Monday, February 23, 2015

Chapter 21: Just a Moment

Mom said I haven't done any of my moments lately, so here you go...

Best Moment Ever - He's Back!!! President Wilkinson is back and he is working hard to pull our mission back to the awesomeness it was before he left! I missed him a lot!

Oh Crap Moment - Not being able to get our printer to work and having to reset the system and stuff. It was super hard and crazy!

Foodie Moment - I may have a small addiction to the Cinnamon bears that my mom sent me. I have no more left and I hardly shared any. I love them. :P (huge hint if anyone sends me a package) ;)
Spiritual moment - Marvin, an investigator that came from nicaragua. His cousins gave him a Book of Mormon as he came here and, lo and behold, the first few people he meets here are the Mormon Elders! What a great testimony builder! :D
YES!!!! Moment - The new Couple, Elder and Sister Burt, really funny and I am able to help them with their computer stuff. I´m just sad that I can´t be around to help for longer because no one else is as good as I with the Computer (I´m not being prideful, everyone here has said something about it).
Bummer Moment - Ear infection. the new missionaries came in with a bug. it passed to Elder Nielson, then to Elder Hoover, then to me, then to my ear! I´m supper mad, but now I feel so much better. I took my medicine! :D
Music Moment - I haven´t sang recently because of all the mucus in my throat. I have improved on harmonica and I want suggestions from everyone that wants to hear me play a certain hymn (Sorry, other songs are harder because I can´t listen to them while I´m here).

Funny name Moment - All I´ve been getting is a bunch of people that have called me Elder Vander or Elder Valder. It´s funny because many people are doing it (at least 3 of the 14 news from this week)
So those are the moments of my life this last week. Here's the rest of the news:

What´s new? I´ve trained so well that my trainee has been put in charge of everything Financial and he just asks questions and delegates work. I call it the Dred Pirate Roberts effect. I put him as captain of the ship and now he´s running it, and now I ´m more like the old man that cooks the bad tasting food for everyone. ;) It´s kinda funny and we´re getting along really well. We´ve also been having some great success in the area. This week we found 14 new investigators and we still have 2 days to go. Not to mention that we´ll have 2 baptisms today. I´m not the one baptizing them, the dad is going to do it! IT WAS THE GIRL WHO WAS AFRAID OF THE WATER AND SHE DECIDED THAT SHE COULD DO IT IF HER DAD DOES THE ORDINANCE!!!!! :D I´m WAY excited for this! :)
Have a great week guys!
Elder VanderMeyden

Pictures of San Jose

I finally got a new camera (my old one broke) so here are some new pictures of my area and the awesome ward members in it!

A Moya kid

Lots of fun!

Look - I have a jersey! Arroz cantones y naranjas mandarinas

two thumbs up!

Elder Hoover and Elder Nelson

Having fun!

more fun


more photobombing


Office Pictures

Happy birthday Sister Coleman!

Me and Elder Nielson - training hard

Hi guys!

me and Adam and Lisa Stevens from Layton - they brought me booty from my parents
Um, yeah, my mom went a little overboard with sending me stuff through the Stevens. I'm a little spoiled - AND I LIKE IT!
me and Elder Hoover

Wednesday, February 18, 2015

The Old Office Elders training the new Office Elders

The "old" office Elders training the new office Elders. Thought you'd all like to see their smiling faces!! 

I'll miss him too Athena. (in response to me telling her how much James will miss the office). He gave me the idea of making a music stand/holder for the keyboard I inherited from the mission office, with clothes hangers. Needs a little more work, but it's very functional. There's a member from San Ramon, who's from El Salvador & his wife makes pupusa's routinely. He takes the hour-long bus ride every week or so & comes to the chapel where our Self-Reliance Office is. Anyway, he sells these to anyone that'll buy them. Short story long, I'll miss Elder V's face lighting up when I offer him one + I'll miss the chocolate he offers me from time to time.

Love, Hermana Petersen & Dennis Carlson's Sister sister : )

Chapter 20: What's in a Name?

Uh, yeah, this week someone called me by my first name.(what's my name?)  For over a year now, I have been called Elder. So, this week I had a great visitor: Adam and Lisa Stevens from my home ward came to Costa Rica on vacation and brought me a multitude of gifts from my family (mostly food, silly stuff but still super awesome!).  I loved the packages, and I am waiting to open the majority until their time since one is for St. Patties day, one for conference, etc.. It was weird to see the Stevens and they called me James :-/ ;-) Yeah, that was weird to be called by my first name.  My favorite thing of all of it was the letters. :) I haven´t quite finished them, but I love them. If anyone reading this hasn't sent me a letter yet, just know that missionaries crave letters from home like an alcoholic craves liquor.

