Tuesday, March 22, 2016

March 21, 2016 - The Semana Santa

Rachelle! She's so cute. :) The Bishop baptized her, and the Elders also had a baptism, yay!
Hi family!

The Semana Santa is something HUGE in Costa Rica, everyone has school off this week and all the Catholics celebrate this week big. So, I've been thinking a lot more about Easter this year, because everyone is talking about it a lot earlier than usual! And I've been thinking a lot about the Resurreccion. It's so amazing me for me to think about that we'll get to have our bodies forever. And, everyone! Good people, bad people, everyone. And they'll be perfect. I was trying to imagine the other day just being a spirit forever...and it'd be really sad, not being to run, to play, to hike, to feel, to eat, everything. I don't know. I'm so grateful for Christ. For His life. He died and lived for us! And, not only are we going to be able to live again...but with our families and with Him and our Heavenly Father through his Atonement! hallelujah :) and it's not this year's video, but I just love this video so much. Enjoy it in Spanish!

Rachelle got baptized this week! :) It was great. And, confirmed on Sunday! But, it's hard that these kids don't have their parents going to church with them. She could only come for her confirmation, and then she had to go home to go to San Jose. And she was crying as she was leaving, she just wanted to stay in Church so bad, because she loves to come to church. It seriously makes me so happy that these converts just love church. We do a big Noche de Hogar every week with Brother Jesus and his family (they're converts of 8 months, and they're incredible.) and there's always investigators and converts...and we were introducing ourselves, saying what we like to do...and what Jose said is that what he likes to do, is he's so happy going to church. It was so great. I'm so grateful for seeing the changes in the lives of these people from the gospel and Atonement of Jesus Christ. 3 months ago, Jose didn't know why he was here in this world, and was just sad! And now, his favorite thing to do is go to church. I'm so grateful for the gospel of Christ, and the Church, that really helps people change their lives.
And Ileana and Betania and Brittany came to church again and loved it!! We tried putting a date with them last week but didn't want to commit to a date. But... they love church, and they're willing to sacrifice to come, and have so much faith. So we're praying lots for them, that they can understand the necessity of baptism in their lives!
I hope everyone has a wonderful Easter Sunday next week, and can think a little more deeply about the Savior, and His sacrifice for each one of us! I know that in the last 9 months I have met so many people, each of them with different difficulties, and so many trials and pains...and it's making more and more grateful thinking that Christ has felt all that for all of them...because He just loves them all so much. Anyway. I love the Lord and His life and His work!
See you love you bye! :)

March 14, 2016 - the joy that comes in losing yourself in the Lord's work

The Guacimo District - the 4 on the left are in Guacimo and the 4 on the right are in Guapiles, I think.
Hi family! 

We saw so many miracles this week!! Honestly, this ward is amazing, I love these members. There's a member who gave us the reference of her friend, it-s a mom, Ileana, and her two daughters, Betania and Brittany. The member has been friends with her for 17 years from work! But she called us, asking when we could go visit with them, and we went on Saturday, and they-re such a linda familia!!!!! They used to be Jehovah's Witnesses (there are seriously so so many here), but they had some problems with the Church, and have just felt really sad because the mom's parents and family won't talk to them, because they don't go to the Church, and you could just see that they were so sad about that. So we were able to testify of God's love for them, and see that they were just really wanting to know more about our church. And they came on Sunday!! and they loved it. Betania had a lot of friends in high school who are in our ward, so that was cool. And, it was really cool. Because yesterday in Church, Sunday School was about prophets, and Relief Society was about Joseph Smith. And we were kind of worried, because they were talking just a lot about him, and not sure how the investigators would take it, because everyone hears that we worship Joseph smith and everything. But Ileana made a comment in Relief Society that was so great--she was just saying that she was glad to learn about Joseph Smith, because he just must have had such great faith, and it just a good example for us about faith! And you could really feel the Spirit while she was making the comment. So we-re excited to go with them on Tuesday!
Also last week I talked about Rachel and Rachele...and we saw miracles with them this week too! We were able to put a baptismal date with both of them!!! 18 marzo, this Friday, for Rachelle and 26 for Rachel!! It was really cool teaching Rachel, because last week she had been saying that she wouldn't be able to be baptized for her friends and everything. But this week, she really was showing that had the desire, and she was praying for the strength to be able to keep God's commandments and everything. But, she wasn't able to go to church yesterday because there were things with her baby, so we'll have to change her date til April. But we're super happy that she's willing to sacrifice and really wants to change!

