We are here to serve you!...

March 29, 2010

Jaime and Brazilia didn't get baptized this week. None of our investigators came to church this week. The Hermanas did have one investigator. We've had trouble finding good investigators. Every time we find someone who seems good the first time, we never find them again or they turn out not so good. We've been trying to get references from the members. Last Sunday we handed out some cards with our phone number on it to all the members at church. We drew some dorky pictures of Elders on it and wrote, "Estamos para servirles" (We are here to serve you) so they can call us if they need anything like service. While we were making copies of the cards, we changed some things on the pictures (like colored in the ties, changed hair, etc.) , so in the end there were like 8 different versions of the same picture on the cards we passed out. Yesterday we handed out papers with D&C 18:10,15-16 on it and spaces so they could give us references. The Lider Misional, Hna Almengor (SIster Missionary) and I all gave talks about missionary work. I spoke mainly so that the members would think about and realize how blessed they are to have the gospel in their lives. I also talked mainly to teach the members how to share the gospel with people. Hna Bingham (sister missionary) also sang a hymn, and I think it was a good sacrament meeting. In the end no one filled out the reference papers but they said they will this week. We are going to follow up with them.

I talked to Elder Lee and his comp Elder Amador who are in Heredia at Multi-Zone conference this week. They said that Vanessa's two kids were baptized. They also said that Daniela and Nidia were baptized as well. So including Natalia, 5 people were baptized in Heredia this month. Sunilda and her two kids have a baptismal date set for next month. Thats awesome!

Although we didn't have any baptisms this month, I did get to baptize someone this week. The Hermanas had a baptism named Margarita, and I was able to baptize her. She was a little nervous to get in the water, but in the end she got in and it was a great baptism. President and Sister Galvez were there as well.

Yesterday we rode in a bus full of drunk Saprissa fans and today we rode in a bus full of boy and girls scouts. Gabriel Cervantes is with us today. Our pday got changed to Friday because its Semana Santa. (Holy Week/ Easter)

I recieved the package. Thanks for all the candy and shirts and rubix cubes, they're cool. Grandma and Grandpa also sent me a pkg. Thanks.

Love you, hope everyones good.

Why seek ye the living among the dead?
.... He is not here, for HE is RISEN! ☼

We'll try again next week.

March 22, 2010
This week we kept working. Found some new people. We went on divisions with some of the Vasquez brothers, Braulio, and Bruno. We also had a mejenga (street soccer game) at the church, for some of our investigators to meet the members. We have a mejenga, every Tuesday, and half the people that come are members, the other half aren't. More and more people come every week and its been a good way to set up some future investigators, and get people some member friends.
Jaime and Brazilia could get married and be baptized this Saturday. Brazilia has decided to be baptized, but Jaime is still unsure. We are going to visit them tonight and tomorrow. Hopefully Jaime makes his decision, even if its just to get married so that Brazilia can be baptized on Saturday. We have the lawyer ready, we just need them to give the go.
My sources tell me that Natalia (from Heredia) did get baptized on March 13th, the day we had planned. That´s awesome!
Yesterday morning (Sunday) we went to pick up 3 investigators, and they all ended up not being able to come. We were also expecting 2 more to come to church, but they didn't come either. So out of 5 investigators expected, 0 came to church. We´ll try again next week. *Ü*
This morning a guy from the Tres RIos ward named Freddy Chavez, left on his mission to Guatemala. There are a lot of young single adults in the ward, and a lot getting ready to serve missions.
This P-day morning we did service. Jaime is a carpenter so we went to help him move a bunch of pieces of wood. After a couple of hours of service, Elder Sierra and I went to eat at the'Terramall' (the big mall we walk through every day. We have to walk through the mall, and walk on the bridge over the freeway to get to our area every day.). I got KFC to eat and my comp got Taco Bell. Normally I would have gotten Taco Bell, but I haven´t eaten KFC at all since I've started the mission. On the way home we bought some food at Megasuper. We have to end P-day early again today, because of a cita (appointment). I haven't had a normal P-day in over a month.
Thnx for the email's. Wow, people are getting married and going on missions, all over the place.

First Earthquake Experience!

