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Thursday, July 31, 2014

Welcome to the Army!

Well hola!                                                                                                                   July 30, 2014

 How is everyone doing?! This week was a lovely roller coaster. Right now I am just staring at this blank screen trying to figure out how to organize my thoughts. (Nothing new there). Today has been an awesome P-day because we did our laundry at 6 am, cleaned our apartment, went to the temple, and got lunch at the main campus. Their food is so much better than ours - haha!! But I'm secretly glad I don't go there to eat every meal or I would come home on the Biggest Loser. They have this ice cream bar....mmmMM! I can't control myself. Gimme some of dat. I always like to see the new missionaries that come in. We always see them on Wednesdays outside the temple saying goodbye to their families. We always say hi, and Hermana Whitman always yells "Welcome to the army!" God's Army that is. I can't believe I've already been here for 3 weeks! Pura Vida in 19 days!!!!!!!!!! :)) I'm starting to panic of happiness and nervousness.

This week we had the opportunity to sing at a baptismal service activity. It wasn't really an actual baptism, but we had a talk, a musical number, and a discussion. It was awesome! I hope you were able to open the file I sent you. We sang a version of the primary song "I know Heavenly Father Loves Me." Hermana Whitman's aunt arranged it and she taught it to us. It had a little bit of soul sound to it so I loved it. We sing a lot together and we try to arrange different hymns. We're in the process of creating an arrangement of "There is a Green Hill Far Away" and "I Know That My Redeemer Lives." But it's in Spanish. :) Can I just say that I love the Spanish language? It has such a different type of expression. It's truly beautiful. I can't wait until I actually know it and can make actual sentences instead of spitting out terrible grammar and random combinations of nonsense. :) My mind is a jumble. Poco a poco and it's all going to be alright. But guess what? Hermana Best said that she woke up in the middle of the night and she heard me say something in my sleep in Spanish. That made me super happy! Who knows if it made sense or not but, there ya go.

We get to teach at the TRC now! That means that one night a week we get to go visit with 3 different members and share a spiritual thought. It's really fun and keeps me going. We also now have a progressing investigator. That means that we teach someone everyday for two weeks. And guess what? I am really good friends with our investigator! He is my friend from BYU Salsa Club and his name is Alan. He is so nice and we're really happy we get to teach him. He has this huge smile that lights up his whole face. He has had a really hard life, and we have been trying to help him with his needs. Sometimes I feel like I have no idea what to say and I want to help him so badly. The other day I kind of had a little break down because sometimes I wonder how in the world this is all going to work out. I am still me, and I'm shy sometimes and feel weak, but I truly KNOW that we have a Father in Heaven who loves us and helps us every step of the way. He can make anything possible, because He loves all of His children.

We had a really cool experience with our investigator, Luisa the other day. We had prepared a lesson for her and we prayed to have the spirit with us to help teach her. We were kind of stressed because we didn't feel super prepared so we were a bit nervous. When we went in, we ended up having a really amazing conversation about something completely different than we had prepared. There was a point when she was sharing an experience she had with us, and I couldn't understand what she was saying, but I felt something touch me in my heart. She said the prayer, and she said such a kind, heartfelt prayer and we all felt the Spirit. 

We have such INCREDIBLE devotionals here!!! I wish everyone in the world could come hear the talks given. So inspiring and just....wow. Brother Groberg (From The Other Side of Heaven) spoke yesterday! He talked about the importance and power of bearing pure testimony in our words, actions, songs, writing, and who we are. It was powerful! We also had a chance to watch a movie on Sunday called "The Character of Christ." It was a talk given in the MTC by Elder Bednar. I can't even describe how much it changed my thoughts and feelings. He talked about how Christ throughout His whole life turned outward, when we all have the urge to turn inward. He gave so many examples of Christ's pure love in the scriptures. It is hard to explain fully, but I just have so much love for our Savior and want to try as hard as I can to become more like Him. After our devotionals we always have a review with our district and someone from the branch presidency comes to chat with us too. Yesterday we had President Shallenberger!! Let me just explain what kind of man he is. He is super smiley, loud, passionate, and hilarious. The first 20 mins he just told us these crazy stories of his days as a mission president. They were insane! And when he laughs, he throws his head back and stamps his feet. I really love him as our Branch President. :)

