She is already making plans to go on a Mission!

October 25, 2010

This last week was crazy. Saturday Stephanie was baptized. She was set to be baptized this Saturday, but President Galvez visited her and seeing that she was ready, he invited her to be baptized a week earlier, and she agreed. She is already making plans to go on a mission. Its sweet!

Last Monday we just rested, something we never get to do. That night we went to Laura’s house to help her prepare for a talk she was super nervous about giving at church on Sunday. On Tuesday morning our zone had capacitation (Training *Ü* Capacitacion in Spanish), with President Galvez and his Assistants here in Rio Claro. We watched "The District 2" and practiced the 8 points in teaching that we learned a few months ago. It was a two-day training and since some of the areas in the zone are so far away, we had to put those missionaries to work in the areas close by. President and Hermana Galvez (mission President) went to Golfito with the Elders there. Elder Trost (AP), Elder Galarza (my comp) and Elder Lopez-Carrasco went to Perez Zeledon. The Hermanas (sister Missioneries) stayed in our area and went on divisions with Yassini and Sabrina. Elder Clark and Elder Thomas also stayed in our area to work with me. The rest of the elders went to Ciudad Neily. The next day we finished the training, and President and Hna. Galvez went back to San Jose. The aps (asistents of the president) stayed to help in areas.

Elder Centeno (AP) and I went to Golfito to do baptismal interviews. Centeno interviewed Stephanie, and I interviewed Virginia. I was supposed to interview Virginia’s husband Randall as well but there son had to go to the hospital because scissors fell in his eye. In the end he got sent to the hospital in San Jose, and since Virginia didn't have money to go, she was crying, because her son could lose his eye. In the end the AP's took her to San Jose in their car the next day. Their son is going to be OK. They wanted to return quickly to be baptized on Saturday as was planned, but since their son had a surgery on Monday, they have wait until this Saturday to be baptized. While they were in San Jose President took Randall and Virginia to the Temple, which made them want to rush home and be baptized as quick as possible. This week they will finally be able to do that. They were investigators in Larita when I was in Cariari, so they’ve been waiting a long time.

On Thursday the AP's (Assistants to the President) left and Elder Thomas from San Vito came to do divisions with me. When he arrived we immediately left towards 'Puerto Jimenez'. After the 3-hour bus ride we arrived. Pte. Conejo (President) picked us up and drove us around taking us to different references and inactive houses. After a few lessons, he took us back to his house, where his wife had prepared lunch for us. After lunch we went around with the whole Conejo family making more visits on the outskirts of 'Puerto Jimenez' and in 'La Palma'. We then went to Ronald and Lilibeths house in 'Centro Jimenez'. Afterwards Elder Thompson and I went to a member’s house and helped him prepare the talk that he had to give on Sunday. Then we went to the weekly Noche de Hermanamiento (Brotherhood Night) activity, that the 'Puerto Jimenez' Group has every week. We watched The Restoration video but at first the DVD wasn’t working so we sang hymns about the first vision while we waited for Ronald (who is a big tech guy) to fix the technical problems. There were some nonmembers at the activity as well so we aprovecharred *Ü* New word??? (took advantage) and my comp and I explained a little bit and shared powerful testimony about the first vision. It was a great experience and in the end we saw the movie and had a great night.

Early (5am) Friday morning, Elder Thomas and I returned to 'Rio Claro'. We worked there the whole day, I think. I can’t remember what we did exactly. *Ü*

