Monday, December 26, 2016

Day after Christmas e-mail

Merry Christmas!! I hope that everybody had a great Christmas!

I don't have a ton of time to write this week.. so hopefully the pictures make up for it! Here in Costa Rica, Christmas Eve is bigger than Christmas so for Christmas Eve the Stake President invited 6 missionaries over to his house to eat dinner! It was really fun! 

Well.. Love you all lots! It was great seeing you yesterday! (Skype)

Mission President and his family

Loving the new area

This ward is seriously so great. This week was the primary program and we had an attendance of 171 people! I haven't seen that many people in church since I've been out here!

Tonight is the mission Christmas party so I don't have a lot of time for stories... but I would like to share a quickie.
Since I got here we have been teaching a guy named M. He is a talker. We get to his house and sit down and he just talks and talks and talks. He has had a pretty rough life and has fallen in to alcoholism after his second wife died. He pretty much spends all day alone watching TV all day long. He has been progressing pretty well, but always said that he will NEVER wake up at 8 to go to church at 9 on a Sunday. I decided that if he wouldn't wake up to go to church, he would never progress . We said many prayers asking the Lord to help M. get up early for church on Sunday. We go to his house, sit down, and the first thing he says is, "This Sunday I'm going to church." And I was awe struck. I don't know what made him change his mind, but I know the Lords hand had everything to do with it. And sure enough, when we passed by Sunday morning to pick him up, he was all ready to go!

Okay, I have time for one more experience... Like I said last week, this ward likes to give references (yessss) so the elders quorum president gave us a reference for one of his neighbors. When we went to contact the house a guy came out and said that he didn't live there anymore.. but after he looked at me and saw my gringo look he said in broken English, "I need to change. I feel bad with God. I have gotten spiritually far from the Lord. Help me change. Help me with my addictions. I want to be better." Wow. That doesnt happen often. So he let us in and said that he wanted to learn English to help him with his job and that he wanted to go to church. So to hit two birds with one stone, we taught the first lesson in English and he loved it! I'm excited to see where this one goes!
Well, hopefully you all have a wonderful Christmas, and remember why it is really important. To remember the words of Paul in Acts 20:35,

"I have shewed you all things, how that so labouring ye ought to support the weak, and to remember the words of the Lord Jesus, how he said, It is more blessed to give than to receive."

Much Love and a muy feliz navidad!

Service Project

Saturday, December 17, 2016

This is going to be a good area, I can feel it!

This is going to be a good area, I can feel it!

It's been really strange, because since I have been in the mission for so long now and I have been in so many areas, I know a lot of people that are in my new ward! This ward is by far the strongest ward that I have been in. The attendance last week was 130.which is insane compared to the other wards and branches that I've been in. Also, this ward likes to work with the missionaries! The amount of references that I received this week has been more than all the references that I have gotten in all my other areas combined!

The last missionary that was here didn't leave me with too much to work with... which means that we will have to spend a good while looking for new investigators, but if the members help us out we will be doing well soon. 

It's so strange thinking that Christmas is right around the corner. It's really funny walking around on a hot, humid night and seeing Christmas lights and Christmas trees all around you! The Christmas spirit just doesn't feel quite the same here. But to help get in the Christmas spirit, the stake put together a ward choir activity. Every ward organized a little Christmas choir and sang 2 songs. It actually turned out really well and we got an investigator to come! The choir director was actually the father of the mom from the Navas family from Perez Zeledon... so I already knew him and his other daughter. Small world. 

Today was also fun, because we met the zone baptism goal last months so we got to go go karting! I didn't think I would get to do that again in the mission! And this time, I redeemed myself and got first place :)

Sorry no pictures this week. The computer is being weird.
love you!!!

Chase was pretty impressed by this bathroom. 

Saturday, December 10, 2016

Chase got transfered! Lot's of pictures this week.

Had changes!! But... I got sent to the city! I'm practically next door to where I was in the office, but it's all good. At least I'm already accostomed to how it is here and what the weather is like. My new companion is Elder Martìnez and is from Mexico. He just finished his training and has 3 months in the mission.

It was actually pretty hard to say goodbye to the members in Perez. It is amazing how much their attitude has changed over these short 5 months. They have really started to trust us more and they are starting to see the importance of missionary work in their lives. I had to also leave some investigators that I got really attached to. Hopefully they will be baptized in the near future and will play a big role in helping the branch grow.

