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—
So I had a good week, I'll get to that in a sec. The guy I met in the park, his name is Enmanuel. Yes, Elder Brindis is a DL, I have been the comp of a DL the whole mission. Card game, we play one where you start with 11 cards and have to win with 12. You win by making at least a set of 3 or run of three, but you have to use all 12 cards ex) 4 sets of 3, 2 sets of 3 and run of 6, etc. To make platanos maduros, cut it, and cook it in butter or oil... that's it. Or if you want you can cook it with cheese as well or with sweetened condensed milk. You can also put that sweetened condensed milk on breads, in Coke, and stuff like that. I never did make the caramel popcorn. We always eat with spoons because only in the fancy places are where they use a fork and knife. And it is actually easier to eat with a spoon (and fingers:) I think my little weight I've gained is from the food, and also muscle (in my legs) cause I have to hike these hills every day.
So this last week on Monday we had an FHE and it was pretty boring until it was my turn to do something, I took the refreshments. I took something purely gringo... smores :) Everybody loved them and wanted more and more, it was pretty sweet. And then that night our ZL's called and told us that they wanted to do divisions with us, ok, cool right? And then said that it would be for 3 days! That never happens! Divisions are normally 1 day, but I ended up working here in Naranjo with a different companion, Elder Nape, for 3 days. There is something very true of the mission here, when a leader comes to work in your área, they bring a lot of luck. That Tuesday we were able to find a new investigator, and also place 3 baptismal dates, so hopefully those work out. Then, on Wednesday we had a day of purely lessons with investigators, that's really ard for us so that was pretty sweet. And we placed another baptismal date. Then, on Thursday we were able to find another new person, place 2 more baptismal dates, I was directed by the Spirit to teach what I needed to, and we just had an overall good day. My ZL said that I'm a great missionary, I plan very well, and I truly testified from the heart, so all of that made me feel pretty good. My goal for right now is to be ready to train in the next changes, which are in a week, so we'll see what happens. Then on Saturday we had some appointments fall through, but we were able to teach the boyfriend of one of my converts. He listened and seemed interested, ojalá! We're going to play soccer with him and some of the Young men today in an indoor court, and hopefully he can make some friends. This is also going to be my first time playing soccer in Naranjo! Finally! And then yesterday we went and visited an old lady and she talked with us for a long time, it was good for her so I feel good. Also we got to see part of the Golden Cup (soccer) and the US won, yeah! And yeah, that's about it.
One other thing that we have going on is that we have a mouse in the house and we can't kill it, we keep seeing it, but it's just to quick. We are going to have to do a deep clean on the house and buy some traps for those mice...
Anyway, that's it for this week, tune in next week for some new stories.
Answers to questions... my favorite food? I really like pineapple cake, rice with chicken (add salsa Lizano), and platanos maduros. Also, I like to put sweetened condensed milk on certain things too. Favorite juice? Everyone here likes Jugo de Cas, I've heard it's a fruit that they only have here. Other drinks that are good: it's, more or less, wáter with oatmeal and sugar, but it's good, also lemonade that they make here is really good, and pineapple juice... also rice with pineapple is a good drink too. Favorite fruit? I like those Manzanas de Agua and guanábana was pretty good too. Also I took the advice of all of you and now I feel a bit better.
This week was pretty average. We did get a cool new investigator. I don't know if you guys remember, or if I even wrote that about 4 months ago I was contacting in the park with a member and I contacted some random guy. Well, finally, after all this time, we called him and got an appointment. He is awesome! He asked us if there is some story about the guy Joseph Smith and the Book of Mormon. Uh... YES! Perfect question! He asked a lot of good questions like that, so we will be able to teach him lots. And the rest of the week was pretty boring, one day I went to Grecia to do divisions with the Elderes there in Grecia, and I got stuck with one that was sick and just wanted to stay in the house all day, so I wasted a day there, and that was lame. Bascially we wasted a lot of time in Grecia this week (area in our district, my comp is District Leader).
