Monday, October 27, 2014

Week 16...I think.

Dear Family, how are you all?

Esta semana yo tuve mi segundo baptismo!  Estoy feliz que nuestro investigador fue baptizado, pero un otro investigador no pudia se baptizada porgue su hija estaba in el hospital.  Estabamos un poquito triste, nuestra investigador tambien, pero estamos planiando el bautismo por este domingo.

It takes me a while to write in español, so i'll finish my letter in English.  Also I know i make a thousand mistakes, I'm just glad most of you cant read Spanish!   This week  was a bit stressful because we were organizing the wedding of Gretel, but the ceremony turned out great.  There were a lot of people there, which we were worried about because the ward in Turrialba doesn't support  many activities on Saturday as a lot of the members live far away.  The wedding was scheduled for 5 o'clock but at the last minute Gretel realized she forgot her cedula and so she had to hurry back to her house, which is 10-15 minutes away by car.  However it all turned out okay, except for my nails that are a little too short from biting them...heh.  When Gretel and Juan, her husband entered the chapel I played "Here comes the bride"  I was nervous because i was playing it by ear, but I didn't mess up.  Phew.

While the wedding was great, we were all a little sad yesterday because Gretel's daughter was sick and had to go to the hospital.  Consequently, Gretel couldn't be baptized.  We were all bummed, including her, but the baptism is scheduled for next week.  On the other hand Alejandro was baptized yesterday!  Along with two investigators of the elders.  The baptism service was really nice.  We have to have the services after the block, otherwise members don't attend, so the elders filled up the font Saturday night after the wedding.  However, they still needed to fill it up a little Sunday morning and they gave some youth the job of doing it.  The young men forgot about the water and the baptism font overflowed during Sunday school and we all had to wait for about 10 minutes while they mopped up the water. I had to play all the hymns during the baptism, luckily I didn't mess up too bad!

This week I've been a little bit frustrated because some of our investigators make commitments but never keep them, but we are working with them.

My companion from what I can tell is doing great!  We get along together, but we also are learning things at the same time, such as patience, and selflessness.  We've started living celestial time, something I learned in the MTC.  Celestial time simply means that we try to be five minutes early to everything, including our studies, getting up in the morning, and going to sleep at night.  This week the lights have been off by 10:2510:27 instead of 10:3010:32.  We are trying to be exactly exactly obedient.

Sorry my email is a little short, you can blame it on mom since I am chatting with her!

Hermana Bratt

Wednesday, October 22, 2014

Week 15

Dear Family,

This week we've been focusing a lot on finding new less actives. Previously, we only taught 5 or 6 different MARCs (less actives or recent converts) a week, but we are trying to expand and bring more people back to the church.  One day my companion and I spent three hours just contacting all the members in a zone of our area.   Most of them wanted nothing to do with us.  The work was tiring, a bit depressing, and it was raining really hard.  The directions of their houses were hard to find, even though we had a map to guide us.  After about 2 and a half hours without any one letting us in I told my companion that maybe we should stop for the day and we can visit a recent convert who is growing a lot in the gospel.  However, we decided to knock on about three more houses that were close before we gave up.  I'm so glad we did!  Because the last house we visited the woman who answered let us in without us asking.  Her name's Grace, and she hasn't been to church in twenty years, but she was happy to chat with us and we gave her a new Book of Mormon as she didn't have one. She also invited us back, and so we are happy with the fact that our efforts weren't in vain!

Gretel is going to be married the end of this week!  She is so excited for her wedding as well as her baptism.  Alejandro as well is going to be baptized Sunday!  Yay!

Hermana Samayoa is growing a lot!  I was a little worried the first week about her teaching skills as well as mine, especially because I don't know the language perfectly yet, however she's already teaching with the Spirit a lot more and I'm really excited for the growth I've seen in her!

I love, love, love reading the Book of Mormon every day.  This week I finished the Book of Jacob and one of my favorite scriptures on faith that I've found is Jacob 3:1 that says:

"But behold, I, Jacob, would speak unto you that are pure in heart. Look unto God with firmness of mind, and pray unto him with exceeding faith, and he will console you in your afflictions, and he will plead your cause..."

