Wednesday, December 30, 2015

Wow, a new big change for Chase and his resposibilities! Crazy last 3 days.

Wow, my mind is going 1000 miles per hour right now. First off, I would like to say how great that Christmas video call was. It was so nice talking to you all. I'm not going to lie... I got a little homesick when I saw all of the pictures from Christmas at the house, but I'll be home soon enough to enjoy Christmas with you all again.
Okay, so all of what I'm about to tell you happened in the last 3 days. Try to read it all, it's going to be a long one. I'll start with the morning the day after Christmas.
Remember George? That American that lives here in Costa Rica but is really really sick and I've been translating for him? Well the day after Christmas I got a phone call from Dania (The lady from my ward who has been taking care of George while he's been sick) and she said that she is caught up in a legal problem with George. George got really sick and almost died, and when Dania walked into his room and found him lying on the ground, she called 911 and the ambulance came and took him to the hospital. When he left for the hospital, he forgot his money and his passport in the hotel room that he was staying in. So Dania took them to keep them safe.... Well one of Georges friends is a lawyer and she accused Dania of using George to steal his passport and she wanted to throw Dania in jail.
Dania wanted me to go with her to the island that George lives on to personally deliver his items and record it with me being the translator. So a couple hours after, my companion, Dania, and I headed out to an island called Parismina.  First we took an hour and a half bus ride to a port, then we got on a little boat and headed off into the ocean for about half an hour until we reached Parismina. Its a tiny little island that has it's own little civilization. It's so cool! I'll make sure to send pics, it's so pretty there! So anyways, we get to the shack that George lives in and give him back all of his stuff and now things are all good.
Okay... so if that wasn't enough, as we are returning from the island the zone leaders call me... They tell me that I need to bring my white clothes to the church in 30 minutes because I'm going to baptize. The Zone leaders have been prepping a little girl named Tania for baptism and as district leader, I do the interviews for all of the investigators to make sure that they are ready to be baptized. well last week I interviewed Tania and I guess she thought I was pretty cool, because the day of her baptism she asked if I could baptize her! hahaha Tania's family is really interesting, the parents are really young and they have 6 kids. I have become really close to all of them and the 10 year old says that I'm his best friend. I love how loving all the people are here.
Okay and the last crazy thing. Last night we got home and started planning for the next day and our phone was on silent. After we finished planning I picked up the phone and we have a missed call and message. I first check the missed call and it's from PRESIDENT HAYES (the mission president) and I'm like... ohhhhh shoooot what happened? Because he only calls missionaries for important matters. then I check the message and it says "Elder Abel, call me" and then I know that I'm in trouble. So, I call him back as soon as possible and he answers and tells me that it isn't for anything bad, in fact it's for something really important. He asked me if I could serve him in the office for the next couple of months as the secretary of immigration! He said that as secretary I am going to know everything that goes on in the mission. I am going to be responsible for buying airplane tickets, helping with missionary changes, dealing with passports, the new missionaries, and a whole bunch of other stuff. I'll also get my own truck to travel to different places around the mission. I'm really excited, but really nervous, because it is a big responsibility. Tomorrow I have to be in the office super early and have to leave at 4 in the morning... Also, I think my P day is going to change, so I'll be writing home on a different day.
Annnnd I think thats enough for now. Congrats to you who read the whole thing, sorry if it was long and is hard to read.
I'll keep you updated on this new assignment, and keep me in your prayers por favor:) Love you all!

They made friends with this man who wanted to be a missionary for a day.  They dressed him up and hit the town.  Chase said it was a lot of fun for all involved.


Tuesday, December 22, 2015

Christmas Party with all of the American fixings

Merry Christmas everybody!! I hope that everybody is enjoying this
Christmas season! Christmas sure is different here in hot, sticky Siquirres. With the warm weather, the hard work, and the monotonous day to day routine. Christmas time doesn't feel anything at all like Christmas in the States, but it sure is nice to not get all caught up in the normal Christmas hype. I can totally put aside all of my wants this Christmas season, and can use all of my time and efforts to help others. How cool is that??
It has been soo hard to work here this past week though. Nobody is home! Its impossible to find anyone to teach because everyone is working or has gone to San Jose to enjoy the colder weather there. Plus the soccer finals are going on and whenever a game is on, nobody lets us into their house, because literally EVERYONE is watching the game.

Last night was our mission Christmas dinner. It was a lot of fun! It was really cool to see the whole mission together. There are quite a bit of us! It's a little weird though... Since I have been some time in the mission now, there are a lot of new missionaries that I dont know. Its fun seeing them starting out and remembering my first months in the mission. Gosh... I was so lost. hahah I sure have come a long way, but I still have a lot of progress to make if I want to have success. For the dinner we had a traditional American meal. Turkey, gravy, mashed potatoes, sweet potato casserole with cornflakes on top, and a whole bunch of american baked deserts. It was so nice to be able to eat a full meal without rice!!! After the dinner we had a lot of special musical numbers performed by the missionaries. My zone sang a Christmas hymn medly. It actually didn't sound too bad haha.
We also watched the Christmas video for this year called, " What would the world be like without a savior?" Its really good. Heres the link:
I invite everybody to watch it and share it with your friends! Its short, but powerful!

I'm exicted to be able to call you in a couple of days! Im sure you're all counting down the hours, but don't worry, it'll come soon!;) I'll make sure to study up on my English so that we can talk without problems!
Love you!!