Now a couple random things. My comp and I play cards, I and said that I win a lot more than he does, and he didn't agree, so we've started to keep score... 26 - 12, yeah, I'm winning. Second, the recent convert, Rut, started to flirt with Elder Brindis, and he hated it, he turned all red, and was laughing, so then everyone pitched in and he was dying, it was pretty funny. I don't remember if I ever said that we normally just use spoons to eat, whether it's soup or meat, we use spoons. And I've only gained 10 lbs in the mission, just fyi.
Congrats to Kassandra and Briona! How did Carter do in the state tournament?
Hey, I'm just going to answer the questions. First of all, an AP was with us that one day just to see how he could help us, and get to know the área. Yes, I'm still writing in my journal, but I'm a few days back... but I've already bought a new one cause I'm about to finish my first. It feels like I've been gone longer than 6 months. I am so tired everyday so everyday feels longer and longer, but I gotta keep going, so hopefully it will get a little bit easier for me. My mission is not what I thought it would be. First of all, I thought I was going to the jungle... I'm not in the jungle. Second, I thought they you change areas all the time... I haven't been changed yet. Third, I thought the people would be dirt poor.... they're not. Fourth, I thought people would accept us... almost everyone rejects us. And Fifth, I had no idea that I would be walking so much... And there are many more reasons, but I'm going to stop there. And am I happy? Depends on the day, the truth is that I've been pretty down lately. I just keep hoping that my Heavenly Father will help me out cause I just about feel at my limit. But the work must go on.
This week was pretty boring for us too, so this is going to be really short. Pretty much all throughout the week we had appointments fall through, we contacted but nobody wanted to listen, we tried to do divisions, but those fell through. We just had a pretty rough week. Until Saturday at least. On Saturday we decided to work really hard, and we contacted and I didn't leave unless we shared a message. So all in all we had 17 lessons on Saturday. Hopefully we will be able to return to some of those houses and actually have investigators. Due to all of our work on Saturday, the church attendance went up a little bit, but we're still missing a lot to be able to be a ward here.
Other than that, it's been raining quite a bit, but not too much. I got completely soaked one day, but luckily I didn't get sick. It's been pretty hot these last couple days, so I'm good and tired all the time. Anyways, love you all! -- Elder Black
I'm already a fourth of the way done with my mission! Crazy right?! First of all, tell Ryan congrats, that is sweet! (and I don't know if you guys have heard about that mission, but I've heard that you can't preach unless invited, in other words, no contacting...) And now to answer questions: Oh wait, no one has questions for me... but it sounds like all is good there, so just keep it up.
So this last week... it was pretty average. We have problems getting new investigators that will actually progress. We are finding people, but they usually decide that they don't want anymore after just one or two visits. Also, one of our investigators called us and told us that she didn't want to have us anymore... and she was the one that seemed to be the best. We decided to go back anyway. She already decided that we could come back, but that she's not going to change. But we have some hope for her =) Also, we recieved a reference from a kid member. He is 11. And he listens well to everything we say, the only problem is that his mom already said that he can't be baptized... But, thanks to magic tricks, we are continuing to get return appointments with that family =) So thanks Bro. Scott for some tricks, and also thanks Dad for those magic sticks. Also, just an fyi, I've learned some magic tricks out here too =) That's actually really helping us to get some return appointments. Other than that, we've been working a lot with some recent converts to return back to church, but it's pretty tough due to little things that my converts aren't coming. So I've been a little down cause they're all my converts that aren't coming to church, but Elder Brindis is convinced that we're going to get them all back to church, so we'll just keep working hard. Also, this week we had one of the AP's come and work with us for a day... and just so you know, that never happens, it was pretty weird, but cool. But we were pretty excited, cause whenever a leader comes to work with you, they always bring good luck. So we were working with Elder Johansen and walking towards the house to drop off his stuff. And we were passing a members house and we stopped to say hi. Well, she was talking with her mom, and had previously mentioned that her mom is against us. Elder Johansen really wanted to teach her so he asked if we could pass by later... "No." "Really? Cause we're going to pass by later!" "No." He tried and tried, but nothing. So as we were leaving he said, "Ok, but we're going to pass by your house later!" The thing is, we didn't know where she lived. Later in the day we went with a youth member, Andres, to find an inactive youth. He wasn't in his house, so we decided to pass by another less active youth. Turns out, that's where the before-mentioned lady lived. "Look, we said we were going to pass by, so we're here!" We accidentally found the lady's house just like we said we would. We ended up getting 4 new investigators that day, it was pretty cool.
