We were able to meet our zone goal for November!

November 30, 2010

This last week was amazing. Both Esteban and Jesus were baptized in our areas. Jesus was baptized in 'Puerto Jimenez' and Esteban in 'Rio Claro'. 'Golfito' baptized Ezekiel, Yorleni, Virgita, Felix, and Margarita. In 'Perez Zeledon' they baptized Ananias, the husband of a long time member (cocinera of the misioneros Lady who cook for the missionaries). With those baptisms, and the baptisms of William, Timoteo, Randall, and Virginia earlier in the month, we were able to meet our zone goal for November of 12 confirmations.

My companion and I are super happy about it *Ü* and so is the zone. The best part about what we were able to do this month is that in the 12 confirmations we had in the zone, there were 8 adult men (much needed priesthood holders for the branches here) and 4 families (future sealings). Yesterday we were able to go calmly to Zone Council and report to Presidente Galvez that we had met the goal. He was really happy with our work. He said something like this (not exact, but parts of what I remember) …Como se sienten al lograr la meta? se siente differente, verdad? Es algo muy maravilloso. No solo lograron la meta, la zona bautizo 8 varones, 4 familias. En San Vito solo hay 2 posedores del sacerdocio ... How does it feel to achieve the goal? different feeling, right? It's really wonderful. Not only you achieved the goal, the zone baptized 8 men, 4 families. In San Vito there were only 2 Priesthood Holders (the new branch president who was going to san vito, Elder Silva, was present and looked worried after that comment) y ustedes bautizaron 8 este mes. Bautizaron una rama, en un mes. Es algo historico en este pais. Algo envidiable en centro America. Algo envidiable en el mundo. Buen trabajo elderes. and you baptized 8 this month. You Baptized a branch in a month. It's something historic in this country. Something desirable in central America. Something desirable in the world. Good job elders.

It was a really tiring month, but was well worth it and amazing. We did a zone fast, and prayed a lot to meet the goal, and I know that your fasting and prayers made a huge difference as well. Our new zone goal is 11, and we hope to meet the goal in two weeks, before I, Elder Fotheringham, Elder Lopez-Carrasco, and Hermana Hadley leave the zone and go home.

So more details about this last week, on Monday we planned out a sweet p'day in Puerto Jimenez. But things never go out as planned. I was going to go to Pto. Jimenez with Elder Fotheringham from Golfito, and we were going to meet the YM from the ward Moroni, in La Palma, so he could take us to the beach, but Elder Fotheringham showed up to Rio Claro 2 minutes after the bus to Pto. Jimenez left. We jumped quickly on a bus that was going toward San Jose, to see if we could catch up to the other bus, and catch it at Chacarrita, but when we got off the bus in Chacarrita, the other Pto. Jimenez bus had already passed. We tried to hitch hike to Pto. Jimenez, but no one would take us, probably because it was 2 hours away. Luckily, while we were waiting for the bus back to Rio Claro to give up on having our planned p'day, a bus from san José to pto. Jimenez passed and we hopped on. While on the bus I tried to borrow someone’s cell phone so I could call Moroni, but the first people I asked were Spaniards, and didn’t have a cell phone, the second couple I asked were from Switzerland, and they didn’t understand me, and the last guys phone didn’t have signal. When the bus made a rest stop, his phone did have signal and I called Moroni and told him we would be late. Then we talked to the Spaniards, and I tried talking with the Swiss people in a mix of German, Spanish, English, French (I think), and Italian, and we were able to have an interesting conversation. When we finally got to La Palma, Moroni wasn’t there, and we waited for an hour, then decided to just go to the beach. We asked where the nearest beach was and we walked to Playa Blanca. We saw the ocean and took some pics and then we walked out to the main highway and took the bus to pto. Jimenez. We then went to Ronald and Lily’s house. Behind their house there is an airport, where Ronald works. There is also a river swamp thing that flows into the ocean. Ronald took us to the swamps to see crocodiles. It started to rain a lot, but we were able to see a crocodile, and take some pics. Then we also went to the beach nearby. That night we went to the weekly activity of the Pto. Jimenez Group and we watched Jose Smith Profeta de La Restauracion (Joseph Smith, Prophet of the Restoration) movie. In the end it was a great P'day.

The next day we went to Jesus’ finca, and Elder Fotheringham did his baptismal interview. Jesus told us he couldn’t wait for his baptism on Thursday. We returned to Rio Claro that afternoon. On Wednesday morning Golfito had the wedding and baptisms of Felix and Margarita, and Ezekiel and Yorleni (Luz Neimy), and Virgita. It all took place in Rio Claro, because Golfito doesn’t have a baptismal font. It was a great ceremony, we helped decorate the chapel, and I lent Felix my suit and a tie, and many people attended. It was the classic marriage ceremony, my comp played the marriage song on the piano, as the brides were escorted in, and there was a flower girl (Dianara) and ring boy, and there were the rings. There was even cake. After the marriage everyone was taking pictures and eating cake, and then we moved to the baptismal part. The baptism room was full, because there were so many of the family members of Felix, Margarita, Ezekiel and Yorleni there. It was awesome because none of them are members and they all really liked the baptismal service. The baptisms went smoothly, even though I was worried about Virgita (only has one leg), but it all went well. While the baptizers and baptizees were changing I taught all the people present about the authority to baptize and about the Restoration of that authority. It went really well, and everyone present (mostly non-members) loved the marriage and baptismal service, and were really grateful to see how much effort we put in to making it special.

