Monday, May 30, 2016

Managua and Milagros

This was extremely busy and like normal it flew by. I can't believe we are already at the halfway point of this cambio and I have officially been in Nicaragua more than 2 months!

Tuesday we moved houses and we are really happy with our new place. It is quite nice and is super close to the park, where we eat breakfast and lunch. The only downside of living near the center is there is almost never running water in the evenings. 

Wednesday I had my second reunion de nuevos, meaning we had to go to Managua once again which is always fun (and by fun I mean I hate going to managua). The reunion was super good and President used me as an example twice, once for Somoto's success in investigator attendance and the second time for us having already baptized more than four people this month. Once again we ate at this all you can eat restaurant close by, which is always nice to have President pay for a big meal. 

Thursday was Paholas birthday so we got here a gift and all celebrated that.

Friday I don't remember.

Saturday we saw a bunch of miracles because we had no baptisms planned, but we went and talked with Priscila, Joel, and Gregoria, who were all planning on being baptized the 11th of June, and they all felt ready and wanted to get baptized that day, so we made preparations and interviewed Gretchen, the nieta of Hna Gregoria, and she was ready as well. When we got a little closer to the time designated to catch the bus a ton of rain clouds had moved in and it had began to thunder and Hna Antonia began talking about how when it rains the river grows really quickly, but we decided to have faith and continued to prepare. A second challenge came when the bus showed up because it was jam packed with people. This wasn't actually that big of a problem for the Nicaraguenses, so we all got crammed in the back door by the ticket collector and we were on our way. It sprinkled the whole bus ride and when we arrived was still quite gray, but by the time we all got changed the sun came out and we had a great baptismal service. 

Ok that's all for this week. If I don't send one next week it is because I decided to do bi-weeklies. Take care.

Elder Hamson. 

Pictured below is me eating a mango outside our new house. When I arrived all the mangos were green, but now they are all in season so we are constantly eating mangos. They are super good, but are a bit of a mess to eat Nicaraguan style, aka like eating an apple. Also they have a ton of little hairs that get stuck in your teeth. But they are always worth the mess. 

A picture of the Baptism (Minus Gretchen because she wasn't there yet)

A pictue of a hike we took with the Zone this morning. The first pick is with the Somoto missionaries plus Joel and one of our Zls. The second pick is the view from the mirador. I was surprised to find that these mountains that lie near the boarder of Honduras actually have a ton of Pine trees. Wasn't too different than hiking a mountain back home, except a lot more humid. 

Monday, May 16, 2016

Semana 1 with Elder Galo

Elder Galo is my new companion and so far things have been going pretty well. He is definitely more of a letter of the law type of guy, whereas E. Castro was a little more of a spirit of the law type of guy, so it's been a little of an adjustment having him constantly bringing up little rules that I never even new existed. For example apparently we are not allowed to hold babies, which I had been doing almost every day. One of our investigator families has a little baby named Soy and since they live kinda far we normally accompany them from church back to the house and I would carry Soy at least part of the way to give her mom some relief, but apparently that is not allowed. I've been getting along with Elder Galo pretty well though for the most part and I think we will see some good success in the next few months here in Somoto. 

This week was a little crazy because we had to move, but we kinda rushed the moving process so as to not have to pay the next 30 days of rent at our old place which would have begain on the 14th. Also it was more convenient for Elder Galo to move before he unpacked all of his stuff. Because we rushed the move we ended up running into a number of problems at the new place. Turns out the dueña of our new house is super pinche and is not the best person. As soon as Mama Nerly and Hna Antonia figured out where we had moved they immideately advised us to move out. We will be taking their advice because a ton of problems quickly arose as she is not holding up with her end of the deal and is demanding more money to cover the cost of the microwave that we never use. So that's been fun and we are going to continue to look for another house. 

The highlight of this week was definitely the baptism of Hna Zaida, Hussiel's mom. She is the head of a family of 7, of which only one is a member (Hussiel). Oh and throughout my emails the spellings of people's names will likely change periodically because Castro had no idea how to spell anyones name and little by little I am learning how to spell people's names. For example I think earlier I wrote Hussiel as "Uziel", so yeah, try to keep up. The Baptism of Hna. Zaida was at a super cool location referred to as "la playa" and even though it is certainly not a playa, it is still a pretty cool place. 

Ok that's all for this week.

Elder Hamson

Pictured below: the baptism, the playa, and the rain coming down outside the cyber that I'm writing this. 

Tuesday, May 10, 2016


This week was full of changes and ended with the biggest change of all, transfers! The week started with E. Castro having to go to Managua for the 3rd week in a row, so I went to work in Ocotal from Monday afternoon until Wednesday afternoon. Working in Ocotal didn't go so well in terms of missionary work because my companion, Elder Choque, had only been in the area for a few days, and hardly new where anyone lived. It was a fun day though and it was nice to work with a missionary who speaks english (for the first time). In Ocotal they actual have members who aren't recent converts, so it was cool to visit with some members who have been in the church for a few years and have been to the temple and are enthusiastic about getting the missionaries something to eat! Castro returned on Wednesday and we worked a half day together in Somoto. Thursday Castro had to go do interviews in Pueblo Nuevo (a small city in our district), so I worked with Elder Lainez. Friday, E. Castro had to do interviews for Diaz, so I worked with Elder Meza. Saturday Castro and Meza had to got to Esteli with a few of our male members for preisthood session of stake conference, so I worked with E. Diaz, and Sunday we all went to Esteli. So yeah it was a crazy week, but my whole first transfers has kinda been similar in that I have had only a few days a week working with my trainer Elder Castro, and we are rarely able to use our study time, because the mornings are always used traveling, preparing for baptisms, etc. I'm bummed because I was hoping for a more normal 6 weeks with Castro to finish my training, but Castro got transfered to be a ZL in Matagalpa. I will meet my new companion, Elder Galo, tomorrow night. So far I know that he is from Honduras and only has been in the mission for two transfers. 

