Tuesday, September 23, 2014

Rice pudding, a wedding, and a baptism

My Most Adorable Family and Friends,

Wow what a week! We have just been working away here like the busiest of bees and so I have some awesome progress to share!

First of course I want to say happy birthday again to my mommy:) she has been the most incredible example in my life and there really aren’t words to describe how grateful I am for her and how much I love her! She’s always taking care of me and helping me to grow in every aspect. When I grow up I want to be a mommy like her, but maybe not with quite so many kids, I don’t have as much patience as she does. But, I hope it was a happy day mommy I was thinking about you and trying to share your love with the people of Santa Ana! I’m really grateful you got your present from Mary the other day; I found out that you got it the day before your birthday and I was so relieved. Happy day momma!

This week marks the beginning of the end of my time with my amazing companion Hermana Bojorque. We have one more week together before she ends her mission and heads home to her family in Argentina. How sad! We try not to ponder on this because it makes us both really sad. I’m a little scared/ excited to have a new companion. Scary because what if we don’t get along! And excited because what if we do?? no importa really, I know there will be a reason that I’m with this new Hermana and there will be opportunities to learn and teach one another.

So let me start by telling you about my miracles! The first is that I received a letter from each of my grandparents:) oh you should have seen how I smiled to have a letter from my adorable nana and an early birthday card from my ever loving and consistent Baines Grandparents. Que lindo! As a granddaughter it really meant a lot to me and I am so grateful, glad you’re all safe and well and that I still have a place in your thoughts and hearts:)

I am so grateful for the Saints of the Santa Ana Branch of the church. This week we have seen so much sacrifice and service on their part for us. We have an investigator, Daniela, Who is just about ready to be baptized EXCEPT... she’s not married to the man she’s living with. They’d like to be married, but they don’t have enough money to pay for it. I don’t mean the wedding or the cake or the dress, they literally don’t have enough extra money to pay for the certificate. We’ve been teaching them that when they start to keep the commandments the Lord blesses them for their efforts and so one at a time they’ve been keeping the commandments. Keeping the Sabbath, reading their scriptures, praying, etc. etc. and so the Lord has decided to bless them through us! His full time servants:) but more then us, through the members of the church here. This week we did a fundraiser to help the family have the cash to pay the lawyer for the certificate. We decided to sell arroz con leche (rice with milk, a simple kind of dessert). We gathered together at the chapel (me, hmna B, Daniela and her boyfriend Marlon, our district leader even came with a member of the church who cooks really good, along with our neighbor Hermana chacon (your twin grandma!) and a nonmember neighbor who just wanted to help us (actually Lillian, our golden investigator gone wrong.)) We all worked for hours trying to prepare it, running to the store or the neighbors house various times and trying to teach lessons in between, all in the midst of the hardest rain storm I’ve ever seen, wow what a day. but!! In one moment of distraction all of the rice began to burn to the bottom of the pot...... within 3 minutes the taste of burnt rice and milk filled our giant pot of ingredients. We were almost devastated. My companion and I ran to the back room and said one of the most sincere prayers I have ever said in my life. This pot of rice and milk was everything to this family! wed already paid the ingredients, spent hours together and all their (and our!) hopes and dreams were riding on this stinking burnt pot!! We prayed a good 10 minutes having all the faith in the world that if heavenly father could split the red sea or teach Nephi how to build a ship he could save our rice and milk. Needless to say, the Lord answers the prayers of the faithful! With a little more sugar and a lot of effort it was all saved and the result was 60 cups of delicious desert ready to be delivered!

So many people sacrificed to make this possible. Our neighbors gave us an entire day, their car and even helped us to pay for some of the ingredients. Our district leader came from his area to spend the day helping us. And the members, oh the members. Many who are out of a job and barely have enough money for their family, bought all of it. All of it, even though it was an expensive and they could easily prepare it for themselves. Everyday I am grateful to be a member of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints, but there are some days when my gratitude feels like my heart will just burst! In this one-day we sold more then 100 dollars worth of arroz con leche... Thanks to these members, their sacrifices, and the mercy of our Lord were going to have a wedding for this little family!! Wednesday will be the wedding (mommy I wish you were here to help me decorate!) and were planning her baptism for Saturday!

Wow what a novel... lo siento. But it really was one of the greatest miracles I’ve seen in all my life. Miracle after miracle that whole day.