 I love seeing how learning about the gospel really changes people, changes their perspective, and changes the things that are most important in life.  Yesterday one of the converts in the ward who is like our best friend bore her testimony, and it really made me think. She was saying that before she knew the gospel, she only thought about herself. But leaning about the gospel, she realized that Heavenly Father was the most important person in her life. That really, the only thing that mattered was what He thought about her, what she was doing, and that the gospel was more important than any other thing or person. And, I'm so glad for these months that I've had as a missionary to be able to build more testimony more in that. Before the mission...I really only thought about myself too. Really the things that were most important to me was if I was doing well in school, and eating what I wanted to eat, and running every day, and was doing what I wanted to do every day, and having fun with my friends and if people liked me. And, I thought I was fine! I tried being nice to other people and doing service projects sometimes. I definitely never ever thought about the salvation of other people, what I could do to help others come closer to Christ. Which, really is the most important thing we can do, is serve others always, magnify our church callings, think of the happiness of other people before ourselves. And, I still have so so much work to do...I still think about myself, a whole lot. But, I'm glad that I'm learning poco a poco that there is so much more in life, and the joy that really comes from losing yourself a little in the Lord's work.
Anyway. Love you all! Have a great week!

Wednesday, March 9, 2016

March 7, 2016 - super grateful for commandments

Hey family!
This week was good! It was fun finding new investigators who are super good, and seeing the Lord's hand in helping us know which doors to knock and everything, find fun people to talk to, find service opportunities, lots of stuff! 

Convert update! :) Something I loved from this week, is that we had a transmission on Sunday that was for all of Centroamerica, so that was cool! and Richard and Reymond went and it was so cute..they were taking notes and loved it! And, the school year just started here, and they're sticking up for the Church when all their friends are making fun of them for being Mormon and everything. And Jose is starting to share the gospel with his friends, he was kind of nervous to do that before, but now he's trying to get the family he lives with to come to church with him! And Ricardo got a white shirt and tie and is soo excited to go to church next week with a tie haha. I love these pepole!
We're still working on teaching Richard and Reymond's older sisters, Rachelle and Rachel (yeah. super similar their names...thanks for not doing that to us mom and dad!...) who are 15 and 14. And, they both want to be baptized, they understand it's important and everything. And, we're pretty sure Rachelle, the one who is 14, will get baptized this month. But it was super sad, asking Rachel if she wanted to be baptized, she said yes, she really wants to, but didn't think she could, because her friends in high school just don't have good standards, and she is used to doing things that she doesn't think she would be able to give up, to live the standards of the church. She already has a baby girl who is almost a year old, and it's true, she hangs out with people who aren't very good influences. But it was just so sad!! To see a fifteen year old little girl, really, who feels like the guidelines of the Church are just rules that are too hard and aren't worth it to follow. So, we're working with her, trying to help her see that the standards really are just to protect us and help us and bless us. I don't know. Teaching her just makes me super grateful for the commandments and the Church and for our family where we were taught super early on that the most important thing is following Jesus Christ, choosing good friends, reading the scriptures, praying...yeah. So thanks Mom and Dad, for being the best and teaching us and having us read the Book of Mormon as a family and for raising us the way you did! And thanks friends for being such good examples to me so that I never felt like it was hard to live the gospel standards when I was with you guys!
Something that I loved about the conference that we had with centroamerica was that Elder Anderson talked! And he talked about how he went to the Democratic Republic of the Congo to help with the groundbreaking of the temple there. It was so neat seeing the pictures and everything! And just to think of what a blessing it is for those people who had to travel thousands of kilometers (..I don't know what miles are anymore haha).. to go to a temple! and just to see their faith and their testimonies. I love that the gospel is really in all the world. The Church is true!! And it made me super super excited for General Conference...so soon!!! 

