Saturday, July 31, 2010

Honorio Update...

We had a special teaching day on Wednesday. We visited Honorio and his family and we took Suzetty with us to help translate if needed. We also thought that it would be a great experience for her to help teach and resolve concerns since she will be leaving on her mission to Peru next week. We went to a local restaurant for lunch before the appointment. We wanted to let her know a little about Honrio and his family before we went. Then it was up the muddy slope to Honorio's home. Have you noticed a common item in almost all of our pictures? Yes, an umbrella! It rains here daily. To say that it "rains" is an understatement. It actually POURS for hours each day. We are always prepared! Pat and Suzetty on the way to the appointment....Mike and Suzetty on the way to the appointment....We had a very nice appointment today! Honorio said that he has been reading the Book of Mormon daily and that has studied the pamphlets that we have left him. He said that he believes the Book of Mormon to be true and he committed to attend church tomorrow. We were disappointed that his wife, Maria, and her mother didn't want to take part in the lesson. However, we are certain that they heard the message as they cooked in the kitchen. We could often see either an ear or a curious eye looking through a crack in their wall. Hopefully they will want to learn more someday.

Thursday, July 29, 2010

Another Busy Week....

We have had a very busy week. Here is what we have been up to.... Here is Mike in the office that we have set up in our house. We each have a desk and computer so that we can study and prepare our lessons. We also use our netbook to Skype with family and friends when we have time. Mike was preparing a lesson that we give to a group of branch members each week. There are about 15 people who attend and we teach them how to use the "Preach My Gospel" manual and answer questions that they might have about how to share the gospel. We are really trying to encourage the members to be actively involved in the branch missionary efforts.We attended a farewell party for Suzetty the other night. It was nice to meet during the week and see the youth of the branch interact socially instead of just at church on Sunday. Everyone had very nice things to say about Suzetty and they are all extremely excited for her to serve a mission. The branch is only 3 years old and she is going to be the first missionary.We have a very strong group of youth. The great part is that they are truly good friends with each other. They enjoy doing things together and they are extremely supportive.We had an appointment with Jose this week. The Elders had been teaching him before they left the area. We picked up where they left off and we are enjoying our visits together. We invited Jose and his daughter, Kimberly, to go out for dinner.It was Hermano Blanco's birthday and so we all celebrated at one of our favorite pizza places in town. It is called Emilius Pizza and they serve great pizza!We went to visit Honorio and his family again this week. We invited Suzetty to go with us so that she could get some practice for her mission and help us translate if needed. We usually walk the muddy path to his house but we decided to drive this time instead.The path has been cut through dense bushes and trees. It is a very pretty but muddy walk at this time of year.They even have an enormous poinsettia bush growing along the way.Those are just a few of the highlights from our week. We hope that you are all doing well too!

Monday, July 26, 2010

Las Iglesias Catolicas de la Zona Los Santos.....

We are surrounded by towns and villages that are named after Saints. Thus, the area is known as Zona Los Santos (The Zone of the Saints). No matter the size of the town, one thing is always certain, they will have a Catholic Church. In fact, they all have a Catholic church, a soccer field, and a park in the center of their towns. We pass many of them as we do our errands and make visits. Here are a few of the churches that we see on a regular basis.This is the Catholic church in San Marcos. The picture below is of the same church as seen from our side of town. This church is located in the center of San Pablo.... This one is located in Santa Maria...... Here is a shot of the town of Santa Cruz. You can see that the Catholic church is on the right side of the picture and the large soccer field is on the left. The park is a bit hidden from the trees towards the left. Regardless, you can see that each town has those three things. We have come to learn that the soccer field gets MUCH more attention than the church or the park. That isn't too big of a surprise coming from Central America though.

Saturday, July 24, 2010

A morning stroll....

We enjoy getting up early every morning and going on long walks. We changed our route the other day and walked over to the Panaderia Santa Maria (Santa Maria Bakery) for a breakfast treat. Then we crossed the street and walked around the park. It is a pretty quiet place that early in the morning.

Wednesday, July 21, 2010

A Special Trip to San Jose.....

Today we had the privilege of traveling to San Jose and attending a session with a young women who went there for the first time. Suzetti Mora is a member of our branch and she is getting ready to serve a mission in Peru. She is the first person from the branch to serve a mission. Part of her preparation to serve included her attending the Temple. We were glad that we were able to take part in her special day.Here is Suzetti sitting in the Temple gardens......Here are a couple shots of the view on our way to San Jose.....Here we are with Suzetti and her mother, Hermana Mora.....Suzetti and President and Sister Porter. The Porters are a wonderful couple. They have served three missions and he has served as a MTC President and mission president. It was nice to visit with them and see them also take part in Suzetti's special day.Suzetti and her mother in the gardens....We are excited for Suzetti and the wonderful experiences that she will have as she serves the Lord and the people of Peru.

Tuesday, July 20, 2010

100% Pure Sugar Cane....Panela!

Introducing....Panela! One of our first posts in Costa Rica showed our visit to a man that makes Panela from Sugar Cane (click HERE to see the original post). This is what panela looks like in a solid form. The people here love to drink "agua dulce" that is made from panela. The "sweet water" is made pretty easily. Most Costa Ricans put one whole piece of panela in about two cups of water. They dissolve it in the warm water and then they reserve the sweet syrup to use during the week. Each time they want to drink agua dulce, they boil some water and pour a bit of the condensed syrup mixture in the water. Some people like to also add milk or cream. We have come to enjoy agua dulce. It seems to be the beverage of choice around Costa Rica.The package basically says that panela is dehydrated 100% pure sugar cane juice.

Sunday, July 18, 2010

Branch Conference....

Today was Branch Conference and we had a special visit from all of the Stake Leaders. It was nice to meet them and to hear their powerful messages. We prepared a nice breakfast for all of the branch members prior to the meetings today. It seemed to be a success!Here is the kitchen in our church building......Suzetti, Hermana Ballestero, and Hermana Blanco are getting the plates all ready to serve...Our breakfast menu included: French bread, gallo pinto (a mixture of rice and beans), eggs, crema (a cream that is similar to sour cream), pineapple juice, and agua dulce (panela). Here we are eating breakfast with Hermano Blanco.....Everyone grabbed plates of food and mingled before the meetings started.....Hermana Daniela Elizondo Montes and her daughter Maria....This is David and Zulema, a brother and sister, originally from Nicaragua. They are such strong members of the church. They leave their home at 3:30 every morning and walk 1 1/2 hours in order to make it to seminary by 5:00 a.m. They also do this same walk every Sunday so that they can attend their church meetings. That is dedication!Everyone getting settled and ready for the meetings to begin....Our branch president, President Jimenez (on the right), speaking with the Stake President (on the very left) and one of his counselors. This is Suzetti. She just got her mission call to Peru. She is the first missionary to leave from this branch. We will really miss her when she is gone but we know that she will be an amazing missionary. We are excited to go to the Temple with her this week as she prepares to enter the mission field.Today was a very nice Sunday!