Happy 24th of July!

Hey there Family!

I can’t believe how quickly the time is winding down! There are definitely still some days when I feel like I still have forever to go and then someone reminds me that I go home in less than 3 weeks and it’s just real crazy! I feel so grateful though!

This week was another week full of adventures and miracles. We have been really trying to be exactly obedient. For awhile it was a real test of our faith, but we are truly starting to see the fruits of our labors and God is blessing us so much!

The week started off with a fun little adventure. My companion is obsessed with bananas and has always wanted to see a banana tree in person. Well, lucky her, there’s a banana plantation here on the outskirts of our area. So on tuesday I took her over there and it was actually pretty dang cool! The little security guard guy gave us a little lesson on bananas and told us all about the plantation. We were standing on a 150 acre banana plantation. Those bananas get sent straight to the United States to Walmart and Walgreens. Yes, I was beyond excited about that! It takes 3 months for one bunch to grow and after about two or three grow, the tree dies and grows a “child tree”. So there’s your fun facts for the week lol!

Later in the week we had a pretty cool experience with one of our recent convert families. They had told us that they didn’t feel peace in their home and they had been having some scary experiences with things that are out of the normal. We felt it necessary for the Elders to come and bless their house. When they did, we all came into their humble little home. You can imagine 4 people living in a 10 foot by 10 foot shack made out of wood and tin slats. We all knelt down as the Elders gave the blessing and as we listened to the prayer, the feelings of emptiness that we felt in their house turned to peace and my heart felt full. Their house became a home protected by the Spirit. It was a very special experience and I am so grateful for the Priesthood that is upon the earth again that blesses our lives in every way.

This week it rained some more and it was wild. The streets filled up with almost a foot of water! Luckily we were able to camp out in a members house for a little bit!

This weekend we were able to have another baptism and it was so awesome! It was a day filled with lots of patience and faith. It was a young girl named Massiel who has wanted to be baptized for over three months now. We have been able to teach her and we were able to get permission from her mom to be baptized. A little later we even found out that her mom is a member but fell away from the church! The day of her baptism was a little crazy. We waited 4 hours for the baptism to happen. She wanted her mom to be there but her mom couldn’t come so she wouldn’t get baptized. It was so stressful, but finally some member went and picked up the mom and brought her to the church. As we waited, I was so stressed and found myself murmuring and doubting. So we sat down and I started reading my scriptures about faith and was reminded about the scripture in Ether 12:6 “la fe es las cosas que se esperan y no se ven; por tanto no contendáis porque no veis, porque no recibís ningun testimonio sino hasta después de la prueba de vuestra fe.” (Sorry, I couldn’t remember how it is in English). That was an important lesson for me. After I changed my attitude to an attitude of faith, the members showed up to the chapel with her mom and the baptism finally got started at 8 oclock that night.

I love you all so much and I can’t wait to see all of your beautiful faces in a few short weeks!

Love, Shay
Hermana Staker
Mision Nicaragua Managua Norte
Febrero 2016- Agosto 2017

Here’s some more pictures from a couple of weeks ago!

To explain some of the pictures that I sent:

The horses here are like stray dogs, they’re everywhere!
We love eating fruit in the morning! Every morning we eat something different!
One day we found a little baby pig running in the street and I went and picked it up and took a picture with it.
I am absolutely exhausted. I come home at night and struggle to keep my eyes open.
I am teaching Hermana Harding how to speak spanish. Every day we have “whiteboard time”. Shes progressing really well!
Annnd the natural drinks that they give us here are called frescos and they just serve them in a bag with a straw. Well one day we went and got one thats banano con leche and it was so gigantic, we about peed our pants 1. Because of how much liquid we drank and 2. because we were laughing so hard at the fact that we were drinking a drink out of a huge plastic grocery bag.

GOOD TIMES! I LOVE NICARAGUA!!

7/17/2017 SEVENTEEN MONTHS!

Hey there fam!!

