Monday, December 28, 2015

Chapter 30: The Final Frontier

Well, here it is, the final email. The final p-day. My final moments as a missionary. It feels really weird to be leaving.
For my last p-day, We plan on playing bola (futbol soccer, sorry). I already packed because I have to go to San Jose EARLY tomorrow. Then we are going to have pizza with a member. I said goodbye to everyone, but I really don't like saying goodbye. It's hard.
I loved Christmas, even if it wasn't white ;)

Also, Weird thing. They´re sending me to San Jose without a companion. There will be at least one other missionary with me but she´s a sister... That´ll be really weird for me. The last time I was alone during changes was my very first change from Nicoya to Siquirres, when I had to take a Taxi for 3 minutes alone to go from one bus stop to another. :P good news is that there will be missionaries waiting for me in San Jose. The La Rita Elders will be Elder Garay's companions until transfers.

Mom asked me for what I have learned, what I would change, and what advice I can give. So here it is:

The most important this I´ve learned from the mission would be True humility. Accepting God´s will over what one wants. being obedient to the commandments comes with this and blessings come from this. The great example of Humility is Christ:

Luke 22:42 Saying, Father, if thou be willing, remove this cup from me: nevertheless not my will, but thine, be done.

I´ve learned that we must always trust that the Lord knows best, even when we want something contrary to his will. He will always choose the best path for us. He will always lead us to become what the best we can. He will always give us trials to help us develop the attributes that He needs us to have. And, if we are humble to Him and His plan for us, we will be perfected in Him. We can be a powerful tool for good in the lives of many people.

Different? I wish I could have given my all and not fallen in the worldly temptations such as watching television and wanting to know about the new movies and lingering in places where they played music just to listen, that so easily beset me. To be honest, they weren´t good things that I did in the mission and I could have overcome it if I had given 100% and not just 95%. That is my biggest regret.

Advice? I´d say to keep reading the scriptures always. Many less active members start on the path of less activity just because they don´t have a good base of praying or reading the scriptures daily. GET THAT HABIT. It could save your eternal life.

The Quiros Family

Me with my new Christmas Hat and gloves
For the last time,
Elder VanderMeyden signing off
At the airport

Hug from Emma

A visit to Temple Square on the way home from airport

The mom hug

Aiden with his sign

Walking out to greet us

Hug from Jenni

The temple in Costa Rica

Last day in the mission

My handprint on the quilt

Me and President and Sister Hayes

Hermana Flor

Saturday, December 26, 2015

Chapter 29: Merry Christmas

So, as you can tell by my pictures sent home I learned how to sew shoes. I can totally be a shoemaker when I get back, but I don´t think I will. :P The person that showed me is a very inactive member with a great heart but a little bit apostate. :P He´s great though. :) Oh, the first picture is my shoes. I had them since the beginning of the mission, but you can see they did not last. The Mission Christmas party was fun. We got to go to San Jose and see the entire mission together in the office. A funny thing happened with the songs. The plan was to start out with It´s Beginning to Look a Lot Like Christmas and Pine-cones and Holly-berries BUT the President´s daughter, Lizzy, was going to sing it with Elder Nelson and get the entire group to sing it as well then Elder Nelson BACKED OUT! Unfortunately I was sitting right next to him and earlier in the evening I had sang the first line of the song while reading the program agenda. Elder Nelson threw me under the bus and I had to go in front of everyone to sing a sone that I have never practiced, and only heard 2 years back. The good news is that Lizzy called up another Elder and sister up to help us out and the words were on the projector. :PI loved the party. It was sad that, with almost all of them, this will be my last time seeing them. There were some people that I met for the first time and I´ll not seee them again until a Mission Reunion! The worst part was that I almost didn´t have time to take any pictures! I was a bit upset because the party ended late and they told us to go straight to our houses but I thought we would have time at the end to take pictures so I didn´t take any before. In the end I ran the entire room doing quick pictures with everyone that I know.Another sad thing that happened is that after the party we had to sleep in Tibas, San Jose, on inflatable matresses. What was sad about it was that it was very cold that night. So cold that I couldn´t sleep well. I kept waking up because I was cold. I even had to use the hat and gloves that mom sent me in my Christmas Package. :PWe played Go fish on the bus ride home, especially because the bus stopped halfway because of an accident in the road. :/ But Go fish was fun! :D

For the most part Christmas is food here. The only celebration that they do is the 24-25 transition where they throw a party at midnight. One tradition is that they buy grapes and have 12, each a wish, and those that you are able to eat in the first minute of the 25th will come true. :P

I plan on going to visit families in my area for Christmas to say goodbye. It is weird that this is my last full week in my mission as Monday I will be traveling to San Jose to begin my transition home.

Welp, one last chance to email me. Next week I go home. Thanks for all your support - see you soon!

