Monday, June 6, 2016
Sounds like everybody is doing great! I love you guys a lot I hope you know! Conner sent me a picture with peeps from the Mall of America. Oh man, I love those peeps! Conner is the man! So is Nate! Karli is ready to have the baby! Que emocion!! Cant wait to meet my first niece!
All is well here in Puerto Jimenez. This week Elder Paiz and I went on divisions to Ciudad Neily. So, we crossed the gulf and headed to Ciudad Neily. I worked the day with Elder Maldonando from Guatemala. He is a great missionary. Their area is basically the oldest here in the zona sur. It has over 25 years as a branch, with an attendance of about 35 and a list of members with 750 names on it. They have a lot of reactivation to do if you ask me. Thank goodness we know who all of the less active members are here. While on divisions it was raining terribly. We were soaked from the knee down because the wind causes the rain to splash you even though you have an umbrella. The rainy season has started here and because we are in the middle of the rain forest it is pretty strong. A couple of days ago they said it was dangerous to be outside because the rain and wind was ripping up the trees and throwing them all around. Pretty crazy!
The district president of the Rio Claro district lives in Ciudad Neily, so I sat down to dinner with him while we were on divisions and we talked about the growth of the group and the progress that we have seen. He is a great man and I told him that Puerto Jimenez is the best in Zona Sur and that he should give as much support as possible to these faithful members on the peninsula. I love these members so much. They have so much faith and strive to follow the example of our Savior Jesus Christ. I feel so blessed to work at their side.
Church was great yesterday. Denia came! She is progressing well with her husband Elogio. We just have to commit him to come next week. Sonia and her son came this week as well! Woot woot! They are progressing so much and showing their faith by keeping the commitments. I hope that they can be baptized before I leave. They are so great!
Elder Paiz and I are working hard here in Jimenez. We have been talking to everybody and we have set the goal to contact the entire boat as we cross the gulf to the district meeting. We will see how it goes haha. Doing contacts at sea! Also, they put air conditioning in our house this week!!!!!! I had to pull out the blankets because we had it so low haha! I haven't slept so goodhaha! All is great here!
I love you guys! Keep the faith! This is Christ's church! See you soon!
Mi amigo mexicano siempre me decia "Siempre hay que echar bastante repelente, si no, los zancudos te comen."
Monday, May 30, 2016
Good to hear from each of you! You are great! Sounds like you spent quite a bit of time in the car on the way to OKC. 17.5 hours! I remember when we did that trip the first time. Hopefully Conner didn't eat all of the Reeses this time hahahaha!
Well, everybody keeps asking me if I am trunky... no! Haha I have had it about up to here with all of the trunky jokes from my district! Today we were on the border and Elder Escarcega kept telling me to by all of the small containers of food because I will never be able to finish the normal size. I have been thinking about it.. and there is no time to be trunky. Right now this group needs a lot of nourishment and this area needs a lot of work. We are working as hard as ever! Elder Paiz is getting a little worried because his skin is getting a lot darker from the sun.. he doesn't like that haha.
We found a great family this week! We were working in an area and Elder Paiz started to get a little sick of rejection. Each time somebody turned us away, he added another flower to his shirt pocket. By the end of the day he had quite the bouquet walking around. Finally he said "We are going to say a prayer and this house will have somebody ready to hear the gospel." So we said the prayer and knocked the door. A woman that is very strong in another faith opened the door and didn't want anything with us. Great. So we continued with the faith and finally arrived at an apartment. The family quickly ushered us in and accepted the message. Let's just say that when we left the house we had a bag of 25 avocados and a return date. Ush!
This week Denia and Maicol came to church!! We were so happy! They said that they liked it and we are going to go visit them! They are so great!
The members here are great! There is a less-active family that we have been working with quite a bit. The husband has fallen to alcohol, and is having a hard time staying active in the church. However, the wife, Maritza, is a super star. She is so funny! She always is so positive and is running the ship solo in her house. At first, she was shakey too in her testimony of the gospel, but she has come so far and is always at church each week with the children that she can bring with her. I think I am going to buy some tubs of ice cream and take them over for the Family Home Evening that we have with them! The kids will sure like that!
