I know we found them for a reason

6 December 2010

This last Monday we had Zone Council, and you already know how that went. We had a good rest of the week. This weekend was fast and testimony weekend. We fasted as a branch (called and invited members to fast as branch) for the purpose of strengthening the members of the rama economically, physically (health), and spiritually. Also so that we could bring more non-member families into the gospel. On Sunday many members and I shared testimony. That night we saw the Christmas Devotional Broadcast. Mainor, Julie, and Tiffani assisted. Tiffani was making a lot fuss like usual, but I think Mainor still liked it. Julie brought a friend. Right before the devotional we had visited Carla, to invite her and even though she wasn’t going to go, we convinced her to, and she showed up.

Our best investigators are two families. Ronald, Lilibeth, and Ronald hijo are a family from Pto. Jimenez. They are super dry Mormons. They have been very active in the church for 6 months, but they haven't been able to be baptized because Ronald is waiting on his divorce papers from a previous marriage to go through. Once the divorce goes through he can get married to Lily and they can finally be baptized along with their son. They are a really special family. They are more active and faithful in the church than many of the members. Lately they have gotten a little sad because they have been unable to progress in the church because they can’t get baptized. We have been calling and pressuring the lawyer a little bit so it comes out faster, and he has been pushing it through faster than usual. The lawyer told us it should be out this week, so maybe I will be able to baptize them. It would be in the ocean as well as with Jesus. We have been praying and fasting like crazy, so I really hope this happens.

The other awesome family of investigators that we have is Mainor, Oli, Julie, and Tiffani. We found this family by knocking door in a creative way. We were knocking one night, by asking everyone where a family of 5 lived. If they asked what the name of the family was we told them that we were looking for the Alvarez family. With this approach we were directed in all sorts of directions, until we came to a blue and white house on a street corner in an area between our house and the church. Since that night we have grown to care about each other greatly. Mainor has come to church about 4 times now. He has also assisted 2 baptisms and 2 activities. His daughters Julie and Tiffani accompany him every time, and Julie has even been to church a couple times by herself. She really loves it and she brought a friend with her a couple times as well so she is already being a missionary. Its really cool and she’s so sweet. Oli is super great as well. She has read the chapters we leave in the Book of Mormon, and she understands what we teach, very well. The big problem with her is that she works at Chicken Bros. and works a lot. Sometimes she has two shifts, and works in the morning, goes home for a couple hours, and then has to go back to work. The worst part is she almost always has to work on Sundays. Because of this she hasn’t been able to come to church yet and cant progress much. We have been trying to get her to talk to her boss, but she hasn’t had any luck just yet. Mainor big problem is he drinks alcohol, and it’s hard for him to leave it. He recognizes that the atmosphere he has when he plays soccer or goes to a party mostly causes it, so we have made a plan with him, and we're helping him leave it. So although they have a couple big desafios, including not being married, I feel they will be baptized eventually. We have had some very powerful lessons with them about Temple Marriage and Eternal Families. We have also visited them with some members (Yasini). We had actually set a baptismal goal with them for the 11th of December, so they would've been baptized before I leave, but it don’t look like that is going to happen. The other night we had a powerful lesson about the atonement with them, and then we took them to the church and gave Oli a tour of the church building, so they could feel the spirit. Later that night we passed by their house again, and we invited them to be baptized on the 11th, but they decided they needed more time, in order to deal with their desafios. Even so, I know we found them for a reason because a few weeks before we found them, while tracking my companion had felt the spirit telling him to knock the door of their house. That day el no hizo caso (he didn't listen) but luckily we found them later. They are an awesome family and will make a great eternal family.

So even though I've been really hoping and praying to finish the mission baptizing two families, a total of six people (10 in my last area), it will take a miracle for it to happen (so it could still happen).

We are also teaching Belizario, the Panamanian who lives with Jesus. We started teaching Christian, who works in Fabiola's house. Paola is a young woman we found by touching doors. She is really sweet and actually wants to be a missionary. The problem is that her mom and step dad are catholic, and they don’t let her go to church. We taught her mom about the Temple, because she said she never wanted to lose her daughter Paola. She really loved it and said shed be baptized if she received an answer from God, but she said shed have to talk to her husband about it as well. When my companion talks to me he calls Paola his "exaltation". We also started teaching Raul, one of the Charpantier's, because he hasn’t assisted since he was little and he doesn’t appear as baptized.