March 15, 2010

Be strong
and of a good courage;
be not afraid,
neither be thou dismayed:
for the Lord thy God is with thee
whithersoever thou goest.

This last week we worked hard. We knocked a lot of doors and talked to a lot of people in the street. We also talked to a lot of drunks. Unfortunately, a lot of people around here trust Arjona (the singer) more than God. Good news is we did find some pretty good investigators. One of them is a Buddhist lady who wanted us to get her the book called, "The Stick of Joseph" (El Palo de Jose), because she needs it for some kind of report I think. We told her we didn't have that book, but we did have the book which that book talked about, the actual Stick of Joseph, El Libro de Mormon. When we gave it to her, she got really excited and she said she would read it because she loves to read. Since then we've been answering her Preguntas del Alma (Questions of the Soul) about the meaning of life, etc., with the Book of Mormon, and we are going to keep working with her.

I forgot to tell you that last week I felt my first temblor (little earthquake). Throughout the mission there have been earthquakes happening all around me, but I’ve never felt a thing. One night last week at about 11:00 pm, I finally did. My comp and I were lying in our beds, listening to the tab choir, and just as the music built up to its climax, the temblor hit our house. The first thing I thought was, "Wow, Elder! These are some powerful speakers!", but then I realized they weren’t the speakers. We live in a two story little house, behind the owner's house. We sleep on the second floor, which is basically made of tin. So when the 4.something earthquake hit, it shook the house around a bit, and made some noise, but it was over in like four seconds. After the temblor, I laid there in thought and then asked my comp, "Estas despierto?” (Are you awake?)He said, "Si". I asked, "Sintio eso?” (Did you feel that?) He said, "Si". Anyway it was pretty interesting. I heard it was stronger over by Heredia.

This week we went to a member’s house, Hermana Vicky Chavez, and we made some bread. The Hermanas were there as well. (sister missionaries) Also a recent convert named Alba. We made some loaves of Banana bread and a type of pan dulce con queso (sweet bread with cheese). They turned out pretty good and we took some home with us.
Also had the wards semi-weekly, Noche de Pelicula (movie night). The movie was, "La Princesa y El Sapo" ("The Princess and The Frog"). We went to meet the non-members the members brought and we have some new investigators because of it.
Also had a mejenga (played soccer) this week as well. There were members and non members, but it was fun, and luckily I get to change some of the miss-conceptions people here have, that all gringos suck at soccer.

A couple of days ago some guy in El Monte climbed up the telephone towers and fell like 30 feet, and got stuck on a lower part of the tower. Everyone in El Monte went outside to watch the action, but I’m guessing no one called the police because they arrived like half an hour later. I guess the guy wasn’t hurt too bad because after sitting there for half an hour he started to climb down the tower himself. Since everyone was in the street we contacted a few people and put some citas to pass by.

This morning (P-day) we went to eat breakfast with Gabriel Cervantes. We had Gallo Pinto. I had it with huevo (egg), my comp with salchichon (sausage), and Gabriel with carne (meat), but we all had Gallo Pinto (rice mixed with beans). Then we went to do service at some lady's house. We moved a whole lot of dirt from the back yard, to the front yard, with two shovels and a bucket. We still have to finish another day. Then we had an appointment to go to so we ran home, showered, and got ready in half an hour, then walked over to the cita, and they weren’t there. We have to end P-day early as well because we have a cita at 5 pm.

V......, your letter will make it to you eventually, How was your Birthday? What did you do? Good luck in school and work everyone. I’m going to send last year’s pics soon, hopefully. Sorry. Sigue adelante!