On Saturday morning my companion Elder Galarza returned from divisions from San Vito and Elder Thomas went back to his area. After Elder Galarza arrived we had to go to the Church to give our weekly English and Guitar classes. This time more people arrived for English, but it was complicated to teach because everyone was at different levels. Before the classes started we started to prepare everything for Esteffany's baptism that we were going to have at 2:00 pm, and we started to fill up the baptismal font. We soon realized however that there were going to be complications. First of all, barely any water was coming out of the faucet in the font. Secondly there was nothing to cover the drain hole. We plugged the hole with plastic bags and a big rock and that worked, but there still was barely any water coming out of the faucet. After classes we saw that at the rate it was filling up, it would never be ready in time. We had to act fast so we asked the neighbors if we could pay them for water, and they agreed. We started filling up buckets of water at the neighbor’s house and carrying them to the church and pouring them into the font. After sweating a lot and pouring many buckets of water into the font, we realized that it would be easier and faster if we brought the neighbors’ hose over the church fence and tried to fill it up like that. We stuck one end of the hose in a huge bucket of water the neighbors had, and the other end (The hose wasn’t long enough) we attached another hose to it and used the suck the hose technique to get water going from the big bucket (balde) through the hoses and to the font. It worked, but just as before, there wasn’t enough water because as the water transferred from one hose to another, it was leaking water and pressure. In the end we used one of the hoses attached on one end to the big bucket of water, and the other end filling up the buckets inside the church grounds. As the buckets were filled we just carried them inside, and dumped the water into the baptismal pila (font), and we were able to fill up the font just in time for the baptism. *Ü*

The baptism was amazing. Elder Galarza baptized Esteffany, and after coming out of the water she had a huge smile on her face. Esteffany's mom was there and I think she really felt the spirit. It was really special for Esteffany that her mom was there because her mom is really Catholic, and when Esteffany started listening to us, her parents were very opposed to the idea, but after awhile they softened up and it was neat to see how they ended up supporting her. While Esteffany was changing into her baptismal clothes her mom asked me if I thought Esteffany was ready for baptism. I told her that she was more ready than many people are when they are baptized. And she really is. She is awesome. She accepted the baptismal invitation we made to her, before we even taught her anything, because she had already felt the spirit at church, and knew it was true. Now she is super excited and she is preparing for a mission. The Lord has been preparing her for a long time.

After the baptism we had the almost weekly Rama activity, but this time the activity my comp and I planned was for the whole Rio Claro district. It was Noche de Talentos (Talents Night). It was a really awesome activity. There were many talents displayed. The branch president from Ciudad Neily Pte. Bella did a whole bunch of cartwheel and handstand type move and through himself on the ground, which is crazy because he’s an old man. Elder Perez and some of the Jovenes (youth) from Ciudad Neily sang some songs, and Elder Perez has a pretty good voice. Elder Amador told an inspiring story and showed us some of the drawings he made. He had the only talent that ended in the name of Jesus Christ amen. Rosed and Carla danced to some Latin music. Nelson and Sabrina, showed a lot of guts and played a song my comp taught them in Guitar classes. Elder Galarza declamo (told a sad story) about a dead dog in a deep and monotone voice. I did a juggling act. My comp and I and two young men did a funny missionary skit. My comp and I also played and sang a song (We both played the guitar and I sang) and there were some other talents shown as well. It was a really fun night and everyone had a great time.

On Sunday morning we woke up at 5am (Every Sunday we wake the whole zone up at 5am, so they can get ready and go wake up and pick up investigators and menos activos (Less active) like always. We got ready and then went with Pte. Cruz to wake up and animate (encourage) the members to come to church. Pte. Marin told us he couldn’t help that day, so we only had one car. While waking people up we saw Didier, and he told us that he had to go to San Vito, so he wasn’t going to be able to pick up Timoteo and take him to church. We had to act fast because if Timoteo didn’t go to church he wouldn’t be baptized this month. I told Pte. Cruz to take me to Pte. Marins house and leave me there, and I would talk to Hno. Marin (brother Marin) and get him to take me in his car to pick up Timoteo. Pte. Cruz and my comp dropped me off at the Marin home, and after explaining the situation to Hno. Marin, he agreed to take me to Didier’s house, which was kind off far away, to pick up Timoteo. We went and surprised Timoteo by picking him up and taking him and some of Didier’s children to church. Meanwhile my comp and Pte Cruz went around inviting the members to church.

In the end at church, we had the second week of high assistance. The assistance was 44. It was down from the week before of 55, but it is still pretty good for Rio Claro, so our efforts are giving fruits. My comp gave a talk about Spiritual Progress, and continued our exhortation to the members to put in all their efforts to progress spiritually individually, as a family, and as a branch. Afterwards we taught TImoteo in the Gospel Principles class. Then the last hour I gave the Elders Quorum class about Family Responsibilities.