On another note, we play soccer every thursday and I scored a goal!!!!!!!!!!!!!! First one in 19 years. I almost teared up. Hahahaha. Also can I just say that Hermana Best and I literally get such a kick out of the elders. Sometimes I literally wonder what is going on.....but they crack us up. We have this one elder in our zone who we are good friends with but we always make fun of him because he cuts up his popsicle with a fork and knife and then eats it...what in the world. There are so many stories I could share but they are all the kind of stories where you sort of have to be there so if I were to type it- it would just not make sense. Good times, good times. The good news is, Hermana Best and I are so weird around each other and it doesn't even matter because we're the same amount of weird. YAY. I feel so bad for Hermano B because he has to put up with so much with a district of only hermanas. He goes red all the time. It's funny. He's the best.

Anywho, I'm writing you a letter today. :)) I love you and pray for you every night. I'm so lucky and blessed to be a representative of Jesus Christ. If that's okay I just want to share my simple testimony. I know that Jesus Christ is our savior, and through the atonement, we can be healed from our sins, and comforted and strengthened in our sorrows. I know God lives and is our loving Heavenly Father and He has a perfect plan for us.  I know Joseph Smith was truly called of God to be a prophet and through the power of God was able to restore the gospel of Jesus Christ back on the earth. I know the Book of Mormon is true and truly testifies of Jesus Christ. I know the Bible is the Word of God. I know that prayer is true communication between us and our Heavenly Father and He really wants to hear from us and everything in our hearts. I truly know these things to be true. :)

Thank you for everything!! Pura Vida :)

Love,

Hermana Hubler
God's Army.


Singing at the baptism.



A little too excited about these cake bites that Aunt Beth sent.

EVERYTHING IS AWESOME. That's Right.

Wednesday, July 23, 2014

Peace and blessings, peace and blessings!

Hi! :)))


This week was so good. I am so grateful because my stomach didn't feel so nervous and it was just a very happy week. We taught our last lesson with our investigator, Karina last wednesday night. Right before teaching I was soooo nervous and almost crying. It was a hard day for me and I was struggling. I prayed really hard for more faith and trust that God would help me. The lesson was a little shaky at first, but then I remembered in a devotional that we had that when missionaries bear testimony of Jesus Christ, it is very powerful. Karina was expressing some of her worries, and I was able to tell her that we don't have to be perfect. I bore her my testimony of the Savior very simply. Then as we were closing the lesson, I asked her if she would be comfortable giving a prayer. She did, and it was such an amazing spiritual experience. She was crying, and we were crying, and it was just such a testimony building experience. From that experience on, I realized that I am just an instrument. Sometimes all you can do is bear your testimony and the spirit will take care of the rest. As missionaries we are not alone. I have felt closer than I ever have before, because we are constantly relying on Him to help other people and do and say the right things. :)

We now have other investigators we teach- Leonardo and Luisa. Hna Best and I taught Leonardo yesterday. We are making progress everyday. We are starting to work better as a companionship, and instead of having so many notes, we try to just teach from our heart even if our Spanish isn't perfect. Sometimes my Spanish is able to flow and I can say what I want to. (Even though my grammar is terrrrible! Hahahaha I laugh at my myself.) But our spanish really is improving slowly but surely! It's fun!! Also it's really amazing because I feel like I can understand most of what is said in the classroom and in our lessons. Once when we were teaching I said that we can become clean from our "Pescados" (That means fish, instead of sins which is pecados) Haha! Oh dear, oh dear. 

I love the people here! The Hermanas in my district are the best! We have so many funny times! We started making a quote book of all the weird/hilarious things that people say. I think if we had elders in our district we would be a little more well behaved, but since we're just girls we sometimes get a little distracted....it's hard to stay focused ALL the time. HA! Really hard actually. Oh we met a famous person! The first week here Hna Whitman saw this elder and was like, "He looks like the lead singer in my favorite band!" But we didn't think it was actually him. We ended up becoming pretty good friends with those elders and she asked him and he said it was. It's a band called Maritu and it's a latin boy band. Pretty cool!! 

