Wednesday, April 30, 2014

Easter Peeps and a Baptism

The Church in Nicoya
My First Baptism!!
One of the many dogs in Nicoya
 A Morning in the Life of a Peep Missionary: (it is a tradition in our family to enter our peep contest and design a scene using peeps)
Always wear your tie and nametag
Get hit on the head by the mangos outside the house

Eat breakfast

Check Appointments for the day

Study the scriptures

Iron your shirt

Pura Vida!

Chapter 8: No Catchy Title but random pictures

This week I had my first baptism and splits with the Zone leaders that really motivated me. I have no more time, I needed to send a really long email to someone that I hadn´t heard from in a while and didn´t pay attention to the time. PICTURES NEXT WEEK. I promise

Here is the email to the president to fill in a bit of stuff. Sorry it´s in spanish.

Hola Presidente,

Esta semana fue muy bueno. Elder Saavedra e yo teníamos intercambios con los Líderes de Zona. Fue muy bueno y quiero hacer mejor con LPEs. Mí habilidad para hablar está creciendo pero no es perfecto. Necesito abrir mí boca más.

Elder Saavedra está muy bien ahora y no tengo mucho para decir acerca de él porque no tenemos problemas. Puedo decir que él me ayuda mucho y estamos haciendo todo posible aquí.

Momento espiritual: ¡Mí primero bautismo! Carlos tiene 11 años y es el hijo de un menos activo. Él estaba muy animado aunque él es tímido (como yo). Estoy muy agradecidos por la oportunidad tuve para hacer esto. Sentí el Espíritu muy fuerte en este aunque fue difícil recordar todas las palabras del bautismo. Pero solo necesité hacerlo una vez (¡no errores!).

This week was very good. Elder Saavedra and I had exchanges with the Zone LeadersIt was great and I want to do better with LPESMe speaking skills is growing but not perfectI need to open my mouth more.
Elder Saavedra is fine now and do not have much to say about it because we have no problems. I can say that it helps me a lot and we are doing everything possible here.
Spiritual MomentMe first baptism! Carlos is 11 years old and is the son of a less active. He was very lively though he is shy (like me). I am very grateful for the opportunity I had to do this. I felt the Spirit in this very strong although it was hard to remember all the words of baptism. But I just needed to do it once (no errors!).

Estoy agradecidos y listo por la obra, I am grateful and ready for the work,
Elder VanderMeyden

Me and Elder Saavedra (my father and trainer in the mission)

Me trying a coconut

Birds and Elder Saavedra

the water was super clear

more water shots

more water shots

That's me hiding in a tree

More Beach

Our district eating at the beach

Us new missionaries with our trainers

****************************************************More Questions and Answers

*do the kids look at you funny because you are so white? Have you been sunburned at all? Getting a tan? People stare all the time, especially babies. Yes and yes to the burn and the tan

*Did you do anything for April Fool's day? Trick anyone? Toothpaste oreos, Hermana Guevara and Elder Saavedra
*Are more people coming to church? How many this last week? 71 in the chapel this week
*What is this about the bird that attacked you? a bird was chasing a bug, the bug flew into my face, the bird almost hit me full speed, DODGEBALL SKILLS ACTIVATE!
*What are your plans for easter? No plans came through, normal day. But i`m planning an easter egg hunt
*Mother's day is coming up. Do you have a place to call us? Skype us? Do you have permission to Skype? Are there any members with computers that would allow you to? How would you call us? I have no ideas about mothers day, but it`s different here. I know that I`ll be calling in May though
We can`t use members computers and I don`t know how it will work at all.

