I Had a good b'day! *Ü*

September 30, 2010

I had changes yesterday. I am now in Rio Claro in the Zona Sur. I am zone leader. My companion is Elder Galarza from Mexico City, Mexico. Elder Centeno, my old Zl, is the new Ap, and Elder Dwiggins, who is from AZ and goes home with me, is the new Zl in La Paz. My ex-companion Elder Chavez took my place as District leader in Cartago and is with Elder Montoya now. Although we were all sure that Hermana (Sister Missionary) Flores was going to have changes, instead Hermana Vallecillo had changes, and they sent her to San Carlos, way up north, near Nicaragua. Hermana Flores stays in Cartago at least one more change, which would give her 7 1/2 months in Cartago. Some think she is following the footsteps of her trainer Hermana Roundy, who only had two 9 month areas in her mission. I feel bad for Hermana Flores because she was ready for a change. Her new comp is Hermana Hunsaker. Elder Orton in Turrialba had changes, but Elders Castro, Urbina, and Palmer all stayed in their areas. Yesterday was our p'day this week because it was changes. We left San Jose at about 6 pm and got here to Rio Claro at about 1 AM this morning. Yeah, it took about 7 hours in bus to get here. I’m really excited to be in the Zona Sur. It is a pretty jungly place, and some areas in the zone are on the beach.

In the end the district only got 9 baptisms this month, two short of the 11 or more we had planned. We saved one at the end, but then lost one so, there was nothing we could do. 9 is still pretty good for the district of Cartago, and I think they are going to continue to progress.

FOR FIRST TIME IN HISTORY, WE HAVE BAPTIZED MORE THAN 1000 PEOPLE IN COSTA RICA IN A YEAR! and we aren't even done with the year yet. The mission is getting more missionaries and opening more areas, because of the progress it’s made. Its crazy because when I first got to the mission baptizing 1000 in a year was the long shot goal, but now we passed 1000 and still have time for more. The Lord is really blessing Costa Rica. *Ü*

I’m excited about my new area, but am really sad to have had to leave Cartago, and the district as well. Last week we helped some members move. My comp and I were the only ones that showed up so we had to move everything. My comp hurt his back. Last week we also went to the museum in Cartago, and we got to see pictures of the famous 1910 earthquake that destroyed the whole city of Cartago, and we didn’t even have to pay a colon. We went on three way divisions with Turrialba and Paraiso as well last week, so I could do the Carolina and Johan baptismal interviews in Turrialba. On Friday the ward had the farewell of Carolina, who is going on her mission to Panama. Bryan and Shirley showed up, and I was able to share my testimony about being a missionary. We ate cookies and had hot chocolate. Carolina is the only member in her family, but she has truly found happiness since she joined the church. She has a great testimony that she is going to share with the people in Panama.

On Saturday, Xinia met me at the Basilica and gave me the package you sent. I also got a package from Grandma and Grandpa. Thank you. We went with the Hermanas and the Elders Quorum President to visit Manuel and Ricardo, but they weren’t there. We went to visit Brun and Jazmin and also a mute guy that asked us to give his mom a blessing. The moment we arrived at the house to give the blessing, a car with Jehovah’s Witnesses pulled up and we were all kinda waiting at the door. We outnumbered them, unlike usual. It was awkward, but we entered the house and gave the blessing, while the testigos waited outside, then we left and my comp and I made our way to Paraiso. I did the baptismal interview for Charity in Paraiso and she was baptized on Sunday morning. We visited other people and had a good time but i'm sad that Manuel and Ricardo couldn’t be baptized this month.

Sunday, was the Primary program in theCartago Ward. It was cool to see because we had helped Daina (the little girl who isn't a member yet, but comes to church by herself) and Arturo (Jessica's son) prepare for their parts in the Program and they did a great job. After Church we had carne asada with Bryan, Shirley and theHermanas (Sister Missionaries). It was really good, and my comp made some great Guacamole, like always. After lunch we all (us, hnas,Bryan, Shirley) went to Hna. Marielos house to watch the Jose Smith: Profeta de la Restauracion movie. Bryan and Shirley loved it. Hna Marielos and theHnas did a really good job hermanando (felloshipping) them. That night my comp and I went toAnghedon and Jazmin. We didn't know about changes yet, but we took pics and said goodbye just in case we had changes.