After church we did the same we do every Sunday. Have our meeting with Pte. Cruz to count tithing, etc., clean up and close up the church. Then we ate lunch. Then we went to citas. We went to a young woman RC (recent convert) named Daniela, who was inactive, but has started coming back to church. We went there with Carla. We taught the nonmember mother of Daniela who said if she finds out that the Book of Mormon is true she will be baptized. Then we ate dinner at the Merly/Yassini Gonzalez home.

Today (Monday, Oct 25) my comp and I went to Paso Canoas, on the border of Panama and Costa Rica. Everyone goes there to buy stuff because it supposedly cheaper. There are a couple store/mall things there, and on the outside of the stores, there are the little market style open tiendas where they sell the stuff cheaper than inside. Technically I've been to Panama now because the stores are directly on the border and as we were looking for things to buy we asked where something was and the lady said that maybe we could find it on the Costa Rica side. So I guess in that store, we were in Panama. In the end we only bought some little Panama flags, and then took the bus back to Ciudad Neily and then Rio Claro. Weaccidently took the scenic route bus back to Rio Claro, because we went on the bus that goes through all the fincas (farms), and takes like half an hour longer than the normal bus.

Timoteo was supposed to be baptized but we have the worst luck ever. I'll write more next week about it.

Elder Tobler

Strong Leaders!

October 18, 2010

Last Monday we played soccer at a High School in Ciudad Neily. I thought it was going to be a normal mejenga, but we actually played in the colegio gym, against some players from the team, who were supposedly national champions. We played during the lunch break, so a lot the colegio kids came to watch the game, and we lost so it was embarrassing. In a couple weeks well play again, but ill be more prepared to play.

On Tuesday we traveled the 3 hours to Puerto Jimenez, where we ate Lunch at Presidente Conejos house. He has been all over the world on a boat, and his wife cooked a delicious meal. After we visited many references and menos activos with Pte. Conejo, but nothing very promising, just people that don’t want to sacrifice and do their part. At night some Cuban guy gave us turtle eggs and we cooked them and ate them in Martins Zapateria, where Hno Jose lives. Then we went to Ronald and Lilibeths house. Ronald and Lilibeth people that Elder Manning and Elder Faust found a few months ago. They are waiting on divorce papers so they can get married and baptized. It looks like they will be baptized in this month or the next. It would be such a blessing to baptize them because they are awesome people, and we would baptize them in the ocean. Other than them we don’t have much to do in Puerto Jimenez, so we are probably going to go less. We want to help the group there, but they are pretty strong on their own, the distance makes it really hard, and our main area is Rio Claro who seems to need us more.

The next morning at 5am we took the bus back to Rio Claro, and ate breakfast at Krissia, Julian and Kylie's (our cocinera). That night we visited Pte. Cruz and his wife at they’re house, and talked about the needs of the branch and made plans on how to strengthen the Rama. Pte. and his wife, are awesome and make so many sacrifices for the branch. Its sad to see how so many of the members are so ungrateful, and just complain about Pte. when he is doing so much for them.

On Thursday we started divisions with Golfito, and I stayed in Rio Claro with Elder Fottheringham. On Friday we ended divisions with Golfito and started divisions with Ciudad Neily. I went to Ciudad Neily with Elder Amador.

My comp and I want the Zona Sur to get better. Our zone consists of the areas of:

  1. Golfito: Elder Fotteringham (Utah) training Elder Oseguera (Honduras)
  2. Ciudad Neily: Elder Perez (my ex-comp, Honduras) and Elder Amador (the one who took my place in Heredia (Honduras)
  3. San Vito: Elder Marroquin (El Salvador) and Elder Thomas (Utah)
  4. Perez Zeledon: Elder Lopez-Carrasco (Washington State) and Elder Clark (California)
  5. San Isidro: Hermana Hadley training Hermana Orellana
  6. And our Areas RIo Claro and Puerto Jimenez.

