Favorite Scripture

Doctrine and Covenants: 35

13 Wherefore, I call upon the aweak things of the world, those who are bunlearned and despised, to thresh the cnations by the power of my dSpirit;

14 And their arm shall be my arm, and I will be their ashield and their buckler; and I will gird up their loins, and they shall fight manfully for me; and their benemies shall be under their feet; and I will let cfall the dsword in their behalf, and by the efire of mine indignation will I preserve them.

15 And the apoor and the bmeek shall have the gospel preached unto them, and they shall be clooking forth for the time of my coming, for it is dnigh at hand—

Monday, April 29, 2013

Wedding and Two Baptisms!

So this week was fairly boring, so this letter will be short, but as usual, I will be answering questions first.
First of all, it hasn't rained at all this week, so I'm pretty dry for now, supposedly all the rain starts in the first two weeks of May. And the problem is that my shoes are waterproof, so nothing comes in the bottom, but everything that comes in the top will stay in there... So there is no getting around being wet, I've already learned that. And yeah, the diner looks pretty cool, you just need a pool table in their and it'd be perfect! And my area is pretty boring, so I don't really feel like I'm living an adventure, we're more or less in a city so it's all pretty normal. The only difference is with the guanabana tree. That is in a mountain pasture thing, and we found it while going to an investigators house and I decided that I wanted one, so Elder Ramirez climbed the tree and picked it, it's still not ripe :( All that stuff that you guys are doing sounds like so much fun... and right after I leave... what the heck?! Oh well, I just have to do something cooler... maybe I'll go visit a volcano or something. I'm glad the family is doing well, you guys are alwyas in my prayers as well, each of you individually. Ok, now for my week.
Basically, as far as numbers go, we had the worst week of the mission. We had to spend all week preparing for the wedding and baptism cause we had almost no help from the members, so we had really bad numbers, but we had a wedding and 2 baptisms, so that's good. Apparently for this month, my zone had 10 baptisms total (7 companionships) and of those 10, Elder Ramirez and I had 5. And this week, we'll be having another wedding and 2 baptisms, but luckily the members are more involved in this one, so we won't have to do as much of the work. Other than that... I've been sick for a week now, it's almost gone, but I'm still sick. Also, it's really hot, apparently it gets super hot right before the rainy season. Also, tell Hailee that yes, I do like her picture, it was really nice to recieve a letter from someone.
Other than that, I have a couple requests, first, those recipes that you sent me, can you send them in a DearElder letter instead of email? I can't print it off cause I don't have a thumbdrive. Also, I'm going to need a new backpack when I get a new area (so I'm not as much of a target for thieves) that was a suggestion from my zone leader that will be going home in 2 weeks. But right now I have a really safe area, so don't worry :) And yeah, that's about it, I will talk to you later.
Elder H. Black

Monday, April 22, 2013

Not the Greatest Week


Sounds like you guys are having a lot of fun out there, I would love to have a vacation too, but I need to work for a couple years first. And to answer questions, yes, I did get all the pictures... would you believe that the kids have already changed a bit? Cause it's true. Next, Dad, I have been uploading a bunch of pictures... it's just that I don't have a ton cause there's not that much exciting stuff here in Naranjo. And advice for Carter... go practice with dad up on the baseball field, and... don't be nervous :) And a question for Carter, what position are you playing? Also, I've already told you guys, that the person that knows Kassandra is Zelph Vindas, he just got back from his mission a little over a month ago. My companion and I still have our issues, but we're not fighting every single day anymore... so that's good. I can't believe all these people have their mission calls... also, I feel bad that they're going in July, the MTC is gonna be rough for them, about a billion people will be there.
Anyway, here was my week. First, I forgot to tell you about the "Check of the Month", we basically just went and talked with President Wilkinson for a little bit, then hung out with our MTC friends. But the nice thing was that Hermana Wilkinson made us lunch, American Style :) We had pot roast, corn, potatoes, salad, cake and ice-cream.... it was so amazing. And President gave me some advice on how to work better with my comp, so I'm working on it. But he also told me that Elder Ramirez would probably have changes this next time, so he told me to just hang in there. (3 more weeks until I finish training) And then the rest of the week, we had lots of appointments fall through, so we didn't teach very much. It was a frustrating week. And on Wednesday, every house we visited had bad news for us. First, after about 13 years of marriage, a spouse was unfaithful (members), next house, there has been abuse in the home (members), next house, the father lost his job for no reason and his mom was in the hospital (member), next house, they have a mom in the hospital (members), next house, the wife is sad about things going on with her husband, so she told us she wanted to put off learning more about the church (investigator that was about to be baptized), but we told her that we would continue to visit her, same house, the husband doesn't want to listen to us anymore. Yeah, and all of them would like support, but it's hard to get the members here to help with anything, so it's just us that get to deal with it all, so it's just been a rough week.
Also, the rainy season started on Thursday, and it's rained everyday since. And it pours, hard. But it's nice because it's a little cooler, so I like it cause now I don't sweat to death. But we were told that now it's started, it won't end until December.
Other than that, I ate a peach that was hard like an apple, but tasted like a peach, it was weird, but cool. Also, I found a new favorite scripture. D&C 35:13-15, it's good. And yeah... that was basically my week.
But I looked through some letters, and I noticed that Skylar put some slang in one of his, so I thought I'd do that too. "Pachuko" is slang for "slang". Tuanís=cool. Mae/Mop=dude and right now my brain is fried so I can't think of anything else.
And fun fact: Here, school starts in February and ends in November. Summer break is December-January.
Until Next Week,
Elder H. Black

