Monday, October 20, 2014

¿¡What´s new in Costa Rica!?‏

Hello there, Washington! I'm going to try and keep this general email organized. The main reason for why all my thoughts jump around and such is because it's so hard to remember what I did this week - time passes so quickly. In fact, I believe it was Thursday night that I went to write in my journal because I had forgot to Wednesday night and I sat down and just stared at my journal because I couldn't remember anything I did the day before. It's crazy how it works out here. 

So, this week was really busy. We had a lot of scheduled things we had to attend and they ended up taking a lot of the time we would have spent teaching and serving. In order to make up for the time we lost going to our zone meeting and the police station, we had to work extra hard on the other days. We tried to use every hour as best as we could and really take advantage of what time we had. 

Tuesday- On Tuesday we had our zone meeting so we had to wake up, skip our studies, and catch a bus to Belen, which is about 30-45 minutes out by bus. We had to travel so far because for our zone we swap buildings where we have our zone meetings every time, so last time we had it at our building, and as such this time it was in the Belen church building, which is just right behind the temple. Entonces, we also had to the opportunity to see the temple, even if just the outside =). Then we had about a 20 minute wait for the bus, a 40 minute bus ride, and then our studies! I can´t think of any good transition words. All I can think of is transition words in Spanish and so, in English. Anyways, after we got back we had to wait for Brother and Sister Coleman to come bring us a new stove, mattress, and closet. (No, the stove wasn´t a coleman.) Then we did our studies for 3 hours and then we went out to teach for roughly 2 hours and then we had to catch an hour long bus ride to San Jose and spend the night in the secretaries' home because in the morning I had to go and get my finger prints done for my visa. 

Wednesday- We woke up in the secretaries' home. Every elder that came in with me and their companions stayed there, so there were about 20-30 elders in this house. Some elders slept on the floor, not me though.=) Then in the morning the secretaries directed us to a van where the elders I arrived with and I got in and we drove over to the police station! The secretaries didn´t know this but we actually had to fill out another form before we could get our finger prints done, and two of the necessary things were weight and height in kilos and metros, so we all just kind of guessed on what we were. (I´m having a hard time remembering how to spell words in English. I´m not sure why, it hasn´t been that long.) So, we all got separated in the police office and we talked to the agents there and then we got our fingers printed! After that, they took us to the Mission Office where we met up with our companions and proceeded to go back to our areas. 

Those were really the two highlight days from this week! However, I didn´t mention this but last Sunday was fast Sunday and Elder Parker told me that we needed to go up and essentially introduce ourselves to the ward. So, we went up and did a full opening line in Hawaiian and tried to make a joke out of it but absolutely none of the ward got it. It was pretty funny just watching him try to be funny and everyone just stared at him blankly. I went up after him and basically just really tried to give the ward motivation. I told them that we were here to help them do the Lord´s work and to help them bring their brothers and sisters to Him and to help them follow Jesus Christ. We both thought it went pretty well. It was weird because I had basically thought out everything I was going to say before I went up and in my mind it was super powerful, but then I got up there and forgot everything and just kind of used pretty simple (but correct) Spanish haha. 

Que mas, hmm, I can basically understand 100% of the Spanish now. The only time I struggle is when they directly ask me a question; I think it´s just like being put up on the spot. But! The thing is, I don´t like listen to the words. I´ve found that if I try to understand what they´re saying I understand very little, I just kind of find myself listening and understanding; there´s 0 thought to listening and 0 thought to speaking. If I focus on trying to understand them or like the words they´re saying, I come out having no clue what´s going on. It´s like a subconscious thing, and when I speak I just kind of talk... I think of sentences before I open my mouth and then once I open it it´s just like I forget to think, words just come out. I often find myself not thinking to be honest, just kind of talking. So, if I like pause in the middle of talking and realize that I´m not thinking, I struggle to get back into it haha.. This is probably really confusing; it kind of confuses me. 

Spiritual Thought for this week!: 

There was a scripture that I read in 2nd Nephi (I believe) in my personal study and unfortunately, I can´t remember where it is exactly at the moment because I highlighted it in my English scriptures and I don´t carry them with me normally. But anyways, the scripture says, ´´And they lived after the manner of happiness.´´ This really stood out to me. I was kind of thinking about how my attitude has been lately, how my perspective has been, and I realized that I wasn´t exactly living after the manner of happiness. (Prelude thought, I´m going to connect this thought with another in a little bit) In the MTC, I watched the ´´Character of Christ´´  by Elder Bednar, his talk, and he said near the start that by the time you get to his age every member should have a collection of about 200 Book of Mormons. He said that each time he reads the Book again, he takes it and writes a topic he wants to study in the front of the Book and then he focuses on that topic throughout the Book, and he has about 200+ copies like that. (Connecting Piece) So, I decided that I wanted to start my collection. I got a Book of Mormon from the mission office last Monday and chose the topic of ¨Finding Happiness¨ and I´m going to focus this entire read of the Book of Mormon on how we can find happiness and what true happiness is. I encourage each of you who have read the Book of Mormon previously to get a new cheap copy, I think they´re only like $1 or so or something like that on the website, and then choose a topic for this read through and highlight the scriptures that talk about your topic or are related with your topic! If you have yet to read the Book of Mormon, I encourage you to open it up, begin with the introduction, and then read it from front to back. I promise you that if you will read the Book of Mormon, whether for the first time or for the 20th time, you will be blessed and you will learn how you can better align your life with the life of Jesus Christ. 