The two big positives I got out of this week are Hna. Saida and Stake conference attendance. Saida is the mom of a super awesome recent convert, Uziel, who I hae already mentioned. She is the head of a pretty large family, the majority of whom consistently have been attending church, but all have them except Uziel have declined the invitation to be baptized a number of times due to various reasons. However, in the short time that I have been here I have seen her change and recently she has expressed that she feels completely at peace with the decision to be baptized and has noticed a new happiness in her life coinciding with her learning about the restored gospel of Jesus Christ. It was really awesome for me to see her change and I really realized that with all the baptisms we have had of youth ages 9 to 13, that they really do open the door for the rest of their family to begin attending church with their kid and beginning to listen to the message. 

The trip to Esteli I saw two examples of this as well, because Jaudin's family, and Darwin and Lenin's family, who hadn't once attended church, both attended Stake conference in Esteli. In my area we were able to bring 36 people to Stake conference, with a record breaking 25 investigators at church! In total from somoto we had 60 people in attendance which is pretty incredible because these people sacrificed 8 hours of their day to make the 2 and a half hour bus ride to the chapel in Esteli. The Only downside of the trip was that the people in charge of planning Stake conference didn't count very well, because when we arrived the Chapel was completely full along with two extra rooms with TVs. We ended up having to set up chairs in the hallway along with a TV, because the church didn't have any other big rooms. I was quite irritated with President because the people of Somoto traveled 2.5 hours each way and deserved a well planned meeting in which they could enjoy the comfort of a chapel. President however, was ecstatic that Somoto had such a strong attendance and insisted on taking a photo with everyone from Somoto after the meeting, which photo I have attached below. 

That's all for this week!

Elder Hamson

Tuesday, May 3, 2016

Winter Has Arrived

Winter is finally upon us here in Somoto, and while it is nice to have slightly lower temperatures, Winter means RAIN! It was like a flip of a switch. It rained for the first time on Tuesday and we were drenched head to toe in a matter of seconds, and since then it has rained everyday without fail. Somedays only a little and some days more, but everyday so far it has rained at least a little.I actually like the rain, but with the rain comes terribly muddy roads and a ton of insects seeking safety in doors, which two things I don't like at all. It hasn't been raining much during the night, but last night it poured and we discovered that our roof wasn't the most impermeable roof in existance and had all kinds of dripage. So that was fun and we're gonna look for a new place to live this week. Anyways, enough about the rain, here's a quick summary of the week.

E. Castro got invited to the ZL meeting in Managua on Tuesday which means I stayed with E. Diaz and Meza to work in trio. E. Castro getting invited to that meeting, means he will probably be called a ZL this transfer, which means I'll be getting a new companion, which I'm not to happy about because Castro is awesome. Castro thinks I will train a newbie when he leaves which would be crazy because I don't feel prepared at all to do that.

Wednesday, after reunion de zona, we held the baptism of Mama Nerly, which was awesome and she seems to be really happy. Reunion de Zona went pretty well and after accumulating everyone´s goals for the month, we ended up with a zone goal of 55 baptisms in May, which is pretty incredible, but also totally doable if we work hard. 

Thursday I don't remember, but I think it was just a normal day of working and we got several new investigators. 

Friday one of our Zone leaders, Elder Cedeño, came to help us get our baptismal interviews done to be prepared for another baptismal service of Chavalos. The interviews both went well, although we had to find Jonathans house to interview him and I had never been because we had been teaching him and his mom in the house of Jaudin. - Sidenote: it is really hard to find people's houses here because there are no such thing as addresses, so each person just makes up a dirección to get to their house. Usually the directions are something like "5 blocks from the cementary, then 1 block to the south and a half block to the east". - Fortunately we ran into them on the way to their house and it turns out they live in a house way back into the furthest corner of the area of E. Diaz y Meza. After the interview Cedeño and I had to meet up with Diaz and Castro, and Jonathan and Jaudin wanted to come with on bicycles, so Cedeño and I ended up riding the bikes with Jonathan riding with me and Jaudin with Cedeño cruzing through the wet backroads of Somoto. It was kinda fun and made me realize that having bikes here as missionaries would make a huge difference. 

All in all it was a good week. Sorry that there are no pictures.

Elder Hamson

(Editor's note: Here are two pictures he sent last week of a typical lunch and Seth and Elder Castro with a young new member named Uziel. Seth says, "He is like 11 and is way smart and I think on page like 150 of the Book of Mormon already!")