This week was another one full of adventures! It sounds like all of you had a busy week as well which is what I like to hear! OH and when I opened up all the boating pictures, all I could think was “four. more. weeks” Lol! It looks like you guys had a blast!!

The week started off in Managua AGAIN. We went to the new missionaries meeting which was really fun! I loved being able to learn from all of the new missionaries and being with them. I have been able to experience my last 12 weeks of the mission a little bit like my first 12 and it has been really really fun!

Wednesday we had a multizona and it was my last one! What a crazy day! I decided it was time to overcome my fear one last time and play a special number at the multizona. I have told myself my whole mission that I would do it in a reunion with all of the missionaries and I finally worked myself up to doing it. I felt really good and I rocked it!

That morning I was thinking a little bit about my talent and how I have mistreated it a little bit and hid it. I remembered when I was twelve years old and some things were happening with Corbin. That one weekend when he totaled the truck and then got kicked out of the house is a weekend that I will never forget. I remember going downstairs that day and seeing that my world was unraveling in a way. Watching my brother walk out of the house was not an easy sight. I remember that I stopped Corbin in the hallway and made him promise me one thing: that he would come to my piano recital that weekend. As he left, I was afraid that I would never see him again and that things would change forever. That weekend rolled around and so did my piano recital. We got to the recital and I remember seeing the blue ranger parked there and Corbin was there waiting. After it was all over, we went to lunch at Rumbi and things started to get a little bit better after that.

As I sat there meditating about this huge life moment of mine, I had quite the impact in my heart. My talent for piano was something that brought my family back together in a very ugly time. I felt a huge love in my heart in that moment for the talent that God has given me. I regret having hidden this talent for so long having fear to share it. But now I realize how much this talent will bless the lives of other people and I need to take advantage of it.

In the Multizona, I also got to share my final testimony which was so surreal but it felt so good!

This week was also a bit stressful, but we were able to have a baptism at the end which was really awesome! It was really hard getting this little guy baptized because his mom wouldn’t give us permission, but God finally touched her heart and she let him.

AND today is my 17 month mark which is just sooo surreal and I can’t believe how fast time has flown by! We celebrated with some icecream today at an ice cream parlor named POPS.

That’s about all for this week! I am happy and still just trucking along! I love you all so much and I will see you all in a few short weeks! WOOHOO!!!

Love, Shay
Hermana Staker
Mision Nicaragua Managua Norte
Febrero 2016- Agosto 2017

Training Mi Hija!

Dear Fam & Friends,

I hope you all enjoyed your fourth of July! It looks like you all had fun and enjoyed the traditions back home!

This week was such a fun week! Maybe one of my funnest weeks of the mission! It’s been crazy, but I have been soaking up all of the memories! On Monday I headed to Managua to be there when mi hija would get there. We had a reunion on Tuesday when they all got there and when they told us who our companions would be. It was so cool when they all walked in because I looked at one of the hermanas in specific and I just felt in my heart that she would be my companion. When the moment came, I got up front and introduced myself and then President told us who my companion was and sure enough, my feeling was right!!

So now I am with Hermana Harding and she is from Spanish Fork, UTAH!!! I have LOVED my time with her so far and we are already best friends! This week has been full of miracles. So many people have opened up their hearts and welcomed us into their homes to listen to the message of the Gospel. It has been interesting because my companion has a bit of a hard time understanding and speaking the language, but we can feel the spirit working through us which is the part that matters most!

It’s so much fun learning from my companion. The excitement that a new missionary brings to the mission field is incredible. She is blessing me in more ways than she thinks she is because she is helping me give 110% of myself in these last weeks that I have on the mission! Literally she gets me laughing so hard to the point of almost peeing my pants and I love it too much. I love all of her questions and watching her get used to the Nica culture!

This Sunday at church was pretty special. We were singing the first hymn and it was “I need thee every hour”. I took a second to take it all in and look at everyone as they sang. Everyone was having their own little moment of “trully I need Thee, every hour”. I thought about how true that is and the spirit was so strong for me in that moment. Each and every one of us need the Savior in every moment and He is willing to help us always!