I love this scripture, and I only hope that my mind is firm and that the Lord can plead my cause (to bring people unto Christ) to the people of Costa Rica!  I know that he will plead the cause of Unlce Kyrk as well. I'm sad that I'm not at home to give mom and grandma a great big hug!  I love you both so much!

Today we had to travel to San Jose because my companion needed to get her finger prints taken in order to start the process of having a cedula (Green card in English I believe). Hermana Cook, who is also a trainer was there as well.  Afterwards the four of us ate lunch together.  It was fun to see her again!

We found 14 new investigators this week.  I'm pretty excited about that.  It's kind of tough being in charge and having to be responsible about everything.  There are still things that I don't know about the mission, rules, processes we have to do for baptisms, etc, however I keep learning everyday.  In one week I'll have 5 months in the mission! 

Costa Rica is so pretty, but I miss the seasons already.  I'm ready for the trees to change colors, though they never will!  Tiff's cousin is the new nurse in the mission field.  I'm happy not to be her!  But I know she'll do a great job taking care of all of us.  She is training with the sister training leaders that are over my zone.  I'm almost over my cold mom!  Don't worry!  But if you send a new package can you send some more airborne?  Other than that I think i'm covered on medical supplies.  I haven't seen anything of the packages mom or Tiff sent.  Sister Wilkinson said that there's still hope, but that I should have gotten them by now, even with the old address that was one them.  Make sure if you send more packages to put pictures of catholic saints on the box as well as make the package as small as possible.  The bigger it is the more likely it will be opened.  Supposedly it only takes 2 to 3 weeks now to receive packages.

Thank you for all your love, emails, jokes, letters, etc!  I miss each one of you, but am happy to be a missionary!

Hermana Bratt

Me an my companion with Justin, a ward member waiting for his mission call! His badge says, "Future Missionary". 

Me with Hermana Cook!!! Yay! I love her!

Monday, October 13, 2014

Week 14

Dear Family,

This week we´ve been working hard to find new investigators, ones that live closer to the church.  In doing so we've seen a lot of miracles.  We  had 152 LPE's (Where we talk to people in the street and ask for a reference and ask if we can share a message with them) this week, more than I've ever had so far, but still so little!  I was a bit shocked by how many people invited us into there homes or said we could return and teach them.  This coming week our agendas are already filled with lessons for new investigators.  I'm praying that they will be in the houses when we visit them!

We are a little bit sad about Raquel and Alejandro. They've had a lot of problems and though they are progressing slowly, we aren't sure if we are going to need to drop them or not.  I was a little bit put down that we had spent so much time on them, had so many prayers, but they are still letting Satan win.  However, through them we have found a new investigator named Gretel.  Gretel is their sister in law and though we've only taught her for a week and a half is already living the Word of Wisdom, reading the Book of Mormon more than I do each day, and fasting.  We are planning her wedding for the 25th of October and her baptism the 26th.  All I can say is that Gretel was already prepared by the Lord before we met her.  In fact, her husband found a Book of Mormon on the bus one morning and she was already reading it before we meet her!  We've started teaching her husband as well, and when we asked Gretel what her feelings were about the Book of Mormon I was shocked by how powerful her testimony of it was.

Alejandro's baptism is scheduled for the 26th of October, but he and Raquel have separated.  I feel sorry for their children!  I only hope they are being taken after properly!  I know that Raquel doesn't have money.

Well this week my companion and I both had colds and my cold moved from my head to my throat.  After one day of teaching my voice was so hoarse I couldn't talk when we returned to the apartment.  Yesterday I could barely talk in the lessons.  I've been a little bit nervous depending on Hna Samayoa to teach most of the doctrines, as she's only been a member for three years and has so much enthusiasm to preach the gospel that sometimes gives too much information all at once, or throws in a fact that isn't quite true.  However, you can be sure that I've been praying a lot more for my companion, and i've seen how much it's helped.  She's already a great missionary, just needs a little polish which will come from studying and more practice in teaching.

