Monday, November 18, 2013

Hello to the best family in the world! How has everyone been doing? I hope everything is going well at home! I can't believe it is already Monday again. And summer is officially here. It has been so hot here! And apparently it is just going to become hotter and hotter. Yayyy....Time is starting to go by a little faster here. Everyone tells me that after the second cambio time just flys by. Speaking of changes, changes are in a week. Ah. I don't know what is going to happen! I have a feeling my comp may be changed because she has been here for eight months but we are hoping she doesn't leave. 

Delicious Fruit!
All struggles and difficulties on a mission are worth it when you have amazing days. On Thursday we worked so hard and taught eight lessons and contacted sixteen people. We broke our record! We taught our investigators and the lesson with them was just amazing. We taught about the word of wisdom and as usual they asked a lot of questions which is the best! I bore my testimony and felt the spirit so strongly. I was impacted during the lesson when I realized that the message I have to share is so marvelous. I get to share this message that Christ lives! It couldn't get better than that. Also, I just have this immense love for this family! They are such wonderful people and I want them to experience the joy of the gospel.  I can feel love growing for the people and want to bring everyone to christ! 

Carrots grow big in Nicaragua!
We had divisions again this week and I went with a sister who is in her twenties and is in my ward. She is the sweetest and cutest muchacha! Love her. We taught some menos activos which went pretty well. We had a little miracle when we were walking to teach another lesson. About three weeks ago, we meet this woman. She was interested in our message so one day we went to teach her but apparently she doesn't actually live in Coyolar. She lives in some other part of Leon but her mom lives here so she is with her mom a lot. To make a long story short, we lost contact with her and I honestly forget about her. Bad I know. While we were walking, this lady came running out of nowhere yelling "Hermana!" She told us she has been praying and hoping that she would find us again. I guess her son has been diagnosed with cancer, he is about 16. This sprouted something in her and she wanted to learn more about our religion. We set up an appointment to meet with her this week. She read the pamphlet about the restoration and she is so excited to learn more. I am so excited to teach her this week! I feel like she is ready to accept this gospel.

My comp and I went to go teach our investigator. She is an older woman and comes to church every Sunday, takes all of our lessons but is hesitant to get baptized. So we gave her a lesson about baptism and the spirit was SO strong. The strongest I have ever felt here in the mission. I know she felt the spirit too 
Birthday Cake frosting dyes our tongues!
Anyways, I am doing well and am loving my mission! I am so grateful for the opportunity I have to serve the Lord in Nicaragua in this time of my life. This work is amazing. I love you all SOO much and hope you have a wonderful week!! 

Con mucho amor,

Hermana Howell 

Thursday, November 14, 2013

Rats and Chicken Feet!

Hola mi familia!! How is everyone doing?! This week has been quite a roller coaster. As always, I am short on time and I have sooo much to say. So I am just going to get into it. 

Trompo-popular toy all the kids here play
This week has been quite an interesting one with animals. This week our district leaders came with us to give one of our investigators a baptismal interview; she said she wasn't ready so the interview didn't take place. However, while we were walking in the street, I apparently stepped on a baby rat and killed it. I didn't even feel anything because my shoes are so dang thick. haha Elder Salinas, one of my district leaders who is so awesome, was dyinggg. He was laughing so hard! There was definitely a dead rat on the road when I looked behind me. So now everyone calls me Hermana matan ratons. Or something like means Hermana Rat Killer in Spanish. I washed my shoes very well when I got home. Oh but just wait, my animal stories get even worse. So one night, I was hungry so I went to the fridge outside to get an apple. As I walked outside, I stepped into this pile of things. There wasn't much light so I couldn't tell what it was at first. As my eyes got adjusted to the dark, I was struck with horror. I was surrounded by chicken feet. Just the feet. All over. I sat there for a second in complete shock, then felt sick and wanted to throw up, then felt like I was going to pass out, so I ran back to my room and laid on my bed for a little bit. Lost my appetite after that. However, it did answer my question about where the chickens have been going.