Tuesday, December 15, 2015

Having some beach fun!

Hello everybody! I hope you all have had a good week, because I sure have!!
This Saturday we had a baptism for Joneiker and Monserrat. It went really well and they are both happy that they were able to take this big step. Their parents came to the baptism and it seemed like they really enjoyed it. I'm hoping that we will be able to start to teach their family soon, so that the whole family can enjoy the blessings of the gospel.

It's really hard to teach in December, because hardly anybody is home. Costa Ricans take Christmas seriously, they buy a lot of gifts for everybody. Ticos love to spend money. They all have brand new tablets, smart phones and huge flatscreen TVs, but the same people sleep on the floor and in houses without roofs. The priorties of the people here are strange... Since they are prepping to buy a lot of things for Christmas, everybody is working overtime to save up some last minute money.

This week we have been doing a lot of contacting, trying to find people in the new area that we adopted. It has been a fun experience because we have found many black people that speak island English. I got to teach a whole lesson in English, and it was so hard! I forgot so many words! I also have completely forgotten how to pray in English.

Yesterday we went to the beach! The beach is called Manzanillo and its about two and a half hours from my area almost to the Panama border. We went with the whole zone. A return missionary was visiting from Utah and he drove us around and gave us a little tour. We played soccer on the beach and just hung out all day. It was a lot of fun!


Monday, December 7, 2015

Continues to receive "celestial guidance".

Buenos Dias!

This week has been quite a long one. The mission always
brings interesting experiences, but this week has been almost
overbearing. I've felt realllly happy and I felt realllly sad. It’s
crazy how fast your emotions change in the mission. One person can be
progressing really well and the next minute they can cut you off.
Satan is real and it’s so obvious how hard at work he is when an
investigator is about to make a big change for the better.

Let’s start off with some good things. With this recent change, we
changed some of the leadership. There is a new zone leader, and I’m the
new district leader. As district leader It’s my job to help all of the
missionaries that are serving here in Siquirres. So far it’s been a
good learning experience, but it made me realize how much I need to
improve as a missionary and be a good example for others. So far the
biggest challenge of being district leader is making sure that the
other missionaries get along. And that’s not an easy task. Please
forgive me whining for this next bit: The new zone leader took over
control of the area and doesn’t let the old zone leader do much.
The old zone leader comes over to our house to vent about
the new zone leader. They don’t get along and their teaching methods
are super opposite. And as if that’s not enough, my companion is
starting to take sides with the old zone leader and they both gossip
behind peoples backs. It’s a huge distraction for our area and it's
hard to always stay positive. I’m trying real hard to just
keep my head up and be a good example but it’s tough sometimes..

Okay... back to some good news! Joneiker and Monserrat are going to
baptized this Saturday! We have already had the interviews and the
parents have given us their permission! I’m super stoked that they are
going to get baptized. They are really going to be good, strong

We also have been working with a part member family. The husband (well
they aren’t married, but they call themselves married) was baptized
three years ago, but went inactive, and the rest of the family are non
members. We have been working with them on and off for about a month
now. They have always given us excuses as to why they can’t go to
church, and I was getting pretty frustrated. Last week in one of the
lessons, I decided to take a chance and invite them to be baptized
just to see what would happen. At the end of a really good lesson, I
started to say, "And if you come to gain a testimony of all of the
truths that we have spoken, will you...." And right as I was about to
say "be baptized" I felt a hand on my side. I turned around to see why
my companion touched me, but he didn’t. Nobody was there. A little
weirded out, I turned back around and tried to regain my focus. As I
started the invitation again, I felt the same hand run up my back and
then rest on my neck, as if to comfort me. Unphased by this feeling, I
kept on with the invitation and they accepted! Annnnd they all went to
church this week! I know that missionaries receive celestial
guidance to help Gods children return to him.
Another cool experience that I have had this week was the opportunity
to meet an 83 year old named George. George is from the United States,
lived in the Bahamas, and now lives here in an island off the coast of
Costa Rica. He doesn’t speak much Spanish and is very very sick. He has
an enlarged thyroid gland on his neck (about the size of his head),
skin cancer, parasites, and a whole bunch of other problems. One of
the new members of our ward saw him and wanted to help him, but
couldn’t communicate with him. After church yesterday she pulled me
aside and explained the situation and asked if I could translate. It's
been a really neat experience being able to translate in a way that
could save somebody's life.
Well that’s about all the time I have this week... Hopefully you all
can understand what I wrote, because I typed really fast.

Love you all, thanks for the emails!!

Three hours of playing soccer with no sun screen!

Tuesday, December 1, 2015

Chases germaphobe phase is finally over! He's been cured!

Sorry, I ran out of time this week to do a big email... please forgive me.
Really quickly... We had changes this week. Every companionship in the Zone has at least one person being changed expect for me. Elder Ortiz and I are going to be staying for Christmas and New Years. I'm excited that we are going to have more time here. The work is going really well!
Thanks for all of your emails this week and for all of your love and support! I really appreciate it all!
Ps. I saw an armadillo two days ago. It was cool:)
Chase's response to mom's e-mail-
Hey! Yeah I'm feeling a little better now. The mission is super tough in that aspect though... I haven't had one day since I entered the mission where I haven't felt sick or had something hurt. The mission is really hard on your body. Especially in this area in the heat. I'm hoping that if I just fight through it all, I'll eventually get a break. I kind of stopped complaining and have just accepted the fact that that is how a mission is. I do miss the US though... I don't like how dirty it is here. But because of that, I have officially ended my germaphobe phase haha
The water here is pretty clean for the most part. When I'm at home, I filter my water. But when I'm out in the street I'll take water from anyone.  I'm not sure how the Christmas chat works, tell Elise to be prepared for Skype just to be safe.