New Area Tres Rios

March 8, 2010

The day of changes I went to my area in Tres Rios, dropped off my stuff, and went to Heredia for two days. I went there with Elder Lee, so I could show him the area a little bit. We walked all over the area, showing him the bus stops, homes of members, menos activos (less actives), and investigators, and other important things about the area. We went on a tour of Heredia Centro, Cubujuqui, over by the old and new hospitals on Monday night. On Tuesday we went to Carpintera, La Cuenca en La Milpa, Los Lagos, Guarari, Parque Los Angeles, Parque Central, Birri, Barva, Fatima, went to the Obispo's (Bishop's) business Bordatica, went in a complete circle of the area. I drew a quick map as well. It was really fun and it was a good way to say goodbye to the area. On Tuesday night we went to San Jose and I got to stay in the AP house with all the new missionaries that came in this change. There were 20 that came in, mostly from Honduras, and from El Salvador, and one gringo from Gilbert, Arizona. The next morning we ate breakfast at Presidents house. Finally. Everyone has eaten with Pres., or at his house, and got a picture with pres. when they came in the mission, etc., except for me because I came in the mission weird (middle of a change). It’s a nice house. Another thing I never did was have my one month checkup because me trainer didn’t know about it. Anyway, no big deal. After breakfast, I went with Elder Lee and we brought all the new missionaries suitcases over from the Ap house to the church in Los Yoses. We had to make a few trips in the truck. Elder Lee was glad it was the last time he would have to do that (Not Ap anymore). The new missionaries were practicing baptizing each other while we brought their stuff. Finally my comp arrived and I went to get to know my new area of Tres Rios.

In Barrio Tres Rios (Ward) there are four missionaries. Two Elders (Elder Sierra and I) and two Hermanas (Hermana Almengor (from Panama) and Hermana Bingham (from Texas) (Sister Missionaries). Even though we only have half of the Tres Rios area, it’s still pretty big. We live in the Hermanas area so we always have to walk about twenty minutes just to get to our area. Our areas are split by the freeway. Once we cross the freeway we are in our area. The area is really long. It stretches out at the base of the mountains. It’s kind of a more pine tree mountain like atmosphere. It’s harder to use the buses to get around here, not as convenient, so we usually just walk along the freeway to get to the different parts of our area. Parts of the area are San Vicente, Cedro, Carpintera, El Monte, Calle Mesen, etc.. Our cocinera and lavadera (cook & laundry lady) is Hermana Rosi Fonseca. The bishop seems nice, and the ward mission leader, Jeffrey, is interesting. The ward is pretty big, like 130 sacrament attendance. The ward mission leader I had in Moravia, Esteban, is now married and lives in this ward. Also, my first mini-missionary comp, Elder Cervantes (I mean, Gabriel) is in the ward next door, (Concepcion) so he comes with us on divisions sometimes.

Here I am in Zona Los Yoses. My Zls are Elder Buckner (My DL in Cariari) and Elder Valerio (My comp in Cariari), so that's pretty sweet. Today we went to the Institute building in San Jose. We ate at Pollo Campero and played ping pong, air hockey, and foosball as a Zone. While at the building, I saw Tamara from Heredia and asked how it was going to Belen in the bus with the whole ward. Also the other night I saw Michael Hernandez, his wife, and her sister, and her husband, all from the ward in Moravia. We were rushing to a cita (appointment) in Tres Rios and I saw them in the street. They were visiting some friends. It was crazy to see them all, especially because the week I left Michaels wife’s sister (can't remember names right now) had just had a baby and Michaels wife was about to give birth. Now they had the two babies in their arms, both being almost a year old. Wow.

Anyway, we have good investigators. Jaime y Brazilia could be baptized this month. We put a baptismal meta (goal) with them. Also Juriel, is a 22 year old that we put a fecha (date) with this week, for the end of this month. The problem is although we walked deep into Calle Mesen Sunday morning to pick him up and take him to church, he hadn’t gotten home from work (he works nights as a guard) so we then walked to church sweating in our suits alone and he still hasn’t been to church. The good thing is Jaime and Brazilia did and we are going to find more good investigators this week and keep working with Juriel.

In January, la Mission San Jose Costa Rica had its best baptizing month in its history. There were 115 baptisms. In February, we broke the record again. President Galvez is really into putting goals and meeting them, so I think that has helped a lot. Before people used to put a monthly baptismal goal and almost no one would meet there goals, but now if we put a goal we better meet it. In Heredia, we were blessed to meet our month’s baptism goal every month. It was amazing how when we put a goal we really wanted to meet, and we worked hard to meet it, how the Lord really helped us meet it, in a couple months at the last second (Like in January we met the goal the last week of the month, and in February, the last day of the month).

