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