Anyway, I just want to say I'm really happy to be here. The devotionals here are the best!! We have so much support and love and I just feel so lucky. Thank you for all your prayers, they really, really help. I love you all so much and hopefully this all makes sense. Keep telling me about everything! I love you :)))) Peace and blessings, peace and blessings.

My Family

Dear Family,

I know this is not very much, but unfortunately the time for writing comes and goes so fast!! I just wanted to write a letter of gratitude. I'm forever grateful for your constant love and support. You have always done everything for me and I don't deserve it. You are the most wonderful, amazing examples.  I feel so blessed. I just want to say thank you for raising me in the gospel, and more than that, loving me always. Bugs, you are an amazing example to me too. 
I love it here. It's hard. I understand now a lot more. Missionaries must be very strong and faithful all the time. I can understand how easy it is to give up. But I won't. :)
Thank you for the prayers. I am not alone. I have found some of my best friends here, and most of all I have strengthened my faith in my Savior, Jesus Christ and what he can help us become. I'm still working on it. He is there. I pray for you every day, and know I am well taken care of. I'm so happy to hear what's going on at home so keep telling me. Daddy, I miss your funny comments and I could really use a dad hug right now. And Mom. And Bugs. I love you! 

Love, Hermana Hubler

P.S. I love wearing my name tag!!
My nephew will be so big when I get home!

My family.

My nephew, Mr. Wiggles

Sibling Selfie.

Prayer feet.

Me and my sis

Me and my favorite sibs

Nice photo bomb

My dad and my little brother like to wrestle. All. the. time. 

They're cool.

Me and my mama. 

A kiss on the head for good luck, little bro.

Sweetest cheeks.

Nice one.
Me, my sister, and my mom.

My parents. Thanks for the cheek pinch, Dad!


My sis and her husband. Cutest Couple Award.

My nephew is a little piece of heaven.

The Gentlemen. My little brother, my dad, my brother-in-law, and my nephew.


Baby Love.

Messin'

Da baby.

Angel.

Awww. 

Uncle and Nephy.

We're obsessed with this child!


Wednesday, July 16, 2014

"Hi!!!!! I'm Alive!!! :):):)"

 There's so much I want to say and talk about so hopefully I can get all my thoughts straight. But, I'm just going to speak from the heart.

The MTC is amazing, but my time here has been one of the scariest experiences of my life. The first day here we were thrown right in and taught 3 investigators. I didn't really know what to expect, but this wasn't it. Haha!

I am in a class with 5 other hermanas, and we are all in the intermediate level. They are some of the best people I've ever met, and I truly mean that. But I'll talk about that in just a second. :)

We speak only Spanish, and the teacher only speaks to us in Spanish. I just try to spit out what I know and hope for the best. The interesting thing is that I understand most of what our teacher, Hermano Bliler says. He speaks slowly and clearly, but I know that it's because of the spirit that I am able to understand-- especially when we are speaking about gospel subjects. I thought that we would have separate Spanish classes and doctrine classes, but it's all combined. We learn how to teach in spanish by.......teaching in Spanish.

The third day here we taught our first lesson to our investigator. This is the hardest thing I've ever done. We have to be able to teach her lessons and decipher her needs--- all in another language. Some of the questions she asks I don't even know the answer in English, let alone Spanish! But through much help from the spirit, we are able to get through. It's interesting because we're not really told what to do, we teach ourselves. I believe that that way of teaching truly makes us grow. I have never prayed so hard and sincerely in my life. This week I have felt fierce feelings of intense inadequacy, anxiety, and nervousness. My respect for missionaries has tripled. Missionaries are not weak. We are made strong to be able to do things I never thought was possible. We are constantly encouraged and blessed. I feel so happy when I put on my name tag every morning.

