Saturday, December 2, 2017

EMAIL... Week 74

Hola All!

The District put on an activity for the youth and did a great job! They showed and discussed some of the Church’s videos for the Youth, had a couple of speakers, and did a Family History Training, where they helped all of the youth create their own accounts and enter as many of their ancestors as they had the information for. Lunch was a big hit as well! Elder K had his laptop helping the kids with the Family History part of their day and I got to cheer them on and be a fly on the wall. I love to watch the youth interact and have those “aha moments”. I guess that is the teacher in me. Love the Church programs, especially for the youth! What a blessing for them and for those of us with opportunities to serve with them.

Sweet Family Home Evening with one of our favorite families! They have come so far, and their son is preparing for a mission next year. He received his physical and dental check up at the Brigada that the Bryans and Foutzes helped with a few weeks ago. Their family was so impressed that doctors and dentists would come to help their youth prepare to serve missions. Big thank you to Smiles for Central America for your selfless and meaningful service! We continue to distribute the clothes many of you donated to Jacob Hofer’s Eagle Project, and Hermana Poncio (the mission president’s wife) took many of the items to give to missionaries and members in Managua who are in need. Thank you sooooo much for your loving service and kindness to our people and missionaries here! You have already been “Lighting the World”!

For our Hermanamiento this week Elder K showed the new “Good Samaritan” video and then re-introduced the “Light the World” campaign. We want to do a Family Home Evening in as many homes as possible this month to share the Light of Christ and Christmas, and to encourage the members here to share the Gospel, and to serve and help those around them. We did several visits on December 1st to get members, who were not at the Hermanamiento, to choose a date for their families to participate in an FHE and to invite their friends. We will keep you posted! We look forward to this time of year, so much that Elder K already put the Christmas lights up and we hung our paper Christmas tree and ornaments. We are so excited to participate in this program and do our part to “Light the World” in Nicaragua!

We enjoyed having President and Hermana Poncio in our home for lunch on Wednesday, as they were here for interviews with their entourage. We did a Nica version of Cafe Rio, and since they were in the Provo MTC, they had experienced the real thing. President teased me and said he was eating at Cafe Koelliker, and that he was sad that this was his last lunch at our house. We invited him to come to Vegas for lunch! We had a good interview later that evening. He is a good man and his schedule is incredible! We are so grateful for his leadership, kindness, and concern for us and our family.

Just got home from the baptism of Maria de los Angeles, the 10 year old daughter of less active parents. Elder K performed the baptism and the parents were happy to see their daughter take this step. Hopefully this will also be a step for them in becoming a forever family! Poco poco. We are so grateful for the opportunity to have the blessings of the Gospel in our lives and in the lives of our family! What a blessing it is to have made temple covenants, so that we have the potential to be together forever! 

Thank you for your examples and prayers!
We love you!

Elder and Hermana Koelliker

Special Families... Griswold Christmas Lights in Nicaragua

Baking Galletas Americanas with Gabriela. She is a fun, happy, smart, and beautiful 12 year old in the Estelí Branch. Her dad is now the Branch President there and her mom is the Young Women’s President. We love their family!
Our current Branch President in the Rosario Branch, Presidente Jeronimo, doing his day job of making pants. I hired him to make me 3 pairs and the missionaries have used his skills as well. He and his wife also have a small pulpería, and sell Marta’s Nica enchiladas, carne asada, naca tamales, and gallo pinto. He cooks a mean carne asada! He is a wonderful man and dear friend.

The Chevy Chase home of Estelí! We were so impressed to see all the workers setting this up! Wow! It looks like Christmas!
Last lunch here with the Poncios and entourage. Hermanas Poncio and Fersola with their gathered pile of clothes for members and missionaries in need in Managua. Thanks to all who donated to help the people here in Nicaragua, especially to Jacob Hofer and the Bryans!

