the field

Monday, October 27, 2014

This week I had the opportunity to go work with Elder H solo.

It was pretty interesting to see how far my Spanish had come along. As you know this was Elder H’s first full week in the mission field. While our trainers were off helping other missionaries in other areas it was just us two white Americans trying to figure this thing out. It was pretty entertaining at times trying to get our point across. Haha. But overall I was pretty satisfied with our day. I am super impressed with Elder H’s Spanish. For only having a few weeks here it is pretty good. There are times when he will actually correct me on my Spanish. He is way smart.

Also this week we had the opportunity to baptize J. This is the guy with the lottery ticket. This guy is always so happy every time I see him. He is so faithful. It was awesome to see the process of conversion with him. Every time we taught him something he would always follow up our commitments. We taught him the word of wisdom; he quit drinking coffee. We taught him about tithing; the following day he paid his tithing even before he was baptized. It was pretty amazing to see the full process of conversion. He is such an amazing person. I think this is what they call the perfect investigator. This just comes to show that there are people out there just waiting to hear about our message.

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People are waiting we just need to open our mouth and show that this gospel brings happiness and benefits our life so much.

Love you all tons

-Elder Wagstaff

 

Mom – You sound so great. I am thrilled to hear about your week. Sounds like you and Elder H are doing awesome and a great support for each other. How are you doing?

A – Things are going pretty good here.
sorry about the letter i kind of threw it together last minute

Mom – We absolutely loved getting your letter! It was such a highlight for us!

Congrats on J. That is such a cool story. What an experience you are having being able to see lives change for the better.

Glad the Spanish is starting to click too. Can you see how far you have come?

Have you been able to find a new camera?

A – There are times when i think my spanish has improved a ton but then right after i cant even talk. its weird
I have not found a camera yet but i think next pday i will.

Mom – I am sure your Spanish is improving every day! Just be patient and keep working at it.

Hopefully you will be able to find a good camera soon.

You are emailing earlier than normal. What do you do on your pdays?

A – pdays are really so random. sometimes we actually do stuff but today was kind of a waste. but i think in a few weeks we have a planned day to play sports which will be a lot better.

Mom – Sounds like a mix of things. Sorry today was not very exciting.

Is there anything you want us to send you for Christmas? Have you heard if missionaries receive packages that are mailed? Any special requests? I am thinking I need to get something sent as soon as possible…

A – no not really. maybe a good shirt from my closet or some more gym shorts but if it costs a lot dont worry about it

Mom – That’s helpful! When you say a shirt, do you mean tshirt or golf or long sleeve? What are you hoping for?

A – just a normal tshirt

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Your apartment looks great! I am thrilled to see a toilet and rooms. Haha. I really didn’t know what to expect, but I think you really may be at the Ritz! Thanks so much!

So what kind of food do you keep in the kitchen? Anything you are craving?

A – we dont really have a kitchen… just a frigde. But things are great. one of your hamburgers….

Mom – No kitchen. Hmmm. That sounds like a challenge.

I wish I could make you a burger.

How hard is it to wake up at 6:30 every day?

A – honestly its not that hard for me… i usually wake up at 628 by myself.
got to go now.. love you tons
have a great week

things are shakin’ good

October 20, 2014

So this week I had my first real earthquake!! (10/13 @ 9:51 pm – magnitude 7.3, struck 42 miles west-southwest of Jiquilillo, Nicaragua)

It wasn’t huge, but it lasted a good 20 to 30 seconds. We just got done with planning and I was writing in my journal. All of the sudden the table started to shake. One of my companions started to freak out and ran down the stairs so fast. I have never seen him move so fast before. But everything is perfect fine. It was a pretty cool experience.

This week was changes. I now have my same trainer, but also have 2 new companions. Elder H and Elder M. Elder H is brand new and is from Tooele, Utah. Elder M has about a year in the field and is from Costa Rica. They are both awesome missionaries. This week I did a ton of work with Elder M. He has taught me so much in the few days that I have been with him. He will only speak in Spanish to me and I think that my Spanish has improved so much this week because of this. I am super excited to see what kind of energy this companionship brings to the people of Nicaragua.

This Sunday I had the opportunity to witness L receive the priesthood. It was such an amazing experience. It was cool to see the process of not knowing hardly anything about the church to gaining a testimony, being baptized and receiving the priesthood. I am so excited to see him continually progress and become such an amazing person.

Things are continuing to run fairly smoothly here. I love this experience so freaking much. I am so glad for this opportunity to be a missionary.

Con amor de Nicaragua!!

-Elder Wagstaff

 

Mom – I am so glad you are safe and all is well. If you have pics of your new comps, I’d love to see them! Can you tell a difference in new missionaries vs those that have been out a while? What do you notice most?

