Our Branch Relief Society had their very first Visiting Teaching Conference on Friday night. Instruction and ideas were given on how to be a good visiting teacher to those in need of a friend and a kind word. New assignments were also given to everyone. A delicious meal was served; tortillas filled with shredded chicken, refried beans and cheese, green salad, and a chocolate cake (pastel) that I made.This is our branch R. S. Presidency: Hermana's Ballestero, Lilianna Rodriquez, and Majorie Guitierrez
Wednesday, August 25, 2010
We explored the southern most town in our area last week, San Gerrardo. It took us three and a half hours to get there. The last 12 km were all in low gear (in and out) because of the steep decent into a cloud forest river valley where the settlement is. Pretty much every where we go is like driving in Jerome only on potholed pavement or rocky gravel. San Gerrardo is world famous with the serious bird watching folks. The most popular bird is the Quetzal but there are tons of other gorgeous birds to see. There are lots of humming birds in all sizes and colors. We were in awe of the beautiful views, so green and lush. We used to think that Hawaii had some of the most beautiful sights but we now think that Costa Rica is challenging our previous opinion.We stopped to look at some of the lodges. Each one of them was unique and had beautiful landscaping. If you look close, you can see hundreds of trout in the pond......We stopped for lunch and ordered fish plates. We assumed that the fish would be fresh but little did we know just how fresh. We placed our orders and noticed the owner walk in with a fish that he had just caught from the river in back of his property. They cooked it up and Mike had it on his plate in minutes. Very tasty! We later learned that Mario, the owner, supplies trout for restaurants all over Costa Rica. He also told us that when people order fish, he goes outside and gets a fish from the ponds with his net. Now, that is fresh!This is Mike and Mario, the owner. He is married to a woman from Canada and they have a nice cafe and bakery.
Posted by nymanzanita at 11:11 AM
Tuesday, August 24, 2010
This is Carolina & her older sister Stephanie. They live up the hill from us & we are new friends.We had seen them around the neighborhood before but had never talked to them. We walked up the street the other day and noticed this little girl in the distance. She was waving her arms and acted so excited to see us. As we got closer she ran down the hill and her face was lit up with excitement as if she had known us forever. She hugged both of us and she kissed us on our cheeks. We have had many kisses on our cheeks here, it is the typical way of greeting someone here, but this was different. She gave us smooches on our cheeks and was about to burst with happiness. We smiled and stood there kind of stunned because we were so surprised. She called to her mother to come meet us and so we talked for a few minutes and went on our way. We couldn't help but think about her cute face and beautiful smile as we went on with our day. We wish that we knew what she was thinking and why seeing us made her so happy.Many of the locals wait for the bus in front of our house. We looked out the other day and Carolina and her sister and mother were waiting for the bus. We went out and talked with them for a while and we got to snap a few pictures. We are glad that we met this cute family and especially Carolina.....she is a very sweet girl!
Posted by nymanzanita at 4:17 PM
We went to Dominical at the beginning of August. It was a beautiful trip and we made many stops along the way. We stopped in San Isidrio at a roadside stand where a few families were selling things that they had made. We have seen many people who have large wooden trays in their homes and they use them to lay their fruit on. We saw this man when we stopped and he was selling trays that were similar to the ones that we had seen. He showed us the wood that he uses and we saw the big pieces that he carves. We ended up buying a couple to use in our home......
Posted by nymanzanita at 3:56 PM
Monday, August 23, 2010
We have had a few fun visits from returned missionaries that have come back to Costa Rica to visit their friends and members of the church. Elder Howell stopped by the other day to say "hello" and see who the "new couple" in town were. We had a nice visit with him and enjoyed meeting his friend from San Jose who brought him to San Pablo for the visit. Good to meet you Elder Howell!He is obviously a returned missionary and so he doesn't go by the title "Elder Howell" anymore but I can't remember what his first name is so I'll just call him Elder.....Our next group of visitors stopped by on Sunday night. We had just settled in for the night and we heard a knock at the door. To our surprise, it was a young man named Douglas and his parents, Jim and Nancy Bailey. We had seen Douglas in the San Jose Temple when we went with Suzetty a few weeks ago. Since then he completed his mission and returned back to Snowflake, Arizona of all places. What a small world! He and his parents flew to Costa Rica together and are visiting the areas that he served. We had a very nice visit and even got to catch up on some Arizona news from the area that Pat was raised in.Thanks for stopping by!
Posted by nymanzanita at 12:20 PM
Saturday, August 21, 2010
We now know many people who are coffee farmers. Most of our local economy revolves around the growing and selling of coffee. With that said, many of our members have connections to coffee fields too. Liliana, a member of our branch, lives in the mountains high above our house and she is a true coffee farmer. She has acres and acres of coffee fields and plenty of young men hired to work them. She hikes around the hillsides like she is still in her 20's, a very strong lady. She invited us to her home for lunch one day last week. We had fun seeing her land, eating a delicious meal, and getting to know her better. The coffee plants cover the hillsides......
Elder Munroe and Liliana looking at all of the plants. She explained to us that most of the plants have a specific purpose in helping produce great coffee. The banana leaves are large and help to shade the coffee plants from the intense sun. The avocado trees provide shade for the coffee as well. There are a couple of kinds of trees that are pruned each year and the leafy limbs fall on the ground after they hit them with a machete. They leave them where they fall and the leaves decompose and provide nutrients for the coffee plants. The bees buzz around and pollinate the coffee plants and avocado trees. Avocado trees......