A baby was giving him tattoos.


Monday, November 23, 2015

Chase is feeling under the weather (possibly from eating raw hamburger)

I wish I had a lot to write about this week... but honestly, I've got nothing. I've been pretty sick this week. Last Monday I ate a "hamburger"(and I put quotes because the hamburgers here do not taste the same as a hamburgers from the states) and I think it was really undercooked. I've been pretty sick ever since. I've been trying to take it easy this week, but we are still making a ton of progress with our investigators. We are currently teaching 35 people who are on their way to be baptized. To start the week, we didn't have a lot of people with baptismal dates and were determined to challenge a whole bunch this week. By the end of the week we have ten more people with baptismal dates and they are pretty promising.

We have been teaching the family that lives across the street from Layevska and Ambar and the two kids that live there are so cool. We are super good friends. Joneiker is 13 and Monserrat is 11. We have mostly beeen teaching the two of them, because their parents are always working, but the whole family is super cool. They read the Book of Mormon together all the time and really love the gospel. A week ago we challeneged the two kids to be baptized this 12 of December. Things are going well and they are learning a ton. Last night when we were teaching, and Joneiker turned to me and whispered... Elder Abel, I have a confession to make. I was a little scared, but then he said, "I want to be baptized." lololol I said that we are preparing a baptism for him already and he was so happy! They both went to church yesterday and loved it. I'm sure that they will be baptized on the 12th as long as the parents permit it.

This Sunday it was poooouring rain. It's always sad when it rains on a Sunday because nobody goes to church. and I mean nobody. Out of the 6 missionaries in the ward, we were the only ones that were able to bring investigators to church. Usually we have about 130 people each week in the chapel. This week we had 45. It made me realize that we need to focus on the members as well as the investigators.

I hope you all have a good week and enjoy Thanksgiving( I think that it is this week, right? haha)

"Futbol" soccer in the rain.

Wednesday, November 18, 2015

The sisters got baptized...and they caught a triantula in their house.

Layevska and Ambar got baptized last Saturday! It has been really cool watching them progress in the gospel. They are always so exicted to learn more! At the end of every appointment that we have with them, they always remind us to give them homework in the Book of Mormon. I baptized Layevska and Elder Ortiz baptized Ambar. Tonight we are going to go and teach the family. The parents want to learn English, and the dad said that if I teach him English, he will get baptized. I'm going to try to best to make that happen. HaHa

This week was stake conference, and it is always really hard to get investigators to go because stake conference is an hour and a half away. We have been teaching a couple (who are actually married!! That never happens in Costa Rica! haha) and they have been wanting to come to church for about 3 weeks now, but have never actually gone. This week when we taught them we told them about stake conference being an hour and a half away. The wife said that she actually wanted to go! Yesterday she went with her 9 year old nephew and loved it. We also convinced Ambar and Layevska to go and they are now all best friends. I hope this leads to the conversion of this other family! We are working with so many great families right now. We are teaching a family of 8 and they Lovvvvvve us. They are all so cool. The only problem is that they live an hour away from the church.... I have faith that they will make the trip this Sunday, but it's so far for a family with young children to walk!

Another update on animals... I have now seen the little red poisionous frogs that are from the rainforest. They look so cool, but I am always scared to get close and take a picture because they are pretty dangerous. Also... after a long rainy day of work, we walked into the house. I saw something big on the ceiling and couldn't really figure out what it was. After getting closer to get a better look I saw that it was a HUGE triantula! A lot bigger than my hand! We knocked it down and caught it and got some cool pictures of it. With all of the scary bugs and frogs that we find in our house I am getting a little scared to sleep on the floor. We have a man witch that we found (thats a story for another time) that is making us hammocks. Hopefully they will be ready today. I'm sick of sleeping on the floor.

I hope that all is well with all of you! I would like to encourage everyone to help out the missionaries in your own ward. Members can help investigators so much more than missionaries can. Missionaries can teach all day long with pretty words, but if they don't have a friend in the church, they are never going to have any motivation to go!

Love you all! Remember that there is power in prayer!

Baptism day!
A sloth sighting.

Tuesday, November 10, 2015

It has been a week of unusual jungle animal sightings.

This week has been the week of strange animals. This past week I have seen bugs the size of my hand, lizards that look like they belong in Jurrassic park, triantulas, a gigantic bird with a neon yellow chest, a whole bunch of huge frogs and a SLOTH!

All of these animals have funny stories behind them, but I'll just tell the stories about the sloth and the lizard.We study outside everyday because it is hotter inside our house than outside. As I was studying I heard a rustling in the little garden that is outside our house. When I got a little closer to look a HUGE lizard jumped out of no where right in front on me. It was a little bit longer than my hand and forarm. Not going to lie it kind of scared me... It had bright yellow stripes and super long ears. I seriously thought it was a lost dinosaur. After I got a few pictures it hopped away and hasn't returned since then.