Love, Elder V

Chapter 28: This week in a galaxy (country) far far away

This week was very weird. For the first time I felt the end coming. Up until this point everything has been normal then one day this week it hit me that there are less than 20 until I´ll be greeting in person my family and friends. What would I have done without the support of all of you? I don´t know and I´m so glad that I don´t have to. As I was going through some of my stuff I found a huge stack of letters that I´ve received from all of you. I was surprised to see how many letters I´ve received in 2 years and I want to say thank you for everything that you´ve sent me.

So on to this week. I had an excellent time this week sharing to me companion the entire Star Wars movie series. It all started in an less active´s house in a country far far away when the cable channels are preparing for the new movie that is about to be released. Speaking about the movie, I´m extremely excited that it will be in theaters by the time I get back. :) But I had the chance to share the story of Anakin and the reason that he turned over to the dark side for fear just as how if we have fear we can´t have faith. In other words, I related the gospel to the movie and talked about how Darth Vader repented at the end but for everything he did he might still only have a chance at telestial glory... sorry Ani. :P

We also had an awesome moment when an investigator invited us to eat lunch with them after church Sunday. It was good 1 because we didn´t have lunch plans and 2 because we were able to meet her 2 daughters, mother, and husband and teach all of them a lesson. They had many questions and are excited for us to come back. Unfortunately she can´t be baptized soon because she needs to get married, but they are working on getting a house from the government so they can´t be married until after the papers have been processed in the government. :(

Speaking about people with a ton of questions. Today we had a lesson in the morning with a reference that we were given this week. He had a ton of questions about the in depth about the Plan of Salvation. I felt like he wanted to show us that our faith was wrong but he never openly fought with us and he was very respectful even if he didn´t share our beliefs.

Anyway, that was what happened this week.

See you soon,
Elder VanderMeyden

Monday, December 7, 2015

Chapter 27: Let the Festivities Begin

This next week we have a service project as a zone here in Cariari, we´ll be doing something (I don´t know what it is yet) in a retirement home in our area, so we´ll see how that turns out. I´ll be sure to take pictures. :)

I only have 1 other P-day that is normal because in 2 weeks is the Christmas party and the 28th is a day of travel and packing for me. I am really sad my mission is ending.

One awesome moment this week was that a family gave us a fruit that grew on a tree. They told us that it was Cacao the chocolate plant. I put a video on dropbox of me eating this sour, but sweet slime. We still haven´t made the chocolate yet, but we´re going to do it this week. :)

One this that frustrated me this week was that while we were in the sacrament meeting 2 loud explosions happened nearby. I imagine that they were a set of punks exploding fireworks near the church just to bother us. There were 2 explosions at the beginning, 2 at the end, and 2 in the first class. It was exciting and frustrating, but we didn´t let it destroy our day. :P

Oh, a sad moment is that we didn´t get to see the Christmas Devotional, for they did not broadcast it to our chapel. Good news is that I´m listening to it as I write to you right now, and I downloaded it to pay more attention later. :)

Love you all,
Elder V.

Chapter 26: A sloth and being hungry

My week went really well. :) We saw another sloth on Sunday, we don´t have changes, A young man broke my umbrella but I have a big rain coat, It rained half the week but was abnormally dry the other half. I don´t actually remember much from this past week. One thing that´s really sad is that Rene (our new convert) moved out of town for a month, so he was not able to make it to church this week. He moved to Barra Colorado (or whatever it´s called). It´s the other island in our area that is mostly used for fishing trips. :P He´ll be coming back soon though, and the members are staying in contact with him. :)

This week we found a family of old investigators that said they´d come to the Church this week. I know that they have a ton of potential, even if the father says that he´ll never change religions. :P

I´m doing well. A bit hungry but good. This week we ran out of money on Thursday so we suffered a bit of hunger, but now we´re good. One of the problems that we had was that we did many trips to far areas with buses so we didn´t keep track of the money as much as we could have.

Church was a bit disappointing. We had hoped for many people, both investigators and less actives, but very few made it. Only 43 made it to church this week and we don´t know what happened.

Well, that's all folks, see ya soon!

Monday, November 23, 2015

Chapter 25: When it Rains, It Pours

This week was actually excellent :) We were able to visit many people have and a baptism. :)

I forgot that Thankgiving was this week. Eat some turkey for me, ya'll. Everyone´s getting ready for Black Friday this month and some discounts came early to trick the people into spending their money early. :P (what one person tells me is that they do discounts of 30% right now so that way when it comes to 50% that they´ll have very little to sell. :P  ) I´m not able to eat turkey but I was able to save the chapel with my companion.

