las colinas

Monday, May 25, 2015

So this week has been overall pretty good.

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S is getting really excited about the gospel and is still progressing. She is such an awesome investigator. This week I had the opportunity to go on divisions with one of the guys in my district and I learned so much. He is such an awesome missionary and teaches so much by the Spirit. That is one thing that I have learned while I have been out here is that if you are not teaching by the Spirit, not a lot is going to happen. The Spirit is the true conversion.

One night this week we were walking home and there were a bunch of fire flies. They were so awesome. Also, a few nights later while we were getting ready for bed, a bat came out from one of the curtains. It was such a big surprise and kind of a funny experience.

This week I studied a little bit about the importance of sacrifice, trying to help my investigators understand the importance of church and sacrificing a little bit of their time for the Lord. I was thinking a lot about the importance of sacrifice and in the long run, it’s not really a sacrifice, because if we do what we need to do, we will receive eternal life, which is something that we can’t pay for on our own. Only through Jesus Christ we can gain this great gift.

Love you all,

Elder Wagstaff

  • What have you done today? played soccer with the zone

still in las colinas

Monday, May 18, 2015

So this week has been great. I have been really tired, but great!!

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A poorer part of our area – Las Colinas

So I am still in Las Colinas with Elder R. We are still working hard and looking for new people. It’s awesome to see the progress in investigators, like S. S is doing really good and is always really excited to hear our message.

Yesterday was the first big rain storm in Las Colinas. It was so awesome!! I put on my rain boots and went outside. I was so excited. I felt like a little kid because I would run through every puddle that I found. The rain is so awesome and I am so grateful for the rain.

Love you all,

Elder Wagstaff

I found a new pet you can get for Oakley (a squirrel).

I found a new pet you can get for Oakley – a squirrel. (The man in the pic is a member that we are working to reactivate.)

Thanks so much for the gifts!!

Thanks so much for the gifts!!

  • How did you celebrate your birthday? We bought pizza and ate the (freeze-dried) ice cream you sent.
  • Sounds like S is progressing well. Anything we can pray for specifically? How about F? How are things going for him? Just keep praying for both S and F. F went to church yesterday, but hasn’t received his answer yet.
  • What are you loving most about this week? The rain for sure. Seriously, you should of seen how excited I was! haha

p-day was crazy

Monday, May 11, 2015

So this week was pretty good.

the world's best district

the world’s best district

I got to go on divisions, got to talk with the fam, had a lot of ups and downs with investigators. But, p-day was crazy.

Happy Mother's Day

Happy Mother’s Day

So it’s common that for one’s birthday that they get one or two eggs to the head. So for p-day we had a zone activity. We played sports and a few games with water balloons. We started playing this game that you had to walk through a bunch of water balloons that were placed on the floor. We were blindfolded and if you stepped on one, you had to have a water balloon thrown at you. While me and this missionary in my zone were waiting blindfolded to go, all we heard was, “3 – 2 – 1 – GO!” and a bunch of eggs and flour were thrown at us. I probably got 10 eggs thrown at me. It was hilarious. I was not expecting it at all. The part that was most funny is that I had to take a bus back to our house.

Love you all and hope you have an egg-free week.

Elder Wagstaff

  • What were you wearing? Any pics of the scene? I was wearing gym clothes, so when we got back I changed into mission clothes, but I still stunk. I have a video, but can’t send it.
  • Does it really feel like 102 degrees there? Are you cooking? Ya, it sometimes does.
  • How do you stay hydrated during the day? Drink a ton of water
  • How often does the electricity go out? Maybe 4 times a month.
  • What is your favorite food you have eaten in Nica? Gallo Pinto
  • How many sister missionaries are in your mission? What percentage of all missionaries are Latino? There are about 90 sisters and about half of the missionaries are Latino.

From Hermana Russell – President Russell’s wife:

To the mothers and significant women in the lives of our missionaries,

Thank you for raising wonderful sons and daughters. Please know that they are healthy and happy and working very hard. When I visit with them, I see kindness and thoughtfulness in your children who are becoming men and women of Christ. I watch as their fears depart, their confidence in the Lord increases, and their personal testimonies deepen.

As mothers, sisters, aunts, grandmothers, and close family friends, thank you for personal influence. Throughout the years, you have guided them and provided a solid foundation so they are now able to serve the Lord with all their might and are able to give their whole hearts to the people of Nicaragua. As I speak with them individually, I notice a deepened awareness and gratitude for their mothers and significant women in their lives.

President and I will be always feel blessed to count among our four children all of our missionaries whom we love dearly. May you find great joy knowing that your missionary is exactly where the Lord wants him/her to be, doing exactly what the Lord wants him/her to be doing. Thank you for sharing them us

Happy Mother’s Day.

