Sad to leave Cariari...

October 26, 2009

I had changes today. I am now in Heredia which is just north of San Jose. My comp is Elder Perez from Honduras. He has four months on the mission. I am his potty trainer (second comp). All three of the other elders in my district are 'Cotrachos', in other words they are from Honduras.

I am really sad that I had to leave Cariari. I wanted to stay there one more change. We had a lot of people really close to baptism. We had awesome investigators like Haydeé, Dalia, Danny, Oljer, Jessica, Mindy, etc... Mileidy and Miguel had decided to get married and baptized as well. We were also helping out a lot of menos activos. Hna Molina started coming back to Church was even doing her visiting teaching. Shirley was reading the scriptures every day and became a really good friend of ours. Wilson and Sabata, who had been having some family problems, changed their attitude and started coming back to church as well. Elder Valerio is my favorite comp that I’ve had, easy to work with, not too controlling, fun to be with, and a good missionary. We were really working well together and had found a lot of new really good investigators like Marcella, Matilde, and Bernardo y Roxibel. We had also started teaching Juan Carlos’s sister Alejandra, and Shirley's’ mom Elba and her brother Edwin. Cariari was a really great area. I learned so much there. Although I’m sad about having to leave, I was expecting it because 6 months is a long time in one area. I’m sure Heredia will be good too.

I tried to avoid saying bye to people before I left because it’s really awkward. I did say goodbye to a few of the people I felt closest to and a few of the goodbyes were, just like I feared, awkward and sad. (...Many relatonships that you will develop in the mission field will last your entire life. Not only your companions but those to whom you teach the gospel will be close to you and they will be an influence of help and strength to you throughout your entire life!)
By the way Juan Carlos, who is 24, is getting married in a couple weeks to his 17 year old girlfriend. I’m kinda worried about the age difference but at least he won’t be doing it unmarried anymore, and maybe he can get baptized. And hey, he’ll be married, which isn’t common in this country. Anyway, yesterday I had to give a talk in Sacrament meeting at the last second and i talked about the Atonement (Expiacion). Today we played soccer with our zone. Elder Hernandez, my previous comp, and Elder Belmont, the one who was in LaRita in my district in Cariari, are both in my zone, Zona Alajuela.

I hope everyone is good. Got to go. bye.

Elder Tobler

"All that is necessary
for the triumph of evil
is that good men
do nothing."

~Edmund Burke

Pray to receive personal revelation (Always!)

October 19, 2009

Hi, this week we’ve been knocking a lot of doors trying to find “los escojidos” (the chosen ones) We've found a few new good investigators. We’ve been knocking on streets around members trying a new strategy. This week we had zone conference with Elder Don R. Clark of the Seventy, the President of the Area Central America. It was a really great conference and I learned a lot. We made some goals for ourselves and some things I chose to mejorar (do better) were: Tener Fe Excepcional para lograr milagros, Encontrar Los Escojidos, Conocer todos los Recien Conversos y Menos Activos, Orar para recibir Revalacion Personal, (Siempre) ...have Faith to receive miracles, find the Chosen ones, get to know better new converts and less actives, Pray to receive personal revelation (Always!)

Our investigators Milady and Miguel agreed to be married and baptized so that’s pretty cool. *Ü* We are going to confirm the fecha (date) tonight but we already have the lawyer ready and everything so it just depends when they want their marriage/baptism to take place. We also had Stake conference this week (yesterday). I had to sit way in the very back corner of the gym kind of on the stage, but it was a good conference.

About Shirley, we dropped by to "make sure Shirley was reading the scriptures everyday like she agreed" and we managed to kind of see her husband, but weren’t able to talk to him because Shirley quickly told us that sorry, but they were really busy. She was smiling, but looked really nervous and I hope we didn’t do her any damage. I don’t know if she was nervous that we saw him or that he saw us. We were hoping to be able to talk with him but we couldn’t. My companion saw him better than i did, and said he gave him kind of a dirty look. Lately people around here have told us about all the lies they have heard about Mormons. Its ridiculous all the stuff people believe. Many of the people we’ve taught have realized that after learning more about the church all the bad things people have told them and continue to tell them aren’t true. Mormons Myths and Reality

