We can't believe we left home for the MTC one year ago today and that our one year mark is Tuesday! It seems like a long time since we were home, but the time has gone fast! We know that we have a LOT to do during the next six months! Tomorrow after our meetings, we are taking the 3 missionaries from our zone, who have completed their missions and are gong home on Tuesday, to Managua. We get to spend Monday with them for their final activity, dinner, fireside, and testimonies. We have worked with 7 of the 15 going home and consider them ours! It's awesome to see their progress and growth, and how prepared they are now for their futures. They will definitely make a difference in the world, their communities, and in the church!
We love working with the people here and with the young missionaries. Yesterday we visited 13 families, and Elder K was able to slip in 2 more, while I was talking to his counselor. People here love to be visited. They feel important and loved when we go to their homes. We sing hymns, have lessons, pray, and they tell us all about themselves and their families. We have gained much insight into their lives, trials, joys, and how we can best help them through these experiences. They are amazing in so many ways, and it's still so humbling to be in their homes and witness their living conditions. There is not even a resemblance of "codes" for their houses. Most are satisfied with how they live and have no desire to change their lifestyles and situations, or they are not willing or able to make the changes in their lives to better themselves. It's hard not to challenge them to try to have something better or help them understand that there is so much more out there. Just knowing how to read well would help so many of them, and give them the power to really learn, understand what is going on in the world (if that's really possible), and progress. Poco a poco.
We had an awesome visit with Marvin and Blanca. They know why we are here in Estelí and that they are one of the reasons. Since Marvin is preparing to go to the temple in December, we are all hoping, including Blanca, that she will be ready then as well. If not, he will still go and receive his endowments and be sealed to his parents. We wish we could go with them, but understand the rules here. She is reading the Book of Mormon every day and they are praying together. We're including her in our fast tomorrow. They will truly be a power couple and add so much strength to this branch! They are both educated and people persons.
Last Saturday night we were driving to see a family on a dark and very muddy road. They weren't home, so we turned around to leave and Elder K drove forward and one wheel of the truck went into a hole of water and mud up to the bumper. Even in 4 wheel drive, it wouldn't budge. The brother of the family we had come to see came out with his cousin to try to help. They put rocks in the hole to try and get some traction. I had already tried to push it out myself...ha ha...and I couldn't even budge it. They started looking for wood and another neighbor came out, and the three men pushed it right out. Prayer answered fast! Tender mercy! We didn't think there was a tow truck in town, and wouldn't have had a clue how to get ahold of it, if there was. We took plates of cookies (galletas Americanas) to them a couple of days later, and they were surprised and happy. Yesterday we had the opportunity to give back, as we were in another section of town with muddy, dirt roads, and came upon a family from Costa Rica stuck in a big hole with both of their front tires. Their young son (about 12) waved us down as we drove past the road they were stuck in. First we tried to push from the front and then the back. Then Elder K suggested pulling them out with our truck. The man tied a rope he had to his car, a small SUV, and then to ours. The rope popped the minute there was stress. Elder K "happened" to have a towing strap. They strapped it to both vehicles, while I had the rest of the family get in the back part of their SUV to put some weight in back and give a little lift to the front end. The young son and I pushed down and out from the back, while Elder K pulled from the front...another tender mercy and they were free. They tried to pay us, but we told them we were happy to help. Elder K talked to them about the church and we were all on our way.
We didn't even get too muddy!
Thank you for your prayers! We know that we have been protected and blessed, because of your diligence in praying for the missionaries, and putting our names on the temple roles. There is so much power in prayer! We love you!
Elder and Hermana Koelliker