Monday, August 25, 2014

Elder Henry is in Costa Rica! "I don't even know where to begin..."

Welcome to Costa Rica! Catholic celebration/parade of All Saints Day festivities.
Mission Parents, the Wilkinsons

First off, I have no idea where the apostrophe is on this keyboard and where the colon is, so no smiley faces or apostrophes for me...

Soo I'm in Costa Rica.. haha its so crazy to think I'm in a foreign country and its also crazy to think that I've only been here a week. My companion is Elder Ritchie and the zone leaders, Elder Johnson and Garcia live with us in the apartment. We have a district of 8, 4 elders and 4 sisters. I only have met 2 of the sisters but one of them is from the thirty of us that came in so I'm not the only newbie in the district haha
(from left: trainer ("Dad"), Elder Henry, Trainer's trainer ("Grandpa"))

Oh I'm in San Ramon. Its pretty nice... way nicer than I expected for sure! We have a hot (most of the time) shower, we have an AMAZING (my cumpanero tells me that shes way better than normal) cocinera who cooks us lunch (big meal of the day) Tuesday-Saturday and also our ward mission leader Andres brings us something to eat every morning, like a baguette or some other bready thing. Andres, the ward mission leader, is just a total fireball. He comes out with us for at least a couple hours every single day and he organizes a lot of stuff for us. Oh man I just cant even describe he's like really great (I found the apostrophe by the way) and he's planning on going off to serve a mission in a few months as well.

There aren't that many dogs in the street and most of the ones that are just beg, they don't jump on us or anything so that's nice. I have fallen to the grand temptation of petting them a few times, but it's always been dogs with an owner that don't just wander into the streets and everything so they were pretty much clean. We're definitely not in the ghetto, I'm not super sure how well off our area is compared to other areas. I prepared myself for cold showers, dead dogs in the streets, sleeping with cockroaches, and seeing people running around with chicken blood on their heads (that was his brother's mission), so I don't really feel culture shocked... it's all pretty normal I feel like... We do eat rice and beans with every lunch but there's always plenty more with it. I always get super sleepy after lunch because it's way more than I'm used to eating in a sitting haha. We walk a super ton of course...Oh, the furniture here is horrible in 95% of peoples homes (he was a furniture salesman before his mission), but some things we just have to struggle on through haha. I don't know much but I'm learning more each day. The walking isn't as bad as I thought it would be, either, as in I just don't mind it much (except Saturday haha). I have had some interesting.. experiences adjusting to the diet here but hopefully those pass. Yesterday I ate plain peanut butter for about half an hour because A. we didn't have dinner but more importantly B. its peanut butter.
With the Elders in his apartment and Sister Chacon, who's daughter in law grew up in our ward!

Elder Ritchie is cool as in I don't have any beefs with him (oh he's a gringo by the way) but I have been so focused on trying to learn everything that we haven't really gotten to know each other super well yet. Especially since outside of the house we try to only talk in Spanish. Elder Ritchie is from near Idaho Falls Idaho, 1 older brother and 2 younger, aaand yeah. He went to one semester of college before the age change then he vroom vroomed on out here. He's really good at telling people what they need to do commitment wise and Im good at explaining why so once I learn the language we should compliment each other very well in lessons.

OH funny story, we were at a lesson and the guys wife was playing Plants vs. Zombies, so I told them about dad, and they like FREAKED out they thought it was sooo awesome! it was hilarious!

So on Saturday we played futbol (soccer for you Americans out there) with the youth and can I just say that I absolutely adore futbol and I'm so excited for when me and Coby are both back home and we can sit around talking about futbol together hahaha. BUT, that game totally trashed me because we were playing like full field because we had like 20 people playing. Then later that day we walked super far to an investigator (we didn't know there was a bus and we weren't sure where they lived) so we walked just suuuper far there although we caught a bus back and I was so tired and cold because I got sunburned that day that I threw my sweater on and then I slept in my church clothes, top button still buttoned and everything. That was really weird waking up on Sunday haha. Then Sunday was super rough because I was way tired from Saturday. BUT, I feel way better today and feel like my muscles are finally getting used to the routine so fear not. We aren't really doing anything today which I am totally down with because I just want a day to get everything in order haha. We already cleaned the apt and oh, good news my comp is a very clean person unlike the missionaries next door haha.