This week I also had the opportunity to give the message in our zone meeting and to prepare myself, I was studying a little bit from The Living Christ. It is a short but powerful document! In it it explains how Jesus Christ has shown us our potential as children of God. I thought about how He showed us that potential. He is now at the Right Hand of God. We too have that potential! And then I thought about how He reached His divine potential and it was by doing the will of God. He showed us that doing the will of God is not impossible. If we too choose to do the will of God, we WILL reach our divine potential and be right there with God again one day.

Jesus Christ came to do so many things on this earth and He suffered the most bitter suffering. The least we can do for Him is live His gospel with every fiber in our beings and then when we fall short depend on Him to help us back up. It really is so simple and so beautiful.

I love you all so much and I hope you all have an incredible week!

Love, Shay
Hermana Staker
Mision Nicaragua Managua Norte
Febrero 2016- Agosto 2017

VIVA NICA! 6 Weeks Left!

Hey there Family & Friends!!!

I hope all is well and that you all had another great week! Can you even believe that we are entering the last 6 weeks here?? This is crazy and I can’t believe how fast it has all gone by!

This week was a real good one! It was my last one with Hermana Ward and we tried to live it up and leave it all on the line! I feel so much excitement about the fact that I will be going home in 6 weeks and I have tried to put that excitement into the work and it has worked out really well for us! We have been meeting a lot of special people especially 2 families of 5 that have our hearts. We went with one of the families and taught them about the Restoration and invited them to pray and ask God if what we had taught is true and they said that they wouldn’t do it. We were really bummed when we left. A couple of days later on Saturday we were having a pretty rough day because our baptism fell through and then all of our lessons as well. So towards the end of the night we thought that maybe we should go back and see the family and ask them how their prayers went. We figured they hadn’t prayed and we weren’t too excited to go back but we went anyways. Sure enough they hadn’t prayed, but we explained to them how they have the right to pray and ask God so that He can give them direction. After that they committed to praying. We are excited to see where we can get with them!

Another night in the week we went to see another family whose dad just got baptized and we were able to enjoy some time with them. After we were done with our lesson, they gave us their dinner that they were making for themselves. They insisted that we eat and enjoy ourselves. It was so humling being with a family who quite literally lives in a tin shack and gives you their dinner for the night. They expressed to us how since Francisco’s baptism, they have felt joy come into their home and they have been able to keep moving forward in their trials. That’s what the gospel does for us, it brings us peace and joy! No matter what happens in this life, if we have Christ and His gospel, everything turns out to be okay.

This week the member that we live with went to Honduras to the temple and left us alone at the house lol. Her daughter has been coming at night to check everything out, but everyday during the day was an adventure lol. Out of nowhere this little kitten showed up at our door and has been there ever since the member left. This cat tries to come in and hang out with us and the whole ten yards. It has become quite the little adventure with our little friend. She’s really sick and one day we decided to give her a bath lol. She has been getting better day by day. Pretty much we don’t know how the member is going to react when she gets home because the cat has made itself at home lol!

So today we had changes and they were pretty tough! It was really hard to say goodbye to my girl Ward!! But I am really excited for these last 6 weeks because I get to train a newbie! She should be here tonight and I will meet her tomorrow! I am so stoked! I am also still the TL which is exciting! So while I wait for my companion, I am here in Managua and I am staying the night in my old area La 14 and I am so excited!! I am so ready to give it all I’ve got in these last couple of weeks and see what my Heavenly Father has in store for me!

So until next week you will learn about MI HIJA! I love you all so much and I hope you all have an amazing week!

Love, Shay
Hermana Staker
Misión Nicaragua Managua Norte
Febrero 2016- Agosto 2017

Here are some pics! Ward got sent to Matagalpa which is the coldest area in the mission. She begged me for my Riverton Rods and Rides sweatshirt so I sent her off in that! lol There’s a pic of us with our ZL’s and our DL. We were an epic team!!!