Attacked by three big dogs!

April 26, 2010

A lot has happened this week. It’s been a really tiring and hard week, but also a good week. My companion is really depressed right now because he is having problems with his eyes. He was in Puntarenas in Barranca before coming here and the sun burned his retina. He now has parts across his eyes where he can't see clearly anymore. It’s like looking through drops of water on a window all the time. It’s been really hard for him and it’s been driving him crazy because he hasn't ever had any eye problems in his life, and one day he just woke up with this. It has really made it hard for him to concentrate on the work and he feels that no one understands him and that his family and others take the problem lightly. The worst part is that the doctors he has seen say that there is no cure. We are going to send the doctor reports to the states to see if anyone there knows of a cure. Please pray for him.

On Tuesday / Wednesday Elder Mitton came over for divisions and my comp went to Los Yoses with Elder Valerio. It was fun and we had some great lessons. We taught Javier and Vivianna, Ariel, Silvio and Carolina, and Familia Vega. Then we went to the mejenga and played in our church clothes for about 15 minutes. Then we went with the Hna's Bingham and Almengor to give one of their investigators a blessing.

This week we did service three mornings in a row. On Wednesday we moved dirt for Domasa (Sister's investigator). On Thursday we made cement and poured the foundations of a wall at the MA's, Fam Vega (Jose Luis, Byron, Paola, etc.). On Friday, we moved more dirt, this time up the stairs and to the back of Familia Fonseca's (cocinera / lavadera) house.

On Friday, the Hna's had a baptism. Her name is Fanny. Earlier in the week Javier and Vivianna, and Ariel told us they wanted to go. Since we were already in San Vicente we passed by Javier and Vivianna 3 hours before the baptism to remind them we were going to pick them up. When we got there they said they wouldn't be able to go because they didn't have money for the bus, and because Javier had to help his brother move a big dresser/cabinet thing from his house to his brother’s house. We insisted that we would pay for the bus passes, and we would help them move it. They seemed hesitant but we insisted and told them, "ok. Let’s go. Where is the dresser?” In my head I was thinking, "how are we going to do this", because Javier and Vivianna live high up the "Stairs of Doom" (some steep stone stairs) and we would have to carry the heavy dresser/cabinet thing down those stairs, up a steep cuesta (hill), down a hill, and then down the "Cuesta de la Muerte" to his brothers house. Luckily Javier, his brother Oscar, my comp, and I were able to carry it down the many stairs without falling to our deaths, and then carry it the rest of the way on the dolly, without letting it roll down the hills without us. And the best part is they came to the baptism with us.

Fanny's baptism was awesome. It was great for Javier and Vivianna to see and the members really made them feel welcome as well. Afterwards Javier thanked me for insisting and helping them come.

We climbed up to San Vicente again every day this week. On Saturday we woke up early and went to San Vicente to take Hna Dunia's daughter Renata on the bus to the church so she could go to a Multi-Stake youth activity in La Paz. We taught a guy named Luis English at the church as well. Gabriel Cervantes came over for divisions, but he had tried to cut his hair by himself right before coming over and he had left a hole in his hair, a spot where it was shorter than the rest. My comp decided he was going to try to fix it and he ended up making it worse. So divisions ended early and Gabriel went off to the barber to see if they could fix it, but I doubt it.

I had to give another talk at church yesterday. Every fourth Sunday of the month the Sacrament meeting talks are dedicated to the Obra Misional, so we give talks. My last talk was about all the blessings the gospel brings, and how and what we can share with people about the gospel. Yesterday my talk was about four points we have to do, to be prepared to share the gospel, and find the opportunities to do it. I talked about how sharing the gospel is not just a suggestion, it’s a commandment so we have to 1) Make sure we each have a Testimony (if you don't have one, get one. If you do, make it stronger) 2) Be Different (be examples and live the gospel) 3) Open Our Mouths (get to know our neighbors and invite friends to church activities) 4) Be Alert and Listen to the Spirit (recognize opportunities to share and let the spirit guide). Hermana Bingham also gave a talk before mine. We were going to sing but there wasn't much time because Fanny was confirmed, etc...