As you know my comp is Chilean. In Chile, Argentina, Paraguay, and Uruguay they drink a type of herbal drink called “Mate” (ma-tay). My comp always drinks it. I always joke with him and tell him that it looks like he’s drinking weed. What you do is put some kind of herb in a cup and then put hot water in it as well. Then you drink the herb flavored water through a special metal straw called a “bombilla” that has a filter in it. I guess its a social thing they do way down south. Everyone sits in a circle, talking and passing around the cup of mate. I’ve participated in a mate social circle a few times now. In between the sessions of General Conference we passed around the mate awhile with the ZL´s (one of them, Elder Rojas, is Chilean as well. I don’t really love mate. It’s bitter, especially if you drink it without sugar, like my comp. Mate isn’t that bad, but its not that good either. But it is kinda fun being part of a mate social circle. Anyway my companion right now is pretty cool. He’s really proud of his country. He is really chill and easy to get along with. Too bad changes are next Monday and I might be out of here.

I hope everyone is well. Thanks for the emails and letters. I still haven’t responded to a lot of letters. I’m terrible but ill get to it. Oh, and I got ‘abuelitas’ package. Gracias abuelita. Me gusta la corbata. Peace everyone.

Everyone has problems...

October 13, 2009

Sorry about not writing yesterday. We went to Limon for a Zone activity. We played soccer, watched "Remember the Titans" and went to the beach to finally see the ocean for the first time since I’ve come to Costa Rica. We went to the beach in ‘Cieneguita’, which is the most dangerous town in Costa Rica, so the beach obviously wasn’t the prettiest but it was the beach and we could see the ocean so it was pretty sweet. Anyway we got back home and didn’t have time for anything else because we went and gave a blessing to an investigator's (Oljer) cousin who has cancer.

Anyway this past week was more of the same. Everyone has problems. Haydeé is still progressing nicely. She really wants to go to church but has had to work these past Sundays. This last Sunday and the next she has exams for some classes she has been taking. I’ve been helping her study for her English exam. This week she was going to go to church and had even invited her brother to come from Limon to come with her to church but then she remembered she had exams. She was trying to make her two teenage sons go, but they don’t want to go without her. Haydeé is awesome. She has been reading the scriptures and asking good questions. She has been trying to leave coffee as well. She only buys aguadulce now. The problem is her co-workers always offer her coffee at work so she has to fight against that. Haydeé has also been trying to not use the Lords name in vain as well. I told her that every time she is going to use the Lords name in vain she should say, "Chimichanga!", instead. She seems to enjoy saying that. *Ü*

We found out more of why Shirley is inactive. I always kinda guessed it, but my hypothesis has been confirmed a bit more lately. The reason seems to be because of the father of her children. She has two daughters, a 3 year old named Valentina and a five year old named Ashley (They’re so cute). I guess they separated a few years ago and while this, Shirley met the missionaries and was baptized. She was an active member until about a year ago when it seems they got back together. I’ve never met him or even seen him because he works away all week long and is only home on Sundays. Shirleys mom told us that he doesn’t want Shirley to go to church and they go to the Iglesia Centro Americana Sunday nights. I don’t know if he doesn’t want her to go to church because he doesn’t like the Mormons or because he just wants her to spend the whole day with him but either way she is in a sucky position because she wants to go to church but I‘m sure she wants her daughters to have their father as well. The mother also told us that supposedly they were going to get married but it hasn’t happened. I really want to help Shirley come back to church but I really don’t know what we can do to help her especially since she doesn’t talk to us about any of this stuff. We always visit and share messages and do service but I feel helpless in this situation. Shirley gets made fun of by some of her brothers for being Mormon so she doesn’t really have anyone to support her. The good thing is today we are going to teach one of her brothers and hopefully get her some support in her family.

I feel pretty worthless right now. The branch is getting a tiny bit better but should actually be a group. I’ve been in Cariari almost 6 months and had only one baptism. Even that baptism is only semi-active. No matter what we do no one is baptized. We have had so many people that have been so close, but for some reason they don’t. I'm a failure. (..."Who among us cannot remember moments of failure? Let us shed any thought of failure. Let us discard any habit that may hinder. Let us seek; let us obtain the prize prepared for all ...keep trying and moving forward. Your family and your leaders are cheering for you" 'Never Give Up' President Thomas S. Monson)
Anyway im glad everyone seems to be doing well at home. I don’t think I need the church’s new Spanish bible. My comp bought it a couple weeks ago at the Temple but it got wet when our house flooded last week. My comp has 16 months on the mission. He has had 7 areas and 16 comps. Crazy. Tell everyone in the family 'Hi'. Thanks for the info on life. Goodbye.

