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Tuesday, August 26, 2014

"There is absolutely no room for fear."

Hola everyone and PURA VIDA! :)))))                                                    August 25, 2014

Whew I have so much to say! Well, this week was a week of miracles. We made it. Despite starting off a little rough by losing my suitcase, and going on a 4 hour adventure to find it, (never found it. :( but it´s really okay.) This week has been incredible.

First, my mission president and his wife are incredible. The first night in Costa Rica we went to the San Jose temple and stood on the grounds. Our mission president gave us an amazing introduction. He has a very strong presence and there is power when he speaks. This mission expects a lot from us. He said that there is absolutely no room for fear. Fear is not from the right source. He said that there is no such thing as being shy here. You open your mouth. It doesnt matter if you know the language or not.

Here we do things called LPEs. Its when you have a conversation with someone, teach a simple truth, and invite them to do something. In this mission, we are asked to do 20 a day minimum. He said that he takes new missionaries to the temple so we can begin with the end in mind. This mission is not about just helping people be baptized, but work towards the temple.

We spent two nights in San Jose before going to our areas. I loved it. The drivers are crazy. Also there is no such thing as cross walks and so people just cross the street whenever they want.

I had the most amazing experience going out with one of the sisters in San Jose to teach a family. We taught the plan of salvation and it was honestly so amazing. I wish I could explain what it is like because there are no words.

The next morning we went to the presidents house for breakfast and to meet our trainers. It was so fun and exciting. The new missionaries were on one side and the other missionaries on the other side and everyone was cheering and it was just a thrill. My trainer is Hermana Bram and is a Tica. When she saw me she was crying and she told me when she saw me she knew she would train me. She doesn{t speak any english except a few words here and there. She is an angel. A very sassy, sassy angel. She is super direct and bold and very motherly to me. Every night she asks me to sing songs so I sing her to sleep every night. I have learned so much from her already. She teases me a ton and is hilarious.  But she is very patient with me and speaks slow so I can understand. HAHA!

We are in Florencia. It is so beautiful and different. The houses are very colorful and it is like the countryside. There are horses in our backyard. Today when we were walking someone was just riding a horse on the road, no big deal.

Florencia is a new area. The church is not very strong here. They have never had sisters here before. They asked the church leaders what to do, and they said; send us sisters. So here we are. We live in a teeny, old chapel. When we first got there, it was terribly terribly dirty. But we{ve worked hard to clean it up. When we were cleaning, there were tons of spiders, cockroaches, and even a toad!!!!!! But its a lot better now.

The people here are so nice. They are really truly so special. We are really close to this family already- the Wong family. The mom, Angie, is seriously the best. She cooks for us every day and she is a professional chef. I have had the best food!!! Like platanos, yuka, exotic fruit juices, and  things I have never tried in my life. She has 4 kids, Marvin, Samantha, Gabriel, and Pamela. They are the cutest kids I have ever seen in my life. Its a really humbling experience when these kids are talking to me and I have absolutely no idea what they are saying. But I love them so much and they always hug me and kiss me and we are super close already.

We have seen miracles while teaching! We met the nicest woman named Helen and her two kids. She let us come in and teach her and we taught her the first lesson. I tried my best to contribute but it is very hard to express myself. I was able to share the first vision, and as soon as I started saying the words, the spirit was super super strong. she accepted to be baptized the first lesson for the 7th of September!!!!!!!!!!!!!! She even came to church yesterday, which is a huge deal. she is so prepared. at the end of the lesson, she said the prayer. She simply said that she felt happy to have missionaries in her home and she felt good and was grateful. It was amazing.

We are also teaching another family. They are a little more hesitant but they are very kind to us. Everyone will let us in their house. People are super super kind.

One more story: we saw that a woman was selling ice cream in her house so we bought some and she invited us in and we saw that her 97 year old mother was lying on the bed. We spent half an hour holding her hand and singing her hymns. She was so cute and sweet. I sang a verse of something in english, hermana bram sang a verse in spanish, and then we sang together. Even though I can't say a lot of things, it doesnt matter because love is universal. Happiest feeling ever.

Some cultural things:
I love how people kiss you and hug you every time they meet you. People are very affectionate ( a man tried to kiss me yesterday but got a firm NO! from Hermana Bram.)
Everything is chill here. No one is rushing around. There is not a set time for anything. One of my favorite sayings they say here is tranquila. It means, its all good. 
People can talk for hours. They are very, very animated and I love it. There is so much passion! It makes me laugh and I love it. 
My name is super hard for them to say, a lot of people just simply call me Hermana.

