Sunday, March 27, 2016

Unusual week and experiences

Well this week has been one for the books. I have had so many crazy, weird, interesting experiences this last week, hopefully I can remember them all. I'll just start with Saturday. We have been teaching a cool 14 year old named A. He has been really open to our lessons and everything, and we got to teach his mom once and she only kind of paid attention to us. Well Saturday night we stopped by to teach the family a lesson. When we knocked on the door the Mom answered and told us to come in. So we followed her in the house. As we entered, the house looked totally different. There was a huge painting of some hooded figure with runes and the star of david and a menorah on his forehead and a weird altar set up in the corner with strange bottler and candles. I thought it was kind of strange, but we started off our lesson. Right after the prayer she said to us, "Just to let you guys know, I'm not interested in changing my religion. I am interested in the truth. All truth. You have truth. I have truth. We are all truth." I was kind of confused by her comment so I started asking her question about what she meant. She started telling me that she was an Agnostic Rose Cross follower and that she believed in the hidden truths of the bible. She also told us about her own spiritual journey and how we can reach higher levels of spirituality. She said, "If you ask any of our neighbors what we do here, they will say that it is black magic.... but it's not. It's white magic. The level of spirituality that we have reached has enabled us to do things..." She said she couldn't tell us anymore because of an oath of secrecy that she had sworn. At this point I was creeped out but extremely curious so I kept asking her questions trying to get more information from her. She didn't say much more, but showed me a wall sized painting that her husband (who is a cultist priest) had painted. It depicted a huge black swan feeding 7 baby birds its own flesh from its stomach. Behind it was a big cross with all sorts of other symbols. She said if we ever decided to join her we too could know the meaning behind the picture. She said she feels an energy from us that tells her that we are ready to learn the deeper truths and she invited us to go to a Eucharist next week. (We won't be going.) After all of that we shared a very brief lesson about Joseph Smith and ran away.

On another note, remember Elder J? The sick elder that was with us for a couple days? He didn't get any better... we had to send him home yesterday. It was really sad. He only had about 3 months left in the mission and really wanted to finish. Wednesday night we stopped by Presidents house so that he could have his last interview and we had cookies and ice cream there. After that we had to wake up bright and early to drop him off a the airport.

After that saddish morning we had to set up for a leadership meeting with all of the Zone Leaders here in the office. It was a pretty big meeting because we are going to have a new Assistant. Elder Hansen, He was my zone leader when I was in Siquirres. Im excited to get to work with him!
Two of the sisters that came up for the leadership meeting couldn't get back to their area because it is Holy Week and there weren't any busses to get to their area 3 hours away. So president told us that we had to go drop them off in the car. So all day yesterday we spent 7 hours in the car driving down to Perez Zeledon, Cartago. It was actually a really pretty drive. You go up this really tall mountain through some really windy roads. It was really foggy and rainy so sometimes you could only see like 10 feet in front of you. Funny story. On the way back I was really tired so I bought a huge coke to stay awake. Well, naturally after drinking a huge coke, I had to use the bathroom. So I pulled off the side of the road up to the border of this dark rainforest to go to the bathroom. As I commence doing my business I realize that it doesn't sound like I'm hitting plants. I squint and see that I'm peeing on a huge cross!! I peed on somebody's grave!! In the middle of the rainforest! I think I might be cursed now.

So those were just some of the highlights of my week... Next week are changes and we are getting 3 gringos, 5 latinos, and 2 senior missionaries. I'll finally have some work to keep me busy in the office! We are also going to the temple as a mission next week! That should be a lot of fun!

Thanks for all your emails and prayers!

Thursday, March 24, 2016

Housing the sick and getting to drive.

This week was a lonnnng one. Not because of all the work I had to do, but because of how long I sat around doing nothing!! I don't know why but all of a sudden all of the missionaries are getting sick! This last week we have had two missionaries that have had to go to the hospital. And guess what that means. All the sickies get to stay with us and we have to take them to their appointments..... yay.
One missionary had pneumonia and showed up at our house at midnight. We shipped him off the the hospital with President and babysat his companion all day in the office and in our area. After two days of that, they both got to go back to their own areas. Two days ago another sick elder stayed with us who has some major muscle problems. The doctor diagnosed him with gastritis and muscle contractions but I really don't think that's what it is... he can hardly stand up and walk. But anyways, we were in charge of taking him to the hospital because President was 8 hours away visiting a far away zone with the assistants. Because it was an emergency President gave me permission to drive to the hospital! Yeah that's right, I got to drive! President is really frustrated that we can't get licenses here and he said that I can drive with my US license and passport if it's an emergency. He said if I get a ticket, maybe it will let the area office know that they need to find out an easier way for us to get licensed here. haha Hopefully that doesn't happen!
This week was also Sister Hayes birthday so the assistants, my comp and I went and bought cupcakes and some lilies for her! It was a nice little surprise for her before our staff meeting! I'll try to attach a video if the email lets me.
I dont really have much else to update you guys on... We´ve got a biggish group coming in in two weeks so hopefully that will keep me a little busier here. Everything is shutting down this week for Holy Week and all of the Catholics are starting their holy week traditions. It's going to be really hard to find people to teach this week because everybody is going out of town!
Love you all!
Mom note- Chase's video he talks about is on my FB page if you would like to see it.
Chase happy about driving!

