Losing Missionaries

February 23, 2009

Hey, I haven’t bought new shoes yet. The yogurt is the same as in Colombia; I get it in plastic bottles. Changes meeting was on Thursday and it was pretty interesting.
We lost our old Dl Elder DePriest. The last day he was here he spent in downtown San Jose calling everyone to repentance.(D&C 18:15 “And if it so be that you should labor all your days in crying repentance unto this people, and bring, save it be one soul unto me, how great shall be your joy with him in the kingdom of my Father!”). Anyway we had changes on thursday and it was pretty wild. I wore my sweet new purple tie.

The people who were in the beginners Spanish class in the MTC were the ones who came in. The mission lost about 20 missionaries and gained about 14. In mission terms that mean 20 died and 14 were born. When I first started I kept hearing about all these missionaries who had died and I was a little worried. This week we found an awesome new investigator named Mario Aguerro. He lives in a tin shack on the side of a cliff, the edge of la Isla (yeah, it really is kind of an Isla because there is like a big gorge or trench, or whatever, around the La Isla neighborhood. Unfortunately he didn’t come to church or English lessons like he said he would and when we went to his house yesterday he wasn’t there, but were going again soon. Helen, Vera and family couldn’t make it to English lessons because it was raining too hard in San Jeronimo (highest part of our area, mountains). Also on Thursday we had a big dinner appointment with them that they canceled because someone was sick. Luckily Helen and Vera made it to Church yesterday. On Saturday the other companionship in Moravia had a baptism. It was a 9 year old girl whose parents are inactive. The baptism was very nice and I gave the Holy Ghost talk and was a witness. Elder Clark baptized and Elder Stuetz confirmed her the next day. The corner china restaurant (Costa China) got robbed the other night. The china lady was telling us (when she talks to you it sounds like she’s yelling at you but we know her well enough to know she’s not (were probably her best customers(I usually always get arroz cantonez (rice)con una cadera de pollo frito (fry Chicken) y jugo de naranja con zanahoria (orange-carrots Juice) which costs 1550 colones)))). Anyway, the china lady was telling us that the robbers came in through the roof and stole some cooking supplies. That really stinks but they should be okay. Today we went to an indoor soccer place in Coronado and played soccer with our zone. I still have my vans and I keep sowing them up, but they’re almost destroyed. Yes, I still have and use my tennis shoes, but for soccer I prefer the vans.

A normal day here we wake up at 6 or 6:30 and Elder Bonn and I run or work out or sometimes we are just too lazy. Then we eat, shower and get ready. At 8 we have personal study. At 9 we have companionship study. At 10 we have language study. At 11 we usually walk to Centro and contact. Then we go to our cocineras (lady who cooks) house and eat lunch at 12. After that we rest and study for awhile and then we just go to appointments, knock doors, visit members, contact in the street, etc. We have to be home at 9 but a couple of times we’ve been stuck in los Sitios because the bus takes forever so we’ve gotten home late. That’s only happened about 2 times. Costa Rica is great but there are just a few misconceptions that I heard before I came. I always heard that they take really good care of the environment, but there is trash everywhere here and there rivers are loaded with trash and stink. Maybe it’s because I’m in the city but I just thought it was funny. Also ‘ticos’ are not the friendliest people on earth. There are a lot of nice ones but I hope there are friendlier. Anyway, how’s everyone. Till next week, see ya.

Descriptions of Costa Rica

February 16, 2009

How goes it?
I like my area because it has city and campo. Our area goes from city (Centro, our house) to more ghetto areas (los sitios, la isla) and hilly areas (San Antonio, los jardines) and campoish area in and on other side of mountains (San Jeronimo). We also have more hilly areas that are technically not my comp and i´s area because we split the whole area with the two other Elders (Clark and Stuetz), but we still always have to go through that part to get to San Jeronimo and to visit members. The other neighborhoods in the Moravia area are Trinidad, alto Trinidad, platanares, paracito, dulce nombre and I think that’s it. I’m starting to get to know the area better every day as well. The houses here are pretty much like in Colombia. Most of them have gates in front. To knock a door you have to knock on the gate and say "oopay!" The roads here are fine; they are paved except for in some parts of the campo. Like i've probably mentioned before there are no addresses. An example of a decent tico address is 100 m E de la Pulperia Angie, Casa azul con verjas negras, en la isquerda. (From Angies’ store, blue house with black Iron fence) I’ve also heard of an address like: Go south past the Mega super till you get to a three legged dog, if the dog fights a four legged dog and wins turn right til you get to a red house with white verjas (iron fence), if the four legged dog wins then you haven’t gone far enough and keep going til you get to another three legged dog. Although they aren’t usually that extreme, you get the point.