This week it has been raining hard. So hard and unexpectedly that Elder Garay and I have been caught in the rain without our umbrellas on more than one time. One of these times was for an activity that we had in the chapel. We were going to watch Meet the Mormons on a really old projector that out stake has. Everything was going well until we started on our way to the chapel an hour before it began and it started to pour! When we finally arrive (after calling a taxi where the window didn´t roll up :P We found the chapel filling with water. Luckily it had not yet hit the electric devices that we had in the center of the floor but before we clean up the mess we had to find the problem. Turns out a tube that was a drainage pipe on the roof had gotten clogged and the flat area on the roof where the air conditioning unites are positioned, had filled with water. The water was overflowing the sides and entering under the main door into the chapel. Fortunately, we got that solved and the water dried before other people arrived. Unfortunately, with all the rain, only 2 individuals came on time and one family showed up late. We decided to postpone the activity until further notice. :P The good news is that if we didn´t have the activity, the baptismal font would have filled all by itself that night so that when we showed up the next day for the baptism the entire chapel would have been filled with rainwater. :P

Baptism went well. We had a nice spiritual experience and I was very happy to see that his mother and brother came to support him. :) I´m so happy for Rene! :D

Today we wanted to play soccer, but it rained really hard and the cancha está mojado. :P

Our branch wants to go paintballing with the youth, but the youth want to go with us, so we´ll see what President says about that. :P

This week some of the youth came out with us to do visits, do practices in our house and learn about being a missionary. They actually let us borrow a few bikes to get to and from far away areas (namely Semillero, the place where Rene lives). I know that we´re not assigned to be bike missionaries, but it was necessary for practicality and it´s not against the rules. I felt free while I was riding the bicycle and I´m excited to get back to my bike back home. I was a bit frustrated witht the bike I was using because every time I wanted to go fast the chain came off. :P I guess it help me not get too out of hand, but I wanted so much to just ride forever! :D

Also, we saw an armadillo last night as we headed back to the house. I couldn´t get apicture because it ran away when a car passed by, but it was awesome to see it. :)

Also, A girl in our branch here in Cariari loves the music from Teen Beach Movie and I was singing karaoke with her this week. It was really cool and even though she can´t speak english, she´s heard the songs enough to know how to say the words. It was really cool to sing with her. She´s only 11 years old. :)

We also had a primary program here in Cariari, it was fun, and the best part is that even with the POURING RAIN we still had 51 people show up! I was extremely happy to see the willpower the people used this week to accomplish their baptismal covenants. :)
this is us with Rene on his baptism day

Wednesday, November 18, 2015

Chapter 24: Young Men and Animals

This week we had a huge responsability: The young men! We were in charge of taking them to and from our Stake conference this weekend, both Saturday and Sunday! It was an exhuasting weekend, but well worth it. My question for you today is: Was I as crazy as these youth are or was a good kid?

THIS WEEK WE SAW MANY ANIMALS! 3 Turtles in a river hanging out with 2 crocodiles. That same day we saw a street crab (I think it is a river crab but it was big and far from the river, either way, it was angry and we decided to bother it for fun... I should be sending the video) And today as we went to lunch we saw an iguana in the street! :D I love seeing animals.

This week we had a great capacitation about home teaching. It was stake conference this week so we saw both the branch president and the mission president. :) I love the stake conferences but I was busy helping with tech that never wanted to work so I couldn´t listen to the main session. The tech never worked so we had to shove 530 people into two rooms instead of the 450 planned. That was a huge challenge, but we fit almost everyone in there :P I also got to see a bunch of people from Siquirres because they are in the stake as well. i love it! :D

The baptism is on track. Parental permission and interview are both checks! :D All we need now is to plan it well. The baptism is planned for Saturday.

Some of our investigators are: Rene- the youth that will be getting baptized, he loves the church and is excited to continue in the church
Katerine- a lady that I found with Elder Lewis in divisions about 2 months back
Dayana- future wife of a less active member named Wilson. He´s the ex-husband of the mother of the family that is giving many references and doing mission work with us.
Norberto- A retired man who is ex-police. He´s a great guy that reads the Book of Mormon a ton, but thinks that all churches are good so continues in a church where the people come to pick him up every sunday.
Luis and Daisy- A couple that were old investigators when I was with Elder Coronado that we were able to visit again. Their no longer receiving the Jehova´s Witnesses so they are more open to receiving us. :)
Mindy is the wife of another less active member named Johan, they don´t come to church anymore and we can´t figure out why, it´s all excuses with them. >:/
Those are some of our investigators. :P

Have fun eating Turkey ;)

Also, I´ve been eating a ton af fish recently. In the last few weeks I´ve had fish in at least 5 different ways, including fried, grilled with white sauce, in soup, and breaded. The best news is that they have caused no allergic reaction in my body, just TUNA from the can. :P

See ya soon!
Elder VanderMeyden

Monday, November 9, 2015

Chapter 23: I'm a little red, He's a little golden

This week was a great week because the reference that we received last week from one family came to church AGAIN and asked us what he can do to get baptized! He´s a golden investigator and will be my first investigator of 3 weeks. I had actually lost faith that someone like that actually existed. It really made my week (and even my month) to hear that he was going to start to stop drinking coffee! I was very surprised because he is More of a sporty person that normally wouldn´t have time for church, but he has some great support from his friends in the church! :D  He even asked his mother´s permission in front of us and she gave it. Hopefully we can get his interview done next week and in two weeks we´ll have more pictures for you all :)