Toblers Arc...???

October 05, 2009
HI, how’s it going?

Monday was p’day. We finally cleaned the apartment. It smells nice now. Well, not anymore, but it did for a couple of days. The rest of the day we just slept because my comp was sick. Elder Valerio is from Valdivia, Chile and its pretty cold where he lives so the heat has been making him sick. He also has to watch what he eats because he has Gastritis and sometimes he gets sick because of that as well. Elder Valerio is a really cool guy though. He knows English really well. He learned here on the mission. He is also learning Hebrew. He has been teaching me a little bit. Anyway the highlight of my p’day/b’day was when we went to a menos activa named Shirley’s house to eat peanut butter and jelly sandwiches and watch "Testaments". It was pretty sweet. We also ate pbandj sandwiches with Diego and Fam last week. Everyone loves them.

On Saturday we took 5 investigators and a menos activo to Conference. I basically begged Diego, Lourdis, Daikline, Dalia and Shirley to come because they haven’t been able to come to Church yet and I wanted them to see conference. So Saturday morning we met Shirley at the bus terminal and then took the bus to ‘Guapiles’. When the bus got to Astua, Diego and Lourdis and their daughters Daikline and Dalia, and Dalias daughter Natalie, got on the bus, like we had previously planned. The bus was pretty full and Natalie (Dalia´s 5 year old daughter) kept yelling "Gingo, Gingo, Gingo!" (Gringo) at me because thats what she calls me. Anyway it was an hour bus ride but we got to the Church in Guapiles just before conference started. Shirley and Diego´s family could only stay for the first session but i think they liked it so it was pretty sweet.

We stayed and watched all the sessions, which was good because last General Conference we had to keep working and couldn’t watch conference. On Sunday we also watched conference. The night before we had ran over to a menos activos house, Hermana Molina, and begged her to come as well. She said she might come but then she didn’t. We also invited many other people but they didn’t come either. The good thing is that at lunch, my ZL Elder Carr and I went out and brought two random people from the street in to watch conference with us. One of the guys was kind of drunk and he kind of invited himself as we walked by, but we just washed him up and just kept an eye on him (put him between two Elders) but he was pretty calm and was asleep half the time. The other guy we brought in to conference was pretty good and I explained everything to him and answered his questions. The Elders in Guapiles are going to start visiting him this week so all in all conference was awesome.

In other news, I left my umbrella on a ‘Sagrada Familia’ bus last week. At first I was like, "o, darn.", but then I remembered I had extras at home so I was ok. *Ü* But the sweet thing is that on Saturday when we were at the bus terminal about to go to conference, some random lady handed me my umbrella and said she’s been looking all over for me to give it to me. I thanked her and got her address so we can pass by and share the gospel with her. I was just really surprised and it’s awesome that she went through all that trouble to give me back my umbrella. Anyway, I don’t have my umbrella again because Shirley was holding it in her purse for me and I forgot to get it back after conference, but luckily we’re going to visit her today so I can get it back.

At 1 O’clock early this morning we woke up to our neighbor banging on our door. My comp jumped down from the top bunk and exclaimed, "What the heck!" because when his feet hit the ground there a splash was. Our apartment was a half inch flooded with water. One of our pipes under the bathroom sink had burst and water had been spraying upward and out at a 45 degree angle hitting the ceiling right above our desk, where my scriptures and my comps journal were laying wide open. As you probably already know what goes up must come down so our stuff was all wet. I don’t know how long it had been spraying out but it had to be for awhile because there was a lot of water. I don’t know how we didn’t hear it because our neighbor heard it from his apartment and luckily woke us up before we drowned in our sleep (JK). Anyway we swept all the water we could out of the apartment and put our stuff out to dry and then we went back to sleep. (I guess your apartmant is ALL clean again! *Ü* ) Luckily my scriptures will be ok and my comps journal, although a little smeared, will survive. (send us pictures)

Today for p’day we are just going to buy food and go to the Church to play the piano and guitar, play soccer, read the scriptures, and rest. I’m glad everyones doing fine and having fun. The new house looks pretty sweet. Thanks for the b’day letters and packages. Peace.

October 2009 General Conference, Elder Jeffrey R. Holland