On Monday at lunch Hna Flor (widow lady in ward) invited us and the Hnas (sisters) over to teach us how to make Tres-Leches. In the end, I don't remember how to make it, but I remember it was really good though. That afternoon, we went to Jessica and Isa, and also to Eladio. We shared a message about Lehi's Vision and Enduring to the end to each of them. Although we stilldidn't know about the changes, we took pictures just in case, and gave them pics of their baptisms. I always give my converts the pictures of their baptisms with a note, scripture references, and my info written on the back. On Monday night they finally told us that I had changes. And that Hna Vallecillo, and Elder Orton had changes as well.

On Tuesday morning I started to pack. I forgot it was my birthday until the Hermanas called me at about 10:00 am and sang "Las Mañanitas" birthday song thing to me. That was really nice of them. I kept forgetting that it was my birthday throughout the whole day, until someone would remind me, and a few minutes later I would forget again.

At about 11am we went to Hna Flor's house to take pics and say goodbye. Then at about 11:30 we went to visit Hna Lijia at her sister’s house. Then we took the bus to Paraiso at about 12:00 pm. We got there at 12:30 pm where we met Elders Urbina and Palmer and went to Ana, Suyen and family's house to say goodbye. It was really cool, because when they found out that I had changes, they told Urbina to tell me that I had to go say goodbye to them, and they aren’t even from my area. So after saying goodbye and taking pics with them, we returned to Cartago. We met the Hermanas at the bus stop of Guadalupe, and we took the bus to Guadalupe. We went to Familia Morales house and said goodbye to Mainor and his family. Then we took the bus back to Cartago. On the bus ride back the Hnas gave me some birthday presents. They gave me a sweet birthday card, a tie, and missionary agenda that were all decorated. Everything was decorated very professionally because Hna Vallecillo has studied advertising or something like that in the University. My comp and I then went to Jessica and Isa's house to say goodbye.
Jessica and Isa had a birthday cake waiting for me, and they through eggs and flour on me (they have that same tradition here as in Colombia). They were really sad that I was leaving. We went to Xinia, Karen, or Familia Araya's house to say goodbye, but unfortunately only Sebastian was home so I never got to say goodbye to the rest of the family. At night we went to Hna Marielos and Carlos house. They had a goodbye party for me and Hermana Vallecillo. They also made me a birthday cake and sang me happy birthday. Had a great birthday. (Thanks for everything)...although it was sad to say goodbye to Cartago.

On Wednesday morning we all crammed into a member driven taxi with our suitcases on our laps, and unable to see anything during the whole ride to Los Yoses for changes.

Elder Tobler

Elder Montoya & Elder Tobler

Anything is possible for our Heavenly Father.

September 20, 2010

Yesterday morning Isa was baptized and confirmed a member of La Iglesia de Jesucristo de los Ultimos Dias. She was so happy about being able to enter the waters of Baptism, even though the water was freezing cold. The baptism supposed to start at 7 AM, but it started half an hour late, like always (we know if we say the baptism is at 7:00, everyone will get there at 7:30, so we always announce the baptism times to be half an hour before we really want it to start). We had a simple baptismal service, and I was able to baptize her. Then in Sacrament Meeting Don Julio gave Isa the Gift of the Holy Ghost.

At the beginning of this last week, Isa had decided she would stop smoking whenever she felt like it. On Monday, while she was sitting on the couch smoking a cigarette in front of Don Julio and Jessica, Isa suddenly stopped smoking. She handed the half smoked cigarettes to Don Julio, as well as three packs of cigarettes that she had in her pocket and in her purse. She knelt down and began to cry, saying “No mas, No mas. When Don Julio saw that Isa was praying and pleading for help, he gave her a priesthood blessing. Then Isa, Jessica, and Julio all embraced each other and started to cry together. Since that moment Isa hasn’t touched a cigarette, and on Thursday when we went to visit, she told us that she was going to be baptized on Sunday morning at 7:00. In the lesson we just talked about life after death and about the final Judgment, and we didn’t even mention baptism, but I knew that we wouldn’t have to. I had felt earlier in the week that Isa was going to tell us she wanted to be baptized in our next visit and that’s what happened. I’m very thankful for the spiritual experience Isa was able to have that helped her beat her addiction, and make a covenant with the Lord. Although no one thought it was possible (Isa’s son’s told us we were wasting our time and we were trying to plant flowers in the desert, or something like that) anything is possible for our Heavenly Father.*Ü*