Streets of Leon
So everyone has been asking a lot about the members and my investigators. The members in my ward are awesome! We have family home evening every night with a great family. They are my favorite couple ever! Felipa is so sweet and always willing to come and help us teach. Rosendo is just the funniest guy! Dad you would get along really well with him. The members are so friendly.  So we are trying to find ways to get the ward excited about missionary work. Now for my investigators...I don't even know where to start. We teach a lot of people but the thing is the people always listen to us but don't want to do anything we say. So not a lot of my investigators are progressing. However, I had an amazing lesson with a family this week. The husband and wife have two cute little boys. I never have felt here that what I say helps any one until this lesson. Anything that I said the family, and especially the husband absorbed. He asked me a lot of questions about the Book of Mormon. We had an hour and a half lesson with them just asking questions the whole time. It was so awesome! I felt that we were answering a lot of his questions in life and he wants to know more. I felt the spirit so strongly during the lesson. This teaching experience was so amazing and showed me there are people in Nicaragua ready to hear the gospel! 
Hermana Rogers and me

Well I hope you all had a good week and a wonderful week this week! I am excited to read your emails you all have sent me! They are the best. I love you all so much!!! 



Wednesday, November 6, 2013


Holy cow this week just flewww by! I have so much stuff to say and not a lot of time so I am just going to get down to business! So how is my amazing family doing? I hope every had a happy Halloween! So before I start about my week I am going to answer every ones questions first. Yes you can tell Cindy she can use my experience...I don't know why they think it is so inspiring. Just real life haha. But yeah I don't mind at all! If it can help someone else in their life then go for it. So the food is great! I am obsessed with fried plantains. Honestly I am so sad if I don't some every day. You guys should try to cook some at home. They are so rico! (that is the word for really good here in Nica). The only bad thing is that my sita gives us so much food. Like one day this week she basically gave us two big Macs, fries, and bananas. Then I had a whole freaking footlong from Subways this week. Yeah I am going to get at. It is sad how big my stomach has grown. I love La Union! I go there every P-day to get my groceries. They have everything from Nature Valley to good cereal to shampoo. So I am all set! AND I GOT THE PACKAGE THIS WEEK!!! THANK YOU THANK YOU!! I loved it!  So my church is the stake center so it is big compared to other churches and it is pretty nice. I go to an internet cafe to write emails every Monday and i print off the emails i get after i email. Okay moving on...

Beautiful Sunset!
So this week was filled with meetings. We really didn't even teach that much because we had so many meetings. Wednesday was quite an interesting day for me here in Nicaragua. We had a trainer and new missionary meeting in Managua so we woke up at 4:30 am to get ready and hop on a bus to Managua. I hadn't really seen Nicaragua during the day because every time we travel is at night. So, I was finally able to see the country I will be living in for the next 16 months! Nicaragua is drop-dead gorgeous. The sunrises and sunsets are stunning. The sky is a pastel blue and is lit up with vivid shades of orange and yellow. There is so much foliage and all of it is a dark lush green. So, at the meeting today with President Collado, I got to see Hermana Rogers and all my other ccm sisters! Ah it was so awesome! We attacked each other with hugs. It was so good to see her and catch up. The meeting was directed by President and Sister Collado. I love my mission president! He has such a marvelous vision for this mission and is really focused on baptizing and retaining families. Hermana Collado is so sweet and cares about all of us so much. In the meeting, which was all day, we learned a lot about our objective in Nicaragua and how to become better missionaries. This meeting was exactly what I needed. We watched a video about Christ which touched my heart so much. To learn of Christ, we have to walk the path of Christ and experience the pain he felt. This was never easy for Christ so why would it be easy for us? This work is difficult because salvation is not a cheap experience. This just lifted me up so much and encouraged me to have more faith during times of trial. During these times, I learn so much more about my Savior. 