*Do you have a cell phone that you use for contacting people? yes and it rocks (not really its a normal dumb phone very similar to the one you gave me)
*Do people have TV's and modern conveniences or is it more 3rd worldish? TV but no internet parts are 3rd world and most people care more about what´s in the house than the house itself
*What is the craziest thing you have seen down there? A dog got hit by a car and I almost stepped on an iguana, that`s the craziest for now
*Other than your cook feeding you lunches, does anyone else feed you dinners? Do you get hungry during the day? I`m always hungry and I don´t really have a solution right now...
*Do you see any other americans in Nicoya? Not many Americans

*Tell us about three families you have gotten to know down there. What are they like, what do they do, etc. G and F are less active memebers who are really cool. Mother and Daughter, respectively, who are fun to talk to and make me laugh. L and family are also less active members who have little money, but they love jokes and are great to talk to. I`m going to try and get L the M. Priesthood because he`s really old and then we`re gonna get them to the temple (or that`s the goal at least). E and daughters are investigators with 2 really cut dogs (one was the the one I took a pic with) who I didn`t think were serious about the church but now they`re pretty cool. I don`t know what else to say about them, sorry.

Chapter 7: Wild Life

Hola todos,

This week was wild. No baptisms yet. I got bit by a dog once and almost got bit 2 more times. I nearly stepped on an iguana that was a good 2.5 feet long head to tail, I saw goat things and cows running ¨wild¨ (They escaped). I was asked if I had 7 wives. I did the family peep tradition, and a pipe broke at our house )it`s fixed now, no problema), I gave a talk ing church, did some magic coin tricks with some kids (if anyone has more I`d love to learn them), and we were led to 2 people on the same day. I love the mission! :D

The power of Prayer. I recieved a powerful witness of the power of prayer. I was sick, super sick. My throat hurt, my eyes had a pain behind them, I felt really weak, and I didn´t feel like I could do anything. However, I really wanted to work and I put my mind to it that I would work. I started with a prayer to feel better and I probably prayed for about 20 minutes although it felt like an hour. My biggest desire while I was praying was that I wanted to get better so that I could get to work. I had decided that I would work that day no matter what but I really poured out my heart to get better. After the prayer I got to work and within 20 minutes I felt no pain in my throat and could think clearly. It truly was a miracle.

NEWSFLASH! I just had a WONDERFUL LPE (Lección para encontrar) with the person sitting next to me and set an appointment in the chapel tomrrow at 5! I feel the spirit with him and I feel like he was lead to be here at this very moment. I`ll tell you next week how it turns out. He is 17, Catholic but doesn`t completely agree with all of it. His name is M and he said that he`d call us an hour before to confirm the appointment. I have a wonderful feeling about this. :D

Sorry but I don`t have mucch time because of the LPE thing.

See ya in 21 months, (WOW time flies)
Elder VanderMeyden

Thursday, April 17, 2014

Furniture and Fun Pictures

 Elder VanderMeyden with a member and his baby (Diana, that's your family picture in his hand)
 At the beach on Prep Day
 This is the beauty of Costa Rica
 Drinkin' the coconut milk
 Banana scent in the air, fruit to eat off the trees. Ahh...the life.

just a couple of monkeys or family :)
 Their study area
 Their closet?
 Their kitchen (still sparse)
 James said he loved us more than there were flavors of tang in Costa Rica. Now we know the truth of that statement
 Our missionaries are true superheroes!
 Hanging out with the crew
 worked so hard, he fell asleep
 James is teaching his companero (from Columbia) english, and he is teaching James spanish...hence the language lesson on the board
 Mission shoes at beginning of mission (we'll do a post picture at end)
James and his mtc companero (Elder Miller)

Chapter 6: Natural Disasters

The title this week does not refer to me this week, It has to do with the fact that I got soaked to the bone in San Josè last monday after emails (rainy season starts early there) and we had a Tremble (an after quake) here in Nicoya after the 6.6 in Nicaragua. I don`t know what happened there but I hope everyone is all right.

I guess it has a bit to do with my companion too. His ¨Natural Disaster¨ is the fact that he has had so many beans that they make him sick, quite literally unfortunately. I don`t know what we`re going to do about it because our cook has a bunch of beans with every meal and he doesn`t want to be rude.

