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, June 24, 2013

Poco a Poco

This is an ant!

Handmade silk ties for $6.00, what a deal!
They call this fruit guava.
It comes in a pod in fuzzy white "pillows"...
Poco a Poco, what a wonderful phrase, basically it means... "5 years please" But, as far as us missionaries here, we are increasing the work here, poco a poco. We were down in the dumps for a while, but we're starting to come back.
Questions/Answers: Things with my comp are still good, we're doing really good actually. It's just that a lot of the time he doesn't get when people are joking... and I'm always joking. And I didn't get to finish watching the zone conference, we had an appointment so we had to go early. But I can tell you right now, during the time I'm here, my mission president won't allow Facebook... or at least I don't think he will, we'll see...
So this week we started to get some new investigators, and hopefully we'll actually be able to visit them in the future. One that we contacted on Tuesday, Bernardita, said that she loves to read and would read the whole book of Mormon before we come back... we passed by her house yesterday and showed us that she had been reading, and I think she was already in 1 Nephi 15 or so. She seems like she will be a good investigator. A different day we were contacting and came across a preacher/missionary for the Jehovah's Witness. He agreed to let us come back. Also, we have that other preacher from a Pentecostal church (where Ascencion and Juana are attending right now) who wants to talk with us... for some reason we can only get pastors/preachers... So it looks like we'll be able to have some good new investigators in the coming weeks.
And yesterday, in church, 1 of my 10 converts were in the church... Why? Gossip. Things are pretty bad with gossip, it really kills relationships... don't gossip!!! We are trying to repair things, and remind everyone of the real reason that they are in the church, but it's so hard when there are bad feelings one toward another and so basically we just have to be patient until things blow over. But it's just so hard, it would be much easier if people just wouldn't start to spread these things before it gets bad. Anyways, there was a scripture that I found in Mormon that applies well to all this, it talks about "learn from our mistakes", we can see that in the Book of Mormon that gossip, lying, etc. lead to destruction as well.
We are working hard and I'm hoping that in this next change Naranjo will have 6 or 7 baptisms, whether I'm here or not. We'll see, changes are this week. But no, I don't know right now. I'm doing good, I'm happy, life's great, I know some cool magic tricks, I feel pretty legit, all's good.
Keep being awesome, choose the right, and read the Book of Mormon!!! You will find so many answers when you read, and whoever is reading this and is preparing to serve a mission, read the book... it has every answer you need.
Love you all!
Elder Black

Tuesday, June 18, 2013

Finally, a Good Week!

