Wednesday, August 27, 2014

Double Divisions‏

My Most Darling Family, Friends and Fans:)
Wow what a wonderful week!! I should start off by saying thank you a million times a million. This week I received 6... that’s right, 6 letters!!! 2 dear elders, 1 baby shower invite, 3 letters from some of my favorite stevensons and 1 big, beautiful packet of pictures!!!!!! oh I have never been so happy for the invention of pictures in toda mi vida:) que linda es mi familia!~ muchas gracias for all the emails too. I ve spent so much time reading all my "fan mail” I barely have time to write you all! They say if you love a missionary, fill her mailbox/ inbox... I am obviously so loved!

Okay I have a super ton to talk about this week so let me get right down to it ya? This week has been absolutely incredible. I have received so many blessings and seen miracles. The first thing I want to talk about was the opportunity I had to do divisions this week. Twice! The first time the office called and asked if we could come take a couple new missionaries with us to Santa Ana for their first day in the field! How exciting!!! I was so so excited to do this because I remember exactly how I felt my first day and hmna bojorque and I knew we would be able to really help them. We decided to do the kiosk with them. The kiosk basically means we talk to anyone and everyone for hours and hand out pass along cards. We thought this would be perfect to help the little sisters’ quitar su miedo (quit their fear) of talking to people. In the space of 2 hours we talked to 51 people!!! It was incredible. We helped these new sisters and I reached a new level of confidence for myself. I could speak Spanish!!! Perfectly? No. Fluently? No. But how much I had improved from the MTC in only 6 short weeks was literally crazy! I could help these newbies to have a conversation, to open their mouths and to share the incredible message that we have with the world! This was also a great thing for us because we had the opportunity to sacrifice for these new sisters (we didn’t have a ton of food in the house and there was only 2 beds so..... you can imagine how that went down). BUT as we all know, sacrifice brings forth the blessings of heaven! And let me tell you after the teeny tiny sacrifices that we made the heavens open and poured out blessings like the rains of Costa Rica in august!

The greatest blessing came in the form of our second set of divisions. We got to spend 2 days with the Hermana Especialistas:) *those are like the sister training leaders of Costa Rica* Hermana Zapatta came to work with me in my area. She is an adorable spunky little sister missionary from Colombia. She’s 23 and has about 7 months in the mission. She is the tiniest person I’ve ever seen (except for hmna boza my MTC teacher haha) but I have never seen anyone work harder. Those 2 days we spent together I have never worked so hard probably in all my life. She taught me a lot about how to teach and how to be a better, more effective missionary. Our time together was really fun and interesting and by the end of it we were really good friends. Another unforeseen blessing from this was I realized how grateful I am for my companion. I love Hermana bojorque!!!! She really is splendid. Like every other thing in my life, I only realize how wonderful it is when its taken from me... when will you learn Hermana Kugath to appreciate everything you have in the moment you have it? Anyways, when Hermana bojorque returned it was almost like being with my family again. We had an awesome companionship inventory where we were able to set goals to implement the things we learned from the hmna especialistas and become better missionaries in every aspect. I also got to tell her how grateful I was to have her as my trainer and tell her everything she does well and how much I love her! When I was talking she started to cry... it was the sweetest thing! Then she told me how proud she was of me and everything I was learning to do. (This was super special because usually she is a rock! I don’t know if I’ve ever seen her cry before. and her she was with leaky eyes telling me what a great missionary "daughter" I was. awwwhhh!:)) 

Okay, so yesterday was a very special day too. first of all, HAPPY BIRTHDAY NANA!!!:) haha I hope it was special and lovely, I miss you and love you a whole bunch! Anyways, yesterday was a really good day in the chapel for us. We had 3 investigators accompany us! Some of them for the second time (lilian *our lost baptism* was even there! that was a nice surprise!) We also got to teach the young people Sunday school. We taught a really awesome lesson on the family proclamation. I have learned to really adore this document! It is literally inspired revelation. The lesson was extra good because the branch president was there with us. He commented a lot and all the youth were really engaged. Also I do love a good opportunity to show off my family pictures....:) And to make this day even better the chapel celebrated with a baptism! The elders got to baptize one of their investigators names iliana. Even though she wasn’t "our" baptism it was still my first one here so it was still special. Another child of God, another member of the church, another sister in Zion! It was also super powerful because we had one of our investigators there to watch and realize how special it was. There’s a funny story to go along with this baptism, but that’s for another day I think.