Our week was anything but uneventful. Training is going well, I have him doing most of everything and just delegating to me when he needs me to do something. :) We are all getting along wonderfully. :) I think they will do well. We had a bunch of work to try and fix everyone´s money problems. I put my new companion Elder Nielson in charge of it because he´s got to learn and fast because I won´t be here the next time. the two new secretaries are Elder Nelson and Elder Nielson (and their name is?). the I in Nielson stands for "I got the money" apparently. They´re both learning very fast :)

We´re working hard with old investigators and finding many news too. Yeah, with the members in our ward we´ve had some sadness, but they area finally coming to activities and giving a few references. We´ve received many references in the last month from them, and just recently, while working with the ward secretary we found 23 people that need to be baptized that we have partial records for. Many are less active families with children at that age, but a few are parts of active members and just need to be baptized. :D I´m SOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOO excited! :D  This area is doing really great and we´ve really turned it around. :)

I helped with Family history and Indexing on Tuesday this week! :) So much fun finding names and interpreting names on indexing. (what's in a name? A lot of history)

I am doing well. Presidente Cordón actually likes me I think and so I even got a picture with him before he leaves. I am, however, extremely excited to have President Wilkinson come back and get things back to normal. :)

I got to help in a project recently. It just made its debut online. I helped by sending in a video to help them. I was behind the camera, but Elder Hoover was in it. :D If anyone wants to see it and see some of my special friends in Costa Rica, here is the link (check out my byline ;))  I am kind of bummed that Meet the Mormons hasn't come out here yet. President said if we could get the video, we could watch it. Maybe one day. ;)

Te quiero,
Elder VanderMeyden
P.S. - This last week in english class (that we teach) they had a court house trial and a miss universe. I say they, because it was my companion´s class (we split it into 2 parts and I´m the basic gramatic and pronunciacion teacher and he´s the acting and practicing teacher) and it got out of his control, he did not plan it.

Chapter 19: In the Right Direction

The title for the email will be "in the right direction." I was the guide when we went to San Jose and I led people in the right direction (nothing like the choir trip to Salt Lake City, right Bri?) and the family that is moving in the right direction to be baptized. I really hope they´re going to get baptized while I´m here. :)
President Wilkinson is also going in the right direction. So a few weeks ago, our Mission President had to go back to the states for some health reasons. He had surgery and is going to come back on Friday. I can't wait! Hermana Wilkinson is the best and she´s handled it so well. He´s definitely a strong personality, President Cordón, but I´ve done quite a bit to love him. One quote that I´m not sure if it´s something I found or something I created but that I love is: "Love them, and if you can´t love them, serve them."
Anyway, for this week, We had some office problem and didn´t get out of the office very much. We have two new Office Elders: Elder Nielson and Elder Nelson. I am looking forward to getting to know them better. The best experience of the week though was when I went to Bobby Family. We went twice and I took Elder Nielson the first time and Elder Nelson the second. Here´s how it went:

With Elder Nielson we taught them about the Priesthood authority and the spirit was strong. The lesson was a bit rough, but we could still feel that the spirit was there. We taught about the Confirmation and the gift of the Holy Ghost because Carlos, the father, had a question. We explained that it was necessary and that it would be a guide in his life if he was baptized and received it. We invited the entire family to be baptized, but they said no. I instead, gave them all sticky notes that said (translated into english obviously) "I need to pray to ask for a confirmation from the Spirit that these things are true" and then we left. The next time I came back was with Elder Nelson, and we taught about recognizing the Spirit. We followed up on the commitment and a few of them said they did it and said that they felt good. We explained that it was the Spirit and there was a burning feeling in the room. I loved the lesson and it was a great experience. They shared about how their life had changed since the met us and the mother said that she felt a warm feeling that made her tremble even though she wasn´t cold. I invited them again to being baptized and it went back to their doubt of "we´ve already been baptized and I consider that the person who baptized me had authority." The father was so moved by the Gift of the Holy Ghost that he wants to get it without getting baptized again. We can´t seem to get past this one point, even though we´ve explained it 3 times. Both Elder Nielson and Elder Nelson say that this family is right on the edge of being baptized and they are really excited to teach them again. :) I left the scripture Acts 9:1-6 with them as homework and I hope they read it with an open heart and mind. :)

That´s the best I got this week.
Hope you like it.
Elder VanderMeyden

Chapter 18: Crazy

This week was really crazy. We´ve been preparing for Changes and we learned through the big mouth of a good friend that we´ll be training next week. We´ve also recieved a baby-sitter president while we wait for President to recover from his surgery in the USA. His name is Presidente Cordón and is very good. He´s really good and He caught on very fast. :) It is hard having to adapt to a new President (even just temporarily), but it makes me realize how much I will miss President when he leaves in July.

The office is a bit crazy this week and the English classes are still great. Proselyting has been hard this week because of the fact that we´re running low on progressing investigators. We find between 6 and 9 a week, but they are not progressing quickly or at all sometimes. We do have a few people that are doing wonderfully, but not too many for the moment. We´ll see how the next week goes. :)
The craziest thing is about a Baptism, IT HAPPENED! We had the first baptism in Zapote for 8 months and actually, Zona La Paz was the best in the entire mission! We are super happy, but not giving up. We are working with a family that came to church last sunday. A family of 5 people that could get baptized in February. They are really awesome and I want to take a picture of them to show you all. Unfortunately, I don´t have pictures of the baptism or of the family because I forgot my camera. I hope that I can get them to y´all next week.

People can be crazy. People get upset because they have not fully developed their Christlike attributes. It happens to everyone and it is human. The biggest thing is that they need to go to the Lord in prayer and ask for help. I feel like it can be applied to anyone. I´ve needed help like this on the mission and I think it´s made me a better person. However, it also applies to you. Try to be humble and loving in each situation. We don´t have Christ´s power to understand the hearts of everyone, but when we make that effort to try to understand, we get more than we expect. Just be patient and helpful in trying to patch things up and you should be able to solve the problems you are facing. :)
Love you all,
Crazy Elder VanderMeyden