Our baptismal goal for the month is 11, but we hope to pass it. It’s hard to help the zone as much as we would like because some of the areas are so far apart. Zona Sur hasn’t had much success lately, but we are going to do all we can so that the zone progresses.

My comp and I really want to help the area and Rama of RIo Claro be strengthened. We have been working very hard with President Cruz so that this happens. Last weekend we started many things we are going to do weekly, from now on. We are holding English and Guitar classes every Saturday morning at 10:00 am. On Saturday the 16th, we had the first classes. No one showed up to English classes, which was pretty surprising. Two people showed up to guitar classes, they are both members, Nelson and Sabrina. I was kind of glad that no one showed up to English, because my comp and I just taught Sabrina and Nelson some guitar basics, and the guitar is more fun than English.*Ü* We were at the church building the whole day, because after Guitar classes, we had to keep the church open for mutual. Then we prepared for a rama (branch) activity we had.

We are planning to have a lot of rama and district activities, so there can be more unity and animo (enthusiasm) in the branch. On Saturday night we had "Noche de Peliculas" (“Movie Night”). About 30 members showed up, which is good assistance for the activities here. We watched "The Other Side of Heaven", and it was sweet because there is a large projector here in the Rio Claro capilla (church building), for when there are General Conferences, and they are letting us use it as well for the Movie Nights we have. We provided soda and popcorn for everyone during the movie. The person who we asked to bring the bags to distribute the popcorn, didn’t show up, so we had to make our own containers. We made cone shaped containers out of paper towels from the bathroom, and it actually worked very well. It was a great activity and we are planning on doing more. We have a Talent Night planned for next week, for the whole district.

On Sunday morning we also started something that we plan to every Sunday morning for a while. The assistance in Rio Claro has been very low lately, about 20- 30 people in Sacrament and at the end of church only about 10 are left. The branch is very inconsistent. So on Sunday Morning I went on divisions with Pte. Cruz (president) in his car, and Elder Galarza went on divisions with the 1st counselor Hno. Marin (Brother Martin) in his car. We went to as many members’ houses as we could to wake up, invite, and animate them to go to church. Since we split up, and we have two cars, we were able to visit almost all the members, and if not we called them on the phone. When Sacrament started we could already see the fruits of our efforts, because the majority of the members we visited, came to church. We had an assistance of 51 members at church, which is really good for this branch. We are definitely going to keep implementing our "Wake members up so they go to Church" plan for at least a few weeks to see what happens.

It was awesome that so many people came to church because I had prepared a talk for that day. I gave a 20-minute talk about Enduring to the End. I used Lehi’s dream and his plead to his rebellious sons about being like a river and a valley, and being firm and constant.

I think my talk had an affect, because I chopped heads a little bit, but tried to help them understand the importance, of doing all they could to “Perseverar hasta el Fin” . One thing I mentioned was that "Enduring to the end" means, no excuses. Enduring to the end means, going to church every Sunday no matter what happens. It means staying at church for the 3 hours. Etc. It was funny, because usually many of the members leave after sacrament meeting, but that Sunday everyone stayed the 3 hours.

Church was also awesome because we had two investigators at church, Stephanie and Timoteo. They are both set to be baptized on the 30th of this month. We had a great lesson with them and Yassini about the Plan of Salvation.

In the 3rd hour my comp gave the Elders Quorum class, and I gave the Young Men’s class. There were more YM than usual so I tried to aprovechar (take advantage). In the class I tried to help the young men understand that they are so important for the branch, and why it is so important that they meet there responsibilities, and try to learn and progress in this life.

It’s a really interesting experience being in this branch in Rio Claro. My comp and I basically have to do everything at church. Give talks, bless sacrament, count and deposit tithing, plan activities, clean and close church, prepare church for reunions, teach classes (its always a surprise which class well have to teach), and we are basically acting as Pte. Cruz's counselors.

Pte. Cruz is really great. He sacrifices so much, and even though he doesn't have much money, is always exhausted and overworked, and has his family to take care of; he is always so willing and determined to help us and this branch. He is really grateful that we are there to help him as well, and we are all good friends.