So here’s an experience from this week that’s really awesome that I want to share. One of our investigators, Daniela, is really starting to progress! She’s saying her prayers, doing all her reading assignments, attending sacrament and even defending the church! We visited her the other day and while we were there she shared with us an experience she had latter in the week. So a group of Jehovah witnesses had stopped by to share a message with her, but she told them that they couldn’t come in because she was already meeting with other sister missionaries (us!) they asked which church we represented and when she told them they began to get really angry and told her not to let us in anymore because the book of Mormon was a book of deception and lie written by man. She told them that she believed it was inspired scripture written by God and there wasn’t anything they could say to make her doubt it. Then she kindly asked them to leave and shut the gate in their face....... woohooo Daniela! What a woman! She’s only been reading the book about a week now and her testimony of it is growing immensely!

There are 2 experiences I want to share this week that both have a similar theme. Follow the spirit. I had 2 mini miracles this week from following the promptings I received. We were in the street contacting one night and I had the thought to talk to this man and his son who were walking really fast and obviously in a hurry. I asked if I could give him a little card and handed him a pass along card that had a slogan about forever families. He looked at me and said, "How does this work?? I want this."  He then had his 5 year old recite me his telephone number and address and we have an appointment with the whole family this Tuesday! The other was last night. We were attempting to visit an LPE of ours who obviously wasn’t home; we didn’t have a back up plan but really didn’t want to waste the precious Sunday time. I saw an open door and a little head popping through, I had the impression to go over and talk to the little boy standing there. When his mom came to the door I asked if we could come in and share a message with her family. She invited us in and introduced us to her 3 children. As we began to talk and share a message about families it was obvious how ready this family was. They shared with us that they knew they needed to be baptized and would gladly begin working toward a date with our help. At the close of the lesson the mother, Vanessa, told us to please tell our companions "the muchahos in the white shirts, ties and plaques like ours" that they didn’t need to come by the next Tuesday... haha it turns out the elders in our area were planning to visit this exact family in a few days and we had accidentally stolen them! Evidence that if someone is ready the Lord will send not 1, not 2 but 4 missionaries their direction!

uno mas cosa... This week I was sitting on the bus when a very white, obviously not tica woman sat next to me. I started to speak to her in English to try and contact her. But something strange happened to me... every sentence I spoke I began in English and finished in Spanish!!! I had the hardest time trying to explain my little message in English! What a blessing! Turns out the gift of tongues works when I want it to and when I don’t! It was crazy but I’m glad for it because my Spanish really is a lot better.
Anyways, I hope something in this letter today has helped one of you to feel the spirit. I am so blessed to be a missionary at this time, the Lords work is rolling forth and nothing can stop it. I hope everyone back home is catching the wave also:) I love and miss you all so much! Prayers from Costa Rica!!!

All my love, 
 Hermana Kugath


Cambio 1 complete‏

My most Darling Family and Friends...

Well, like the title says, 1 cambio complete! (A cambio is a transfer by the way, and technically I have 2 one here and one in the MTC. but you know what I mean).
So, little surprise to no one, I don’t have transfers!! and get to complete my training with Hermana Bojorque here in my bonita santa ana! whew.

Just a little heads up, I woke up incredibly early today to teach seminary so if the letter makes little to no sense I am literally fighting my eyelids, the traitors. How grateful I am to have gotten to go to seminary in the daytime... This has been another long, full, exhausting, dirty, hot, busy but great week of missionary work! 

Lets start with the bad happenings first shall we? This week Lillian (our miracle investigator who had a baptismal date of next Sunday) decided that she didn’t want to be baptized anymore and that she didn’t want to keep seeing us. ouch, sucker punch to my heart..... We talked with her for a looooong time (well she did 98% of the talking..) and really all she gave us were a bunch of excuses. She wasn’t ready, she didn’t want to leave her husband for 3 hours every morning, her kids in the states were having problems, etc. It was s little heartbreaking to be honest. The best description I can give is Alma chapter 8... I think its chapter 8, but it might be 9. que triste! My companion is great though; we went home, said a prayer for her cried for like 3 seconds got up and got back at it. A little while before I came the area presidency came to visit the missionaries, with them came Elder Quinton Cook. He said something that we have sort of adopted as our motto, our catch phrase.. "you were called, to be rejected".   Well, if that’s my purpose here I guess it wasn’t so bad:) 
Now for the good news! Hold on tight there’s a lot!