One other thing I learned this week that id like to share. I know, I know that Heavenly Father knows our needs and our situations personally. This week I was studying my book of Mormon and I found my Future Husband.... Moroni!! haha in chapter 48 of alma (verses 11-13 and 17-18) heavenly father told me exactly the kind of person my husband will be, exactly what he has planned for me. I feel spoiled to have 3 examples of Moroni in my family already; my brother in laws and my very own daddy are this definition to a T. I would encourage all my girl friends (paige, kam, you ladies especially:)) to read these verses and not settle for anything less then what you find there. And all you fellas reading this, friends, family, missionaries:) and more then anyone my baby brothers, be this sort of man!! Study these characteristics and develop them! Be the men of God that his princesses (yes me included!) need. If you have any questions on how, please feel free to call my brethren in law (that cant be correct? brethren??)    They can help.

2 other quick miracles

1. This week there was a moment when we were just about to die from heat when we passed by a shop and an investigator came running out and handed us 2 giant icecream cones!! The Lord takes care of us:)

2. Benita came to church!!! Yay!

Wow sorry this is forever long. Really this week has built and fortalized my testimony. Miracles happen, Heavenly Father is aware of us personally and Faith is everything. I LOVE YOU all and hope you all have a beautiful week!! Prayers from Costa Rica!

All my love,

Hermana Kugath

Tuesday, September 16, 2014

Companion Letters

From Aleena's trainer: Hermana Anabel Bojorque (from Argentina) She is going home in two weeks! So sad we will miss her:

Hi Serena and the Kugath!!!!
I'm so grateful for your email it significate a lot for me!!!!
 I love your daugther like my sister (and she look like my real sister!!) She inspire me a lot and I know that is because you and your husband were such a good example!!! She is training me. She is crazzy but is the most better crazzy girl that I know in my life!!!
I'm going to prepared a good email for the next time but this is the most important things for me!!!! I'm so proud of her.
I love Kugath's family

Sister Bojorque
My Dearest and Most Adorable Family.....

From Aleena:

Happy Independence Day of Costa Rica!
Ha-ha yeah that probably doesn’t mean anything to you guys, but here it’s like the fourth of July for everyone! I like it because their colors are Red White and Blue just like ours so I feel like imp just celebrating America all over again. They have some sweet decorations though.

Anyways, this has been a really difficult, tough, emotional, taxing but rewarding week of miracles. As you all know, it’s started out a Little tough. But you needn’t worry, I found my motivation again and this ice princess moves forward. The first thing that really blessed me was my visit to the temple!!!! It was my first temple trip here in Costa Rica and was special for a number of reasons. We got to go to Belen (which means Bethlehem) were the temple is with all of our zone and another zone. We filled the rooms! It’s a teeny temple, allot like the Winter quarters or Idaho Falls temples. It was bursting with missionaries! We got there really early in the morning to take some pictures and it was flat out gorgeous... thanks to grandma and grandpa and this wonderful Little camera I have you’ll all be able to enjoy it too! I was admittedly a Little nervous because well everything was going to be in Spanish, but thanks to my previous experiences in the temple and an amazing gift of interpretations I understood basically all of it! I was shocked actually, but it was really cool. It was also a really special experience to share with my wonderful companion Hermana bojorque!!! Our time together is running out all to quickly so it was a sweet experience to have.

We had some other miracles to that might not seem so miraculous to you normal folk, but to us it was awesome! The first one is that for once we decided to have pizza. Wed saved our money and practically starved so that we could eat in san José during district conference. Lucky for us pizza hut was having a special the day we were there so we went in and ordered a large, pan, meat lovers..... We waited and waited and weren’t really sure why it was taking so long (keep in my mind were starving, and you know how I get when I’m hungry... yikes) but is, when it finally came it turned out that they didn’t have a large pan available to bake it, so they gave us 2 médiums for the same Price!!!!!!! I could have cried. Basically we ate pizza for 3 days straight and those were probably the best days of my misión... ha no joke, but really. It was literally a blessing. Heavenly father has a way of doing things like that, he tests our patience and if were good we get doublé the reward! Also in this day I received 4 letters!!!! Thank you to those of you who love me enough to write, how blessed I am to have family and friends like you :)

Another miracle we had was that we found 14 nuevos! That’s 14 new people to teach who accepted a challenge and scheduled another appointment. We found 2 beautiful families with 3 children each and 2 other single women who are both buenísimo!