All is well here in Jimenez! I am getting in touch with nature haha and trying to keep the little monkeys away!
Love you guys!
Mi amigo mexicano siempre me decia "Que tal le parece la sopa de gallina?"
Saturday, May 28, 2016
I hope that everybody is doing well! Elder Paiz and I are doing well! We are pretty good cuates (buddies). I heard that Nate and I will be driving to Iowa in July. Ussshh!! Road trip!! Karli is soon the have the baby. Good luck Karli! Let me know when you have chosen a name or I will keep calling her Gertrude haha. And, good luck Conner in Houston! Have fun driving town and eating in Crab Town with dad! I remember going there and eating off of the table.
Well, the only internet cafe in Puerto Jimenez will be shut down tomorrow. They just told us. So, we will see what happens but honestly there is no other place to write in this little pueblo. So, I might be falling off of the face of the Earth until I come home. I will see if I can figure something out, but if not, I will see you all in a month! No news is good news!
This week was good for Elder Paiz and I. The woman that I told you about last week, her name is Sonia. She came to church again this week with her son. They accepted the challenge to be baptized by the restored priesthood authority and they have a baptismal date for thne. Elder Paiz and I are praying hard that she can be ready for baptism on that day. I will keep you posted. We are also teaching the family of Elogio, Denia, y Maicol. They are so great! This week Elder Paiz and I went to make pupusas with them and they are progressing well. Elogio and Denia need to be married, so we taught them about marriage and they said that they would discuss it and think of a date to be married! Ush!! They have been together for 23 years, I have no idea what they could possibly need to discuss!
This week Elder Paiz and I were in Jimenez searching for people to teach and he got a little down so we decided that we would pray to find somebody who is prepared to receive the restored gospel. We continued with little luck, but at night we were walking by the dock and decided to talk to a family in a little house by the dock. They are great! They started crying as we testified of the divinity of Jesus Christ and the power of the atonement to heal all wounds. We are going to take Presidente Conejo and his wife over to their house for a lesson this week. We are praying for them!
The group is doing well. Last week I gave a talk about our commitment to our Heavenly Father as His children. It was good! I invited the members to increase their level of commitment to our Heavenly Father, and that commitment promotes progress. In this case, spiritual commitment produces spiritual progress and we grow closer to our Heavenly Father. I invited the to remember the (OLA, Orar, Leer, y Asistir a la iglesia). Or for you homegamers out there (Pray, Read, and Attend church). As we pray each day individually and as a family, read the scriptures, and attend church, we will progress spiritually and become stronger rooted in our faith. I know that to be a true principle for I have felt the spiritual strength that comes from the basics. Hopefully each of us can remember the OLA.
Well everybody, I hope that all is well for you! Keep strong in the faith! I love you guys!
Mi amigo mexicano siempre me decia *Hay que pedir los milagros del cielo.*
Sounds like good things are going on at home! Karli is going up to visit on the weekend! Hope that you have fun and enjoy the grand kids! Hope that everyone is well!
I am here with Elder Paiz in Puerto Jimenez! He arrived in Gofito on Tuesday morning aam and we had district meeting before loading his suitcases on the boat and heading to Jimenez. He is from El Salvador and is a convert to the church. He is amazing and I am learning a lot from him. He is a big jokester and every once in a while he will say "turn down for what" in his thick Spanish accent. I don't think he knows what that means haha. He is going to teach me how to make Salvadorian pupusas.
Yesterday, we were invited by a sister from the group over to her house to eat Sunday lunch after church. She made us "rice and bean." It is so good! They actually call it "rice and bean." Basically it is just gallo pinto cooked with coconut milk instead of water. We ate it with a fried fish. Honestly I think that the fried fish tastes pretty good. The only weird thing is having its little eye stare at you while you eat it. Oh well.. I enjoyed it. Elder Paiz loved it and grabbed a second fish and slammed it down.
