So much to do, and no time to do it!

February 22, 2010
This week we taught Nidia the 1st lesson (The Restoration of the Gospel of Jesus Christ). She had a Book of Mormon for many years but agreed to start reading this week. We left her 3 Nefi: 11 to read (the chapter we usually leave investigators when we first give them the BOM). She seems really promising. We also taught Sunilda again, as well as her two children. We taught her the 2nd lesson (The Plan of Salvation) last week so we taught her the 1st lesson this week. She seems good as well.

This week I found out that Hno. Saenz (zapatero from Moravia) is moving into the ward. He is going to get married again. He is going to marry Hna. Maria del Carmen, and will live with her in Guarari. Its pretty sweet. We taught him this week. When I left Moravia, Hno Saenz told me to call him at the end of my mission, because he had something made of wood, to give me. This week he showed me what it is. He is going to give me Abrahams Fascimile 1, made of wood. Its about a foot in diameter and its something that I've been wanting. He said he got it from Honduras.

Last week we found a recent convert from Tibas named Bryan (gringo). He was baptized by Elder Tagliaferi and Elder Ash while I was in their district in Moravia. Bryan moved here to Heredia a few months ago, and he didn't know where the church was so he hasn't come. We found him last week and showed him where the church but told him we were going to go to Belen in a couple weeks. Anyway, I called him Saturday night and he said he had just gotten home from work and was going to go to church the next day. On Sunday morning he called me and told me that he was in Panama. He said they had called him and given him an assignment, and he was in a tight spot and had to go. Bryan has read the whole Book of Mormon and is reading it a second time. He says hes trying to get away from what he does, so he can have more time for church and can be spiritually better.

On Friday night we watched "Los Testamentos" (The Testiment-Of one fold and one shephard) with Natalia, Daniela, and their friend Pamela. They really liked the movie and Natalia cried again. We met Pamela awhile ago, but she didn't seem interested. We saw her in the street with her mom a couple days ago and she called us over to meet her mom. Her mom quickly said hi and then she kinda ran away by pretending to see something she wanted to buy. Pamela tried to greet us with a kiss on the cheek, as is the norm here, but I stuck my hand out and held it firmly away from me. She felt embarrassed afterwards because she forgot that we can't do that. It was funny. Anyway, Pamela surprised us by coming to lesson, and she is interested now. She came to church as well, and we are going to teach her this week.

On Sunday (yesterday) there were 187 people in Sacrament meeting! That's a new record here! We had 6 investigators there, and some of the menos activos (less active) we've been visiting came as well. *Ü* I think many people came because it's the last week the ward will meet in that building before it is reconstructed. This week when we visited Hno. Perez, an Elderly member who works in the Temple, he told us a little of the history of Barrio Heredia and the missionary work there. He showed us pictures of when the church in Heredia was just starting out, and it was just a group that met in a house. That was like 50 years ago, and he showed us pictures of the missionaries of that time, and how they were baptized in a river near Alajuela. He told us about how much hard work has been done to make the church grow in Heredia and it was one of the first places that there were missionaries in Costa Rica. He told us that many people have been baptized in Heredia, but they always move to other places, and the other places have grown in strength by the work done in Heredia. It was really special learning a little of the history behind the church in Heredia. The church building was originally built about 30 years ago. The construction was delayed because of opposition by the Catholic churches in the area, but was finally built because of the faith and insistence of the members. Years later that building is now going to be mostly destroyed to be rebuilt bigger and better. Although some of the members are sad to see it go, they realize its part of the progression and they will be blessed with a new building. *Ü* And boy do they need it, because on Sunday it was packed and too loud. Next week we have Stake Conference in Alajuela, and the week after the ward will start attending the church in Belen next to the Temple.

