Tuesday, June 9, 2015

Rain, Floods, and Transfers

Dear Family,

Well first things first, this last friday we came home to our apartment after a very rainy day to find a good inch of water had entered our house!!!!!!!! In other words, we had a FLOOD.  All of my books were soaked including a lot of my clothes. Our neighbors helped us for a good hour soak up all the water with towels, wring the towels out, and then soak up more water. It was an adventure!
This week started the rainy season in Nicoya, it's been rainy a lot and there are now a lot of mosquitoes, but it was helping to prepare me for my new home...that's right, I had transfers today!  I am now in Guapiles, Limon which is on the other side of the country. My companion, Hna Miriel is going to train!!!!!  I was super sad to leave NIcoya, I love the branch and the members, but I'm ready to work hard here in my new area.  My new companion is a gringa.  Hermana Gucake from California (I think she's Polynesian though).  She seems really nice and friendly, she has only three months left in her mission.  I just arrived to my new area, so I can't say much about it, just that it's really green and it's in the city.

Last week during divisions my companion was able to put a baptism date with a teenager, Vanessa.  Her mom is a less active.  She came to church Sunday and we are hoping that she is going to be baptized at the end of this month.  I got news that one of the investigators I started teaching in Turrialba,  Yorleni, is going to get married and be baptized!  That was super exciting!

We have been finding SO many less actives than their part member families.  It's as if the Lord is hastening is work and bringing back those that have strayed from the path, because these last few weeks we have probably found ten less actives.  Many of them want to reactivate!!!!

I straightened my hair for the first time yesterday in one year, but as soon as I left the house it became curly again from the humidity. BAD IDEA!

Love you all!  Yes mom I received your package.  THANK YOU!!!!  I received some packages from Grandma too.  Thanks grandma!  I have been enjoying the chocolate and church news!

Love you love you love you. LES QUIERO!

In the next transfer the mission is going to be divided!

Hermana Bratt

My District in Nicoya and Santa Cruz

Foot tan from my leather shoes


Me and my companion

Me with Hermana Samayoa

My New Companion

Tuesday, June 2, 2015

Coincidence? I Think Not!

Dear Family,

Well Saturday and Sunday we had district conference in guanacaste.  Over the past few months the missionaries and members her have been working really hard to grow the church, and guess what! We are going to be a stake!!!! YEAH! 

Elder Alonso, from the Seventy attended the conference.  His talks were great! Dad: He told the leaders"A great ward council lasts only 15 mins. A good one 30 mins. One ok is 1 hour and one that is horrible lasts 2 hours."

I don't have much time today, my email time is cut short because we are going to see "Meet the Mormons" as a zone because our baptism numbers were high.  But here are a few little miracles that happened:

Yesterday we were walking to an investigators house in the dark and I was sending a text message. I was paying good attention to where we were going and when we reached the street of the investigator we turned down it and after a bit passed a car.  The man in the car greeted us "Hermanas!"  He then introduced himself as a member of the church from another branch.  There were some other people on the other side of the car and he told us that they are his sister and her kids, all members of the church but inactive.  He kind of invited us to get to know her and help her be active again.  The hermana, Ana Yansi, was a little reserved but we are planning on visiting her today or tomorrow. Afterwards we continued walking down the road and not until he got to the end of the street did I realize it was the wrong one! If we hadn't walked down the street at exactly that time we never would have met them!  Coincidence?  I think not!

Katalina, our recent convert has had a lot of problems in her work.  She's been living in her employers house and watching her child and cleaning the house, but her employer is exploiting her and not wanting to pay her.  Also she found out the her baby has to have open heart surgery.  So she can't working at her employer´s house anymore.  She didn't know what she was going to do for a while and was really scared.  But the Relief Society president told Katalina that she can live with her and her family.  It was a huge blessing and act of service. They live a little far away though so we are going to have to travel in bus and loose half the day when we visit her.

Ah!!!!! No time! Love you all!  Have fun in Mexico for me!

Hermana Bratt

Tuesday, May 26, 2015

New People! New Experiences!

Dear Family

I realized this week that when I decided to serve a mission I didn't have ANY idea what I was getting myself into.  It's hard sometimes, to be so accountable to the Lord.  One leaves high school where your biggest worry is if you are popular, or if you can get good grades, to a different country, where your worries suddenly quadruplify and become worries about the salvation and happiness of the people around you.  One has to grow up fast here!