This week we dedicated much of our time to finding new investigators here in Jimenez center. We had a little bit of a miracle. The sun was so hot and we were sweating so much that we were just trying to find somebody that we could teach in the shade. We found a woman who has been suffering from brain tumors and as we taught her I felt really bad because she looked like she was in some pain. Well, we left her with a blessing and she came to church on Sunday! She made friends with the Relief Society sisters and she is going to got the activity on Saturday with them.
Elder Paiz and I are doing well here! I hope that al is well with you and that your find joy in all that you do!
Mi amigo Salvadoreño siempre me decia "El pescado frito me cayo tan bien."
|Picture of our district in Golfito and of the monkey feeding adventure.|
I don't have much time to write because I am across the gulf in Golfito waiting for the arrival of my new companion, Elder Paiz from El Salvador. It will be a short email, but it is okay because we just talked a couple of days ago.
So a couple of hours ago, Elder Gibby and I were making some spaghetti in the house and saw a pack of wild monkeys across the street in the trees. So, we booked it to the closest store and bought some bananas. We ran back and fed bananas to a pack of wild monkeys. It was such a cool experience! Now I know that monkeys really do like to eat bananas!
The work is well! I hope to learn lots from my new companion. I brought him into the mission in the office so I already know him. He is a ball of energy!
I love you guys so much! Keep the faith!
Mi amigo mexicano siempre me decia "Siempre hay que tener bananos a mano por si acaso lleguen los monos!"
I hope everybody is doing well! I loved hearing about how you guys went to the gun show this week! When I grow up I will have to get me a bb gun haha. It sounds like the Nelson family is strapping in to prepare for a lot of excitement in the coming months! Graduations, babies, and construction projects!
This week was full of excitement. It was great! We had our missionary activity this week. It was also a district activity so we bused in members from the other branches on the other side of the gulf to participate with the members here in Puerto Jimenez. Honestly, we are the most exiled missionaries and group in the entire mission and country. So we wanted to get the excitement running through the veins of these members and the missionaries in the Rio Claro district because we are working towards a stake! It was a beautiful activity. We had a stage, speaker set up, giant screen and projector, live music, typical dances, and some famous members from around the country that came to speak and to accompany us. It took tons of planning, but it was amazing. President Hayes came to visit us and the rest of the zone was able to come to enjoy the activity and to prepare for the zone conference the following day held in our chapel. We wanted to have a good turn out so that we could share our beliefs with the community in a fun way and we had a good turn out. We even contracted a car with speakers on top to drive around the entire town blaring the news about the activity. In the end we had hundreds of people that came and we have some great references to contact.
We had the zone conference on Saturday in our chapel and we received great training's from President and other missionaries. Sister Conejo cooked food for all of the missionaries so we were enjoying the Panamanian cuisine.
Sunday was great!! We had a couple of miracles! Some less actives that we have been visiting came back! Usshh!! The chapel was full and the testimony meeting was powerful. There was not one pause in the testimony action. Gotta love it! The members are really doing good! I love working in this small group because we don't have a list of hundreds of in-actives. We know who each of the in-actives are and we are working with each of them to return to church. The members are doing a great job as member missionaries and the ward/group council meetings that we have here are some of the best that I have been a part of in this country. The members are so willing to work!
This Thursday we will be starting up doctrinal Thursdays/Noche de grupo. We will be having this activity each Thursday in order to foster faith in Jesus Christ, to learn the basic doctrines of the church, and to fellowship members with food. What more could you ask for? A member will teach a brief principle out of the Gospel Principles book and afterwards we will have a little potluck! We are trying to get these members out of their houses as much as possible and doing spiritual things to learn more. We are hoping it will be a success!
I love you guys so much! Keep the faith!
En Costa Rica hay que aprender a decir Pura Vida para todo!
I am excited that Karli is going to graduate! Woot! Good job Karli! You are the best!!
