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.