Sunday, January 31, 2016

New companion is Buddy the Elf, no longer able to drive because of new law, Elder Cook is visiting!

I hope everybody had a fantastic week! I can't believe that a change has almost gone by since I've been here in my new area. I'm learning so much, I'm not sure my head can take much more. Since the change is almost over the workload here is slowing down. But it'll pick back up in two weeks. Training is now officially over and Elder Fuller and I are official companions. Boy has that been an adjustment. Remember buddy the Elf from Elf? Would you believe me if I told you that that's exactly how my companion is? Because he is. To a T. He's great though, really nice and caring.
Today Elder Cook is coming to Costa Rica. We will be having a meeting with him and the other mission. It'll be cool to be able to see both missions together. I've been kind of in charge of setting the meeting up, so hopefully everybody gets there on time and nobody gets lost. Otherwise I will be in big trouble.
As far as the whole driving thing here goes, I haven't been able to get my license because Costa Rica just passed a new law and said all people under 21 that have vertical licenses can no longer get a license here. So that's been a huge problem. I'm in charge of getting the missionaries everywhere and if one is going home, I have to drive them to the airport at 3 in the morning. Since I don't have a license right now I have been spending a tonnnnn of money on Taxis, to the point where it has gotten ridiculous. So I have been talking with the lawyers and the church HQ in Guatemala and finally got permission to take a Costa Rican driving course here so I can get my license. It'll be quite the experience. I have to take a written test in Spanish, and take a behind the wheel test. Wish me luck. I've heard that the written test is reallly hard. The say that because of that, there are more accidents than licenses in Costa Rica. haha
Sorry I didn't have that much to report on this week. Hopefully next week I'll have some good stories!
Keep the emails and pictures coming! Love you all!
I(Andrea) asked Chase a few questions in my personal e-mail to him that you might be interested in.
1) Do you work closely with the mission President and what is he like?
2) Does your companion go with you when you drive to the embassies?
I work with the mission president all the time. He is so great. He knows a lot about the scriptures. He was the head of religion at BYUI and specializes in the old testament and early church history. He has been to every church history site in the bible and bom and dyc in the world except for one in Mexico. His wife is so sweet too. She looks and reminds me of grandma Cathy haha. We are always doing stuff for them. For example, today we are having a double mission conference in the other mission to see elder Cook speak. We are going to stop by presidents house to pick up Sister Hayes, because he has a meeting. It's like we are just part of the family. Being secretary is a hard, and stressful position, but it definitely has its perks.
Here is a video of President Hayes explaining the whole BoM in an hour at BYU. It just kind of shows you how he is.
I can go to the embassies without my companion, because I go with other missionaries. The fun part of my job is that I'm hardly ever in the office. I do what I need to here, but then I'm out and about going to government buildings.

Since my email was so short and boring please enjoy this picture of me and two of the cutest kids ever


Tuesday, January 26, 2016

Visited a volcano, found another great investigator, oh and took a bananna selfie.