The Rio Claro branch is progressing in many ways. We have been pressuring and helping Pte. Cruz give the members more callings. We are his counselors, because his 1st counselor hno Marin abandoned us and went to San Jose. Julian was just called as Elders Quorum President. Hna Maira Badilla is the Relief Society pres. and Merly was just called as her 1st counselor. We called Yasini as the Principles of the Gospel Class. Our Recent converts received callings as well. Timoteo is actually the Secretary of the Rama. Stephanie is now the 1st counselor of the Young Woman with Carla as the president. Marbei Gonzalez, or "Coca", is the Sunday school teacher for adults. Felssy directs the music and teaches the YM YW Sunday school class. Hna Cruz is the Primary President. She is kind off depressed because she hasn’t had a job like she had in san José and she is stuck with only the kids. Luckily this week she got a job working in the arrozera (where her husband works) as an inspector. Another calling is that of Sabrina as the librarian and Natacha her assistant. I assigned Rosed to be in charge of putting the hymn numbers on display, but lately she’s been late so I've had to do it. We have had problems with giving callings because every time pte. Cruz has given a calling the person goes inactive right after, so it’s great that we are finally able to pass some responsibility out to the members, so they can learn and grow.

Our recent converts are doing really good. Stephanie is going to give a talk this Sunday, and she has her calling in the YW now. She is planning on going on a mission, but I think she is going to get married before going on a mission. She always goes to the activities and participates. Timoteo is the branch secretary, he always passes the sacrament, and last week he gave a good talk in sacrament. He always prays when asked and he wants to learn more and be a leader in the church. He would go on a mission but he is too old now (30). Esteban is happy about his baptism and he just needs to continue to progress. Jesus is super "contento" (happy) about being baptized and he tells us and thanks us every time we visit him. He is going to church every week, even though he lives so far away and has to walk more than an hour, with a bad foot needing surgery, and then take a bus, to get to church. He is planning on getting married to Hna Nieves this next month, and he wants to sell his finca and move closer to the church.

The Rama has a lot of young single adult woman, but not many young single adult men. Woman there are Yasini, Carla, Sabrina, Felssy, Carolina, Stephanie, and Fabiola. The only young single adult men are Moroni, who just barely moved into the branch, and Timoteo and Esteban, who we just baptized. Out of all these Yasini and Carolina already sent in there mission papers, Moroni and Stephanie are preparing to go on a mission, and Carla and Sabrina have said they would like to go on missions, so we got good mission material here. The young woman struggle a little bit here. Really the only active young women are the Barrantes Gonzalez sisters Natacha and Rosed. The few others aren’t constant and we are activating Daniela, but she only comes every once in awhile, and usually when we least expect it. The young men aren’t much better. They are all inactive and lazy. The only semi active one is Celtin. We are trying to help him learn and be more responsible. The last couple weeks he has prepared the sacrament and helped us pass. Mosiah was also recently reactivated and he has helped us pass the sacrament as well. The problem is that last week we found out that in the records of the church, Mosiah doesn’t appear ordained so we have to ordain him again, before he can pass. We hope that with Esteban, Moroni, and Timoteo we will be covered for the blessing of the sacrament. The problem is that Moroni, Mosiah, Timoteo, and Esteban all have to come with Didier in his car. If Didier doesn’t come then they usually cant come. Didier works with the District so sometimes he has to assist in Golfito, so were kind off worried about that.

Anyway, we are happy that there has been progress made, but there is still a lot more to do. It’s sad because while Rio Claro has progressed, the branches in the district have been falling. Golfito has dropped assistance to 20, and the branch pres. is never at church. Ciudad Neily has dropped assistance unbelievably to 12. San vito finally has a new branch pres. which is Elder Silva, but still assistance was low like normal of 13. The district is really struggling, and the missionaries in those areas need to do more to help.
However, the Group in Pto. Jimenez, which we also cover, is doing very well. They always have a constant attendance of around 30. They have an activity each week. At Jesus baptism there was more than 30 attendance. They have 11 priesthood holders. They give references. I don’t know why they aren’t a branch instead of some of the others. I don’t understand why they don’t have missionaries either. Pte. Conejo is super awesome, and he asked us to talk to pte. Galvez about these things, but it doesn’t look like there will be changes anytime soon.

Elder Tobler