Surviving the Acome Rivers!

DSCF9137[1]Hey there family!

I hope you are all doing well! Another week has gone by and I can hardly believe that soon I will be entering my last 6 weeks of the mission. Before we know it, we will all be back together talking about all of these great adventures!

This week was kind of just a normal one. There wasn’t anything too exciting that happened. The week started out with interviews with President Poncio. Those went really well! President asked me to remind him how much time I had left on the mission and when I told him I only have two months left he freaked lol. He couldn’t believe how quickly I am going to be leaving! We had a really good chat about the success that I have been able to have throughout the mission and he asked me how I felt about what I have done. He told me how proud of me he is and how he has been able to enjoy watching me change and grow throughout the mission. He expressed his love and trust towards me which meant a lot. He has been there for me through a lot of things and I feel so blessed that the Poncios have been my Mission Presidents.

For the last two weeks I have been battling a nasty cold and for a week I took cold medicine that did nothing for me. I figured things would just get better but they didn’t. After being in air conditioning all day at interviews, I left there in rough shape. I got hit with the body aches and a really bad fever. Hermana Galbraith came to stay the night with us because she would be going with President to the interviews in another zone here in Chinandega. It was such a blessing because I got permission to stay in the house for the last hour of the night with the member that we live with and Hermana Ward and Hermana Galbraith went and got the antibiotic that the nurse prescribed me. I hadn’t been that sick in a very long time. It was a tender mercy to have Galbraith there with us because she was able to help Ward while I puked my guts out and layed helpless on my bed lol. I am doing a ton better now and I am back on my feet. The elders came that night and gave me a priesthood blessing. I was blessed to be back on my feet working the next day and that’s exactly what happened!

This week we had a lot of success re-activating some members. We have been visiting them and teaching them and doing all that we can to get them excited to go to church again. With one of the families, we simply have developed a really good relationship with them. One day they wanted us to try this really nasty food and drink that they have here and so we decided to make a little deal. We would eat it if they would go to church on Sunday. We were supposed to do our end of the deal first but it didn’t end up working out because they weren’t able to get the nasty food. My comp and I said it’s because God wanted them to do their end of the deal first lol! There was another family that we have been visiting and they simply haven’t wanted to come to church out of laziness. So we went and did an activity with their boys one day and we made them do puchups for how many days they hadn’t gone to church. The boy collapsed and couldn’t finish his pushups because they were too many. We reinforced the importance of keeping the Sabbath Day holy because it is our day of rest. If we go to church every sunday, we won’t ever spiritually collapse. So come Sunday we were greeting people at the door and BOTH of the families walked in!! I can’t even explain how happy I felt seeing them walk through those doors! I can’t even imagine how happy God felt!

I testify that this Gospel is the only way to true happiness in this life. I also testify that I know it’s not always easy. But the blessings that we recieve far outweigh any of the heartaches that we will go through. I love my Savior Jesus Christ and I am eternally grateful for His Atonement that takes away the sting of all trials and gives me hope to move forward.

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

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

16 Months, 4 Baptisms!

Hey Family & Friends!

I feel really grateful to be writing all of you again! This week was an incredible one and I feel grateful for the experiences that my Heavenly Father is giving me! I also can’t believe how fast the time is going by. I’ve said that a lot, but it really just blows my mind!

This week was full of hard work and miracles for us and I can’t express how grateful I am! To start of the week, we had 7 possibilities for baptism and we were really excited for that. We knew that Satan would work hard, but we were willing to work harder! We had to do everything in our power to overcome his many many tactics. We knew that our one most powerful tool would be prayer, so that’s what we used. We decided that in every prayer that we said (which we say a lot), we would pray for each and every single one of our possibilities by name. It was such a beautiful experience because each time we prayed for them, we could feel in our hearts the things that they were passing through and we were able to pray for them and help them overcome it. We were prepared before Satan even had a chance! Throughout the week, we learned what sincere prayer really is like and we were able to see the blessings that we receive when we are sincere with our Heavenly Father!

