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)