This week was good except for we don’t really have any good investigators. We are teaching a man named Jerson still, but he isn’t progressing. Jerson is Hna Mairena(Eladio’s future suegra)’s brother in-law. When we started teaching him, he was a crazy drunk “fallen pastor” (he used to be a pastor). He was always drinking alcohol, and it was destroying his home and his family (his wife Maritza and daughter Yaritza). Although his wife told us we were probably wasting our time, because the missionaries had tried before, we were determined to help him out. We went by many times, and although he was drunk we committed him to stop drinking at least whenever we had appointments with him, so that we could help him. At first it didn’t work, but then we got him to come to church with us one day. We went early, so that he wouldn’t drink, and tried to take him to church, but the effects of not drinking made him dizzy, so he couldn’t walk to church. We ran to the church and got a member to go with us to pick him up in his car. We got to church, but Jerson couldn’t make it through the first hour because he felt like throwing up, because his body was so used to having alcohol in it. We ended up having to take him home early, and we thought we had failed, but since that day he hasn’t drank alcohol. The next week he came to church by himself and we have been teaching him since then. The problem is since he is a “fallen pastor” he thinks he knows everything about the Bible, and even though he is reading and praying about the Book of Mormon, he’s basically already decided that he can’t accept another book that isn’t the Bible. Every time we go over there now, the lesson turns into a Bible bash, and even though we chop his head off with the Bible and the Book of Mormon, he is to proud to admit it, and always comes up with the most random topics and explanations for his point of view. Its really sad because even though he is really thankful that we helped him stop drinking, he doesn’t want to accept the gospel, so we’ll probably have to leave him pretty soon.

Basically the only good new investigators we have are Jessica Maria and Gladys. Jessica Maria is a friend of Jessica’s. She is 18, and we taught her for the first time the other day. She didn’t have much time so we just talked about the Book of Mormon, and left her a copy to read. We will see how she progresses. Gladys is a mildly elderly lady that lives in front of the church. She is such an interesting lady. She kind of looks like the lady from the incredibles that makes their super suits, except that she has a super high, sweet, kinda crackly voice. She runs a little shop in Cartago Centro. It used to be a gift shop, then it was chair shop, but now it is a rocker store. Yeah, an old lady that sells slipknot and Pink Floyd stuff. Sometime religious fanatics tape signs on her shop that say, ‘Closed, in the name of Jesus’, and one time a woman came in saying, “It smells like death in here”. That woman came in the store and said that so many times that one time Gladys told her, “You know its really funny that every time you come in here, it smells like death.” Anyway, Gladys is a widow, and was reluctant to let us in because it was nighttime, but she received a book of Mormon from the 1st counselor in the ward, Hno Rojas (who is a professor and a really good man), so she listened to us. She is kind of incredulous, because she has gone to many churches before, and has decided to follow God in her own way, but we’ll see what happens.

On Wednesday night I went to Paraiso and visited Alejandro and Adriana, who had been set to get married and baptized that Saturday, but Adriana had changed her mind. We talked about and settled her doubts, and she decided once again to be married and baptized on Saturday, and they were. The only problem is in the end Adriana wasn’t confirmed, because she decided she had to stay home and wash clothes. Whaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaat?

On Thursday night the Hermanas and us went to Carlos and Marielos house for Hno Carlos’s birthday. We made and ate food and cake. We also sang and danced to a song that goes, “Periquito, Periquito, se parece a su mama. Por arriba, por abajo, por delante, por detrás.” (Little parakeet, little parakeet,You look just like your Pop From your feet to your middle, From your middle to your top) They got me doing that dance/game on video, and they really get a kick out of watching it.*Ü* We also visited Hermana Lijia this week. She is staying at her sister’s house so she can take care of her, but she was really happy to see us.

Our recent converts are doing ok. Xinia, Karen and her family are having economical problems, and are going through tough times though. Sometimes they have to work on Sundays, and they aren’t as strong as I would like them to be, but we are trying to help them through it. Eladio is pretty strong in the church. He is eager to read and learn more each day, and has already given his first talk in church, which was really good by the way. He and Arline are planning to get married soon, and he is set to receive the Melchizedek Priesthood this next month.

