Tuesday, April 29, 2014

Cartago Costa Rica 4.28.14

So we got to do something pretty cool and a historic event in the Church.
The Church decided that it would be a great idea to put up a Kiosk about the Church and as people walk by we talk about the church. We were the Pilot missionaries for this Kiosk idea. First one in the world. Super cool. Usually we contact 10-15 people in a day. With the Kiosk we got over 100 contacts in about 2 hours. Very successful. One of the ladies Elder Johnson talked with accepted a baptismal date right there on the spot. Super tuanis.
Entonces, life is pretty usual down here. Super stressful, fighting with companions, preaching the good word, and changing lives. We were frustrated again yesterday when no one showed up to church from our investigator pool. People use the excuse, I can't go to church because I have this. When in reality they should be saying, I can't do that because I have to go to Church. It's a little backwards but we sigamos adelante.
This week I relearned that I were my heart on my sleeve. When I'm angry, everyone knows it. When I'm sad or happy, everyone knows it. I decided that the mission is the perfect opportunity to begin to change that. I need to learn to control my emotions. I started wondering about how I can do that. My mind went to the Savior. He was the perfect example of Self-Control and Self-Mastery. Even after we was whipped, betrayed, spat upon, crowned with thorns, smacked, unlawfully condemned, and nailed to a cross, we still had the self-control to not become angry. He still looked heavenward with a perfect love and said,"Father, forgive them"
This week I've been trying to learn more about how the Spirit talks to me and how I can learn to rely on Him. It's difficult. But what I have learned is that in order to receive revelation, you must be doing something. You have to be moving and acting or it will never come. The idle brain is the devils playground. When you sit and stare at the wall, you think yourself into depression and the cannot instruct you. I will liken our lives to a car. We have tremendous power and potential under our hood. But we when we sit at a light that Heavenly Father has turned green, we are simply idling. God cannot stir a parked car. So move forward and listen to the GPS or Gods Pure Spirit, (Holy Ghost) for where you should be going. The Spirit will help you get to you need to go. If you're heading in the wrong direction, He will reroute you. He sees the collapsed bridges and the roadblocks in your way. And when you break down on the side of the road and think you cant keep going, He is still your 24/7 Road-Side Assistance who dispatches employees to come help you. Namely Mom, Dad, Bishops, Leaders, and even the Prophet. So dont worry about it. Enjoy the ride. Everything works out in time. We will all get to Paradise eventually.
Love you lots,
Siga Adelante,
Elder Neider
PS Happy Birthday Brendon. I was going say that last week but esta bien con saying it now. BTW, There's a menos activo here that thinks you super cute and says you wont message her back on Facebook. HAHAHA classic
PSS The package got here last Tuesday and is being held hostage in the office until the Lideres de Zona go and get it. Also I finally sent off the SD Card last monday so its on its way.