Buenas tardes,
I cant believe that it's already PDay again. I'm trying to take over all of my secretary responsibilities on my own and I think it's actually going pretty well. I'm finishing up with all of the new missionaries that came in this change and am getting ready to send the next group home. There is always lots of work to do in the office, but this week my companion and I have tried to focus more on working out in the field. We have definitely been blessed for making that decision.
We are teaching quite a bit of investigators right now and a lot of them are starting to think about baptism. We had a worldwide missionary conference  last Wednesday which focused on the importance of teaching repentance and focusing on Jesus Christ. We used that as our theme for the rest of the week and found that more people are willing to listen to us if they know that we really just want to share a message centered in Jesus Christ.
Two days ago we found a golden investigator. His name is Marvin. Here is the story about how we met: Elder Nelson and I were walking down the road with nothing to do, and were trying to find somebody to listen to us. We walked past a house and then I said, "Hey, that house back there looks pretty, let's see who's home." Now I don't know if that was the spirit that told me to turn back, or if I just really thought it was a pretty house (now looking back on it, it is quite an ugly house) but the important part is what follows. A 55 year old man answers the door with a walker and without much small talk says, "I need to let you in." So we go in and he starts pouring out his life story to us. How his mom has had two major mental illnesses and is in a home and how his dad just died, and how he just got diagnosed with a terminal illness and how he had lost all hope and tried to kill himself about a month ago. Him telling us his problems isn't that usual because everybody just uses us to vent all of their problems, but then he said, "I know that you are representatives of Jesus Christ. I can feel the spirit of God here. I was just thinking about the Mormon Church, and you knocked on my door. I know I have to change, and I want to change. I want to start my repentance process and be a better person." When he said that my companion and I were just screaming inside. The spirit was soo strong. We continued to teach a great lesson about the love of god and his plan for us, and he said that we are always welcome back and he is excited to see what God has in store for him. I can't wait to head back over there tonight and see how he is doing.
Also, we have an investigator named Oscar and he loves taking us around in his big truck. A couple of days ago he said that he would love to take us to the biggest volcano in Costa Rica called Irazu. so today we took advantage of the invitation and went. It was so cool! We were sooo high up and the view was so pretty. I took lots of pictures, so hopefully they do the volcano some sort of justice. Attached are pictures of Elder Fuller (My future canadian companion) and Oscar, some scenery pictures, and a banana selfie. DisfrĂștenlas.
Love you all!

Tuesday, January 19, 2016

The family from Siquirres got married and baptised!

Good afternoon everybody!
This week was a long, somewhat stressful, and very tiring. I wish I had a lot of cool stories to tell you, but most of the stuff that I did was just office work. I am working with all the new missionaries trying to get them all licenses so that they can be legal, but its always a huge process. I have to go to all of their countries embassies and get them all finger printed and lots of other stuff. Its fun though. I get to know everybody in the mission as a secretary.
I don't waste all of my life here in the office though. I usually get to teach after 4 everyday. This area is pretty tough to find new people that are interested in listening to you, but we have been blessed and have found three great families that are very interested in the Mormons. I love finding people with good, kind hearts here. It's so easy to become best friends with the people here, especially when you are constantly bearing testimony to them.
I do have some good news. Remember the family that I talked about a couple of weeks back, when I invited them to be baptized and I felt something on my shoulder... The parents got married and they all got baptized this last week! On the date that I challenged them too! I wasn't planning on coming to the office and missing their baptism... but that's just the way it works out. Its kind of funny how often that happens to me... I change areas and I miss my converts baptisms by a week! Oh well... I guess the Lord is just trying to teach me something. I'll attach a picture of their baptism. President Hayes and his wife got to go to the wedding and the baptism and they said it was really special and that I got a lot of Hello's from the people of Siquirres. It's nice to know that they haven't already forgotten about me haha
The mission is so great. You are tested and grow more than you ever thought was possible. I'm so grateful for this opportunity that I have to be a missionary.
Also... I got all the Christmas packages from the grandparents annnnd the Insanity workout videos! Huggge thanks for all of that! I can now guiltlessly eat all of my Christmas candy, because I workout with the videos every morning!
Happy Birthday to Madison! I saw pics from your birthday party and it looked really cool! I also saw some vids of you dancing... it was good but maybe by senior year you'll be as good as I am;)
Hope all is well with you all! Love you all so much!


Wednesday, January 13, 2016

Learning a lot and getting a new companion from Utah.