The Rugama Family is definitely one of our favorites! We have grown to love them so much as we have had the opportunity to work with them. They were sealed in the temple as a family several years ago and are saving to go again. Their son, Octavio, is preparing to serve a mission next year! Their daughter, Fany, does not like pictures, but is a sweetheart! We will truly miss them!
The baptism of María de los Ángeles with her parents, friend, Hermanas Pacheco and Donaire, and Elder K. Potential eternal family! 

Saturday, November 25, 2017

Happy Thanksgiving... Nica Style!

The baptism of Carlos last Saturday! He was so excited and happy!
The pig was sleeping in relief of not being the Thanksgiving meal. The turkeys all got away, so we had to settle for giant drumsticks. We were thankful to be able to provide a Nica Thanksgiving meal for the eight amazing missionaries we get to work with every week! We love and appreciate them all! Their parents can be proud of the people they are and the work they are doing! If we can’t be with our own family at this time of year, we’re grateful to be able to serve and feast with them!

EMAIL... Week 73

Hola All!

No rain for almost 2 weeks, and an overall cool down. The kids here finished school for what they call summer yesterday, and don’t go back until the first of February. There was a lot of celebrating yesterday and the “Festival de Pan”, which is bread. Different venders brought their different breads to sell and compete with to Central (the center of town where the main cathedral and park are with many surrounding businesses), and they set up their booths. This country has more celebrations and festivals than we have ever seen or heard of. They love their traditions and parties!

The people and missionaries here are so grateful for the church clothes donated by the old Desert Valley Ward for Jacob Hofer’s Eagle Project! We are able to help so many people feel special and more comfortable attending church! Thank you ALL so much, especially the Bryans for bringing it all with them! Little things to you all, made a big difference to many people here! 

One of the families we have been working with this past year to help them prepare for the temple has reset their goal for March. Apparently the Temple Trip bus is full and their Branch President didn’t get them on the list in time. We are happy that so many are going, but disappointed that they need to wait. They had a great attitude and promised to send us a picture of themselves in front of the temple in Honduras in March! Many won’t get to go this time because of the limited room on the bus and temple housing. They may be able to schedule another trip for January, but that isn’t certain, and most people need to plan a couple of months ahead to get work off. Enjoy our temple! Close, convenient, and the source of many blessings and peace! 

We love these people! Everyone needs to feel loved, accepted, and valued! As we visited this week, many asked us who would come to visit them after we leave in January. It hurts our hearts, because we don’t have replacements yet, and may not be replaced. With the lack of transportation here, many of the people we visit regularly won’t receive visits often, and some probably won’t receive anymore at all. We are preparing lists for each Branch President, and will encourage them to implement Home and Visiting teaching more effectively. It is a challenge for them for sure!

They had Black Friday here yesterday, and they had black balloons everywhere. Since the people don’t have a lot of money, it wasn’t as crazy as the ones we have experienced, but did signal that Christmas is on it’s way! We are excited to roll out the “Light the World” videos in our coming visits. We used the ones last year and they brought such a wonderful spirit and reminder of the precious gift of our Savior, Jesus Christ! We invite you to view the videos and share them...invite people to your Family Home Evenings and share the spirit of Christ as we prepare for Christmas! What better gift to give others than the spirit of Christ in their lives!

Thank you for all you do and are! I loved being reminded that we are Heavenly Father’s hands in answering prayers! May we look to serve, help, love, lift, and bless the lives of those around us, especially as we honor the Savior at His special time!


Elder and Hermana Koelliker

Wednesday, November 22, 2017

Baptism... Reunited with Friends... Zone Conference...

Beautiful day for the river baptism of Ever in Condega by Elder Bassett!

 Continuing the celebration of Elder Najera’s birthday with flan!

Such a treat for us to be able to spend a little time with 4 of our dearest friends! What a marvelous and needed service they provide for the future missionaries from Nicaragua. The transformation of the chapel was amazing and everyone there generously and unselfishly serving! Love these people, including the 3 “monkeys”. Ha ha!

