Tuesday, November 25, 2014

Costa Rica es mas tuanis que Mexico (bromas)‏

Haha, everything is going well here in Costa Rica! This week went really well. Elder Parker finally got some money (he lost his card for personal money), which is good because we were cutting it pretty close on not having any money haha. But we are all good now! 

We´ve been working really hard with a family (well, partial family) that includes a mom, 2 sons, and a daughter, and then they also have 2 friends living with them. We´ve taught them a few times now and we´re really trying to help them! Our challenge with them right now is that they tell us that they will come to church after we teach about the Sabbath Day and we get 100-100% promises from them and then they don´t come, and so that´s what we are really focusing on. I think what the problem is that we have taught the kids a lot more than the mom because the mom is working all the time so it´s hard to actually be there when she is to share a message with her and her whole family. But the son is really into League Of Legends, so we´ve found a youth in the ward who also plays and we´re going to try and help him with actually coming.

What is the coolest thing that we do here? Good question. Thanks. Well, here in Heredia, Costa Rica we have the opportunity to play soccer every Friday and it´s super fun haha. We play at the chapel and honestly it is basically like playing in the parking lot but with huge cement walls and fence on top of them, so we don´t lose the ball (that much - I have gone retrieving a few, Elder Parker too..). We end up getting about 25 people there every Friday night and we can bring a ton of investigators to it because everyone here loves soccer. We divide into like 4 teams of 6 and essentially play king of the court where you score 2 goals to win and you get to stay playing if you keep winning. Our team did really well this last week because we have a less active we are working with named J and he is actually killer at soccer, so he came in and is winning it for us. When we first started playing on Fridays, it felt a little bit like the Hunger Games, not that people killed each other or anything haha just that there´s a team from the other ward in our building. It´s like 6 youth who have custom shirts because they´re the ward team or something and they are pretty good. They play really aggressively, so Elder Parker and I ramped it up and we beat them this week. All the investigators have a good time there. I would say this is one of the greatest things here; that we have a constant activity that all our investigators can come to and enjoy every week where they can make friends to help them go to church each Sunday! 

Vamos a ganar cada semana, les prometo, pero estoy muy agradecido por su apoyo y correos electronicos! Que lo pasa una buena semana amigos amados! 

**this is from a personal email answering questions (:
The week's been good. I think you know already but our internet is Tuesdays now with all our district together because missionaries were being disobedient and doing bad things - President told us. We had a meeting with him this last Thursday in Alajuela (the place where my soccer team is from, la liga!) and he put each zones' numbers up (there were 3 days of meetings, so the country's zones were split. We were with Alajuela, a part of San Jose, and then us, Heredia) of the three zones. We got our heads cut off the least. President cuts heads off a lot haha, like Jesus Christ did. The people from a zone in San Jose stood up and he put their numbers for the month so far on the screen and then he started hammering them with questions (it´s called cutting heads off when you get chastised essentially=) ) and our zone got the least. Granted, we still got some but not much because our numbers are all increasing. Guanacaste almost never gets its head cut off though because the success there is so high and if you ask anyone their favorite place it is Guanacaste. It's not even close and that's also where all the tourists go - ONLY to Guanacaste, or the temple if they are LDS. 

Elder Parker and I are doing good. I think we were a little bit less than 100% obedient but we´ve gone into overtime. It´s never anything super bad, but we know we´ll get more miracles if we are obedient with exactness to the point. We never fight. I do most of the dishes and stuff and cook but he has to do district things so it´s all good, plus practice for marriage! =) We live in La Puebla. It´s a poor, dangerous part of Heredia and a kid got shot like 4 weeks ago, but our house is one of the biggest and nicest ones in the mission haha. So it´s worth it! =P Our cook is also the cook for the mission for meetings and stuff. She is really good, even though food is super expensive - she always gives us good stuff! We´re about 15 minutes away from Los Angeles, more or less. Walmart is just about in the Carpintera where all our ward leaders are. We work really close to Carptinera, but like 15 minutes away from the Walmart, or a little more than that normally. Our zone is Heredia, districts don't have names. Our zone leaders right now are Elder Guerrero from Mexico and Elder Gutierrez from El Salvador. They are both cool and Elder Gutierrez and Elder Parker have been companions before, in Guanacaste. 

I got EVERYTHING in the suitcase as it was sent. =) We´re eating fast, but I stowed away some mac n cheese and the steak strips for later in the mish. Our ward is San Francisco but we meet in the same building as the Heredia Ward; it´s a stake center. 1 ward in our area, 2 that go to our building and it´s huge. We only work in a really small part because all our leaders are there (near the Carptinera) and we have more success. 
beef jerky in the shape of Costa Rica ( :

There are about 7 stakes in Costa Rica; like 4 in San Jose, 1 in Heredia, 1 in Alajuela and 1 in Puntarenes, I think. But we just found out that the papers have been sent for a new one in Guanacaste and soon a new one in Limon also, I´m pretty sure. I think President said he has no doubt that the mission is going to split while I am here. I´m praying I get the side with Guanacaste if they split it like that haha. It´s very possible that I will go to Guanacaste. EVERYONE in my missionary genealogy is from there and Elder Parker´s other kid, Elder Cuevas, is in Guanacaste still as a district leader, so I should go there I think! 

