Monday, January 30, 2017


This week flew by and was actually unexpectedly crazy. To start Sunday was pretty sweet because it was our first Sunday in Waspan. There are two branches and a ward that use our church building, so we start at 10 and go in reverse order, with sacrament meeting starting at 12. It went well and we got to meet a bunch of super cool members. But the big surprise was when we were waiting for sacrament meeting to start and were going around introducing ourselves we ran I to nonmember after nonmember and realized that there were 9 investigators at church, even though we had only brought three with us! A bunch of members had brought family members that weren't members and were excited to have us get to know them. Now granted a few of them live outside of the area, but it was still a huge blessing to have members already bringing people to church on their own! 

This week was a bit of a headache as far as money problems were concerned because after months and months of waiting, all missionary cedulas were approved all at once. Apparently it was because of the elections or whatever, but once elections passed a new guy was put in charge of immigration and he approved like 157 missionary cedulas on the same day. I went with President and his family to all get our cedulas the week before transfers, but now that transfer week craziness had ended all the missionaries had to come this week to Managua on different days. And after two meetings last week, there were tons of missionaries asking for travel reimbursements and people running out of money. The good news is I no longer have to carry around my passport with me to go to the bank, pay bills, etc, because now I am officially Nica after a year of waiting. Also it was cool because a bunch of my missionary friends had to stay in Managua two days because the new missionary training meeting and their immigration appointment were back to back. So that was cool because I got to work with Elder Perry and his trainee Elder Sanchez. We also got permission to visit a family of recent converts in the Maximo, so that was sweet to get to stop by and say hi to Angela and her family before heading off to work in waspan. Wednesday there was a broadcast for missionaries with some teachings as well as changes to key indicators and the missionary schedule, so that was pretty exciting. Last week President and the Assistants were working on the new schedule for our mission to incorporate the changes, so that'll be interesting to have some changes. Although it's likely that my schedule as Secretary won't change all that much. 

We are still working hard to find people to teach here in waspan, because we only have a handful of  evenings working here in the new area. It'll be so much nicer once the office is moved to Waspan next week because right now the office is about 35 minutes from our area and with traffic it takes much longer, but once we move we'll be able to start working the second we finish with office responsibilities. One of the families we are working with right now is a family of six and they are super awesome. Two of the older kids have already been baptized, and the mom, Angela, always comes to church and is totally ready, but she wants to get baptized with her husband who has been struggling to give up alcohol. So we will be visiting with them as frequently to try to help Antonio leave alcohol completely in the past. There are some really incredible humble people in Waspan and we are way excited to get to know more of the area and continue finding cool people.  

The big shocker of the week was the passing away of one of our converts from the Maximo Jerez. Juan Jose passed away on Thursday.  The only reason we knew is because one night driving past his house on the way back from Waspan we saw them loading his coffin up into a truck outside of his house. We always knew he was close, but figured we'd be able to visit him before he passed. We'll probably get permission from President to visit his family sometime soon. It's not too sad though because he has been suffering for a long time now with his condition and even after his baptism he told us that he felt ready to go. We know he's in a better place now though and now it's just a matter of working with his family to get his temple work done. We are just glad to have found him and helped him when we did!

I always love to hear from you all and I'll talk to you all next week! 

Elder Hamson

Here are some quick pics. The first is of these sweet lizards, aquí le dicen garrobos, that we always see. They are generally like a foot and a half long, but definitely get bigger. In the pueblos there are always niños walking around with a slingshot in hand and a dead garrobo hanging out of their pocket. The next picture is by the capilla in waspan of the motor-tricycles that are all over the place in waspan. And finally a picture of Diaz schooling some local chavalos on Pday. 

Saturday, January 14, 2017

Exhausting end to 2016 and fantastic start to 2017

Happy New Year!

Practically all of the last month we were swamped with administrative responsibilities, which coupled with the fact that we were opening an area, made for a very trying month. So many things happened in this month that it feels like 4 months ago that Elder Ochoa came to visit, when in reality it was only like 4 weeks. If I were to share all of the details that happened in this month it would be as Juan once said "las cuales si se escribiesen cada una de ellas, pienso que ni aun en el mundo cabrían los libros que se habrían de escribir". Here is a quick overview of the month in the fewest words possible: Elder Ochoa visit, meetings, stress, holiday traffic, mission Christmas activity, get lost in new area, skype family, Christmas with the Poncios, road trip to the Atlantic coast, Christmas in Puerto, reviewing expenses from 2016, fireworks. It was an incredibly hectic month and we were barely in our new area at all, but there were actually lots of fun moments and cool experiences with all the festivities of the holidays going on, but no time to dwell on the past... On to 2017.