I don't know how our Heavenly Father copes with agency.  This week we had two investigators, Nicole and Monserat, who had their baptism interviews and were ready to be baptized this Thursday. However when we passed by Sunday morning they told us they didn't want to come to church this week, as their grandmother, Beatriz, couldn't accompany them.  We tried to do everything possible to have them come, but nothing worked.  I wanted so much to shakle them with chains and drag them along.  It hard when people you love use their agency to choose something other than the Lord.
This week we found 25 new investigators, 13 of the yesterday. That was awesome!
One couple, Evelynn and Johnny, we walked past in the park and my companion paused to talk to them.  Evelynn seems really open and told us that she's seen our church and wanted to attend it before, she also told us that when we meet again she is going to bring two friends along with her. she and her boyfriend accepted a baptism date for the 4 of July.  They have to get married first, but they are really awesome!
Another person we found is Elisanias (or something like that).  He is the buisness partner of Nolasco, who is the first counselor in the branch presidency.  He told us that after 5 years Nolasco never had invited him to church, so we invited him and he came to church Sunday.
We also found another family that is REALLLLY interesting.  The wife, Yirlani is really quiet and her husband in the lesson wouldn't stop talking.  He told us that we have to be very frank and ask direct questions.  He also commanded us to "convince him of the truth".  They have four cute kids though, and gave us some yummy food.
About a month ago we started teaching 4 people that were related.  (Mom, son, cousin, and cousin in law).  The son, Amet, said he was a member, but yesterday we looke dup his records and couldn't find anything. We can only meet with them once a week.  When we do our lessons are always really great, and they are the perfect investigators during the lessons, asking awesome questions, accepting with only a few doubts what we say.  However they never keep committments  Every time we come by to visit more of Amet's family is there.  Yesterday we were teaching his extended family and friends, and they totaled about 10 people.  This week is district conference for Guanacaste.  The church is going to bus us to Liberia free, so we are hoping that they will join us.  They seemed really interested in coming.
Well, I'm sure I'm forgetting a lot of things, but I've got to go.  Love you all!!!!!! (Sorry, there aren't pictures this week, my computer con't send them)
Hermana Bratt

Tuesday, May 19, 2015

Short, But Sweet Week!

Dear Family,

This week's email is going to be short, sorry!

Katalina was baptized Saturday, it was a great baptism service!  My companion and I sang "Nearer my God to Thee"  and we had members give talks.  Katalina was so happy, we really saw how the Gospel changed her life!

We just got back from making pizza at the branch president's house.  It was sure yummy, and mine was definitely the yummiest!

Saturday a recent convert of the Elders brought his mom and brother to the Church for a lesson.  His mom could be his girl-friend, she looks so young! (He's 29, she's 38).  It was a great lesson, they accepted a baptism date for the 13th of June.  

We've been teaching a family that were Jehovah's Witness, well at least were studying with that religion for years.  The dad, Ronald came to church Sunday and in gospel principles we shared stories of times that our prayers were answered.  One investigating couple shared how the father doesn't have work right now, but that they have been praying a lot and know that he will receive work soon.  Then, after the class, I saw Ronald talking to them and telling the father that he could work in construction under him.  That was their answer to their prayer!

A drawing I did for an Hermana in my region

Katalina's Baptism

Making Pizza

Tuesday, May 12, 2015

This Work is AWESOME :)

Dear Family,

This week we weren't able to work in our area for 3 days due to that we got to go to San Jose for a monthly leadership conference and we had to go to Liberia twice for a zone conference, and divisions with the Sister Training Leaders there (on account that my companion couldn't come to san jose with us). That ment that I was with Hna Cook and her companion for a day!!! WOOOOOT :) (Woot is something all the missionaries say here.)

However, we were able to still see miracles this week!

One of which is Katalina, she is going to be baptized this Saturday, but because of conflicting schedules we weren't able to see her for a whole week. Which was a little worrisome. Saturday night we finally taught her a lesson, in which she broke down, crying about her trials and how she couldn't come to church the next day because of work. That lesson definitely lasted more than an hour, but by the end through testifying and sharing our love she was able to have the courage to tell her boss she couldn't work. Yesterday she was ready to come to church when her baby fell and her head cut open. Katalina had to rush her to the hospital, but luckily the hospital is across the street from the church and so she was able to arrive...45 mins late, but she got here!

Then in relief society she shared her testimony about the Book of Mormon and how God answerse prayers. One day, after we invited her to baptism she prayed to know what she should do, opened the Book of Mormon to a random page and read:
  3 Nephi 23:5 And whosoever will hearken unto my words and repenteth and isbaptized, the same shall be saved. Search the prophets, for many there be thattestify of these things.
It was so spritually rewarding. This work really is the best!
IT WAS SO GREAT TO SEE YOU ALL YESTERDAY! I'm not ready to come home, but I can't wait to see you again in 6.5 months!  Miss you guys!  Thank you for your love and support!
Hermana Bratt

Divisions with Hermana Cook

My New Name Tag!

