Monday, July 14, 2014

First Week in Costa Rica!

Dear Mom (and everyone else),

Well, I'm here and safe! But before I tell you about my first week in Costa Rica I have to tell you about my last week in the MTC!!! (I know, a little boring, sorry).

Okay, I already told Mom this when I called her between flights, but my companions and I had the opportunity to speak in mission conference in the MTC in front of 2000 plus missionaries!  It was pretty nerve wracking, and it wasn't even a real talk, we were just on a panel with Presdient Nally and he asked us questions.  One of the times I answered I said I had two points and then I could only remember my first point once I started talking, so I had to say that I forgot what I was going to say!  A little embarrassing, as everyone laughed, but it was alright.  We had to get up at 2 am to catch our flight to Dallas and then to Costa Rica.  It was a long day, but I loved being able to talk to you all! (Some of you siblings I wanted to call because I had extra time, but i didn't have your numbers.)

My first night in Costa Rica, my companions and I stayed at another Hermana's house.  The Hermanas both were Latina.  One kind of spoke English, though, so that was good.  The next day we had to get up at 5 and after waiting around the mission office doing paperwork until 2ish we finally went out on divisions.  I was with the two Hermanas whose house I stayed at.  They were both really nice, though I did feel a little lost with all the new things and how nothing felt very organized.  The Hermanas are great missionaries, though, Hermana Piza was one of their names, I don't remember the other girls!  They took me to a neighborhood that in the past sisters that aren't Latinas aren't supposed to visit...I didn't know until after though.  But don't worry Mom! Nothing bad happened at all.  Then around six it got dark and I changed companions and went with a sister that probably has gone home by now, Hermana Pease.  We went to a park and contacted people.  It was kinda nerve wracking because she had me talk a lot more than the other Hermanas did, but it was great too.

The next day I had to get up at 5 again, I don't know why, because they took us to the mission office where we all sat around for two hours (or slept) until we walked to the president's house and had a yummy breakfast.  And then after breakfast I received my new companion!  Her name is Hermana Muñoz.  She is super sweet and has been a trainer before.  So far we've gotten along great!  She is from Mexico.  We then got on a bus to Turialba! (I hope I spelled that right).  Its a town in a valley of mountains about two hours away from San Jose.  The first few days all it did was rain!  Not until yesterday did I even see blue sky, and I still haven't seen the sun. 

We have only received one new investigator since I've been here, the daughter of an investigator, Rosa, that we visit every day.  Rosa would be baptized by now, but she has trouble smoking.  She used to smoke ten cigarettes a day and is down to 3 now, so that's progress!  The people here are all really great, and Turialba is really pretty.  Sometimes I can feel homesickness lurking in the back of my heart, but I brush it away!  Because its not going to help anyone if I'm homesick!  So thus far I haven't gotten too lonely or sad, which is good!  One thing that's kinda difficult getting used to is the culture.  The people of Costa Rica are so friendly, but they are definitely not from the US.  I haven't gotten sick yet miraculously, though i have eaten in some pretty sketchy places.

Another thing that is a work in progress is not wasting time, because when we eat in members houses we are only supposed to be there an hour, but what usually happens is we get there at the assigned time, and then we don't eat for two hours later!  For example, we were invited to the house of a member, Maria, so that we could eat dinner and then share a message with her neighbors that were going to come eat as well.  Well, her house was an hour away bus ride.  Most of the houses here are a lot nicer than I thought they would be, but her family live in a house made out of ply board (If that's how its called) with a tin roof.  Dirt was everywhere, their bathroom was outside underneath a tarp.  However the food, though probably filled with germs, was good!  And don't worry family, I ate it all without complaining and hopefully with a happy face on.  We didn't eat for two hours, though, and when the neighbors came the Elders turned on the John Tanner story for them.  Which was a little weird for me, since its a story that doesnt make too much sense if you aren't a member.  Plus everyone, even the member family was talking during the movie.  Satan was definitely working, because during the part of the movie that is the most powerful everyone stopped paying attention!  Twice!  Because we watched the movie again afterwards when new neighbors came over.  We did get one good referral, so the night wasn't a waste though.

Yesterday we were invited to eat with Hermano John.  I was excited at first because he is from the United States.  Little did I know that it was an hour bus ride and then a two mile HIKE to his house.  Since it wasSunday, I wore nice shoes (my dancecos).  Even though Hermano John gave me band aids by the time I got to his house I had really bad blisters.  And that hike was steep a lot of the way!  His wife wasn't home and so he made us dinner.  I was expecting something nice, but guess what we all got to eat? A sandwich with a bunch of mayo on it and tomatoes.  The Elders weren't too excited about that.  But my companion and I had been fasting for an investigator and a recent convert.  That combined with the two mile hike made it the best tomato and mayo sandwich I've ever had (and hopefully WILL ever have)!  The investigators didn't show up though, so we didn't get much done yesterday.

On the bus ride home I sat by a woman named Elizabeth, she was soooo cute and nice and strong in her faith of Jesus Christ.  I got her number and we are going to call her tomorrow.  I really hope she can be a new investigator, because we need more women like her in the church!

Today for Pday we went fishing!  It was sooo pretty, I felt like I was in the Amazon.  However the fish weren't biting too much.  I caught the most out of all the missionaries though!  I got five, Elder Acuna got 1, Elder Sorensen, the district leader, and my companion didn't catch any.

I forgot to bring my mailing address, so I can' leave you with that sorry!  But if you do send any packages in the mail later on make sure you send them through the regular post office not fedex or ups, because if you do there is a huge tax, and I might never get them.  Also if you send a package, only ever write that it contains missionary supplies or clothes.  Never anything about makeup or medical things, because they love taxing for those things.

I love you all, thank you for your emails and letters.  I received 5 packages at the same time at the MTC last Friday. Made me feel sooo Special, so thank you Mom, Grandma, and Julie, for those!  I'm well and doing great!  Sorry if things don't make sense, I'm typing on a Spanish keyboard and its really difficult!

Hermana Bratt

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