This Year started off incredibly relaxed and incredibly well. Now that we are back to our normal schedule we were able to finally really start to work in and get to know our new area and it is awesome! Monday we did normal Monday stuff. Tuesday was Leadership council which was sweet and got us all pumped up for the new year. Wednesday, Thursday, and Friday we hit the streets at 3:30pm and have seen tons of success in such short time. We took out the list of all the members in the ward and started using that to ask for directions and contact looking for inactive members. It started out rough. We got stood up by the first appointment we had made which was a reference from the south mission, so we just picked a name on the list that lived close by and started asking around for directions. Every person we asked for directions we also contacted, but everyone was completely closed off. We ended up getting the information that they had moved and no longer lived there, but we were shown which house it was. We decided to go contact the house anyways despite feeling completely discouraged, but then everything flipped around when we met Rafaela y Louis! Out of nowhere the most escogido, golden investigators that I have seen showed up on the street full of grumpy Evangelicals and Catholics. They came out and we asked them if they new the members we were looking for and they said yes, but they moved forever ago, and then wasting no time at all they asked us if we would be willing to teach them the discussions! So that took as off guard, but the surprises didn't stop there because as we got to know them more, they explained that they were there when the missionaries had taught the couple that used to rent there and so they heard a lot of the lessons and had been impacted by the message. They also confided with us that at the start of this new year they had decided to pray to find the religious path that God wanted them to take, and then the first day working in our area of the new year we showed up on their door step. After sharing a few lesson principles with them we invited them to prepare for baptism and they accepted right away! Then they committed to go to church. It was an incredible lesson and we left with our spirits recharged and ready to go find more people. Around the corner there was a big catholic church and I remembered seeing a bunch of the addresses on the list referenced "de la iglesia Las Mercedes.." so i decided to ask a young couple passing by and decided to ask them the name of the church and turns out it was Las Mercedes and then we introduced ourselves and asked if we could come by and share a short message with them one day. They said that would be fine, so we set up an appointment for the following day. Their names were Donald and Yalquiris (not a clue how to spell her name) and when we visited them the next day they shared with us that when they saw us coming the day before Yalquiris told her husband that she had seen us pass by her house several times and had been wondering who we were and what our mission was and boom we crossed the street to talk to them and there we were at her house to answer her questions. They confessed to us that they had been raised in the catholic church and still go regularly, but there were many things about the church that they didn't agree with or didn't like, but it was what they grew up with, so it at least felt familiar. They enjoyed the lesson we shared and willingly accepted the invite to go to church even though Donald Just started a new job that is a night job and he will be getting out of work one hour before church starts. The day didn't end there because we ran into our ward mission leader and he mentioned that there was an inactive family around the corner that we could visit and when we went there, Evelyn who had been inactive for years told us she had actually been thinking about coming back, mainly for her two kids who were getting big and she wanted them to learn the right path while they were still young. She even asked us if we would be willing to teach the lessons to her two kids, Adreana and Jonny ages 13 and 10, so they could be baptized. We were of course happy to help. There are actually a bunch more people to talk about that we meet this week, like Yaconda and her son and Silvia, but I am out of time!

I am looking forward to what is set to be a great year here in Nicaragua and I wish all of you the best in this new year!

Elder Hamson

Pictures: 1. Christmas Activity, 2. Life Size Nativities, 3. Arriving in Puerto after crossing the entire country, 4. Christmas Activity in Ciudad Jardin, with the surprise visit of two members from my last area.

Tuesday, January 3, 2017

Feliz Navidad from Puerto Cabezas

Editor's note: Mostly pictures of a crazy 360 mile drive over the back roads of Nicaragua that took 14 hours!

Puerto cabezas was a really cool trip, but the drive there was plenty.. The drive back was quite long. I'll have to send some pictures. There was tons of crazy things we saw all along the road and some of them we got the camera out fast enough. The roads were horrendous. I mean it's only like 360 miles, but it took us 14 hours to get there.. It would have taken even longer too if we had been more careful with the cars. Most of the roads were like driving on swiss cheese. It was actually pretty fun at first flying down the road and trying thread the needle through all the pot holes, but after several hours it gets pretty old. We probably wrecked the suspension system on both cars and I was amazed that the layers of caked mud were able to come off. It was definitely an adventure though. An was way cool to drive through the tiny little pueblos in the middle of no where. Puerto seems like a different country completely. It felt like we were in a really poor part of the dominican republic, or haiti or something. And even though the majority can speak spanish they all speak in miskito when talking amongst themselves. I would have like to stay and work a day over there. Cool place. The activity went well too. The Zone is like a family over there because they are so isolated from the rest of the world. With them we ended up watching finding Dory and Ice Age 5(?). There actually isn't really much of a traditional Christmas dinner although the closest thing would be relleno navideño which is some sort of rice casserol looking think. Also most people kill and eat their pig this time of year.