I have heard a lot of people saying that they have seen sloths here, and I really wanted to see one. Ever since I've got here I always have looked up in the trees to try to spot one. One day my companion and I were walking down a dirt road with a bunch of vines above us. I said to my companion, "if there really are sloths in this area, they must live around here. But I wonder what they look like.... Probably like a big hairy coconut." and right as I said that, I saw something rustle up in the trees. But whatever moved stopped and I sat there staring at what I thought was a huge coconut. After staring at it for about 5 minutes... It slowly started moving! The big hairly coconut was actually a sloth! I was so happy that I finally got to see one!
The next animal on my checklist is an armadillo. Apparently there is one that lives really close to our house.

I have been reading a lot of the bible this week during my studies and I have found a ton of really good scriptures. If any of you are looking for something to read, read the book of Proverbs. It is so full of great life advice. Mom I thought you would like Prov 15:20 and 1 Corinthians 9:24-27. And if anybody can find a woman like it describes in Prov 31: 13-31... let me know;)

As far as the work is going.. we are going to baptize Layepska and Ambar this saturday! The parents gave us permission, so everything is all set up and ready to go!

Shoutout to my Mamá for running her first 100 mile race! Proud of you!

Keep the emails coming!!
Love you all!

Monday, November 2, 2015

Neighbor performing surgery on Chase, and some weird thoughts on how Americans celebrate Halloween.


This week has flown by just like the rest of them! This week went by so fast that I forgot that it was Halloween until the people here started reminding me! The people here don’t celebrate Halloween at all... and they have the weirdest ideas of how Americans celebrate. I had a ton of different people come up to me and ask me if my family will be sacrificing children tonight? Apparently the rumor in Costa Rica is that on Halloween, everybody in the United States worships Satan and sacrifices children, and I’m not kidding. Everybody is scared of Halloween because of that.

I have some really good news! I finally got my ingrown toenails worked on!! I’ve had some realllly bad ingrown toenails on both feet for about three months now, and I just kind of dealt with the pain this whole time. It started to get really bad and I decided to finally do something about it. My neighbor offered to do the surgery and cut about half of my toe off. It doesn’t look too pretty right now, but at least it doesn’t hurt anymore!! My companion took a video of the whole thing and it is about 45 mins long of me screaming like a little girl... If we cut out the boring parts, I might think about sending it to you all. haha

The work here is still really good. I am starting to become really good friends with the people here. They are all so nice. The hardest part is still getting them all to come to church. We are teaching two sisters who are 13 and 15 years old named Layepska and Ambar. They are super funny and we already are really close. They are supposed to be baptized this 14 of November and I really hope that it all works out. We have permission from the parents and everything, the only thing that is holding us back is that my companion made a joke that to baptize someone, you hold them under the water until the bubbles stop... Layepska didn’t like that and now she’s scared of being baptized.....

That’s about it for the updates though... we have 31 people that are progressing towards baptism, which is really good for Costa Rica, I’m hoping to have 40 by next week. It’s not too shabby, especially because we had 7 when I got here... haha

Keep praying for me!

Happy Halloween! Thanks for your emails and your prayers! Love you!

Old Branch Presidents birthday party!

Friday, October 30, 2015

Chase is now a legal Costa Rican... Can't believe it has been 6 month!

Hello all!

 I hope everything is going splendid with everyone. Things are moving along nicely here in Siquirres. We are finding new people and are teaching our hearts out, and hopefully we will have some baptisms in the upcoming month!

I got my Costa Rican ID this week! I am officially legal now! It feels so weird to have an ID from a different country...I forgot to take a picture of it... but hopefully I’ll remember this week! It looks pretty cool.

The work here is weird... I feel like the Lord is testing me. We have been teaching a ton of people these last two weeks. We had over 20 people committed to go to church this week. When I called them all early Sunday morning, about ten said they were getting ready and were for sure going to go... and only 2 actually came to church. Two is better than none though. Times like that make me always ask, "why is this so hard??" but then I remember that the Lord is just seeing what I am made of. The blessings will come, I just have to be patient.

Remember Jorge and Roberto from my old area? Jorge was baptized last Saturday. I’m so sad that I couldn’t be there. This weekend they are going to baptize another one of my old investigators too. I wish I could be there... but I know it doesn’t really matter. I’m just being selfish. I’m just so happy that the work that I’m doing is actually changing people’s lives, even if I’m not there to witness it firsthand.

I don’t really have much more to write about... this week flew by. And please don’t kill me but I can’t upload the video of my apartment this week... The internet here is so slow. I tried and after about 30 mins of uploading the internet timed out and erased all of the uploaded video... next week:)

This week I will be completing 6 months in the mission! It seriously has flown by so fast! I feel like it’s only been a month!

Sorry for the lack of updates and pictures... Please forgive me!

Monday, October 19, 2015

Chase is now living in a jungle and has found 25 people to teach in one week. Wow!