Wednesday, March 16, 2016

Painted a house and made Dad's famous Chocolate Chip cookies amongst other things.

This week was kind of.... interesting. I feel like I did a lot and a little at the same time.

I sat around the office and did a whole bunch of studying again because my companion had a lot of financial stuff to do and I had nothing from migration to do. If you´ve never really sat down and watched the mormon messages on, I invite you to check some out. After almost watching all 100+ of them I can guarantee that there will be one that you will like! haha

This week was kind of frustrating because we did all that we possibly could to find new people to teach, but had no success. Being in the city is like that. At least the people that we are teaching are moving along really well! With Eduardo we started teaching about the word of wisdom and he agreed to live most of it EXCEPT the coffee part. He decided to make a pact with God. He said that once God gives him a job he will stop drinking coffee. I told him that it doesn't work like that... but we will see what happens!

We have been teaching this realllly evangelical lady named Karol. She is really interested in our beliefs but doesn't want to change her religion. Every time we end a lesson I also remind them that we don't just share messages with people, we are called to serve the people in whatever way we can. Well usually people just laugh and say that everything is good, but this time Karol took us up on the offer and asked us if we could paint her moms house! I rounded up the two other elders and two sisters that are serving in our ward and we went out early one morning to start painting. We ended up painting for 8 hours!!! It was quite the day! I was kind of annoyed at how long it was taking and was starting to feel like we were just wasting our time, but when we finished Karol said that she wanted to have all of the missionaries over to her house one night so that we could get to know her and her family better! It was a huge step of progress for her! Just through a simple act of service she was able to see that we are normal people that like to serve others! While we were working we talked about gospel topics and about the mission and I think Karol really liked what she heard.
Other than that... I don't think I have much more to report on... Next Monday the new missionaries are having the month check up and that means that I get to go and "help out"(which really just means eat a really nice barbecued American meal. Being in the office has its perks;))

1. I gave Sister Hayes(Presidents Wife) Dads cookie recipe and we made cookies together!! They almost tasted as good as he made them:)
2. One of the Elders decided to get cheeky and throw a bunch of paint on me... Don't worry I took the higher road and didn't get him back too badly. (even though I reallllly wanted to!)

Saturday, March 5, 2016

Bible appreciation and new questionable hair cut (gangster style)

This week I actually got to relax! It was kind of weird, because usually I have a mountain of things to do in the office, but I got caught up! This last group of missionaries that came in were only from three different countries so I didn't have a lot of individual stuff to do! My companion always has a ton of financial things to accomplish. This week I really just got to hang out and read. Before the mission I hated reading. I would rather be doing literally anything else. The mission has taught me how important reading is. I wish I would have read more looking back at it now, especially the bible. There is so much amazing information written in that book!
As latter day saints it is really easy to get caught up in just reading the Book of Mormon. And I'm not saying that its a bad thing... but we need to remember that we also believe in the Bible. We are Christians. We believe in Christ. Being out on the mission has made me realize why so many people don't think we are Christians. We spend so much time testifying about Joseph Smith and the Book of Mormon, that we forget to talk about our similarities. We read the same bible. We believe in the same Father, Son, and Holy Spirit. Thanks to the restored truths that have been revealed in this last Dispensation before the coming of Christ, we can know even more about Christ´s true doctrine. The Book of Mormon states this in its introduction, ¨The Book of Mormon is a volume of holy scripture comparable to the Bible." We need to always keep this in mind as we study the scriptures. This common ground is what enables us to share about these restored truths today.
Just a cool thought that came to my mind this week.... haha
Anyways, I have been keeping up with my investigators this week and they are all moving forward. We have plans to have 3 baptisms at the end of the month if all goes well! I have really started enjoying the lessons. I am slowly learning that I'm not the teacher when I'm in my lessons. My job is just to guide people to the truth and let the Holy Ghost take care of the rest. I´ve had some great experiences lately where I have really felt the power and authority of God when I teach. Sometimes I'll say something, or I'll share a scripture and I just feel some sort of power come over me and enter the room. I know this is the Lords work and all missionaries are His servants. He works through us and our job is just to do our part and study, invite, and be ready for anything.
On a different note... I got my hair cut today by some gangster. I told him to make me look good... so he spun me away from the mirror and went to town on my hair. He gave me a suuuper short fade and carved my sideburns up pretty high. I honestly kind of like it... but I'm nervous to see if president says anything this Monday when I see him!  haha we all make mistakes right? Lesson learned: never put full trust in a gangster to cut your hair. It could be worse though right? At least he didnt give me stars or lightning bolts like most of the gangsters have here!

Hope you all had a fantastic week! Keep on studying the scriptures and praying! Don't be afraid to ask Heavenly Father for miracles! He gives to people that seek him earnestly and with real intent.
Chase's new hair cut, gangster style.

Mission President's wife, senior missionary and old and new mission office elders.

Mission President and senior missionaries.