This week I was having a really hard time. We had walked for what felt like days and couldn’t find anyone to let us in. it began to rain as we walked down another dark road. I was praying in my head and heart to have lessons when I made a promise to the Lord that if the front door of any house was open, id contact there. We came to an apartment complex with every door closed... except the very last one. There were 2 kids playing outside and so we walked up and started talking to them. Eventually the mom came to the door took one look at us, opened the door wide and invited us in with hugs and kisses!!! como  que?!?! Ha-ha turns out this woman had been receiving the missionaries before moving to Costa Rica from Nicaragua. She knew exactly who we were and had her libro de Mormon and everything! Wow.

In this same night we were walking another Street we passed by and all the doors were closed. The Street ended in a gate and we were forced to turn around. On our way back we noticed that one of the houses, whose door had been closed before, now had an open front door! We called in and a woman came to the door. She also knew exactly who we were! She told us her father had been meeting with the elders almost 5 years ago before had passed away and she invited us to come back the next day. doublé wow! What a miracle! To find 2 people who’d already had contact with the missionaries in one night! This was a beautiful night to be sure.

The miracles never stop coming and we enjoyed far more then I shared today but I really only have time for one more today. Yesterday I had to give a full 15-minute talk in Sacrament meeting. A full 15 minutes of just me, trying to speak this confounded language, Spanish. I was worried about it all week and dedicated allot of time trying to get ready but as church rolled around and they were finishing passing the sacrament I felt almost physically ill. Somehow I made it to the pulpit and began... I didn’t share anything earth shaking or deeply profound, but there was a momento when the words began to come without my trying. All of a sudden I was speaking the best Spanish I ever had! Then it left me and I stumbled through the rest of it until my testimony. When it was over I was so relieved. But I knew that at one point in time it literally was not me speaking. (My topic was examples and how the good examples we give allow us to be tools in the Lords hands Alma 17:11 if anyone was curious:)) Afterwards there were allot of people who complimented me on my Spanish! There was even a sister whose getting her masters in Spanish who told me that if she wasn’t a member and knew about the gifts of the spirit it would be impossible for me to speak like that in only 4 months... I felt really good after that:) now if only I could understand other people.

Wow, my fingers are tired, and I bet your eyes are tired from Reading this novel... but I hope that all is well at home with the ones I love! If I could ask for one thing, if you could pray for me to understand the language. I can speak mas o menous, but understanding is the key to helping these people accept the góspel. Thanks! I love and miss each one of you and am sincerely grateful for the support I’ve had this week! Prayers from Costa Rica!!

Also, Happy birthday to my most beloved Mommy this week!!!!! Turning 29 again I believe:) I couldn’t ask for a more lovely, caring, kind, sweet, spiritual, teacher, best friend and mother. I love you!!!

All my Love,

Hermana Kugath

Friday, September 12, 2014

dia 103!

My Most Darling Family and Friends....

First of all let me just explain something, today technically isn’t my pday because..... Were going to the temple on Wednesday!!!!!!! and so my pday has been changed (for this week only) to Wednesday. So we’ve had a regular workday today and my thoughts are a bit scattered because I haven’t had the time to plan out what I want to say like every other week.
1. HAPPY BIRTHDAY LIJAH LOU!!!!! Wow I can’t believe your 13. Freakin me out really. I hope you watched all the PG 13 movies you’ve been dying to see for years and finally can! Yay!

2. HAPPY ANNIVERSARY JESSLE AND SAM!!! What you’ve been together like 40 years now?? Well I hope that your still acting like the newly weds of the family and are spoiling your preciosa for me!

3. I had dia 100!! Yay:) 100 days as a missionary. (Mommy I had the same thought and almost threw myself a 100-day party... then I remembered that I’m living on a Budget.... darn).

4. Dear family, if anyone adds you on Facebook from Costa Rica, they’re my friends!!!!!! The Ward members here love to look at our parents’ facebooks so its okay to add them. especially anyone named Magali, marbel, jasmin or anyone with the last name carvajhal. They’re safe and my friends:)....... sometimes they go to your pages to show me what’s up hahaha like for example, josh.... who’s the girl?!?!?!?!?! And why don’t I know anything about her? Yeah that’s right, I’m still your sister, I still know things. Even 3500 miles away;)

Bueno so let me tell everyone a Little bit about this week. First of all, this week we got to go to Price Smart! What a blessing:) pricesmart is the sams club of Costa Rica. We bought a ton of food and have been enjoying the luxuries of peanut butter, real American ham and hot chocolate! si we are getting fat..... But to combat the food we have been running every morning
This week! I’m super proud of Hermana bojorque because before the misión she had never been running. She’s a great companion!