Well  I don't have a ton of time, because of changes and everything, but hopefully I will have lots of good stories for you next week!!

The Navas family feed Chase most Sunday's and they always played basketball with him on P-days.

For a Christmas service project the missionaries cleaned a cemetary.

They call this mountain the "Sleeping Indian Woman".  This mountain is always cloudy.

Chase taught the Chinchilla family who were a very nice and loving family.  The daughters attended Chases English class.  The family came to the Christmas devotional hoping to be able to say goodbye to Chase.

Monday, November 28, 2016

Not sure how I feel about this e-mail (mom)

This week has gone by super fast. And so has my computer time...

Highlight of the week. I have become really good friends with one of the biggest drug dealers in Cocori and he always likes it when we come over. His girlfriend is really anti mormon but has been reading the book of mormon like crazy and every time we go over she has a page of questions for us to answer. This week his son had his 5th birthday and he wanted us to come over. We went and it was a huge party with all of the roughest from the neighborhood and a bunch of little 5 and 6 year olds. haha it was so strange! But hopefully good things come from all of this.

Also... there is a rumor that President is taking me out this change (one week) and is sending me to the Zona Sur. It's suuuper hot there and is about 9 hours away from San Jose... it's not a for sure thing, but if I get sent out there its going to be crazy!!

Sorry for no long stories... I ran out of time. But watch the Christmas video for this year if you have time! And accept the challenge to serve every day in December until Christmas!!

Love you!

Zone Conference

Dental experience in Costa Rica amongst other things

Still sick... but this week I bought some cough syrup that supposedly is pretty good... we will see!

This week has been a week filled with strange experiences... Here are a couple:

1. One of my fillings fell out. I decided to go to a local clinic to see what they would do to fix it. The dentist said, well it'll take about 15 minutes of your time and 40 bucks. 15 minutes seemed like a very short amount of time to replace a filling, but I said okay... and she sat me down and said, would you like anestesia? I thought about it for a little bit and decided, well that's usually the worst part, so I opted to go all natural. I'm pretty sure that was a good decision on my part... the drilling didn't hurt too bad and there was no swelling afterwards! I think American dentists should give the option too!

2. I think I told you about the family that we were teaching that said that we were angles sent by God to help her out of her drug addiction.. right? Well she smoked crack this week... and went into a deep depression. It'll be interesting to see how this one plays out.

3. Speaking of drugs... a recent converts daughter is a huge druggie that lives in the street and always walks around drunk. Well this week she over dosed really bad and came to her moms house and passed out and started having a seizure. The police came and she called us and had us give her a blessing. It was pretty nuts. I wish I could say that stuff like that hasn't happened to me a lot on the mission, but for some reason crazy things like that just seem to be normal here.

4. I had to come up to San Jose to get a package out of customs... and it is freeezing here! I forgot just how hot my area was. I can't wait to get back to the humid air! Also, Costa Rica changed their rules and if you send candy in a package it gets stuck in customs... so just don't write candy or food on the package labels... just missionary supplies (suministros misionales) and other stuff like that, because it's hard traveling 3 and a half hours to go to the city.

That's about all I have time for... since I'm in the city I dont have my camera with me... sorry for not sending pictures for such a long time!

Love you lots!

Sunday, November 20, 2016

A mission farwell, and a future baptism

Well this week I have been sick with a really annoying cold... it's not too bad, but it's really been hard to focus. It seems like every time I have to take the trip up to San Jose I always get sick afterwards. In between Perez and San Jose there is a hill called "Cerro de la muerte" or death hill. It's called that because its so cold there that when the people were building the freeway through there lots of people froze to death. Whenever you go to San Jose the bus stops on the hill for 30 minutes and I think the big temperature change always messes me up.

This week I have been focusing a lot on a cool video that I watched talking about the importance of adapting to the changes that the Lord gives us. Here is the link if you'd like to check it out:

In life and in the mission sometimes the Lord throws some curveballs at you. Just when you think that everything is going in the right direction and everything is cool, Boom, something happens. I have had to learn to adapt to the changes that He gives me and move forward with what I have. It really doesn't matter what others think or say about me, as long as I know that my Heavenly Father is proud of what I'm doing!

In other news, this week one of the youth from our branch left to go to his mission in Peru! I got to talk at his farewell party about my mission and what I thought about it. It was pretty fun! And then later that night he baptized his cousin that we have been teaching.

