Sunday, July 26, 2015

Sweet e-mail and picture from Temple Missionaries

My name is Elder Ron Sparks. 
My wife and I are Temple Missionaries in the San Jose Costa Rica Temple and we receive from the Temple President assignments to visit wards throughout the Temple District. We love that assignment because it gives us the opportunity to meet and associate with wonderful Elders and Sisters who serve in these missions. Today it was our privilege to visit Barrio Ipis where your son serves, when I learned that he only had 2 months in the mission I was amazed. His comprehension, his vocabulary and his accent or maybe I should say lack of accent was well beyond someone who has been out just 2 months. I sometimes meet missionaries who are ready to go home who don't speak as well as he does. Normally when we visit wards we speak in Sac. Meeting and they usually have a speaker preceed us, today we had the opportunity to listen to your son give a talk. He did GREAT. His subject preparation, his wording and his accent were all wonderful. I'll bet you are thinking that there is not much more to brag about with your son, well there is still more. During sunday school his companion had to speak with the Bishop for about 20 minutes and your son had the Gospel Essential lesson. He didn't appear to be too nervous and taught it without any hesitation. Those in the class understood what he was saying, he understood what they were saying and was able to respond to their questions and ask them more questions. As I watched him I could see his mind racing to figure some things out and search for the words he was wanting. He most often found what he was wanting and he did a great job. In my opinion your son loves what he is doing and is happy. He loves the people and they love him. I don't know what he looked like before his mission but he sure appears to be healthy and happy now.
Thanks for sending your son to serve.
Elders Sparks

Tuesday, July 21, 2015

Lots of changes for Chase.

So..... this week has been pretty crazy. With the literal death of one of the missionaries and the figurative death of my trainer, things have been a little weird in the mission lately. My trainer left me today to go home, because he had to go home early for reasons... so now I have a new trainer! His name is Elder Camacho and he is from El Salvador! Ive been with him for about 1 hour now, and from what I can tell he seems pretty nice! He only has 6 months and 1 area in the mission, so we are still kind of learning together. I now have a couple of challenges... I have to show him the area, and set up appointments with our existing investigators. And he cant speak english. I feel like this is the push I needed though. I definitely have to step it up a knotch and work super hard.
So many people have come up to me telling me that there is a sister coming from my city. It will be pretty cool to see her here.
Other than that, nothing new has really been going on. We have a lot of new investigators, so Im excited to see what we can do with that. We had a family come with us to church yesterday, and they are progressing really well, so hopefully they will be my first baptism!
Since I have been lacking on pictures, Ill send a ton of them right now! Hopefully you can forgive me for being so lame with the pictures lately!

 Here some pictures of my apartment. Funny story about the shower: The first night I tried to use it, I turned the knob and the shower head caught fire and started shooting sparks out of it. I felt like spencer from ICarly (hopefully somebody got that reference). I still have no idea why it did that.

Tuesday, July 14, 2015

The power of prayer is real.

I cant believe its already Pday again! The weeks are starting to fly by! I dont know why that is, but I think its because Im finally starting to adjust to life here in CR. This week I have learned a ton about prayer. I have been watching the movie 17 Miracles with my companion on repeat in spanish because its one of the only movies we have here, and one thing that that movie stresses is the importance of prayers. (I can tell Im getting used to spelling things and talking in spanish because I keep catching myself spelling things like you would in spanish. for example importance -> importants ... Que feo)  Anyways.... I have started praying with faith that I will recieve blessings. I have learned that if you prayer, KNOWING that you will recieve help, you will always get it. Yesterday I recieved a HUGE testimony of that. Sometimes when I need help, or am feeling sick, I walk a little behind my companion and offer a short, sincere prayer and usually it helps a little. However, yesterday I had a huge headache, and it was really messing up my spanish and lessons and everything. So inbetween lessons I offered a prayer with a huge amount of trust and faith in the Lord. The second I said amen, the headache was gone. And stayed gone until we went home that night so I could take medicine. It was so cool. I learn so many little lessons like that every day, thats just one example.
The language is coming along quite nicely now! I dont really know what it is, but this week Im really starting to understand the people... and I know that I say that every week, but Its true! Every day I get better and better! I love seeing progress! 
My companion is really starting to test me. Now when we get into lessons, we will start talking, say a prayer, then he turns to me and gets silent and I have to teach the whole thing. He doesnt even warn me. At first, it was terrifying, but now Im used to it. I dont know why, but when I talk (no matter how terrible my spanish is) the investigators listen SOOO intently. There is not a better feeling in the world than a person complimenting you on your lesson. It gives me so much more confidence!
One more quick story... just to show you how cool the Lord works and how nice the people are here! Since my trainer is the district leader, we have to go and interview everyone in our district before they can get baptized. We went to interview this family who is suuuuper nice. They have three daughters and are full of energy and love talking EXTEREMELY fast. While my companion was interviewing, I got to talk to the family and we got to know eachother pretty well. When we left that night I didnt think I would ever see them again. Buuuuut today, after we had the first month check with the president at his house (oh yeah that happened) we were going to have to wait outside in the super hot air for a bus for about an hour. But out of nowhere, that family just happened to be driving by, an hour and a half away from their own house! They recognized us on the side of the road and picked us up and dropped us off here at san jose. It was such a nice tender mercy of the Lord!
I guess I should explain the month check. All the new missionaries that came with me had a meeting at the mission presidents house. He lives in a condo about to hours away from my area. Its super nice though! And it was cool taking a bus there because I got to see more of Costa Rica! He talked to us for a little bit, gave some inspiring insights and then we had a BBQ. Hamburgers and hot dogs taste sooo good now! It is like a delicacy here to have good american food!
I wish I could send pictures, but this computer has broken USB drives... sorry. Next time! I have a video of how crazy the rain is here. It was super hot about half an hour ago, but now there is deafening thunder outside and its pouring. Weather is weird.
Love you!