Ariel came to church again yesterday. So did our investigator Carolina and one of her friends. Ariel is really progressing and the other day he said he was thinking about baptism and actually was talking about how he hopes his family and friends can be baptized as well. It’s really awesome how he has progressed. Before he didn't even really know much about who god is or what his purpose is and know he is praying all the time and thinking about baptism.

I was attacked by three big dogs yesterday. We were taking a shortcut through a cafetal to get from El Monte to Calle Mesen like we always do, but evidently there are some vicious dogs guarding the way now. There are no signs or anything saying we can't walk through, and it’s a path I’ve seen many people use, but maybe they don't want anyone walking through anymore. Anyway, after walking through the cafetal, on the other side was a dog that was tied up but wanted to eat us. When it saw us it howled and two other dogs, that weren't tied up, came running over. The two untied dogs just got close to us and barked and growled, but I could tell they weren't going to bite so I kept walking ahead calmly. They followed me as I tried to walk around the tied up dog. Since I had the two dogs on my right side and the other dog on my left and since the rope the dog was tied up with was longer then I thought. The one dog managed to reach me and jump on me. I just kinda pushed it down but then it tried to bite my leg. Luckily it only got a hold of my pants, and I was able to get loose and keep walking. The other dogs kept chasing me, but they didn't bite me. Since all three dogs were attacking me, my comp was able to make it safely to the other side as well. By the way the owner basically saw the whole thing, and all she did was calmly say, "Bruno", basically after it was all over. So anyway, now I have a hole in my pants, but I can fix it. The biggest problem is that now we'll have to go all the way around, to travel between Calle Mesen and El Monte, unless we want to try to get around those dogs again. I think we might have to try it one of these days to save time.

Jose Luis Jr. and Jazeline had their baby on Friday night and yesterday they went home from the hospital, and the Vega family was really excited to see the new member of the family.

I'll tell you next week about Mother's day phone call!

We had to climb the "Stairs of Doom"

April 19, 2010
This week we had a lot of lessons. We had some really good ones as well. The Vasquez brothers Braulio, Mario, and Bruno accompanied us to a lot of appointments this week. We've also been teaching some part member families as well. On Monday we taught Milady's (A woman that recently moved into the ward with her two daughters) husband Silvio and his niece Carolina who aren't members. We also taught them on Thursday. They seem pretty good. When I went on divisions with Elder Flores this week we also found another part member / inactive family. Sinia and Edwin are members and so is their daughter Blanca Rosa and son Rueben, but they have six other sons and daughters living with them that aren't members. We started teaching two of them, Jorge and Bryan, and they agreed to come to church with us.

We've also been trying to find more families to teach. One of the guys we've been playing soccer with, Jeudy, has been reading the Book of Mormon and praying and says he feels really good and is really interested. We taught him and his wife Vanessa, and his mom on Thursday while on divisions with Braulio, and it was a really good lesson. Jeudy and Vanessa have two cute little girls, and they would make a great eternal family so I'm pretty excited about teaching them again, which we are going to do tonight.

We've dropped a lot of our investigators that haven't been progressing. Investigators that have been progressing are Javier and Vivianna. They came to General Conference a couple weeks ago, and yesterday Vivianna came to church and she really liked it. Javier couldn't come because he had to work, but he's going to try to get next Sunday off so he can come to church with Vivianna. They have two little boys (11 and 7) and a baby girl and would make a great eternal family as well. Vivianna already knows its true, but Javier has been progressing a little slower and its hard to teach him as much as we would like because he works a lot, they live high up in San Vicente, and they don't have a phone. Javier is a really good guy though and he wants the best for his family. He used to be an alcoholic and a drug addict but he left it all for his family, and we've been teaching him the importance of the gospel for his family and he's been understanding a lot better. We've also continued to teach Ariel and he's come to understand that he has a purpose in life and more of who he really is and what he can become. He's also been praying more and has felt really good. He also came with us to church yesterday. We are also going to continue teaching his mom Crystal who has already read 1Nefi (1 Nephi) in the Libro de Mormon (Book of Mormon).

