Saturday, January 30, 2016

Dangerous mattress escapades

This past week has been pretty great, but humbling as well. And this coming week will bring a lot of changes. My companion and about half of my zone is leaving, as well as both of our zone leaders. I am interested to see what will happen.

This past Monday night I was at my desk writing when we got a call from the sisters. They had locked themselves out of their apartment, and were going to have to sleep in the church building, but they didn't have any mattresses, so we had to call an investigator who had a truck to come help us. Upon arriving at our Apartment building, I realized that I had locked our keys in our house. So ensued an hour of trying to break into our own house. It´s to the credit of the Costa Rican people that no one called the police, cause it was about 11:30, and we weren't exactly quiet. Since I have a bit of a history in lock picking, I set out to find suitable instruments. I found what I needed and returned to the scene of the crime. After ten minutes of working I was finally able to get the door open (miracle). I strutted triumphantly into the house, threw the lock pick to the side, and struck the Rocky pose, both Fists Held High, immensely pleased with myself. While I was thus posturing, in walked my companion and district leader, laughing hard, holding up the keys to the apartment. While I was searching for my Tools Of The Trade, they had gotten the door open, retrieved the keys, and re-locked the door. What is the moral of this story? What´s the important part? I got that daggumed door open even though those miscreants had set me up. Also don´t trust laughing Latinos. That´s a tad stereo typical, don´t trust laughing people PERIOD. Unless you understand why they are laughing.

My accomplices
But this left a rather serious problem. The mattresses needed to be removed from the church and returned to the apartment. And being the responsible eighteen year old's we are, we put it off till the last moment, until it was Saturday night, with church the next day and no truck to transport them. So the four of us (E. Ferrufino, E. Lopez the District Leader, and E. Medina) waited until it was late so that no one would see us, put the mattresses on our heads, and walked home through the sleepy streets of Santa Cruz with mattresses bouncing on our heads, like Indian women. What culture am I from again? But we got home without any complications (crossing streets was a bit scary since we couldn't really see very well) Adventure ended.

This past Wednesday there was a special conference from Salt Lake, especially for missionaries. Elder Bednar spoke, and many others. It was a wonderful reminder that truth uplifts and edifies, it helps you make a game plan for a better you. We live step by step, we grow step by step. This Saturday an Apostle is coming to Costa Rica, Quentin L. Cook I believe. I´m super excited for it. I´ll tell you how it goes.

Dangerously (just kidding moms),

Elder Noah M. Toney

Not sure what this is about....

... We should all be afraid to ask!

Thursday, January 21, 2016

Peter walks on water

January 18, 2015

Hello Everyone!

Someone asked me to tell you in this email about what my pdays are like.  Well, on pday we have a normal morning schedule, so we wake up at 6.30, exercise, eat, shower, get ready, then study for two hours.  After that we usually write emails.  Then we buy food and eat lunch.   If we don't have anything planned, we go to the chapel to play ping pong or something like that.  Our pdays are kind of boring sometimes-- my companion likes to sleep--but they are much needed and I´m glad we have them. We do not do our own laundry, we pay a member to do it. Aaaaaand I'm not gonna answer the question about the last time I washed my sheets...

I tried to withdraw money and the atm wouldn't accept my card, so I´m not quite sure how to do it. I'm gonna ask around to see what I can learn.

So there´s a city here called Limón, and every time I hear the name, I think of Momma J's lemon pepper chicken and get really hungry haha. And then I think of yáll and look forward to the day I´ll get to see everyone again. That being said, the time is slipping out of my fingers like the sand in the hour glass.  Sometimes I worry that I´m not doing enough, that I´m not as good as the Lord needs me to be.

Oh the biggest party in Costa Rica is going on Santa Cruz right now. For five straight days the party rages, in the which NO ONE está en casa. So it makes it hard to teach. There´s bull riding, clowns, dances, it is absolutely crazy. Oh and a lot of drunk people.

I was asked which discussion I teach the most.  There is no competition in my answer.  We teach the restoration a BUNCH because we´re always finding new investigators. And often after the first lesson it´s hard to get a hold of people, so they don´t progress.

Yesterday I was sitting in the chapel during sacrament meeting thinking about when Jesus walked on water, and more specifically when Peter tried.  In my mind I saw a beautifully depicted image, and I wished that I could sketch it out. However, I don´t have the skill for drawing, so I tried to write the picture inside my head.  It is the best I could do--I'm sorry if badly done.

I saw Him walking and I felt a fire within me, a burning desire to do as He does, to be as He is. And in my faith, perhaps ignorance, perhaps arrogance, perhaps ambition,

I stepped out into the sea.

And for a moment I stood tall, His gaze sustained me. But then I saw Opposition.

Now come the waves.

And I´m sinking, rain lashes, lightning threatens, water crushes, what supported me looms to finish me.

How could I be so foolish as to believe that I could accomplish this? He set the example, Who Am I but a man of little faith?