Anghedon (Brun) and Jasmine are super strong right now. They are so happy every time we visit and every time they go to church. Anghedon has already shared his testimony at church, and has received a calling in the Young Men’s presidency in the ward. He is also preparing to receive the Melchizedek Priesthood, and is very eager to read and learn all he can. Every morning he sends an email with a scripture from the Book of Mormon to everyone at work. He is going to baptize his son Sebastian when he turns 8 in November. Jazmin is also very strong and is sharing the gospel with her friends. She always has a smile on her face when she talks about the gospel. Yesterday we watched the video about Parley P. Pratt and Vincenzo D. Francesca finding the Book of Mormon and gospel. They really loved it and Jasmin wants to show that video and others we’ve seen with them, to her friends.

We are really worried about Jorge, because he broke up with his member girlfriend Pamela, and it doesn’t seem like he’ll be moving to Cartago anymore. We need to find out the address of the church where he lives in Escazu, so he can attend there. Jessica and Isa are really happy and excited to be members of the church, and always read the Principles of the Gospel Book, Libro de Mormon, and love the hymns. We bought them hymns cds at the temple for cheap, and they love them.

The district goal is 11 baptisms this month. I was pretty sure we were going to pass the meta with about 13 or more, but like always, a lot of things go wrong. A few of the investigators that were set to be baptized this next week didn’t go to church. We have 7, and should still meet the meta, as a district. I’m disappointed because I wanted every companionship to meet their area goal, and even we are struggling to meet it. We’ll see what happens.

Elder Tobler

Anghedon y Jazmin

Today is also Independence Day here in Costa Rica.

September 15, 2010

A lot has happened these last two weeks. The coolest thing is Jessica was baptized this Saturday the 11th of September. It was a great baptismal service. A good number of members came and showed support. Most importantly Jessica’s dad Julio, who is a member from El Salvador, was able to come and baptize his daughter. We had to work really hard in order for Jessica to be baptized, but it was all worth it in the end.

Jessica and her mother in-law Isa, were set to be baptized on the 4th of September, but they have been having a lot of problems in the family (marital problems between Jessica and her husband (truck driver), and problems with two of Isa’s other sons), so they didn’t feel ready. The first week of September we really focused on helping them with their problems. We helped them realize that the best “medicine” for any “sick” family is the gospel of Jesús Christ, so they agreed to be baptized the 11th of September. On Sunday the 5th of September we had the bishop announce the baptism, but when Jessica arrived (late) she told us that she was going to wait longer before being baptized. The reason was that her dad had been able to renew his passport, and she wanted him to come and baptize her. We announced the postponed of the baptism in Priesthood. On Monday we found out that Jessica’s dad wouldn’t be able to come for a while, because he didn’t have enough money to take a bus. We knew that Jessica really needed the Gift of the Holy Ghost as soon as possible, so we started thinking about all the possibilities. After speaking with Jessica, and after a few phone calls to El Salvador, we found out that Jessica’s dad had a truck driver friend that was coming to Costa Rica that week. On Tuesday we got Jessica, to get her dad (Don Julio), to talk to his truck driver friend, who agreed to take Don Julio with him to Costa Rica for cheap, but he was going to leave the next day, and Julio wasn’t ready yet. Jessica and Don Julio decided to wait for the next trip the truck driver would make, but after we explained that the time to act in life is now, and that an opportunity like this probably wouldn’t come for a long time, Don Julio made his way toward Costa Rica in a semi-truck the next day. He arrived in Cartago on Thursday. I called the bishop to uncancel the canceled baptism*Ü* and On Friday Jessica had her baptismal interview. On Saturday she was baptized and Sunday was confirmed a member of the church. Although it was really tough and we had to pressure a little bit for Jessica and her father to act, it was really worth it. Jessica and Don Julio were really happy at the baptism. Don Julio shared his testimony about how he had been praying and fasting for years, so that his daughter would accept the gospel, and his prayers had been answered. Jessica also shared her testimony and told everyone how happy she felt. It was great.