I didn't have my camera for the first two baptisms. I was hardly there for their teaching and I didn't know to bring it haha but I had it with the most recent one. I think you can send me like 1 or 2 in an email or you can dropbox, whichever you want but dropbox has a size limit. I don't know what it is. 

Danilo baptism
Anthony baptism.  Moises baptized him.

I think I got all your questions now! 

Gotta go. Love you, Mom!!! =) Tell everyone I love them too, Dad and Kara, Jessie and Spencer.

Monday, November 17, 2014

Sticky keyboard again, but I will try my best to make this message nice!‏

Pura Vida, everybody! This week we had our 3rd baptism, on Saturday. That would probably be the highlight of the week, to be honest. Everything we did this entire past week was focused on ensuring that the baptism went through as planned. The person who was baptized had some problems before in his life that required the mission president, or his counselors, to do the baptismal interview (to make sure he is ready to be baptized), but the mission president and his wife were actually at a conference somewhere. So, we had to ask his counselors. One of them agreed to do the interview on Friday, but then on Friday he called us and backed out saying he was too far away or something. Luckily, our zone leaders called the president, even though we weren´t supposed to and he gave us permission to use the stake president to do the interview. The baptism went well; we had a better turn out then last time, about 10 people. But, the confirmation needs to be redone, I believe. The bishop keeps saying ´´By the authority that we hold´´ instead of ´´by the authority of the Melchizedek Priesthood that we hold´´ and we told him that we´re pretty sure that doesn´t count/that it´s not valid, but he said, ´´We hold the priesthood, so thank you for your care Elders but it was done well.´´ So.. then we went to the stake president's counselor who served a mission haha because we´re in the stake center. We found him and told him what happened and he agreed with us and is going to talk to the bishop... but... in the meantime we have 1 maybe 2 converts walking around without the gift of the Holy Ghost. 

Follow-up on Jorge! We did go back and teach J. We taught him most of the message of the Restoration, but we noticed that he has a lot of addictions he is dealing with so it may be a while before he is baptized. But, we are going to keep working with him because he definitely seems willing to change and better his life. This is something that has been hard here in Costa Rica; people agree with every message we leave, even if they are Catholic and we teach about the need for prophets. The problem is they don't want to act on anything. So, the key is to find people that are willing to change and want to change their lives. These are really the two things I have for you guys! Kind of a short message, but I encourage you guys to constantly search for some way that you can better your life - some way you can change your life to be more like our Savior, Jesus Christ. The Christmas season is all about Jesus Christ. Take the time to find at least one thing you can do better for your Savior. He gave all for you; one thing is nothing in comparison. 

Until next week mis amigos! 

**A dear friend of mine one day shared that she visit taught a sister in her ward who was from Costa Rica.  She asked this sweet sister who was going to be traveling "home" to visit family if she might be willing to take a small package to my son for me.  One thing led to another and we were able to actually send a whole suitcase to him! Thank you Gilda!

Gilda had explained that we may or may not get everything to him as she would have no control obviously if security or customs decided to take something out.  We (I) fretted over that for the next week waiting for news of the suitcase.   I had given her $100 to cover the cost of the suitcase on the plane and then the extra could go towards travel expenses to get it to him. 

Gilda and the 50lb suitcase ( :
It was arranged that she would meet up with Aaron at Los Angeles Park which Aaron had said was a park that he and his companion went to almost every day to catch a busline.   I believe these photos are of that park.

I think this is Los Angeles Park

Yeah, I got the suitcase today. I haven't opened it completely though because we had another set of elders with us for mejenga, soccer, and basket so I was waiting til they leave. We´re on divisions right now, so I´m with Elder Avina from Mexico and then Elder Parker is with Elder Whitlock from Arizona. Hey, I hope that you know Hilda really well because to take a taxi from where she lives to us is about $200. I think she told me she is friends with her taxi driver but she kept saying, ´´Don´t worry your mom said she would refund me the money.´´ I wish I had been smarter when you first told me. Diego could have just met her at the
airport the first night and grabbed the case for free haha. It´s only 20 mins from us. She also could have made the trip easily for about $40. I really hope she didn't just cost ya so much haha.

Elder Avina

Gotta go, Mom. Love you very much. Tell Dad I love him too! And Kara and everyone!!! =)

Elder Whitlock 
**Little did I know that she would take a $200 taxi to him! BUT IF he got everything then it was well worth it since we knew that if we had mailed a small box it would have cost $82.50 and would have taken weeks and may or may not ever even shown up. PLUS the added customs expense if they decided to charge a fee. It was a LONG week as we waited for the next email to arrive letting us know if he had actually gotten everything that was in the suitcase!