This week was great! Elder Carter and I have been working hard and praying hard for spiritual growth and maturity among the members. This group may be small, but it is working very hard to do everything in the Lord´s way. There are some members that are inactive and have not returned to church since the group was shut down 4 years ago. One of those families is that of Hermano Ronald and Hermana Lily. When the group was shut down back in the day, they were faithful members of the church that had been sealed in the temple. The church being shut down here really made them feel hurt, so they have been very hesitant to jump back in. We have been visiting them throughout the week and are always in contact. He has been so willing to lend anything to the church, but never has returned with his wife and Elder Carter and I have been losing sleep over it. Well, this week we had a miracle!! They came to church! Elder Carter was directing the meeting and from where I was sitting I could not see the door. When they entered, Elder Carter could not keep it in because he was so excited. I had no idea what all of the commotion could be about. When I saw them I couldn´t hold it back either. They looked so good dressed up in their Sunday best! Elder Carter and I have had Ronald in mind as the future branch president for a long time. We hope that he continues to join us each Sunday regains his strong faith.
Elder Carter and I are preparing a large scale activity this week. He has a friend from Draper that will be flying in and helping us with it. It is a community activity with emphasis on the church and the family. It is going to be fantastic. President Hayes will be coming along with all of the missionaries from the zone, and the following day we will have a zone conference here in Jimenez. So, it will be a very busy week.
Love you guys! Keep the faith!
These past two weeks have been absolutely full! I will try to hit the important points so that you know what is going on here in Puerto Jimenez!
So Elder Carter and I had a little bit of a miracle last week. We were teaching some investigators and walking back to Puerto Jimenez central on a sandy road that leads to the beach. The funny thing is that we were talking about what it would be like to be a missionary in Utah and to see members all of the time. Abouta large, white Land Rover that is passing by full of surf boards and gringos starts yelling at us and stops. We were talking with them for a minute and they were members from Bountiful, Utah. They were so excited to see missionaries on their vacation. Well, it turns out that after talking to them for a couple of minutes the father of the family moved the surf boards from blocking his face and it was Jon Schmidt from the Piano Guys. You know, the piano player from the Piano Guys. We met him here in Jimenez and talked for a little bit. Long story short we got in contact with him and before he left we shot some video with him to use in the activity that we are going to have in the community here in Jimenez. Great family!
Last Monday some members took us up to their farm! It was awesome! We picked some mangos from the trees, dug some holes and cut some trees with machetes. A typical Costa Rican day! They took us to a hidden waterfall that they know of and it was beautiful. This place is amazing!
This week was a little disappointing. Several investigators that we have decided that they no longer wanted to continue in this path. They felt that it was too hard to make the necessary changes to put their lives in line with our Heavenly Fathers commandments and to take up the cross and to follow Jesus Christ. It breaks my heart to see these families decide that they no longer want to try. Even though they might not completely understand what they are missing, we do! We know what they can become and what the Lord Jesus Christ can make them. Now to continue finding those elect of the Lord.
I love this work! The Lord is so good to us! I hope that each of you continue to kindle your faith and to follow the Lord!
Love you guys!
This week was great! We had some amazing moments and lessons. Honestly, I have no time to write. We are healthy and happy and working with the members to teach investigators and to strengthen testimonies. I will write you more next week about the specifics!
I love you all so much!
I feel extremely sad for the loss of Grandpa and Grandmas house. I have sweet memories eating Sunday dinner, taking ice cream orders for desert, and (of course) eating treats out of the chicken bowl. Many fond memories took place in, and around, that place. Thank goodness that we have a foundation in the gospel of Jesus Christ. The knowledge and faith that we have keep us moving forward through the trials of life as they present themselves daily. We may remember that these trials and difficulties were the very essence and purpose of our Heavenly Fathers plan for us. May He pour all of His blessings upon you as you continue with faith in Him and His plan and move forward with faith.