That was the best part of the entire week but today we were playing soccer as a Zone and I was in the goalie position. Turns out everyone loved my performance and many people asked me to be part of their team. One funny thing is that on the bus ride ith the other Elders to go do internet one of the Elders that had played against me told me that I should try to find a team in my area and continue playing after the mission because I was good. The funny thing is that this same Elder was the one that was trying to scortch me (kick the ball very hard to make the goal) and I stopped about half the goals from him (at the risk of my wrist, but it was fun). It was an amazing day, even though I got very burnt by the sun. :P Yeah, that's the red part - I wore long sleeves so I wouldn't get burned, but my hands got burned bad (and my face).

I had another video, but it wouldn't go through, but just imagine this in a video: The video explains everything that happened this week. I saw toucans (my first time - they are SOOOO COOOL!), We had 65 in church, one person wants to get baptized, we had 2 stories from our mission leader (one he was tied to a chair so that the members could change his shoes because they had horrible holes and the other was when he had a confrontation with the jehovahs witnesses, they didn´t know he was a missionary at first but ended very mad because they couldn´t win. He said that he can´t even remember what they said, but that it was very true and following the spirit. :)  ) good news that we are eating at a restaurant and we love the food and we pay the normal amount. :) AWESOME!

See ya later,
Elder VanderMeyden

Monday, November 2, 2015

Cookin our own food

Our zone! Atlantica! Plus One of our friends!

This is Miguel with us

Chapter 22-B: Did I tell you it is hot?

Chapter 22: It's Hot - really really hot!

My week was fun. It was super hot this week and I sweat a ton and the fast sunday fast nearly killed us both for lack of water (I´m exagerating, but it was brutal :P  ). I really love fasting, even though it´s hard. It is a good way to sacrifice. :)

I loved the Zone conference. One funny thing that happened at it was the fact that Presidente Hayes was talking about how the missionary work is the responsibility of the tribe of Joseph (Ephraim and Manasseh) and he says "and all of us here are from the tribe of Joseph"
My companion looks at me and whispers "should I tell him? I´m going to tell him"
I whisper "no, don´t worry about it, I´ll tell him in the interview."

Jaja I laughed when he said that. :D (For those of you who don't understand, I am not of the tribe of Joseph, I am of a different tribe).

It was also really hot (did I already mention that?) and I had fun making exercise in the morning awesome! I run in place while trying to play the piano! It´s super hard and soooo much fun. :)
We got brownies at the zone conference and the lady that cooked was someone that I knew from Heredia. :)

One of the coolest things (cause, yeah - everything else is really hot)  that happened this week was the family of Sabata, Candy and Gilson (members) invited 2 friends to church who came! One is from Uruguay and had to ditch his bodyguard to come to church. He really enjoyed the meetings and said that we make less "noise" than the other churches. :P The other is Tico and also enjoyed the meetings, but he had friends who are members so we´ll see when we can meet with him this week. :)

Today we´re going to make piña colada and arroz con leche with one of the youth from our area. :) It was super hot this week.
Oh, and Happy Halloween. Here is my contribution to the pumpkin carvings: (A carved carrot and quasi carved pineapple). We can´t celebrate halloween here. The entire contry thinks it´s demonic (and in a way it is), but even the members are spooked by it. :P It might have something to do with a rumour I heard that they sacrifices children in one of the rural areas of the country a few years back... Yeah. :(  So this is the best I could do).

Monday, October 26, 2015

Chapter 21: Is it Halloween or Christmas?

Happy Halloween! We are not really celebrating Halloween this year, that and all the people are already taking out Christmas stuff here. I actually helped someone decorate their house this week. Halloween is not celebrated in Cariari from what I´ve seen.They do have pumpkins here in Costa Rica, but mostly in San Jose (I haven´t seen any here in Costa Rice). But I´ll see what I can Carve out for Halloween :)

This week was so much better with my companion. I really enjoyed the week because we had many people that we visited show up to church. Mostly less actives, but the less actives brought a non-member as well. :) Plus, we received a great reference of a family that are married and want to learn more about the gospel. The received a baptismal date following the spirit and I hope that we´ll be able to help them progress. :)

My week went by slow, which was very strange, but very enjoyable. WE actually had a great moment when we found a Less-active that I had tried to contact with Elder Coronado over 4 months back. What was funny is that we found his wife so long ago just doing a contact, but she said her husband is a member and he had actually been lost from the list of members because he moved from one part of Cariari to another. We tried visiting him again but he wasn´t there, but now we know his schedule so we´re going to visit him when he should be home. :) He´s part of an entire group of members that were youth at the same time. From what we can see is that those that went on missions came back with honor and those that didn´t got girlfriends outside of the church and started living with them, then had children and went less actives. It goes to show the power of the mission and the change that it can have in the lives of the missionaries. :)

For p-days, we´ve actually been writing here in Cariari with the entire district (they come here because the internet is better and less crowded than Guapiles). We normally plan Soccer games after the internet and eat pizza as a district sometimes.