Sincerely,

Hermana Peggy Russell

testimony

Monday, May 4, 2015

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So this week I had an awesome experience.

Sunday morning started out having its ups and downs. The first house that we went to, our investigator came out all ready to go. That was such a rewarding experience, having him all ready to go to church with us. But after that, it seemed that nobody wanted to go to church with us. House after house, door after door, we got shut down.

We finally got to church and as you all know, it was testimony meeting. As we were waiting to take the Sacrament, I was thinking a lot about what we did wrong this week and how we were going to improve. I was very grateful to renew my baptismal covenants and draw closer to our Savior.

During the testimony meeting is when the highlight of the week happened. One of our recent converts got up and shared her testimony for the first time. It was such a powerful experience to hear her talk about the importance of prayer. She explained that for a long time she didn’t think that our message was real and that it didn’t have a lot of significance in her life. But as she prayed, she started to realize its importance. She explained that the only way that you can know if it’s true is get on your knees and pray. Moroni 10:3-5.

Behold, I would exhort you that when ye shall read these things, if it be wisdom in God that ye should read them, that ye would remember how merciful the Lord hath been unto the children of men, from the creation of Adam even down until the time that ye shall receive these things, and ponder it in your hearts.

And when ye shall receive these things, I would exhort you that ye would ask God, the Eternal Father, in the name of Christ, if these things are not true; and if ye shall ask with a sincere heart, with real intent, having faith in Christ, he will manifest the truth of it unto you, by the power of the Holy Ghost.

Any by the power of the Holy Ghost ye may know the truth of all things.

I am so grateful to be a missionary!!!

Love you all and hope all the Moms out there have a great Mothers’ Day!!!

Elder Wagstaff

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I’ll see you in a few days. Love you!

  • How’s your week been? It’s been pretty good. Always has its ups and downs, but it was good.
  • How does the literacy rate affect the work? Do you have many experiences with people who can’t read? Is it difficult for investigators who can’t read to gain a testimony of the Book of Mormon? Do they struggle understanding or does the spirit testify more intensely? Most people here can read, but there are some that can’t. It can make it hard when we leave pamphlets, but we usually just explain it to them. It can obviously be a little bit harder, but the spirit does all the work.
  • How’s Elder R doing? What kind of family support does he have? How big is his family? He is doing good. His brother is serving in the DR. He has 3 other siblings. I just ask Jake (if Elder Rs brother is in his mission), but I guess we will find out. I am pretty sure he is in Santiago.
  • Have you had much trouble or seen many scorpions? We had a couple in our house in Sandino, but not a lot here.

one experience

Monday, April 27, 2015

This week was a little funny.

We started teaching this guy and at first he seemed pretty positive. He seemed to like to listen and had a few questions for us.

The next time we went back, his ideas were completely different. We started talking about the importance of faith and baptism. He was listening and then all of the sudden went crazy. We started to read about baptism in Matthew and without us really saying anything, he stood up and started saying that we were talking about how his baptism wasn’t valid. No point in the lesson did we say anything like that. We were just reading from the Bible.

He stood up and told us that we couldn’t teach him anymore. He was so upset and he told us we had to to leave. It was a pretty funny experience because in one moment everything was normal, in the next it seemed that everything went wrong.

Just one experience about the mission.

love you tons

Elder Wagstaff

PS…Mom, here’s an early Mother’s Day gift: I cleaned our house today.

  • What kind of week have you had? It’s been a good week, a little stressful trying to get everything done.
  • How are your other investigators? Were many able to come to church this week? It was another frustrating week, with only one in church.
  • Do you ever sleep in a hammock or do anything different? I have not slept in a hammock yet. We planted a coconut. haha. The coconut had a sprout on it.
  • Do you ever burn your trash or how does the sanitation and garbage system work? A ton of people burn their trash, but there is also a garbage service here.
  • Have you had any crazy encounters with spiders, snakes, etc? We have a lot of spiders in our house, but nothing to worry about. One of our investigators said he saw a huge snake the other day. For the rest of the day I was watching every step that I took.

the work

Monday, April 20, 2015

So, this week I have grown to appreciate the importance of telling the truth.

I feel like this area, especially, people feel like they can’t tell you “no.” So, when you commit someone to church or to complete with some other commitment, they always seem to say, “Well, of course I will.” That can make Sunday mornings very hard; going from door to door, trying to get people to go to church with you; people coming up with lame excuses, hiding in their house (even though you can see them – haha).

But, we are working with an investigator named F. He is awesome!! Last week he told us that he couldn’t go to church that week, but he will go the next week. When someone says this, it usually means that they will never go to church with you. So we explained the importance of the church and continued to teach him. This week he said, “Ya, I will go with you guys this week.” As we were passing by other people it was hard because it seemed like nobody wanted to go. When we passed by his house he was all ready to go. YES. It is so nice when someone actually keeps their word.