I'm writing from the hot, sticky jungle of Siquirres! I got changed to an area most different from where I was! It is extremely hot and humid here. When I stepped off the bus, it felt like I got hit in the face with humidity. Siquirres is in the providence of Limon. It's pretty much on the coast. The heat is just about the only bad thing here. I already love the people so much.
The ward here is super new. Two months ago it became a ward. Luckily, there are six missionaries in this ward. There are all super cool too! I feel like I'm going to lose all of my English skills while I'm here though... They all talk in super fast slang Spanish and never in English.
My new companion is Elder Ortiz, he is from Guatemala and has only been out on his mission for 3 months. I definitely have my work cut out with him though... Elder Ortiz has no confidence. I feel really solo when I teach the lessons. Little by little I'm trying to work with him and help him in whatever way I can. We are working suuuuper hard though and have been blessed. In the first two days I got here, we found 25 new people to teach. I feel like I'm working Elder Ortiz a little too hard... but its good for him! hahaha
There is something really special about this area... I know that I'm going to have a lot of success here. The people here are so nice, humble, and genuine. I feel bad for them though... It's so hot and there is not much to do here so most of the families just sit in the shade outside of their house all day. Most of the men work in banana plantations and are never home during the day, so we teach most of our lessons outside with the rest of the family.
We had an activity with the ward last Saturday and it was really fun. I got to meet some of the ward members and we had a little water balloon fight. This ward likes to have fun. And they play a lot of soccer here. Every morning we wake up at 5:30 to play soccer at the church. Today we played a soccer game against the district of Limon. I almost died from the heat... but it was a lot of fun!
I took a video of my apartment to send to you all... but I forgot my camera... next week! The house that I live in is very simple. We have two tiny tables, a microwave, a tiny stove and a mini fridge. In the other room there are two mattresses on the floor to sleep on and that's it. We live on the side of a mountain though and the view is amazing!
We are trying to baptize two people this next Saturday... But we will see how that goes. I just feel like all of the old investigators here still have a ton to learn. And it doesn't help that a lot of the people here can't read.
There are a lot of people from Haiti or Jamaica here. They speak a form of English called Patu'a. I want to learn it so bad. For example, what happened or hows it going is: guappin. And so far tha'ts all I know. If I learn the language I will send a video. haha
Thanks for all the emails that you have sent! Keep em coming! I like seeing pictures of everybody!
Please forgive me that I don't have pictures this week... Blame the heat. It made me forget.
Pray for me that I can get accustomed to the climate and that I can have more success here:)
Love you all!

Wednesday, October 14, 2015

Chase is moving to a new area with a new companion.

This week has been quite a crazy one. We have definitely turned things around from last week. We taught a ton of lessons this week and found a lot of new people to teach. We are still finding some great families that actually want to go to church, which is a miracle! It's crazy how fast your attitude can change on the mission. You can go from being happy to sad, excited to nervous, tired to energetic, in a matter of 2 minutes.
Remember Eduardo? We were helping him build a second story of his house? Well over the span of two weeks, he has had some major trials. He was working on somebody's house a couple hours away, and forgot all of his tools at the bus stop. When he returned... they were gone! He lost thousands of dollars of really nice tools. That was pretty much all of his possessions. It was really sad, right when it happened we went over and tried to console him a little bit. After a couple days his family and him were more or less happy. Eduardo found a nice side job selling clothes in San Jose and was renting out an extra room in his house. HOWEVER, after about two days of peace... the person he was renting a room to stole a whole bunch of his things, including the clothes that he sells to make money in San Jose, in the middle of the night and moved. Once again we ran over there to try to help and bring peace to the family... Only this time it was worse. He had no money and couldn't pay the electric bill. They had no money for food, and the family wasn't in very good shape. We shared another lesson with the family by candle light and after about an hour they seemed to be pretty calm.
Yesterday when my companion and I were walking past Eduardo's house, he ran outside and stopped us. He said, "Elderes... I just want to thank you. Lately I have been having some real trouble with my life. If I hadn't started talking to you missionaries, I would be a depresssed mess right now. But thanks to you guys and your lessons I have learned the importance of keeping the faith. I know that these are just trials from God and Satan tries to attack us when we are weak. I know that I must stay strong and faithful. Right now I have 4 dollars and no way to feed my family. But I am happy. I am happy because of the faith that you have brought into my life. Thank you for everything you have taught me."
The work that we are doing is the work of God. We are changing lives through Christ. Even if that is the only good influence that I have on somebody for these 2 years... I'm happy. I am so glad that I have been given the opportunity help others and thank God everyday for the experiences that he has given me.
Things are going better with Jorge and Roberto too. We are still working with the parents so that they can give permission to their sons to be baptized this weekend. 
We have seen such a big change in them too. When we first taught them, they had never prayed before and didn't know how. Last night in Roberto's prayer he thanked God for the opportunity to be baptized in the true church this weekend. You can always tell how much a person is progressing by listening to their prayers. It makes me so happy when you can see somebody start to develop a relationship with our Heavenly Father and they start to express their feelings in prayers.
Also... yesterday was sad day. We received a call from the mission assistants and they told me that I will be changing areas this Wednesday... I really don't want to leave. The people here in this ward are like my family... they have seen me grow from a gringo who didn't know any Spanish to a missionary who kind of speaks Spanish! We received the call when we were teaching at a recent convert/ part family home. I have gotten really close with that family and it was really sad to tell them that I'll be leaving. They wanted pictures, so I'll be sending the pictures to you as well.
Today I'm going to play soccer with all of the youth from the ward, as well as with some of our investigators. It will be a lot of fun!
Next week I'll be in a new area with a new companion with new stories. While I'm really sad to leave Ipís, I'm really excited to get to serve in a new area! 
Love you all! Remember to write me and send lots of pictures!!


Thursday, October 8, 2015

I like the "Go Pro" idea!

