Monday, June 27, 2011

From Borrowed Suit to Wearing White!

The Best 2 Years!
Dear Family,
Holy Cow this week was really crazy. So much happened and I'm not going to have time to write you everything in detail, but let me just tell ya that it was CRAZY!!! 
So Monday we had an awesome P day activity and finally I get to see the parts of Costa Rica that I have wanted to see for my whole mission. So after the activity Elder Cope and I were supposed to go back to our area, but we missed the bus so we spent the night with the Zone Leaders in Ciudad Neily. The only problem was that I had no mission clothes and the next morning really early we had a conference with Pres. Galvez. So Elder Sirrine  let me borrow some of his clothes, which by the way were really tight on me cause he is super skinny (see attached photo and you'll know what I'm talkin' about). So the conference with President Galvez was super good and we watched a talk given by Elder Holland in the MTC this past Jan. I had already seen the talk twice, but in Spanish and this time we watched it in English. Maybe next week if I have time I will write some of the things I liked about the talk, just know that it was super good. One of the things we talked about in the conference was doing everything possible so that our investigators can be baptized. 
Well the ZLs have a family they are teaching, Luis and Maria. They are super awesome and were going to get baptized on the 18, but Luis had to go to this one place called Carate to work. Its a place by Puerto Jimenez which is like 4 hours away from Neily. They still wanted to get baptized so we decided that we were going to do everything possible so that they could get married and baptized. We planned that elder Rosales, one of the ZLs and I would go to Carate, do the baptismal interview with him, then have the APs drive down and bring his wife and a lawyer, so that they could get married and baptized right there on the beach. So I went on a 2 day adventure with Elder Rosales to Puerto Jimenez and just remember that I had basically nothing, just that clothes that Elder Sirrine lent me, a Book of Mormon, and toothbrush that I bought and this really awesome book that Im reading called Life Everlasting, check it out, cause now I have a whole new perspective about life after death. 
So anyway we took a 4 hour bus ride to Puerto Jimenez and spent the night in the church which is just a small house, but they had beds so we didn’t have to sleep on the floor. The next day, Wednesday, we had to wake up at 4:30 in order to be able to go to Carate. The only ways to get there are by driving yourself or going in the back of a truck that has two rows of benches in the back to sit on. So we took a bumpy two hour truck ride to go to Carate and something that I forgot to mention is that Elder Rosales was really sick with a flu. So we got to Carate and spent all day looking for him. We had been told that he was working as a security guard for a hotel and in Carate there is only the beach, one small store and hotels. I think that the population of people who actually live there is less than 50 and they all live in these tent style houses called rancheros. Some funny things happened while we were looking for him, but I don’t have time today to tell them all, but one funny thing is that everyone thought we were from the FBI and they were all scared. Well we only had until 4 in the afternoon to look for him cause that is when the truck left to go to Puerto Jimenez. Also what made everything difficult is that the phone reception is really bad out in that part of the country so we couldn’t get a hold of Luis. 
We went all the way back to Puerto Jimenez and we were a little disanimated, but the Lord blessed us for our work. The next day, the Branch President of Puerto Jimenez met with us and told us about a young man whose dad is a member and was listening to the missionaries, but when the missionaries were taken out of Jimenez he stopped going to church, but that in the last month he had been coming and wanted to get baptized. So we went over to his house, oh his name is Michael, and he told us that he wanted to get baptized. I did the interview and he was baptized this past Friday. So even though we didn’t get Luis and Maria baptized, we did baptize Michael, who is 20 years old so he also can get the Priesthood. Luis was eventually found and they are getting baptized in the next two weeks or soon thereafter. 
After our 2 day adventure in Puerto Jimenez, I helped the Sister Missionaries a little bit for a couple days so I was out of my area Monday until Saturday morning. And for those 5 days I wore the same clothes and so I smelled kinda bad, but that’s how the mission is (brings back memories of scout camp!). It was a fun experience and I wrote like 5 pages in my journal so when I get home you can read about it in detail.
To answer some of your questions dad, the computer in the church is fully equiped with everything necessary, even with the new Microsoft 7. The branch presidency consists of my companion and me. Thank you for sending me my setting apart. I have listened to it and enjoy it. In our branch there are about 16 active people, two families and a couple of single people. There are about 4 young men and women and a few kids in the primary. Also the computer has MLS and I´ve basically learned how to use it. Thank you for the talk outlines and if you want you can send more, cause I will basically be speaking every week. Also please send the recorder because it would be fun to record some of my talks. I think and hope that I answered all of your questions  . . .  it just that I’m trying to do a bunch of stuff right now.
Julia thanks for the pictures of your trip . . .  I enjoyed them. Inbioparque was in my first area and so you saw were I walked in the first months of my mission. I’m glad to hear that everything is going well and I hope you are all having a wonderful summer. I love you all!!!! 
Love Elder Smith