A – ya for sure.
The biggest diff. is confidence. They can really talk about anything for ever. Vs me and my new comp are struggling to find words. i dont have pic with them but ill send other pics

Mom – That makes sense. In time, you will be able to communicate like you want to.

I am sure it is so cool to see L progress in the gospel. What a neat thing. You said they remind you of home. In what way?

A – They are one of the only families that seems to be really close and have a testimony of the gospel its rare to find both of the things here

Mom – That is a good observation. We are blessed! I am sure you will stay close to L forever.
Describe your new comps. Do you work mostly with Elder M?

A – Ya elder m and i did a lot of work this week. He is pretty tall and skinny. He is a great comp
how was the beach?

Mom – That’s good that you are being productive and working hard! Sounds like you are a good match. How is the rain? Your shoes holding up? How much walking do you do?

A – We pretty much are walking all day and my shoes are great. The rain boots dont let any water in they are awesome. It rains off and on here.
So just buy a camera

Mom – Glad to hear your shoes are working well. Yes, buy a camera! We put $ in your acct so you can get one.

The beach was so nice. The water and weather were perfect. Abbi and I just wish everyone else could have come.

Why do you have more than one comp?

A – we are a companisho of 4

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Mom – Looks good! What are you eating?

A – the food is basically rice and beans

Mom – Yummy! How late can you go contacting?

A – we are supposed to be at the house at 9.
so that is usually our goal but often we are a few minutes late

Mom – Are you a quad companionship for safety reasons? Or what is the reasoning behind 4 and not 2?

How big is the area you cover?

A – its because both of my comps are leaders so some days we travel to other areas.
I have to go now but hope you have a great week.
Love you tons

it’s been a wet week!!

October 13, 2014

So this week has been super exciting!!!

The first reason why it has been a wet week is because it has been raining a ton here. I have very mixed feelings about the rain. The rain is nice because it’s a chance to cool down. As you know, it can get extremely hot here and when it rains it can be super refreshing. When it rains, it’s nice because when we have an appointment, they usually always let you in because they feel a little bad for you. The reason why I don’t like it is because it is extremely hard to contact in the rain. There is never anyone in the street to contact, so it’s really hard to find new investigators. But, overall, the rain is nice. At the beginning, on the mission, I hated the rain because I felt that you couldn’t do anything in the rain. But I have grown to appreciate it.

The second reason why it has been a wet week is because I had the chance to baptize!!!!

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It was such an amazing experience. It was one of our investigators named L. He is about 25 and is such an awesome person. Most of his family are recent members, but for whatever reason he decided not to become a member until now. This family is so amazing and they remind me a little bit of home.

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But I am so fortunate to have the opportunity to baptize this amazing person. To be honest, I was a little nervous to say the prayer in Spanish, but it all went well. When it was all said and done, the spirit was so strong. It was amazing!!! This is for sure my favorite moment of the mission thus far.

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I am super excited to teach more people and bring more people unto Christ. I am not 100% sure why I am called to Nicaragua yet, but I know that there is a reason. I know that God did not call me here to fail and that he won’t give me a challenge that I can’t overcome. The mission is not always easy, but it’s the days like these that make this thing so great. Missions are great….
Hope you all have a great week!!
-Elder Wagstaff

 

Mom – That is SO neat to learn about your first baptism!!! We are thrilled for you and how you are being an instrument of The Lord. I can’t imagine how that must feel. Way to go! We have been praying for L here. It was a wet week!

Would you like me to send you a copy of the letters I email?

A – ya that would be nice
how are things there

Mom – We are great! Especially hearing from you.

What do you know about buying a camera there vs us sending you one? Is there a better option? I am trying to get some reliable info of how to best mail one to you. What do you think?

A – im am not really sure. I can try to do with what do you think is better

Mom – If you can get a quality camera there, it may be the best bc to mail packages may be sketchy. It will probably cost a couple hundred dollars to get one here. But if you can’t get a good one, we will send one.

Are there very many good electronic stores there? Do you think we should just send you a camera? Does that make it easier for you?

What did you do for service today?

A – ya there are electronic stores…just let me know what you think will be better. i am open ears.

no service today its tomorrow

Mom – Ahhh. Keep up the good work. What happened with your wardie who came to Utah? What did you learn?

A – I honestly think she might still be there so keep waiting….
But the baptism was super special because our president made a rule that you can only have one physcial baptism. It was so awesome

Mom – What does it mean to have one physical baptism? Does that mean you can only be in your whites once and then the members do the baptizing for the other people who are being baptized?

We will keep waiting on your wardie.

A – Ya exaclty i only wear white once… I love the family and they asked me to do it so i thought it would be a great opportunity.
I would wait at least another week before you do anything because the wardie offered to take stuff back. but i dont know how much she was planning on taking..