Isa was also supposed to be baptized with Jessica, but she hasn’t been able to beat her life long addiction of smoking. We have been trying to help her stop smoking for a few weeks now. We made an "Attack Addictions Plan" with her so that she could stop smoking and drinking coffee. We made a big poster with the steps and tips to help her beat her addictions and taped it on her door. She had been smoking less and less, but then she fell because of stress (caused by the family problems). Then she was about to beat the addiction, but fell again. We told her not to get down on herself and to try again. We have been going by almost every day to give her support. This last week she smoked a lot again so we decided to commit her to try and stop smoking once and for all. She agreed and was really excited because she wanted to be baptized this Saturday the 18th. She said that starting the next day, she wouldn't smoke any more. The Z'ls were with us and they pressured her to give them the cigarettes that she had. She said no, that she would start the next day, but in the end gave us the cigarettes. The problem is the next day she told us she wasn’t going to be baptized, and she would stop smoking when she felt like it. She told us that we didn’t trust in her and she felt we had forced her to give up the cigarettes. I guess we might have pressured a little too much, but she has to know its because we want to help her. She's been really cold with me, but a couple nights ago, I kind off gave her the silent treatment during the lesson, and I basically let Elder Belmont (ZL), Don Julio, and Jessica teach her. She noticed I didn’t say much, so she felt bad about how she had been treating me and softened up a bit. When Don Julio talked with her about being baptized she started to think about it again.

Jessica and Isa have been really hard to work with. Although they are fun and are very nice people, they are also very loud and can be very mean. A lot of times they are very disrespectful and sometimes even treat us like dump. They seem so ungrateful for all that we do for them. Sometimes I wonder why we try to help them at all, but we I guess we know that they need and actually do want our help, even if they don't always admit it. I guess we are willing to suffer a little bit to help them change and find peace and happiness in their lives. I feel Isa will be baptized before the month is over.

At 'Consejo de Barrio' (ward counsel) in Cartago this week the bishop thanked us and the Hermanas for all of our work. The ward is excited with what we've been able to do these past few months. We already passed the wards baptismal goal for the year, which was 12, so we raised the goal to 20 before the year ends. It also looks like the ward could split very soon. They are already talking about a new stake here in Cartago.

This week we had a couple of lessons where we just listened to the person talk, and then left. It's funny because at the end of one of those lessons, the woman told us she had really enjoyed the lesson that we had shared with her, even though we hadn't said a word. Sometimes people just need someone to listen to them.

We left a few more investigators this week. Haven't found very many new investigators. Have been accompanying the Hermanas to many of their citas (appointments) this week, trying to help them with there investigators. Good lessons. The Hermanas are fun to work with.

Very early Sunday morning, we went to pick up a lot of our investigators and some of the Hermanas investigators, but like always, they fail us, and we only had 1 investigator at church.

A week ago at district meeting we went to Turrialba and had French Toast. Yesterday we had district meeting in Cartago. To my surprise, President and Hermana Galvez showed up for district meeting as well. The Zl's were there as well because they had come for divisions and had stayed the night at our house. Seen as how, I didn’t really have time to prepare the district meeting, it turned out pretty good.

Today, Wednesday, was our p'day because we went to the Temple. It was really nice to be able to go to the Temple again. You learn more each time you go. Today is also Independence Day here in Costa Rica, and in most of Central America, so there's a lot of partying going on.

Elder Tobler

I’m kinda behind...

September 6, 2010

To continue from last week, Last Friday morning was really crazy. I was on the phone all morning long. We had had 8 baptisms planned in the district for that last week of August, and during the week we had lost some and gained some. On Friday morning everything got complicated again. In Turrialba Vivianna decided she wasn’t ready for baptism yet, and although we made plans with Turrialba so that Rosillo, another woman ready for baptism in Turrialba, could be baptized as well, they were unable to find her at home so they ended up with 0 baptisms in the month. Paraiso had been planning to have 3 baptisms that weekend, but Marcela also decided she wasn’t ready yet. Randall and Marinet still wanted to be baptized, but there was a lot of confusion with the bishop about letting a recent convert named Jose baptize, and about the times of the baptisms. I went to Paraiso that day to do the baptismal interviews of Marinet and Randall. I was with Elder Urbina, while my companion went with the missionary Elder Urbina is training, Elder Palmer from Texas, to Cartago. Marinet’s interview went very well and she prepared herself to be baptized that night.