On Thursday the Assistants of the President (AP's) came to Zona Sur. We invited them to come that day because we needed their car and cell phone, because it was the day of Jess’s baptism. The AP’s picked us up in Rio Claro (they showed up late) and drove us to Pto. Jimenez. The baptism was supposed to start at 2:00 pm, but it ended up starting at 4 pm, because we had a lot of back ups. First the AP's picked us up late so they had to drive super fast to Pto. Jimenez. Second the roads toward Pto. Jimenez are terrible, especially after the landslides a few weeks ago, so that slowed us down. Thirdly, the AP's were supposed to bring the Hilux, but ended up bringing the Carrola, because the first counselor of the Mission, Pte. Soto, decided he needed the Hilux more than us (hahahaha), he obviously hasn’t seen the roads we had to drive on. When we finally got to Pto. Jimenez, we had to pick up Jesus and Belizario, who live down a bumpy, muddy road, deep in the middle of the jungle, and take them to the baptism. We had to cram in the little car because it only carries 5 people and we were 6, and Jesus is a very large man, so we had to get comfortable. Also before going to the baptism, we had to pick up the baptism clothes, which were in the church house in Pto Jimenez Centro, the opposite way we wanted to go. So that the police wouldn’t arrest us, Elder Centeno, Belizario, Jesus and I waited at the bus stop while my comp and Elder Smith drove to pick up the clothes. Then they picked us up again and drove us to the beach near Hno. Martins house, where the pto. Jimenez baptism take place, because there is no font near, so they baptize in the ocean. Although the baptism started 2 hours late, it was a great service. My companion baptized Jesus, and I baptized Alain´s 8 year old son, Jacob, who was also being baptized that day. It was amazing to be able to baptize in the ocean. What a blessing. There were about 36 people present at the baptism. Basically everyone in the Group. I think it’s the best assistance I've seen. Jesus was super happy about being baptized. He is such a great guy, and Hna. Nieves and him will make such a great couple. While we drove him home he kept telling us that he was "tan contento" (so happy) about being baptized.
After the baptism we made the long drive back to Rio Claro.

The next day we had Esteban's baptism in Rio Claro. It was also a great experience. Although the assistance was pretty low (about 8), Esteban was happy about being baptized. After the baptism Didier Gonzalez invited everyone out to eat fried chicken. It was really cool because it was basically us, our recent converts (Stephanie, Timoteo, Esteban), some of the Gonzalez Family (Didier, Sayleen, Yasini, Moroni), and Pte. Cruz. We ate some good chicken.

On Saturday we had English and guitar classes. We also talked with Pte. Soto (Mission 1st counselor) about some of the callings and suspensions in the branch. Afterwards while going to take a bus to a cita (appointment), we found his wife, Hna. Soto, trying to start the Hilux (remember the Hilux we were supposed to have a couple days before), because it wouldn’t start. We tried to jump-start it with cables connected to Hna. Julies car, but nothing. Pte. Soto showed up and his wife told us that he knew what to do, but he told us that he didn’t, and she looked kind of disappointed in him, but oh well *Ü*. The alarm had activated, but it was making noise, it just wouldn’t let it start. We finally pushed it to a car shop, and the guy told us it was because the battery wasn’t connected well, and once it was connected well, we could charge it up. That we did, and then Hna. Soto took us to get ice cream and then took us to our cita. Our cita was to climb up Mud Mountain again to get to the Charpantier finca (ranch/farm). This time the mud was even deeper than before, but luckily Carolina had left some boots for us, and even though they had holes, they sure did help a lot. After sweating a lot and making it to the Charpantier house we ate food that Carolina and Hna. Charpantier prepared. We played a little guitar, and we taught Raul about the purpose of life. Then we ran, or slid down Mud Mountain, this time with it raining super hard, and the path converting itself into a mud river. I felt like I was in Africa, and had the Africa song playing in my head. When we got to the bottom of the hill to the main road, we washed the mud off with the rain, and waited for the bus. It passed by and didn’t stop when we waved it down, so we began to walk, soaking wet and muddy. We tried to ask for ride, but no one stopped so we kept walking. When we weren’t paying attention, we saw what we thought was Didier’s car pass by, and we didn’t react in time to flag it down. My comp said it was "bad luck", but I told him that it was "good luck lost" *Ü* (Buena suerte perdido). In the end it wasn’t Didier’s car the first time, because 10 minutes later he and his family, really did pass by, and they stopped and gave us a ride in the back of the car, to Centro.

On Sunday there was good assistance. Timoteo blessed the sacrament for the second time. Moroni and his brother Mosiah passed the sacrament. Celtin prepared the sacrament. Its great that now the missionaries (us) aren’t the only ones who do this each week.

Elder Tobler