Very Sad to leave Heredia

March 1, 2010

I had changes. My new area is Tres Rios. My new comp is another Catracho (Honduranean), and his name is Elder Sierra. He has about 5 months on the mission. I have to be honest. I am really depressed. I really wanted to stay another change in Heredia. This change was going to be the change of my dreams. Awesome investigators, awesome members, awesome city. The best cocinera (cook), the best lavadera (laundry lady) Although the apartment smelled bad and was full of cockroaches, it was still sweet, in the most convenient area of the city to get around. I was going to be able to see the Temple every Sunday when I took a bus with all the members to the church in Belen. I was so excited to take a bus full of Mormons to church early Sunday mornings. The biggest surprise is that my comp Elder Benedit got changed out as well (he went to Liberia). The ex AP, Elder Lee is now in Heredia. He is there with a brand new missionary. When they told us we both had changes we were shocked, and couldn't understand why. Rumor was that they were going to put Hermanas is Heredia. Elder Benedit and I were so decepcionados (discouraged) our last few days there, but at least Heredia is going to have a good missionary like Elder Lee there with them. They should have a lot of success this next change. Elder Lee and I were talking and we figure they could have 10 baptisms this month. Among those could be Natalia, Daniela, Nidia, Jasmine, Sunilda and her two kids, Pamela, Vanessas two kids, and the wives of two inactive male members we were about to start teaching.

Although we were kind of depressed, we did have the blessing of baptizing Vanessa our last day in Heredia. Vanessa is the member Jose Rays´ friend from work. She came to church on Sunday of February 21st. She liked church but didn´t seem that interested. But later on in the week, on Wednesday, she called us and asked us to come that day, to teach her. We went immediately and had a great lesson with her. She had been reading Liahonas and the Book of Mormon that Jose Ray had given her for a few weeks. At church she received the 'Principios del Evangelio' (Gospel Principles) book and had almost finished it after only 3 days. She said she had felt the spirit while reading those things. After teaching her, I felt I should invite her to be baptized on Saturday the 27th, in 3 days. She said she couldn´t because she was working, but she said she would on Sunday. So we put the fecha (date) with her to be baptized on Sunday the 28th of February. It was awesome. She called Jose Ray right away to tell him the news. He was shocked and didn't know what to say. We visited her on Thursday, Friday, and Saturday, and prepared her for her baptism. She gave us the coffee she had in her house so we could throw it out and we gave her agua dulce. My bag still smells like coffee. Every day she told us how excited she was and that she couldn't wait until Sunday. Sunday came and since it was stake conference in Alajuela we had the baptism at the Alajuela church before conference. We went on the bus with her and her two kids, and Jose Ray and his son Raymond and brother Bryan. A good number of members made it to the baptism and Jose Ray baptized her. It was a great experience and she was so happy.

The last week I had in Heredia was amazing. On Tuesday we taught Tommy and friends again. There is a group of little kids in La Milpa, from ages 8 to 12, who always want us to teach them something about God. We always teach them and they enjoy it. Sadly their parents are less interested in listening even though there kids beg them to listen. Hopefully the kids listen to missionaries when they grow up, when they can make their own decisions. We went to Mutual and talked to the YM about the mission life, our objective as missionaries, and how to prepare. The bishop also talked about his mission to Spain.
We also taught Natalia, Daniela, and Nidia this week. Natalia left for Guanacaste this week, but we gave her the direction of the church in Liberia. She went to Stake conference there and she met my trainer Elder Bonn who is there right now.

On Thursday night there was a Charla Fogonera (Fireside) in Belen where Presidente Galvez spoke on the tema ¨Porque Creo¨(Because, I Believe). The bishop was supposed to announce it in church but he forgot so I had to invite all the members. I used Hermano Casas's program that sends a recorded message to a whole bunch of members at once, to get the word out. I also used it to invite everyone to the baptism. Anyway, on Thursday we visited a man who's been inactive for 7 or 8 years. At first he was kind of grumpy and didn’t seem interested in coming back to church, but then he started showing us pictures of the missionaries who baptized him and telling us about all the good times he had in church, and he started getting all excited about coming back to church. We invited him to the Charla that night and he actually drove us there as well as Ada Luz and her daughter Jesenia, and RC Bryan. It was a bumpy ride in his older celeste colored car he named ¨Celeste¨, but we got there safely. There weren’t many members from Heredia, but there were from Belen. The important thing is that the investigators Daniela and Nidia came by themselves. It was a good Charla and the Belen Missionaries had a baptism there so everyone that came got to see it. My comp and I and the two Belen missionaries, Elder King and his comp, sang a musical number. We sang ¨Un Pobre Forastero¨. It was a great night.

