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