This week my camera got stolen. I’m not exactly sure where or when it happened, but I think someone grabbed it out of my backpack when I was riding on the crowded bus.

This week I also got served chicken guts. My comp asked what it was and the lady said some weird name. My comp didn’t know what it was either, so we continued to eat. About half way through the meal, my comp said, “OH, I KNOW WHAT IT IS!” I told him not to tell me until after I was done eating. It was a funny experience.

Well, this was my week. I love you all so much! Have a great week!

Elder Wagstaff

  • Anyone we can specifically pray about for you? S. She is a mom of a recent convert and she is struggling to get an answer.
  • Have you heard any follow up from the family in Sandino? Did the dad end up getting baptized? Last time I talked to my comp he said that the papers are almost done and he is getting really close. But that was a few months ago, so I have no idea.
  • Anything we can do for you? Anything you need? Just make a Skype account for me and think about what time you all want to do it. (Mother’s Day call.)
  • Is there any food that you are starting to dislike at this point? The rice seems a little harder to get down. I can’t eat as much as I once could at the beginning of my mission. This week we basically ate chicken guts. That was kind of gross.

it’s hot!

Monday, April 13, 2015

The first thing that can come to my mind this week is…IT’S HOT!!!

It has been so hot the past few weeks here. There are so many times when I will be walking down the streets sweating bullets.

One of the culture aspects that I do not get here is the idea of SOUP… especially during this time there are so many people making a nice, hot bowl of soup. I think to myself, “What are you thinking? It feels like a 1000 degrees and you want to eat hot soup?” There are many times when someone offers me soup and I feel like I am cooking my insides. It’s not that the soup doesn’t taste good, it’s the fact that it’s so hot outside. Well, I guess that is one thing that I’ll just have to get used to.

The nights are nice coming back and taking a nice, freezing, cold shower. That is one thing that I hated before the mission is cold showers, but now it’s so nice.

Today for p-day we got together as a zone. Certain people were assigned activities to put together. I chose to put together a water balloon game, because it is so hot. It was pretty fun and super refreshing. Afterwards, my comp and I went to McDonalds and got hamburgers. It was a pretty fun p-day.

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One thing that I have been doing for my personal study lately is reading Jesus the Christ. It is such an awesome book and I love reading about the importance of Jesus Christ in our lives. I am so grateful for the chance to learn more and strengthen my testimony.

This week I challenge you all to take a freezing cold shower and eat a bowl of hot soup.

Love you all,

Elder Wagstaff

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  • How has the work been this week? Any new investigators or interesting happenings? I thought that it was an awesome week. We found a lot of new people, got a lot of people to commit to a baptism date. But when Sunday came around, no one wanted to go to church. That can be really frustrating.
  • Are you liking the area? How about your companion? How is it all going? I am liking the area a lot. Super different than my past area (a lot more rich people live here), but I am loving it. My comp and I are getting along great. He is awesome.
  • Hermana Russell sent a pic of the package we mailed (saying that one finally arrived). Did you get your Easter package? She also mentioned that you got your hair cut. How often does that happen? How much does it cost? Thanks so much for the Easter package. I love the cars. I get my hair cut about every 3 or so weeks. It costs 50 cords, which is a little less than 2 dollars.
  • Where do you meet when you get together as a zone? How big is your zone? In a church for Managua. About 30 missionaries. If you want to know what my area is like, my area goes from a shopping mall called galleria to veracruz.
  • How would you describe most of the living conditions of those you associate with? The living conditions can be pretty crazy. Many have dirt floors and tin walls/anything they can find that can last for a while. Very humble circumstances. I am so grateful to have a nice house. I take for granted some of the small things, like carpet. I have yet to see carpet.

conferencia general

Monday, April 6, 2015

So this has been a pretty crazy week!!

The week started off pretty normal until Tuesday around 2 in the afternoon. We got a call from the Zone Leader saying that Elder P was going to have changes the next day. So we finished out Tuesday a little crazy trying to get all of our appointments in and letting him say goodbye to all of the members and his converts. The next day at the change meeting I received my new comp. Elder R.

Elder R seems like an awesome guy and has a super strong testimony. I am so excited to be his comp and see what we can do for this area of Las Colinas. I know that we can do great things.

I was a little frustrated these last few Conference days because our investigators didn’t have a strong desire to go and listen. There is a rule in the mission that if you don’t have 4 or more investigators in a Conference session, you can’t watch it (with the exception of one freebee and the Priesthood session). So as we were going around it seemed like nobody wanted to go to Conference. It was a little saddening, but we will have to work that much harder to get people to church this next week. I only got to watch the 3 session and Priesthood session. I was so grateful for this experience to watch these 2 sessions. I learned so much and especially loved the talks about the Atonement and the Savior.