Overall, I feel a very special connection here. The people are so special. Lots of people have almost nothing and its hard to see. but they are just amazing. Of course, I am struggling because I feel like I cant express myself or understand, but i know it will come. I have faith. I am just so grateful to meet the people i have so far. thank you so much for your prayers and i love you with allll my heart. friends, please forgive me if i don{t answer right away. but I love you and read your emails and smile and love it!!!

Hola de Costa Rica!

Day 1 in Costa Rica: August 20, 2014

I just wanted to write you a quick email because I have just a few minutes. ;) I am safe and sound. I love Costa Rica. Its been a rough beginning because as you know, I lost my suitcase. :( Im so sorry!!! That was horrible and I hope you are not freaking out. I am just so sorry. I have pretty much nothing because all my books were in there, as well as all my contacts, glasses, and medicine. I feel so bad for being a nuisance and I hope everything will be okay.

This is crazy. Costa rica is beautiful. I love my mission president and wife. i just got my trainer today. she is an angel. Ella es una tica. She doesn't speak any English, but she is very sweet and patient and on the bus ride she said to me in English: " I love you."

right now i am at a members house. her name is hermana angie. i understand a little bit and i am forced to speak totally in spanish . but i really love it. i{ve already had some amazing experiences that i cant wait to share with you on my p day.

i am assigned to an area called florencia. it is beautiful and higher in the mountains. we live in a chapel where our branch meets. but it is sooooooooooo run down. it is dirty and disorganized and there are bugs everywhere. the elders before us left it in shambles. we are planning to clean it tomorrow.

it is very very different here but I honestly love it here. we were in san jose for two days and i got to go with and to teach a family. It was incredible. the people here are sooooo nice. they are angels. this morning on our way to the presidents house i contacted two people on the bus and they were so nice to me. here when you meet people, they kiss you on the cheek and i love it. ahora, soy tica.

thank you for your prayers. even though there have been some ups and downs, i love being a missionary. please continue to pray for me and i will always continue to pray for you. i cant wait to tell you more about everything on my p day. love you soooooooooooooooooo much mom. and tell daddy and clarky i love them too. the keyboards here are different.

Thursday, August 14, 2014

"Love Changes Everything."

Hola Familia!!!

I cannot believe that I leave to Costa in 5 days!!!!!!!!!! Yes, we got our travel plans on Friday. :))) I am so happy that my whole zone is going to Costa Rica because then we don't have to say any goodbyes. We have truly become like family. :) My second family away from my family. 

How do I describe this week? I felt so much joy. I just feel so happy here and I see little miracles every single day. I wish I could explain each one, but simply said, I know God is real. This week on Sunday my hermanas and I sang in church. I think I've told you before but one of our favorite things to do together is sing. We like to create new harmonies and try different things with hymns. It's the best. Hermana Whitman's grandpa saw the video of us singing and he said that when we come home we are going to be in a band called "The Hot and Beautiful" and he wants to be our limo driver. HAHA! We sang "Gran Eres Tu" which is How Great Thou Art. It was such a good experience and I felt the Spirit so much.

This week we got to skype with a man named Fransisco who lives in Mexico. We got to get to know him and share a scripture with him. It was so cool! I was happy to say that I understood at least 70% of what he said which is good. :) I just love latin people because they are so warm and they talk a lot. :) I am so excited to go to Costa Rica and have the opportunity to talk to so many amazing people there. I know it won't be easy, but I have a feeling that the friends I make there will be my lifelong pals.

I felt so much love this week. I have really been praying for the gift of charity, and I truly felt love come into my heart for the people I teach and for the other elders and sisters here. It changes everything because when you truly love people, you're not scared. You just try to help them, and you rely on Heavenly Father and the person to tell you what you need to share with them. I have felt my heart change while I've been here. Teaching is not about sharing a bunch of information and then leaving. It's helping people step by step according to their questions, needs, and worries. Even if you help someone learn simply that they have a loving Heavenly Father, that is simply all it needs to be. This work is about helping people come as close to their heavenly father as possible. This gospel really is a gospel of joy, peace, and comfort in this world. Even though life is not easy, we always can rely on the Savior to give us the strength that we don't have by ourselves. I honestly feel carried. I know that God loves all of His children personally. He will never give up on us and He knows the details of our lives and the thoughts and feelings in our hearts. He can make anything possible.