I would just like to apologize one last time for the terrible e-mail I sent last week. Last week I had a ton of stuff to do and totally ran out of time to write! (I know mom... thats not a good excuse) This week has been mentally, spiritually, and physically exhausting. This whole change (six week period) has been great for my companion and I. On average we are teaching about 35 lessons a week and are picking up a ton of great new people to teach. We have done so well with this change that the leaders are thinking about sending another set of missionaries to our ward to help us out. HOWEVER, this past week has absolutely sucked. We had less than half of our average and did about half of the amount of street contacts that we usually do (usually we do about 140 quick one principle lessons in the street every week) I don't know what happened, but I feel soooo guilty. You dont really know guilt until you feel guilty to the Lord. It's a terrible feeling. We had so many people cancel on us this last week and got rained in a whole bunch of times. Annnnd to top it off, our baptisms got canceled this weekend.
Here is the story of our baptisms: About a month ago we met this mom in a bus stop. She told us that she had two 15 year old sons that are interested in joining a church and learning english (how perfect, right??) so later that week we stopped by and met Jorge and Roberto, they are so cool! We have been teaching them ever since and they have been super active. They go to mutual, church, and even went to conference in the stake center this weekend. They were really excited for their baptism this weekend, and when we talked to their parents for permission they said NO. They said that there is no way that they can already be prepared to do something that serious in such a short amount of time. Upon hearing that, Jorge and Roberto got sooo sad. We are going to continue working with the mom and step dad this week to see if they can get baptized next saturday, but it's going to be a big struggle. Okay, sorry for venting and telling sad stories. I'll try to be a little bit more uplifting.
There are many different beliefs here in Costa Rica. Almost every person here already has their "religion" even though they don't ever go to church. We were teaching this one man named Rafael. The first lesson went pretty well, but we could tell that he wanted to fight the whole time. When we returned this week to teach him a second time, he had brought one of his friends from church with him to "prove us wrong". The most popular religion here is Evengelic. Its a type of christian. Their church services are kind of scary and different than what I am use to. They have karaoke, rock bands and sessions where people talk in "tongues" and cast out demons... its weird. I have walked in on "exorcisms" before and have seen and heard some pretty strange things. ANYWAYS, when the evangelicos pray, its different. They believe that since everybody has a prayer in their heart, everybody needs to pray at the same time. So, one person directs the prayer and the others start screaming their prayers to the heavens at the top of their lungs. Sometimes they jump and spin and raise their hands up... it's scary. At the beginning of this lessons with Rafael and his friend I started by offerering the prayer. Right as I started praying, they started "praying" as well. Screaming and waving their arms and everything. It's quite a sight to see. After the prayer ended they started showing bible verses in our faces telling us how we are dumb youth and we worship a prophet of the devil and all of this stuff. Needless to say, we walked out as fast as possible. My companion and I always say that we need to wear "Go Pros" everywhere we go because of all the weird stuff that goes on here. I know this letter was kind of weird... my brain is kind of scattered at the moment. I'm still really happy to have been given the opportunity to be here. I love the people here with all my heart. I am determined to work even harder than before so that I can share the joy of this gospel with everyone!
Love you all! Oh and conference was awesome. It was in spanish and I had trouble understand about 1/4 of it, but it was still really good. Bye!

Monday, September 28, 2015

Short e-mail but sent pictures

AHHH I totally forgot about the big email this week. I'm so sorry! This e-mail is going to be so rushed, please forgive me. I have been slacking on the pictures lately because I have been writing in a sketchy internet cafe and they don't have places to plug in memory cards or USB's. This week I'm sending a couple photos and videos to make up for it!
This week has been super rainy. San Jose had huge flooding problems. The members here are really stressing making 72 hour kits because they are scared that its going to flood here too.
We are still finding a ton of new families that are showing a ton of potential to progress. And we have at least 4 investigators that are really close to being baptized!
Again... please forgive me for the terrible email.
Love you all! Thanks for all the e-mails!


Tuesday, September 22, 2015

Pride is about my glory; Humility is about God's glory- Ephesians

Buenas Dias todos! Espero que todo este bien con ustedes!

Each week I write a big letter like this, and it gets harder and harder to think of things to write about. While every week has its challenges, and strange experiences, they start to blend together and just become part of the mission life.

Thanks to everybody that wished me a happy birthday! It really made my day a lot better! And to those that didn’t wish me happy birthday... there's always next year:)

This week my companion and I had a really strange experience. We were walking along this road on the opposite side of our area, but we had to get to the church really quickly. The fastest way to the church from where we were at is through this one sector called Matadero "or the killer". Usually we stay far away from that area, but we had a member waiting for us in the church, so we were really debating whether or not we should go through there. My companion whispered to me, "Do you think that we should go through matadero?" And right after he said that a man appeared right in front of us out of nowhere and said, "That would not be recommendable." and walked away. When we turned around, the man had disappeared. I don’t know where that man came from, how he heard my companion, or where he went after, but I know that the Lord was looking out for us in that moment. Sometimes a phrase as short as "no es recomendable" is all it takes to recognize the hand of the Lord in your life.