This week we had division with the sister trainer leaders.  I wasn't the most pleased that we had to wake up at 3:30 two days in a row to travel to their area, however I learned sooooooo much so I can't complain :)  

I don't have much more time to write, we have to make invitations for Gretel's wedding! (She's getting married the 25th of this month and her baptism is scheduled for the 26th!)

Uncle Kirk is in my prayers!  As are all of you!  Specially Grandma!  I'm so glad we have the gospel and know that there is a life after this and that through the Atonement all of us can live with Heavenly Father and have perfect, sinless, bodies.

With a billion hugs,

Hermana Bratt

Me, Hna Samayoa, and Jazmin, a recent convert, eating lunch in Gretel's house!

Me with Tiff's Cousin

Monday, October 6, 2014

Week 13

Dear Family,

Last week I was hoping that this week would be different and that my life would change up a bit.  My hopes have definitely been fulfilled!

First things first,  Hna Samayoa is amazing!  She's from Guatemala and is in reality training me. She is ALWAYS excited to do missionary work and I haven't seen her the least bit down or tired. She's had gripe, what people here call a cold, this week but I don't think her energy will ever stop. She has a ton of faith, which is helping me as well. I know I'm going to learn a lot from her, and am excited for that! Every time something disappointing happens or I tell her we need to do something that isn't fun she just says "ok, esta bien!"

President Wilkinson gave us the homework to study Alma 43-63 and write down all the attributes of Captain Moroni that make him a great leader.   WOW. I always knew that Captain Moroni was amazing, but now I have a super long list of all the things that make him amazing.  There's a TON.   One of the things that I've noticed is that he is ALWAYS preparing and that he takes breaks from battling to prepare better. My companion and I have started getting up at 6:15 every morning so that we can be ready by 7:30 and have an extra half hour of study. I usually use this time to read from the Book of Mormon. This week I've had a real thirst/hunger to simply read the words of God.  I love the Book of Mormon!

The health department here has been spraying for mosquitoes that have Dange and so one day this week they were in our neighborhood. They sprayed our apartment, so we had to wait outside for about a half hour until the chemical smell was gone.  What we didn't know though was that everything that was out in the open when they sprayed had to be washed so that we wouldn't breathe in the chemicals.  We not only had to wash all of our dishes, clothes, and bedding, but there were also a bunch of dead cockroaches as well as live ones on the floor and climbing up the walls.  Ah!  It was a nightmare!  I knew there were cockroaches in our house, but I had no idea there were so many!  I definitely have not been sleeping as well lately ;).

We taught a new investigator this week who is the sister in law to Raquel.  Her name's Gretel and she has already accepted a baptism date for the 26 of October.  The cool thing is that her husband found a Book of Mormon in the street one day and she'd already read a lot of it before we taught her! She's practically ready to be baptized, we just need to get her married...which is always difficult, especially when our investigators don't have a lot of money.

Another small miracle this week is that we were trying to find the house of a less active, but it turns out that she's moved away.  However, we asked Cindy, the person that lives in the house now, if she knew anyone that needed a message of Jesus Christ.  She said "I want to hear it"  and we were able to teach her as well as put a date for her baptism!
It's a lot of pressure being in charge, but it's kind of nice too...hehe.  I only hope I'm a good trainer.  I guess time will tell!

I wasn't able to get much out of conference, as I was either tending to Raquel's kids, or trying not to fall asleep...hehe.  I don't know why I was so tired this week!  Also, it was in Spanish, which I could understand most of, but only if I gave it all my attention.  However I'm excited to read it when it comes out!

Raquel and Gretel walked all the way to the church again with their children.  They are sacrificing so much!  This week we visited Raquel without her kids or Alejandro.  She's changed a lot and was talking about a bunch of things in the gospel. Before it was hard to get her to give an answer or say a prayer, but not now!  Yay!  She really wants to be baptized, but she has to marry Alejandro or separate from him first.

Love you all!  I received a bunch of letters/packages from Emily and Grandma.  Thank you!!!!!!!!

Les Quiero,

Hermana Bratt