Tuesday, August 26, 2014

Week 7!

Dear Everyone,

Upe, Buenas!  That's what everyone here says to announce themselves when they come to your door, rather than knocking on it.  Not that I'm at your front door, but hopefully you get the idea :)

How has everything been?  Thank you for all the love and emails I get each week.  I can feel your prayers everyday!

News for this week,  hmmm, well we have a new district leader, Elder Sub, now that Elder Sorensen has returned home, so it's been interesting to get to know him.  Elder Sub is from Guatemala and is pretty short, been out a year, and is very dedicated to the work.  We promised to buy us pizza if we found two new people and did twenty LPE's.  The second day of his challenge we found 5 new people!  So he gets to buy us pizza now :)  Sadly, the pizza here ALWAYS has ham on it.  It can have other things too, but it ALWAYS has ham on it.  I don't think a simple cheese pizza or pepperoni pizza exists.  

We visited Rosa a few times this week, but as a recent convert!!!  It was pretty exciting. Not many people showed up at her baptism, and she still doesn't know too many people at church, but we are working on fixing that.

This week we taught Raquel and Alejandro a bunch.  I found out their real ages.  21 and 35.  Raquel already has 4 kids and she's only two years older than me!  Alejandro and Raquel moved to Alejandro's brothers house, which is quite a bit better than their previous house.  We were able to teach Alejandro's brother and nephew as well, their whole family is just great.    However Satan always throws stones in our path.  Grrr.  Alejandro and Raquel aren't married yet, but when we talk about marriage to Raquel she says that she want's to get married but Alejandro doesn't, and when we talk about marriage to Alejandro he says he wants to get married, but Raquel doesn't.  Then when we talk about marriage with both of them present they both say they don't want to get married!  Raquel and her kids finally attended church!!!!!  Though Alejandro hasn't yet.  I only hope Raquel will return, because her kids were kinda crazy during the three hours and hard to handle.

The first part of this week we weren't able to teach very many people, but ThursdayFriday, and Saturday were great days!

My biggest miracle for the week was how we found the new investigators!  Early this week an 11 year old girl, Carolina, came up to us and started talking and asking questions about who we were and what we were doing in Turrialba.  We started chatting with her and she gave us the name of her aunt as a referral. n Well Thursday we contacted her aunts family and made an appointment for Friday at 5:30.  On Friday a lot of our plans fell through and so we didn't have any families to teach before Carolina's aunt.  Deciding to contact LPE's we called a woman, Marlen, that we had contacted about a month earlier and hadn't talked to since.  I called her and asked if she was home and if we could visit her.  She was very happy to hear from us and said that we had already contacted her sister, whom she'd given us as a referral a month prior.  We didn't remember contacting her sister, so were confused, but followed her directions to her house.  An d guess what!  Her house was next to the house of Carolina's aunt, and it turns out the Carolina's aunt is Marlen's sister!

In the end we were able to teach Marlen, who's having difficulties in her life.  The Spirit was so so so strong and powerful.  I felt so much love for Marlen, who a month earlier was an LPE that didn't seem too important to visit.  After we also were able to teach Marlen's sister, Maria and her husband Rolando.  Their lesson also was really good, and in one day we got five dates for baptism! 

On Friday I also felt really achy all day and had a temperature of 100.9 when I checked after I returned home.  But luckily I took medicine and on Saturday felt completely fine:) ---so don't worry mom!

Other news?  We have an investigator, Daniela, who is 14 and ready to be baptized this Saturday, but her Grandmother doesn't want her to be, so we aren't sure if she will be.  Her half sister is already a member, and she has a lot of friends in the church. We´re praying that her grandmother will change her mind!  

All's well here.  I'm doing great and, though I miss you all of course, am not suffering from home sickness, stress, or anxiety.  Life's great, I'm great, and I love the Gospel!!!!!!!!!!!

Pura Vida!!!
Hermana Bratt

Hna Munoz trying to cut the grass of Maria and Rolando...and failing

Me last p-day

Monday, August 18, 2014

Week 6!

Dear Fam,

This email is going to be super short because I only have ten minutes to write!  

It was our district president's last p-day here  so we went all out and basically had four p-days in one.  We woke up at 3 am and drove with a member, Alejandro, to the base of an active volcano!  We then hiked for about an hour and 20 minutes to the top, but it was really foggy so we were only able to see the actual opening of the volcano for 2 seconds.

After, we drove to Guayabo, a historical site of ancient americans.  That was really cool and interesting to see!  Then we drove to a river and spent an hour or so throwing rocks in the water, etc.  Finally on or way back to Turrialba we stopped at some botanic gardens.  They had trees and flowers from all over the world, it was really cool!  Anyway, we didn't return until five fifteen and p-day ends at 6. Ahh!

News for this week?  Rosa was baptized!!!!!!   Her baptism was actually at 6 pm on Saturday so it was already dark outside, which was a little weird, but the baptism was great!   Ahh, Iove Rosa!