We´ve been cooking for ourselves this week for the most part. We had Spaghetti, fried chicken, tacos from fried pork, fried chicken, salads, and tacos from fried chicken (we bought a bit to much chicken so we had to cook it all this week, but I didn´t get sick. :P  ) One day we ate in a soda (a restaurant similar to a fast food joint, but with more options) and while eating we talked with our cook and after we finished and were waiting to process the food I was thinking "how great would it be to eat some ice cream, I think I´ll come back here in an hour to buy some" when the lady that served us came out with two bowls with Ice cream. It goes to show that if you have a good relationship with the cook you can have more perks. ;)

With Grateful month (November coming), my mom asked me some things I am grateful for: The first thing that I am thankful for in my life is the Holy Ghost and how it helps me in my life. Also the Atonement of Christ. But other not-so-spiritual things would be the blender that we bought this week. We´ve been making fruit drinks and smoothies every day this week and they are delicious. :)

Have a great week!
Elder VanderMeyden

Monday, October 19, 2015

Chapter 20: uh oh, what just happened?

One spiritual moment that I had was small but necessary. Yesterday my blood pressure dropped or raised (I´m not sure but I´m okay, I already talked to the nurse and it probably won´t happen again) and we had to go to a less active member´s house until I got better. They gave me a great drink of milk with oats but they served it hot in a glass cup. I could not lift the glass to drink it but then I remembered that in lunch the sister gave us bendy straws and instead of throwing the straw away I felt like I needed to keep it so I put it in my bag. It was a great help for me to have that straw there and God was looking out for me so DON´T WORRY about what happened Everything is OKAY!

My week was excellent. I smoothed things out with my companion, but we still are having problems with getting people to church. This week we have planned to find many news and many less actives. WE´re going to a new area to meet a reference and help find less actives. :)

We had an amazing Zone meeting that took an entire day´s work out of the picture. But it really was amazing. :) The Stake President was there with us and shared with us his goals for the stake and experiences from his mission. Even though we hardly worked that day it was really worth it because I received the inspiration while we were at the conference for the way to talk with my companion and tell him my goals for our area and what we need to do to accomplish it. I was working hard in seeing the things I was doing wrong this week so that we could make this area explode. :) and once I saw my faults I was able to start on fixing them. :) My companion also saw the things that he had to change and bit by bit is working on them as well. :)
Elder VanderMeyden

Saturday, October 17, 2015

Chapter 19: Water balloons, cow pies, and crazy addresses

Today we had an awesome Zone activity, which really helped turn the entire week around. WE played with Water Balloons! We had a whole dodgeball type water balloon fight that was so much fun. I never actually hit anyone during the game but they had a hard time hitting me. :P After the game though (while a few other missionaries went for more water balloons I hit a few people with hidden balloons, but most importantly I gave the hidden balloons to other people. I don´t like to be the bad guy when in games like this because it always comes back to bite you, but it´s fun.

I had a few trials, but I can see a few of the blessings that are coming from them.

I also broke my glasses this week, but it´s not a big deal because I taped a piece of wood to it and they work, and if I really need i,t I have a backup and contact lenses, which I used today in the activity.

And to put the icing on the pie, I stepped in a cow pie. :P But honestly, it´s not all that bad... okay, the smell was bad, but I got it all cleaned up.

The good news is that with my studies and the people we met I had a real good week. WE actually got a less active recent convert to come to church this week. plus we met the father of another re-activated member and he gets along with us well. He´s funny and he knows that he´s not cumpliendo con su parte, but he´s happy and will come back when the time is right, we just need to keep inviting. :)

I didn´t have changes this week and now the next changes are in 6 weeks, the last week of November, but from how it looks I´ll be staying in Cariari until the end of my mission.



I always use the mission house address, 1. in case things change and I get transferred 2. because the address for my house would be (but not exactly):

Elder VanderMeyden
entrada del vavula 3ra calle a la izquierda
2da casa mano derecha, verde y amarillo
Cariari, Limón Costa Rica
América Central

Which being translated would be

Elder VanderMeyden
the entrance of the vavula 3rd street to the left
2nd house on the right, colors green and yellow
Cariari, Limón Costa Rica
América Central

The adresses are horrendous especially when someone gives you a reference. One of the worst I´ve received (and it´s a joke in the mission) is when they use references like "the mango tree" or the "dead dog in the street" The first is bad because the area had about 50 mango trees. They are so bad with directions. :P

Speaking of Monkeys (I know we weren't but hey) :) , we heard, but did not see, a few of them this week. They are called Kongos by the ticos. :)

Elder VanderMeyden

ps - my ponderize scripture was Mosiah 3:19:   For the natural man is an enemy to God, and has been from the fall of Adam, and will be, forever and ever, unless he yields to the enticings of the Holy Spirit, and putteth off the natural man and becometh a saint through the atonement of Christ the Lord, and becometh as a child,submissive, meek, humble, patient, full of love, willing to submit to all things which the Lord seeth fit to inflict upon him, even as a child doth submit to his father.