On Sunday (yesterday), Natalia and Daniela came, like always, they're awesome. They also brought their friend Pamela with them. Nidia came with them as well. Jose Ray brought a friend named Vanessa and Hna Gioconda brought a friend named Ivan. Jessica was there like always as well. At the end of church I was running around trying to made appointments before everyone leaves for lunch, it was crazier than usual. After church we went on divisions with Erick Diaz and Alejandro (Maria del Carmens grandson). I went with Alejandro and all our citas (appointments) fell through as usual, so we knocked a lot of doors. We also taught some members the 1st lesson, because a lot of times as members we forget the message we share or, like me before the mission, we don't fully understand it. It was a long day, but we finished it off by visiting Hna Adilia, Huskell, Gendry, and Kaprina. They are an awesome family and Hna Adilia always gives us food. We haven't been able to visit them for a few weeks and they missed us, especially since the missionaries used to live right next door to them about six months ago. I wish we had more time, but we get pretty busy a lot of times. The times that we don't have anything to do, no one else has the time, and when we have too much to do, everyone wants us to come and visit them. Its crazy and can be a headache to figure out, but its cool.

We were supposed to go to San Jose again today, to pick up Elder Benedits residency, but for the second week in a row, we went to a burial instead. Last night at 9 pm, Presidente Galvez called us and told us to go to a funeral home here in Heredia. that he needed some info about a member that die, like what ward he was from, and if he had been to the Temple. After getting the information the deceased man's family (mostly Catholic but also with a lot of inactive Latter day Saints) asked us to do some kind of special prayer for him in front of everyone. We explained that what we could do is dedicate the tomb after the burial the next day, and if they wanted a prayer right then, it would just be normal prayer that anyone could do. In the end they wanted us to do both (well some of them wanted it) so I said a prayer in the funeral home last night and we got home after 10 pm. Then this morning we went to the burial. My comp and I sang the hymn, "O, Mi Padre" (O, My Father). Afterwards I dedicated the mans grave, and his wife's grave, which was right next to his, as well (she died two years ago, but her grave was never dedicated so her children asked me to do it also).

I love all of you. I'm working on sending pics and letters. sorry, I have so much to do, and no time to do it. I have new shoes. They are brown. sweet. I hope everyone is doing great. Good luck and success at school and work and church.

Elder Tobler

I really love this area.

February 15, 2010
Our apartment is in Heredia Centro, near the Heredia soccer stadium and the 'Palacio de los Deportes'. Our direccion is 100 Norte del Hospital Viejo de Heredia, frente Restaurante Chino Lago de Plata, puerta cafe (100, North of the old Heredia Hospital, in front of the chinese Restaurant “Silver lake”, Brown Door)*Ü* I say old hospital because they are building a new Hospital, its the biggest in Central America, and the coolest Hospital I've seen. Its dark blue and silver and has a cool design. We pass it all the time. Its basically complete, but not in use yet.

Hna Gladys (cocinera/cook) lives just around the corner. We have to cross "the road of death" to get to her house though. The church is in 'Cubujuqui', near centro. Other areas we work in are Fatima (where Patricia lives), Guarari, La Milpa, Los Lagos, Mercedes Norte, Mercedes Sur, Barva, Birri, Carpintera, and Corazon de Jesus.

This week we visited a lot of less active members, as part of the new Mission Plan that was given this past year. The plan requires 15 names of people that are less active, are non-members, have future elders in the family, or are part member families. The names are chosen by the Elders Quorum, Relief Society, and High Priests, after prayer and meditation. After the names are chosen, certain leaders from the ward go to visit the people on the list, and invite them to have the missionarys start visiting them as well. If they accept, the names are given to us and we begin to teach them. Its been kind of hard to get the plan up and going. Supposedly, the fifteen names the ward has chosen have been visited by a ward member, even though no one could tell me who visited them and they didnt give us directions on how to find the people either. When we visited them this week, some of them didn't remember being visited but in the end, most of them were happy to recieve the missionary's. This next week we are going to get a new list put together, because there was even some confusion in the ward organizations about who was actually on the 15 names list. So we are going to keep working to get this program running continuously, smoothly, and effectively.

This week we also worked a lot with two guys preparing for the mission. One is named Samuel. He is planning on going on a mission this next year and he accompanied us two days this week. We also went to work with Rolando. Rolando leaves on his mission to the Northern part of Chile, this next month. He is really excited and came with us on Saturday. We try to go on divisions with as many jovenes in the ward as possible, and this week we were also accompanied by Erick Diaz.