Anyway our investigator Vera has a fecha (date) to be married and baptized, on the same day, on March 7. Helen still needs to talk to her "husband" so they can be married and she can be baptized because she wants to do it on the same day as her mother. Helen has two sons, Luis and Frances. Luis (15) is already baptized but hasn’t been coming to church. Frances (17) has had the lessons but hasn’t been baptized yet. Veras other daughter, Andrea is getting the lessons as well. So by the end we hope to baptize the whole family and have them attend church every week. That's a big goal of ours right now. They are the most solid family we have of our investigators. We (four Moravia elders) teach English classes every Saturday at the church and anyone is invited. Last week Helen, Vera, Andrea, Luis, Frances, and Helen’s other son Michael (5, I think) all came to English lessons and are enthusiastic to come next week. We also had others come to English classes as well and I think it’s great we have them. The Jiminez family, are members that have been helping us a lot with the Helen and Vera and are always there when we teach them. Hermano Saenz still hasn’t started our leather ties because he’s been busy.

I have holes in two of my pairs of shoes. The first pair had a hole in the MTC. The second pair I can fix with super glue or Hermano Saenz (Brother) can fix them and i still have another pair left. I can get more shoes here if I have to. Hermano Saenz is making My companion forros (cases) for his scriptures out of leather. I am going to get leather forros made for cheaper by a company in El Salvador that a lot of missionaries use. Hermano Saenz is from Nicaragua.

Still eat at the china, and member’s houses, and home, and it’s still good. I’m addicted to yogurt. (Yogurt in Costa Rica as in Colombia is liquid) I’ve gotten a lot of really sick ties. Many different colors, widths, and sizes. Still ride buses and walk. Ill see if the package came yet on Thursday. Oh and we built a wall for service this week. Last week we tiled a part of the house and it’s a good thing I knew how to do it because the others didn’t.

One of our Zone Leaders (Elder Cambell) and our District Leader (Elder Depriest) are going home tomorrow. We went to Centro San José again today. We go there almost every p’day to eat and hang out with other missionaries. I talked with the AP´s (Elder Crowther and Elder Evans) and it doesn’t look like any of the four elders in the Moravia area are leaving this change, so it will stay a four elder area. Elder Bonn and I are going to start running every morning and working out, at least that’s the plan. Elder Moreno emailed me from Baltimore mission and told me that Ana Sedillo, a lady i challenged to baptism two nights before I left, got baptized this week. That’s awesome! Thanks everyone for your emails. Peace.

Stories to tell

February 9, 2009
No I haven’t been robbed this week. I did go on divisions in one of the most dangerous places in the country. It’s the Leon XIII / Garavito area, which is in our zone. That is where our zone leaders were robbed at gunpoint last week. When I was there for divisions we went deep into the most ghetto part of the area where people live in tin shacks (Nica Shacks) and we went there at night, when it was dark, but nothing happened to us. The day after I went on divisions there though, our district leaders were assaulted. A 12 year old kid told them his mom wanted to talk to them and so they followed him and were ambushed by two guys. The first guy said ¨this is an assault¨ to Elder Depriest and then punched him in the face. He blacked out for a second but then tried to fight back and the guy backed off. The other robber pulled a knife on Elder Nunez and stole his bag. When the robber guy tried to take Depriests bag he just laughed because his bag is all ripped and dirty and not valuable. Then the Elders just walked away. Anyway I’m not worried about being robbed because the chances are minimal, but it does make a good story.

By the way during divisions we walked around the whole area all day and set up a few appointments but didn’t have much else success. We use the bus almost every day to get out to our farther away areas and then we walk the rest of the time. Since I got here our goal has been to work a lot more with the members and we’ve been visiting them a lot. Lately the members have gotten better at helping us out. Yes, we have peanut butter but it is really expensive. Lately more members have signed up to feed us but sometimes we don’t have time to eat. Eating at the China restaurant isn’t bad because the food is good and it’s pretty cheap. We also can eat when we get home at night anyway so it’s not a big deal.