Monday, October 5, 2015

Chapter 18: UhMazing Conference

I loved the General Conference and I had a great time translating some of the commercials (that only came in English) for the Latinos that were with me.I really enjoyed it. I really liked the holy places potter´s spin talk, but I left my notes at home, sorry. It´s not my favorite talk, but it was the first to come to mind that I loved. I´ll be looking for my scripture to ponderize ;) And you all? What is your favorite scripture to ponderize this week. Please send me your scriptures. We didn't call it ponderize, though. in spanish the word is meditizar.

I was able to go on divisions with Elder Lewis and that was fun as well.

We got a few great references and one of them says that he wants to get baptized with the rest of his family because the saw a General Conference while surfing channels in April back when he lived in Nicaragua. :)

I was also asked to translate for a man from Madagascar who wanted to watch the conference in Spanish even though he is still learning. Needless to say we finished that session of conference in the English room. It really goes to show the power of the Gift of Tongues. This man from Madagascar is not a member of the church but an invited person. He´s been in the country for one year and still has difficulties, while the majority of the missionaries that are here in Costa Rica learn the language sufficiently to watch conference in under 9 months.

I also had rice and shrimp, an amazing recipe that I will take back and share with you all. :D

A funny thing about that talk by Pte. Uchtdorf. There was a sister from our ward  and she had a shirt that said "Simplify" but it was in english so she didn´t know that it was Simplificar until I told her. :P

Elder VanderMeyden

Monday, September 28, 2015

Chapter 17: Crisis Averted

This week there was a huge miracle with my Mom. She had a virus attack her computer and she lost my pictures from November of last year until I showed up in Cariari. The miracle is that since I got into the office something told me that I should put my pictures onto a flash drive and not erase them from my camera. She had no idea that I had these backups and she wrote me devastated. When she told me what happened I told her not to worry about a thing and told her what the Spirit had prompted me to do almost a year ago. At the time I had no idea it was a prompting, but I followed it nonetheless. The Lord knows that my Mother would have lived with that guilt for so much time if I hadn´t had the backup that he gave me a way to be the way for Him to save the day.
The other crisis is about our mission trip. The house of the mission was full and we were going to get there late so we were not going to get a bed until Elder Garay had the Idea to sleep in Tibas. It was a great idea with only one problem, how would we get to the temple by 6:30 when they asked us. the other house had a micro bus coming to pick up everybody but for us, nothing. We wake up in the morning with faith that there would be a bus at 5:00 to the temple so that we could get  there by 6:00 but as we waited in the station the 5:00 turned to 5:30 and the 5:30 to 5:45. there were other people in the line but no bus came. All of a sudden at 5:50 a bus rolled up and we were off! The bus that normally takes near an hour when there is traffic took 35 minutes and we showed up at 6:25 just as they opened the temple! :D I was so happy. :)

My week went by too fast. The Temple was on Wednesday so it felt like we only had Thursday through Sunday to work. I loved work this week but it was WAY TOO HOT! I actually couldn´t sleep last night until I showered at 1 in the morning, and that was even with the fan on. the strange thing is that I´m only dying of heat inside the house but when I´m in the streets I feel hot, but not that bad. I´ve been asking for many glasses of water though. :P
One of the most memorable moments this week was the lunar eclipse that we saw yesterday. We were teaching a family when their neighbors came in telling them to come see the moon. I ran outside not knowing what to expect and BOOM! the Moon was eaten by the shadow of the earth. It was awesome.

This week was a bit hard trying to find news especially because we focused our short time on visiting the investigators that we already have and invite them to church, even though none of them made it. We´re really working on trying to get people to the General Conference.
Love to all,
Elder VanderMeyden

Tuesday, September 22, 2015

A poem for General Conference

So, I wrote this back in June, but with conference coming, I thought you'd like to hear it. I am definitely not a poet, but just gowithit. :P
The Living Prophet’s Voice

How would it have been to talk with Moses, who saw God face to face
Or maybe to our father Adam, who chose to fall for the human race
To hear the covenant of Abraham, from him would be a treat
Your dream interpreted from Daniel, Oh Boy! Would that be neat
To hear the voice of Christ Himself, proclaim His Gospel true
To be with Him and the Apostles, to be among the few
To hear Prophets of old, so bold, so strong, proclaim the word of God
Written for generations to know and love, it is our iron rod
They lead us to the tree of life but wait “There’s more!” I say
We have the words of Prophets old but there is one today
We can listen to his voice as well, the truth it sings so clear
He gives us warning for our day, our prophet kind and dear
We listen to him twice each year, in April and October
But when the conference ends, the inspiration is not over
I turn the computer on, and make a very simple choice
To the internet I go, to hear a living prophet’s voice!