So on Saturday, we had the blessing of having 3 baptisms and then Sunday morning we had another one. And the other 3 that didn’t happen were for things that were outside of our control. We knew that the four that did get baptized were because that was what the Lord wanted in His timing.

Seeing the preparation of these four people has been really special. They are people who have a testimony of this restored Gospel and are willing to keep moving forward. One of the hermanas was taught by the members and we came in simply to get her ready for her baptism which was an experience that we had never had before. But she has such a profound testimony of the Atonement which really touches my heart!

The day of our baptisms was my 16 month mark and I can’t even describe the joy and gratitude that I felt in my heart. In my personal studies that morning, I found this scripture in Alma 29: 9-10,13. This scripture describes it all for me and I would like to finish with this.

“I know that which the Lord hath commanded me, and I glory in it. I do not glory of myself, but I glory in that which the Lord hath commanded me; yea, and this is my glory, that perhaps I may be an instrument in the hands of God to bring some soul to repentance; and this is my joy.

And behold, when I see many of my brethren truly penitent, and coming to the Lord their God, then is my soul filled with joy; then do I remember what the Lord has done for me, yea, even that he hath heard my prayer; yea, then do I remember his merciful arm which he extended towards me.

Yea, and that same God did establish his church among them; yea, and that same God hath called me by a holy calling, to preach the word unto this people, and hath given me much success, in the which my joy is full.”

I know that this work is the work of God and I am eternally grateful and joyful to be an instrument in His hands!

With all of my love,

Hermana Staker

OH and the rain has been CRAZY here!!!

The Savior Makes Me Whole!

Hey there family & friends!

I hope you are all doing well! It was good to hear from you this week and hear about your adventures! It’s always good to hear what you are learning about and the experiences you are having.

This week was a really special week that I am really grateful for. We started out the week with divisions. As TL, sometimes I have to deal with tough hermanas and help them with the things they are struggling with, but it usually turns out to be a really beautiful experience. I try to do it with prayer and guidance from my Heavenly Father and then I am able to see His hand in the work. So this week I did divisions with one of the Hermanas that doesn’t really like me and it ended up being a good experience. I tried to go into it with a good attitude and we were able to help a lot of other people. There was this one youth that was supposed to get baptized and he said that he didn’t want to anymore. The sisters were going to give up on him, but I insisted on meeting him and helping him out. So I talked with him and I was able to help him committ to baptism again. Then he came up to me at the Stake Conference that we had this week and he reminded me about his baptism on Saturday and told me he hoped I would be there. I love taking the time to help people and trying to simply listen to their point of view. The spirit is always there to help us say what they need to hear.

Also in the divisions, we were finished working and headed to the house. We walked past the most ghetto circus that I have ever seen in my entire life and I saw one of their monkeys outside. So I wanted to take advantage of the situation and walked up to the people in charge of the circus and asked if I could see their monkey. Turns out the monkey was really nice so he jumped up on my shoulder and sat with my for a bit. Then he jumped of and I grabbed his hand so that he would jump back up. When I did, he jumped up into my arms and curled up in my arms, huddled his head in my arms, and fell asleep! It was the most tender moment ever!! I didn’t have my camera, but it is an experience I will never forget!

This week we also had the privilege to meet Elder Renlund. We had another Multi Mission and it was such a cool experience! We got to shake his had and get to know him. He asked us what our names were, and where we were from as well. It was a cool moment and I felt that in that moment he truly cared about me personally. In the reunion, I was really able to recieve a lot of spiritual guidance. They talked a lot about the joy that Jesus Christ gives us. Elder Renlund also talked about how the Atonement can heal us. He said that with the Atonement there are no scars. Our physical bodies develop scars when we get hurt and they are a constant reminder of the things that have happened to us. But with the Atonement, there aren’t even scars because the Savior makes us whole. The Atonement makes it as though we were never even broken. God doesn’t care about who we were, He cares about who we are and who we are becoming.

