We had another baptism this past week. I was privileged to perform the ordinance. I never thought my "whites" would get as much use as they have. I feel very blessed to assist the Rosario Branch with their small number of priesthood holders and busy schedules. The two children were baptized eight months ago and mom finally chose to follow their example.This is 8-month old Jacob on the back of his dad's bike in a Nica version of a bike infant seat. His dad found a small plastic chair, tied it to the bike, and uses a lace cloth to tie Jacob into the chair. We love their innovation. His wife and older son, who now have bikes, ride behind. They live in a small pueblo about 5-7 miles away. They used to ride with all four on dad's bike but now they can travel with greater ease and safety. We love this family. We are working with them to prepare to go to the temple soon.
We were in a home of an inactive member and Laurie found a parrot. He crawled right up onto her finger. She found a new friend whether she wanted to or not. It's customary to find birds such as this loose in the house. They don't believe in cages or leashes for dogs. However, we've seen more leashes on pigs than on dogs. We have to be careful where we sit and walk.
We thought it would be fun to get a picture with the cathedral clock at noon on New Year's Eve. People were all over town center preparing for the night's activities. One thing we've learned is that the Nicas know how to party. It seems like town center is closed every weekend for some kind of celebration.
We learned of a tradition in Nicaragua that is done at the stroke of midnight on December 31 of each year; "El Viejo/La Vieja". A life-size muñeca (doll) is created and then burned at midnight. We saw them all over Estelí this past week as we were making visits. Each muñeca has a sign attached which says "adiós" to the bad and "bienvenido" to the good. The Nicas believe that when they burn el "Viejo", they are saying goodbye to all of the bad things that happened in 2016. They are made of wood and cotton, dressed in old clothing, and most either have a cigar or bottle of liquor. (We hope that means they want to break those two bad habits.)
They then eat 12 grapes to bring good luck for them in the new year. Now we know why there were so many grapes in the tiny mercados on the street.
Feliz Año Nuevo. We hope you find joy, happiness, and the choicest blessings of the Lord in this new year.