While visiting less active members, we found out that in Guarari (one of the poorer parts of our area) there are over 300 members, but they are all inactive. We visited a few of them that haven't been to church in like 10 years. We are thinking of starting neigborhood Family Home Evenings in Guarari, which might get the people excited about going to church again. The bus that will take the members to church in Belen, starting in March, leaves from Guarari, so maybe that will help people start going to church.

Today we started P-day out by going to a Funeral. Hna Angelita's (The missionaries cocinera in Flores) adopted son Geraldo has been in the hospital here, down the street from our apartment, for a couple days, becasue he had convulsions and had some virus. He died yesterday afternoon when he had a heart attack. He was 28 years old, but was partially mentally and physically handicapped. Today at 10 in the morning we went with Elder Hansen, Elder Recino, Elder Zavala, and Elder Smith to the burial. It was sad to see Hna Angelita and her son Joan, (who always plays soccer with us and goes on divisions with us in Flores) crying. The other day when we passed by the hospital, Joan was outside waiting for news about his brother, and we talked to him and he was really worried, and today he was very sad. Although he will be missed, we know that Geraldo is in a better place, resting from the pains and worries of the world. We also know that because of our saviour Jesus Christ, Geraldo will one day resurrect and live again, and his family will be reunited, never to be seperated.

We have some good new investigators. One is named Sunilda, and we are going to visit her today. On Sunday, Natalia and Daniela brought one of there friends moms to church. Her name is Nidia. She liked church a lot and we are going to teach her tomorrow.



She had received her answer!

February 8, 2010
We were blessed to have another baptism this past weekend. On Thursday we went to visit Ada Luz with Elder Lee (AP) and Elder Williams (ZL). While there, we challenged her to be baptized. She has been saying that she knows the church is true for a few weeks now, but every time we invited her to be baptized she told us not yet. We always ask her, "Que le impide?" (What's holding you back?), but she never tells us. So on Thursday, I wasn't too surprised when she continued to tell us she didn't want to be baptized yet. Then we asked her, "Seguira el ejemplo de Jesucristo, y se bautizara este Sabado? (Will follow the example of Jesus Christ and be baptized this Saturday?)". She looked at us as though we were crazy, so we asked her if after we left, she would pray to our Heavenly Father and ask him specifically if she should get baptized this Saturday. She agreed and we left. A couple hours later, she called us and told us that she had received her answer. She told us that she would get baptized on Saturday. *Ü*

The baptism Saturday was really nice. I invited a lot of members the night before and a lot of them came. We were also able to get the word out because the ward secretary, Hermano Casas (Colombian), works for a company that sends recorded messages over the phone, to a lot of people at the same time. So he recorded an invitation to the baptism and sent it to like 40 people. The next time I get to record my voice doing the invitation and he'll send it. It's pretty sweet. Anyway the baptism was very nice. Abraham always conducts and this time his girlfriend Fabiola gave the talk about baptism, and Marcelo gave an awesome talk on the Holy Ghost. I was able to baptize Ada Luz, and even though Ada Luz thought the water was cold, she said it felt good. Ada Luz's daughter Jesenia seemed really happy to see her mom finally baptized. Ada Luz's whole family in Nicaragua are members, so they were pretty excited to hear the news as well.

Natalia and Daniela are still awesome. Natalia doesn't know if she should wait until March to be baptized so her boyfriend can come and do it, or if she should get baptized sooner. She hasn't smoked in over a week now. This week Natalia agreed to pray and ask God if she should be baptized this month.

Yesterday (Sunday) was a great day at church. An investigator named Guillermo came with us to church. Guillermo is Hna Aday's son. He really liked church. We had another great lesson in the investigator class. Abraham really has a gift for teaching. Hermana Patricia and her family are back from Nicaragua as well. Also, Jose Ray is coming back to church, because he doesn't work on Sunday's anymore. And of course Ada Luz was confirmed in Sacrament Meeting.