NOthing much else happened, but one miracle is that we were going to drop un investigator, but one day we had no one else to visit so we decided to visit Sileni, and guess what?  We foulnd out in the five months she's been taught my missionaries she's never been given a Book of Mormon! I guess Hna Munoz thought that the pervious missionaries gave her a book of Mormon, but they didn't.  Anyway, we gave her one, and hopefully she's start progressing now!

Don't have anymore time, but love you all!  Sounds like you are having a blast!

Hermana Bratt

Monday, August 11, 2014

Week Five

Dear Fam,
Hmm, what can I say for this week?  There hasn't been anything toooooo exciting or different happen, but it's been a pretty good week all the same.  We had divisions on Wednesday and so I went to Concepcion which is about an hour an a half away and stayed with Hermana Burningham.  She's from Utah, but only talked to me in English maybe twice.  She's a great sister training leader though.  We had divisions this week, which were nice.  At first I was a bit intimidated with Hermana Burningham, I don't know why, but she's a great sister training leader.  I was a tiny bit surprised to find that I missed my companion a lot when we separated for divisions, but it was a nice surprise!

Some of the things we need to do better are always have a copy of Book of Mormon with us.  I've been keeping an extra copy in my bag for the last few days, just in case the opportunity arises and I can give it to someone.  We also need to keep on top of our area book, and we spent about two hours yesterday updating everything.  We had only updated it once since I've been here, but don't worry, I'm going to make sure we do it each night from now on! Concepcion is colder than Turrialba, I had to sleep with an actual blanket!  Also there are a TON of small hills so the whole two days I was there all I did was walk up and down and up and down them.  My legs definitely got a work out.

We usually only teach 15-18 lessons in a week, and the Elders in our district leach at least 30 a week.  I think one of the reasons we don't have a ton of success is because our lessons are an hour or longer.  However we're going to change that.  We have to!!!  President Wilkinson says that they shouldn't be more than 30 minutes.  The problem is my companion, though a great teacher, loves to talk, and I don't understand enough to know how I can interrupt them and explain things faster and with more simplicity.  It's a work in progress I guess.
We haven't had Rosa's baptism yet, even though every letter I've written I've said we are going to on Saturday!  The problem was her family couldn't make it this Saturday, so right now we are planning to have her Baptism this Saturday.  I hope it works out!
My Miracle for the week:  Hermana Burningham had Honey Bunches of Oats Cereal.. Mmmm so yummy.  No, but we really have had real miracles.  For example, one day Hermana Burningham, one of her companions (she's in a trio) and I were in the bus.  We all were sitting in different seats and a family of three got on the bus.  There were a lot of empty seats by other people, but each one of them decided to sit by one of us.  We all had the opportunity to chat with one person of the family!  I don't know if anything will come of it, but it was a cool 'coincidence´.
Another cool experience is that there's a hermano in the church, Eloi, who is very very friendly and always happy.  He's been a convert of three years and has had a lot of problems.  His body is twisted a little, and so though he can walk he can't do much else.  We've never had him participate in lessons with investigators before, but I decided to ask him if he would accompany us to teach Sileni.  Sileni is a woman who lives alone and her house is always sad when we enter.  However, when we taught Sileni with Eloi the atmosphere was so much more happy, and she started crying when Eloi shared his testimony.  It was a great experience, although when we sang the hymn at the first Eloi sang super loudly (he has a good voice though) , and it was a hymn we didn't know super well so we started singing the wrong notes.  Well, Hermana Munoz and I started smiling, and then giggling!  We couldn't hold it in!  We definitely didn't bring the Spirit, but luckily Eloi asked if we could sing Teach Me to Walk in the Light as well.  By the second verse we were able to control ourselves, though I still couldn't stop smiling.

Tell Ellie happy birthday for me last Friday!!! I wrote happy birthday to her in my journal, so I didn't forget her! 
What, Joey only had four puppies?  Not the usual 7?  That's sad that one of them died.  Celia and Benson are having a boy!  Yay!  Ahh, I'm so excited!  It sounds like all of the family is returning home, I miss you guys!
I've definitely seen improvement on my Spanish.  There are times when I pray in English to help my companion learn the language and half way through the prayer I switch to Spanish without realizing it.  This week more than others I've definitely seen the gift of tongues working. 
Scripture of the Week: All of Alma 26 is so great, but I really loved these two verses, and they pertained to me, and all missionaries away from home!

35 Now have we not reason to rejoice? Yea, I say unto you,there never were men that had so great reason to rejoice as we,since the world began; yea, and my joy is carried away, evenunto boasting in my God; for he has all power, all wisdom, and allunderstanding; he comprehendeth all things, and he is a mercifulBeing, even unto salvation, to those who will repent and believeon his name. 36 Now if this is boasting, even so will I boast; for this is my lifeand my light, my joy and my salvation, and my redemption fromeverlasting wo. Yea, blessed is the name of my God, who hasbeen mindful of this people, who are a branch of the tree ofIsrael, and has been lost from its body in a strange land; yea, Isay, blessed be the name of my God, who has been mindful ofus, wanderers in a strange land. 