Enduring to the End (Spanish)

Temple Trip, it was worth it

October 11, 2010

This week we had a lot of work to do. We had to prepare for a temple trip that the Rio Claro District (group of branches) would make on Friday till Saturday. Our p'day this last week was changed from Monday to Saturday, because we were going to be at the Temple on Saturday. On Monday we taught our investigator named Sharon and tried to find new investigators. Basically our investigators right now are only Sharon, Jennifer, Gina, and Mauricio. Then we had a long reunion with President Cruz about the Rama. Although not officially, we are basically Presidente Cruz's counselors, because he doesn't have anyone else. We have had to help him a lot, because he has been here for 5 months, and hasn’t had a stable job in all that time. Even through all that and problems with his wife, he is always trying to help the branch here fortalecerse (strengthen it) and grow. There are very few active priesthood holders, and the few that there are have either there rights suspended, or are just lazy. There are a lot of these problems, but President Cruz, Elder Galarza, and I, really want to help this branch and are going to do everything we can to strengthen it.

On Tuesday I went to Golfito for divisions with Elder Fottheringham, our District Leader. I met some of the people they are going to baptize this month, and that area is looking good. On Wednesday I returned to Rio Claro, and my comp and I visited some inactive members, and we committed them to coming to church on Sunday. A few of them actually did, like Hernan Medrano. We also visited Jennifer. We were going to drop her, but instead we just talked very clearly with her about why she needed to do her part so she could be baptized. We put a baptismal goal with her for the 23 of October. We'll see if she progresses and does her part to meet that goal, because she seems dispuesta, but she’s been known to disappoint.

On Thursday we went to Cuidad Neilly to do a baptismal interview for a joven named Angelo. He has been wanting to be baptized for a long time now but his parents didn’t let him because they thought he was just doing it for the missionaries. Angelo shared scriptures with them, and even cried, he showed them that he really wanted to be baptized for the right reasons, and they agreed to let him do it. My companion interviewed him and then we had his baptism and confirmation without delay. He was really happy to finally be baptized. That night we returned to Rio Claro and taught Gina, and put a baptismal meta with her for the 23rd of October as well.

On Friday we taught Sharon again, as well as some less active members. We also visited some of the members who were going to go to the Temple for the first time that night, and taught them a little about what we were going to do. The whole Rio Claro District (group of branches in the zona sur), which consists of the branches of Rio Claro, Ciudad Neilly, San Vito, Golfito, and the Group at Puerto Jimenez; met at the Rio Claro church building at 10:00 pm that night. Then we all boarded a bus that we rented, and made our way to the Temple, which was 7 hours away. Usually the missionaries can't go to the temple with their wards, but if they are in branches they can, so it was pretty sweet.

Saturday (October 9th) we arrived at the Temple in the morning, after a 6-hour bus ride with the Rio Claro District. The ride was long but I enjoyed it. There were loads of young men and young women going to the temple for their first time because Ciudad Neilly has baptized loads of Jovenes (youth) these past few months. Because there were so many jovenes it was kind of a loud bus ride, and many people who were trying to sleep were kind of annoyed. In the end though, it was a fun ride.

When we arrived at the Temple at 4:00 am, the guard let us in the gates. Everyone sat outside the Temple, some talking and some sleeping. There was a line of people waiting to use the guards little bathroom. At about 5:00 am, the Temple President arrived and opened the Temple for us so we could begin the Obra Vicaria (Temple Work). President Galvez (Mission President) came as well, and he renewed my temple recommend. Then we started doing baptisms and confirmations for the dead. We did this as a district nonstop from about 6:00 am til about 1:00 pm. For this 7-hour period, there was always someone in the baptismal font, doing baptisms for the dead, and there were also four different confirmations taking place at the same time. Also during that time, while some were doing baptisms and confirmations, others who were investidos, (had their endowments) were doing sessions. I did many confirmations, I was a witness of the baptisms for a very long time, and I even got a session in. With the about 50 people that came from the district, we were able to do 2,600 ordinances, and although it was very exhausting, it was 'well' worth it. WOW!

