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