Anyway. I love you guys a lot!
Love, Hermana Moon

February 29, 2016 - gringa gritando

Ricardo and family
Hi family! :)
Ricardo got baptized on Saturday!! Yay!!! I'm so happy that he could make that decision, and to hear his testimony at the end was so great. And so excited for them in one year to be sealed in the temple!! So grateful for eternal families! And I'm so grateful for the hand of the Lord that we have seen in these weeks, with all the miracles we've seen. I know that without the Lord's help we seriously can't do anything here, that the Lord really is in charge of this work, and we need to be obedient and have the faith and be willing to work to be able to see these miracles! And I am so grateful to be with these people I love in Costa Rica. 
And this week was good. I don't really remember much of what happened, really.... but, I love learning from the members here about missionary work! There's one member here, Brother Jesus, who is incredible with spreading the gospel. He got baptized seven months ago, and then he gave a reference to the missionaries of a family, and they got baptized in November...and last night we did a family home evening with those two families, and Brother Jesus invited his neighbors, a mom and dad and three kids, and we watched Not Only a Stonecutter, and they loved it, and we're going to visit with them on Wednesday night, and we're super excited!! And so many members here are so good about spreading the gospel. There's a high school teacher here, who she like talks about the Book of Mormon with all her students, and Utah all the time, and we ran into one of her students this week and he was like...yeah, I'll come to church, my teacher is cool and she talks about the church all the time! So we're hoping he'll be able to come next week. And just people here are so great! and it made me think about...I didn't do anything before my mission really to spread the gospel. And I felt kind of bad. So I want to invite all of you to think of something you can do to spread the gospel more, because I know that there's so many ways to spread the gospel with people in school, people in work, people in the grocery store. And these members who spread the gospel all the time here really are the happiest people I know!! Anyway so yeah. I have lots of goals for when I go home.
I know this Church is true!! and that God loves everyone of you so much! And I love you!
Love, Hermana Moon

Hermanas and Ricardo's family

Note from Barbara - she said she didn't remember much of what happened that week, but we learned through the grapevine of some excitement and here's what she sent when we asked the next week.  

Okay. Story for all who want to hear!
So we were walking in a place where we always walk...there's no way to avoid it! It's called Santa Paola, and yeah, there's a lot of punks who just do drugs who live around there. Anyway. We were on divisions, I was with a new missionary, my comp was with another one (divisions we have all the missionaries come to my area...yeah. it's a thing President likes.) so my cop was doing a family night with Ricardo and his family  in Santa Paola, and me and Hna Tejeda had nothing to do really, so we did a new lesson up there, then decided to go...although all we wanted to do was go tot eh family night :( anyway.
so we walk back, we were talking about how she was adjusting to missionary life, so we were walking kinda slowly...bad on our part. And, she had her phone in her hand. another bad! anyway. all the sudden someone grabs her hand and starts shaking it, she screams, I turn and look and there's a man with a creepy cloth mask on his face! so I start screaming. and we scream and scream. super loud. sooo the robber got scared haha and ran away. but we were scared...there was a car and she told me she thought he was with the car haha. so we start running adn running, we were like five minutes away from our house, and just crying. anyway. buut it wasn't 9 yet so we just went by a members house. and then we look and we see the car!!! so we freak out. but it had just been a menos activa who saw us who was worried about what had happened. so all was fine. but we were just shaken up...I mean I've been robbed before, but it was just the mask that was so scary!!!! it was like a movie, not real life haha.
then other side of the story. people go tell ricardo that someone assaulted the missionaries!!! so he goes and runs out, my comp starts freaking out, they run out and like EVERYONE in santa paola had heard us screaming haha and had all left their houses. aaaand now everyone there is SUPER mad at the guy for robbing women who couldn't defend themselves.

aaand now, even like two weeks later, we still have people asking us if we were the ones who got robbed in all of Guacimo..so embarrassing haha... and , everyone says that they're mad at him, and that everyone is here to protect us haha. even all the other drug addicts and punks who live around there. haha. it's kind of funny. and now the elders just always say when they're there, have you seen a gringa gritando
 around here?
so we are fine! and we have friends in all places! so we're not too worried now. and we know to just scream and scream!  But thanks for your prayers and everything :)
"hump" day - thanks Elder S. H. - she's been out 9 months!

and from an elder:
OK here is S's version of the story: "Yes they got assaulted but it wasn't any sort of real danger. I think the thief was more scared than them, because sister moon's got a good screaming voice. They're in good hands too and, actually, nobody wants to mess with them anymore after that. The guy never came back because the whole neighborhood wanted to kill him."