Tuesday, April 22, 2014

Cartago Costa Rica 4.21.14

Ok Team,
This week was very...... different. Lots of good, lots of bad, tons of weird.
Easter in Costa Rica is very different. They celebrate the Semana Santo or the Holy Week or The Final Week of Christs Life. For one whole week almost every pulperia is closed and on Thursday and Friday even the buses weren't in use. Friday was especially hard for us to teach because we couldn't use the buses to travel to the other towns where our investigators live. So it became a Finding New Investigators day. But it was hard because it was Viernes Santo or Holy Friday. Ahhh.... Semana Santo, the only week of the year where everyone lives there religion. Good times.
We watched one of the ceremonies that they do as well as drove by the same ceremony in the week. About 200-300 Costa Ricans march, dressed up as Roman Soldiers and march around the block in the slowest manner possible. It takes 3 hours of march for the march to be complete. It was funny because Elder Estrada and I were walking with Michael, our landlord, in the opposite direction of where a lot of the Ticos were traveling. We were in Agua Caliente which is the shady part of Cartago. Me, being a white, blonde haired, blue eyed missionary of a different Church than the ceremony in the shady part of my area, I felt like I stood out a little bit. I dont know why I felt that.
The work goes forward.
Elder Johnson told me that I would find the Costa Rican versions of everyone I know from back home. So far I have found the Costa Rican versions of Grandma Margo, Mom, Brittany my cousin, and Jennifer Lawrence. Thats all I can think of right now but if I remember others I'll write them in. BTW, one of the Ticos named Angie looked at my facebook profile and all my friends and thinks that Brendon is muy guapo. She's looking for a husband and has decided to move to Utah to find one. Your welcome bro.
Anyways, the Tico version of Mom is named Patricia. She is awesome. Her and her husband are our greatest investigators right now. Yesterday they came to church and they just eat up the information we give them. She gives her husband the same exact look that Mom gives Dad after he's said something just to bug her. It's hilarious. She calls him Tanto all the time too!!! The translation for the word is silly but when you use it in this sentence, "No hace algo tanto" it translates to "Dont do anything stupid". She said that and my mind immediately translated it to "Moron". Her hair is the same style, does the same faces, and even insults the same way!!! JAJAJA.
Elder Estrada lost are house keys last night so we couldnt return home until our landlord came home. This was no accident, him losing the keys. Divine Intervention. We decided to travel down to one of our investigators houses deep in Cocori to fill the time. They couldn't talk with us but as we were walking back, Elder Estrada followed a prompting to turn and contact a house. The mother was an LPE or someone he spoke with on the bus the previous day. We went in and began to teach them. This is where it gets interesting. We sat down and the woman he contacted was drunk. We talked with all 4 people but the drunk mom wanted to practice her English with me. She told me about how hard life is and how mean this family was to her. She told of how she wasnt married to the man in the house and how mean he is. She spoke of how it is the perfect time for her to receive the Gospel. She also told me of how she is 4 months pregnant and yada yada yada. So my attention was on her. Elder Estrada focused one the other three and we now have 4 new investigators and 3 of them now have baptismal dates for May 18th. We returned to the house with me in bewilderment because I've never talked with a drunk for a long period of time. We walked into the house and immediately found our keys.
The Spirit knows us. He knows all actually. He is preparing every one of us for special experiences and opportunites for coming unto Our Father in Heaven. We must be as Nephi and go forward with faith, not knowing beforehand, and sometimes not even afterhand, the things we should do.
Mom, one of the things that has revolutionized my scripture study, is studying for other people. your calling is that of the Relief Society President and as such you are entitled to that stewardship of receiving revelation for those whom you serve. The scriptues are the doorway to revelation. Always begin your study with prayer and ask for direction. Think specifical about one of the sisters in the ward that is having a hard time or needs some help. As you study, I promise that the Spirit will lead to those things that you can do to help. This is what we do every morning. When we study for others and begin looking for opportunities to serve, we begin to realize that the Lord molds us into a tool that He can use to move His work forward. I love in the scriptures where Jesus is teaching both his Apostle in Luke, and the Nephites in 3 Nephi. "If your eye be single, then shall your body be full of light" In Doctrine and Covenants Section 4 we learn that having an eye single, means having it single to the glory of God. And again in Moses 1:39 we learn that the glory of God is to bring to pass the immortality and eternal life of man. In other words, when we focus on helping out others, we can be full of light and move forward as an instrument in His hands. I found this earlier this week of I've been waiting to share that :) Maybe that can help you with your studies.
About time with Pebbles, jajaja
Anyways I love you all,

Siga Adelante,

Elder Neider

Monday, April 14, 2014

Cartago Costa Rica 4.14.14

Hola from Costa Rica,
Things are going great here. Yesterday was a little frustrating for us because we have about 13 Progressing Investigators and about 10 Investigators and not a single one showed up to Church. Boo! Esta bien. One of the Menos Activos came through with her whole family so that was muy bueno. It was a different kind of week here. Elder Estrada went with Elder Johnson to a temple sealing of a family they reactivated and so when Elder Estrada came back we was super pumped to start getting people progressing. I had an interview with the President today and I can't wait to start getting to work again. He had me read Doctrine and Covenants 31:1-5 and substitute my name in for the name of Thomas B Marsh. It was really powerful because I've been worrying a lot about home and everyone there this past week. I need to just start thrusting in my sickle for you guys so you can receive bendiciones. Thats the best way I can help out.
I feel a little like Nephi right now. In 1 Nephi 4:6 i think. But esta bien Pura Vida.
I don't really have much to report other than that. We taught a lot of people and we need to go harder. Elder Estrada said in broken English. "We need to explode Cartago" referring to the work of course. I took it literally the first time. Jajaja. Entonces, My favorite food down here right now is the little Jelly sandwiches I make for myself every night. Two slices of bread with Grape Jelly and a carton of Orange Juice. Perfecto. It's my favorite because it's not rice and beans. Wow, I turned on the italics and I don't know how to turn it off! Darn spanish keywords. Pura Vida.
Siga Adelante,

