Hola from Costa Rica!!
Well actually Buenas, because thats how they greet people here. so, buenas everyone!.. I don't know how to do a smiley face on this keyboard... but I'm smiling so huge i wish that i could! this has been one crazy week for me and what a sweet thing to get here and see so many emails from the people I love most in the whole world. thank you thank you thank you so much! I really do wish I had the time to write each of you back a personal 3 page letter, but alas I just don't. But I am so thankful for your letters, sincerely. Okay so just some quick business, Here in Costa Rica I only receive my physical letters and mail once a month, so if those dear elders are highly highly appreciated because it means I can read them over and over again. Also, if anyone was going to send me anything, only send it through the regular post office. dhl, fedex and the other private ones don't get delivered. Regular Post Office only. Okay, now to the fun part....
I AM LIVING IN COSTA RICA!!!!!!!! does that blow anyone else's mind because I'm like wow....
We arrived safe and sound last monday *side note... getting to call my family from the airport was the most choice experience ever!!! Mini miracle, I was running late and didn't have time to call my sisters so I just quick called and said hi love you gotta go and we ran to catch our airplane. when we got there we found out that our flight was delayed a half hour so I got to go back and really talk to them! sometimes Heavenly Father works miracles in strange ways, like delayings flights haha* anyways, when we landed in Costa Rica we were greeted by our president and his family. We went straight to the temple in Belen * which translates to Bethlehem* and talked with our president where he taught us our motto which is Bautizar y retener *baptize and retain* and is basically why we do everything we do. why do we wake up at 6.30, why do we dress up nice, why do i eat 13 lbs. of rice everyday... para bautizar y retener. The next day, tuesday, we went on divisions *which are like splits* with some sisters. That was, scarey to say the least. My companion made me challenge 2 people to be baptized! on my first visit... Anyways, the next morning we had breakfast at the presidents house and were assigned our trainers and areas. My companions name is Hermana Bojorgue!! She's the cutest, little spunky argentine you ever did meet! She is so quirky and adorable and she makes me work really hard. She's 25 years old and has been on the mission for almost 16 months. She was converted a little over 3 years ago and is absolutely incredible. We get along really well and she says she likes me a lot because I don't cry as much as the other sister she trained haha. *I only cried once this week, and I'll talk about that later*. We were assigned to Santa Ana and *I believe the term is whitewashed* the area because were both new. Its a wonderful, but huge, area. It's one of the 2 richest cities in Costa Rica so theres lots and lots of people. There are 6 main areas within our area that we share with the Elders who are assigned to Santa Anna. The first day the Elders showed us around and introduced us to some investigators and key members. We walked for I don't know, 12 hours... haha thats at least how long it felt. The next couple of days we were on our own to find, contact and teach. It's really hard because there are no street signs or addresses here in Costa Rica. They say like "turn right at the Mcdonalds, go 500 meters, the purple house between the red houses" haha. It makes finding specific people just a tad difficult. So those first few days, wow. They were like the slowest days of my whole life! No joke, I don't even know why, but wow. One day we climbed the steepest hill I think I've ever seen. Like really, I'd need dad to confirm this, but its like a baby everest haha. Thats how the whole country is though. up down up down, up up up and down. Oh and also! I broke my first umbrella already! sweet.
Anyways, after a few days we fell into a routine and time began to pass more quickly. We study, plan, talk and teach all the days long. My companion won't allow me to not talk so sometimes we just sit there in silence until I say something. Its really hard to understand people here because they all talk so darn rapido. Nothing could have prepared me for this haha. But everyone is very encouraging and I am slowly gaining confidence. As of right now we only have a few consistent investigators. This Sunday we brought 2 of them to Church with us. Suzanna and her daughter Maria. We are teaching their whole family and their neighbors family but they were the only ones who came, so disappointing, but yay at the same time! We got to church at the top of one of the forever long hills in the mist beautiful house I've ever seen. We aren't big enough to have a chapel so the church bought us a grand old house. Think like Zorro kind of style. Actually, the whole town is filed with these gorgeous houses. Everything is behind bars, but they're so unique and I don't know, just beautiful! I'll send some pictures next week because I forgot my camera so you can know what I mean. So anyways, we went to church which was really difficult because it was in complete Espanol. But! I was there to renew my covenants and receive personal revelation which I did, so mission accomplished *not my mission! only my sunday mission haha*. After church The elders *Elder miller and Elder Hoover* gave us blessings to help us begin our proselyting. Elder Miller gave me mine *in English bless him!* and he told me that Heavenly Father is well aware of my needs and that he has sent Angels to me to constantly guide, direct and protect me. And that there are certainly people prepared in this area especially for me to find. Receiving this blessing was the first time I cried since being here. The last blessing I had was by my daddy and this missionary, whose only been in the field a couple months, looks exactly like a young Steve Kugath. What a tender mercy, it was like receiving another blessing from my own dear papa.
So to answer some of your questions!
First of all, my area is warm, but not hot. Also it is constantly windy..... that I was not prepared for. But its okay because it's always a pleasant temperature.
I literally eat rice and beans every single days. We make our own breakfasts *blessed scrambled eggs and fruit!* and have a sweet woman make us lunch *beans, rice, and some sort of meat... i don't ask what*. I haven't had anything that was really gross yet, but sometimes I have to say a prayer that Heavenly Father will help me to finish all my food because theres so much of it! Also my stomach isn't adjusted to the food so its pretty tender.
It doesn't rain as much or as frequently as I thought it would. bummer. only sprinkles like a couple times.
The lord Loves me!!! here in Costa Rica there aren't ANY spiders, only arañas............ hahaha.
I´ve only eaten 1 weird fruit since i´ve been here. Its called a manzana de agua (apple of water)
I walk a'lot. and ride buses, their money is weird haha. Probably like 5+ miles at least, or more.. my feet tell me its more then that.
I don't know why, but I´m hungry like all the time. siempre hambre haha. but my companion is too so its okay. Were going food shopping today! yay.
Oh heres something funny.. So about 1 hour a day we speak english only. The hour before we go to bed. However, Heavenly Father always sees fit to bless me with the gift of tounges at this exact hour and for this hour alone I can speak near perfect spanish. haha weird, yes.
So I don't want anyone to get the wrong impression. This mission is hard. Way harder then I ever thought it would be and way harder then anything else I´ve ever done. I don't understand next to anything anyone says and I´m eternally lost, and the food is a little bit strange. But I know that I am where i need to be. I know that the Lord has a purpose for me and I know that it is through me he will work his miracles. Also, I had an awesome personal study on the consequences of complainers. Laman and Lemuel were complainers and they were cursed. Also, they receive the sins of ALL THEIR POSTERITY on their heads. Nephi was not a complainer. He quickly did what he was asked with a happy, humble and grateful heart and he inherited happiness, prosperity and the kingdom of God. To complain is unthankful, and my God has given me everything. I am so blessed. I love Costa Rica! and I love you all :) ( yess! figured it out!!)
all my love-