Wonderful Multi-Zone Conference! Great opportunity to “cookie” Elder Adams for his birthday! He helped us many times while serving in the office! Love our ever changing Zone! We love serving with these awesome missionaries! It is truly a great privilege for us, and we are so humbled to have this opportunity!

Saturday, November 18, 2017

EMAIL... Week 72

Hola All!

Time is flying by and we are enjoying being anxiously engaged in a good cause! Last Sunday, Marra Jones was born to Lacee and Daniel! We are so happy to have been blessed with our 12th grandchild! We are sad not to be able to be with them to welcome this little angel and help, but we know that this is where we need to be at this time. We are so grateful to Malia for flying up with her two youngest daughters to help and support the Jones family at this special time. We are especially grateful for our knowledge that families can be together forever!

Sunday, after our Temple Prep lesson in Condega, we drove to the river there for the baptism of Ever. It was a beautiful setting and Elder Bassett did a great job. They changed to dry clothes in the tall bushes and we took them back to the Elders’ house, where they meet for church. It was a sweet reminder that we need to be witnesses of Heavenly Father and our Savior, at all times, and in all things, and in all places.

We had some wonderful visits this week with members who are truly trying to be “all in”. Many struggle with attendance due to work conflicts, the weather, sickness, and no desire, due to lack of faith or having been offended. As we talk about how much our Heavenly Father loves us and knows us, and that if we do the small and simple things to the very best of our ability, He will not only bless and strengthen us, but He will help us find the way to accomplish all that He wants us to do. As we reflect on the perfect life of the Savior, and of His perfect example of love and service, and His fulfilling His role in Heavenly Father’s Plan of Happiness, suffering and dying for all of us, we are humbled and want to do our very best to follow Him and keep the commandments. The Gospel is for all of Heavenly Father’s children. We each need it to become the person we have the potential to become, and prepare to return to our Father and Savior.

The fun highlight of the week was traveling to Managua to surprise Barton and JoAnne Foutz, and the Bryans at their clinic for prospective missionaries. It was great to see their faces when they saw us. We had been trying to figure out how to get back down there with our crazy schedule, and the “Red Sea parted”, and we were able to go down. The timing was great, as they were all about ready for their lunch break. We got a tour, chatted with a few of the youth there for physicals from our mission area, met lots of the volunteers (who pay to go and serve these youth with love and sacrifice), and had lunch with these dear friends. We told our Mission President that Bishop Foutz had been our bishop, and had also been our home teacher for the 19 years before we came and never missed a he came all this way to check on us. Talk about a faithful home teacher! Oh how we love these faithful examples and friends!

Our Multi-Zone on Thursday was great! The Poncios are great speakers and presenters. The missionaries love to get together and there is a powerful spirit in their presence. We all feel the spirit and gain an enhanced commitment to do our best!

I get to teach the couple we are working with to prepare for their Temple marriage, how to make chocolate chip cookies today. Nabill speaks a lot of English and he wants his fiancee to learn, so he’s coming along to make sure she understands. They are adorable! This is one of my small contributions to the work, but I love these people and serving them however I can.

We love you all! Thank you for your thoughts and prayers! Have a great week!


Elder and Hermana Koelliker

Saturday, November 11, 2017

Nicaraguan Fun with Friends...

We said goodbye to two of our favorites; Elder Hughes and Hermana Elías.

 Tuesday we picked up the Bryans in Managua, dropped off their things in Estelí and had lunch, and then headed up to Condega. We picked up Elders Bassett and the his new companion, Elder Simpson, who is from Las Vegas. We met him months ago and are excited to work with him. Fun fact, his brother recently moved into the Bryan’s ward, where Mike is serving as bishop. Small world.

Another trip to the waterfall. We had to show them one of the most beautiful places in Nicaragua. None of us got wet or fell over the edge from the top.

We picked up the Hermanas so someone had to sit in the back. Mike won! I guess that was a good thing because Hermana Koelliker would have had to drive. Scary!
¡Feliz Cumpleaños Hermana Donaire!