There's a quote in Preach My Gospel, page 11, that says "When you have done your very best, you may still experience disappointments, but you will not be disappointed in yourself." The only day I felt disappointed in myself way sunday, this quote is way true. It's totally my go to pick-me-up quote. There's just so much significance to those words, especially on a mission! Another quote, on the same topic in the opposite lighting, says the following (no colon...) "If you lower your expectations, your effectiveness will decrease." There is a difference between lowering expectations and lowering goals. Goals are supposed to be benchmarks which you know that you can achieve with all your effort and a whole lot of help from the Holy Ghost. Expectations for me are more long term, internal goals on how I should be progressing in my mission. If I lower those, can you imagine how ineffective of a missionary I would be? A missionary who isn't trying to meet goals of personal growth is a missionary who will quickly reach the capacity of how he can help others! So that quote speaks to me a lot also.

We have two golden investigators (they're married, so on paper its like one sheet but you get what I mean). R and N. They are truly humbled before the Lord and it's wild. We walked into my first lesson with them and Rstarts summarizing all the doctrine that he read in his homework assignment. HOLY COW!!! R has it figured out. Our role as missionaries is to set them on the right path with the right tools to discover the truth and change their lives. We can't do it for them. They gladly accept commitments, in fact R wanted to learn MORE about covenants and commandments! He is a man who understands that covenants and commandments of the Lord are there for our benefit, not detriment.

Oh, by the way addresses literally don't exist here. Like, the mission home's address was something like "50 meters to the left behind McDonalds by etc..." haha it's insane. Most people have cell phones though so we just kind of get that as our reliable contact info for them.  I'm starting to pick up on a few landmarks. Everything is different as far as learning directions when you're walking around all day; I feel that it's difficult not to start to make connections after a while!

It's almost funny to me when I think about the fact that I didn't really have a testimony of the Book of Mormon before I came out on my mission. I knew it was true, through logical discernment by the fruits of the church and my testimony of other things, but I didn't have a testimony that it was true. Testimony and knowledge are different things with different purposes. Knowledge is useful to guide our decisions by being enlightened, but it does not inherently demand any action. Testimony on the other hand, a testimony of something demands that you do something. Maybe it's devoting two years of your life to help others gain the testimony you have, or maybe it's praying. Either way, a testimony is spiritual knowledge which drives us to desire action. That's what I've gained of the Book of Mormon on my mission. It's a true book, with the words of true prophets of God in it. In my study journal I have written "The Book of Mormon was compiled and translated solely by true prophets of God." How different that is from books of this world. The truth of the Book of Mormon extends beyond the words on the pages. It emanates a spirit of truth, and all we have to do is open our hearts to realize that it is a book of scripture. Both the beginning and the end of the book speak about the ultimate way to dispel confusion and doubt, which is prayer. Moroni's promise holds true for all. If we study, ponder, and pray with sincere hearts and real intent, God will tell us what is and isn't true in this world. And in a world where misinformation is the norm, in a world where lies are justified as a means to a supposedly better end, prayer is what will help us discern what is true and what isn't. Knowledge can be twisted and turned and misused and confused, but testimony is constant.

OH we heard in church yesterday that theres a Gringo community around (we have 2 non Spanish speakers in our ward) and so we're going to go try and start an English branch!!! HOW FUNNY WOULD THAT BE?!?!?! But it should be good for a lot of reasons.
1. teach a Spanish class which will help my Spanish
2. they can understand me haha
3. re-energize the area
4. They don't have any other churches to go to so they should be pretty willing to come!

I love and miss you all, especially my cats...
My study buddy These guys hang out all around the house, I'm fairly sure they're harmless and I think we keep them around because they eat other bugs. They look a lot like the daddy long legs back home. (Love you Mom)

The view

First rain he experienced

MTC Teacher Maestro Holman he looked up to SO much

Sweater day at the MTC
Elder Tullis the tennis master playing some table tennis (he was Utah state champ in tennis for two years)
His bedroom
 One of the largest groups of LDS Missionaries to arrive in Costa Rica, at the airport! (thanks Sis Wilkinson!)

No comments:

Post a Comment