Yesterday, was also election day here in Costa Rica. The current President is Oscar Arias. There were four main candidates running for President. They are Laura Chinchilla, Otto Guevara, Otton Solis & Fishman. Yesterday, there were people running all over the place with their political party's flag and screaming and honking like crazy. I think Laura Chinchilla won. I knew she was going to win but I don't know what any of the candidates stand for, so I don't know if its a good thing or not. Until a couple days ago, I thought the Otto and Otton were the same guy. Fishman (I don't know his first name) had basically no chance. When I first saw his advertisement on a billboard walking and it says "Caminemos Seguros (Let's Walk Securely)" I thought it was an advertisement for old mens diapers *Ü* Towards the end of the campaign Fishman came out with a new slogan, because a lot of people were saying it didn't matter who they voted for because all the candidates were going to mess up the country. So Fishman said since all politicians suck, Vote for Fishman: El Menos Malo (The Least Sucky). It's pretty funny, but he still didn't win. *Ü*

Love, Elder Tobler


I You

is the only force
that can erase
the differences between people"

"El amor...
es la única fuerza
que puede borrar
las discrepancias entre las personas"
Gordon B. Hinckley

The best member turn out I've had at a baptism!

February 2, 2010
On Saturday we had the Wedding-Baptism of Eric, Daisy, and Erica. It was awesome. The wedding of Eric and Daisy was first and although it was pretty simple, it was awesome and they were happy to finally be married. Then we had the baptism which was also a great experience. I baptized Daisy and then my companion, Elder Benedit baptized Erica. The water was kind of cold so when Erica came out of the water she basically screamed. It was pretty funny because Elder Benedit was worried he had killed her or something. The baptism was very spiritual and a great experience. A lot of Eric and Daisy's family members came and they seemed really happy and enjoyed the experience as well. There were also a lot of members that came as well. The Relief Society prepared some 'Arroz con Pollo' and some cake that we ate after the baptism. I think its the best member turnout I've had at a baptism, at least since my first baptism, Vera, which was also a Wedding-Baptism.

In disappointing news, when I called Alejandro and Sandra, for an appointment, they said they have their own church and we don't need to pass by anymore. I was really surprised when Alejandro told me that, because they had seemed so sincere to find the truth and had felt the spirit strongly. I explained that we need to be in Christs church, not our own, and if that means making a change, we need to do it, especially when the spirit has testified so strongly, like it had to them. He didn't care, and after hanging up i felt very sad, and confused. I guess i should be used to it by now, but its still sad and unbelievable that people can reject the truth, when they have it right in front of them.

Also Daniel, the 16 year old we were teaching has disappeared on us and told Eric that he doesn't want to listen to us right now. It sucks because he was progressing and it seemed like he told us he was happier, going to church and listening to us, and he told us he wanted to be baptized and that he got a long better with his family since we started teaching him. But last week he had some problems with some friends that wanted to beat him up and he stole his Grandpas whiskey and went off. He has problems at home as well. His mom died a few years ago, and he is rebellious at home. Maybe in a little while we can continue teaching him.

Also our investigator Natali, who seemed really good, told us to call her in 15 days, which sometimes means the person wants us to forget about them, but we'll see.

Ada Luz is still progressing, but although she says she knows its true, she doesn't want to be baptized and we can't find out the reason why. She won't tell us. She just says that when she decides to be baptized it is going to surprise us. "If you want to surprise us, get baptized this weekend", I always think.

Natalia and Daniela are still awesome. We basically think of Natalia as a member already. She came to the baptism and really enjoyed it. She always feels the spirit. Daniela is harder to read, but she is reading and likes going to church.

Norberto still needs to get divorced from some lady who has disappeared from the planet, and who he didn't even agree to marry. If they can find this lady or get a judge to declare them divorced, he can marry Jessica and they can be baptized. They go to church regularly and Jessica is very active in the Relief Society. Jimmy is also waiting for his "wife", Aracely to get divorced and marry him so he can be baptized. They seem to be progressing on that, but its always hard because of money.

This past week was crazy. We woke up before 6 am almost every day. We went to interviews con President in Alajuela one day. We went to San Jose to pick up Elder Benedits residency, and while my comp picked it up with other Elders, I went to Tres Rios with Elder Clark, to give a blessing to an Hna. missionary who was sick. We went to Eric and Daisy's house at 5 am one day, and they live deep in la Cuenca of La Milpa. We also went to San Jose to pick up their Estado Civil one day as well. It was amazing that everything turned out well in preparation for the Wedding-Baptism, and all the work and stress was worth it. Eric, Daisy, and Erica were very happy, and now their goal is to be sealed in the Temple.
I hope everyone is doing great.