This week felt long! On Tuesday, we headed to San Jose to attend the temple. There isn't much that you can do to prepare yourself for the nine hour bus ride. Much of the way we were on our feet due to the amount of people on the bus and the lack of seats. All of the passengers were able to get a nice look at the missionaries and I hope that that we could of had even a tiny influence on them. Wednesday morning we were in the seven o clock session and we were back on the bus at 4 back to the south. We stayed with some other missionaries in the zone in San Vito and in early Thursday morning we started down the mountain to Golfito and across the gulf on the boat. It was tiring, but worth it to attend the temple. The Spirit was sweet and my testimony of the that holy house grew bigger.
General Conference was magnificent! We were once again in the hostel next to the chapel and the internet worked for us. This is the first time in years that general conference has been shown on the peninsula. The kingdom of God is growing. There were very few technical difficulties. I was very impressed with the results from the group and the great turn out that there was. I do have to admit.. the people that were staying in the hostel probably didn't know what to think with all the white shirts walking around in there haha. They are going to go back to Europe and already know who the Mormons are. Oh yeah! Watching general conference was great, but watching it in Spanish just doesn't do it justice. For somebody who has heard their real voices for so long, listening to the translator just isn't the same. I am excited to download all of the talks and listen to them as we prepare for each day.
Today we did our monthly shopping in Panama. Really, we just go to the free zone on the boarder that is kind of part of both countries. Each month we can go to buy our things there the first week because everything is half price. Everything in Costa Rica is jaw-droppingly expensive. And, as you know, Panama uses the dollar so it was a weird throw back. Elder Carter and I stopped at McDonalds for a quarter pounder with cheese, so we are doing pretty good.
The members here are amazing. I truly feel like they are the most willing members to serve the Lord that I have ever worked with. We are teaching pure references from members. They are all progressing very well and we are seeing results. Several of them accompanied us to the conference and I am sure that the spirit testified to their hearts of the truth. How lucky are we to learn from modern prophets. Amazing.
I love you so much! Keep being great!
Mi amigo mexicano siempre me decia -Cuando vayas cruzando el golfo en la lancha, asegúrate que tienes puesto el chaleco salvavidas. El mar se pone bravo a veces.-
Saturday, April 2, 2016
This week has been great! We don't have changes this week so we will be going strong for another six weeks! We are pretty excited and we hope that this change will be fruitful and full of spiritual progress in the group.
This week was full of hard work and we are doing are best to follow the Savior in His work. The elders from Golfito crossed the Dulce Gulf for divisions this week. We had a great time and learned and taught together. We went with them as well to help a member construct a little house out of logs and some nails. It was hard work and the sun had us sweating a lot, but we felt the Spirit of the Lord as we served each other.
This week Elder Carter and I have been running around trying to figure out how we were going to get General Conference set up for all the members to see. The sad truth is that if we don't do it, nobody else will. So we went to one of our investigators that owns a little hostel and asked him if we can have a room and bring in the members to watch the womens conferencewith the internet that he has there. He lent us the room and we set it all up so that the sisters could watch the conference. It worked out great and we are still working to figure out how the whole group will be watching the conference this next week.
We were walking down the street yesterday contacting some people and a german woman that lives here said "You know, you guys should take a break." It made me laugh so hard because we don't take breaks. She must see us walking around every day when everybody is in their house protecting themselves from the heat and the sun. The kingdom of God will roll forward! No time for rest haha. We get home each night and pass out in the bed after slamming a liter of water and sitting a couple of minutes in front of the fan. It is the most rewarding feeling to be so tired at the end of the day. May the Lord give us the strength to keep going.
I hope that you are all planning to hear a prophet's voice this weekend! General Conference! I know that the Lord will guide and direct us as we listen to His chosen servants.
I love you guys so much! Keep the faith!
I hope that all is well and that you are all doing great in everything that you do!
This week was great! Full of hard work and blessings!
Those references that we received from our member friend are so good. They are very humble and all live with dirt floors. One of the best families that we have been teaching is just great! They are some of those that are only "kept from the truth because they know not where to find it." Her husband and her were selling drugs to keep afloat and got caught and thrown in jail. She has been very hurt by her choices in the past and has had a big change of heart. She was in jail for several years and was pregnant when she was put in jail. Her son was born in jail and she wasn't able to be with him for years until she got released. When we taught her husband and her about repentance and baptism, the spirit testified that our words were true. We are working with them. They are so great!