6 Hermanas in one Taxi-without a driver!
Later in the meeting, we had a get to know you kinda thing. I found out I am the youngest sister in the whole North Mission! Woot woot represent! So Hermana Collado made me stand up in front of about 60 missionaries there. Yeah, I went bright red. So the meeting ended at 4pm and it was time to head back to Leon. What happened next was one of the most hilarious moments of my mission. From the church, the six of us hermanas that are serving in Leon piled into a taxi which would take us to a bigger bus, which in itself is dangerous. So, we are driving in the crazy streets of Managua and suddenly the taxi starts sputtering and slows down. The taxi stops in a four lane, crazy road. We are out of gas! Our taxi driver makes some grunting sound, gets out of the taxi, hops in a different taxi, and drives away without saying one single word to us! So, six of us girls are stuck in a car in the middle of a crazy road. We had no idea where our taxi driver went and even if he was returning. What made matters worse was the doors were on some child lock so we couldn't get out! I was dying of heat. School buses, other cars, and bikes almost hit us. I was laughing so hard of the ridiculous situation we were in. To pass the time we took pictures of our lovely situation. Luckily, thirty minutes later, our taxi driver returned with some gas. That was a once in a lifetime (hopefully) experience!
Sweet Reunion!

On Thursday I went on interchanges which is where I go with some other Hermana for 24 hours and their comp goes with my comp. So I went with Hermana Devey to the village of Nagarote! She was the cutest girl and so sweet. What is crazy is she is from Utah, so we are both white, and she has only been out in the field for two months as well. However, she minored in Spanish so she is ahead of me with the language. But it was so crazy! Nagarote is a little village an hour away from Managua and is so pretty. There is so much foliage and is what I pictured Nicaragua to be. Hermana Devey and I worked great together and it was a lot of fun to be with her. But I missed my comp and Leon, so I was excited to return the next day! However, I had some interesting experiences in Nagarote. So, there are chickens. Like everywhere! And I hate chickens so it was just bad. Did you know that chickens can climb trees? Yeah, I didn't. They are in trees here which makes me so paranoid that they will fall on my head during a lesson. In one lesson we were teaching, the person we were teaching probably had like 20 chickens just roaming around. We were teaching and this demented chicken, its leg was backwards, starts charging at me. WORST NIGHTMARE! I flip out, jump out of my chair, and run away yelling "No me gusta pollo." hahahaha I was dying but the other two probably thought I was psycho. 

That night when I returned to Leon I had a break through in Spanish! It was a straight up miracle. The gift of tongues is real!! So my comp and I were street contacting and some hermana called us so I answered the phone and was talking to her. She suddenly is like "Wait, this isn't Hermana Mendez. This is Hermana Howell?" Yeah, a native hermana thought I was my native comp. WOOHOO! The hermana I was talking to on the phone was like what happened and was freaking out. Biggest confidence booster of my life! The rest of the day everyone was commenting on my Spanish which made me feel good about my Spanish. Ever since then my Spanish has been improving little by little. My comp gives me more opportunities to speak in lessons and contacting and other people give me some respect now. Such an awesome feeling! I am so grateful for the help God has given me. Now I just need to continue to have patience and have faith that in six months I will be fluent. 
Me and my Comp, Hra. Mendez

You realize you know more than you think you do when you are thrown into crazy situations. On Friday we had so many appointments so my comp suggested we do divisions. So she went with some other member and I went with some random member who I had never met before- she was my age. I was freaking out! I can't speak Spanish fluently, or even understand what people are saying to me, I don't know where our investigators live, and I have only been here for 3 weeks! You can't leave me in Coyolar basically as a trainer! I prayed so hard that I would be guided to find the houses and teach by the spirit and I was! I felt like a pro, haha just kidding. I remembered my way around Coyolar and all the lessons went well. I contacted basically for the first time all by myself and it went great! So the girl I was with had to leave at 6pm so I was going to go with another member. Well, at 5:55pm this other member texts me saying she can't come anymore. WHAT? The girl I was with is like "I need to go home." Um, I can't just be left by myself! My comp was twenty minutes away in a different part of Leon and we are the only missionaries in Coyolar. I was just imaging the worst scenario; me alone in Coyolar, being my myself at night, and not being able to speak Spanish for help. Before I started to really freak out, a miracle happened. Two other hermanas who are in my district walked around the corner. Their area is nowhere close to mine so it was a miracle they were in my area at that exact moment. I stayed with them until my comp returned to get me. This just testified to me that God is watching over me so much. 

Well those were practically all of the crazy moments of my week. I am looking forward to what else is coming my way this next week! I hope you all had a wonderful week! I love you all so so so much! Also I sent you letters today so I think you should get them in two weeks! LOVE YOU ALL SO MUCH! 


Jessica (Hermana Howell)