It finally started to rain like I’ve Heard it can. Basically for days on end. It started raining at like 7 in the morning and hadn’t stopped when we went to bed that night. And this was more then just one day. Needless to say almost everything I own has been sopping wet! One of my favorite quotes is "life isn’t about waiting for the storm to pass, its about learning how to dance in the rain", however I’ve decided to change it a Little bit and substitute to Word preach for the Word dance. This week I learned how to preach in the rain!

There’s one experience that id like to share that happened on one of these rainy rainy days. There was one night when it felt like everything was going wrong... it was pouring, freezing, pitch black and my companion and I were hiking up this mountain that seemed to never end. wed had next to no success this day and basically our moods matched the weather, gloomy. But instead of sitting down and crying like I know we both wanted to, we began to sing. The words from the hymn "I know that my redeemer lives" came to me and we just began to sing while we walked. Eventually we got to the 3rd verse (I think its the third) and as we sang the words " he lives my mansión to prepare" I had the image in my head of my Savior diligently adding tiles to the floor of my mansión, or adding crystals onto a chandelier, for every step I took up that infernal mountain he added one more, and then another. Maybe its a Little material of me, but this motivated me to keep on trekking.

1 other thing. This week we have been focusing on a family. Amber and Carlos are the parents and Hans, Jordan, Luis Carlos and daleska are the kids. We out a goal to baptize this family by the 28th of September but its not looking so good. They’re really against the idea of being married and everyone plays soccer Sunday morning so they struggle to come to church also. They really obviously need the góspel in their lives; they need to know their savior and his plan for them. Family, if you could just pray for them. To open their hearts and their minds to his teachings...... also this is the 3rd to last week of Hermana bojorques misión. We would love to have a baptism together. But an investigators needs to have 3 attendances in church in order to be baptized so this is the last week we can find people. Please pray for us to find people who are ready and to have attendance in the church!

Sorrys I know this letter is really short and probably doesn’t make much sense. Just know that I love you and I’m doing my best. Thank you for all the support I received for your thoughts and prayers. I hope all is well at home! Prayers from Costa Rica!

All my Love,

Hermana Kugath

Thursday, September 4, 2014

dia 97

My Darling Family, Friends and Fans....

Wow has another week gone by already?? Don’t get me wrong, I miss y'all but literally the weeks are just flying by. I know because once again I am here feeling the stress of writing this letter haha. this is the best, hardest, funnest, most stressful hour and a half of my week! I try to say exactly what I thought, saw, said, and felt in this last week so that our lives don’t grow to unfamiliar. But if I can’t say anything else, I love you all and am eternally grateful for you in my life!

bueno, time to start then. First of all, I got a package!!!! Oh mommy:) I don’t know how you did it. You would find the one lady coming to Costa Rica willing to deliver a package for you. Thank you thank you thank you|! I want you to know I literally shed tears, what a sweet surprise. I love everything about it and diligently and excitedly make a smoothie for hmna bojorque and I every morning using our adorable mugs, the powder and usually followed by a bite or 2 of chocolate... cause you know, we wouldn’t want to be tooo healthy or anything... To go along with this wave been really working on our healthy goals and have started running every morning *and by every morning I mean we started on Saturday... haha) but were doing our best! Maddle you would be proud of us, I am spreading your love of the infernal exercise to someone else. Were also sacrificing a whole half hour of sleep to do it so were obviously committed.

This week I wanted to let you all in on a secret. If you want to know what missionary life is really like all you need to do is read Alma chapter 26. It practically describes word for word my daily thoughts, words, experiences, etc. First of all there’s a group of missionaries all together and they talk about how wonderful it is to be a missionary. Of all the lords’ blessings, to be his representative is one of the greatest! After that it goes through a normal day.... teaching in houses and in the streets. Basically a lot of walking, being rejected, following the spirit, being rejected, being hungry, tired, thirsty, and well, being rejected. But we know our purpose, we have a plan and we have a promise. In verse 12 of this chapter the Lord says that if we are patient in our afflictions he WILL give us success. He never says how long we need to be patient or puts a limit on the kinds of afflictions we’ll have, he just says to be patient. And so we wade through it all, really I am beyond lucky... of all the things the missionaries of the book of Mormon suffer I have claim on hunger, thirst, fatigue and that pretty much covers it. I’ve never been bound with cords, through in prison, cast out of a city, stoned, not even slapped or spit on so I think I’m doing pretty darn good, but sometimes it still feels like I have afflictions. However the promise is the same, be patient and have success. I love that in this chapter Ammon says that when they had started out they had the hope of only helping a few people. Through all this tribulation they had the hope in their heart to save one or two. They had no idea what kind of success was in store for them and so they suffered, so they thought, for "some". If one or two maybe even three people were all who believed all would be worth it. There’s also a verse in there that says that these macho dream missionaries at one point had doubts, were discouraged, and even thought about going home. How is that possible you might think?? These guys are legends, but its true, and it comforted a little Hermana 2000 some odd years later to know that others had doubts too, but were patient and ended up baptizing thousands!