At the Temple I saw some people from Heredia. Hna. Flores (Bishop Flores wife) works there so we saw her. Hna Adilia and Gendry were also there and they actually brought Elder Perez and me cake, which I finished eating this morning for breakfast. When we went outside of the Temple we also saw Hna Jessica and Genesis. Hna Patricia was inside the Temple, and I never saw her, but outside I saw Arellys, Ceciline, and Aaron. It was good to see all of them again. On the bus ride home, you could tell everyone was exhausted. The jovenes although exhausted (because they had each been baptized like 30 times, then they changed clothes, then found out they were going to do more baptisms, so they changed back, and were each baptized another 40 times) they still managed to have enough energy to not stop talking the whole ride back. I tried to sleep, but Yassini (who I met in Cariari) and her friend Heredia, wouldn’t stop talking to me so I really couldn’t sleep. Everyone, including me, also started singing hymns on the way back. We also ate garbage. *Ü* We arrived in Rio Claro at about 8:00 pm, and ate dinner at Hna Gonzalez and Yassini's house. Then we finally arrived at the house. The Temple trip was a very special experience, and we are planning another trip for December.

The next day Sunday (10-10-10), we went to church. A friend of Yassini showed up to church, and since she was the only investigator there, we only taught her with Yassini, in the investigator class. She has been to church once before, and she said she loved it. She basically told us she wanted to be baptized, so before teaching anything at all, I asked her if she would follow the example of Jesus Christ and prepare to be baptized on the 30 of October. She agreed to be baptized on that day. My companion had left the room for two seconds to get some chalk, so he was a little surprised that when he got back, Stephanie already had a baptismal goal when we hadn’t even taught her anything yet. After that, we taught her about the Restoration and we are going to continue to teach her and prepare her for the 30th.

Elder Tobler

I got to know a little bit about each area and about the zone

October 4, 2010

This week I got to know my area a little better. We actually have two areas. Rio Claro is our official area, but we also work in Puerto Jimenez, two days out of the week. Here in Rio Claro there is a branch. Puerto Jimenez is a Group. Here in Rio Claro there is a nice church building, with air conditioning to meet in. The branch president is Presidente Cruz. And guess what. He is the same Cruz, that was bishop of the ward in my first area, Moravia. It's pretty crazy that I might finish the mission, with the same ward/branch leader as I started the mission. Also in this branch is the brother and son of the family Marin in Tres Rios, as well as Yesenia and her family, who are related to Xinia and Saylen from Cariari. I actually met Yesenia in Cariari about a year ago. It was crazy seeing these people again. The president of the group in Puerto Jimenez is Presidente Conejo. The church meetings in Puerto Jimenez are in our new house there. So we have two areas, two houses, etc. and its pretty sweet. The problem is that these two areas are 3 1/2 hours apart by bus. We would be able to go in between each area in 40 minutes if we could take a boat, but since we can't do that as missionaries, we have to take the three hour bus ride around the bay or gulf thing that divides the areas, to get to the other side, and to the other area. Its pretty exciting stuff. This week I basically got to know a little bit about each area and about the zone, but there is still more to learn.

This weekend we had bad luck with Conference. We went to Ciudad Neilly (city) (my ex-comp Elder Perez's area) where I did a baptismal interview for Crispiliano (Who technically lives in Panama, but I guess the closest church is here). We were planning on watching Conference on the computer in the secretaries office, but no matter what we did, there was no signal, and the Internet didn't work. That night we returned to Rio Claro, and we watched the Sacerdocio (Priesthood) Session, which was amazing. Yesterday morning we went to find someone to take to the conference, and it looked like we didn't have any one to take, because right now we have basically no investigators, but we were able to invite a woman named Gina, who my comp had taught once before, and she came to conference. We watched the whole Sunday morning session without problems, but we missed most of the afternoon session, because it started to rain really hard and the signal wasn't getting through. Although I missed most of conference, what we saw was really special, and made me meditate a lot about the future.

Elder Tobler