Monday, August 31, 2015
I'm glad to hear that everything went great with the surgery! I know that the Lord took care of Nate and that he blesses our family so much. Your letters have shown me a lot about the faith through this trial, and it reminds me of a scripture in the seventh chapter of Moroni--Behold I say unto you, Nay; for it is by faith that miracles are wrought; and it is by faith that angels appear and minister unto men; wherefore, if these things have ceased wo be unto the children of men, for it is because of unbelief, and all is vain.-- Faith produces miracles, and the Lord blesses His children when they act upon their faith. I hope that the recovery continues well and that the Lord continues to bless you.
It seems to me that the wedding is coming up soon! I'm sure it will be the event of the year! I will be there in heart. Love you Con Dawg. And the nephews are well too, what more could we ask for? We really are blessed.
This week has been super great! Elder Nielson and I are doing well and working hard to strengthen the members and teach the gospel to everyone who will talk to us. I told you about an investigator named Elias, the son of a less-active member that we have been working with. Well, this week we made major advancements with him. He is our buddy now! Before in our lessons, he wouldn't talk much, kind of like he didn't want to tell us things. But now he is complete dynamite. He has had several problems while growing up, but he is ready to change and he is on fire. He is sixteen years old now and has been smoking two to three packs of cigarettes a day starting at the age of twelve. He has overcome that like a champ. He has had some terrible experiences with evil spirits, so getting him to pray was a struggle at first, but now he is doing great! This week he washed all of the mission cars and was with us at the office for most of the day. We gave him a white shirt and a tie to wear to church and he is excited to wear it. We told him that we would take him to get a smoothie later on today and he asked us if we would be wearing our white shirts and ties. We responded that we would, so he asked if he could wear his too when we go to get smoothies. I'm excited for that later today haha!
We are working hard with Oscar and Martha to get them over their addictions. It is a battle but I know that they can do it!
Well, in the office we are really taken care of. The Hayes love to feed us all of the time, and it is not helping my figure haha. They always make us food for our meetings. Earlier this week we went to the one-month check up with all of the trainers and new missionaries and we had quite the barbeque. Super delicious. And this morning we met with President in his home and Sister Hayes prepared a breakfast with the works. Scones, fresh fruit, bacon, etc. And lately she has been bringing us loaves of freshly cooked bread that she baked with honey butter. You don't have to worry about me starving one bit haha.
This week, in honor of the family, I took my companion to eat at Johnny Rockets. It was super good and now I know where it is at. It is like five minutes from the office haha. I didn't know it was that close but now I think it will be a more frequent trip.
The work is well! Costa Rica is good! God is great! I am so grateful to my Heavenly Father for the opportunity I have to be a missionary! It is the greatest calling in the church! The Lord loves His children and wants the best for each of them. We just need speck of faith and He will do the rest. Like Elder D. Todd Christofferson testified in the April General Conference --No one is predestined to receive less than all that the Father has for His children.--
Mi amigo mexicano siempre me decia --Despues de comer una hamburgesa rica, hay que terminar con un pastel de manzana--
P.S. The Hayes have set up a facebook page called Los Hayes en Costa Rica, and they are constantly putting up pictures of the mission. You should check it out.
Sunday, August 23, 2015
I hope that you are all doing well! I sure am doing great! The mission is as great as ever! I hope that everyone is doing well with Nate's surgery. I'm praying hard for him! How great is it that we have the knowledge that we do of the gospel. It can give us hope in times of despair and peace in the difficult times. I know that the Lord is in charge, so we have no reason to stress. Trials strengthen our faith in Him.
Today we had a special area conference with President Nelson of the Quorum of the Twelve Apostles with the entire Central America area. It was great! He focused a lot on the Plan of Salvation and getting our converts to the temple. The Spirit was so strong! He broke the gospel down to the basics and the Spirit taught me a lot as I pondered the message he gave. The most powerful part of the conference was at the end when he was closing. He said that he was going to give us a blessing with his holy apostolic keys. He blessed us with much, and the Spirit really hit me. One of the blessings that he gave was that any of us with family members with health problems, that they would have a blessing of health and strength. That according to the will of the Lord, they would be healed. I thought of Nate, and started to tear up a bit. I know that all will be alright! Nate probably didn't know it, but today he got a blessing from President Nelson, and believe me, it was powerful.