We have a shower in our little house. It’s usually cold but it’s a shower. . The weather is pretty good. A lot of the time there is just a light mist of rain, and other times it is really rainy, or really sunny but the temperature is pretty comfortable most of the time. The last couple of days it has been really windy and rainy. Everyone here thinks its sooo cold including my comp Elder Bonn, so when I run around without a jacket or umbrella they think I’m crazy, but I just haven’t been that cold here yet. The other day we got super soaked though and no one would let us in there houses. I have a little more fun with the contacting we do every day in Centro and I’m getting pretty good at it, except for we don’t have much success, so I guess I’m actually not very good at it. *Ü*

We taught a lesson at a member’s house the other night with just candles because there power went out. We taught the family with just two candles for light and I threw in the light of the world symbolism in there at the last second too. We have about 6 investigators still. We hope to set fechas (dates) with 3 of them this week. Two of the investigators are a mother and daughter. Helen is the daughter (she’s about 30) and Vera is the mother (older lady). They are both ready and want to be baptized except for they have to marry there ¨husbands¨ first. We’ve contacted a lawyer that can do it cheap and they might be married this Saturday. We also are teaching Helens sister Andrea.

A nice dog followed us all day today as we walked around Coronado, which is in our zone. It was with us at the church when we played soccer and basketball (its P’day) and it followed us to a restaurant where we ate lunch. Other dogs were following us around too. This is the first time that dogs have followed us because they like us. Our whole zone gets together every p’day and we ate lunch at the same restaurant (Taco Bell). About the earthquake (before I came to Costa Rica) I hear they were eating lunch when the earthquake happened. My comp elder Bonn freaked out and got up to leave. Everyone else stayed seated and when the earthquake stopped I guess they all laughed at my comp. The earthquake wasn’t super strong in our area and there wasn’t any damage that I’ve seen. In Alajuela, north of San Jose, it was strongest and it destroyed most of the city. Other than that I don’t know much about what happened. Anyway thank you everyone for the letters. I miss you all. Sorry I can’t write you all separately but I’m already past my hour of email time. Peace.

“And whoso receiveth you, there I will be also, for I will go before your face. I will be on your right hand and on your left, and my Spirit shall be in your hearts, and mine angels round about you, to bear you up.” D & C 84: 88

Answering Lots of Questions

February 2, 2009

It’s P-day again, obviously. We played soccer again, and right now we´re in an internet cafe in the middle of San Jose. We (about 8 of us) have been in San jose shopping and we ate at taco bell. This last week we got some more investigators and we have about 5 of them now. We want to set bautismal fechas (dates) for 3 of them this week so we´ll see what happens. I heard about the Cardinals because there is a gringa (American) from ASU in our ward so she told us about the loss. That stinks, they were so close. We just keep contacting in Moravia Centro. In the centro of Moravia there is this big catholic church and we usually contact around it. We eat cereal every day for breakfast. We have a cocinera (lady that cooks) who cooks lunch for us on most days. We also pay her to do our laundry. She is inactive but hopefully someday she goes back to church. We usually either eat dinner at a members house, at la china (restaurant on a corner in centro which is owned by a chinese lady) or we don´t eat at all. I eat a lot of peanut butter jelly sandwiches for dinner sometimes as well. We don´t ever have time or money to really cook anything. The food they eat here is basically rice and beans. They add other stuff sometimes like chicken, platanos, etc.. A lot of it is like Colombian food. We´ve been visiting members a lot lately so we can get references. One of the members is Hermano (Brother) Saenz. He is a great old man and everytime we visit him and share a lesson with him we end up learning more from him than he learns from us. He is a shoe maker and he makes other things out of leather. My comp and I gave him some designs so he can make us some leather ties. It should be sweet. I heard that we get mail about once a month or every change. Sometimes if you live near san jose you can probably go to the office and pick it up but I don´t if i can do that or if were supposed to. We were almost robbed the other day. First we were attacked by a neigborhood of dogs. First one dog started coming at us and then all these dogs came out of all around us. I don´t know why dogs hate missionaries so much but we just kicked and walked out of that neigborhood. We were going to an appointment in “los sitios” at 6:00 and we saw a man with a gun coming at us. He was about ten feet away from us so we turned around casually and normally walked the other way. He yelled and wistled for us to come here but we pretended we didn´t hear him and just kept walking. Missionaries being robbed is pretty common. The day before our gun experience the other elders in our zone were robbed of everything by gunpoint. But not to worry. Anyway my spaniol is muy good. The spanish here is not exactly colombian but its nice. Supposedly most of the people here are actually from Nicaragua and there are a lot of Colombians too. They call the nicaraguans nicos. The ticos are the costa ricans. Changes are in 2 weeks. I love all of you. Peace.

“For behold, the Lord doth grant unto all nations, of their own nation and tongue, to teach his word, yea, in wisdom, all that he seeth fit that they should have; therefore we see that the Lord doth counsel in wisdom, according to that which is just and true. ” Alma 29:8