1. This week we had a multi zone conference with presidente Wilkinson. He said a lot of things that were really interesting and helped me to grow in my calling. Let me give you the highlights:

- Faith without works is dead, but works without faith is dead also. If we don’t believe in our work, if we don’t set baptism dates with inspiration, teach with a plan and the spirit and plan every aspect of our service, if we don’t have faith in our work, then its dead. It won’t go anywhere.

- God is always ahead of us. He knows what’s happened he knows what’s going. He knows what were going to do and what the investigators, members and less actives are going to do. We don’t need to prove ourselves to him, he already knows. We need to prove ourselves to ourselves. 

-  Satan is here to destroy this work through an attitude of complacency, mediocrity and complaining. It is easy to find the path of least resistance; it literally takes no work to be there. Do nothing and you’re on the path. The only way to prove your character, to change yourself, to go somewhere is by searching out the will of God and doing it, regardless of how hard it is. The more adversity there is in an area the greater potential for miracles. If you are facing challenges and rejection right and left its because Satan is trying his hardest to counteract the good you are doing and keep those who are ready hidden.

- There are thousands upon thousands of people in my area who are ready and willing to accept this gospel. They just need to be found. 

2. This week, august 15th, was el dia de madre!!!!! mothers day for Costa Rica:):):) I asked if I could call you mommy, but they told me no. Sorry, have to wait for Americas I guess. But yeah, so we got to celebrate moms for a few days! We had special fhe lessons and a great activity at the chapel on Saturday. It was really a great opportunity to bring investigators, less actives and the members together for something that was "normal" and fun! My favorite part was the lesson we got to share with some of my favorite substitute moms. John chapter 19:25-28. In this moment Christ is on the Cross... he’s already suffered the pains, afflictions, sicknesses and sins of every human being who will ever live. He’s already been wrongly accused, humiliated, whipped and tortured. His body is literally hanging from the cross by nails in his hands and wrists... and he looks down and sees his mommy, and thinks if I die right now there is no one to take care of her. He then gives responsibility of the care of his mother to his apostle. And then, ONLY AFTER he knows that she will be okay, he says that all is finished and complete. What a testament to how important his mother was to him. The savior is our example in all things, including the way in which we should honor, love, and care for our dearest mommies.   I love you momma!!!  

Okay, only 2 other things I want to say. The first is that the driving here is loco! They have stop signs, but no one uses them. Walking the streets imp afraid to be hit by a car, truck or bus almost all the time. You get used to it... and when you’re the one in the car, it’s like your living fast and furious! These people are literally crazy and incredibly talented with these cars. (Although aint nobody as good as my daddy!) 
The other is that I had an experience that I found really interesting. My whole life people have always told me how old/ mature I look for my age. Here everyone tells me how young and innocent I look. At first it kind of bothered me... I mean who likes to be told that they look like a 13-year-old right?? Well I decided I actually do like it. To be innocent is to be clean, to be inexperienced as to the things of the world. To be new, to be kind and to be compassionate. Everyone always says that the eyes are the windows to the soul.. This week 4 days in a row I had someone tell me I have beautiful eyes  (yes one day it was a child, one lady who liked my eye shadow and one drunk lady who told me I had "the eyes of an angel") but every time I had the thought that this was my Heavenly Fathers way of letting me know that he thinks I have a beautiful soul:)

Well I hope everyone knows how much I love and appreciate them. Nothing beyond this gospel means more to mean then the people reading this. I love you, pray for you and am grateful for you everyday of my life, every moment of my mission. You all are my world!

 All my Love,
Hermana Kugath

Saturday, August 16, 2014

I have no idea what week number it is...