Thank you guys for all your support and messages and I wish you the best! (If there are any typos I apologize, the computers here are programmed for Spanish, so as far as I can see I have yet to spell a single word correctly.)

¡Les amo mucho y ojala que ustedes tengan una semana buena! 

**extra emails back and forth:
MOM: Hi Aaron! How's your week been? With Kara's help, I've finally got your blog up to the end of the MTC - so I'm going to try and get the rest of it entered today so I can post it all and publish it on Facebook for everyone to read
Aaron: It´s been good haha. I´m sorry if my general letters are bland as far as details go. I honestly can hardly remember the things I do the day before. But I´ve been writing in my journal, don´t worry.

MOM: I love reading every word of your emails, Aaron! Thank you!! Sounds like you've had a busy week then with zone conference and finger printing. Did you get to teach any lessons this week? Is this the week Elder Solis leaves or is that next week?
Aaron: Yeah, we teach lessons every week, but the problem is people here don´t have as much education. They don't really go to school until they´re older and so their answers aren´t very good, their understanding of the gospel. Their answers are always Jesucristo o orar (to pray) even if it´s like right after we give them the answer haha. The hardest thing is just trying to get them to keep their commitments. A lot of them know it´s true or say they do, they just don`t act. 
He leaves next week. Hey, watch this video later, it´s good. I´ve seen it so many times.

Depends, I´m honestly never exactly sure where were are. the mission office-secretary home is actually in Zapote, which is outside of San Jose, I think. We take a bus for 20-30 minutes to San Jose, and then catch another to Zapote, so maybe like 20-30 minutes but that´s because of traffic, stopping to pick up more bus riders, and the roads are just built by kindergartners. =P

MOM: Did you ever get your letter at the office? I sent that early enough that I thought you would get the letter when you arrived in Costa Rica. Also - I had it wrong - it's Dropbox not Google drive - lots of the missionaries use that down there Sister Wilkinson says - and several of the moms say they get pictures that way from their missionaries - they just take the card out of the camera and bring that to the internet cafe to upload the photos to drop box.
Aaron: Yes! Elder Parker grabbed it for me on Monday and I´ve read it twice now. The first time I didn´t realize you wrote on the back page. I love it, thank you! 
Hmm, I´m not sure how drop box works, I just googled it, but everything is in Spanish so I´m not like 100% what I read. Reading Spanish is different than listening. I can read the scriptures pretty well and Liahona talks, but it´s never a perfect understanding. It´s like 80%.

MOM: I'm glad things are going well for you, Aaron - did you feel the earthquakes down there? I saw you had several last week and that the volcano had an explosion or something? Looks like it's sort of your direction - did you feel that?
Aaron: No haha. I called on like Monday or something to report numbers to the district leader, and in Spanish he´s like, ¨Did you feel the earthquake?´ and none of us felt it. We were all awake, we´re on the second floor though, so we told him no and he said he felt it for like 10 seconds, and the other district leader felt it too.. I was so mad. I´ve NEVER felt an earthquake. I heard this one was like 7.5 or something though off the coast right? I heard about a volanco but only that it was like smoking or something. I can´t remember but from what the missionary said I thought he said the volcano thing was a long time ago.

MOM: Well the 7.2 I think was in El Salvador - but in Costa Rica (by you actually) it was a 4.5 and a 5.3 that happened and the volcano thing happened at Mt Poas and that happened that same Monday! They closed the tourist visits for a while because of it - apparently there have been a ton of small earthquakes (with the one in El Salvador being the largest) for weeks now on the west side of the country.
Aaron: Hmm, weird. Nahh haven´t felt anything unfortunately=(

MOM: It's a program that you log into - so I could set it up I think on our end and you would then log into it and upload the photos - your computer there should have it since other missionaries are using this program. I'm thinking it's probably loaded on the internet cafe computers.
Aaron: Yeah, I got on the website but I don't have an account. I think that´s what is necessary; whip one up for me, would ya? =) I can't do winky faces here.

Outside the mission office today, the rain storm and the loudest thunder I've ever heard.  This happens all the time inside San Jose-Zapote.

You can't see the rain which sucks, but it was crazay.

My Missionary Genealogy
Elder Lohberg, Elder Parker (trainer - so "mission dad"), Elder Moss (so "mission nephew"?). Elder Cuevas (also trained by Elder Parker - so "mission brother"?)

Lunch today, 850 colones, so less than $2
Gotta go, bye, love all you guys! Time snuck up on me this time!

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