Panic chokes me more surely than the avaricious water. Sorrow sets in as I remember when I was divinely called to this work, what little I knew to suppose that I could fulfill it with my own talents and abilities. 
The water is to my chest, salty tears mix with the churning, briny water.

Confusion, why is this so hard? Aren´t I giving my all? Did He not bid me come? And where is He now that I need Him so desperately? Now that I've commenced this fateful and imminently fatal journey? I can´t go back, the boat is up and far away, I know that to look back would render me unfit, but I´m drowning.

Remembrance. I cry, my voice hoarse with terror. I have but to look up, He is here.  The outstretched hand, deliverance waiting. All that is left to see is if we will take His hand And move forward. It seems so simple, yet how often do we reject it.

I am out of time.


Elder Noah M. Toney

Monday, January 18, 2016

Where your heart is

Hello All!

I hath found a scorpion in my room and am ready to declare war on all bug races. Let it be known, they shall die.

Today the letter will be short, sorry.

We have about 50 investigators in total. We find new people by walking down streets talking with everyone. The best situations are when we find a family resting in their house. This is one of my favorite activities, partly because rejection just cracks me up, I don´t per say enjoy it, but neither does it bother me. We found an old woman the other day who was one of the original Costa Rican Saints. She doesn't go to church because she can´t walk, but when we talked to her, we could see that the gospel meant a lot to her. She has about eighty years. Once in a lesson, a friend came over, we invited her to sit and listen and low and behold that ancient sister started testifying like a preacher on Sunday. It was down right nifty.

Our recent convert
In a lesson we always start out with just talking with them, getting to know them, growing to love them. Then we have a prayer and talk a bit about doctrine, usually whatever it is they have questions about. We then leave them something to read, and close with a prayer. I'm really starting to enjoy lessons. What I love is when we´re talking about doctrine and you can just feel that´s it right, the investigators are nodding and agreeing and you just feel this excitement about the truth that makes it all worth it.

Something that I learned this week that is changing me:  even if I do all the good in the world, if it isn't what I want to do, or if my heart isn't in it, it means absolutely nothing, it won´t help me. I need to do things with all of my being, because if my actions are opposite of my desires, I will be miserable. Watch what you put your heart into, because if your heart isn't in the right place you'll only find frustration. And if your heart is in things that are not safe or of value, watch out.

Our Charlie Brown tree
My companion is also the hardest thing about the mission for me. So much to learn, but I believe that some day it will help me be a good spouse.


Elder Noah M. Toney

Sunday, January 10, 2016

Desires of the heart

Howdy howdy all;

Firstly first fruits, sorry about last week and the abrupt ending, as well as exclusion of the customary signature. My companion was feeling sick, and then he was feeling REALLY sick if you know what I mean, and we had to make a hasty egress. 

Unfortunately his pain progressed to the point where we were afraid that it might be apendicitis, in which case going to the hospital was mandatory. The only real hospital was an hour away, and there were no buses running at that time, and unfortunately, driving is not very common here. At least not in my area. Finally we were able to find some one, thank goodness. We made it to the hospital where he underwent multiple icky tests, (Blood tests are those to which I am referring. I do NOT like blood testing, needles...huuh) It turned out to just be a gastro intestinal virus. While we were waiting for the results, my mission president showed up (I´ve no Idea how he got there so quick) And although there wasn´t much he was able to do, his presence was comforting. He marched into the examining room, boldly proclaiming that we were his "boys" and then proceeded to make sure that all was paid for and kosher, although he had to leave (mission president are daggumed busy, apparently) He bought us food, on account of my companions sickness, he was not permitted to eat, so it was with sadness and duty that I devoured his portion in a flat 30 seconds. 

Other than that this week has been uneventful, we haven´t been able to do much on account of my companions sickness, but he´s doing a lot better now. A full day was spent in house, with him resting, and by my bloomers was it boring. I hope I never get sick. Everyone knock on wood for me.

New years eve we spent at a members house, eating the absolutely most delectable ribs I have ever had the pleasure of ingesting. Other than that, we didn´t do anything. It´s a little sad, but not much. I have yet to receive the package from my mother. We are in a ward, in a huge building (well, huge for here) That is church property, in fact that´s where we usually go for p days, to play basket ball and ping pong. It is without boastfulness that I proclaim my mastery of ping pongs over the natives of Costa Rica. (Ok maybe a little boastfulness) The bishop and many members live up to an hour away, so it can be hard to work with them, But I´m very close both with the bishop and with many members. We work a lot with less active members and recent converts. We almost always have investigators in the chapel, at least three, although the mission goal is eight for every companionship.

There are almost always lots of Americans in the chapel, so I get to practice my English bastante.

I learned a pretty huge lesson this week, and it´s that even if I do all the right things, make the right decisions, if in my heart I desire to be doing my own will, I will not be happy. I can do good, but I will be miserable in my heart.

Love Yáll!

Elder Toney being very dainty. With Hermana Terrones, Yerson, y Hermana Brown.
Sagaciously, (chiste)

Elder Noah M. Toney