Crazy day, crazy week. Sunday we had President Poncio and his family, Elder and Hermana Maravilla (our area 70), the other 2 Senior couples, and the Elders to lunch before the District Priesthood Meeting. Monday we took our 4 Estelí Hermanas to the rock carvings and paintings at La Garnacha, and then to get Pizza Hut pizza. Yum! Tuesday we drove up to Condega for visits and then had Consejo (Branch Council). We left for Managua on Wednesday night to have an adventure with the other 2 Senior couples in our mission and the Senior couple from the south mission. On Thursday, after dropping our car off to get fixed, we all left for Granada, which is a touristy city on Lake Nicaragua, the largest lake in Nicaragua. We went on a boat tour and saw a plethora of different kinds of birds, 2 kinds of monkeys on 2 different islands, trees, water lilies, plants, and multiple little islands, some even had homes on them. One of the biggest islands is for sale for $450,000, but the house was just some cement pillars, and we don't think our family would want to commute. We did not see any of the fresh water sharks, but our guide told us that they stay in the middle, and this lake is huge! We were all grateful that we didn't go to the middle and that no one fell in. We also visited 2 of the cathedrals there, and were able to climb the flights of skinny stairs, ducking to avoid bumping our heads on the low ceilings, to get to the top and see the city. Fun day with our co-missionaries and great to see another part of this country. We went to pick up the car, but they hadn't figured out what was wrong yet, or in reality they probably hadn't worked on it at all yet. We had planned to return home, but ended up spending another night. So grateful for the Lees and their awesome hospitality. We always have fun with them and will miss them so much when they return home on the 15th. We had lunch with the missionaries at the conference for the leaders, and were able to talk to some we have served with in the past. They are amazing young people! We got home late last night and stayed up to do some of our Friday chores.
Got up early this morning to prepare part of Sunday's meal and then headed over to clean the chapel with the 2 Hermana missionaries serving here with us in the Rosario Branch. One of the baptisms got changed from 3 to 12, so we ran home and showered after cleaning, and then Elder K got the font filled, the room set up for the baptism, picked up the Elders (ZL's), and then me. We got there in time to turn the water off in the font before it overflowed and before the woman arrived to be baptized. She is so happy and is so excited to have taken this step in her life. Dropped off one set of Elders, and took the Condega Elders and a member of their group to Condega, where we did our Marriage class. Had a great discussion about fathers and honoring the Priesthood. Elder K was able to give a beautiful blessing to one of the men there of comfort, encouragement, and direction. I love witnessing the Priesthood in action. Then back to Estelí for another baptism. Picked up a bolt in our tire at some point between baptisms, so after grocery shopping, Elder K dropped me off and he went to get the tire fixed. Whew! We are exhausted and it's not even Sunday.
We love the people here and love working with them. People and cultures are so different, but yet we are all children of a loving Heavenly Father, who wants us to have joy in this life even through our trials and difficulties. The times when I say, "What else?" are the times that draw me to my knees to pour out my heart and soul to Him. Those are the times when I reach that level of frustration or sorrow or helplessness or pain, that I have to turn everything over to Him, and listen and feel what He wants me to do or what He is trying to teach me. Those are some of the sweetest times when I feel His love and His awareness of me as His daughter. I know He has a plan for each one of us, and His plan for each of us is so much better than our own plan. He knows who we really are, our potentials, and the experiences we need to have and sometimes endure to reach our fullest potential. I love the hope of the gospel. I love the hope that our Savior has given to each one of us through His life and Atonement. I love helping others know these things for themselves and watching them develop relationships with Heavenly Father and our Savior. I love the reminder in the movie, "Lion King", "Remember who you are!" As we remember who we are, who others are, our Savior and all that He has done for each one of us, may we remember our loving Heavenly Father, who wants each one of us to return home.
We love you all and so appreciate all you do and are!
Elder and Hermana Koelliker