We also have been challenged by our zone leaders to baptize every month. We had it set up to baptize four people this month, but all of their baptismal dates didn’t work out because they didn’t go to church the week before. We have this one investigator named Maria who has gone to church many times, but never wants to accept a date for her baptism. Eager to fulfill our challenge, we prayed to the Lord right before our lesson with Maria that she would accept a baptismal date for the next weekend. Filled with confidence mixed with a little bit of fear, we went in and taught all about baptism with all our might. At the end of the lesson we challenged her to be baptized but didn’t say anything about a date. This was her response: "Look, I know that I can be baptized soon. Heck, if I wanted to, I could be baptized next weekend. But that would be a commitment between me and you. I need to be prepared by the Lord and make a commitment with HIM, because baptism is something serious that takes time." And we were both like, oohh. We were both humbled by the Lord in that moment. Baptism is something that we need to invite others to do, but they need to really be ready to accept the invitation. This is the Lords work, and while we can set goals and be confident that we can baptize, we aren’t going to go anywhere if it isn’t in accordance to the desires of the Lord.
Oh and I get to go to the temple this Wednesday! It’ll be weird, because it will all be in Spanish. I’m kind of nervous, but it will be a cool experience to get to do a session here in San Jose. We are going with our whole zone and the mission president and his wife will also be there. I’m sure it will be a great experience!

Also, the emails have been slowing down... what’s up with that?? Email me everybody! I get lonely here! haha

I hope everybody is doing well! Remember, if you put the Lord first in all things, the blessings will come. The biggest sacrifices, and the hardest commandments to follow, will bring the biggest blessings!

Love you all!

Pura Vida!

Tuesday, September 15, 2015

Did he say he got a concussion?

Another extremely wet week has passed by fast.
This week we continued to find great families to teach, I got a concussion, and I had a humbling experience with the priesthood.
The miracles are still popping up like crazy. This week we had multiple people run up after us in the street asking if we could teach them. We have had strong feelings to knock on random doors, and they turn into great lessons.
Last Monday I was playing catch with a missionary with a little stress ball. As I was running after it I turned around and ran headfirst straight into the corner of a cement wall. Immediately after I had a HUGE bump and was pretty dizzy. I iced my head and the bump went down a lot, but the dizzyness continued. I called the nurse and after describing my symptoms she said I had a little concussion, but since I can still remember things I should be good. Now I feel almost back to normal, but I still have a pretty nice bump. One thing that the mission has taught me is that there will always be something that makes you want to stop working, whether it is a sickness, something hurts, the weather, but you always have to stay firm to your purpose and the blessings will come.
We have had a couple new sister missionaries come into our district. One of the sisters is having a hard time adjusting and getting used to the langauge. One day I recieved a call and her companion asked me if I could go and give her a priesthood blessing in English. After I gave the blessing, you could tell her attitude changed a lot. You could tell that she felt a renewed purpose and the comfort of the Lord. I am so grateful that I have been entrusted to hold the power of the Lord so that I can help others.
I don't have much more time, so I hope that is enough for today.
Thanks for all the happy birthday emails!
The 15th of september is the day of independence here.

Wednesday, September 9, 2015

Many miracles and large rats.

Sooooo I wrote my email and realized that it was just a ton of spiritual stuff and I had a lot of people asking about regular day to day stories, so I'm going to add some random updates here and you can read my first email below:)
The rats: They are everywhere. On garbage days people just throw their garbage in the streets and some people and a big truck come by later to throw the garbage in the back of the truck. This is not effective at all. When its windy the trash gets blown all over the place and it never gets picked up. Its kind of sad... but because of that there is a ton of food for stray dogs and rats. And the rats here are HUGE. We have a hole in our floor and no matter how many times we try to cover it, the rats always find a way to get in. We always wake up at about 3 in the morning to the sound of our garbage can being knocked over. We have set traps, but they don't phase the monsters. I haven't ever seen them, but If they can wiggle out of a full on rat trap, these guys mean business.
Also, we have officially entered the rainy months. It rains like crazy here. pretty much every day in the afternoon. My shoes and feet are pretty much constantly wet(and before you send me emails saying how I need to take care of my feet and keep them dry... I know.). But at least the rain is warm sometimes...
I also got my birthday package and letters from girls camp and the grandparents! I'm surprised that nothing happened to any of them! The package came in about 2 and a half weeks and the letters in about a week and a half. Not too shabby.
The amount of miracles that one experiences in the mission is crazy. I could spend hours writing about all of the miracles that I have witnessed in the short four months that I have been on my mission. Last night I experienced such a moment.
This whole week my companion and I have been struggling to fijar citas (I dont really know how to say that in English... it means to have a for sure appointment) We have been teaching a lot, but with people that we randomly run into, because all of our existing appointments cancel on us. Well every night this week my companion and I have ended up in the same neighborhood really close to our house with about one our left in our day, and no appoinements to go to. It was really frustrating because even when we had scheduled to work in the complete opposite side of the city we somehow always ended up in the same neighborhood at 8:00 at night. So last night we ended up in Zetillal at 8 again... and my companion had to go to the bathroom(no surprise there jaja). He decided to ask the closest house if he could use their bathroom, but the person said no... which was weird because people never say no to that. But the lady said to ask the house across the street. Now we have knocked almost every door on this street about three times each, and every time we would knock on this door, nobody would ever be home. This time we knocked on the door and immediately a girl opened the door. My companion asked if he could use the bathroom and she said yes and let us in. As we walk in the house there are balloons everywhere, presents, toys, and a ton of food. While my companion is in the bathroom, the family immediately starts talking to me like we are best friends. The dad is asking me all sorts of questions and he tells me that his son turned 4 today. The son who had just turned four comes up to me and shows me all of his presents and asks me to play with him, and then the mom comes in and asks if I'm hungry. Without waiting for a reply she hands me a HUGE plate of fried rice, beans, salad and a ton of soda. Next thing I know Im talking with the whole family and they are all so friendly. They acted like we were best friends and it all felt so natural. After talking for about half an hour we got their number and we will definitely be returning there next week.
The crazy thing is that things like that happen all the time. The people here are so trusting, open, and friendly to the missionaries. It is so cool to have so many friends here! You can meet somebody and in 10 minutes feel such a strong connection with them. It's really hard to describe the feelings that I feel while I'm in a lesson. If anybody reading this is considering serving a mission... Do it. The things you learn, and the experiences you have are better than anything else. I wish I could put into words everything that I want to say, but I can't, partly because my English is slowly slipping away...and partly because it's just impossible to describe.
I am so thankful for this gospel in my life. I am grateful for the opportunity that I have been given to share it with the people here in Costa Rica. At times the work is hard, really hard. But the ability to change somebody's life forever is worth it all. My testimony has grown so much in these short four month's that I have already been out here, and I am excited to see what happens next.