Thank you for your love and support!
Les Quiero!

Hermana Bratt

Us with Eloi

A Birthday Party for a Sister in Our Ward

Monday, August 4, 2014

Week Four! Yeah! I Love My Mission!

Dear Fam,
Well these last couple weeks have been pretty great, the language is still hard, but I'm starting to love it here.
Last P-day we went to a waterfall!  It was pretty big and gorgeous.  We even crossed it and it was about mid calf or a little higher...I don't know if that is allowed or not,  I'm going to have to ask the zone leaders or mission president, but my district leader and the other missionaries were doing it so I assumed so. 
This week I've had a lot of great experiences and little miracles.  I hope I remember them all because I didn't bring my journal today!
Alright to start off on Wednesday we were going to go teach a fairly new family of investigators but one of our appointments fell through and we didn't want to go an hour early because the husband of Idalia, our investigator, didn't come home from work until 7.  However, we had nothing else to do so decided to go.  Idalia is a fruit vendor and when we got to her house there was a lady buying fruit.  We started talking to her and found out that she's been a less active for 10 years!  We ended up having her join us in the lesson with Idalia, and about five minutes into it Idalia's husband came home early.  In the end we were able to teach all three of them, which wouldn't have been possible if we had come at 7.
Another small miracle was that we contacted a woman named Nelsi through LPE's (Which is street contacting where we testify of a principle, commit them to do something, and ask for a reference).  When we went to her house for the first time we found out her son was a member and going to serve a mission!  The next time we taught her, her son was there and he's serving in the Calgary, Alberta mission! Sadly, it doesn't include Edmonton, but that was cool to hear.  He knows English really well already.  Nelsi didn't know anything about our church, though her son is a member, and she doesn't really want to hear about our message as she's a devoted catholic.  However she's still agreed to be taught from us which is exciting!  We have hope for her!
Rosa didn't get baptized this week sadly, she was still smoking a cigarette about everyday, but she's stopped now, and we believe she is going to be baptized this Saturday.
Another miracle is that we contacted a reference, Raquel, one night and asked if we could come back again sometime.  She said yes and the next day her husband, who we had never met, stopped us in the street and told us that Raquel had waited for us to come visit her at three and we never showed up.  Though we hadn't set up an appointment to come back we apologized and asked if we could come by at 7:00.  (In actuality I don't think we planned on visiting them anytime soon, as Raquel hadn't seemed to interested!  When we arrived at her house we were greeted by eight children, all younger than first grade, and Raquel and her sister.  Both of them are mothers of four.

Their house is SOOO HUMBLE.  Their children are absolutley charming and beautiful, though very dirty with fleas or lice in their hair.  We had to sit on a couch that was completely torn up and covered in rice, dirt, and smelled like urine.  It's definitely been in my nightmares lately ;) Their kitchen is simply a fire with coals, and their house is tiny. 
The few days later we returned and taught the father as well.  He is really awesome!  He says he only wants his family to be safe and healthy, as he's already been very blessed to have four beautiful children.  He also told us that his door will always be opened to us.  We are really hopefully that they'll be baptized!  Raquel's husband is already working on getting them married, though they won't have enough money until December :(  They are a beautiful family.  I just hope nothing happens to them, as their four or five year old was playing with a huge knife and trying to cut an apple with it.  Raquel wouldn't have stopped her if Hermana Munoz hadn't asked if it was alright for her to have a knife!
Every Domingo I've been here we've only had 1 or 2 investigators at church, but yesterday we had 9!!!!  That was pretty exciting.  We were going to take Raquel and her family, but when we went to pick them  up they said they didn't have clothes, which is actually true.  Their clothes are super worn through, but we just gave all the extra clothes we've had for a while to the Nicaraguan family last week! 

We had another family attend church though of indigenous people, we haven't even taught them a lesson, but we asked if they wanted to attend church and they said yes.  I don't think they knew what they were getting themselves into though, because they can't speak Spanish all the well.  They remind me of the Nephites and Lamanites, because their faces are rounder and more flat than the Costa Ricans, their eyes squinted and they have wide mouths, but they are so cute!
Today for P-day we had the Check of the Month with the president where all the trainers and newbies have meeting with the president and then eat delicious food at his house.  On the way back home my companion and I sat between an Australian, British, and Canadian.  It was nice to hear that familiar "Eh?"

I love hearing about all the news!  Keep it coming!  Can't wait to see pictures of Joey's puppies, hear where Brett's going on his mission, etc.  I don't have anymore time, but just know I'm doing great and It's true what they say, Costa Rica is the best mission in the world! 
Les Quiero!
Hermana Bratt