Hey Family, Friends, and Followers!
Hey, I finally have some questions to answer. Parker, just be smart, in other words, PS4, I'm sure you can wait, it will be higher quality, you will still have 3 or 4 years with it... just wait. If you don't wait you will ask yourself, "Why the heck didn't I wait? I could've had this cool, new PlayStation.." Yes, I remembered it was Father's Day, it's way bigger here than there. Everyone was celebrating so it was a little harder for us to have lessons.  On that note, immediately after I wrote the last time, I realized I didn't say Happy Father's Day dad! And HAPPY BIRTHDAY PARKER AND VIEJA! Mom, you're like 50 now right? And about the branch president, he is the only active one in his family, so he doesn't have a ton of support there, and also, the church leaders could always use prayers right? My suggestion about writing the talk is the advice my teacher in the MTC gave me... "I could give you the answer, but I don't want to rob you of the experience of learning for yourself, you learn more when you search for yourself." So there mom, that's my suggestion. And sounds like all of you are doing good... so just keep doing that.
Ok, right now we have the goal to teach at least 30 lessons every week. So we tried to do that, but what happened is that we basically had 2 P-days. Last Monday we had a normal P-day, so we didn't teach that much, and then on Tuesday, we were told that Wednesday would be our P-day because we were going to the temple. So with that, today we don't have P-day =( But like I said, we were trying to get 30, but we only got 25, but we almost did it! Also, we were working quite a bit more with the members to get references, and we've already gotten 5 references, and we've also come upon quite a few new people. So things are starting to pick up again, and for that, I think I'm going to have changes next week, just as everything is picking up again. Anyways, also like I said, we were able to go to the temple again, and there wasn't room for us to do a session, so we did baptisms. I did everything, checked off names, confirmations, witness, baptize, be baptized... yeah, everything, it was pretty cool. And when we finished, we were told that there was room in the next session, so we hurried and changed, and went to the session. And I didn't use the translation, I went straight up in spanish. Yeah, I'm pretty legit. The only problem was when you sometimes need help to say things... the guy helping me was awful, he mumbled and had a heavy accent, it was really hard... but all is well. Also, the pastor was with Ascencion and Juana again, and we were with a young man who gave in to the pressure to argue with the pastor *face palm* and the pastor made 7 comments about things that "aren't in the bible" such as: supposedly we aren't all children of God, Jesús wasn't a prophet, priesthood doesn't exist, etc. The following morning, in one hour, I, an 18 year old, found the scriptures for all those things that the pastor said, and I can prove him wrong. Yeah, I'm pretty awesome.
Cool experience for the this week. I have mentioned that we have talked with some drunks. Well one of them is named Melquisedec, I think I've said that. Well he gave us his phone number, but when we called, someone different answered, so we figured that he had given us a false number. Well, we were teaching Milton and Blanca when the same man walked in the house! We asked, "who's he?" and Blanca said, "Oh, he's my brother!" WHAAAAATTT!!! So it turned out that somebody had stolen his phone or something, so he gave us his new number and we'll be having lessons with him soon. Pretty cool right?
Also, one random thing, I can totally impersonate an evangelical pastor... I practiced in our house, my comp said I did pretty good, I'll have to take a video.
Other than that, I learned a couple easy magic tricks with cards, so hopefully I can do the tricks right. And yeah, this week went quite a bit better, we had lessons, found people, got references, can prove a pastor wrong, yeah, just overall better. It just goes to show that Ether 12:6 is for real.
So yeah, love you all, thanks for your support, keep the faith, be good. Amen.
Elder Black

Monday, June 10, 2013


Baptism of Melissa

Waterfall in San Carlos

Elder Black and guide

Park in Center of Town 

Baby possum

This is an ant!  Some people eat these in Guatemala...eewww!