Also, the Phillipino lady that we have been teaching...? Last week I put a baptism date for this month and she said that she would talk to her boyfriend about it. Well, she went to the baptism this week and said that she talked to her family about her own baptism. She said that she wants to get baptized!! BUT her future in laws say that they want to be there when she gets baptized.. so she will get baptized in a couple of months when she goes to the States. It's a bittersweet feeling haha she's going to get baptized which is awesome, but I was really looking forward to having an English baptism here in Costa Rica. haha

Mission Correlation Meeting

Friday, November 11, 2016

The sun is closer to Costa Rica than the United States!

This week we have received a lot of help from the ward in regards to missionary work. For example, we are supposed to have something called correlation every week where we meet with the ward mission leader and talk about how our investigators are doing.. well the last one we had was about 3 months ago. But this week we had one! And not just that, lots of the presidencies from the branch also came as well as a couple of youth that want to start helping us out and go on divisions with us! We got to discuss the needs of our investigators and they all seemed really willing and excited to help!

Wow... after rereading that I realized how sad the things that get a missionary exciteded are. haha Pura Vida

One thing that we have started doing (which I have now done in every one of my areas) is play soccer with the young men and other leaders from the ward once a week at night. Every church here has a basketball/ soccer court outside so it is a great opportunity to bring non members to church and see that we are normal. We have been able to see a little bit of success from that and I think it will keep getting better and better.

Today we woke up nice and early to play basketball with a couple of members and then we went to the church to play soccer with some other people right after. I am so burnt and exhausted it is not even funny. I don't know how, but I swear that the sun is closer to the world here in Costa Rica than it is in the United States, because when the clouds uncover the sun it hurts you. 

Anyways, tomorrow is Zone Conference so that means that tonight I get to enjoy a 3 and a half hour bus ride through the mountains. yay.

Thanks for all your prayers!

Friday, November 4, 2016

Teaching in the dangerous neighborhoods bring rewards

Another fast week filled with interesting experiences.

I have time for one story so here we go.
In my area there is this one area called Cocorí. It is kind of famous here in Perez because it holds the reputation of being the dangerous neighborhood. But... it is the best neighborhood for missionaries because the people that live there are a lot more humble than everybody else here.

When we were contacting in Cocori one of the members told us that there was a house that used to accept missionaries a couple of years ago. So with nothing to lose, we decided to contact the house. we met a 19 year old girl named Melissa who at first said," I am Catholic and I have no interest in changing..." like most people say here. But then we just started talking to her. After about 10 minutes of just talking she asked, "well, what do you guys teach?" And we started teaching a little bit about the plan of salvation. She then opened up and told us that her mom was a huge drug addict and was living in the street and eating out of garbage cans and a bunch of other stuff and Melissa was getting fed up of taking care of her mom. We said that we would help her with her situation and would stop by later to talk to her mom. Well we tried passing by 3 times, but the mom hid from us every time. Finally we caught the mom by surprise and she said, " Finally you guys got me!!" She then said that she has been praying to god that he would send angles to help her break her addiction. She then said that she felt really guilty because every time after she prayed we stopped by and she hid from us! So we started teaching her too and dropped off a pamphlet of the plan of salvation. Two days later we stopped by and she had read half of it and had a lot of questions and really liked it!

It just goes to show that we can be answers to peoples prayers without even knowing it. She also taught me that even when we beg for help from above, sometimes we reject the help that he gives us, because we know that it will require a lot of work on our part. But, it will always be worth the work  in the end

Thursday, October 27, 2016

Good things are happening in the Branch!

This area is getting better and better week by week. It has been a really rough road (emotionally, physically, mentally) but it's so worth it all.

I would like to start off by saying, give references to the missionaries. Please. Every missionary will greatly appreciate it. A huge majority of missionary success comes from references from the members.

One member this week gave us a lot of references of old investigators that used to listen to the missionaries. We contacted the wife of one of the old families and she said that she had been waiting for the missionaries to come back to her house! She opened up and said that she really wanted to change. We taught a little bit about Jesus and put a basptismal date for her and she happily accepted it. But she wanted her boyfriend more than anything to accept our lessons because in the past he hadn't. We showed up a couple of days later to teach her again and her husband yelled through the door that she wasn't home. He definitely seemed like he did not want anything to do with us so we left. After missionarying for a couple of hours we passed back by the house and we saw the husband walking back home. He turned to us and said, "hey I'm really sorry that you guys passed by and my wife wasn't there... my mom always taught me that if we say we are going to do something, or be somewhere, we need to do it. I feel really embarrased and am very sorry." I then asked if we could  talk to him instead and after thinking about it for a little bit he said yes!