I know that Jesus Christ is the source of all Joy. He suffered the most bitter suffering, but was able to support it. WHY? Because He focused on the joy of saving each and every single one of US. The same with us when we suffer. We too can support our sufferings if we focus on the joy. The joy of being healed. The joy of having peace. The joy of helping another person. The joy of having joy. I know that He loves us so much and wants us to have JOY in this life. He is the one who has made me whole of the several times that I have been broken to pieces. He is my master, He is my Healer, He is my Savior.

I love you all so much and it is my hope and prayer that this week you all can experience the Joy and healing of the Atonement of Jesus Christ.

Until next week, I send all of my love!

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

Our CRAZY week!

IMG_3118Hey Fam!

This week was another good one and it was really crazy! Its hard for me to believe that I am writing you all again. The time is flying by all too quick and soon enough we will all be back together again talking about all of the memories. I know mom doesn´t feel like it´s gone by quick at all, but I promise it has!

This week we went to Managua twice and it was really tiring, but it was so much fun. To get to Managua from here it is a three hour bus ride with the Windows down and stops about every five seconds to pick people up on the side of the road. The first trip to Managua was for a News meeting that I got to go to with Hermana Ward because she is new. It was really fun to see all of the new missionaries and remember how I felt when I got to the mission. We had the opportunity to give an example about how to teach a lesson which was really fun. The second Managua trip we had was for Consejo. It was a historical consejo because for the first time ever President invited the District Leaders to be apart of the consejo and not just the Zone leaders and STLs. It was such a powerful consejo talking about all of the information in the mission and how we can improve. I really learned the importance of unity and maintaining spirituality to have more success in the mission.

On Wednesday, we moved out of our house and it was so crazy. The house we were living in was really big and sisters had lived there for over a year and a half so the stuff that had built up in there was outrageous. It took forever to clean it all out and get everything all moved. The craziest part of it all was when I had to deal with the owner of the house and she started yelling at me over a lightbulb that we had put in that wasn´t the one that she preferred. She called me stupid and a liar and it was just lots of fun. The elders were there to help us get everything out and after telling the lady to stop yelling at me, the elders took over and we were able to leave. It was crazy, but we feel really grateful in our new house where the owner is a member and she is like our grandma. We are excited to work in our new área and work with all of the members. We feel that we are going to have a lot of success here! Yesterday the Stake president was talking to us and all of the members in Ward council and he told us that he talked personally with President Poncio to have us put here in the Ward so that they can have more success. In the beginning, we didn´t understand why we had to do this whole change and why we had to go reopen this área, but now I feel really grateful because our understanding has been opened up a Little bit to our purpose here.

I am really grateful to be a missionary for the Church of Jesús Christ of Latter day Saints. My time is coming to an end, but I am so grateful for the time I have left and the time that Heavenly Father still has to mold me into the person He needs me to be. I love you all so much and I hope you have an incredible week!

Love, Shay
Hermana Staker
Misión Nicaragua Managua Norte

Pictures Next week!

Milagrosos Bautismos!!

DSCF9013[1]Hey there fam!!

I hope you are all doing well! It sounds like you have all been enjoying yourselves up at the property and I am super jealous! It looks like everyone had fun and is surviving the cold! I hope that mom was able to have a fantastic birthday! It looks like she got spoiled! Shout out to the burned couches, mis respectos, mis respectos. Que Dios les bendiga en su nuevo estado. Haha We had lots of fun memories with those things!!

This week was crazy, but it was so good and so rewarding! We had one more week to work in the area where we are at before they switch our are with the elders. So we got to work with the people that were still left and baptize them! It was a busy busy week and this week will be even crazier, but we are so excited to get over in the new area and get busy on reopening it!

I am still the sister training leader, now I am just in a different zone over more sisters and I love it! So now I am training my companion, sister training leader, and we will be reopening an area! God is definitely keeping me busy and occupied, there is no time for trunkiness and the time has just sped up that much faster! Like wow, this week we enter June!!