While in Pariaso we also taught Martinet’s and Suyen's friend Adriana for the first time and we put a baptismal goal with her for the 18 of September. She and her husband are now set to get married and baptized on that day. We also visited Ana and Family. Ana and Suyen are super good missionaries. Even before baptism, they would contact people in the street and give them pamphlets. Now they give references all the time, and they are good references as well. They are even going to give us some references. Ana talks with everyone about the gospel and Suyen is actually the one who put the baptismal date with Marinet. All of Ana’s friends are curious because they’ve seen such a big change in her and her family. Its crazy sweet! With them and the missionaries working together, they could baptize the whole neighborhood of Los Llanos. That place is a gold mine. All their baptisms have been from Los Llanos.

Anyway, that night it rained super hard, and we almost couldn’t make it to Marinets baptism, because all of Los Llanos was flooded. Like I've mentioned before, they are replacing all the under ground pipes in Los Llanos, so the whole place is full of holes and dirt. We were worried that Marinet wasn’t going to make it to her own baptism, so we went by her house to see if she needed help, but her mom told us she was already at the church. So we started to try to find a way out of Los Llanos without having to swim. While walking around we saw that a house was flooded, and some woman and kids were trying to scoop the water out with buckets. We stopped to help them and started scooping buckets of water out of the house as fast as we could. We did this for what seemed like an eternity, till most of the water was out of the house, and more men came to help so we took off to get to the baptism. We finally found a way out of Los Llanos and took a bus to Centro and ran to the church. We got there, soaking wet and covered in dirt, but the baptism hadn’t started yet because the bishop our companions hadn’t shown up yet. When they finally did, we had the baptism, and it was great. In the end Rafael, who was also supposed to be baptized that day as well, couldn’t because he had to work. He had agreed to meet us at the church after the baptism so he could have his baptismal interview, but he didn’t show up because he lives in los llanos and it was flooded, so we ended up having to go to him. It was late, so while Elder Urbina and I went to Los Llanos again and had to pass through all the mud and water to get to Rafael’s house, Elder Montoya and Elder Palmer went to Paraisos house to order pizza. In the end Rafael’s interview went well. Elder Urbina and I got to the Paraison house after 10 pm, so all four of us Elders stayed the night there. I slept on a big beanbag thing, and my comp slept on the floor. Rafael was baptized on Sunday morning.

On Saturday the Cartago Ward had a Mothers day activity (Finally). It was really nice. There was food and Hno. Posas and his students (he teaches violin, etc.) played music for the mothers. We helped serve the food, and helped eat it as well.

That night we had the interview with Jorge set. The Zl’s were supposed to meet us at the Cathedral at 8:30, but instead they met us at 9:30 because they had had a baptism/marriage that ran later than expected. We had to take money out and take a Taxi way up to Quircot because there were no buses at that time. The interview went well, and we went home and slept.

On Sunday morning, like I wrote last week, Jorge and the Hnas investigator Jason were baptized and confirmed. It was a great day at church. Our investigators Jessica, Isa, Jerson, and Yaritza came. In the end we passed our baptismal goal in the area, but we missed our goal as a district by one. But September should be a great month for the district.

I’m kinda behind, so I’ll tell you about this last week, next week.

Elder Tobler

I am super happy that Jason was baptized this week

August 30, 2010

Ayer en la mañana se bautizo nuestro investigador Jorge, y el investigador de las Hermanas, Jason. Fue el final de una semana muy cansada y muy largo. Pero termino muy bien. Yo bautice a Jorge, y un RC Luis bautizo a Jason. El bautismo fue antes de la iglesia. (Yesterday morning Jorge our investigator got Baptized and also Jason the sister Missionaries’ investigator. It was the end of a tire and long week, but it ended well. I baptized Jorge and a recent convert baptized Jason. The Baptisms were before services on Sunday). Jason showed up really late so we did the whole baptismal service without him and baptized Jorge. Actually Jason finally arrived and basically got baptized just a few minutes before church started. Luis had to say the baptismal prayer many times before getting it right, but when he finally went under the water, I saw Jason’s mom Maria smile, and when he came out completely clean, I knew that, that was the most important thing. Después, en la reunion sacramental, Jorge y Jason recibieron el Don del Espiritu Santo. (during Sacrament meeting Jorge & Jason received the gift of the Holy Ghost). It was a great morning.