Elder Neider

Tuesday, April 8, 2014

Cartago Costa Rica 4.7.14

It's been both a great week and a terrible week. Elder Gomez and I had a Companion Inventory this Wednesday because he was mad about something. Throughout the whole thing I tried my very hardest to be humble and keep a cool head. I spoke with the Spirit a lot because he was talking down to me and yelling at me. He refused to listen to me and it was hurting my feelings. Eventually I asked," Elder, do you love me?" He said no. We began talking through that because that was the root of the problem. Turns out that he just doesn't like Gringos or people from North America. I continued to try but eventually he refused to even try to talk to me. The final thing he shouted at me was,"Fetching Gringo" which was the final straw for me. I became super upset because up until this point there was no respect for me and no respect as a representative of Jesus Christ was using racial slurs in a way intended to offend.
Elder Gomez was transferred to another area the next day. Elder Thompson said he was amazed by how humble I was. Elder Estrada said I was great until the Fetching Gringo comment. He said I looked like I was about to punch Elder Gomezs' head off. During the nighttime I said a prayer to help me forgive all the crap he's done to me. I felt the impression that I needed to apologize. I asked for help because I didn't feel like I could do it on my own. I was shaking at the foot of his bed as I said "Elder, yo quiero decir lo siento por este manana. I also want to say that I forgive you for all the bad things you do and say to me" to which he began making snoring noises when I switched to English.
I traveled to Turriabla for splits the next day where I gave my first Melchizedek Priesthood Ordinance in Spanish. I anointed the oil. The next day I traveled to Paraiso with the Zone Leaders for day two of splits. We finished off that day by playing Futbol.
Conference was amazing and exactly what I needed. My thoughts are these on Conference. In the first session, tornados and whirlwinds were mentioned 3 times. The rest of the conference was about strengthening testimonies in loads of different aspects as well as a lot about the Second Coming. My thought is this, now is the time to be strengthening our foundations and helpĂ­ng others to strengthen theirs. A whirlwind is coming and only those with a sure foundation will hold true. After the whirlwind, the Second Coming will commence. That was the impression that was made in my mind. I honestly feel that it will begin within the next 10 years. But of course I don't know. The take home message is now is the time for men to prepare to meet God.
I was informed that my MTC companion, Elder Leska, was sent home one week after we arrived in Costa Rica. He will be fine. It's not serious.
I was also informed that the reason Elder Gomez is the way he is, is because his father was shot right next to him when he was a kid. His brother was killed one week before he came into the MTC.
You never know someone else's story.
I'm unfortunately frustrated because I want to be a phenomenal missionary. But I'm falling short of my expectations. I want to be perfect right now because I want to help this people find the peace and happiness that I have found. Most, simply choose not to listen. Others simply can't understand me. I'm not the perfect missionary. But I'm having a hard time feeling like I'm doing anything right. I understand that I need to stop focusing on myself and need to be more grateful for the things I do have. I love it here. I'm growing fast and the eyes of my learning and understanding have opened. I'm becoming more here. Heavenly Father wants me to grow so He is sending me these challenges. I love Him and I know He lives. Jesus is the Living Christ and those that come unto Him shall receive their rest. The Holy Ghost is becoming my greatest friend because He comforts me when I need a friend that can't be here in Costa Rica. I love you all and I love receiving your letters. Corbin, D&C 45:62.

Siga Adelante,
Elder Neider
PS I did not get the chance to send the SD card last week. Sorry :(