Another interesting and meaningful week here in Nicaragua. We were able to take the ZL's up to Condega, a small town about 30 minutes North, where there is a group attached to the Rosario Branch here. They were doing divisions with the Elders there, so we took one set and went to visit some of the less actives. We drove to an outlying area and we were then able to walk to visit 5 homes in less than 3 hours. Great spirit as we reminded them of the blessings we all enjoy from our Heavenly Father, and through Jesus Christ and His Atonement for us all. It is a long walk, 4-5 miles, for them to get to church each week, so for many of them too far to go regularly. It made me grateful for the luxury of having cars, that we all enjoy. I have said many times that everything is harder in Nicaragua compared to home. Cooking, cleaning, washing dishes and clothes, transportation, being on time, visiting and home teaching, temple attendance, fulfilling callings, attending church, working, earning a living, having a shower or bath, staying healthy, getting healthcare procedures, getting an education (most schools charge for the students to attend, and there are double sessions and weekend school), feeling safe and secure...even in their homes, and feeling the spirit in all of the noise and chaos (with windows and doors open most of the time, and most of their homes are not solid or sealed anyway...you hear everything and the homes with gaps and the screenless homes have lots of mosquitoes, flies, lizards, etc. visiting and annoying the families within). Count your blessings...name them one by one! It is so humbling as I recognize the many things I have taken for granted for most of my life. Both of our sons served their missions in Guatemala, so they experienced many of these things and told us about them. It is hard to understand until you live it.
We have started some families and a single sister with temple preparation lessons. Their goals for getting there are very long range, as their expenses with passports, papers, and travel are an added challenge. We would love to just pay for them all, but know that they need to sacrifice and work toward their goal for it to be most meaningful. We are working on a plan to help them without taking away their initiative and/or sacrifice for this most important goal. Please attend the temple for us as often as you can! You will be blessed, your families will be blessed, the people you do the work for will be blessed, and the spirit will be stronger with us all as a people. As you know, we are unable to leave the country, or we jeopardize returning. We ordered pictures of the Honduras Temple and the Temple magazine for these precious people. Their lives will be so empowered as they are able to be endowed by our Heavenly Father and sealed as families.
Funny, not so funny for the week. The Hermanas had to go to Managua for 2 days for one to have a series of tests for stomach pain...not funny. When we picked them up at the bus station and took them to their house, the lock had been changed. Their landlady came out and was mad at them and gave them a paper saying they were kicked out, and kept demonstrating by kicking her foot. She is a little loca. Anyway, Elder K calmed her down, and they get to stay until the end of the month, since their rent is paid. No contracts, crazy renter situations. We found out that the real bottom line is that her son is moving into the casita the girls have been renting. I wish I had a video to show you her performance. It really was funny! Good news, the Hermana's tests all came back normal, her ovarian cyst is gone, and the pain is subsiding. Mini miracle!
Great interviews with the Mission President this week, and we always enjoy having him and the entourage for a meal or two in our home. We got to meet his mother-in-law, and they have jokes about that here too. He is truly a man of God and has great vision for Nicaragua.
Life is good! We love the opportunity we have to serve here with these special people. We're on our way to work with the Elders to help move some of the Hermanas things for their big move Tuesday. Please pray that they will be able to find an appropriate home, as they will be staying with us until they do. We love having missionaries, but it is inconvenient for them to be so far from their area.
Thanks for all you do and are!
Elder and Hermana Koelliker