I know that our Savior loves us. Every time I get the chance to hear about the Atonement, my testimony is strengthened. I am so grateful for this plan that God has prepared for us. I know that he loves us. I know that through the Atonement that families can be together forever and can return to the presence of our Heavenly Father.

I hope you have all had a great week. Love you tons.

– Elder Wagstaff

the zone

the zone

  • Elder R seems like a great guy! Where is he from? What is his personality like? Does he remind you of anyone? From Guatemala. He has a really genuine personality.
  • Has anything scary happened to you since you’ve been in Nicaragua? I honestly don’t feel like I’ve had a ton of scary moments. Maybe when I was robbed, but it really wasn’t a huge deal.
  • Any funny experiences lately? Elder P told me a few times that I was teaching in my dreams in Spanish. Haha – sleep talking!

crazy fast week

Monday, March 30, 2015

This week has gone by so fast. I am often trying to catch my breath.

One thought that came into our minds recently is how simple some of the people live here. They don’t need huge houses, or fancy cars, to be happy. It is the little simple things that make them the most happy. Many people won’t get to experience some of the luxuries of life. Often times I think that we take for granted everything that we have. We focus too much on money or things of the world. Really, we should focus more on what matters most and what we need to do to achieve it.

I am sure that I have already said it, but I am so grateful for the opportunity to pray. It can be such a testimony builder and I am so glad to have this special communication with our Heavenly Father.

I know that our Savior lives. I hope that you all can have the opportunity to learn something new this General Conference.

Love you all!!!!

Elder Wagstaff

  • What do you think makes your mission unique to all the other missions? I think that Pres. Russell really stresses the importance of exact obedience. I am so grateful because when you are obedient, you receive blessings – D&C 82:10.
  • What has been your most spiritual experience this week? I feel like in this area my faith can be tested. There are a lot of liars. So when things get hard, PRAY.
  • How do you feel your communication with the people is coming? Do you feel like you connect more with the older generation or with the younger kids? I feel like the younger.
  • Who can we pray for specifically? Any needs or things that we can do from this end to help with the work? Pray for the opportunity to find new people.
  • What is one thing that you love about Nica that you may not have at home? The thing I love most about Nica is how simple their lives are. I love how they don’t need a ton of fancy things to be happy.

8 month mark!!!

Monday, March 23, 2015

Well I keep being reminded that today is my 8 month mark. Holy, the time flies.

This week we had the opportunity to have a conference with the north and the south missions. It was awesome to see everyone from the south and also see what the missionaries are like in the north. At the conference they talked a lot about the importance of this Gospel and the happiness that it brings. I also got to see all of my CCM buddies and talk about the experience that we have had. Good times.

ccm crew

ccm crew

This week was a little bit harder with the progression of our investigators. For whatever reason, Satan has been trying to work in their lives, especially this week. A lot of our investigators didn’t have the desire to go to church or complete with other important commitments. It’s kind of a bummer when people say that they will go to church, but when you pass by their house at 7:30-8 in morning they are either not there or can’t go for some dumb reason. One important quality here in the mission is patience. It can be very hard not to blow up in their faces sometimes. But we will have to work that much harder this week.

Now that I have had a little time in Las Colinas, I have really gotten a feel for what it’s like. I have heard that this area is one of the richest areas in the mission and also if not the biggest, one of the biggest areas in the mission. I am learning to love the people in this area and am so grateful to be serving here.

I am so grateful to be serving here in Nicaragua. I have learned so much, but also have so much to learn.

Hope you all have a great week.

Con un monton de amor

Elder Wagstaff

  • Congrats! Today marks 8 months! Can you believe it? 1/3 of your mission complete. How do you feel about it? List 8 things you have learned the most so far from being a missionary.
  1. God is real
  2. The atonement is for everyone
  3. The gospel brings happiness
  4. The importance of the Book of Mormon
  5. The importance of the Priesthood
  6. The importance of Prayer
  7. The importance of Fasting
  8. Everyone needs the Gospel
  • How have you personally changed in the last 8 months? What area in your life have you seen the greatest amount of growth? I feel like I am the same person who left 8 months ago, but who knows, maybe I have changed. The biggest growth has been my knowledge of the gospel. When I left I barely knew my favorite scripture.
  • What do you love most about the people of Nicaragua? What will you always remember about them? There are so many people here that are so kind. Even if they don’t want to hear about the gospel, they will often still listen.
  • How do you see the world differently since you’ve been in Nicaragua vs before your mission? I think that there are just so many people out there with so many different backgrounds, personalities, experiences…
  • What do you appreciate most about President and Sis Russell? I love how Pres. Russell understands the importance of hard work. Hermana Russell is very sweet spirited and is very loving.