Tuesday, May 5, 2015

Finding Inactives and New Investigators Through Miracles

Dear Family,
Well, all in all this week has been great.  We have had a lot of rain. FINALLY.  After my last area I never wnated to see rain again, until I came hear and was under the hot sun all day long.  It's been nice because the rain makes it a little cooler usually, sometimes there's more humidity though and so it's even hotter.
This week we've seen a lot of miracles in finding inactives.  We've been focusing a lot of finding new investigators, and almost everyday we found new investigators, only to find out that they actually were already baptized in the church.  We are working now on reactivating 4 new inactives each with their own families. We are hoping to be able to convert their families as well. :)
Speaking of inactivse, guess what! Beatriz is actually a member.  We have been teaching her for more than a month and she was super excited about her baptism, but about 3 days ago she commented:  I was baptized in the mormon church a long time ago...WHAT!  At first we didn-t beleive her because she doesn-t have a very good memory,but it turns out that she is a member.  We laughed for the rest of the lesson.  So she wont be getting baptized this month,. one less option for a goal of 7 baptisms, but I guess its a good thing we found out now rather than after the baptism.  Her grandaughter Monserat is going to be baptized the 23rd.  We also met three of her other grandkids.  Nicole, Sharon, and Jean Carlos.  All of them want to be baptized the 8th of June.  Sharon, the oldest, is 16 and she is awesome.  When we met her we had such a Spirit filled lesson.  We finished the opening hymn and prayer and the next thing I knew she was bawling.
We have been trying to use stragem to convert our cook, Hermana Marisol, and her family.  They are really catholic, but amazing people.  Today we are going to have a family night and teaach them about the Plan of Salvation.
Yesterday we had a goal to find 5 new investigators. At about 7:30 pm we still hadn't found a single one, so we said a prayer and asked God to put a famliy that was prepared in our pathway as we walked in the street towards the church.  Well, about a minute after the prayer we passed a couple sitting outside of their house. My companion and Iwere both sure that hte missionaries had already talked to them, because they live really close to our house.  We walked past them without saying anything, but I felt prompted to return and talk to them.  I think my companion said "Hi, we are missionaries.  Can we share a message with you?"  And well, they said yes, let us in, and after a super short but great lesson they accepted a baptism  date for the 30th of May.  The funny thing is that the girl friend, Marielos, is someone that we have contaced in the street many times.  We've even had appointments set to teach her, but both times that we passed by her house she hid from us or said she was Catholic.  Well yesterday she was a little embarassed to recieve us, but her boyfriend was very welcoming and she warmed up to us as well afterwards.  Hopefully this time she listens to God's call!
We have been teaching two parents and their daughter.  Ronald, Sigri, and Pricila.  Sigri and Pricila were Jehovah's Witness and Catholics before and so they have a lot different beliefs that are making it difficult for them to acheive a testimony of the resotred gospel.  But they have both come to church and are progressing slowly.  I think they'll be baptized soon.

Katalina coudnt come to church this wee because of work, so she won-t be getting baptized this Saturday.  We were a little bit bummed.  It was definitely the opposicion working against us!  We are planning her baptism for the 16th.
This week we had 43 lessons!  YAY!  I finally had more than 40, now we will have to shoot for 50 ;). 
Costa Rica is so amazing!
Love you all!
Oh, and last but not least.  I am shooting for calling home Sunday at 4, but it could be anywhere between 3:30 and 4:30.  Is that alright with you guys if not please send tell me within 20 mins!  Also, can I have your skype user ID again?
Hermana Bratt

Tuesday, April 28, 2015

Miracles and Apostasy

Dear Family,
Well this week we focused sooo hard on helping Nidia to be baptized.  She was really excited at first and then she started making up excuses for why she couldn't see us and told us that she didn't feel prepared.  It was a little frustrating and sad.  However, we are picking ourselves up again and starting over. 
Now, ready for the miracle?  Our investigator Katalina is going to be baptized the 9th of May. I've aready told you a bit about her, but let me tell you her story: 
About a month ago we were walking down a street when I noticed a woman sitting in her house entrance holding a baby.  She smiled at us when we walked past , but we lept on walking.  we were searching for a house of a referral.  The referral wasn't home so when we returned down the street my companion and I both felt the impression to talk to the woman with the baby.  Well it turns out the Katalina told us that her cousin was a member and that he had told her that he was oging to send the elders over to talk to her about the gospel.  The next day we showed up unexpectedly!  To which I am very greatful, because if we hadn't shown up the elders would have taught her.  Not that it matters if the elders or the hermanas teach someone the gospel, but I feel that we were meant to teach her because we canr relate to her problems better than the elders.  She's really great.
Yesterday she came to church and told us that her daughter was sick and that she had a dream the night before of hands on her baby's head and asked if we gave prayers that way. And so...last night the elders passed her house to give her baby a blessing!  It's amazing the evidence you can see everyday of the existence of God.
We also had two other investigators come to church. One was Sigri who was a Jehovahs witness and when we teach her she talks sooo much and asks SO many questions, but she progressing little by little. The other investigator is Beatriz. Beatriz is an investigator we've been teaching for about a month as well.  She learns really really slowly.  One night she couldn't learn the word apostasy (apostasia) and so we all started saying the word together.  By the end we were chanting "Apostasia! Apostasia!"  (Yes, it was as bad as it sounds!) but gave my companion and I a good laugh afterwards.
What else...we had a multizone conference with President Wilkinson.  They made us breakfast and afterwards we capacitated us about how to plan and teach well.  It was amazing and I think we are now going to improve our teaching a ton.
Well I think that's it for now.  Love you all to the moon and back!
Hermana Bratt

Agiant iguana.  Really it was giant and
just chillin' in the park.  It was probably 5 feet long with it's tail.

Presidente Wilkinson's Birthday