love the people here and so many of them have a forever place in our hearts. We are so grateful for the opportunity to know them, to have been able to serve with them, and to have been able to learn things together that have strengthened all of our testimonies and have intensified our desires to return to our Heavenly Father and Savior with our families. I know that I have learned much more than I have taught. We know that we probably won’t see most of these people again in this life. We love them and will miss them!

We had a wonderful Christmas Eve lunch with the 4 Elders we work with each week. They are all Americans this change and were happy to have American food to celebrate. To their parents, you have raised awesome young men! Thank you for sending them to Nicaragua! They had fun with their goodie bags, especially with their balloon contests. 

Christmas Day we had a nice lunch with the 4 Hermanas, who happen to all be Latinas this change. They like the American food because it is a break from rice and beans, and they love dessert! A sus padres, sus hijas son misioneras y personas maravillosas. Gracias por compartirlos con nosotros! They didn’t get as crazy with their balloons, but started downing the candy. We love all of the missionaries here and feel so blessed to serve with such amazing young people. They were all excited and happy for the opportunity to talk to their families. We loved talking to our family, too!

Christmas night we had 3 Family Home Evenings in Rosario. The middle one had 5 families and the Hermanas. Vicente (he and his family hosted) gave the lesson, then we played a game and had refreshments...sandwiches. Then he thanked us for serving the Branch and they gave us gifts. I was teary, as little things to us are a big deal for them, and we know they sacrificed a lot for us. So grateful for these sweet people, who are doing their best from where they are on the path. This will definitely be one of the Christmases we never forget.

So many of the people we visited are worried that we will forget them and that no one else will visit them. We were surprised at how big of a concern this is for them. We were powerfully reminded of the importance of Home and Visiting Teaching! People need to be loved, uplifted, and cared about...even the active ones! 

We are a blessed people. We have the Gospel of Jesus Christ in our lives. We have temples nearby where we can make and renew sacred and eternal covenants, and receive peace, guidance, and inspiration in our lives. We have electronic devices that help us communicate, research, and stay in the know. We have personal transportation that makes our lives easier, gives us greater access, and saves us a lot of time. We belong to strong wards with well trained leaders and teachers, and with people who serve diligently and magnify their callings. We have people who reach out to others, who help when needed...often without being asked, and family and friends who love and care for us. We live in a country of opportunity and freedom. We are so grateful for these and many other wonderful blessings that we enjoy! We ask ourselves daily, “What more can we do to help others have the blessings that we enjoy?” This is why we are here. This is why we serve. This is our attempt to give back in our tiny way for all that we have been given. We are so grateful for this opportunity at this time in our lives. This experience has blessed us so much more that anything we have been able to accomplish here!

As Elder Jeffrey R. Holland told Senior Missionaries, “All of our lives we’ve prayed for our grandchildren, and now it’s their turn to pray for us...You are half a world away from your families, and doing more for them now than you ever could by staying home.” We know that our family at home has received many blessings in our absence. We are grateful for those blessings and for them, and for their goodness, support, and prayers! 

Thank you all for your love, support, and prayers! We love you all and hope to see you soon!


Elder and Hermana Koelliker

Saturday, December 23, 2017

Christmas Lights...

Sunday departures of Elder Mendez and Hermana Rodríguez. Early Monday morning departures of Hermana Donaire and Elder Bassett. We will miss them all!

 Our last Zone Pancake Breakfast. All left happy and well fed!

Hasta luego to some of the sweet people we get to visit. We will miss them all!

We love finding Christmas decorations around the town. Elder K has missed lighting and decorating our year!

Elder K decorating the house? No! It’s raining outside so he’s hanging up his just washed pants and shirts to dry. Nicas are ingenious!
Dinner with the Betancos...Elder K especially loves the tostones! Love this family!