Elder Black and Elder Brindis
That is the end of that little possum... :(

As I'm sure you know, I completed 5 months in the mission yesterday. And now I will answer questions. Everyone that wants to know about me, tell them it's hard, but I'm freaking awesome! It still rains quite a bit, but it's not as hot because it's almost always cloudy =) But yeah, for me, still hot. And Dad, your email said ¿Como estas?, but it's to two of us, so it should say ¿Como estan?, good attempt though =) I just realized that you guys didn't really have questions, so I'll just start another of of my "not much happened" letters again.
First of all, my house that I'm living in still doesn't have a ducha, so I still have to bathe with freezing cold water every day... It's horrible, don't try it. And other than that, it's been a pretty sad week. We noticed that the family of Juana and Ascencion wasn't in church on Sunday, we on Tuesday we went to visit them. It was then that we found out that they had started to visit an Evangelical church, and had many doubts about the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints. We tried to resolve those doubts, but it was pretty rough. Everything we tried to say, Juana asked "Where does it say that in the Bible?" She wouldn't let us to use the Book of Mormon... (problem is, she can't read) And so we could explain, but it just wasn't as clear. Well, as the week went by, it got worse... We went again on Thursday, and we got there and waited a half hour... they finally arrived, they had just come from their church! And they still had many doubts. Then, Saturday, we went to invite them to church on Sunday... they were having a meeting in their house! A pastor was there! They invited us in and the pastor was trying to get us to argue with him, but we knew it wouldn't do any good, so we just kept our mouths shut. It was just overall really sad to see that months of progress, blessings, they had signs that all was true, and just in a matter of hours, 1 pastor can change everything. And for that I had a really sad week.
Also, our investigators, Milton and Blanca, we have really been trying to help them. We went and taught the law of chastity, and Milton treated it like a joke... "oops, looks like we're in sin, and the baby is a little sin haha"... I tried to be serious with them, I showed them in the Book of Mormon that that sin is right up there with murder... *sigh* and he still didn't quite understand. So it's been a kind of sad week, but we will make this week better.
And we had stake conference too, we now have 6 stakes in Costa Rica, two more and we can divide the mission!! Maybe it'll divide next year!
Other random things. The house looks good! Could you send me pictures of the whole house, yard, and a few different pictures, people are curious how my house was there. And Dad, I will send you a different email to answer what you wanted.
Ok, random thing of the week. We went back to our house on Saturday night, I was a little frustrated with things that had happened, so I was walking a little slower. Elder Brindis got to the house, but didn't open the door. I got there, and on the gate right in front of the door, was a baby (more or less) possum. We didn't know what to do, so we went to the nearby members to ask. They came over and he took the gate and pinned the possum in between the gate and the wall. And he told me "kill it with your umbrella." Ummm... what?! "Just smack it's head, really hard!" I had to prep myself... and... Smack! One time... still living... Smack! Smack! Smack! And it was dead... nope. It was still clinging to the gate to not fall to the ground.  So... Smack! Ok, it's dead now. We kicked it out to the road when it started to crawl away using only it's front legs. So the member took my umbrella and was stabbing it... still no! Fetch, those things are tough, so Elder Brindis had to stomp on it's head 3 or 4 times to kill it... and yes, this time it died. Pictures are on dropbox, check it out.
And that was my week, sad, weird, and yeah. Goodbye until next week!
Elder Black

Tuesday, June 4, 2013

Letter June 4, 2013

To answer questions, yes, I got the package, and only the Riesens were missing (why don't you put a picture of jesus or mary?) I'm not sick anymore, it was just a virus, it was basically gone by Wednesday. Congrats to everyone, school awards, baseball, high priest... everything!!! Umm... I think that was all the questions...
So this last week, I was planning my activities about the whole week, so not much happened. I got everything ready for a "Minute to Win It" a "Movie Night" and a talent show. The purpose of these activities was to get the youth involved, bring friends (that could be investigators), etc. So Friday night we were waiting for the movie night... it turns out that one of the youth had texted everyone and cancelled my activity! >=( One of the Young women even had 4 people invited to attend. Then the next day, we showed up for the Minute to Win It... and it was just the youth members, no non-members... I was a bit frustrated. We did play the games though, and it went pretty well, so that would be a recommendation to Skylar. Also, it was really cheap. And then we got ready for the talent show. Still, no non-members... so basically I wasted a lot of time on these activities. But the talent show went well. I did that midget act where one person puts their hands through some pants and shoes, and the other reaches out from behind them to be the arms. We just danced to music and everyone thought it was really funny. And they made me dance for them because I'm gringo, so I wouldn't be surprised to find a video on facebook or youtube or something.
Also, this week, we finally had somebody with a baptismal date, Melissa, daughter of Milton and Blanca. She passed her interview this last Thursday, and I baptized her on Saturday. There were hardly any people there, but everything went well.
And random things for this week: We went to clean the baptismal font, and it was full of ants, of all different types and sizes. (There were still ants when I baptized her.) We changed houses again, we are in a better area, in a bigger house, for the same price, it's awesome. We have 3 rooms, a front room, a kitchen, a laundry room, and a bathroom, yeah, it's big. Also, yesterday, we went to San Carlos again, but this time to hike to a waterfall. We're pretty sure that we hiked at least 10 miles in total, it took forever, and that's why we didn't write yesterday. And today, Elder Brindis cut my hair (his first time trying) and only messed up a tiny bit, pretty good for a first try. And then I took a shower (our house doesn't have a ducha right now) in the freezing water... it's terrible, don't try it.
And I think that's about it... once again, hopefully I have something interesting next week... We're going to work hard this week. Goodbye until next week!
Elder Black