Mom – The pic of you and L is absolutely amazing. You can feel how happy both of you are!!

That is super helpful info about your wardie. I will hold onto the stuff and then mail it if she doesn’t call. How long should I wait…what day should I send it if she doesn’t call? Do you know if she will try to call or how she will get ahold of me?

A – I honestly have no idea. I will let you know if i see her or talk to her this week. But i would wait at least another week.

Mom – Okay. Sounds great! How do you feel your Spanish is coming along?

A – poco a poco
little by little. usually there are times when i feel like i make a really good comment then the next lesson i cant say anything its weird. but i know it will come

Mom – For sure it will come. I know that it must’ve been an amazing experience to testify of the Savior in Spanish and also to perform an ordinance in Spanish. What an experience you’re having!

I love you!

A – ya its pretty amazing

Mom – Love the pics! Abbi won her first debate today! And, she also got 100% on her Spanish test today so things are going really well here. Anything new or interesting food wise?

A – There are some really weird food. there is a drink called pinolia that the first time i hated. I thought it tasted like dirt, but now I like it…kind of weird

awesome to hear about abbi and spanish, sounds like shes doing great in school.

Mom – Abbi is working really hard as is Liz. How are you sleeping and how is the bug situation with all that rain?

A – i sleep great as soon as i hit the pillow i am out.
the bugs are not bad in my area

Mom – Any pictures of your inside of your apartment yet?

A – sorry i am waiting to have a clean appartment to take pics
but i will for sure send in the near future

Mom – How scary is it? Does it need to be cleaned because of missionaries or need to be cleaned bc of life in Nica?

A – Mostly because of us but a little bit of both.
But i am staying in the ritz of nica.

Mom – Haha. Bigger question, are you making your bed every day?

A – yes i have only missed a handful of times

Mom – That’s awesome. Way to go! Hey wondering what you mean when you say it’s the Ritz of Nicaragua? Try to describe that for me.

A – give you more details next week and hopeful pics
got to go
love you tons

one month in nica

October 6, 2014

So I’ve been in Nica for offically one month!!!

This time thing is super weird. I don’t know if it’s been a super long time or if I just got off the plane in Mexico. It’s crazy.

So this week has been great. I had a really weird experience about 2 am last night. I woke up super stressed. I think I had a dream last night that I was teaching someone or that I was tracting or something because when I woke up I felt like I needed to be doing something. It was so terrible. It took me a while to calm myself down and tell myself that I wasn’t wasting my time sleeping. It was so bizarre.

I loved General Conference.
So our mission president made a rule that you have to have at least 4 investigators in a conference session to watch. So Saturday morning we went to pick our investigators up and we didn’t have much luck. We ended up with only 2 investigators in the first session. So me and my comp went looking for people to try to bring in to the conference. We came across a group of boys that were playing basketball. We tried and tried to get them to come with us. We decided to say that if we play a quick game and beat them that they had to come to the next session. So my comp and I played them and obviously won. It was weird because I never thought in my whole life that I would be playing basketball during general conference on my mission. Kind of funny.

We luckily got to watch the rest of the conferences. I got to watch the Priesthood session and the 3rd session in English!! I really enjoyed the talk by Henry B. Erying in the 3rd session. I truly feel like it was an answer to my prayers. And of course, I loved the words of our Prophet.

This week we had an awesome experience with one of our investigators. We were contacting on the street and we came across a man of about 70. We started talking with him and invited him to church this week. He said that he couldn’t because he had to work because he just crashed his car and it would cost about 300 cords (cordobas) to fix. We explained that if he came to church that he would be blessed. He showed up to church. A few days later he got a slip for a lottery ticket for 1200 cords. He truly believes that God blessed him. The moral to this story is not to go out and buy a lottery ticket and go to church, but to have faith that when you are obiedient you will be blessed.

I know that God is in our life and blesses us.
Hope everyone had a great conference weekend!!!!
Love you all so much,
-Elder Wagstaff

 

Mom – Hey! Sounds like things are going well. Sorry about your dream last night. You also were in a dream I had last night. Maybe you had anxiety because of my dream. Haha.

Any word on your camera?

A – no go on the camera

Mom – Ok. We will send you a new one. We will mail it to the mission home.

Turns out our water usage is down. Two months in a row! haha. I wonder why?

How has your day been? Are you set up in zones and districts?

A – good we painted a house for pday today. set up in zone of managua, district of lp

Mom – What color was the paint?

Do you know how long you will stay in lp?

A – white

till at least end of november around thanksgiving

Mom – That’s good you get to be there for a little bit.

Do you cook most of your meals or how does that work? Also, how is the laundry situation working out? Who does your laundry?

A – we have someone cook lunch and do our laundry

but the food here is all fried or cooked in oil

Mom – Wow! Sounds like a bit harsh for the digestive track.