Monday, July 6, 2015

Sounds like Chase is in the East Mission and will be learning how to use a welder soon.

Cool things are going down here is CR. I am definitely starting to feel more comfortable and confident here. Today is my one month mark here in Costa Rica and the day I got here I made a promise to myself that I would be able to totally understand the people here and be able to comfortably talk in one month. Well... I failed. But its okay. That was an unrealistic goal. One thing I've learned out in the field is that its necessary to set goals for yourself. And set goals that are maybe a little unrealistic. That was you push yourself to complete it, and if you actually do achieve it, it feels amazing! So I have decided to adjust my language goal a little bit and from today on I will talk whenever I get the chance. Even if it doesnt make any sense, Im going to open my mouth and try. During lessons, on the streets, in church... doesnt matter. Im starting to learn what it means to forget yourself and work. Its super easy to feel insecure about your language skills and your testimony, but I honestly have nothing to lose and they have everything to gain. Its unfair to them if I dont try my hardest at all times. So... as hard as it may be, Im going to talk. Even order my own food at restaurants. (seriously that is the most stressful thing here) My new goal is two months. Lets do this.
I kind of started on that goal a little earlier this week and the second I committed to it I put it into effect. The next lesson we taught an investigator that I had never met before. I could tell this lesson was going to be interesting. We sat down and starting making small talk. she talked a little bit about her life, but then it got silent. After a couple of minutes of silence, she started crying. She wouldn't tell us why, but I could tell something was going on in her life. I pulled out my scriptures and shared Helaman 5:12 with her. We started talking about difficulties and challenges that life throws at you, but if we build our foundation on Christ, he wont let us fall. Let me tell you, there is no better feeling that when investigator looks at you with an awe-stricken face after you say something and says, "Wow" or "I really like that". It doesnt happen very often, but when it does... wow. Its powerful. It really fuels my fire to serve.  I cant wait till I have the language down because I know I have so much to share with the people here, I just dont know how to put the words together to deliver my message. Right now Im just relying on the Spirit to get my message across for me. While I will always rely on the spirit, I want to be able to do more on my own behalf. Anyways, after we talked about that we led it into baptism and talked about how thats the next step. Then we challenged her to be baptized. and she accepted. now if we can get her to church 3 times we can baptize her! It was so exciting! Especially because I feel like I actually helped her!
Also, we have this other investigator named Eduardo. Hes pretty cool and can actually speak some english so thats always nice. We have been doing some service for him by building a second floor for his house. and yes, I mean actually building it ourselves. The people here are crazy! they do everything themselves! He cut a hole in his celling and built some walls around the second "floor"and now we are doing electrical work and putting interior walls. Not going to lie, it actually is coming along quite nicely. When we got there to help the first time he looked at me and said "do you know how to use one of these?" and pointed to a welder. I just laughed because I thought it was a joke. He wasnt joking. He wanted me to weld together his roof. I haven't touched the welder yet, but Im waiting for him to teach me.
Tomorrow I meet the new president of the East mission. Im super excited! From what I've heard from the other missionaries, he sounds super nice! I cant wait to meet him!
Oh, my ward is starting to have english classes every saturday. Guess who the teacher is. Me! Im super excited! I have no idea how to teach english... but It'll be so fun! Both members and nonmembers are invited so hopefully we have a good turnout and itll be a good teaching opportunity.
Lastly, here is my address:
Costa Rica San Jose East Mission
Apertado Postal 249-2010
Zapote, San Jose, Costa Rica

Im like 90% sure that this is the permanent address for the mission. If not, ill let you know. And if it changes, Ill still get the letter itll probably just take longer. Ive been told that letters take 2-3 weeks and packages take at least 2 months. so yeah... Dont send anything that I need to get quickly. haha
HEY!!! Happy birthday!! Sorry its late... I remembered right after I used my computer time last monday.. so dont think I forgot about it! What did you end up doing? Madison told me that you would be in santa Barbra. I hope you lived it up down there. Maybe went to a frat party? I think you still look young enough to get into one. haha
Seriously though, I love you so much! hope you had a good birthday and madison did something special for you!
Hope this week was amazing! Keep praying! And it wouldnt hurt to put me in your prayers every once in a while;) 
Paz y Bendiciones! Pura Vida!