December is HOT. It is a bit of a shock when I look at the calendar and see that it´s December, and that I´m sweating while I do it! Okay so Santa Cruz is a mid-sized town, about the size of Avon I think. The people are very laid back, at times that is a significant obstacle in getting them to attend church. There are muuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuchas fiestas, which is a bummer because that means that all of the people are out drinking in the streets, and no one is in their homes to receive us. But the people are also very friendly once you get to know them, and that´s when I love this work. I realized something (finally) this week. It´s that I really love this people. I really want to do everything I can for them, and as I tell them, I´m here in Costa Rica because I found something in the Gospel of this church that took my life and made it better. That gave me hope, and a much brighter future. I found a better, happier way to live. I´m here to share that. The point is happiness, more than that - joy. I love that simple truth. That we can, and even are supposed to, be joyful.
Transportation? By the incredibly cheap form of walking. I´m glad walking is good for my health, because there is an inordinate amount of it. My apartment is pretty groovy, but also ghetto. Our toilet doesn´t have the seat part, nor does the bathroom door stay closed. There are also bugs EVERYWHERE, but EVERYWHERE. Flipping tiny ants get into absolutely everything. I have no doubts that I have accidentally ingested more than a few. As I write that I realize how nasty that is...Oh well. For breakfast there´s eggs, rice, and beans. Lunch is always good because our cook knows what he´s doing. Dinner is usually at 10:00 o´clock at night and generally consists of rice and beans. And tortillas. Did I mention rice and beans yet? But seriously I love rice and beans cause they are cheap and plentiful. Christmas here usually involves lots of food (THANK GOODNESS) It´s also celebrated on the 24th for some reason. On the 22 we´ll travel to San José for the mission Christmas thingy, I honestly have no idea what that consists of. Because of that I´m not sure when I´ll next be emailing.
How am I surviving? Things are improving. I´m a lot more excited in the mornings now, because I know how important this message is and I dunno, I want to share my happiness. Even though many people are going to reject me, some (hopefully) won´t. And maybe this message will help them. Speaking of which, I learned a little about faith this week. I have always been a tad confused about it, it´s a rather elusive subject. But I think it works like this. It starts with a simple desire to know if all this jazz is true. That´s it, just a desire. How easy. And then we test it. When we do things like reading in the scriptures, pray, attend church. How do we feel? If good, then perhaps the message is true. We continue experimenting, our faith grows "if" it is true. What a simple way to know. This logic appeals to my intensely logical mind. If it´s true, our faith, and desire to do these things, and happiness, will grow, if the message is false, then okay, we don´t need to waste more of our time. But if it is true? How wonderful :) It would mean that there is a well defined way to Heaven, where a God that loves us is waiting. Nifty.
You know sometimes I´m frustrated cause I want to share more, and sometimes I´m sad because right now, I don´t have the blessing of being an active participant in the lives of those I love more than anything. But in some ways, it´s because of that love that I´m here. Know that you all are in my thoughts and prayers, and that I´m working on becoming the best possible missionary (and person) in part for all of you.
Elder Noah M. Toney
P.S.- I have gotten complaints about my use of big words for my closing salutation (mainly from my older brother, who is a third grade teacher. Why is he a teacher for third graders you might ask? Because any word over five letters is "big" to him, love you big brother ;)