This week we got to be apart of two baptisms that were really special! One of them is hermana Claudia. She is so special to me! She has Cancer and has been very very sick. She wasnt sure that she was going to be baptized because she was in pretty rough shape, but then she told us of an experience she had where she was home all alone and she heard a voice out of no where that started talking to her and it asked her if she was getting ready to leave for the activity that we had on Saturday. She said she left her house running because that was enough of an answer for her to know that even thought she was struggling, she needed to take that step. The other guy was Nicolas and he is the cutest little old guy ever who has also been really sick and he is so dedicated to living the Gospel. I was touched by their examples and I feel so grateful to have been able to have even one week seeing their conversion. I gave hermana Claudia my yellow flowery dress so that she could feel beautiful after she got baptized. I have never seen an old lady who has cancer smile bigger!

This sunday at church I had the opportunity to give a talk and it went pretty well. I went after one of the recent converts in the ward and he did so well. The night before, we were talking to him and he told us he wasn’t going to go to church because he had to go run errands. We discovered a little bit more and finally found out that the real reason was because he was assigned to give a talk and he was scared so he just wasn’t going to show up. So we sat down with him and helped him study a little bit about the Sabbath Day (his topic) and then helped him write his talk. It was such a special experience and we were so proud of him when he got up there and talked about exactly what we had practiced with him. I was grateful to have that experience with him!!

Thats about all I have for this week, but I hope you all have a great week! I will be looking forward to hearing about your experiences next week! I love you all! Never lose hope!

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

Saying Goodbye to Leon! Hello to Chinandega!

Hey there family!

I hope you are all doing well! I am writing you all from CHINANDEGA!! I never ever thought it would happen to me, but here I am! I have officially been called to work in all of the hottest departments of Nicaragua. Managua, Leon, and Chinandega. It has been a crazy change like they always are, but I am so excited for this one! On saturday I was on divisions in a place called Nagarote and I got a phone call in the morning from Hermana Galbraith telling me that I’M TRAINING! I literally just cried because I was so excited! I have waited for this opportunity for all of my mission and now here I am! So after that, we thought I was staying in Sutiava to train a newbie, but it only got crazier! Saturday night the elders called us and told us they were splitting sutiava in two and that I would be opening the new area. THEN we get to church on sunday and the Elders tell us the REAL changes and that I would be going to Chinandega. I was super confused with all of it, but it all comes together. So now I am here finishing the training of the cutest hermana here in Chinandega and we are reopening an area here. I am stoked to just give it all I’ve got in these last two changes and learn so much with my new comp from Arizona, Hermana Ward!

My last week in Sutiava was really special. I had found myself in a bit of a rut and I was really struggling, but I was able to get a Priesthood Blessing from our Bishop and it was one of the most special blessings I have received on the mission and it helped me so much. After doing divisions and pushing through it, I was able to make it through! We were able to enjoy our time with our converts and still see lots of miracles!

Funny story, our house flooded, three inches of water lol. The water went out and we accidentally left the sink open and needless to say the water came back and when we came home that night there was a ton of water lol. I had to clean it up because Hermana Becks toe is infected and the water was just full of worms and parasites. Im still alive, don’t worry lol!

Yesterday when I was saying goodbye to everyone, it was especially hard, but so special. There were so many people that I wanted to say goodbye to, but it was impossible. So I focused on all of our converts and some key families. At one point, one of our converts said, ‘if you personally wouldn’t have come to Nicaragua to teach me, I would have never accepted the Gospel and been baptized’. That was such a special moment for me and I felt a joy like none other. Sutiava has been my area of miracles with Hermana Beck and I want to do everything I can to make it back there one day!

That’s about all I have for today, but I love you all so much and I hope you all have an incredible week! I will be over here sweating like crazy and loving every second as I serve the Lord here in Chinandega.

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