Bueno, estoy en el verano aquí. Que terrible! (Well, I am in summer here. How terrible!) It´s really not too bad the weather, windyyy, and hot, and dry kind of like our fall or spring when we have lots of wind.
We haven't had a good soaker for a while now. It is weird to think you all are having cold weather, snow, frost, etc. It´s very good to hear from you all. I haven´t received any letters since the 3rd and don´t know if or when I´ll receive more mail. I don´t expect to be able to go to San José to pick up my mail personally any time soon, though we have letters stating that zone leaders pick up the mail and divy it out once a month. It is assumed that missionaries have been robbing mail from the office and several elders are missing packages. Because of this issue our mission may deny us of receiving any packages. Don´t know fully how that all works out. I am going to remain steadfast in the faith that I will yet receive all that you have sent, if not I will make do. He will provide a way.
Good to hear about the progress of school for the school goers, especially starting woods (woodshop) soon. We helped the member sand some benches he had made, but haven´t had the ability of a return visit so far. Good to hear plans and life are moving progressively along back home.
I got a story to tell. We had our district meeting last week but there was a strange and yet familiar smell in the church. Eventually one of the hermanas (sister missionaries) discovered a mofeta, or good for nothing skunk, in a trash can! I was all grins and giggles as they, mainly my companion, tried to get the trash can out the door. I really started having strange cramps in my abs as my companion stated that the skunk had got a direct hit on the cuff of his pants. By then my eyes were watering too. They don´t have any idea just how bad it can really get :) (He and his older brother have trapped a lot of skunks around home.)
My tooth that chipped is the same that chipped before, and it chipped a day after having it fixed and chipped even more this morning. I heard a strange pop, and had a piece of tooth in my mouth early this morning. I don´t know for sure what happened but I must have been chewing cud like a cow or something in my sleep. All well. We´ll get ´er repaired otra vez (again) next time I´m in San José. Our neighbor cut our hair.
So true the statements you sent me about forgiveness and unity. (How is the unity coming? My Primary lesson today was on forgiving others as Jesus did, even those who aren't repentant and have hurt us deeply. Last week Bro. K. talked to the Primary children about the 'mote' in others verses the 'beam' in ourselves. Sometimes lack of unity is due to us being judgmental and keeping offenses rather than forgiving. I guess for all of us unity comes as we each strive to live the teachings of the Savior, as we actually strive to do as he taught, as we each apply in our lives and families the reading of scriptures, praying, etc.) I don´t see as of yet a whole lot of movement among the members to change. We´ll see. Good to hear from Bro. Schern in a round about way.
Just about everyone here in Costa Rica has an I-phone but internet is limited. We go to an internet/computer shop, kind of like a library. Yes I´ve heard a little about earthquakes and volcanoes, supposedly my companion felt a few, but I haven´t as of yet. We aren´t being readily affected by those problems. I do want to tell everyone that I´ve seen star fruit down here. They grow on large trees and look like large versions of the Japanese lantern weeds we have. I have also seen a gourd tree.
During one personal study I read a talk by Elder Ballard, "Following Up." In this there was an invitation to all members to have a PMG (Preach My Gospel manual) and read and study from it and put it into action in our lives, and an invitation to invite a friend once a quarter in the year to take lessons with the missionaries. I think you all are doing pretty well with this but this might be a good talk to review.
I had one day last week where I felt physically fine but the spirit was weak. I left my studies when I found a quote somewhere about increasing our faith in Christ requires that we express gratitude to Him. At this point I got on my knees asking for help to feel the spirit and have success and move forward, really gaining and reating a testimony of Christ and having Faith in Him. I had a prompting come to my mind to ask for help to have success in the Field of my Father as I had in the field of my father or the ranch. My thoughts continued to build and connect. If David could have success while on the errand of his father to tend the sheep and also have success in the battle of Our Lord I believe I can too. So I began to liken everything here in the mission back to my experiences on the farm a fin de que yo puedo tener felicidad (so that I can have happiness) and success and enjoy every step of the way. I wrote, "The end goal or purpose in sight is the Harvest in which we take much joy and pleasure; The steps along the way make it possible and the reward at the end even more joyous. Planning = Fulfilling our Purpose= Reaching Our Potential.
For Sunday I was then asked to give a talk. I used our topic we were planning on teaching to one of our most active investigators, L., as my guide: Keeping the Sabbath day Holy and developing Faith in Christ. I likened it to my relationship with dad at the ranch. First I started with faith to lead into what would be the desired outcome. Everyday at the ranch I was given a task to do, every day I accomplished what was expected or at least tried. Why? I did it to please my father and also because I knew good things would always be the outcome. Sometimes I, or we, don´t know exactly why specific things are asked of us, but if we act in faith, on the hopes and knowledge we have received from past experiences and outcomes, we will in some future time find out to what end the task was given. I have found that the tasks given to me at the ranch were given to help me gain a relationship with God and Christ and the Holy Ghost, gain a testimony of prayer, and Be obedient. While I was about the work of my father, I also came to gain a closer relationship, love, and trust for him. This is all the same with Our Heavenly Father. If we act in faith on the commandments and the promises given, knowing and hoping we will receive, we will in the end gain a relationship with Him because we were about his work. I further shared, in the actual lesson with L., one of the blessings that came to our family as my father tried to keep the Sabbath day holy was that we as a family grew more united, received more happiness, and a way was provided to keep the cows fed. What is the best outcome of all this learning I had to do and got to share? L. said, "What time is church? I have time today and I want to come." He came. So as we teach, through example, experiences, testimony, love, and the Spirit those with whom we interact will gain their own desire to "taste of the goodness of the fruit" we have tasted.
I love you all family, your examples, and your willingness to be a part of my mission work both here and there, through your own experiences and those I am blessed to remember and share and grow upon. I know He loves us and He is with us as we really put into practice the gospel, because we have a desire to know for ourselves, not simply do it because we have "seen" the fruit and think it is good, but because we want also to taste of the fruit for ourselves To Know it is good. May all continue well at home. Love you lots.
Hope it all makes sense and is uplifting; it worked for me. Thanks again for all you do for me!