Also this week we taught Natalias friend Pamela 3 times in my last week as well. We taught her once outside the church during mutual, once in the library of the Universidad Nacional, and once in the garden of the Catholic Church in Barva. We answered a lot of her questions and she was really glad that we were teaching her and she was understanding well. Since she is studying arts, she gave Elder Benedit and I each a picture she made. Hopefully Pamela eventually gets baptized along with Natalia, Daniela, and Nidia.

On Saturday morning we went on divisions with Flores. Elder Hansen and my comp went to Vanessa's house to do the baptismal interview, while Elder Recino and I went to do service at the Barragan family's house. We painted the porton in the front of their house. We painted it black. After painting we rushed up to Barva to teach Pamela more about the Book of Mormon. Then we met Hansen and Benedit at Hna Gladys's house, to eat the last lunch. We then ran over to a bunch of citas including one with our investigator Sunilda. She was really sad to see us go. We also went to Hermano Saenz, Carmen, and Sandra and Hno Saenz gave me a wooden Abraham Facsimile #2. That night we went to Jessica, Norberto, Johan, and Genesis house. They were really sad and kind of angry that we were leaving Heredia, but we talked awhile with them, took some pics, and said goodbye. Also while we were there I had to make a whole bunch of calls. One was to Natalia, so I could give her the address to the church in Liberia, because she is there for a couple weeks. When she answered she screamed, "Noooooooooooooooooo!", because I guess Pamela already told her we were both leaving.

On Sunday morning we went with Vanessa, Jose Ray, Bryan, and kids on the bus to Alajuela. On the bus Hna Esperanza and her daughters told us they heard we were leaving and were sad. They asked for our mail. We got to the church, had Vanessa's great baptism, and Abraham and a few members started complaining to the Zls about us leaving. Then stake conference started. The conference was actually us watching over satellite, the Apostles Henry B. Eyering and Todd D. Christofferson, and Presidente Acosta of the Seventy, and Sister something (sorry) from the Young Woman’s Presidency, talk to Central America. It was great. I wanted to listen to it in Spanish because Acosta and Christofferson actually speak Spanish, but it was packed, and there wasn’t any room in the sacrament and gym buildings. Instead they showed us in the English room with a few gringos. After church I wanted to get pics and say goodbye to a lot of the members, but I only got to say goodbye to a few. I said goodbye to Eric, Daisy, and Erica and they started crying. Jose Ray asked the bishop to make it so we didn’t leave. We said goodbye to Rolando, who’s going on his mission to Chile soon as well.

After church we ate at Hermana Adilia's house and took pictures with her and Gendry, Juskell, and Kaprina. We said goodbye to Daniela (Inv) and she made us tortilla soup. We went to visit Adriana, Marcelo, and Gabriel, and returned their guitar that they lent us. We went to Hna Gladys house and said goodbye to Hna Gladys, Juan Carlos, Daniela, and Lucrecia. Unfortunately, Hna Itza wasn't there. Then we finished off the night going to Hna Patricia's house. We took pics and said goodbye to Patricia, Arellys, Ceceline, and Aaron. Then the Heredia days ended. I've been running around these last few days, writing down info, and trying to make sure whoever took over Heredia wouldn't have to start at zero. Luckily, I had been keeping the area book and the teaching records (registro de ensenanza) up to date so I hope I left everything good. Today, we went to changes and Presidente Galvez told Elder Benedit after changes, that Abraham called President asking him not to take us out of Heredia. Anyway, I’m in a new area now so I might as well make the best of it. *Ü*

............Elder Benedit & Elder Tobler........................ Hna. Patricia & Family