Well this secretary thing is going to kill me. I run on absolutely no sleep in this job. I had no idea all the of the work that the secretaries had to do. This week we had 19 new missionaries come in and my job is to get them all legal. I have had to go to all sorts of embassies and talk to a lot of different lawyers. I´m not usually a very stressful person, but this job is full of stress. I could get somebody thrown in jail or deported if I don't do my job right! I also walk the sketchy city streets with cash in my pockets trying to look as casual as possible.
I realized that in my last letter I didn't really give you any info about the area. whoops haha. I'm back in the city, so the work here is pretty hard again. There are a lot of Catholics and Evangelics in the city.  Luckily, our hard work is paying off and we have found some amazing people. We are hoping that we can bring at least five people to church tomorrow.
My trainers name is Elder Nelson. He is from Sandy, Utah and he's pretty funny. His old companion and him have been mission secretaries for a year, and are ready for a change. They both are really excited to get back in the field and be  "full time" missionary's. Elder Nelson  told me that he gained 30 pounds in the office because of all of the stress eating haha I've already eaten so much pizza here. There are a ton of really nice American restaurants in the city and huge malls that have really expensive stuff... I think I'm going to waste a lot of money here.
After this six weeks and we finish training, my new companion will be Elder Fuller. He's a tall red headed Canadian from Alberta. He is going to be the Financial Secretary and is in charge of getting all of the missionaries their money for the month. My job is a lot more fun because I get to talk to fancy lawyers and leave the office with all of the missionaries to take them to their embassies. I don't think I could handle his job and be in the office all day long. He's really cool, but he only has 4 months in the mission and can't speak Spanish... it's going to be a struggle. I always have to translate for him. Lessons will be interesting when I have to go out with him. Elder Fuller is an interesting person who plays the bagpipes, piano, and is always beat boxing while playing with one of his 6 Rubix cubes. I think you get what kind of a person he is. It'll be a great time though, I'm sure. haha

I hope everybody had a great new year! Thanks to everybody from the ward that sent me Christmas letters! I loved each and every one of them!
Keep the email's coming and I love getting pictures:)
Love you all!

Pictures from when Chase traveled by boat to the island.

Tuesday, January 5, 2016

Passports, ID's, lawyers, tithing money, truck, new computer program...Lot's of learning and growing.

Saturday's will be my new P-days from here on out so you can expect to hear from me on Saturdays.
This has been my first official week of being the new immigration secretary. I thought that they would slowly train and work me in, but I was very wrong. I have now sent home 12 missionaries and am currently getting ready to bring in 19 new missionaries. Let me tell you... it's a ton of work! You have to do a lot of paperwork and you work with really professional legal people. One cool thing though is that we get a truck, and its really nice too. We get to drive it all around the mission to get immigration work done. I am also responsible for all of the mission funds, passports, ID's and other things related.  I handle a LOT of money!  I was so surprised to see how much money the church spends on all of this.  It is really scary though because I can't lose a cent of it because it comes from peoples tithing and I could get in trouble if I do.
Even though I'm the new secretary that doesn't mean that that's all I'm going to be doing in the mission now. I'm usually going to be in the office until 4:00 everyday and then I'll go out and work in the field during the night (which isn't that bad, because that's the time when everybody is home.) The secretary's area is kind of well known for not having a lot of success. In my three days here, I have already tripled the monthly goal of new investigators for the week. I'm pretty excited to get to lift up this area, I just hope that I can continue with this success.
Okay and now the e-mail is going to get a little nerdy, please bear with me... haha  So as secretary I am in charge of filling out a ton of paperwork to send to lawyers so that they can be legalized. The secretaries before would spend hours and hours filling out each form individually with all of the information and it was really tedious. So I looked at all of the forms that we needed to fill out and looked at the information we had and wrote a computer program that automatically fills out the necessary forms with the  right info. This has turned a three hour job into a ten minute job.  I am still working with the program to make it even faster.  I'm hoping with all of this optimization I'll be able to work out in the field more and save all the future secretaries a whole bunch of time!
I will try to keep the emails as exciting as I can with all of this office work. Hopefully I can find some more good investigators here and I'll be able to tell you all about that. I'm back in the city and I forgot how unfriendly the people are here... I miss the people in the jungle!
Hope you are all doing well!