Monday, April 15, 2013

Another Week in the Work

So this week was another fairly un-interesting week. So this letter will be short. First of all, right mom.. you're going to "clean the garage" I've heard that one before... like, 2 weeks before I left, and it still hasn't been done. And no, I didn't eat all the tomatos and onions, only half. But still, it's a fairly decent amount of food. And I think anyone call email us, it's just that we don't have hours on end, so letters to other people will be a bit shorter. But we now have 1 1/2 hours to write instead of just 1. And yes, we have a blender, so we can make smoothies whenever. Oh, and dad, I don't remember how it came up, but I mentioned that you are all sickly to a member, he made me promise to mention "Omni-Life" to you. He said that it's all natural and will cure you, so maybe check it out.
Ok, so Monday we had a lesson with some investigators, Jorge and Eilin. She is super awesome and is totally ready to be baptized, but him, not as much. We watched the movie about the life of President Monson and it was really powerful. We got all finished and asked Eilin to pray to end the lesson. That was the most powerful, sincere prayer that I have ever experienced in my life... and I've been in the same room when Elder Holland prayed, so that's saying something. She later told us it's because she absolutely knows that this church is true. She was supposed to be getting baptized this week, but didn't go to church yesterday and said that she wants to talk with us... that's almost never good news. So we'll see how it goes today.
Speaking of baptisms, we had 3 on Saturday, woot! It was the family of Jorge Sanchez (member). And he just barely recieved the Aaronic Priesthood, so he was able to baptize his wife, and two kids. And then yesterday they were confirmed, and I got to participate in one of the confirmations, so that was pretty neat.
I also learned that before I came, church attendance was somewhere around 48 every week, and now we are up to about 75 every week. We need 80 to come and then the church will buy land for a new chapel... we're so close!
Ok, and other than that I just have some random things. I had my first coco this week. I drank the water and then ate the meat of the coco. I was on divisions with my Zone Leader and he cut both his hands while trying to break to shell into smaller pieces, haha. Also, I had a pear here... they're red and have a pit in the middle. Also, they're kinda fuzzy inside, weird, but good. Also during those divisions, we went to a house for lunch, and an 8 year-old came and smacked an elder with a towel, so the Zone Leader took the towel and cracked/whipped the kid pretty hard on his rear. The kid started screaming and crying, and the 3 elders just started laughing. I felt bad, but then they informed me that this kid is basically immune to pain and just screams for fun, just a joke. Weird huh? Ok last thing, I found out that here, there is only summer and winter, and we're just about to enter winter/rainy season. Yup. That's it for this week, tune in next week for some more of the life of Elder Black.
Elder H. Black

Monday, April 8, 2013

3 Months!

Traditional Meal

First Baptism Performed!

The font is outside, the water was cold!