The rest of the families that we are teaching are great too! Every family has been so receptive to the message of the restoration. I know that the Spirit is working hard in Puerto Jimenez.
Another family that we are teaching was completely prepared by the Lord. She had accepted the missionaries nine years ago and decided to stay in the church that she was in. Over the past year, things have been happening in her church and she had begun to question the truthfulness of it. She said that when she saw us walking through Puerto Jimenez, she began to feel like she wanted to hear our message once again, but she didn't talk to us. One day we were doing some street contacts and she was outside watering the bushes. We asked her if we could help her water her bushes and do some gardening and began to talk to her. The Lord guided us to her home. It always amazes me to see the hand of the Lord as He does His work. We are just His representatives.
I am coming to know that what Elder Cook taught when he visited our mission a short time ago is true. He said, "You are the message."... "Many people can feel the Spirit by just seeing you." I know that this is true not only for missionaries, but for all the members of the Lord's church. Christ taught "Ye are the light of the world. A city that is set on a hill cannot be hid." (Matt.) I know that as we live the gospel of Jesus Christ and become His desciples, the people will recognize us as such and the spirit will testify it to their hearts. The Lord will guide us to the children that He has prepared.
I love you all so much! Keep the faith! The kingdom of God is rolling forward!
Mi amigo mexicano siempre me decia "Hay que comer arroz y frijoles todos los dias."
Monday, March 14, 2016
I love you all so much!! Sounds like you are all having fun and knocking it out in school!
"And I saw another angel fly in the midst of heaven, having the everlasting to preach unto them that dwell on the earth, and to , and kindred, and tongue, and people." (Rev. 14:6) This week we saw part of the completion of this new testament prophecy. We went to preach the everlasting gospel to the Indians of Costa Rica. Their reservation is located the mountains of the rain forest on the peninsula. President Conejo took us up as far as he could in his car and we had to hike up the rest of the way. Boy was it a hike. You have to go straight up the rocky mountainside a couple of kilometers. Elder Carter and I had to stop for breaks. When we got to the top, we realized that we were soaked with sweat. Even our ties were soaked with sweat. We took with us as many Books of Mormon and we could haul along with pamphlets and pass along cards. These Indians are called Guaymi and they originate from Panama. So when we finally got to the first house on the reservation we pulled out the Book of Mormon and began to teach. I kid you not, the first woman we talked to said "I remember my grandfather telling me that Christ came to the Americas." Elder Carter and I looked at each other in awe. We got in contact with the tribe translator and we will see if we can get him to translate parts of the Book of Mormon and pamphlets to Guaymi. We are so excited!
The members here are amazing! They want so bad to help us in the missionary work. They are great member missionaries. A member invited us over to her house night for a little missionary activity. She said that she invited a family and that we were going to watch the movie "Joseph Smith: Prophet of the Restoration." So we went to the activity to teach with her and to our surprise she had invited 6 families. Real families. (Dad, Mom, and kids) There were over 30 people there. She ran the whole thing and it was amazing! We started out playing telephone- the game where you start with a message and pass it through all the people. The families were loving it. It was a hoot. Sure enough the message came out completely different and she used that the teach the importance of prophets. Then we went in the house to watch the movie. The people didn't even fit inside the house! It was the best thing I have seen in my mission. Afterwards my companion and I talked a little and got all of their information. It really was such a blessing and we are excited to teach them all.
The work is going well and we are happy! The Lord is blessing us a lot.
Mi amigo mexicano siempre me decia "Llevaremos al mundo Su verdad."
This week was great! We have been working really hard to get this ball rolling. Elder Carter is great! We are working well together and doing our best to teach some truth around here!