We sat down with him in the house and starting asking questions about his beliefs. He started really opening up and started telling us how he felt really far away from God and how he really wants to change for his family. We started talking about how he could start all over by being baptized and then I challenged him to be baptized the same day as his wife. Right as I put the date he said, That's my birthday!! What a great birthday present!! hahaha it worked out great! Some might call it luck.. I call it being in tune with the spirit haha The family has lots of problems and they will have to get married, but they can do it!!

Also we brought a family to church this Sunday and the members freaked out! haha they said ¨wow the missionaries finally have good investigators! That hasn't happened in forever!¨ Then they started offering to help us.

Sorry for no pics this week. I left my camera in the house.

Friday, October 21, 2016

Lot's of Pictures this week!

I can't believe how much time I already have in this area. It has been so hard but filled with lots of cool experiences. I have been so exhausted this whole week. This area is slowly sucking the life out of me. But the good thing is, usually the more tired I am, the happier I am, because I know that I am giving my all!

But as a result of being so tired, I cant remember any cool experiences that I have had this week.
Lately we have been focusing a lot on the branch members here. Something that I have seen on my mission is that if the members aren't fulfilling their callings, the church and missionary work won't go anywhere. The branch that I am in has been a branch for over 40 years and there is no reason that it should not be a Stake by now. The only thing that is holding it back is the participation of members. Like it says in D& C 58

26 For behold, it is not meet that I should command in all things; for he that is compelled in all things, the same is aslothful and not a wise servant; wherefore he receiveth no reward.
 27 Verily I say, men should be anxiously engaged in a good cause, and do many things of their own free will, and bring to pass much righteousness;

So that has kind of been the theme for the week. Trying to get the members to do the things that they should be doing in the first place. Fun stuff.

I hope everyone has a fantastic week!

Chase making empanadas

And donuts

Sleeping on the bus

Thursday, October 13, 2016

Wow, lot's of amazing investigator experiences last week

This week has been nuts.

Let me just start out by telling a quick story about a new friend that I met last week. It all started when my comp and I were walking to an appointment that we had set up right behind our house. Right as we walk up to the front door I get a phone call. The family cancels. They never cancel. Luckily we decided to go to a house where the investigators are always home, and they only lived about 30 meters away from where we were. We knocked on the door and nobody was home... I turned to my companion and asked, "now what...?" I had barely finished the question when an unknown number calls us and when I answer somebody says.. "Elders, where are you?" I start asking questions, like who this person is and how he got our number, and he starts telling me that he is an inactive that dropped the church about 3 years ago and he wants to come back. He then said that he was going to show up outside our house in 10 minutes. It was perfect because we were already outside and had nothing else to do! Sure enough he shows up 10 minutes later and barely gets off his motorcycle when he bursts into tears. He completely opened up to us outside of our house and confessed that he had been trapped in lots of addictions and a couple of scamming businesses. After sitting and listening to him vent for about half an hour straight we set up a plan so that we could help him come back. It was such a crazy experience and the thing that hit me the most is that he kept saying, "Nobody knows this. You are the only ones. You are missionaries and you can help me. I know you can. So help."

We also found some amaazing investigators this past week. Two twins and their younger brother. During the first visit, we just taught one of the twins and she said that she wanted us to help her brother because he has been caught up in bad stuff, and doesn't listen to anyone. Well we taught the sister all of the first lesson and left her a book of mormon. When we came back 2 days later the brother answered the door. The first thing I said was, "I stole your book from my sister. I started reading it. From what I can tell, it is a book that was written by old prophets and talks about Jesus. I need you to teach me more." It was soo crazy! Something about the book of mormon softened his heart enough to let us teach him! Now they are all reading the book of mormon, they came to our English class and played basketball today with us for Pday! It's so great!

Last miracle... (sorry this is a long email)
Last week my comp and I were getting ready to go to San Jose to go to the temple. On our way to the bus stop I heard somebody yell out from behind us (in english), "Hey LDS missionaries!!!" Of course I was like... what the heck? Then I turn around and a little Philippino came running up to me and said. "Hi! I'm from the Philippines and I live here in Perez Zeledon. My boyfriend is mormon from Utah and I want to marry him. His mom says that I need to be baptized before I can get married. Can you guys help me?" Inside I was like...... Whhaaaaaat is going on??? But she wasn't kidding! This week she came to church and I had to translate the meetings and teach her a seperate gospel principles class because she can't really speak Spanish. hahaha it was crazy.

