Okay. So MTC... our last sunday there we got to be in the Mission Conference!! The president of the MTC came and met with me and my two comps and asked us to participate and answer questions in front of over two thousand missionaries plus the branch presidencies and their wives so ya know. Pretty big deal. It was fun!
We woke up at 1 am to pack and clean and then headed to the airport!! It was SOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOO nice to talk to you all on the phone!!! My goodness I miss you more than words. It´s rough.
Then we got to Costa Rica around 8 and met Presiden Wilkinson and His Family!! They are AMAZING! Our first stop was the temple. We talked for a good hour or more about our purpose and our mission standards. We are ALL about Baptizing and Retaining, having no fear, and talking to EVERYONE. Then we had my first Costa Rican meal..... Wendy´s haha. Then we slept at the house of two sisters in the area.. both latinas. As soon as I found out one of the new sisters was going to be with them I know it would be me....... We got to sleep at 11 then woke up with the sun at FIVE the next morning. Went straight to the Mission office to have interviews and fill out papers. Finally at about 230 I went out on divisions with Hermana Davidson who I met on Facebook!!!! I´m attaching a pic.. she has the short hair. It was amazing!! I worked ahrd to not be afraid and just talk and learn. The people here are incredible. All I had to do was say ¨It´s my first day and I don´t know spanish¨and they´d say ¨Oooooooh no importa no importa!!!¨ and hug me and kiss me. I love them!
We got our trainers!!! How did I know it.... I´m with the two latinas. The Lord must love to put me in trios haha. And He must have known how much help my Spanish needed!! I´m with two latinas and I never know what´s going on. Hermana Pizza and Hermana Betancourt. Hmna Pizza is from Columbia and speaks a little English, Hna Betancourt is from Mexico and speaks no English. It´s all good though, I will learn SO much from being iwth them! When we got to the house they had made me a ¨Bienvenida a la mision!¨poster. So sweet! They are really nice and I think they´re funny... but I can´t really understand what they are saying.... Ñ=
Today we woke up at five and went to the office then to President´s for breakfast then got our trainers and then we were off! I pretty much didn´t know what was going on the whole time so that was extremely overwhelming... I cried in the street Ñ= But Esta bien. Also I literally fell asleep in a lesson....
I am blessed to have these trainers!! They are amazing and literally talk to EVERY SINGLE person on the street!!
There is zero time for journal writing or sleeping or anything so I´m trying my best to remember what happened...thursday was extremely har. We went to the park and talked to every single person. It was good, but ya know hard. That´s all I remember... I´ll try to do better at writing what happens!!
Goodness gracious it is getting harder and harder. I always feel on the verge of tears. I´m constantly fighting them back. I can not understand a single word of the language. I never know what´s going on. All day I am just faking that I understand, even to my companions. It feels like I am hindering the work. Like my being here is a burden on my companions and I´m just slowing them down and sitting silently and awkwardly until it´s my turn to share my testimony. Today Hmna Pizza kept whipspering to me to share a scripture so I would... but I had no idea what the scripture meant and so I couldnt´say anything after... ugh it was just awful. It feels IMPOSSIBLE and I am CONSTANTLY pleading for the Lord´s help. The people here are amazing though... they are always patient with me. I just feel dumb.
I didn´t cry today!! Wahoo!! Oh, yesterday we had lunch with our cook and just in that one visit I got ten mosquito bites on my feet. Gross. She gave us this nasty fish and it took everything in me just to swallow it. Hmna Betancourt had to run to the bathroom to throw it up and was sick all day!! Eekers.
Our usual day goes like this.. Wake up at 530, exercise, shower, get ready, 700 personal study 800 comp study, 900 language study, 1000 12 weeks study, 1100 more language study. As you can see we wake up an hour early for MORE language study. It aint helpin much but I´m a´prayin. Then 1200 we leave for lunch at our cook´s house.. Her name is Mary Jane and she is the Young Womens pres in the ward. That´s where I´m attacked by bugs and I choke down nasty food. It´s awesome. Then we go to work and usually have 4 to 7 lessons. I usually sit silently completely lost until I bear my testimony. Most our time it seems is spent walking or on the bus. It´s worth it though because we... well my comps.. talk to EVERYONE. LPE is a thirty second thing where we share a principle and get numbers and references. It´s our finding tool and works awesomely because all the people here want to talk to you. i can´t wait until I know Spanish!!!
Today I got to listen to my ipod for the first time!! I LOVE the music! Thank you so so much!!! I miss you so much... Goodness there is such a culture shock here...