But not only baptizing thousands.. Retaining thousands! These people weren’t just baptized, they were converted!! We know this because at the end of this chapter these people were ready to be killed rather then sin against God again. Wow.. We cant even get some of our investigators to the church for 1 hour a week and these people were willing to die for their beliefs! If that aint conversion... well anyways yes, these people were whole-heartedly converted to Christ. Sometimes we cant see exactly how converted someone is right away or even how their progressing, but there is one key to know if this person is ready to accept that gospel and that is by how they treat the missionaries.... In the scriptures (alma 27) the people adored their missionaries! They were dearly beloved to them. It says that they treated them like angels sent from God to deliver their souls.     Don’t get me wrong, I’m not here to be loved, adored or treated like anything special. But we know how soft and open a person’s heart is to Christ by the way they treat his personal representatives. The truth is if these people want to progress they will want us in their house, they will want us to stop by, to call, they will want to keep their commitments, they will want to be baptized more then we want to baptize them! (And believe me when I say we want to baptize, bad.). With this realization we have been able to take a good hard look at our investigators this week and id like to share a few stories....

Ambar: amber is a less active member whose spouse, children and brother are not members. This week when we came to visit her she was so happy to see us! She shared openly with us and in her prayer at the end of the lesson she prayed that we could continually visit her family. True, she didn’t attend church yesterday, but it’s a process.

Daniela: Daniela is an investigator we’ve been working with for a few weeks now. She is thrilled to see us and her daughter knows us by sight. She greets us on the phone and tries to have us come by more often. She’s agreed to be married and is trying to sell empanadas to have enough money to pay for the marriage certificate thingy. This past week when we were leaving her house she demanded us to take her only umbrella because we had forgotten our. SHE was serving US!

Hathaway: this week we had a funeral. It was sad, but as an lds family they know it’s not the end, just a step. We didn’t have any part in the funeral, didn’t really do anything but show up, but the family came over personally to greet us and thank us for being there telling us that it meant so much to them to have us there and that just our presence strengthened them.

Wow. right???  Now compare these 2.

zorida and family: this family when we stopped by to visit them "weren’t home". didn’t answer their phone, texts, ni nada. didn’t keep any commitments and had to reschedule on us twice.

Vanessa and family: this family called us 10 minutes before our apt to tell us they wouldn’t be home either. this was the 3rd reschedule....

It’s sad really. were here to bless the families of Costa Rica! we have the knowledge, the tools to make their families happier, richer, closer and better in this life and eternal! To reject this.... que triste.

Anyways, moving on... this week we also had a multi zone conference! this was so awesome for us. First a moment of pride... one of the assistants asked me to say the opening prayer. technically I’m still "nueva"because I’m still in training so I was a little nervous to say it cause you know oh yeah Spanish and all 200 plus people listening. But I did and as I was sitting down President Wilkinson said "Hermana Kugath, please tell everyone how long you’ve been here in Cost Rica...." well, 2 months.. "And your Spanish is that good in 2 months? near perfect. Muy bien hecho hermanas! (trainer and student!)."       ahhhhhhhh:) yay! what a compliment!  haha sorry, prideful moment over. anyways, president taught us something that is called the cycle of faith. It starts when there’s a teacher who preaches truth (any kind of truth, because the spirit can testify of anything that is true.). the hearer listens and feels hope.... hope to change, hope to be better. This hope leads to an action.... and if this action is completed it leads to a testimony of this truth. 2 parts of this cycle are critical. 1. that the teacher is in tune with the spirit and 2. that the hearer acts. It’s like when you have anew year’s resolution. You have the hope to change! you have a vision of a different you, a new you. you set goals, make a calendar, get a running buddy , whatever... but if you don’t do the action, you gain nothing.

bueno, I hope some of this made sense, I know it’s really long and jumbled.. haha lo siento! But I love you all so much. thanks again for everything! prayers from Costa Rica:)

all my love,
Hermana Kugath

p.s. missionary mottos:
Alma 26:12
26:36 this work is my life
27:10 inquire of the lord and if he says go, well go!