Bee houses for honey.......
We picked a few baskets of berries and then we took them back to her home to wash them up and make some fresh juice. It was delicious!
Some of the workers leaving the fields for the day........This is supposedly one (out of three) places that produces the best coffee in the world. Coffee growing is quite a tedious process and a lot is involved. Our area is known for having the perfect climate, soil, and expertise for growing coffee.This is Liliana's home....We had a very nice time visiting Liliana. We hope to be able to visit her again soon.
Posted by nymanzanita at 9:15 PM
Thursday, August 19, 2010
Meet our mailman (cartero). Yes, we get our mail delivered on a motorcycle. We see him zipping around the hills delivering mail and we have had him stop at our place a few times. Our daughter has sent us three different packages and we have received them all. We have sent postcards back to the states and they have all reached their destinations. Luckily, we have had no problems with mail here (knock on wood).
Posted by nymanzanita at 8:55 PM
Monday, August 16, 2010
Mother's Day? Yes, it was Mother's Day here in Costa Rica on Sunday. We celebrated with our branch members on Friday night by attending a dinner and dance at our church building. We extended our celebration by going to San Jose on Saturday to do some errands and visit some of our special friends, the Campos family. Most of you know that we visited Costa Rica two times previous to us receiving our mission call to serve here. We met Obispo (Bishop) Campos on our first visit here and we have remained friends over the last few years. We were able to visit their family and attend their ward Mother's Day party last year while we were visiting San Jose. We decided to keep up the tradition and attend this year too. It was also wonderful to see Juan, Ana (his wife), and their two cute little kiddos. Hermana Munroe seated with the ladies as they waited to be served their dinner..... Hermana Munroe and Obispo Juan Campos. Juan is a VERY young Bishop and has become a strong leader of the church in the San Jose area. We are truly thankful to have met him and to have witnessed his dedication to the members of his ward. Elder Munroe and two of the ward members.....Elder Munroe and Juan....Hermana Munroe, Ana Campos, and an Hermana from the ward....The Campos kiddos! Thanks for inviting us to your ward party and Happy Mother's Day!
Posted by nymanzanita at 7:41 PM
Sunday, August 15, 2010
We were in San Jose yesterday and we stopped at the "Costco" of Costa Rica to pick up some items. We passed through the food court to get a drink and we noticed some bright white shirts. What a coincidence that we would run into a set of missionaries with one of the Elders from the mission office. They were definitely hungry and were devouring their pizza. We chatted a bit and then we were off to meet up with some members in a ward building in San Jose. You just never know where you will run into missionaries!
Posted by nymanzanita at 12:29 PM
Saturday, August 14, 2010
What a great teaching week! We have been teaching and working with two young men and their families for a few weeks now. We feel blessed to be able to witness their progress and take part in their journey of learning about the gospel of Jesus Christ. We had visitors on Wednesday. Elder Christenson and Elder Belmount, an Assistant to the President and Zone Leader, came to meet us and accompany us on a few of our appointments. They were sharp young men and taught with such power. We went to a local pizza place called Tejas for dinner but first we went to visit Honorio and his family. This picture of Honorio and 2 of his 3 children (he has a baby too) was taken at church on Sunday. He has been wonderful to teach. He reads the Book of Mormon, he prays, and he attends church. He says that he believes the church to be true and that the Book of Mormon is the word of God. What more could we ask for? We tried to commit him for baptism last week but he said that he needed some more time. The Elders were able to find out that one of the members of the branch had said something that confused Honorio about baptism. We were able to clarify and answer his questions and he committed to be baptized on August 28th. Elder Munroe will be baptizing Honorio at our branch building. It should be an exciting day. Now we need to get his wife, Maria, to start attending the discussions again too. You might remember the picture above. It was taken at Honorio's home on our first visit there. Honorio and Maria are in the middle with their 3 little ones below them. Maria's mother is on the far right side in the pink blouse. The rest of the kids are Maria's brothers and sister. We hope that the rest of the family will follow Honorio's example someday.Our next appointment was with Jose Jimenez, his sister, and her daughter. We had a Family Home Evening lesson with them at the Ballestro's home. Bro. Ballestro is our branch mission leader. They have had all of the discussions and attend church but have not wanted to commit to be baptized. The Elders tried to see if there was a specific concern that we could all help to resolve for him. He may have been more open about what is holding him back from taking that next step but there was a room full of people and he might not have wanted to share in front of so many people. We will have to attempt to help him again soon. Jose may need more time, however, his niece said that she is ready. She would like to be baptized soon. Our last visit was to a couple (sorry, we don't have a picture) who has been attending church but are not members. They are young and have a little girl who is three. They have had some issues with drugs over the last few years and have worked together to overcome that obstacle together. They feel that being members of the church would be something good for them. They committed to be baptized but we have to get them married first. We are "learning the ropes" of getting married in Costa Rica. We have to find them a lawyer that can marry them and then they will be able to be baptized. We are excited for all of the people that we are teaching and are thankful for them and the spirit that we feel as we associate with them.
Posted by nymanzanita at 5:01 AM