This week the group traveled to San Jose on a temple trip. The entire district went on the trip (all of the other branches). The group leader worked hard to be able to fill up that bus with faithful members to worship in the house of the Lord. The members filled up all twelve seats of a large van, and it turned out being little under half of all of the members that went from the entire district. These members here really do understand the meaning of sacrifice. You can just feel the pioneer spirit here and they are all very willing to do whatever they can to build the kingdom of God in this beautiful place. Many members live in very humble circumstances, so the 40 dollars per person fee round trip on the bus seemed to be impossible for almost each member of the group. They had been saving for months so that they could travel to the House of the Lord and worship there. Listen to this. They took off from here at 11 on Friday night, arrived in at the temple around 7 in the morning for a quick breakfast before entering the temple. After their time in the temple, they took off and arrived here in Puerto Jimenez late on Saturday night. What a big sacrifice to go to the temple. There were some members who didn't even have money for the bus the next morning to come to church. We are so blessed to live in Utah and to be surrounded by so many temples. It is sad that sometimes we don't take advantage of that great blessing that we have so close.
Sometimes, we go to a elderly sister's home to do service for her. She lives on a big farm and needs lots of help. We harvested yuca (a potato-like root), corn, and palm fruit. We also cut up and disposed of fallen banana trees on the farm. She need help feeding the pigs and cutting fire wood to be able to cook on her stove. She is starting to prepare for the rainy season, so we are helping her to have her farm ready. It is really hard work, but really fun too. We do it all with a machete haha. That is the tool that they use here. To be completely honest, it is one of the most ineffective tools that I can think of. In many cases an ax or other tool would be much more effective, but we work with what we have!
Earlier today, a gringo from Idaho took us up to see his farm. He is a member, and has had a farm here for quite a bit of time. It is really impressive though! From the farm you can see the entire peninsula and Dulce Gulf. He took us on a hike through the place and it is paradise. Waterfalls, monkeys, palm trees. I would not be one bit surprised if that was the Garden of Eden haha. We even saw a poison dart frog. This place is amazing!
On Sunday, there was an area wide stake conference broadcast in Central America. Basically, the internet in Puerto Jimenez is non-existent, so the quality of he transmission was poor. Presidente Conejo turned it off and called on my companion and I to share some words. I think these members are going to get sick of hearing us speak every week haha. Oh well, we just roll with the punches :)
I love you all! Keep the faith!
Mi amigo mexicano siempre me decía "algunos países tienen más costa que Costa Rica, pero no existe ninguna costa como la de Costa Rica."
Monday, February 29, 2016
How are you doing?! Let me just say.. hearing about all of you guys and your accomplishments is crazy. You guys are all-stars. I mean come on.. Conner.. the President of the Marriott School of Business! I didn't even know somebody could do that! Good on you dear brother! ¡Hay que echar fuego siempre! Nate in medical school totally tearing it up! Sounds like a pretty good dad if you ask me, giving little Robert a bath all the time. And Karli, pounding out those clinical s! Uuuusshh!! You guys are awesome and inspire me to be better each day!
This week was great! Really, I know that the Lord is smiling on this beautiful place in Costa Rica. What a blessing it is to be a part of this great latter-day work.
Elder Carter is such a great companion! We are working hard and praying hard that the Lord might work His mighty miracles here. I know that He is. Lately, I have been thinking a lot about our faith and the role of the Book of Mormon. Here in Puerto Jimenez, I feel like I am walking through the Great Apostasy. Honestly, these people are so confused about God, His nature, and what He wants for them. We talk to a person in the street about the restored gospel of Jesus Christ, and they have no idea what you are talking about. They don't know what Priesthood authority is, what a prophet is nor was, what the Bible is and where it came from. Like I said in my past letters, we have to be super basic. Nothing less than the brutal truth works with these people. So, Elder Carter and I talk to each man that we see, and tell them that God is calling them to be a worthy man, and to hold his power and authority to bless their family. We have been seeing good results with this approach.
We have some great families that are reading the Book of Mormon and praying about it. We are working hard with them.