FYI: There was a 5.0 earthquake in Costa Rica almost exactly in Santa Ana where Aleena is- she was sad to report that although there was much violent swaying reported that she slept through all of it. (The earthquake occurred at 2:40 AM) We are just glad that no one was killed. Also this is Week 11 (she might not know but her mom is keeping track :)

My Most Darling Family and Friends,

Oh what a week!! There’s so much to say and so little time to say it, I’m going to try to squish more then a little into this little, but just know that this week was a week of miracles!

First of all, all my thanks to this little blender and the recipes! This week I think I made a smoothie once a day at least... food never made a girl so happy! I made fruit ones, peanut butter and chocolate ones and I even tried a green one (that one didn’t make me as happy as the chocolate one to be honest). This baby blender has brought my companion and I closer then ever before haha.

To start off the week I had my check of the month! I told you all about it last week I believe.. Brief recap had a talk with pres., ate some food, ate some cake, and that was pretty much our whole p day. It was delicious no doubt! but it was super stressful because by the time we got back to Santa Anna p day was over and we had no time to get the house, kitchen or food in order. right away we knew we'd have a problem because we were ready to start a new week. But all was well for a few days. Unfortunately our enthusiasm from check of the month was lost pretty soon. Appointments started to fall, investigators stopped progressing, our food ran out and everybody knows what happens when there’s no food in the house... Hermana Kugath gets cranky. ha-ha, but really.. We hit a point where things just were not working. We were in the streets for hours with nowhere to go and no body to teach. Our numbers were the lowest they’ve ever been and it literally felt like the world was against our work. After about the 3rd day of this Hermana Bojorque and I sat down and had a serious talk. It was hard because we really felt like we were doing everything we could, opening our mouth, saying prayer upon prayer, but the Lord requires a little more from us then just faith and hard work. What he needs are smart organized workers. We sat down and completely reorganized our schedule. we were on the phone for a good couple of hours organizing, scheduling and rescheduling visits and appointments with auxiliary leaders, less actives and investigators. We made plans to be everywhere on time and to consolidate lessons and teach faster. You would not believe how much planning, organizing and inventing ideas goes into missionary work. Unfortunately its not just walking up and down streets and talking to everyone you see, its so so much more then that.

Well, after we organized ourselves and the next few days of appointments we started to see the miracles. We started having all kinds of lessons, planned and impromptu. We hit all of our goals. we taught some lessons that were really powerful and helped some investigators to make and keep more commitments. After 1 of these days of immense success we had some experiences to reinforce what we learned.. we were on our way to an appointment when we ran into our branch president. We chatted for a minute and as we were leaving he told us that he had been the zone leader for 18 sister missionaries. he knew the kind of results that hermanas were capable of and he was expecting great things from us. He told us that all the strongest families and converts in our branch were the product of sister missionaries. Immediately following this we had a lesson with a less active family, when we got down the father of the family told us that he loved to have us in his home, he didn’t know what it was but they were always more comfortable with the hermanas then with the elders. 2 times within an hour we were told how important we are to this work, to these people, in this area.

Obviously we became even more motivated. The next day was literally the best teaching day we’ve ever had. We placed 2 books of Mormon in the homes of families, received 5 new investigators, taught an investigator in the home of a member and taught 2 other lessons. I have never felt so achieved!

But wait, my miracles don’t stop there.. This Sunday was incredible for me. I walked in the Chapel and could name everyone in the room. I could go up to them and chat, ask about their family, their week, and something that was important to them.... and understand!! I could talk! Obviously not perfectly and I didn’t understand everything, but I could share a thought in relief society or set up an appointment without the help of my companion, tell a joke to a kid or answer a question! I was like a little kid in a candy store! During sacrament one of the elders gave a talk, I’m not positive, but I can almost guarantee that I understood every word he said.