This week we were able to get a lot of good work done. We are working hard to help Oscar and Martha get rid of their addictions. We testify to them that they can do it with the help of the Lord. They are excited! Oscar told us that he really wants to beat his addictions so that he can be baptized. He is really going through a true conversion. He commented that he knows that Joseph Smith was a prophet of God. And that the Book of Mormon is the word of God. His only obstacle is smoking. We are also working with Ivan and Tania. This week we took them to a members home to see "Meet the Mormons." That movie is so good and they loved it! They just need to get married and they can be baptized. The obstacle is that she is from Nicaragua and in Costa Rica completely illegally. We are working with a lawyer to see what we can do to help her.
We also found a really good investigator this week in the house of a less-active member that we have been working with. His name is Elias and he wants to learn all he can about the gospel. He is only sixteen, but for the last two years he was really lost. He said "I have tried the world and it was terrible, now I want to try God." He knows that he has made several mistakes in his life and he is looking for a source of peace and forgiveness. We testified that he would be able to find it Christ's church. We are excited to work with him as well.
Tonight we have an appointment with a family from El Salvador. She is a member and some family recently came to live with her in search for a better life. They are going to make us Pupusas, typical food from El Salvador that is like a circular empanada stuffed with beans, cheese, and veggies. Super good and hopefully we get some promising investigators from it!
I love you all and hope the best for the week! God bless!
Mi amigo mexicano siempre me decía "Pupusas.. psh.. mucho mejor el pinto."
I hope that everybody is well! I'm glad to hear that everything is working out with the wedding, it sounds like the house will be looking really good for that day. Send some pictures! Also, I hope the best for Nate, from the sounds of it he's got a great surgeon! I hope the best and the family is in my prayers! Take one day at a time and the Lord will work the miracles.
This week was great! A pretty normal week as far as the office goes. President told us this week that we are going to stay in the office a while longer to help him make the desired changes to the mission. So from the sounds of things, we will be here at least through November haha. We are about to finish our fifth change here already, so a couple more won't hurt. It has been really interesting to see the changes that have happened in the mission, and to be able to see different points of view on things. My testimony is strengthened of our leaders that are truly called of God. I can see how President Wilkinson was called to help grow the work in Costa Rica during a certain time, and how equally President Hayes was called for this time. It is all the same great work, but the way that it is done can vary. I feel very fortunate to have a front row seat to see the Lord prepare and hasten His work in this country.
Each time that we meet with President Hayes, he allows us to ask him whatever question we have about the scriptures. Let me just say that these moments have left me speechless on several occasions. I mean, this man knows the scriptures like the palm of his hand. We could ask a question and he knows references to talks, other scriptures, etc. For example, last week the question came up about how it was possible that the Lamanites knew not that they received the gift of the Holy Ghost as stated in 3 Nephi 9:20 "And whoso cometh unto me with a broken heart and a contrite spirit, him will I baptize with fire and with the Holy Ghost, even as the Lamanites, because of their faith in me at the time of their conversion, were baptized with fire and with the Holy Ghost, and they knew it not." He explained using all sorts of scriptures and talks. Several times he tells us to go to a chapter in the scriptures then he says "okay, you will find you answer in the second column about half way down." He's got the scriptures memorized! It is really amazing to be able to talk with him and learn from his great knowledge of the scriptures. My testimony is constantly strengthened. I have seen my love for the scriptures deepen greatly on the mission. Truly, they are the word of God and the treasures inside are endless. One of the goals that the mission now has is to have at least one spiritual experience in the Book of Mormon in each lesson. By teaching this way, our investigators will become more converted to the restored gospel of Jesus Christ and the retention of new members will go up.
This week my companion and I began to work in a new part of our area that we haven't worked too much in before. It is called Barrio Lujan and it borders San José central. We went down there to contact a reference and we found that it is a gold mine. We never realized how many inactive families lived out there. We are excited because like Elder Duncan said, "for missionaries, the more less actives the better.. lots of work to be done."
I love my Heavenly Father and the opportunities that he is giving me to learn and to grow. This truly is the greatest experience of a lifetime.
Mi amigo mexicano siempre me decía "Si mejoramos nuestra enseñanza, mejoraremos nuestros resultados."
Sounds like the fishing trip was great. Especially the KFC/Taco Bell afterwards haha. I ate some KFC this week, when I went I thought of fishing with all of you. Also,k sounds like the plans for the wedding are moving forward well! I hope everybody is doing well!