                                                                JV June 6, 2015

Our Visit to Turtle Sanctuary Video

Chapter 16: It's all about that Bus

So this week most of my moments happened around a bus stop.

This week was good, the 15th of September came around again, but this time like a thief in the night. I almost forgot that it was the Costa Rica Independence day and I didn´t prepare anything! I felt sad but my companion isn´t one for celebrating anyway. We had some difficulty visiting some people just for that reason, but I wasn´t going to give up. We found a way to get in some quality visits during the worst hours due to a bit of inspiration from our friendly neighborhood Holy Ghost. :)

One moment I had this week is that while waiting in the bus station there was a small television where they were showing Avengers 2. We didn´t stay long because our bus came and I shouldn´t have been watching it, but it really showed that the world didn´t stop when I lef the USA but at the very least the new Star Wars will still be in theaters by the time I get back. :P

One cool thing that happened this week is that we were waiting for the bus yesterday and a car past by really fast. About 100 meters down the line it stops and goes into reverse all the way to where we were and offers us a ride! They were an LPE that I had done a long time back and I it was so nice of them to help us out.

Okay, funny story, while waiting for yet another bus I ran into a man that I had met in Zapote. We had given him an english lesson, Elder Hoover and I, and now he´s speaking English relatively well. :) We had a full conversation in English and I didn´t get lost in what he was saying. A great improvement in 7 or 8 months! :D

My most memorable lesson this week was the lesson with C and her family. We shared a small video and shared about it. It was actually the "living below your privileges" from Pte. Utchdorf. It was a strong spirit and I hope they felt edified. :)
My dad mentioned all the missionaries that spoke in stake conference about a principle that they learned and loved on their mission. He asked me what I would say. One principle that I have learned to love is the power of prayer. :) More on that later, I am out of time.
Elder VanswizzlemizzlederMeyden

Monday, September 14, 2015

Chapter 15: Frog Water

I am doing well this week. I absolutely love it here, don't want to be anywhere else! It was a rather boring week for me no big news or milagros. Right now I have a bit of a head ache because we were playing soccer as a district and it was so much fun. :) But I did get a ton of water in my eyes because of sweat and rain so they dried out. :P

For those of you who have missed my moments:

Foody moment: They have a drink here called "agua de sapo" Or Frog´s Water. It´s really good even if it doesn´t sound like it :P It's actually agua dulce with lime juice.
Oh crap moment: This week some missionaries from Guapiles wanted to borrow my Meet the Mormons DVD but I forgot to send it with a member so we had to send it through the bus system. Jaja a bit of a crazy thing. :P
Happy Moment: There was one day when things weren´t going so well but I decided to ask for references (following the spirit and I didn´t even know it) and they gave us 2 and told us that they might have more in the future! :)

Church was great, we had 54 people show up. That´s the 3rd time above 50 and two weeks in a row, especially considering that quite a few people didn´t show up because they had to work or something. :P
One of the most exciting things this week was the fact that we had the Mother´s day activity in the branch (it´s about a month late but better late then never) and I got to help with the cooking of the food and preparing of the salad so now when I get home I can make some Platos Ticos. :)

Each week we receive a message from Pte. Hayes telling us about a principle of the gospel. This week was this:

"We arrive at the 4th principle and 2nd ordinance of the Gospel according to the 4th article of faith. My favorite chapter of the entire Book of Mormon could possibly be chapter 19 of 3rd Nephi. This is where we watch the process of the sanctification of the Disciples of the Savior take place. This is the second day of the Saviors visit to the people of Bountiful. However, before he arrives the second day, the disciples have begun teaching the people the very same words the Savior taught the day before. That is when we read that the disciples pray.
“behold, they knelt again and prayed to the Father in the name of Jesus. And they did pray for that which they most desired; and they desired that the Holy Ghost should be given unto them.” Verses 8 and 9.
These verses surely teach the importance of the Holy Ghost. Of everything that had been taught the day previous, (Chapters 11 thru 18) the disciples pray for that which they desired most, The Gift of the Holy Ghost. It causes me to realize the importance of that gift in my life. As you continue to read we find out why.
“ And it came to pass when they were all baptized and had come up out of the water, the Holy Ghost did fall upon them, and they were filled with the Holy Ghost and with fire. And behold, they were encircled about as if it were by fire; and it came down from heaven, and the multitude did witness it, and did bear record; and angels did come down out of heaven and did minister unto them.” verses 13 and 14.
If this is the description of what happens when one receives the Holy Ghost, it is no wonder why the disciples prayed for it most. As you continue to read in chapter 19, it appears to be a necessary step to what happens next to the disciples of the Savior.
The doctrine is very clear. Baptism must first occur by the power and authority of the Aaronic Priesthood, and then by the power and authority of the Melchizedek Priesthood the Gift of the Holy Ghost can be given. In John of the New Testament chapter 20 verse 22, the Savior does the same to his Apostles in Jerusalem. They had been baptized three years previous. They do not receive the Holy Ghost immediately, as we can see from Acts 1:5-8. However 10 days later in Acts chapter 2, the Gift of the Holy Ghost is present.
The reception of the Holy Ghost is absolutely necessary in our progression to become Sons and Daughters of Jesus Christ. May we all live worthy to receive and use this wonderful Gift."
Have a great day! Pray for us missionaries!!
Elder VanderMeyden