Last night we had an amazing devotional and the speaker spoke about the reverence and power of the name Jesus Christ. He said something that really hit me. He said "We are not going out in our name, we're going out in the name of Jesus Christ. Why can't we have confidence in that name?" That touched me because we are just instruments, and we just need to have trust in our Savior, Jesus Christ. That changed my heart to not feel so scared. 

There is also so much happiness here! Everyone is VERY friendly.  I am on the West campus. Everytime we walk by someone, we say hola and smile really big! I feel like I have a second family here. My companion is named Hermana Best. She truly is the best companion I could ever have. :) She is 22, really fun, and the bravest person I've ever met. When we're in lessons, she just goes for it. We get along really, really well. She is also a dancer, and has danced for years! So we have a lot to talk about. She is super hilarious and we laugh all the time. We also always do the workouts I brought (Zach would be proud.), and lots of ab workouts and such. Yesterday morning we went for a run at 6 am! Surprised?? So am I. Amazingly, it is not that hard to wake up in the morning!!! What a blessing! ;) Hahaha she is so funny.

One day we were having our personal study, and she was falling asleep. So she went into the bathroom, and I'm not kidding- 20 mins went by. I started to get really scared. I was like....is she sick? Is she crying? Is she.......dead? Yes, that thought literally crossed my mind. Ten more minutes went by. When she came out she was like "how long have I been in there?" She had fallen asleep!! That explains how tired we are.

We have 5 hermanas in our district. As cheesy as this sounds, I feel like I've known them my whole entire life. I am so blessed to have them. Hermana Jensen is so cool. She is super fun but really reverent and humble and calm. Hermana Ellis is so funny. There are so many stories about her but she cracks me up every day. Hermana Whitman (Tiani!!) Is the kind of companion I always wanted! She talks "whetto" (White girl ghetto talk in her own words). Hahaha we have such good times. Hermano Bliler thinks we are crazy. He is this super shy little guy. This week Hermana Whitman accidentaly swore a really bad word. Wooops! Hermano Bliler went beat red. She felt so bad but honestly it was kind of hilarious. These sisters have rock solid testimonies and we help each other every day. 

Our zone is literally the best. This is kind of rare, but all of us are going to Costa Rica!! We had a meeting with all of us to meet each other and our branch president. We each got to share why we came on a mission. Everyone blew me away with their amazing testimonies. I pretty much bawled my eyes out. After, we had personal interviews with our branch president. I got assigned to be the sister training leader for our little district. I feel really inadequate but I feel really happy and I love my hermanas! Yesterday the elders in our zone gave us a blessing. It was one of the most spiritual experiences. They are all only 18 years old, but you know that they have the priesthood. My testimony has truly been strengthened. You know what's cool? Praying in Spanish is very natural.
This is amazing and I am so grateful.

Oh! And I loved getting a letter from dearelder.com! (My Unit # is 808...just sayin'). Write me everyday if you want! Getting mail is the best thing in the world.


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Friday, July 11, 2014

"Love you, byeeee!"

video



Bye, Bugs!



A few tears.  


One last hug.


Ready to roll!



Byeeee!








Saturday, July 5, 2014

Starting A New Chapter

Hello family and friends!

It's a little crazy to think that I'm leaving to the MTC this Wednesday! It's been a roller coaster to get to this point, but the over-all feeling I have is joy. I am so happy to go be an instrument in the hands of the Lord to serve the people in Costa Rica with all my heart. This is a new chapter in my life that I couldn't be more happy for. It's a big change, but I know I won't be alone. I want to thank you all for being so amazingly supportive and loving to me. With the people I have in my life, I am the luckiest person on Earth.

If you would like to email or write me while I'm running around in the colorful, exotic, beautiful country of Costa Rica, my email and mailing addresses are below. I would love it!!!

Email: erika.hubler@myldsmail.net

Letters: 

In the MTC (Until August 18th)-

Sister Erika Grace Hubler
AUG19  CRA-SJO
2023 N 900 E Unit 808
Provo UT 84602

Mission Address-

Sister Erika Grace Hubler
Costa Rica San Jose Mission
Apartado Postal 249-2010
San Jose, Costa Rica