This week was really crazy. On Monday we had a Family Home Evening with Eladio and Arline who are planning on getting married. On Tuesday the Hermanas and us did service for an elderly widow woman member named Hna.(hermana/sister) Flor. It took us from 9AM to 3PM to clean her whole garden/yard and cook and eat lunch. After that we taught our dueñas son Bryan again. (renter’s son) Hna. Lijia (his mom) has been in the hospital getting tests done for the past 3 weeks, so Bryan and his girlfriend Shirley have been cleaning and cooking for us. Although my clothes always end up in my comps closet, and almost all my socks have disappeared, *Ü* Bryan and Shirley do a great job and have become really good friends of ours. We started teaching Bryan already, and he is reading Liahonas and the Book of Mormon. We hope to teach Shirley this week as well.

On Wednesday I went to Turrialba for divisions. The purpose of divisions was to find out who could be baptized in Turrialba this week. We visited Vivianna who has been ready to be baptized for over a month now. We talked about her fears, read a few scriptures, and challenged her to be baptized on Sunday morning. I could tell she wanted to say yes but she told us, she would pray about it and tell us her decision on Friday. With her there was hope that Turrialba would meet their goal for the month.

After Vivianna we went to a faraway place in Turrialba called La Suiza, and taught a great family Juan and Brazilia.

Then we went to Patricia’s house and before we knocked we noticed that Danilo (her companion who wouldn’t let her go to church) was there. We started to walk away because we didn’t want any trouble, but then I felt that we should go in and talk to Danilo, so we went back to the house and that’s what we did. At first Danilo seemed mad at us and gave us dirty looks, but after talking with him for awhile and explaining certain things he started to change his attitude. He started to ask questions about the church, and he became pretty interested, he told us he wanted to change. We taught him about the steps he needed to take to follow Jesus Christ and change his life. He asked us what he needed to do to be baptized and we told him. We invited him to pray, and he told us he didn’t know how, so we taught him. Danilo then gave a very simple but sincere prayer to our Heavenly Father, and when he ended I noticed that he had tears in his eyes. This Sunday he went to church with Patricia, Diana (18), Cassidy (15), and Journey (12), and he really liked it. Although him and Patricia will take awhile longer to get baptized because they have to get married, the three kids want to be and should be baptized in a couple weeks.

After Patricia and Danilo and Fam, we went to Carolina. We put a baptismal fecha with her for September 11th, and she wants her son to be baptized as well.

On Thursday morning we ended divisions with Turrialba by going to District meeting in Cartago. We talked about and practiced how to teach People, Not Lessons. Afterward we made and ate brownies, because it was my companions Birthday. We gave him a card and some small presents and I hit him on the head with a balloon. After that we went to Jessica and Isas house down the street, where we ate some cake, and they smashed eggs on Elder Montoyas head. It sounded like it hurt. After going home to change, we went with the Hnas. to visit Jason and his mother Maria.

Earlier in the week (on Tuesday), Jason's mom had told the Hermanas that he wasn’t going to be baptized anymore, and that the hnas. Couldn’t teach him because he misbehaved again. He always gets home late without telling his mom where he is and that really scares her so she was pretty frustrated with him. On Wednesday we called the bishop and he talked with Jason and his mom and softened her up a bit, but his baptism still wasn’t a sure thing so on Thursday we went to visit them. We talked with Jason and his mom about many things and Jason promised ask his mom permission and tell her where he is. We invited him to be baptized on Sunday, and he and his mom agreed. Pheeeeew! Although Jason likes to give me scares and stress me out (for example getting his baptism postponed a day before it was set to happen, getting his baptism canceled the week after that, and then showing up late the morning of his baptism and basically getting baptized a just minutes before church) he is a really great kid, and the ward needs young men (when I got here there were no YM active, now there are like 3 or 4), especially ones like him. In the end he was baptized and I'm super happy about it. Not only am I happy for Jason, but for the Hermanas as well, because they have been working really hard and haven’t seen any success since I've been here (Hermana Flores 1st baptism). I know what that feels like so I am super happy that Jason was baptized this week.*Ü*

The rest of Thursday, we accompanied the Hermanas to a few of their appointments, one being an ex-investigator of theirs they started teaching again, Maria, who doesn’t feel worthy to pray, so we talked with her and helped her out. That night we went to Hna. Marielos (teaches Principios del Evangelio / Principles of the gospel) and Carlos Fernandez (Lider de Sumos)’z house and ate dinner there for my comps B-day. Hna. Marielos is one of those people who is always smiling and makes you want to smile too. She’s like sunshine. That’s probably why she is a kindergarten teacher.*Ü*

Ill finish the rest of the week, next week.

Elder Tobler