Tuesday, September 1, 2015

2 baptisms and another dog bite!

¡Hola chicos!
This week has been full of excitement! 
I would like to start off by telling you about one of the scariest moments of my mission. Well... remember my first week when the shower head caught on fire? IT HAPPENED AGAIN! This time was soo much worse though! I was turning off the water after I finished showing, but something strange happened. The showerhead started making a suuuuper loud scratching sound, and then spit out a ton of boiling hot steam! Then the whole shower head started glowing bright red and smoking like crazy! Then, it popped and stopped working. It was so weird. But now we have a new replacement showerhead and its works great:)
I also got bit by a dog again. Different dog, same place. There are too many stray dogs here.
The ward had a really cool activity that I really liked this Saturday! It was modeled after Lehi's dream. There was a rope strung down the middle of the hallway of the church and on one side were good things and on the other were worldly things. The people had to walk down the hallway and choose whether they wanted to go in a good room or a bad room. Across from our room was a huge dance party with super loud music and laser lights... needless to say, not a lot of people chose our room.
This week I also learned to weld. We are building a balcony in Eduardos house now and I welded in the floor. I think I did a good job? I hope I did...
Last Saturday we had two baptisms! It was really nice! I baptized Jesus and my companion baptized Michael. They are twins that live with a recent convert. They are about our age, and it was really fun teaching them. Jesus is really excited about progressing even more in the gospel and has been asking me tons of questions about the priesthood and the temple. It's so cool to be able to be part of somebody's conversion like that! I feel so motivated and grateful for the opportunity to bring one more person back to our Heavenly Father! 
A Huge thunderstorm broke out just now and lightning struck super close to the stake center where I am, and all of the power went out... luckily the computer saved my email!! haha the thunderstorms are crazy here. The thunder is like a loud cracking sound, like nothing I've ever heard before! 
I have time for one more story... I have really been wanting a candle. 1: because our apartment always smells super bad (because the amount of rats that die under our house is incredible. Also remind me to tell you the story of the GIGANTIC rat that we have living in our house next week) and 2: because it is super relaxing. So I went into a store and asked if they had "candelas aromaticas" but the lady heard "candelas romanticas" and thought I was trying to hit on her. It was awkward... Things like that happen all the time though! I can speak Spanish pretty clearly now, but the people here always think that I can't and don't listen! I'll say something and my companion will understand, but the person I'm talking to will ignore me or hear something totally different! Oh well... I will just keep trying. 
Hope everything is well with you all! Remember to pray daily with faith! God is always there to give us everything that we need, we just have to trust that we will receive his help according to his time!
Pura Vida
 I have really been putting off cutting my hair... I think its time for a haircut

This is why I'm fat. Soda and baked goods. They are everywhere and are super cheap! My baptismal pants barely fit me now... I need to cut down on the sweets.

Monday, August 24, 2015

Making America proud, one funnel cake at a time.


The work is still progressing, but progressing slowly. Luckily, we have had two baptisms scheduled for this week.  I’ll keep you updated and let you know if that happens! 
I don’t have too much to write about, but this week we had a very fun activity in the ward! We all cooked a cultural food from our country and shared it. There were all sorts of dishes from different countries in Central America. And I was the only American. I wanted to represent our country well and make something really good, but it is impossible to find food from the US here! After three different ideas didn’t work out, I finally remembered something DELICIOUS that I could make, FUNNEL CAKE! So I did just that. Funnel cake with Hershey’s chocolate syrup (which cost more than 6 dollars for a tiny bottle), powdered sugar, and coconut! It was super good and I think the people at the activity liked it!

 One thing that the American missionaries have to do is teach their Latin companions English! My whole district is Latino and they asked me to start praying in English so that they could learn. This morning I started to pray in English with my companion, but halfway through the prayer I FORGOT HOW TO PRAY. It was the weirdest thing. I could only think in Spanish. Talking in English feels so weird to me now! 

Oh and also, last Saturday we had the opportunity to listen to a talk by Elder Nelson (one of the 12 apostles). He is visiting missions down in Central America, but since he won’t be visiting our mission directly, we got to watch a live broadcast of him speaking to a different mission. It was really nice to hear his talk. He gave a lot of good insight on missionary work. He can’t speak Spanish though so he had to stop every 10 seconds for a translator to translate his words into Spanish. It was a nice refresher in English!
Sorry for the short e-mail......  Next week will be better!!!!!

                   We bought futbol jerseys in San Jose. Saprisa is LIFE
                              This is Victor. He is quite a great person.

                                         Making America proud.