Oh how important he Book of Mormon is. A second witness of the divinity of the risen Lord and Savior Jesus Christ and the doctrine that bears His name. We are so blessed to have the knowledge of the Book of Mormon and to be able to read and learn from it. We read with our investigators from the introduction of the Book of Mormon, "Those who gain this divine witness from the Holy Spirit will also come to know by the same power that Jesus Christ is the Savior of the world, that Joseph Smith is His revelator and prophet in these last days, and that The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints is the Lord’s kingdom once again established on the earth, preparatory to the Second Coming of the Messiah." What an amazing promise for each of us.
What I continue to realize more and more is that our church is not like any other church. It isn't like the rest. It will not teach you that you can pick and choose the commandments that you would like to follow. It will not teach you that faith is a passive word. You will not learn in our church that becoming a follower and desciple of Jesus Christ is easy and takes no effort. It teaches all of the contrary. This truly is the kingdom of God upon the face of the earth.
I love you guys so much!! Keep the faith! The church is true!
Mi amigo mexicano siempre me decia "El reino de Dios sobre la faz de la tierra."
Monday, February 22, 2016
How are all of you?! It sounds like you had a good time in St. George. Buying some new clothes for Gertrudecita hahaha ;) I hope that all is well with you and that everything goes well!
This week was great! Elder Carter and I are working really hard down here to get a branch. We have found a few issues in our path to get a branch, but we are moving forward and working around them. Puerto Jimenez is a touristy place, but the locals that live here are farmers and "people from the campo." So, most people are very uneducated and about half don't know how to read. Of those that know how to read, very few can afford the glasses they need to be able to read. So we have seen that the message of the restoration goes right over their head. So we have had to learn how to simplify everything that we teach. We are using a lot of diagrams, pictures, and other visual aids so that they can understand the message.
The evangelicals are thick down here. Really though. Each little neighborhood that we visit has it's own church built there. Sure enough, each night at sundown all you can hear in the streets is the loud singing and bands of the evangelical churches, accompanied by a few words from the Bible yelled into a microphone by pastor. These people just eat it up. It really is something remarkable. These people just like people to preach to them. Many times they don't really want to learn, or do anything, or have much responsibility. So when we show up and tell them that they really do have to keep that commandments, and that they really do have to go to church each week; they aren't very happy about it haha. We had an ivestigator come to church and he is a really good person. He has kind of a passive faith in Jesus Christ. After the services, he came to us and said that he thought is was boring. He said "nobody was clapping, preaching, or talking in tongues." Oh, side note, most of these churches fall on the ground and talk jibberish and they say that it is the gift of tongues and that it happens when they are full of the Spirit. So, as you can imagine, teaching somebody that the Spirit is a soft voice that prompts us and that we have to be listening for it doesn't really work in their head. Just a bunch of thick cultural differences that I attribute to the lack of education. However, in the end I think that it is a good thing. Almost everybody has faith in Jesus Christ that we can add too. We hav several families that are reading the Book of Mormon and praying to know of its truthfulness.
This week we had a miracle in church. Last week Elder Carter and I set a goal to have an attendance of 35 people. We worked hard all week, inviting everybody to church. Whencame the Lord blessed the group and we had 35 people there. There weren't enough seats in the place! So, Elder Carter and I had to stand in the back with an investigator because there was no place to sit. I spoke again. This time I spoke about following our leaders with faith. I think the memers enjoyed it. Some of the talks are just so dry. I try to do something to liven them up a bit. Next time I am starting with "a little seed began to grow..." haha.
This week we had a district activity on the beach. All of the priesthood came from the district to Jimenez and we ate some chicken and rice on the beach. We are just trying to get everyone excited about the missionary work here! Also, today we went to see the crocodiles on the edge of some murky bog. Pretty cooll! Usually you can throw meat to them and they will go after it. We didn't have any though. I am seeing lots of exotice wildlife. I've seen toucans, giant parrots called "lapas" ( in english I think they are called Macaws or something), and monkeys all over in the trees. Truly this is paradise!
I love you guys so much! Keep the faith!!