Anyways... I hope that you made it to the end. That was quite a bit and now my fingers hurt fom typing on this ghetto keyboard.
But... as far as a testimony goes. I know the Lord watches us and blesses us when we need it most. I have been begging for miracles to make the mission a little bit easier (because lately it has really been beating me up) and I love it when I can see answers to my prayers.

Friday, October 7, 2016

Changing Climate is Amazing!


This week was full of ups and downs and has sucked the life out of me.

Two families dropped us this week and the husband of one family got back into his old cocaine addiction and got thrown out of the house, just to name a few of the latest occurances.

General conference was super good this weekend though! There were so many good talks! I liked priesthood session the most though, because they talked about things that we really need to do better  as church members. I found it very interesting how much all the speakers focused on the importance of member missionary work and keeping things basic.

This P-day a member invited us over to his house that is out in the middle of no where at the top of a mountain. It is really cold up there and is pretty much always in the middle of a cloud. It was really cool to see how much the climate can change here in just a couple miles.

Because of time I'm not going to be able to write much more... sorry! I hope all is well with you all!

Watching the parade

I think Chase has a bug on the stick

Why does the white kid always look hot and sweaty?

Enjoying the waterfall on P-day!

Hiked 4 miles out in the heat.

Friday, September 30, 2016

Grateful for the power of prayer


Well... time has run out again on my quick Monday writing sesh.

Here is a quick experience that I had this week that was awesome.
It has been hard getting people to come to church in this area... and I was really scared that this week was going to be the same. My comp and I had confirmed with our investigators that they were going to go on Sunday, but that never really works out. So early Sunday morning I was scared that nobody was going to come to church, (a missionarys worst nightmare). When I was in the shower and all alone, I decided to say a prayer and ask Heavenly Father to please help the members and non members want to come to church (as a missionary you say lots of prayers in the bathroom because its the only place where you can be alone.. so it's not weird or anything haha) Anyways, we went to church without bringing anyone and I was a little let down about that, but right as the meeting started a member walked in with his girlfriend! She is an investigator that lives in the Zona Sur which is like 2 hours from my area. Then right after that another member brought his girlfriend from another city that is like an hour and a half away! We were able to have 2 people come from suuuper far away and I am convinced that it was because of the simple shower prayer that I said! Now one of the girlfriends has a baptism date for the end of next month and we are going to work more with the other.

Prayers are answered and I hope this quickly typed, scatterbrained story makes sense.

Pres also came this week to visit us and he is really cool. He interviewed us and taught me more about the gospel and how to be a better missionary. acachete. 

Love you all! Hope you have a fantastic week full of miracles!

Celebrating a new members birthday!

Tuesday, September 20, 2016

Hiked to amazing waterfalls and had a birthday celebration

Hey, this is going to be short... just to warn you.
Here is a quick rundown of my day:

I woke up at 5:00am
Got on a bus at 8:00
Got dropped off in the middle of the rainforest at 9:00
Hiked an hour and a half down to some crazy sick waterfalls
Ate some sandwiches at 12:00
Chilled for about another hour
Sprinted back uphill for 3 miles to catch the bus at 2:30 and almost died in the process

So yeah... my day has been pretty crazy, but it has been really fun! I love being in such a beautiful country that has so many pretty places to offer!

Also.. thanks to everyone who sent me birthday wishes... I don't have time to respond to all of them individually, but thanks a bunch!

September 15 is independence day here so in Perez Centro there was a huge parade and lot's of cool stuff to see. The youth in the branch had a big food sale to raise money for EFY so we helped out and got to see the parades and everything! Then afterwards, the branch all got together and surprised me with a cake! They all sang to me and we played charades and it was a really good birthday.
Here in costa Rica they have 2 birthday traditions: one where they break eggs on your head for every year that you complete (I narrowly avoided that one) and the second is where the birthday person has to take a bite out of the cake without anyone shoving your face into it... I almost did it... two young women got me really good though and I spent about 5 minutes fishing frosting out of my nose. haha

All in all this week was a success. I hope everything is going well with you out in the real world! 

Much love!

A lady sent this picture a year ago to me on FB messenger and I just saw it. 
It is of Chase at the temple.

Chase with his new companion

Independence Day parade

Cake in his face for his birthday, courtesy of the YW in the branch