Monday, November 10, 2014

Pues, pues, pues. ¿Que es nuevo en Costa Rica?‏

we found it!
Fetch. So, I had an idea at the beginning of the week to write down any super cool experiences or just awesome experiences I had each day on a piece of paper. That way I could remember what happened when it came time to write this email; however, I left the paper in my apartment sooooooooo, we´ll see how much I remember. Starting with Monday - right after we got off the computers, we went shopping and it was just in a general (what we thought was more expensive) store. But, as it turns out, we found Mountain Dew and Dr Pepper there for like 300 colones, which is about half where we found it a week before. Then we also found like a powdered milk (it´s good here) in a bag that makes like 18 liters for only like 7 mil, which is an amazing price. We also found Lucky Charms for super cheap for only 1250 when we´d been buying them for 2500, which 500 = 1 dollar in case I didn't tell everyone this. And last but not least, we were looking around when I found a powder that I think is for women, not exactly sure, but it had like 50% of your daily protein in a single serving which is like the same as protein shakes; however, protein powder here is extremely expensive. Elder Parker was laughing at me at first, but then later on during our shopping he repented of his mockery and went and bought two hahaha. I discovered the way to get protein in Costa Rica for cheaper; I am awesome. 
Cocoa Crispies ( :

Something more spiritually enriching and tuanis (cool): 

So, Thursday Elder Parker and I went to pick up a less active youth who is 18 named J and also his neighbors who are investigators to go and mejengear (to play soccer) and on the way to the chapel where the soccer field is we got stopped and yelled at by a man. He sounded drunk, so we didn't think much of it and I ended up just talking to him myself while Elder Parker talked to the nonmember youth with us. Throughout conversing with this gentleman, I found out that he had in fact been drinking a little that evening and that he thought that Joseph Smith was our God of the Americas. We explained to him how Jose Smith was a prophet not a god, that our God is the same as his. He accepted that and then he talked to us from the heart. Apparently, that day was his daughter's birthday, and she had passed away to cancer the previous year. He said that he lost his daughter, and then his wife left him, and it was weird because even though he was drunk I could see the tears streaming down his face and I knew that he was speaking clearly - that he was understanding. We testified of the Plan of Salvation: how his daughter and all the children of God can be with God again. We ended up just kind of listening and comforting him for about 45 minutes, then I promised him we would call him in the morning to come and visit him when he was more sober. We ended up not being able to meet him until Sunday night. We were actually heading back to the apartment when he finally called us back and wanted to know where we were and if we were going to come visit him. We told him where we were (which happened to be in the area where he lived) and he ran out of his house and came and met us. After walking around for a while to find somewhere to talk, we found a swing set with two seats. I told him to sit and Elder Parker sat and then we basically gave a lesson purely under the direction of the Spirit. I told him to never forget how he felt the day he came to us, when HE approached us and told us his sorrows. Then we talked of what we do as missionaries and how we´re going to help him make changes in his life. It was one of the best lessons I have had and afterwards Elder Parker and I gave him a hug, and he told us that, that day was the first time in over a year that he had received a hug and that we were his 2nd and 3rd in that day. I knew the Lord was blessing him and showing him that what he was doing what the right thing. His name is J, and he seems pretty tuanis! 
cheap fried chicken $2 for 2 pieces ( :

That was about all I had planned to write for you guys. Hope everything is going cool there in Washington! I heard about the shooting, so horrible. We´ve been keeping you guys in our prayers! 

Siga siendo tuanis! Pura Vida!

Monday, November 3, 2014

Bit of a Short Message This Week

Hello, everybody! This week has been pretty busy because Tuesday night we got rid of Elder Solis and he went home because he finished his mission. So, we have been trying to get accustomed to just the two of us and really we´ve been trying to learn our area because it´s massive and we don´t know most of it.

**above is what came - and then we got the following shortly after ( :

Okay... it wasn´t supposed to be that short... this computer is really bad and it randomly like saved my message and then sent it. So, the highlight of the week I guess would be Thursday where Elder Parker and I were really trying to put into practice all the things he had learned at a leadership meeting the day before with President Wilkinson and also from the district meeting we had gone to. Really what our focus is is that we are trying to find families, because that´s what the gospel is all about and that´s also how we´re going to meet our goals as a mission, so that day we just started talking to everyone, and it must have been guidance from the Spirit and blessings from heaven because we found a family of 5 and another family of like 4+ so we taught them both and had extremely Spiritual lessons and it really just gave us a lot of energy for the week. When we left the lessons that night we knew we had been blessed and it felt really good! I want to write more my friends but this computer is pretty bad so i´m going to cut it off here! Keep being awesome.