Do you have any pics for this week?

What is the funniest thing that has happened this last week?

A – no pics this week, sorry

Mom – That’s ok. Can you print your emails and read them later or do you have to read them at the church?

A – I think i can print them but am honestly still trying to figure things out.

hey i met someone in our ward that is going to utah tomorrow she offered to take a letter are you ok with that

Mom – Of course! That would be great! Thank her for bringing the letter. Is she going back to Nica? Could I send a camera back with her? Anything we can send you or that you need?

A – ya i think so…

only a backpack like i told dad but that doesn’t need to be until christmas and its kind of a big item to take. im not sure if it will work out but i will talk to her today.

let you know how it goes next week.

got to go now

love you so much

la obra

Monday, September 29, 2014

It´s been a great week.

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So last p-day we took an unplanned bus tour of Nica.
So we need to get to the chapel. We waited and waited for a bus, one finally came. When it came we asked the driver if it went by a certain location, he replied yes, so we got on. Sometime later we realized that we were not going in the right direction, we were going in the completely opposite direction. We had no idea where we were so we decided the best thing to do was to just stay on the bus. TWO HOURS LATER we were back to where we started.
We decided just to walk.

I have turned this learning spanish thing into a game. For example, to keep me focused during Sunday School I made a little game. Our Sunday School teacher says the word ¨verdad¨ a ton, which means truth. ¨When we pray to God he answers our prayers, verdad.¨… ¨Praying is a way we demonstrate faith, verdad.¨ So, to keep me focused, I decided I would count the number of times she said this word. In 30 minutes she said ‘verdad’ over 88 times.
It was pretty entertaining.

There is an awesome guy that we are teaching right now. His name is L. He is the brother and uncle of one of my favorite families here in Nicaragua. This family is always super happy and positive. They have such a strong testimony. He is super accepting of the gospel and I have high expectations for him. Every time we teach him it is such an amazing experience.

Faith is like a fan on a hot day in Nicaragua.
The buttons and power cord is the amount of effort and energy you put forth. You have to put forth effort and energy to recieve blessings.
The rotation of the fan is when we recieve the blessings. Sometimes it´s immediate and other times it takes a while to get back around to you. But when we are patient and continue to have faith we will always revieve blessings.
And the breeze is the influence of our Heavenly Father and Savior Jesus Christ in our lives. You can´t see them, but when you have faith in them you can feel their presence.

Love you all and hope you can have faith this week!!!
-Elder Wagstaff

 

(from last week:)

Mom – Are you still there? Curious, now that you’ve had a zone conference, what is the ratio of native missionaries to non-native/North American missionaries?

(this week:)

A – sorry last week the power went out.
But there are not a lot of americans the majority are for sure latin.
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one thing that pres. russell asked us to do was have you and dad send an email of if the pres were to call you and say to brag about your son what you would say.
Things are going great. how is cali??

Mom – Hi! Wow! I love you so much!!! How are you holding up?

I found out that Quito – where Brett is – and Managua are sister cities. Pretty cool!

A – That’s way cool. How was cali?

Mom – Cali is great. Did you see the pics of all those cars? I tell you, BMWs, Mercedes and Lexuses are all like Hondas (average cars) around here. Crazy! 

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What’s been the best thing about your week?

A – ya those cars are sweet. I really took “that attitude is everything” to heart and it’s helped a ton.

I just decided to open my mouth even though my spanish is garbage and it’s helped a ton.

Mom – I know that you are doing such a great job and have such a fabulous attitude, even when it is hard.

Some sad news for the PC Peters this week. Schroeder was hit by a car and died. Sad for everyone!

How is your stomach?

A – so sad to hear about schroeder!!
my stomach is super great!! my latin comps got sick this week but im doing great. I can eat so much here. its awesome

Mom – That’s awesome. So happy!

I am glad you are speaking in Spanish more too. I think that you know more than you think! It will come.

What is your comp like? What is his personality like?

A – for the most part i get along with him really well. he knows a ton and im learning a ton from him.

Mom – Remember, you are the answer to a mother’s prayer for her missionary!

What is your favorite food that you’ve tried?

A – its really all pretty much rice and beans but pretty much everything is good some wierd cheese and fruit but mostly good

Mom – What do you sleep on…a bed? Bunk? How about a closet? Can you hang your stuff? Are you concerned about theft?

A – ill send pics next week, but we change the beds from bunk to normal today. no i feel super safe here

Mom – That’s exciting you have a new bed! What are your showers like?hot/cold? buckets?

A – we have hot running water but i never use it because i am always super hot here so it feels way good

Mom – I am sure you are cooking! Do you want me to try and send some mesh garment tops? What do the other missionaries wear?

A – no its good i can buy garments here
love you

got to go
love you