Other things this week include getting a person ready for baptism (MY FIRST) and I learned of the power of forgiveness (and sleep). The first is a 20 year old who will hopefully be getting baptized this week. She was someone we met early on but she has a difficult schedule and not all of our appointments could be fulfilled, however she`s been progressing and will hopefully be prepared for this Saturday.
The power of Forgiveness thing is the fact that I was really mad at my companion earlier this week but I decided to forgive him for whatever he did and the next day we weren`t fighting. I also was running off of 4 hours of sleep two nights in a row, but it was the forgivenees part that made the difference, not the full nights sleep. It couldn`t have been the lack of sleep that was making me unreasonable and not willing to change. But now I can`t even remember the problem so we`re super awesome and are bringing in the spirit to the work. I can`t wait for this week

Hey I just though I`d share this email with everyone. It`s to someone who has there call to Costa Rica, reporting May 28. It shares a bit of the taste that I have of this ¨Large Country.¨

¨Hey, This is Elder VanderMeyden!
¨Sorry it took so long to get back to you, I`ve been rushed for email time a bit recently. Right now I`m in a town called Nicoya, which is just barely in the northern peninsula of the country. It has a bunch of people and almost everyone has a dog (they have quite a few stray dogs too, and stray chicken). It`s not the cleanest of places and you will definitely want to bring soap. They have trash in all the gutters and some of them stink. There are many mosquitos but they don´t bother the Gringos or Ticos (that`s slang for Costa Ricans, but I bet you already knew that) much, just the Columbians (speciffically, my compañero). The heat is really bad, but you`ll be coming in the rainy season. Bring extra socks and shoes that can get wet, I had my first storm in San Josè and it was heavy. Also, if you can, bring a waterproof bag and a good strong umbrella (for both the sun and the rain) that can withstand the wind, They have them here if you`re willing to wait through one day of rain before you buy one.

¨Here`s the great part though, THE PEOPLE: I really love them and almost everyone will let you into the house the first time. They love hearing messages about Christ, even if they won`t change. The only complaint I have is that they`re a bit lax about things and don`t want to follow through on commitments. I don`t think they`ll be to bad though.

¨I wish I could just show you the entire place through the computer but I can only give a snapshot of my small-ish town. The breeze smells of bananas, there are fruit that you can freely pick from trees, the spanish is a bit hard, but they will always wait for the Gringos because they know that they are trying. Don`t ever be afraid to ask what something means, they love to help too.

¨Sorry, I don`t have much time on the computer. Good luck and I`ll see you at a missionary conference or something.

¨Elder VanderMeyden¨

That`s all for this week.

Love y`all,
Elder VanderMeyden :)

Sunday, April 13, 2014


James hanging out at a Tide Pool - that's the closest he can get to the real water. He also has pictures of shiny blue fish, a tiger looking fish, a crab walking in a shell, another crab looking creature, a spiky looking creature, a blue starfish, and an octopusy type thing. Lots of fun things in the tide pools.
 Relaxing in Costa Rica (look at those white legs)
 The surf from afar
 Awww. :)
 Elder VanderMeyden and Elder Saavedra
 Just like in a romance novel

Chapter Something: Ups and Downs

Hello everybody,
This week had ups and downs. Up and down hills I mean :P I'm just kidding
Ups are: Conference, always a treat. I did something different this year with not taking notes and just writing down the impressions I got (it helped that it was all in spanish and I HAD to listen to the spirit)
Lessons were great this week too.
I received some inspiration about staying positive from the last part of the first chapter of preach my gospel. Your success is based on baptisms and nothing else! :)
Downs: The stupid MANGOS that fall on out metal roof in the night
seeing a dog hit by a car
People not following through on their appointments with us
People saying they'll come to chuch but don't
Mostly just the hard hearted lying people, everyone else is great
Sorry it's short this week, I have to catch a bus to Nicoya. We had our 1 month check-ups and I'm in San Jose. (MOM UPDATE: his one month check-up was fine, he has not been sick at all since he got to Costa Rica,...knock on wood).
Wishing you all luck,
Elder VanderMeyden

Question and Answer Time

*Do you listen to your music much? Do you need more? Someone in Panama said they could actually watch Disney movies, so their mom sent them Frozen. my music is all we listen to. Put in folders on dropbox and I´ll just copy and past into my MP3. More EFY stuff and anything else you would think is good.