Now for a random thing this week. Mom told me to eat healthy, well... this last Wednesday, for the first time, I ate Mondongo. They were in big pieces, smelled of dog food, and chewy like gum... it was awful, I almost puked. That was the day that I had started to feel better too, so needless to say, I didn't feel so great the next day.
First of all, like I said, changes were this last week... and... I'm in... NARANJO! Still! With Elder Brindis, still! I'M GOING TO BE HERE FOREVER!!! I'm going to complete my first 6 months in the mission field in my first area... But I guess it's alright. Other answers to questions. It's been pretty dry this last week, it's hardly rained, but everyone says it's going to start pouring any day now. We were able to have 2 baptisms in June, and no, right as of right now we haven't gotten the baptisms we were hoping for, but we will! (hopefully). Yes, my shoes are still working okay. And no, I don't have requests for my birthday... about the only thing I want right now is another pair of shoes, just for walking around, and I can buy those here. So yeah...
Also, congrats Carter, mom hadn't told me that you guys had taken 3rd, that's pretty sweet! And have a fun 4th of Julyeveryone... I'll be here, doing normal things, cause it's not a holiday... And I'm glad to hear, once again, that everything is going good now that I'm gone...
Anyway, now to my stuff. To start out, I was almost 100% positive that I was going to have changes, so I had started to say goodbye to people. And at the same time, we were preparing Rut for baptism. On Tuesday I went to San Ramon with one of the zone leaders. They have such a nice área... it's a Ward, not a branch, it's flat, it's cold, the members help a lot, and buy food for the missionaries... it's sweet. So we went and me and my companion for the day got to play marriage counselors for a couple in their 50's... that was interesting. And other than that we taught normal lessons. But when it came time to return to the house, I actually got cold. I had goosebumps for the first time here in the mission! And then a member that was doing visits with us bought us hamburgers, and another member bought us candy! I love San Ramon! Then in the morning we got up and made chocolate pancakes, ate candy, and ice-cream. How's that for breakfast =) Then I came back to Naranjo and went to lunch and had Shepherd's Pie. Yes, sometimes we eat gringo food. And then we made some other visits and in those we ate in 2 houses. I stuffed myself and almost puked... so naturally, I got sick the next day, and I've been sick with a cold since that time (Wednesday-today). We good news from those divisions we did, Rut passed the baptismal interview! She decided to be baptized on Saturday. So we were working for that, to get members there, to have to church clean, etc. So on Saturday, we were there, Rut was there, and her mom... and that's it... we had a baptism with 4 people... I directed the program, the hymns, I gave the 2 talks on baptism and the Holy Ghost, I was a witness... I did everything but baptize! (Elder Brindis baptized) One funny thing from that is that Rut got in the wáter and was shivering so bad that she couldn't tell us her full name to be able to do the baptism, we had to ask her mom what her name was haha. And then yesterday at church we confirmed and in the church we had an attendance of 40 people... the worst I've ever seen here. So we'll keep working to get more people to go to church. Also this week, we were able to have a lesson with an investigator named Bernardita, and she has a daughter and son-in-law who all seem golden. She has 3 titles in the evangelical church, but left cause she doesn't like all the noise that they make all the time. It's pretty cool, so seems awesome and had already started reading the Book of Mormon before the second visit. Hopefully she will be baptized in the coming weeks.
Well that's my story for this week, hope you all like it. Tune in next week for more.
Random thing: that photo in dropbox... that's just a big, ugly cockroach that was in our house.