Baby tarantula found under desk

So yeah, I've been gone for 3 months already. Time sure flew fast! I'm 1/8 of the way done... there's no time!!! Also, I've completed one transfer here in Costa Rica! Yeah! Just one more for my training!  So yes, I was able to listen to conference, but only 4 sessions. And I don't remember which was my favorite, I'll look back over my notes and let you know next week. Mom, have you sent me those recipes yet? If not, you should because I should be able to get them next Monday. So you guys can send as many DearElders as you want this week, cause like I said, Monday is one of the rare opportunities for us to get them. To answer Dad's question, "What's up?" ... great question Dad, but I don't have enough time to write a good answer. When I get home you can read my journal (I have 3 months worth, I've written everyday) But yes, converts and church attendance are up, which is really good. I'll explain in just a sec. Other than that, sounds like Florida was really fun for you all. Nice pictures, looks like a blast. And congrats on the anniversaries, you guys are ancient! (But it's ok, members say that you look good for 50, and almost 45. Yes, 45, not 29) And Dad, good luck with what it is that you think that you should be doing, I've been praying too, so hopefully that's your answer. Also, if you have questions about any pictures on dropbox, feel free to ask. I thought I'd take a picture of a normal meal for you... the meal is a little small, but it should give you an idea of how much and what I eat.
Ok, so what did I do on Monday? Yes, it was something cool. We hiked up a mountain/hill. It was really pretty and made me feel more at home because there were pine trees everywhere. I didn't know how much I would miss the little things like the smell of pine trees. It was very relaxing for me. Anyway, we hiked up and there was this cool... structure. It used to be a building for worship I think. And those are the pictures on dropbox. I would have taken more of nature up there, but I got caught in my first rainstorm! Within two seconds it went from hot, to pouring rain. So I couldn't take pictures of the landscape... And we had to go back down the mountain in that rain, so I got soaked. But, I did find out, my backpack, is waterproof =) We were a little worried cause I had everyone's cameras. But it's all good, it's waterproof. And then we went back to the house to make smoothies. For that I bought 2 pineapples and 8 mini-bananas. And right now, have everyone guess how much that cost me.... ok, it was just under $2! It's so cheap! And delicious! And then the next day, I learned how to cook ripe plantain. It's delicious. Eat it with cheese, or sweetened-condensed milk, mmmm.... And the next day, we were walking out of the house, and there are tons of chickens and chicks and roosters right? Well, I guess we walked to close to the chicks, cause a chicken jumped up and attacked Elder Ramirez (in the stomach.. haha). We went and taught some investigators, Bryan (17, new investigator) and his brother, Jose Pablo (16). They both seem really good and we're pretty sure that they will get baptized, we just need people to be friends with them, cause that's what everyone in the church needs, a friend. And then we left the house and were walking down the street. I looked down and saw something right next to my foot. My first snake here! But as it slithered away I noticed 3 things... black, yellow, red. And that's when we realized, it was a coral snake, super poisonous, and it had literally been 1 inch from my foot. I know there's a plan for me here, cause if that snake had bitten me, I would have been in serious trouble. Blessings of being a missionary are great =) So in the next couple of days we prepared 8 of our investigators for the interviews that didn't happen... but they should happen tomorrow or Wednesday, so it's ok. But we did find out that Asencíon won't be getting baptized this week, he doesn't have the money to get married... but he did go to 3 sessions of conference! And those were the ones when they hard-core talked about chastity. For me, conference seemed like everything our investigators needed to know. It was definitely missionary themed. So with that, Saturday morning, Elder Ramirez and I were the only ones that showed up for conference, so we couldn't watch it. The afternoon and priesthood sessions were only in spanish, so I didn't understand a lot, but Sunday I got to watch the sessions in English, so I was really happy.  And I learned a lot from those, and am glad that we have that opportunity to listen to prophets and apostles of God. If we listen, we are going to learn so much. And to think, my mission assignment came from God, through one of them. Awesome.
Now really quick, some other things. First of all, an investigator gave us lunch on Wednesday, my first weird food. Rice, with squid. It actually wasn't weird, but it sounds weird. And also, Mom, look up the video on youtube, "Pollito Píu Píu", it's super popular here, and the kids will probably think it's funny. Also, can you ask Brother Bishop what it was he wanted me to write to the teachers quorum? And yeah, that's about it. I'm supposed to have a "check of the month" with President Wilkinson (a check to see how we're doing after one month, but now it's more like two months) next Monday, so I don't know when I will be emailing next. And also, get on Facebook and accept people por favor. And that's about it.
Hasta Lasagna,
Elder H. Black

Monday, April 1, 2013


Ok, this is going to be short too since it was only 3 days since the last letter. First of all, I haven't put sunscreen on this whole time and I'm still not burned, so haha. And enjoy that cold water... I wish I could swim in it right now. And mom, how is it strange without two of us? You and dad went on enough vacations without us before. And no, I haven't been able to get the music yet. Oh, and I completely forgot about Easter... I guess that was yesterday huh? Ok, names of people for you guys. The wedding will be Asención and Juana (they have 7 kids) and the baptism was Elio and Fernando. Our super good investigators right now are named Jorge and Heyling (Eilin). They are great, but the devil doesn't want them to go to church, she's been sick, and one week he didn't feel worth to go. But hopefully they'll be going to conference. And then our other family that's progressing really well is Jorge Sanchez and his family. He's a member, but the rest of them aren't (there are 5 total). But all these people I've mentioned have baptismal dates for the 13th, and they are all on track. So it's going to be a long, good day. Other than that, I went and visited an in-active member that we just argue with all the time, no matter what we say, he says the opposite... for example, I said that Jesus always wants us to go to church... he argued against that. Apparently it's a commandment for nothing. Oh well, other than that, I have been trying to do little things for Elder Ramirez, and he's been doing little things for me, so we're doing a little bit better. Yes, changes are this week, but more likely than not we will be together for 6 more weeks. (I've been trying to remember the word "transfers" but in spanish we say cambios... so yeah, I couldn't remember). Other than that, have fun in Florida, I should be doing something cool today, so hopefully I'll have some good pictures for next week. Ok, bye.
Elder H. Black