Tuesday, September 8, 2015

Chapter 14: Sick and Soccer and Youth

This week was a good week with one exception. I got sick. But I'm better now. One thing that really helped me was the ability to sweat it out playing Soccer with my companion today. He´s really good and I´m not so I asked him to teach me a bit while we do exercise in the mornings before getting ready. The best part is that we live within 100 mts of the church now so we can use the chapel to practice.

This week was very good. We used much of it to visit some families that formerly didn´t receive us. I feel sad that someone who was touched by the gospel could turn 180 and forget the truths they had learned. One of the members that we visited, a very good man, told us outright that he knew that the Book of Mormon was false. What can we do? I can´t just say "No, you´re wrong." I felt like I couldn´t do anything to change his mind and I was frustrated inside. He still lets us visit him so I hope that our light will be able to reignite the fire that he had before.

One the other side, the joven (youth) that I mentioned last week came again to church. We visited him on Saturday and his brother was also there. We invited them both and they both came, as well as a joven that lives next door that is an inactive member that we met this week. I was very surprised that we had so many jovenes in the chapel. In addition to that there were 60 people! I was astounded. We´re going to be working with the youth to invite more friends to the activities and then to the church so that we can enter into more houses and bless people with the gospel.

Have a great day,
Elder VanderMeyden
ps - my return date home is officially December 30th. New Year's Eve Eve. 

Monday, August 31, 2015

Chapter 13: Sticking Around

Monday, August 24, 2015

Chapter 12: Improv and Feeling Old

Yep - that's right. I´m felling a bit old in the mission but looking back, I´ve only had 3 companions with more time than me: Elders Saavedra, De Leon, and Hoover.  It's crazy to think that I only have 4 months left on my mission. I´ll ask president the actual day we head home. I think it´s still under thought but it may be before new years. I know we´ll be here at least until Christmas, so don´t worry you´ll have that last call ;) A bunch of our group wanted to make it back before school starts and some schools start a bit earlier than mine. so President changed our release date (sadly) from January 6 to end of December. But it does mean less time and I´ll be back home.  I still don´t feel like I should go to school right when I get back. I know it´s weird, but the 2 major points that keep running through my head are that 1 I want time with the family and 2 I want to work so that I can come back to Costa Rica (especially if I have some converts from this area that will be going through the temple after a year of being baptized). A third would be money for going on dates and being close to home for a bit to get some rest.

This week was amazing en cuanto a la obra (talking about the work). I was ASTOUNDED when I saw the 58 people in the chapel and 5 of them not being members. Does anyone remember the family that sent us a really awesome text at the beginning of my time here and then they dropped us out of nowhere? I took my companion to visit them and see how they are doing. THEY ACCEPTED US AGAIN, CAME TO CHURCH, AND ASKED US TO HAVE ANOTHER VISIT WITH THEM TO PLAN THEIR MARRIAGE AND BAPTISM! It was a simple thing that happened and Satan entered into their relationship. We explained that to them and everything changed! :D It just wasn´t their time before but NOW IS! I don´t know what a matter of 8 weeks can make, but God has it all planned out perfectly. :D

This week we also had a conference with a broadcasted conference in Honduras with the new President of the 12 Apostles, It was an amazing conference and I received multiple answers to my prayers. One thing that made me laugh is the fact that they were talking to over 1000 missionaries and they brought up MARRIAGE!!! I can only imagine all the groans going on ALL OVER Central America. :P It was an amazing conference though and I have a goal to study better for all of my investigators. We have multiple families progressing right now and they need my help! I´ll let ya´ll know if I have changes next week, but I´m not expecting them (unless we open Cariari 2).
And now for the improv comment: One  thing that was really funny about the church this week was that I was asked to give a talk 5 minutes before the services began and I gave a great improvised talk about the atonement and someone told me that I had given them a different perspective about the atonement! After that I was in charge (with my companion) of the Gospel Principles class (which was FULL by the way) which was about Pray and I only had 10 minutes of preparation. AND last, but not least, the teacher for Elders quorum was not there and the backup was a counselor of Pte Soto (branch president) and he told me to give the lesson because he "had to do something with Pte Soto." So I gave a lesson on filling out homes with light and truth based off a talk that I had NEVER read before. It turned out well! I´m so happy that I learned a bit of how to get participation and follow the spirit! :D
Love ya'll!
Elder VanderMeyden