We were in San Vicente a lot this week. We had to climb the "cuesta de la muerte" the "stairs of doom" *Ü* every day this week. We've been teaching some recien conversos/menos activos (new converts/less actives) like Dunia, Ivannia and Marcos, Patricia, Diana, etc. as well as a Colombian member's 9 year old son Nicolas. His mom wants us to teach him before he gets baptized. His mom Myriam is like every good Colombian, and gives us a lot of food every time we come over. This week we moved more dirt, this time at our cocineras (cooks) house. We did it during lunch. Familia Fonseca (our cocinera) are remodeling a part of their house downstairs so they can rent out a room, and we are thinking of renting it but still don't know.

This sunday we went on divisions to pick up investigators. I went with Braulio to San Vicente to pick up Jorge and Bryan, Carlos Soto, Renata, and Vivianna. In the end not all of them went (no surprises), but Renata and her sister, and Vivianna and her son Jonathan and her baby girl went with us. We took the bus with them and other members like Ivannia and Patricia. Today we played basketball.

Mom one of those shoes was burned and the other wasn't. I gave the other pair of shoes (one burnt and one not) to Itza and Gladys and Family. Dad, the sister missionaries are in our district. We have district meetings every Tuesday morning. We have zone conference every change, but we meet together as a zone, more often. Tomorrow our district meeting will be at the church in Los Yoses where the rest of the districts in the zone meet as well. I sent the pics last week on a disk.

FINALLY you gave them the proper retirement! *Ü*

This week was pretty good.

April 12, 2010
We found some more investigators and menos activos (less active). We went to the 'pulperia' (little grocery store) of a menos activo family that have been inactive for a while. The father has been coming to church lately, but he always comes alone and seems lonely. When we entered the pulp, the 22 year old son that I'd never met or seen before was working there and we started talking to him. After talking a while we could tell he wanted to start coming back to church. We invited him to come with us on Sunday and he agreed. Later his sister and his younger brother came into the pulp, and after talking with them they all agreed to start coming back. The 22 year old guy, Jose Luis has a pregnant girlfriend, that will have the baby any day now. She isn't a member so, the other night we shared our message with Jose Luis, his girlfriend Jazeline, and his younger brother Byron, who isn't baptized. On Sunday, Jose Luis and Byron accompanied their father to church and their dad seemed really happy to have family with him at church. We are teaching them again tonight.

Sunday at church was really good this week. Not only did Jose Luis's family come, but we also got two other menos activo families to come as well. We were expecting a lot of investigators to come but the only investigator from our area that made it was Byron. We had gone to pick up some jovenes from El Pilar and climbed all the way up to San Vicente to pick up Javier and Vivianna (we have to walk along the pista, climb up some really steep hills, and climb a never ending stairway up into the mountains to get to their house) but in the end they couldn't come. We did however get Domasa to come. Domasa is Hna Chavez's sister who isn't a member. We have been doing service for her (moving a bunch of dirt) for a few weeks now, and when she invited us to lunch this week we shared a little bit with her and invited her to church. She came to church with us, and surprised her sister and a few of her nieces. She lives in the Sister missionaries area, so she is going to be their investigator, but I think she's really promising.
We've been playing soccer at the church every week, and big group of nonmembers from the neighborhood El Pilar (it's just one street, but the people there are all like family, its cool.). Yesterday we taught a group of the people there about the Restoration and the Book of Mormon. It was a really good lesson. Two of the people that seemed most interested are a man named Jeudy and a joven (young men) named Bryan. We have more citas (appointments) to teach other people in that neighborhood this week.