Its an odd experience being able to watch yourself change, but I truly have seen changes in myself that I've been trying to do for years in a matter of weeks in the mission. I love to read the scriptures, I do it for fun! I love to get up early, I love to put my hair in a pony tail and not care at all if I’m the prettiest girl or not. I love to talk to strangers and share my testimony in the street. I love to pray, to talk to my heavenly father and sincerely express every tiny little thing I’m grateful for, to tell him every problem I have and to ask for his help, to sincerely repent 6 or 7 or 8 times in a single hour. I love to see myself speaking a language that a few weeks ago I couldn’t understand. A few weeks ago I was scared half to death to say hola... quick little story here, everyday we do something called and LPE. a lesson para encontrar (lesson to find, like street contacting.) we teach a true principle, extend a commitment and ask for a reference. the president has asked us to do 20 as a companionship every day. One day this week the Lord did not let me close my mouth, I did 28 in one day by myself! it was incredible!!!! As a district we have a contest to who can do the most LPE's in a week, and this week we won! The prize is a little ugly chicken trophy that says "no soy gallina"   I’m not a chicken.... haha and we won!!! I’m not a chicken :) .... anyways, obviously I still have many many weaknesses, faults and downfalls     (part of the mission is that it really amplifies all your best and worst traits)     But now I know that I really can change. That these people I’m teaching have hope, have hope to BE something different. And to stay different. I know that it is only through my relationship with my Savior that this is possible. Only in his mercy and grace can I become a better Version of the Aleena I was and come home, to all of you, with the countenance of Christ within me. I am so excited to become something different! How powerful it is to change.

Anyways, sorry for my little self empowerment spill there, I just feel that it’s so important to know that Christ is our only hope for being more then our natural selves. Like it says in Mosiah 3:19... put off your natural self and become a saint. BECOME. its a process. A glorious, difficult, sweet, patience trying process. But through the atonement of Christ we will be perfected.

One other thing... I sincerely do love to pray. I pray for everyone back home, most of you by name specifically. I do my best to pray for your needs and wants, but id love to know if there’s anything in specific that you need... tell me! The Lord answers my personal prayers, I know it. Help me to help you help me:) its an honor and a privilege to have everyone of you in my life, the least I can do is send up a plea to the Father on your behalf.

Thank you everyone for everything you have done, do and continue to do for me. But mostly, thank you for loving me... I know I often make that difficult to do. I love you all!!

All my love,
Hermana Kugath

Monday, August 11, 2014

Week 10

 A note from Mom:

Dear Elder also will send e-mails free of charge through LDS pouch mail, just go to and select San Jose Costa Rica in the scroll down menu, submission deadline- 12PM each Sunday. Thanks for all your support!  -Serena
My Most Darling Family....
I’ve been in Costa Rica for 1 month!!!!! woooo how crazy loco is that??
Oh by the way momma I got the dear elder this week. On Thursday the 31st, it might have come earlier but that was when my zone leader could get it to me, so probably dear elder is faster.
So as you’re all aware, yesterday was fast Sunday. My third fast Sunday to be exact (I only have 15 left!! how wacky is that? when you count by fast Sundays the time literally flies). And I wanted to tell you all about an experience that happened yesterday. So right now I have a branch of about 130 but only about 65 are active. I learned something yesterday that was pretty powerful for me. 
The first week I was here I loved the members because they were members. of the church
The second week I loved them because that’s what I’m suppose to do
The third week I loved them because they fed me.
But this week was different. This week I loved them because when I stood up to bear my testimony and looked out over our little congregation, I knew them. I saw their faces and I knew their names. I knew their families and where they lived. Their faces shone out to me like little light beams! I didn’t know all of them, but there were certain ones who just beamed at me and I loved them because I KNEW them! It was a very touching experience for me and one I’m not likely to forget for a long time.
Like I said I think of you fam a whole lot. As I think of and miss you I find people here that remind me very much of you, costa rican twins if you will. This week I found more of my family here!
Grandpa Baines I found you! your  twin is Hermana Miguel aguilar. He is a long time member of the church. His hair is very much like yours and he is always very calm and patient with me like you always have been. He also always has an interesting thought provoking gospel related fact to share with me! He’s very sweet, but can never replace my own grandpa. 
Grandma Baines I also found you! Hermana Carmen chacon. She is my neighbor\ landlady. She’s super fragile and has the cutest little voice just like you and is beautifully petite and gentle! And her house, wow grandma your houses are twins. She has all kinds of fun gadgets and antiques through out her house. It’s so much like yours except her stuff all has a bit of nativeish twist to it. 
Jesse! Dear Jesse I have found your twin in my own lovely companion. She is so much like you in many ways. To be honest it’s a great comfort at times cause I can just sort of pretend like its you. She has the same sense of humor and laughs exactly like you! We get a long really well because of this. She’s 25 so you guys are pretty close in age too. She also likes to twist her hair up in that twisty thing with a pen. She is very, very obedient and just the slightest bit stubborn like you :) ha-ha. You can usually find us laughing or singing, because we both love to sing! (But shhhhh your voice is better!). Were also both always hungry, so that usually works out well... We get along really well accept that their are times that she makes me do things I really really don’t want to. Oh perfect example!!
The other day we had to break up with our cook.. And you know who did it.. Yep, me! Hermana bojorque was very near insistent that I do it. Oh I could have died! ... But, now we get to have lunch in the house! Oh what a magnificent blessing is this. (p.s. mommy, thank you thank you for all eternity for teaching me to cook. seriously, this has been one of the greatest blessings of my mission.) I make a lot of the same things I made at home here... omelets, sandwiches, salads, pancakes (p.s. kammie! I need your banana pancake recipe stat!). Swedish pancakes etc. I also eat a ton of avocados because I want to have hair like the natives here ha-ha. Were going to eat a lot healthier now that we make our own lunches.
So here are a couple mission stories from this week. We saw a lot of miracles!
1. This week we taught an elderly gentleman named Manuel Antonio. He was very receptive and at the end of the lesson I extended a commitment to be baptized. He looked at me for a long time then said yes. He repeated the date (august 24th( over and over again. and said yes, yes that’ll do. no questions, no doubts, no holding back. he just accepted! he is like an investigator from the celestial kingdom!
2. Were teaching a 14 year old named kenzi. She lives with her family who is mostly members but are inactive. She also accepted a fecha (baptism date) but the real miracle was that she read the pamphlet we asked her to, all the way through! It is so so easy and clear to teach people who do their homework! We were able to explain everything from lesson one and answer all her questions in half an hour because she had done her part. Oh I love when investigators do their homework!!
3. This is a huge miracle! Yesterday our neighbor (grandmas twin) brought a friend with her to church. She sat through the first 2 hours and after that came up to me and my companion and said "I want to be baptized. Will you baptize me? How’s the 24th??? Can I be baptized then, or maybe earlier?".... Uhhhhhh yes! ha-ha out investigator put her own fecha! If that aint one of a kind. The Lord has obviously been preparing her for a long time. Oh and p.s. her name is Lillian.
As you can probably tell I've been thinking about my family this week and how blessed I am to have always had them in my life. When I was rather little my mom was inspired to write us a family covenant. It is beautiful and truly inspired of the spirit. Mommy, for you....
Convenio Familiar: 
Prometemos ser fieles unos a otros. A ser tolerantes a nuestras diferencias y a perdonar nuestras debilidades. Seremos humilde y tratamos todas personas con carino. Honraremos nuestros padres y obedeceremos a ellos en el Senor. Nuestra Familia sera eterna a medida que establezcamos las relaciones dentro de los lazos de caridad, el amor puro de Cristo.
Los Kugaths estamos en forma, alfabetizados, considerados, no dimitimos y matenemos el espiritu.
I've also been pondering what kind of missionary I'm going to be and so, like the 2000 warriors, having learned from the faith of my parents I've written this covenant to stand as a statement and witness of Hermana Kugath's Mission.
Convenio Missional:
 I now covenant to be loyal to the names I bear (Kugath, Jesus Christ and The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints) and the sacred responsibility of my calling. I will be an effective instrument in the hands of the Lord as I am tolerant of others differences and forgiving of weaknesses, including my own. I will be a humble, obedient example and will treat everyone with kindness. I will honor my mission president and obey him in the Lord. I will be a good missionary, companion and friend as I focus my thoughts and efforts in the needs of my brothers and sisters. I will baptize and retain as I fortify within others the everlasting principles of the gospel, establish relationships of service and charity with those around me, and strive to fulfill my purpose "to invite others to come unto Christ". 
As a representative of Jesus Christ and A servant of the Lord, Hermana Kugath is Fir, Literate, Considerate, Doesn’t quit and Always keeps the Spirit.
I pray that all is well at home and all over the world with all of you my loved ones! I miss you and I sincerely pray for your well being and happiness. Todo bien aqui in Costa Rica!
All My Love,
Hermana Kugath