Okay hardest day ever. I cried a lot. Ñ= Actually there was just a couple times where I actually let tears out. But I sure teared up about fifty billion times! I can´t even begin to explain how much harder this is than the MTC. But I am also remembering that the MTC was hard until after one week... maybe it will be the same here! Ñ= I can only pray...
It is just so hard not understanding a word. In the morning we left several hours early and I had no idea because I never know what is happening. I just walk around confused. Well today was church. I´ve had this goal to get to know every member... that was IMPOSSIBLE! I can´t understand them at all... In Sunday School the teacher kept calling on me to answer all the questions and I had NO idea what he was saying. Then we went to a family´s house for lunch and there were ten people sitting around me laughing and having a great time. I was so lost. For nearly three hours. Goodness gracious I feel so alone here most the time!! Sunday especially... There is not one thing that is comfortable.. not even my bed!! I miss the comforts of my CLEAN house and my own language and my AMAZING family. I miss you more than words can express. It was rough all day... later it was my turn to bear testimony to an investigator named Jesus who received the Holy Ghos today. I fuond myself testifying that because of the Atonement of Jesus Christ, we are NEVER ALONE.. that He knows how we feel... when we are sitting in a room full of people and can´t understand word and feel completely alone... We aren´t! He knows how I feel and is with me. IT was such a tender mercy to have the spirit testify to me of this as I testified of it to Jesus. The Lord truly knows me and knows what I need. I plead with Him every day that I can learn the language!!!
Some notes on Costa Rica...
Dogs. EVERYWHERE!! They are friendly.. but I never touch them. I´m pretty sure they are disease filled. They poop EVERYWHERE and it is almost impossible not to step in it. In the mornings they do this awful thing where all the dogs in the whole city howl so it sounds like every baby was taken from every mother in Costa Rica... or like all the souls on their way to you know where... It´s horrifying.
Also sometimes in the morning I wake up early because of this REALLY loud megaphone sound that soudns like the SWAT team surrounding your house... but mixed with some Arabic prayer song... It´s really just the egg van selling the eggs for the morning.
The sidewalks are the bumpiest most uneven things I´ve ever seen. Not bike friendly or really walker friendly either. I trip on the daily. The roads are DANGEROUS. It´s like there aren´t any rules at all. I don´t understand. I amost get hit by at least one bus a day.
The bus system is wacky. Sometimes my comps just stop on the side of the road and a bus appears. I don´t get it.
Sometimes there are GIANT sewage holes in the sidewalk. And I mean huge. Taller and wider than me. And there´s no cover so I might die... if the fall doesn´t kill me the bacteria will.
The sides of the roads..the gutters... are HUGE ditches. You have to jump to get across. Sometimes they have little bridges for you. I figured out why when it rained and the large rivers formed...
The living conditions are pretty nasty. Bugs and ants and flies and dirt and grime.. Things falling apart.. blech.
Some of the houses are actually kind of nice!! And then the house right next to it is like a shack. That´s how our house is.. I took a pic for you. Every house is surrounded by a gate.. and inside are at least 3 houses. In the picture you see the gate and the house in front of ours that is actually really nice!! And then in the other pic is the shack that is literally just tin. All the houses have like one nice item... like a flat screen tv.... and a nice shiny car... then cinderblock walls and tin roofs... it´s weird.
Oh, I live in Gravilias. It´s in the San Jose region so it´s actually not hot!! In the afternoons it gets warm... but not hot. It rains everyday.. but not like in the other areas. We have less bugs here too. which is weird cuz there´s more than I´ve ever seen. We work in Dos Cercas, Porvenir, Jardin, and Gravilias.. which I finally figured out are just neighborhoods.
Everyone kisses on the cheek here. EVERYONE. It´s a country full of love!!
Okay more to come about the strange things of Costa Rica next week...... I love you all. prayers would be appreciated Ñ= I´m grateful for all the prayers you are offering for me and for your faith and support!!! This is rough but I have no doubt that it will get better after the first week. The people here are so incredible it makes it all worth it. They are all so willing and loving. I think we have 15 progressing investigators right now.. that could be wrong because ya know.. I can´t understand haha but its amazing. I should have two baptisms this week!!! This work is amazing. Hard, but amazing. The church is true!!! Don´t be afraid to open your mouths!!! At least you all can speak the language of the country you´re in! Ñ= Just open your mouths and bring people unto Christ. This is the one and only true church and I testify of that in the name of Jesus Christ.
I LOVE YOU MORE THAN WORDS!!!!!!!!!! thank you for all you do