On a silly note, I got yelled at during gym time because we were playing soccer and I tried to stop the ball and I literally jumped in the goal and knocked it down!! Whoops!!! Also I just think this is so cute and hilarious but our teacher, Hermana Boza, is the best woman on this planet. She is from Peru, and she is learning English right now. She comes to class everyday with different words and phrases that she hears but has no idea what they are. Yesterday she asked us what "The down low" was. She also asked, "Why do people say: You are rock?!" Haha. We try to prepare her for the streets. ;) She wrote on the board "You are the bomb." and Hermana Whitman raised her hand and corrected the sentence to say: "You DA bomb." Hermana Boza makes my life. We have too much fun here. But hey, she'll be prepared!!

I can't believe that my MTC experience is almost over! Everyone told me that it would fly by and I said "Haha yeeeeeeeeeeeeah ;)" But it really did! This experience has been so amazing. I wish I could explain it in words but I have learned so much and my testimony has grown immensely. My desires to try better, work harder, trust more, dig deeper continue to grow every day. I love being a missionary. I know that we have help from the Lord and this is true, because how in the world could normal 18-21 year- olds do this?? We are not alone. I know that God loves you, and I love you too. I am so blessed to have grown up into such an amazing family who has taught me to follow the teachings of Jesus Christ. Thank you so much for your constant prayers. I have felt so much joy and happiness and have literally seen miracles. BRING IT ON. :))))) With the Lord all things are possible.
Thank you for your support. I can't wait to call you on monday!!! Don't be separated from your phone! ;) Pura Vida forever!!!!
My flight plan! (Looking rather tired here).

Our flight plans! (Poofy Hair Day for me).

Hermana Best's birthday card from the Elders.
Lyrics to "22" by T. Swift


So happy to put this on every single day.

Espero que ellos tengan un buen semana! Les quiero mucho y para siempre. :)))

Hermana Hubler 

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Thursday, August 7, 2014

"I have a problem. It's called: I always want to check the mail."

Hola mi familia!                                                                                                                                 August 6, 2014

Como estan?! Thank you so much for the package!!!! That package in a grocery bag made my entire week. The letters were the BEST! I loved every word! As usual, I will write you a letter to respond specifically to everything. :) But just know it made me so happy. I have a problem. It's called: I always want to check the mail. Everyday everyone makes fun of me because I'm always like: "can we check the mail yet?" Not a day goes by that we don't check the mail at least 4 times thanks to me. :) Oh the joys. 

Thank you also for the workouts!!! Heaven knows imma need those. Hermana B and I have continued to do them, but recently we have been kind of sluggish because of all that cafeteria food. Also you should see how many treats we have in our classroom. It's all from Hermana E. And we all eat it. We have oreos, candy, beef jerky, fruit snacks, and everything else you could imagine. Whew! I should send a picture. Honestly, all I want is gum. (Old lady voice) But I can't!!! Wah. ;) But you know what is funny? We sometimes play basketball during gym! We usually play 2 on 2 and it is so much fun. It's kind of an adventure everyday because you know how I freak out and laugh super hard when people chase me? Well when I have the ball, I just run around laughing uncontrollably. It’s honestly more of an ab workout than anything else. There is a reason I dance. Enough said.

Alan, our investigator is doing pretty good. :) We have been improving our teaching as we have learned how to make lessons more personal and applicable to him. It's so true that the gospel helps every person in every circumstance. Our purpose as missionaries is to identify the relationship between the person and Heavenly Father and then help to strengthen it. It's very personal for every person and we need to be very sensitive to the spirit and truly listen carefully to the person to find it and know how to help them. Luisa is also doing really well! She committed to get baptized! :)))))) She loves reading from the Book of Mormon and always shares with us her thoughts about it and we love it.

All of our friends in our branch left on Monday. :( We are really excited for them, but it was kind of sad to see all of them leave because we all became so close. They were kind of like our older siblings. But we are getting 22 new missionaries in our zone today!! Now we get to be the "big kids" and help show them around! I can't believe we leave in 12 days.......is this real life? Yesterday we watched some "I'm a Mormon" videos about people living in Costa Rica! You should go look them up on lds.org. The people are named Freddy Marine, and Irene Monterroso. We all got so excited we started tearing up. :)
Well, there is always so much I want to share, but I just want to say that I'm so grateful for your support always. I have been learning so much here, and I love being a missionary. I feel very close to Heavenly Father and I constantly have desires to change and improve. We are never alone. I love you! Pura Vida and muchos abrazos!

Hermana Hubler
Some of the best people I know. I love them.
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That slightly awkward moment when you see a good friend you've known for many years and suddenly you can't hug because you're on a mission. Hello Elder Bailey! Call me Hermana Hubler. 

Costa Rica in 12 dias!

One of my very favorite Hermanas heading to Mexico.

Because you have to love those accidental photo bombs!

Well, I'm the crazy one.