This week was great! We spent most of the week in and setting up zone conferences and training from Elder Duncan of the Area Presidency. They were really good and the spirit was abundant. You can feel the power and the spirit that he brings when you are with him. I have a testimony that he truly is a special witness of Jesus Christ. He spoke a lot about the growth of the church in Costa Rica. In the past month, the country went from 1 mission to 2, and from 6 stakes to 9. That really is incredible. He emphasized that real growth of the church is not measured by numbers of stakes or missions, but by the strength of the members that occupy them. He trained on how we can become better teachers and how we can strengthen these members.
This week, we met an Ecuadorian family that is really strong in the church that lives in our ward but attends the neighboring ward. We don't even know why he visits the other ward, but he is a really great guy. He is about five foot tall and has hair down to his waist. They are preparing to enter the temple and to be sealed. He makes a bunch of typical Ecuador things that look really funky. My companion and I are going to get some to help his family a little bit. While we were visiting them, the wife gave us all sweet tomatoes to eat and she liquified some for sweet tomato juice. It wasn't too bad haha, just really different.
This week has been really busy, and I have to do some things that I wasn't able to do in the week so I am short on time. The church is true! Christ lives!
Sunday, August 2, 2015
I hope everybody is well! I love your emails and hearing about what is going on at home! The fishing trip sounds like it was a blast! I noticed in the photos that you took Brother Bigelow with you! He is such a good home teacher! I hope that you enjoy the weekend with Zach and Karli in town with the grand kids. Lots of fun!
This week was great! Full of lessons, office activities, and service projects! This week Elder Duncan, the area president, is coming for a mission tour! He will be teaching in multizone conferences on Wednesday and Thursday and a leadership conference on Friday! I am super excited to learn from him this week. We are working hard to make sure that it is a good tour and that we present the mission well!
This week the BYU-Idaho dance team was touring in Costa Rica and it was a big deal for all of the members. Tickets were free for all of the members that wanted to go. It had a great message about the family, and a bunch of dances. So President said that if we took investigators we could go. So, after some planning, we were on our way to downtown San José with Oscar and Martha, and Ivan and Tania to see the show. Everybody in the LDS community from Costa Rica was there. All of the stake presidents and bishops, we even said hi to the stake patriarch that always helps us with his mini-bus. The show had several dances with little statements about the family in between pieces. Many came from The Family: A Proclamation to the World, and others came from scriptures. It was really good and the spirit was strong. Our investigators can´t stop talking about it. They closed the show dancing to "Families Can Be Together Forever," it was powerful.
This morning we were able to take part in a service project for an elderly woman that lives in San Francisco. Our ward mission leader offered to help clean up her front yard, so we went to help. When we arrived, a large tree in her back yard had recently fallen over onto her tin roof and she had no way to get it off. So we spent quite a while cutting the tree down with saws and a machete. Everyone here uses a machete for their gardening, they even use them for cutting the grass. So I am getting pretty good at using a machete to garden. Once we got the tree off of the house we moved to the front yard to clean it up and make it look nice. It was a good morning filled with service.
This week we really saw the hand of the Lord in a lesson with Ivan and Tania. When we teach them, we also teach Tania's daughter and her boyfriend at the same time. We have been leaving commitments for them to read and pray about The Book of Mormon. The daughter has not been too great with keeping her commitments, but when we passed by last night she told us that she had something interesting to tell us. She went on to tell us that the night before she couldn't sleep very well so she opened The Book of Mormon and read the introduction. After a while she fell back asleep and had a dream that she was dressed in white in the church! She received her answer from God that our message is true. She is going to church with us as well tomorrow and we hope that she continues to keep her commitment and progress towards a baptism.
I know that God answers prayers, and that he keeps his promises. If we do our part, God will never let us down. The introduction to The Book of Mormon states, "We invite all men everywhere to read the Book of Mormon, to ponder in their hearts the message it contains, and then to ask God, the Eternal Father, in the name of Christ if the book is true. Those who pursue this course and ask in faith will gain a testimony of its truth and divinity by the power of the Holy Ghost."
We promised her that her Heavenly Father would answer her prayers as she read The Book of Mormon and prayed to know of it's truthfulness. God keeps His promises.
I hope that you have a great week!
Mi amigo mexicano siempre me decía "Dios siempre cumple."