*What are your Sundays like? Do you work with the ward members? Do you go to priesthood/Sunday School?  Can you understand the talks in Sacrament Meeting? Sunday is great, I understand nearly everything and It´s tons of fun.

*Do you visit many of the active members in the ward? Who are some of your favorite families? Have you gotten closer to the lesser actives? Are they coming around? We actually had a turnout of 83 this past weekend it´s due to the hard work of the sisters. Just kidding. One of my favorite families is actually a less active family and 2 of them 5 came to church this past week. We´re working with the others, but they´re tough cookies.

*what do the people in Costa Rica do for fun or for vacation? Do they do any vacations? Since you are in the country, do they have things like movie theatres, malls, etc? I don´t know about vacations, but one family visits Nicaragua every so often. I haven´t seen a single mall of movie theater but there is tons of advertising for movies so they´ve got to be somewhere.
*Are you fluent in the language now? Do you think in spanish? How is Elder S doing in his English learning? Not fluent, but I can think in spanish for short periods of time and I find myself replacing spanish word for some english ones if I use them enough. Elder Saavedra is learning, but It´s still hard for him.

*Do you get the Liahona? Have you been able to read the one we sent? I can get the Liahona, but I don´t have a bunch of time to read them so... Don´t send me more i guess.

*How hot is it?Have the rains started? Do you have good living arrangements in your apartment? Mosquito netting? Do you use your blanket? It´s hot, It´s humid. The rains don´t start until May and they say that April is the hottest. The rooming is nice for me, but my companion doesn´t like it. I may need netting, but it hasn´t been bad yet and yes, I use my blanket (for about half the night).

*Do you use the filtered water bottles or just buy water bottles? What does their milk taste like? Have you learned to cook any new dishes? Do you teach Elder Saavedra american food or does he teach you columbian food? I haven´t been using a filter really, It´s farely safe in Nicoya. Them milk tastes the same unless I get the special kind (which I kinda really like) which adds some sort of rice mixture too it.
We don´t cook a ton because we get home at 9:30 most of the time.
Bri said macaws and other birds are all over the place, do you see them often or just cats and bugs? The bird aren´t all that exotic where I am, but I almost got killed by one (I think that was in my last email, but I´m not sure). (he didn't include that in his last email)

did you get more furniture? your apartment looks really sparse. We are fine with what we have furniture wise.
Do you have a chance to sing at all? I sing almost every morning and my companion likes to sing for the investigators too (in spanish of course)
Have you played the piano? I wonder if music can be used as a tool for you to reach people. No piano, sorry
I looked on google maps at nicoya - where exactly is the area you serve? North, south, east or west? We serve in the north, the chapel is across the street from the hospital and we have everything north of that, it may seem uneven but a bunch of the south is shopping so it evens out.
What beach have you been going to? Samara and Tanmarindo are the two beaches I've seen and have pictures too.
Where did you watch conference? we watched conference in the chapel
Have you been able to give any blessings? What are some special spiritual examples you have had?
Any injuries or illnesses? only one blessing to my companion and it was this week after 2 days of every appointment falling through

Pictures of a new life in Costa Rica

 Good Morning, Costa Rica - first day in country

 Elder VanderMeyden and Elder S from Columbia, he is training James
 On the bus ride to Nicoya
 The new digs: they opened the area, so were the first ones into their humble abode, I think this is the entryway looking into the kitchen
 Maybe the living room?
 The lovely bathroom
 The kitchen (on the bright side, there is a fan and a water filtration system)
 Their bedroom
 Somewhere in Nicoya. These are the lovely birds/turkeys/vultures/whatever they see along their travels
Their work board - see all the fun they have?