Today we went to changes. Saw some old friends. Elder Buckner gone. Elder Mitton new zl. cool. thanks for the emails. until next week. bye.
Elder Tobler

Holy Week...Vacation time! = {

April 5, 2010

Well, my comp Elder Sierra had emergency changes. Just a few changes pres. felt like making so he moved some people around in the mission. Elder Sierra went to my old area of Cariari. My new comp is another catracho (Honduranean). His name is Elder Chavez and he has 6 months in the mission. He entered the mission field with two of my previous comps from Honduras, Elder Benedit and Elder Sierra.

Anyway, this past week was interesting. We had a bunch of citas and almost all of them failed us. It was Semana Santa so everybody went to the beach except us. The streets were kind of empty and not many people wanted to listen to us. (a little bit ironic isn't it!) We went to my old ward mission leader from Moravia Esteban's house, because he lives in Tres Rios now. We ate lunch with him, his wife, and his wife's friend Milagros. We went on divisions with the Zl´s again this week. I stayed in Tres Rios with Elder Valerio and Elder Sierra went to Los Yoses with Elder Buckner. It’s fun reuniting with old companions and DL’s.

Our P-day this week was changed to Friday, so on Friday we had a zone activity. We went into the mountains looking for some waterfalls. Our cocinera's son Pablo, his friend big George, and his dog blackie (who should really be called brownie (its actually brown (all the dogs here are called either "blackie" or "ozo"))) were our guides, but they obviously haven’t been there in awhile because we never got to the waterfalls. ended up just going up into the mountains, getting lost in the jungle and walking in circles for hours on end, getting soaked by the rain, and then walking down to Tres Rios again. In the end though it was pretty fun. So far I haven't had a zone activity in the mission were we travel, that has gone according to planned. (it seems that there are many people LOST in the world... you are there to HELP them find the way! *Ü* )

I got to see all of the sessions of General Conference this time. President Galvez thinks it’s important for us to listen to the prophet even if we don't have any investigators present. Fortunately, we did have investigators in the morning sessions of both days. On Saturday morning we went to conference with our investigator Ariel. He is the son of Crystal Jimenez, the Buddhist influenced woman we are teaching. Ariel also has Buddhist influence in the way he thinks so we’ve been teaching him a little differently than we teach other people, but he really liked conference and enjoyed the talks given. We ate some sandwiches that all the missionaries get when they come to Los Yoses at a pulp nearby the church. Then we watched the second session of conference and a family of menos activos we’ve been working and invited to conference, were there for the second session as well. After that session we went to Auto Mercado, one of the only things open because of Easter Weekend, and bought some garbage. I stuffed my suit jacket pockets full of chips and candy, which I enjoyed during the Priesthood session that evening. Then we went home.

On Sunday morning I went on divisions with Gabriel Cervantes and Elder Sierra went with Mario Vasquez to pick up a bunch of investigators, menos activos, and recien conversos and take them to conference. But as usual, although most of them had said they would go, they all failed us, except for our investigators Javier and Viviana. It was awesome that they went because we had been thinking of dropping them. They haven’t been progressing and it seemed as though they didn’t want to change, but they came to conference and they really liked it, and as I saw them watching it together and with their two children, I could see them in white.

We ate lunch with the Zl's cocinera and her daughters and a couple of their boyfriends. On the second floor of the church. Then we watched the last session of conference, which was awesomely inspiring. I watched both morning sessions of conference in Spanish, and both afternoon sessions in English (in a small gringo room). I can't believe it all went so fast. That night we went with the zl's to there cocineras house for a birthday party/house dedication. We went there with a Swedish guy preparing for his mission so we learned a little Swedish. It was fun and we ate cake. That night, last night, we were told that my comp had changes the next day, today, and here I am now with my new comp.

Ok, well, I hope everything’s great back home. I love you. I think ill probably finally send the picks, and finish responding to the letters. I am glad you got to feel an earthquake, but that it wasn’t too strong. I hope you all enjoyed conference. Always take notes. Reread the talk when they come in the Ensign in May. Love you.

Elder Tobler